Fwd = UFO investigator chases out-of-this-world reports
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Original Date: Wed, 30 May 2001 16:02:27 -0700
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UFO investigator chases out-of-this-world reports
By MICHAEL SANGIACOMO
Denise Knitz saw a strange egg-shaped object in the sky as she drove
along Interstate 75 near Bowling Green. It was low and slow, kissing
the treetops until it suddenly streaked across the night sky.
At least 17 other travelers say they also saw the object Oct. 31.
John Timmerman of Lakeview, near Lima, was not one of the 18, but he
smiles when he talks about it. He says Knitz's sighting may be the
best "close encounter" he has investigated in more than 50 years
because it had "multiple, credible witnesses giving the same very
Timmerman, treasurer of the Center for UFO Studies in Chicago, has
been investigating mysterious objects in the night sky and silvery
discs in the daylight since 1948. Even though he has "never been
blessed with the experience" of having seen a UFO himself, the
77-year-old retired banker from Lima is convinced that something is
"I believe that the source of these sightings is extraterrestrial," he
said. "We're being visited by something from a place so different that
we can't even comprehend it. People always criticize the lack of a
perfect, clear photograph of a UFO. Maybe these things cannot be
photographed at all."
Skeptics like Lawrence Krauss, chairman of the physics department at
Case Western Reserve University, argue that believing UFOs are piloted
by extraterrestrials is ridiculous.
"Consider the enormous amount of time and energy that would be needed
to get here," he said. "It would take the energy of a star to do it.
And why would they do it just to drop in and take off again? Also, the
government has a huge amount of software to detect anything entering
our atmosphere. They would see it."
When asked about government surveillance of UFOs, Timmerman laughed at
alleged disinterest by federal authorities.
"The government pretends not to care about UFOs," said Timmerman. "How
could they ignore something with that kind of impact? I think the
government has been having high-performance aircraft taking pictures
of these things for years. They don't need us to tell them about UFOs;
they know all about them."
The official line
Timmerman worked closely with the late J. Allen Hynek, the founder of
the Center for UFO Studies. Hynek worked with the U.S. Air Force on
Project Blue Book, the official investigation into flying-saucer
sightings from 1952 to 1969.
The Air Force concluded that there was insufficient evidence to prove
the existence of alien visitations. Timmerman said Hynek was unhappy
with the reports and complained that the Air Force investigators
merely used him for legitimacy in the UFO field.
Timmerman noted the thousands of reports each year from people across
the country who say they saw strange things in the sky. The reports
come from police officers, pilots, professionals, politicians - people
from all levels of the social strata.
Krauss said that in order for scientists to take note of alien life,
someone would have to come up with extraordinary evidence, such as a
chunk of alien technology, or a chunk of an alien. Photos and
eyewitness testimony, no matter how credible, are not enough, he said.
So volunteers such as Timmerman continue to plug along, looking for
that unimpeachable sighting. He approaches his job cautiously, looking
for logical explanations to the phenomena.
Over the years, he has interviewed several thousand people who claimed
to have seen unidentified flying objects. He said most of the
sightings are easily explained as high-flying aircraft; the bright
planet Venus (often mistaken for a UFO); advertising blimps; or
"Then there are the sightings that we cannot explain," he said. "Those
are the ones I investigate."
Ohio, with 356 sightings, ranks ninth in the nation for the overall
number of UFO sightings since the mid-1980s, according to the National
UFO Reporting Center in Seattle. The Web site at
www.nwlink.com���ocntr/ lists brief reports on all the sightings.
Timmerman, who concentrates on sightings in Ohio, wishes he could
conduct more thorough investigations, but he is constrained by time,
travel and finances. He has no high-tech laboratory to study soil
samples or plant fibers but consults with scientists and astronomers
"At the very least, I document what happened," he said. "I have
thousands of reports filed by people who have seen UFOs and hundreds
of taped interviews. I'm just one guy, but I do what I can. I feel I
can at least pass on this wealth of information and raw data to
someone who will take up where I left off someday."
He said he has become something of an expert in interviewing people
who have seen UFOs, and he can spot a prankster in a minute.
It was real'
He was thrilled to speak with Knitz, 42, of Bloomdale, who contacted
him because no one else seemed very interested in what she and others
saw that Halloween night. "She and the others saw something very
extraordinary," he said. "I would love to know exactly what it was."
Knitz said she was making a delivery for Chuck's Pizza in Cygnet and
had just gotten off the Cygnet exit of I-75. She looked right, toward
a field, and saw something she will never forget.
"This black craft drifted out over the trees," Knitz said. "It was
sort of like an egg on its side with this weird blue-white glow at the
back. It was about the size of three cars and had no wings, no wheels,
no tail. It was perfectly silent. It was headed right over I-75, not
very high off the ground, and it just hung there."
"Then it pivoted about 30 degrees and there was a big burst of light
from the back of it and it took off," she continued. "It was there one
second, gone the next, leaving a trail of light across the sky."
Knitz said she delivered the pizza, then returned to the area, where
she met Tim O'Neil, a classical piano teacher from Michigan. He and a
friend were driving home from a Florida vacation. The UFO was still
"It was not far from where I was before," she said. "The man [O'Neil]
pointed out over the woods and the thing was there, hovering above the
trees. This time, it had orange and green lights on it. They said they
tried to get closer to it, but when they did, their car started to
lose power. They turned around and fled."
She said she was going to report the sight to police, but O'Neil did
"Our bad luck was that it happened on Halloween," she said. "They
thought it was just another crazy Halloween stunt. But it was not; it
"People have told me it was a blimp," she added. "I've seen plenty of
blimps in my life, and they don't move like that. I wish I had a
logical explanation. The shape and the way it moved really freaked me
Timmerman said he may never figure out what Knitz saw, but not for
lack of trying. His wife, Margaretha, thinks he tries too hard.
"I want to enjoy our retirement, travel, and do things together," she
said. "He's working harder now than he ever did."
For further information from Timmerman, call 937-843-3834.
E-mail: msangiacomo@... Phone: 216-999-4890
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