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UFO lecture presents evidence of phenomenon

By Nicolette Clark
On October 1, 2013

The lecture, The UFO Phenomenon: History Sightings and (even) Abductions, featuring Mark Rodeghier, kicked off the Stuart Appelle Lecture Series Thursday, Sept. 26.
The lecture series was in honor of Stuart Appelle. Dean Jose Maliekal said, "Stu was my colleague, my friend. Much of what I learned was because of Stu. It took his untimely death for this lecture to take place."
Maliekal said the lecture was made possible because of Appelle's friends. He then introduced Rodeghier, who has been the President and Scientific for the J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS) since 1986.
According to the website,, the purpose of CUFOS is to study and examine the UFO phenomenon.   
Rodeghier said he knew Appelle from his time at UFO Journal.
"Stu was one of the few academics seriously involved in [UFO] research."
Rodeghier posed a question to the crowd: Why do people study UFOs?
"Lots of people have stuck with [researching] because they've had their own sighting," he said, although he's never personally seen one.
He provided an example for the crowd. There was an incident on United Airlines Flight 94 Mar. 12, 1977. He said that the plane was flying at 30,000 feet on auto-pilot and the plane starts moving by itself. The pilots didn't immediately notice, until Boston Air Control asked, "Where are you going?"
They looked out the window and what they saw in front of their left wing was a bright light.
"Turns out UFOs don't get picked up on radars. It happens," Rodeghier said.
He said that all three compasses were malfunctioning and pointing in different directions, but the pilots still had control of the aircraft. He said that the captain didn't want to report the incident.
Rodeghier said that common questions by skeptics are, "Why aren't we seeing them in the sky?" and "Where are they?"
He went on to explain that there are 672 planets and 539 systems. He said there are 44 planets with orbits entirely habitable.
He then touched on Enrico Fermi's Paradox. According to, "The Fermi Paradox is the apparent contradiction between the high probability extraterrestrial civilizations' existence and the lack of contact with such civilizations."
"Where should we search for aliens? It turns out anyplace in the galaxy. One place we aren't supposed to look is on our earth," Rodeghier said.
Rodeghier said the modern era began with the Kenneth Arnold sighting.
"Has anyone in charge ever taken things seriously? The answer is unbelievably seriously," he said.
He said there used to be a military project called Project Blue Book that was created to find out more about UFOs. However, he said that almost everyone was taken off the project and reassigned immediately. He said that the military went into psychological denial and Project Blue Book became a public relations exercise.
Another insistence that he touched on was a swamp gas episode in Michigan in 1966. This caused congressional hearings on UFOs that led to a study by the University of Colorado. He said the study is still referred by the skeptics and couldn't explain many reports.
While a lot of people are skeptical of UFOs, Rodeghier said, "The French are different." He said they deal with interesting case studies.
Rodeghier said that what we know about UFOs is that the phenomenon is real. "What we know about UFOs is that there is more than one source for UFO sourcing."
He said that there are more than 100,000 UFO sightings.  He shared other stories of UFO examples and encounters. He said that there are rare circumstances where there is evidence left behind. He then went on to explain that there are patterns of when people see UFOs, like cars.
He said that a big pattern is with cars. "The closer the object is, the more likely your car will shut down." He shared an incident where even a flashlight wouldn't work.
He also explained the UFO shape has evolved into giant triangles.
Rodeghier said that he has talked to more than 100 abductees over the years and that abductions didn't become frequent until the 1980s. He said he talked with a lot of women who were sexually abused who warped their experience into UFO abduction.
"All it did was just reinforce what I have already heard," senior Azechia Schutz said. "Aside from the content, I thought the presentation was good and kept me interested throughout the whole thing."

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