- It appeared as a floating two-story house with a glowing
- A week later, it has attracted national media and a team
of investigators led by a former FBI agent who wants to know if the object
was an alien spacecraft.
- John Velier and his team from Las Vegas flew to St. Louis
on Friday to learn more about a UFO spotted a week ago first by a Highland
miniature-golf course owner and then by four police officers.
- When it flew over Melvern Noll's head as he stood on
his golf course about 4 a.m., the craft was traveling silently at a snail's
pace. He said he saw at least two rows of windows and red lights inside
the object and along its metallic dark belly.
- "I kept my eyeballs on it," said Noll, 66.
"It was all lighted up and so low that someone could have waved at
me out the window." He estimated it was about 1,000 feet above the
- Noll said he drove to the Highland Police station and
asked the dispatcher to call the Lebanon police because the object was
floating that way.
- Besides Noll, four Metro East police officers saw the
object as it moved above Lebanon, Shiloh, Dupo and Millstadt.
- More than 20 calls about the sighting ring into the Millstadt
Police Station a day since it was first reported by the media Friday. Chief
Ed Wilkerson posted his officers' report on the department's Web site along
with the drawings and photo. He stopped media interviews, refusing inquires
from ABC News in New York and Extra, the tabloid TV news show.
- "It's going to affect policing if we don't put a
stop to it," he said. "I never thought anything like this would
draw this much attention. Well, at least it puts Millstadt on the map."
- Police in Millstadt don't believe the sighting was a
visitor from outer space. But they won't make any assumptions about what
it was either.
- "This has been one of the biggest things we have
experienced in this area. It's reached the world," Wilkerson said.
- Velier's team came from the National Institute for Discovery
Science, a Las Vegas research insatiate, to collect evidence of the sighting.
- The institute, founded in 1995, has about a dozen former
law enforcement officers and scientists investigating sightings professionally.
- "We are using the scientific method," said
Colm Kelleher , an administrator for the institute. "We are looking
for facts, not trying to promote any agenda."
- The institute sent a team to the Metro East because of
the overwhelming credibility of the witnesses - nearly all police officers,
- "Police officers are a higher quality observers
than other witnesses, because they have good memories," he said. "And
from our initial calls, we know these people are not delusional."
- Velier, who said he doesn't know if aliens exist or not,
said he's now investigating about 136 cases of UFO sightings as well as
- He interviewed the police officers and Noll, however,
he couldn't find any other witnesses.
- "Usually we are inundated with people who have seen
these objects," he said.
- Velier won't make an assumption about what the officers
saw yet because his investigation is still in its initial stages. However,
he will post a preliminary report on the organization's web site at www.accessnv.com/nids
in a few weeks.
- Two of the police officers who saw the object contacted
the National UFO Reporting Center in Seattle the morning they spotted it,
said Peter B. Davenport, the center's director. The center, founded in
1974, records, corroborates and documents reports from individuals who
have witnessed unusual, possibly UFO-related events.
- The descriptions of the flying object don't fit conventional
aircraft, Davenport said. The lighting is not consistent with U.S. regulations,
and the flight pattern characteristics exceed anything that could have
been achieved with an airplane, Davenport said.
- The center has also taken reports from at least two civilians
in the area who saw the object while driving to work that morning.
- The center will not release their names.Forest Crawford
of Collinsville, assistant director of the Illinois Mutual UFO Network,
said he believes the police officers saw an experimental government aircraft.
- A couple of the police witnesses told reporters that
the object resembled a drawing of a "stealth blimp" that appeared
in Popular Mechanics magazine.
- "That drawing is such a close match to what these
guys described," Crawford said.
- Davenport disputes the theory that the aircraft could
have been a secret government "stealth blimp." The amount of
power needed to generate the brilliant glowing lights would be generated
from equipment too heavy for a blimp, he said.
- Officials at Scott Air Force Base said Tuesday that the
only knowledge they had of last week's UFO sighting was from news reports.
The air traffic control tower for Scott and MidAmerica Airport was shut
down at the time.
- Noll said although the sighting has brought lots of unexpected
calls and attention, he doesn't regret telling his story.
- "I'm glad I saw it. Only once in a life time you
get to see something so exciting," he said.