Green Fireballs, Booms, Triangles,
And Huge Prehistoric Turtles (?)
Joseph Trainor -Editor
Vol. 4 No. 3
On Friday, January 8, 1999, at 10:25 p.m., a fireball of "an eerie blue or green color" flashed through the sky of southern Alaska and exploded with "an earthshaking boom."
According to the Anchorage Daily News, "Dozens of people phoned authorities last Friday to report the event, which happened at 10:25 p.m. Most eyewitnesses described a brilliant and colorful flash, followed several minutes later by a boom. The boom was so loud it shook homes in Palmer and Wasilla and was heard from South Anchorage to Sutton and beyond."
Palmer (population 2,866) is on Highway 1 about 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of Anchorage. Wasilla (population 4,028) is eight miles (12 kilometers) west of Palmer. Sutton (population 210) is 13 miles (21 kilometers) northeast of Palmer.
"'I wish I could describe it,' said Gina Gilmore, who watched the fireball from a hot tub near Palmer. 'It was an eerie blue or green color.. It lit up the whole area. Then we heard an explosion and it stilled our conversation.'"
"Gilmore said that at first she thought the object was a shooting star, but its intensity" had her wondering if it could have been "a missile, an explosion or something from The X-Files."
"'It was greenish, and it was loud,' said Rachael Wagner, 16, another observer from Wasilla. She was inside her house and watched it flash through her window."
Donald Masters, an astronomy professor at the University of Alaska at Anchorage told the newspaper that he "believes the flash came from a meteor or a comet fragment, probably the size of a pumpkin, that exploded about 50 miles above the Earth's surface."
Scientists thought the meteor to be a latecomer from the Quarantid meteor shower, which began on December 28, 1998.
"'Imagine a cold rock coming in and getting very hot,' said Greg Durocher, a scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey. 'It's under tremendous stress.'"
"Durocher and other observers of the fireball said they heard the boom about three to four minutes after they saw the flash. Based on this information, Masters estimated that the object was about 50 miles (80 kilometers) away at the time of the explosion."
"There were rumors Friday of the object striking (the ground near) Parks Highway at Mile (Marker) 141, and reports by pilots of debris falling, but meteorites are extremely hard to find, Masters said." (See the Anchorage Daily News for January 10, 1999, "Great ball of fire--Flash in sky is likely exploding meteor" by Elizabeth Manning. Muchas gracias, Lucy, para esa noticia.)
On Sunday, January 10, 1999, at 7:05 p.m., "Bill Slatton was driving home when he saw what looked to be a green fireball streak across the night sky" in Pittsfield, New Hampshire (N.H.)
Pittsfield (population 1,717) is on Route 28 about 37 miles (59 kilometers) northeast of Manchester, New Hampshire's largest city.
"'My God, this thing is as clear as day,' he remembers thinking to himself. 'It was huge. It was right along side of us.'"
"His fiance, Kathy Bickford, saw it, too. Police departments in Bow (population 600) and Northfield reported sightings, with callers describing 'a green flash' in the sky."
"Slatton said he and his fiancee saw the fireball for a few seconds as they drove south on Route 20 in Pittsfield...He said it was like the fireball that crashes into the Earth in a recent Dunkin Donuts commercial."
"'It was descending almost like a plane descending. It's hard to describe,' Slatton said."
"The object was about the size of a nickel or quarter in the sky, and perhaps a few thousand feet away and a few thousand feet up, although it was hard to tell, Slatton said."
"It was to the left of them as they drove south, perhaps landing or crashing in Pittsfield, Epsom or Chichester, said Slatton, a property maintenance contractor from Chichester," a town located six miles (9 kilometers) southwest of Pittsfield. (See the Manchester, N.H. Union-Leader for January 11, 1999, "'Green flash' streaks through central NH sky" by Derek Ross. Many thanks to Greg St. Pierre for forwarding the newspaper article.)
On Thursday, January 6, 1999, Margaret W. and her family watched as a squadron of five orange fireballs flew over their home in South Cessnock, New South Wales, Australia, a town located 180 kilometers (108 miles) north of Sydney. Amazingly, the UFO flyover repeated itself the following night, and the night after that.
By Monday, January 11, 1999, the flights, with anywhere from two to five "orange fireballs" had passed over South Cessnock. "We have been seeing these orange fireballs in flight going over our house for the past six days."
Margaret "said she had got her son a telescope for Christmas, and they had observed the lights through it. Red, fiery orange spheres with flames coming out of the back of the objects. They had four lights in front. Lights were cloudy and white in colour. The objects were disc-shaped."
