More Options

Aliens are from Mars, Solved Mysteries from Venus

Kevin Christopher

Skeptical Briefs Volume 11.1, March 2001

Regardless of their merits, some UFO “mysteries”–like the “Roswell Incident”–live for decades in the public imagination, proclaimed to the nations of Earth by UFOlogists, and recorded in the sacred scrolls of government cover-ups. A sighting last month in Marion, Ohio, however, might rank as the shortest-lived UFO mystery-or the smoothest clean-up job by the Men in Black.

Journalist Russ Kent in the January 27, 2001 edition of the News-Journal (Mansfield, Ohio) reports that on Thursday evening, January 25, Marion resident Mike Ulery saw “a bright light in the sky, moving east to west.” He went to his garage to get a pair of binoculars for a closer look. A view of the object magnified convinced him that it was not an aircraft. Ulery called his wife Yolonda outside to witness the unidentified object, which she described as a steady, “bright, white light moving across the sky.”

Ulery commandeered his wife’s car and hotly pursued the object for a few minutes up to the local high school. Low on gas, he had to turn around but insisted that he would have “followed it all the way to Cleveland to find out what it was.”

The mysterious object intrigued local law enforcement as well. Kent writes: “A Marion County Sheriff’s Department deputy submitted a similar report at 8:57 p.m. He said he saw a bright light in the sky and didn’t know what it was. The deputy followed the craft for about ten minutes before it disappeared in the sky above Hardin County.”

Was it aliens? A top-secret Skunk Works super-weapon? A promotional stunt by Jonathan Frakes’s agent? Russ Kent followed up on a more mundane possibility at the Perkins Observatory in Delaware, Ohio.

In the Sunday, January 28, News-Journal, Kent quotes observatory director Tom Burns: “Every time Venus is this close to Earth we get calls like this. . . . It’s Venus and it’s not actually moving across the sky.” Burns had been fielding calls in recent weeks about an unidentified object moving east to west between the hours of 8 and 9 p.m. “If people look up at that thing for long enough, it does appear that it’s moving. . . . Actually it is, but not enough so that anyone can notice.”

So the mystery object wasn’t from Venus it was Venus-one of the brightest celestial objects in the night sky: my condolences to Art Bell and Stanton Friedman.

If Briefs readers have the urge to contact Russ Kent to thank him for a fine job of terrestrial reporting, they can contact him by mail at: Russ Kent, News-Journal, 70 W. Fourth St., P.O. Box 25, Mansfield, OH 44901.

Kevin Christopher

Kevin Christopher was, at the time of this writing, public relations director for the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal