After a lifetime of studying what many brush off as science fiction, Peter Davenport is relatively certain of two things. First, that UFO’s exist and have been witnessed on Earth, and second, that the government has known about them for decades.
As director of the National UFO Reporting Center in Seattle, Davenport has spent the last 11 years filing accounts and eyewitness reports of UFO sightings.
The reporting center in Seattle consists of one phone, one fax, and one Web master, and is almost completely privately funded by Davenport and donations.
Often, Davenport receives anonymous reports of UFO sightings in e-mails or phone calls from people who begins, “Please believe me, I’m not crazy.”
He has been interviewed by Peter Jennings, the History Channel and the Discovery Channel, to name a few. Davenport will regale the crowd at the Little Green Men Festival today with tales of what he believes are some of the more fascinating, provable cases reported.
The festival, at the Hopkinsville-Christian County Conference and Convention Center, commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Aug. 21, 1955, report of an alien invasion at Kelly.
As Davenport retells each sighting with an immense focus on scientific details, his out-of-this-world stories become more science and less fiction.
“I have not just a mountain of data, perhaps a mountain range of data. And I assure you, it’s strictly by accident,” he said.
Before Davenport graduated Stanford with degrees in Russian and biology, he received his MBA in finance and international business. Years before receiving his master’s degree in genetics and biochemistry of fish, Davenport heard of the Kelly Green Men incident on the radio.
The story from Kelly was one of several that piqued his interest in UFOs, which eventually led to his involvement in the National UFO Reporting Center.
But one July night in 1954, Davenport’s perspective of UFO sightings went from third-party listener to first-hand witness. He was 6 years old.
Sitting in a 1953 Studebaker, Davenport was at a drive-in theater on the edge of the St. Louis Airport with his mom and brother when a strange object appeared to their right.
“We didn’t know it at the time, but my father, and people in the tower on the north side of the airport, were looking at the same object with their binoculars,” he said.
Imagine an object the apparent size of the moon, said Davenport.
“It was bright red, the color of a red traffic signal. With perhaps just a shade of orange in it, and slightly oval. And stopped, almost stock-still, in the sky to the east of our location. People were getting out of their cars.”
For decades, his family would discuss that night and wonder, “what was that object?” Davenport said.
“It was casting a red light … all over the theater, all over the airport, as far as we could see.”
His sighting is one among literally thousands on his Web-site, www.ufocenter.com. But while there are many mentions of colored lights, flying triangles and hovering disks, Davenport is hesitant to say any two sightings are the same.
Among the multitudes of sightings he’s logged, Davenport will present Saturday his “best” documented cases, he said. Ever the scientist, Davenport’s list of what constitutes good evidence of UFO activity reads like a textbook.
“Once you have evidence, there’s the question, is it accurate? Does it come from independent sources? Is it indelible in the sense that, do you have photographic evidence or just eye-witness accounts?”
Take for example the 1998 UFO report from a former Canadian fighter pilot, who said he saw green balls of light in the sky. Or the 14 forestry workers in Washington who all witnessed a horseshoe-shaped object lift an elk from the forest and fly away with it. In St. Clair County, Ill, five years ago, “officers from eight police departments witness, pursue, and photograph a huge, triangular object,” Davenport wrote from reports.
Witnesses include a commercial pilot, a radar patrol officer, a former Navy Chief, a Federal Aviation Administration air traffic controller, and even an astronaut. Local officials and high-ranking government agents who know of nowhere else to go with reports of a UFO sighting now call him, Davenport said.
“We are the facility to which law enforcement agencies, military facilities and the FAA report UFO events.”
By his own admission, about 70 percent or more of the reports to Davenport’s hotline and Web-site have nothing to do with actual UFOs. But of the remaining 30 percent …
During a classified meeting on the East coast several years ago, with a government agency Davenport is not at liberty to identify, the exact scope of the government’s involvement in their own UFO research was partial revealed, he said.
“They identified themselves, … and they said, ‘Peter, we know who you are. We have visited your web-site extensively.’ And they said, ‘You appear to us to have information that we are very interested in.’
They wanted to know more about a UFO that had been seen near a commercial airliner.
After a four-hour meeting, they thanked Davenport and told him, “‘Out of our sense of gratitude, we’re going to tell you what our position about UFOs is in the U.S. government,'” he said.
The officials told Davenport, “‘Number one, we know that UFOs are real. Number two, we know that UFOs are what they appear to be. Namely, sophisticated craft under intelligent control. There’s no doubt of that’, they said. ‘And number three, we in the government are a bit worried about them,'” recalled Davenport.
But if the government knows anything about UFOs, they aren’t about to crack, Davenport said.
“Clearly, the U.S. government — from my vantage point I think I can say this safely — is doing everything in its power to quash interest in the subject of ufology in general. And in individual cases that are dramatic and well documented, and evident to a large body of people. Now, is that conspiracy or is that policy? I’m not sure I can answer that.”
Is there intelligent life cruising the night skies, and did it ever visit Kelly? If local lore can’t convince us, maybe science and an extensive collection of similar stories can.
“If it were not for our center, I fear the American people would be naked in the face of whatever threat we may be dealing with. Even if its just as mild of threat of ignorance of UFO phenomena,” said Davenport. “And that threat makes me very uncomfortable.”
Emily Burton can be reached by telephone at 887-3239 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Emily Burton, Copyright © 2000, Kentucky New Era