She added that "they came from the east," i.e. the Pacific Ocean, "and went west. She stated that her neighbour came out and had a look and went back inside to call RAAF Williamstown, to see if they had any planes in the area. They said no."
Each object "was about the size of a 20-cent piece held at arm's length." (Many thanks to Diane Harrison of UFO Australian Research Network for this report.)
On Sunday, January 10, 1999, dozens of people in Fairfield, Ohio (population 39, 729), a small city on Route 127 approximately 18 miles (28 kilometers) north of Cincinnati, heard a stunning and mysterious explosive sound.
The story was reported by newscaster Laura Randall on Channel 9, WCPO-TV in Cincinnati, that evening.
"Ms. Jenny Morgan of Fairfield 'reported that she had heard something similar to a shotgun sound.'"
"A second resident told of suspecting someone had thrown 'snowballs' at her house, while a third person described what they thought was a supersonic crash."
"At least 13 callers (to Channel 9) reported suspicious and frightening noises."
The sound was "attributed to 'ice heaving' or 'frost cracking'" by representatives of the National Weather Service at Wilmington, Ohio.
"Prof. Kenneth Hinkle, a geologist at the University of Cincinnati, refuted the 'frost-cracking' theory and said "such explanations are not workable in this instance."
"'In the high Arctic, frost-cracking resembles a sharp snap similar to a rifle report, which can be felt,' Hinkle told the newscast."
A WCPO reporter summed it up: "We are left with an unsolved mystery." (Many thanks to Kenneth Young of Cincinnati UFO Research for this news story.)
On December 1, 1998, a motorist driving through Evreux, a city in the department Eure approximately 150 kilometers (90 miles) east of Paris, spotted a triangular UFO hovering nearby at 5:50 p.m.
The witness described the UFO as "having a length estimated at 40 meters (132 feet). The object's speed was about the same as a conventional French military aircraft." He first saw it hovering "at an altitude of perhaps 20 to 30 meters," and the object "had a series of eight white luminous windows along its edge and also a rotating reddish light underneath."
Stopping his car, the witness watched as the UFO passed silently overhead. The object was moving toward BA-105 of the Evreux-Fauville air base operated by the Armee de l'Air (French Air Force--J.T.)
As the UFO passed over, the car's electrical system suddenly went dead. The car engine, the radio and the headlights all shut off. When the witness tried to turn the ignition key, all he heard was the dead thump of the solenoid. The "blackout" lasted only 30 seconds. When he tried again half a minute later, the engine roared back to life.
"Right afterward I went to a phone and called the base at Evreux-Fauville," he reported, "They gave me a polite dismissal, as always." A local newspaper ran an article on the incident, but no other witnesses came forward. (Merci beaucoup at Thierry Garnier du Cercle Ufologique de Haute- Normandie pour ces nouvelles.)
On Saturday, December 26, 1998, at 12:15 a.m., a very large UFO, described as "a mothership" and "a flying cigar," was seen passing over Merlengo, a small town near Bolzano in the Trentino Alps, about 550 kilometers (330 miles) north of Rome.
"The object appeared stationary and at an altitude of 2,500 meters," reported Fabrizio Monaco of Comitato Internazionale per lo Studio delle Intelligenze Extraterrestri (CISETI). "It was traveling at about 600 kilometers per hour but appeared to vanish at about 20 degrees above the horizon. The phenomenon lasted about one and a half minutes. The weather at the time was cloudy."
When the cigar-shaped UFO departed, "the object was illuminated by a luminous flash," Monaco added, "The object appeared to be fairly large, according to the principal witnesses." (Grazie a Fabrizio Monaco di CISETI per questo rapporto.)
A week earlier, on Sunday, December 21, 1998, at 11:30 p.m., a glowing disc was seen at Stra, a village in Veneto province near Padova, located about 375 kilometers (225 miles) north of Rome.
Giuseppe Isanelli was in his home when he saw a bright flash outdoors. Leaving the house, he reported, "I saw in a field on the Via Agnoletto, an area with few houses about, and an object of circular form about six meters (20 feet) in diameter."
"I left my house and looked at the field, at a distance of 300 meters away, and it was illuminated as bright as daylight by an object hovering in the sky. It had the appearance of a missile. It was of a circular form and had its own lights," Isanelli said. "The object moved slowly at first and quickly gained velocity, heading for the city of Padova. As I stood there, I was stunned by the sight."
