EDITOR'S NOTE: We are pleased to begin offering staff writer Angela Hill's weekly column, Give 'Em Hill, in the Metro section. The column, which previously ran Sundays in Bay Area Living, will now run in the Metro section each Saturday. Look for it here each week.
It's time once again for my annual UFO report and extraterrestrial update, zooming to you through the pages of this earthbound newspaper at warp speed, and beaming through the ether of cyberspace like so many doomed "Star Trek" landing parties on their way to a mysteriously gaseous, but surprisingly oxygen-filled, planet surface.
Unfortunately, as far as I know, I still haven't actually personally seen a UFO — an unidentified flying object — other than the crumpled press-release projectile a coworker once propelled at me. But that was quickly identified, set aflame and propelled back, never to return again. (Yes, I have a matchbook at my desk. It's from Bad Boys Bail Bonds. I don't know why.)
But last weekend at the Doubletree Hotel in San Jose, I at least personally saw some actual people who have personally seen actual UFOs. They were in attendance in abundance at the 39th Annual International UFO Symposium, held by the Mutual UFO Network, or MUFON, which is dedicated to the scientific study of, you guessed it, UFOs.
And contrary to popular belief, these people were sane! More than sane. British! (Anyone who sounds like Alistair Cooke has to be spot on.)
Well, some were British. Others were from Belgium. Peru, Turkey, Canada and Mexico. There were scientists, researchers and former high-ranking military people from all over the world — this world, as far as we know — who have themselves witnessed unexplained phenomena, or have evidence of proof of weird stuff that really happened someplace and have been interviewed by Larry King to boot.
See, I know something is going on "out there," whether it's alien craft from outer space, secret military operations or the Wicked Witch's flying monkeys toting Mag Lights. I know it, even though I haven't seen a UFO or a flying monkey myself, because there are lots of things we never see but we admit their existence anyway. Like air or gravity or Dick Cheney.
And now there's some actual corroborating evidence. About UFOs. We're still waiting on the Cheney thing. Remember the Stephenville, Texas, sightings back on Jan. 8 that made national headlines and Larry King? More than 50 witnesses reported a huge, silent, low-flying craft with bright lights hovering, then streaking through the sky. You know, the usual. Ho hum.
But this time there's proof — actual blips on Federal Aviation Administration radar!
Now if you know UFOs like I know UFOs, mostly from "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" and "The X-Files" (TV show, not movies), then you know they don't usually file a flight plan, at least not with any air traffic control agencies here on Earth. As far as we know. So apparently it was as much as surprise to FAA officials as anyone when an object showed up twice that night on radar, going about 1,900 mph.
It was even more of a surprise for UFO investigators to get that information.
"We filed a Freedom of Information Act request, like we usually do, and for some ungodly reason, FAA and the traffic control center provided this data," said a still-somewhat-stunned Robert Powell, MUFON's director of research. The only info they got from the military was typical, an Air Force flight log that looked like someone had been up all night with a Sharpie. Pretty much everything was blacked out except the date. Geez, even the DMV is more helpful than that.
But the FAA data clearly showed the tracks of an unidentified craft or crafts with no beacon transponders, as would be normal for domestic or military aircraft, moving to the north. The blips came within 10 miles of President Bush's Crawford ranch. (Maybe that's how Cheney gets there.)
Anyway, for once in a blue moon, there is official evidence to support all the eye witness testimony. So unless swamp gas and weather balloons can go more than twice the speed of sound, I'm saying it's aliens.
Probably on their way to Mars to fill up their ice cooler.
Give 'Em Hill runs Saturdays in Metro. Reach Angela Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 510-208-6493.