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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Jan > Jan 7

Davenport On O'Hare UFO In Newsweek

From: UFO UpDates - Toronto <ufoupdates.nul>
Date: Sun, 07 Jan 2007 11:49:12 -0500
Fwd Date: Sun, 07 Jan 2007 11:49:12 -0500
Subject: Davenport On O'Hare UFO In Newsweek

Source: MSNBC.Com - Redmond, Washington, USA


Jan 4, 2007

Mystery Lingers Over Chicago UFO Claims

The head of the National UFO Reporting Center gives his theories
about the strange sighting over Chicago's main airport.

By Jessica Bennett

The Federal Aviation Administration says it must have been a
weird weather phenomenon, and United Airlines denies any
knowledge of the case. But though it has been two months since
what appeared to be an unidentified flying object (UFO) was
spotted over Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, the
incident is still raising questions about what exactly was seen
and whether the authorities are trying to downplay it.

As many as a dozen United Airlines employees swear the
mysterious object they saw on Nov. 7 was real - hovering for
several minutes above the United Airlines terminal and then
shooting up through the clouds so powerfully that it left an
eerie hole in overcast skies. "At first we laughed to each
other" when the report came over the radio, a witness told the
National UFO Reporting Center, a Seattle-based nonprofit that
maintains a UFO hotline and is listed as a resource in the FAA's
official Aeronautical Information Manual. But then I saw the
"dark gray, hazy, round object" and seconds later "there was an
almost perfect circle in the cloud layer where the craft had
been." His statement is published on the Web site of the
National UFO Reporting Center, which says its policy is to
protect the anonymity of its witnesses.

So was it a UFO? A secret military aircraft? And why did it take
two months for the details to come out? It may sound like the
oldest hoax in the book, but the United workers - including
several pilots - who say they saw the object are reportedly
upset their claims have been ignored. The FAA has said it won't
be investigating the incident further, and it wasn't until this
week that The Chicago Tribune broke the story, speaking to
several unnamed witnesses after a tip-off from the head of the
National UFO Reporting Center. Peter Davenport heads that
organization, and has a lot to say about the way the incident
has been handled. A self-described UFOologist, Davenport spoke
with NEWSWEEK's Jessica Bennett. Excerpts:

NEWSWEEK: Your Web site has documented more than 3,000 UFO
sightings just in the last year. Is that normal?

Peter Davenport: We get reports that number certainly into the
thousands, and sometimes into the tens of thousands.

How many of these do you believe are real, and how do you
determine whether they are real?

The overwhelming majority of [reports we get] are not UFOs. Many
people report stars and planets and aircraft and humming birds
and pelicans and Frisbees and hubcaps - there are thousands of
things people can look at and not be able to identify. We rely
on our experience to try to quickly identify those cases that
are probably not genuine UFOs.

How long have you known about this particular incident in Chicago?

I found out about this on the day of the event. We got multiple
communications. We released the information about the 12th or
13th of November, put it on our homepage, and, frankly, I was
flabbergasted that nobody was paying attention.

Do you think there has been an effort to downplay it?

My strong suspicion is that this case showed up on the 8th of
November - the day after it happened - in the intelligence briefing
document that the president apparently reads every morning. Are
we to believe that a UFO can appear over a major U.S. airport and
the American intelligence community is not informed of it? That
proposition is absurd.

If that's the case, why would the federal government keep those
findings from the public?

You've got to go directly to the government or to United
Airlines [for the answer to that question]. I'm shocked by their
response to this, except for the fact that we've seen this kind
of response - certainly on behalf of the government - for the
past 59 and a half years.

What happened 59 years ago?

That takes us back to the first formal sighting that caused a
ripple in the press, which was June 24, 1947, here in the state
of Washington. That was Mr. [Kenneth] Arnold, who saw a string
of [disc]-shaped objects streaking down the Cascade Mountains
[near Mount Rainier]. That was the event that gave us the term
"flying saucer."

Still, there are a lot of UFO skeptics out there. What do you
say to them?

I've been asked that question about half a dozen times before.
Skeptics are free to think whatever they wish. All I do is
release the information - hopefully, accurate information - and
people may read it or consume it anyway they wish. But many of
these hard-boiled skeptics simply do not look at the data. They
have a preconceived notion of how the universe works - what is
possible, what is not possible - to the extent that they no
longer have to look at data.

What is that data?

The data are the cases that come in, the information that we're
receiving on a steady basis - over the telephone, over the
Internet, photographs and so on. Probably the most reliable
source of data that we receive is eyewitness accounts from
responsible witnesses who seem to be independent of one another.
That's not true of all the people who contact us, of course. We
get calls of many, many stripes. But we focus on the cases that
are very well documented - as in the case of the O'Hare

So you've spoken to the witnesses in this case?

Yes, that's how we got the information.

And you think they're credible?

The witnesses [in this case] are not only responsible but
they're qualified by virtue of the fact that they've worked in
the aviation industry for decades - each one of them. They're
familiar with aircraft, they're familiar with weather phenomena.
United Airlines and the FAA have apparently taken the position
that it either didn't happen, or if it did happen it was a
weather aberration. Well, the written communications that I have
in my possession clearly belie that position.

So you obviously believe that UFOs do exist.

My objective is to give the American people the information that
they need to have, in my opinion, in order to make a rational
decision with regard to the UFO phenomenon. In a sense, I guess
I'm an advocate for the notion that our planet is visited on a
frequent basis by these things we call UFOs. If my theory and
the theory of many other UFO investigators is correct, then the
U.S. government certainly knows about this [phenomenon], and has
known about it for at least six decades and is not sharing that
with the American people. I believe that is wrong.

How do you define a UFO, and what elements of that definition
were visible in what was seen at O'Hare?

From my standpoint, [UFOs] are those objects that exhibit
characteristics that strongly suggest that they, almost without
a doubt, are not of man's manufacture. That statement I think is
supported by the fact that these UFO sightings appear to go back
hundreds or thousands of years. We have reports on our Web site
from the 1930s, from the 1890s, from 1860, and I have two
written reports on file - one from China in the 12th century
A.D. and a report from ancient Egypt from 1770 B.C. So could
that be the U.S. Air Force experimenting with aircraft? Clearly
not. In the case of this object at O'Hare, [the object sighted]
seemed to accelerate so fast and disappear so fast that people's
eyes were unable to follow it, and they didn't know which way it
had gone. Now, could that be of man's manufacture? I doubt it.

Why is there so little debate on this subject?

People think that UFOs are strange. But in my opinion, the
reaction of the American press to the UFO phenomenon is stranger
still. They're not interested in what I consider to be the
greatest scientific question of man's existence of all times:
are we alone in this galaxy or are we not? From my vantage
point, the clear answer to that is that we're not. And it
appears that these objects visit our planet on a regular basis.

[Thanks to Don Ledger for the lead]

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