The case is being investigated by ufologist Francesco Rosati of Centro Ufologico Nazionale (CUN) in Firenze. (See the Italian newspaper Il Gazzetino di Padova for December 21, 1998. Grazie a Francesco Rosati e Alfredo Lissoni di CUN per questo rapporto.)
A rumored secret underground base at Belconnen, in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) near Canberra, has joined Area 51 in the USA and the underground base at Corsham, Wiltshire, UK on the ufologists' roster of UFO-related sites.
The base is known as "the Sheep Paddock" and is said to be located beneath an actual pasture in the Great Dividing Range near Canberra. Within the field are several antennae arrays and a small cinderblock security building that houses the elevator to the underground command post.
"There are at least three stories underground," one source said. "On the third level, staff members man computer terminals."
Some Belconnen watchers believe that the supposed base will serve as a national command post during civil unrest in Australia caused by Y2K. Others maintain that the base is merely an out-station of the Royal Australian Navy communications center at Lawton.
Interestingly, that portion of the Great Dividing Range is rumored to be undercut by humungous limestone caverns.
In his book, MYSTERIOUS AUSTRALIA, Rex Gilroy writes that in 1848 settlers in the area "discovered a great natural limestone archway through one of the bluffs. Exploring south of here one day, two young men came across a hole in one of the limestone cliffs. Realizing it went deep into the cliffside, they went back to their farmhouse for rags and oil with which to make torches. Lighting these upon their return, they entered a hole which they found sloped down into a large chamber from which another larger hole led off into another chamber, then another and another...They made a large fire on the cave floor. The flames mounted gradually to reveal the full extent of the cavern--some 200 feet across, rising well over that in height, with a great many formations dripping from the sloping walls." (See MYSTERIOUS AUSTRALIA by Rex Gilroy, NEXUS Publishing, Mapleton, Qnld. 1995, page 58.)
Meanwhile, the Corsham Computer Centre (CCC) underground base in Wiltshire continues to generate a lot of debate.
Matthew Williams of Truthseekers Review magazine stated, "We had discovered the base and its Black Budget funding, also known as Maggie's Bunker, in editions of the UK UFO magazine Alien Encounters and also in our magazine, also we exposed more than just the base's presence. We took TV crew to the facility and even got inside, if you can believe that!"
Williams added that his group tried to interest ITV in doing a show about Corsham, but the network reportedly wasn't interested. The recent UK broadcast "did show the outside of the base," Williams added, "but for some strange reason did not show the inside of the base...why? Big question."
During the week, Gerry Lovell of Far Shores contacted UFO Roundup to comment on our Corsham story in last week's issue. He writes, "I don't recall actually making a link between Corsham and the village of Hawthorn, at least in respect of any tunnel which may or may not link the two. There is indeed at least one tunnel under Rudloe Manor, and I am sure" there is one" "in the area of the Corsham Nuclear Command Centre, but I did not state there was a link specifically between the two." (Many thanks to Matthew Williams, Gerry Lovell and the "Belconnen Commandos" for these items.)
Another witness has come forward to report sighting a UFO over Melbourne, the capital of Australia's Victoria state, on Christmas Eve, but researcher Alex McMurray thinks the witnesses were seeing a blimp.
"I was driving home from a friend's place at 2 a.m. on Christmas Eve (December 24, 1998)," the new witness reported, "Travelling west toward Port Philip Bay, Melbourne. In the sky was what appeared to be a disc/sphere that was approximately five times the size of the moon but a pale orange/amber colour, what looked like a fairly thin black cloud was in front of the sphere."
"My initial reaction was that someone had moved the moon a lot closer to the earth. Various other things went through my mind, including UFOs. However, unfortunately as I was somewhat 'under the weather,' I immediately went to bed upon arriving home." (Many thanks to Jeroen Wierda of Picard UFO Research International for this report.)
Alex McMurray, however, believes that "the orange UFO" seen by Darren B., his sister and her friend, and the new witness was actually the Whitman Chocolates Lightship.
"The description of the UFO given by Darren B. fits that of the Whitman Chocolates Lightship," McMurray wrote, "a large, yellow-orange dirigible that is used in Melbourne as a camera platform for sporting games and for joy rides at night. The dirigible has lights installed inside the baloon and at night has the appearance of a large orange ball, and it is very quiet when it is travelling, even close up." (Many thanks to Alex McMurray for his commentary.)
"The legendary Hoan Kiem turtle is the real thing, swear scientists who have studied the creature for years."
"'People are treating it like the Loch Ness monster but this is not a myth,' says Peter Pritchard, a world-reknowned biologist."
"For generations, Vietnamese parents have been telling their children about Le Loi, the warrior king who beat back (Chinese) invaders in the 1400s with his heaven-sent sword." (A kind of Vietnamese Excalibur--J.T.)
"As the victorious soldier crossed a lake, the weapon jumped from its scabbard and into the mouth of a turtle, which dove to the bottom."
"The lake has been known as Ho Hoan Kiem (Vietnamese for Lake of the Returned Sword--J.T.) ever since."
"But it gets even more shocking. Shell- shocked scientists are sure the 6-foot-long (2-meter), 400-pound turtle recently spotted for the first time is the same one from the legend."
"'Yes, that's right. The same turtle,' says Dr. Ha Dinh Duc, a biology professor at Hanoi's National University who has studied the creature for years. 'That would make him about 550 years old.'"
"Experts believe there could be up to five stupendous slowpokes plodding around the bottom of the lake."
"'People here believe the turtle is sacred,' says Duc, 'They think only crazy people would want to catch one.'" (See the National Examiner for January 12, 1999, "Loch Ness turtle terrorizes Vietnam," page 6.)
(Editor's Comment: A giant turtle matching the description of the Hoan Kiem turtle appeared during the Jurassic Period 200 million years ago and became extinct during the Pliocene Period three million years ago. Known as Stupendemys (order Chelonia, suborder Proganochelydia, family Pelomedusidae), this giant turtle measured two meters (6 feet, 6 inches) long and "was the largest freshwater turtle that ever existed." Fossilized remains of Stupendemys have been found in Venezuela. Wouldn't it be something if a few of these turtles survived the Ice Age and found a home in the jungles of Vietnam?)
"An inscription found in Egypt could be the third rediscovered ancient text pointing to the presence of the biblical King David, according to Biblical Archaeology Review."
Prof. Kenneth Kitchen, an Egyptologist now retired from the University of Liverpool in England has written that the phrase 'Heights of David' seems to appear in a list of place names from southern Judah found in the Temple of Amun in Karnak, Upper Egypt. The list dates from the Tenth Century B.C., just after King David's time."
"Kitchen isn't certain, however, because one letter in the inscription is ambiguous."
"Some modern scholars have speculated that King David was a mythological character, but others believe a text found in Israel in 1993 by archeologist Avraham Biran clearly refers to the royal 'House of David,' and French paleographer Andre Lemaire says a damaged inscription from ancient Moab also appears to name King David." (See the newspaper Providence, R.I. Journal for January 16, 1999, "Evidence of David?" page D-5.)
From the UFO Files...
Eighty years ago, a strange UFO incident took place north of Stonehenge in the UK. Here it is in the words of one of the actual participants, British soldier Gordon Wilkins:
"Early in January 1919, about 8 p.m., I and another man of my corps were returning to our camp. We had been on a ramble to Figeldean to look at an old church. On a sudden, I was startled to see in the night sky on the western edge toward Netheravon three weird coloured globes--red and orange--at a height of about 3,000 feet. They looked like lanterns illuminated with a very strong glow."
"As I watched, they floated downwards, and then suddenly and inexplicably vanished. The famous prehistoric monument of Stonehenge was some miles south. There were airdromes and British Royal Artillery camps and ranges some miles away. But at this time, there was no firing at night. The man who was with me had apparently seen these globes before."
"Said he to me, notising my astonishment, 'They must come from the Royal Air Force drome at Boscombe Down.'"
"I think that very unlikely. At that point, thirty-six years ago (Note: Wilkins wrote this in 1955--J.T.), airplanes had no apparatus capable of firing off such globes. Nor would there have been any object in doing so. Moreover, the cockpits were then open, not closed in as now."
"At that time, it was three months after the Armistice (World War One ended on November 11, 1918--J.T.), most of the camps and dromes and firing ranges had demobilized their airmen and artillerists. Certainly, when I saw these globes, no plane was to be heard or seen, and on that eerie plain of prehistoric monuments and Neolithic barrows and other memorials of the long unknown dead, the air was as still as death. In the silence and darkness, the effect of these apparitions in the starry sky was most startling and unnerving."
"I wish to draw attention to the fact that my companion had seen these phenomena at least four times: in 1917 and 1918. Hence his lack of surprise; for he evidently--and I think wrongly-- assumed they were devices of the RAF, or perhaps the Army." (See FLYING SAUCERS UNCENSORED by Harold T. Wilkins, Citadel Press, New York, N.Y., 1955, pages 222 and 223.)
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