-- by Suchi Rudra
Indiana Daily Student
, Indiana University
It was almost the
size of the moon but glowed with the color of the setting sun. It hovered, then
imploded upon itself and was gone. What was it?
It was Lynn Taylor's first "unidentified flying object" sighting. Richard Durisen, astronomy professor, said unfortunately the term 'UFO' has now come to be associated only with alien spacecrafts.
"It's not," Durisen said. "It just means something an observer isn't sure about and which seems to be flying. I fielded one call from someone once who saw several 'rockets' in the early morning hours while walking his dog. They were Leonid meteors."
Taylor has made a
career of observing UFOs. Taylor, a UFO-paranormal researcher of south-central
Indiana, said UFOs have been reported in the area since the 1950s. But before
this, the concept of extra terrestrial life was something Americans knew about
through science fiction literature.
But believers say
aliens first invaded American after World War II when aerial technology was
enhanced. This weaponry was intimidating to society and made many wonder if
humans weren't the only intelligent life to come up with these advanced weapons.
screenwriters jumped at the chance to use America's newfound fear, and theaters
gave America its first glimpse of aliens.
When the space program took off in the '60s, many people started believing that
aliens were visiting the earth.
Taylor said he is certain that in Bloomington, plenty of people have seen
strange sightings, "but didn't want to report it because of fear of ridicule."
He said when people see something odd in the sky; they don't give it another
thought. Once people are told that something does not exist, they begin to
question any of its evidence, he said.
Retired IU astronomy professor Martin Burkhead said he works hard at figuring out what the UFO observer saw, and in most circumstances, it is explainable.
In Durisen's A1OO astronomy class, he asks his students about life throughout the universe.
"Out of 200 students, less than 10 or so will indicate that they believe UFOs are alien visitations," he said. The same number of students said they did not believe much of what was taught in the course
because of there religious beliefs. Nevertheless, Durisen said the majority of students were optimistic about actually locating [an] alien presence.
Some Bloomington residents believe in the presence of aliens and UFOs so strongly that they formed the Bloomington UFO Network. Co-founder Jean Bruce helped establish the group in 1996, and Taylor served as editor
of BUFON's newsletter. The group disbanded in 1998, but they still informally gather and might form another group.
For a long time many people have believed the government was involved in a
conspiracy to hide alien ships and bodies from the public eye. Taylor said the
government encourages misinformation.
"It's a good cover. It makes it easier for them to deny things later," he said.
Because the military operates on a need to know basis, Taylor adds, there is
only a select group of people that has information and even alien artifacts.
"There's a chance they do have alien bodies," Taylor said.
But Taylor wonders how much more evidence is needed for the government to
acknowledge [visitations of Earth by] aliens. Some predict that the government
will soon bring their kept knowledge out into the open, but Taylor does not
trust the government.
"Would you trust the government to take an alien body?" Taylor questioned. "I
think an alien would have to come on the 6 o'clock news himself and take a seat
next to one of the anchor persons."
Until that day comes, Taylor said he will see the media as a mixed bag of
information on UFOs. Taylor complains that the media commits the worst sin by
"punctuating their news reports on UFOs and aliens with a chuckle."
Taylor said very seldom does the media report seriously on this topic. And
credibility is vital to the study of UFOs: "If you don't have credibility, you
don't have anything in this business," Taylor said.
"But this business of UFO hunting also involves being a little eccentric; to
take the path less taken," he added.
Taylor laughs and said he used to venture out on a daily basis to watch the
skies, "but you can only do that for a certain length of time and maintain your
perspective on life."
He said that once a person has seen a UFO, "your life will change, you're not
the same … There are a vast number civilizations out there. It's humbling. Very