Rendezvous with a UFOlogist
By John Happs
Originally published in the Skeptic 15(3), 36-37, Spring 1995. Dr Happs is president of WA Skeptics.
"It is easier to attribute UFO sightings to the known irrationalities of terrestrials than to the unknown efforts of extraterrestrials". Nobel prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman 1918-1988
At the end of December 1994 I received a telephone call from reporter Stephanie Pegler of The West Australian. She excitedly told me about reports of UFOs being "called in" by an avid UFOlogist called Danny, and that a number of people, including two UFO investigators, Stephanie (with camera and tape recorder), and myself as an invited skeptic with an interest in astronomy, might be able to meet him. Would I be interested? We would be taken to a UFO rendezvous site whose location would be relayed to Danny by telepathy from a passing UFO. It was a potential double bonus -- I could become the first skeptic to witness an alien visit following a demonstration of action-telepathy. I could hardly wait!
Danny had brought along two of his friends, and he was obviously happy to be joined by a skeptic, other UFO investigators, and someone from the media. We chatted amicably for a few minutes and the impression that I gained of Danny was that of a regular, everyday guy who firmly believed he could communicate with, and indeed had met with, the occupants of a number of visiting spacecraft.
I asked Danny about his telepathic powers. He said his ability to communicate telepathically with aliens was due to specific genes inherited from his grandmother who was well known for her psychic powers. Danny, it turned out, was a regular communicator with visitors from outer space, and he assured me that it was certain he would make contact that very evening. He was confident that we would actually witness a close encounter.
The adventure begins
Danny left the freeway after having indicated well before the turnoff, which suggested that his telepathic contacts were most definite about where we had to go. We followed him into a new residential area where Danny slowed his vehicle to a crawl. I had never heard of aliens in the northern suburbs before but this could be a first. Finally Danny stopped and we found ourselves in an elevated position overlooking the city of Perth. This was not exactly my idea of a UFO rendezvous point, which were said to be always far from habitation, but then I had never been invited to one before. There were a few street lamps but not enough to prevent a clear view of the night sky and stars down to 3rd or 4th magnitude. A UFO would have to be very distant to escape our eyes on a night such as this.
Now we see it, now we don't
At this point my enthusiasm waned. I asked Danny if he knew where the planet Mars was. He indicated that he didn't know. I said as gently as I could that the UFO we were observing was actually Mars. I then predicted it would appear to move westward as the evening progressed and would eventually disappear over the western horizon early the next morning. My observations were boldly made and the invited UFO investigators agreed. Danny and his friends remained noncommittal.
Back to basics
Danny questioned their stationary appearance since fixed-wing aircraft can't hover. It hadn't occurred to him that an aircraft flying towards us would not only display their landing lights but would also appear to be stationary for some time. As for me, I still can't understand why spacecraft crossing interstellar space would have the same green and red navigation lights that are so familiar to us, and which are so frequently reported in UFO sightings worldwide.