From: UFO UpDates - Toronto <ufoupdates.nul>
Date: Fri, 29 Oct 2004 05:56:09 -0400
Fwd Date: Fri, 29 Oct 2004 05:56:09 -0400
Subject: Mr. UFO
Source: The Sonoma Index-Tribune - Sonoma, California
By Tiffany Malehefski Special to the Index-Tribune
Sonoma is not alone.
Every now and then, signs of life from another world can be
spotted on its quiet horizon, hovering silently, long enough for
a handful of people to see, before vanishing out of sight.
Sonoma resident Jim Ledwith has seen them. Maybe you have too.
"There are quite a few sightings in Sonoma," says Ledwith, a
self-described "ufologist" with a passion for things not from
He has visited Area 51- an "infamous" UFO site north of Las
Vegas - and subsequently got arrested there.
He has read hundreds of books and articles and has previewed
countless programs dedicated to the topic of UFOs and little
"It's kind of been a wild ride of sorts," he said.
Ledwith has attended trainings sponsored by the Center for Study
of Extraterrestrial Intelligence, a nonprofit organization
dedicated to furthering the understanding of alien life forms.
On Fridays, he meets with two other extraterrestrial enthusiasts
for sushi as they chat about their experiences.
Last month he took his findings to the classroom, presenting for
the first time a four-hour Sonoma Valley Adult School class
dedicated to the topic of UFOs. The class was well received, and
Ledwith is planning to hold another one soon.
When he's not chasing down little green men, he works in real
estate out of a law office in San Rafael. He is also an avid
train collector - he's been honing the hobby since childhood -
and he loves gardening in his fruit orchard.
But it's the conviction that alien life has been making pitstops
on this planet for eons that really gets Ledwith's motor
running. It is an interest that has spanned most of his life.
It all began on a sunny Saturday in July.
The year was 1952 and a 7-year-old Jim Ledwith was on vacation
with his family on Long Island, N.Y.
Meanwhile, 240 miles away, eight unidentified flying objects
were seen floating above the nation's capitol in Washington,
D.C. The sighting procured significant media coverage and
subsequently left an impact on Ledwith that he remains unable to
He carries a black-and-white photo from that family vacation,
which is actually a printout his father was able to make
recently, from an 8mm film.
The photo shows Ledwith, his mother and siblings sitting smiling
on a grassy field. In the sky above them, a white blur, no
bigger than the eraser head on a pencil, floats in the
Ledwith, part believer, part skeptic, isn't jumping to
conclusions yet, but he can't deny the image's serendipity.
"Even if it's just a piece of lint, what a coincidence," he
It is not surprising that Ledwith, like so many others, has made
the trek to Roswell, N.M. - a haven for extraterrestrial
enthusiasts the world over.
He and his wife decided to visit the notorious town in 1995.
They visited Roswell's well-known UFO museum, located inside an
old movie theater.
With the obvious tourist draw in Roswell being its rumored alien
activity, visitors are usually given guide books by the hotel
that maps out various locations where sightings are most likely
Ledwith and his wife chose a marker number from the guide and
sat on the hood of their car, taking in the stars and waiting to
see if they would spy what so many others have claimed to have
They wouldn't have to wait long.
From what seemed like out of nowhere a large black object
stealthily made its way toward Ledwith and his wife.
"It wasn't motorized. It had to have had an internal combustion
engine," Ledwith says.
"It sounded like a tank, low on the ground, and moving very
They would never know for sure what it was because no sooner had
they seen the foreign craft, they hopped back into the car and
"We took off like scared rabbits," Ledwith said.
They never took a picture, and didn't even have a video camera
to record the encounter, which wound up being more of an asset
than a loss.
They also went to scout out Area 51, which is where the U.S.
government stages its most top-secret projects and test-drives
its most experimental aircraft, such as Lockheed Martin's Skunk
Works or the Stealth bomber.
Some believe it is also where the government test-drives alien
aircraft. Area 51 is a hotbed of alien activity, according to
While they had satiated their desire to sight aliens, Ledwith
wanted to drive the perimeter of the Nellis Air Force Range and
Nuclear Test Site, which is part of Area 51.
Ledwith just wanted to touch the chain-link fence that surrounds
the site. He never had any intention of entering, and even if he
had, any plans to do so would have been quickly squashed.
After only a matter of minutes, an unidentified Jeep Cherokee
approached the couple and unidentified agents apprehended them.
They were detained for more than three hours in separate cells
and questioned by the agents who never revealed what branch of
the government was making the arrest.
Their car was searched.
Nothing was found, no camera, no video recorder.
"That saved our butts," Ledwith says.
The couple was released and given a small souvenir with which to
remember the incident: a typed letter bereft of letterhead,
names or phone numbers, firmly instructing them to leave the
It was frightening, fun and something he'd rather not repeat.
Ledwith isn't necessarily out to set the record straight and
blow the cover off what some believe is the government's best
For now, he prefers to keep his "ufology" a passion that he
thinks many find engaging.
"I don't think I'm going to be the Messiah who is going to bring
this message," Ledwith says. "I've just been invited to this
[UFO UpDates thanks Greg Boone for the lead - Greg wrote:
"Stories like this one are worth their weight in gold."]