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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Nov > Nov 23

Gulf Breeze 20th Anniversary

From: UFO UpDates - Toronto <ufoupdates.nul>
Date: Fri, 23 Nov 2007 09:54:52 -0500
Archived: Fri, 23 Nov 2007 09:54:52 -0500
Subject: Gulf Breeze 20th Anniversary




Source: The Miami Herald - Florida, USA

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/florida/story/317768.html

Fri, Nov. 23, 2007


Town Recalls Heyday Of UFO sightings

Two decades ago, the area around the Florida Panhandle town of
Gulf Breeze was the center of sightings of unidentified flying
objects.


By Dusty Ricketts
Northwest Florida Daily News

GULF BREEZE --Santa Rosa County Commissioner John Broxson was
always a skeptical person.

He never believed the stories of Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster
or unidentified flying objects.

But something happened nearly 20 years ago to make him change
his mind on at least one of those phenomena.

Broxson was entertaining friends at his home in the Villa Venyce
subdivision when something outside caught his attention. He went
out for a closer look.

Something bright was hovering above his home, a parade of lights
of different colors and intensity. He quickly had his wife,
Christina, and their friends come out to see it for themselves.
No one knew what they were watching.

The unidentified flying object hovered for several moments
before quickly flying straight until it was out of sight.

"Frankly, I saw something that blew my mind," Broxson said.
``It's a mystery to me. It just looked like something I wasn't
expecting to see.

``I didn't want to see one and have people thinking I was weird.
That's the only time I can recall seeing something that weird."

Broxson wasn't alone in having an unexplained sighting. This
month marks the 20th anniversary former Gulf Breeze resident
Edward Walters' first seeing a UFO flying above his yard,
launching a period of sightings, seekers and fame for the area.

SOME SKEPTICAL

Skeptics say the UFOs were part hoax, part imagination and part
misidentification -- Eglin Air Force Base is nearby -- but
believers are undeterred.

Walters has said his Nov. 11, 1987, sighting was the first of
more than 100 sightings and abductions he experienced over a
six-year period. He wrote three books on UFOs and the Gulf
Breeze sightings but has since moved to Pensacola and no longer
speaks to the media.

While Walters was the most outspoken person at the time to
report seeing UFOs in Gulf Breeze, he was not the only person.
People from around the world visited in hopes of seeing
something unexplained after The Gulf Breeze Sentinel ran a story
and photo about Walters.

Many of those people were not disappointed, said Don Ware,
eastern regional director of the Mutual UFO Network, or MUFON.

Between 1987 and the end of 1993, when most of the sightings
ended, Ware said hundreds of people reported seeing UFOs in Gulf
Breeze. Walters and others took more than 125 photographs of
supposed UFOs just between Nov. 11, 1987, and May 1, 1988, Ware
said.

ALIEN VEHICLES

"I think probably over half the people in America have seen
something in the sky that they didn't know what it was," Ware
said. ``Most of those people have probably seen an alien
vehicle. I know I have seen alien vehicles."

MUFON is a national UFO investigative organization founded in
1969 in Illinois.

Ware, a Fort Walton Beach resident who retired from the Air
Force in 1982, has spent much of the past 25 years investigating
UFO activity.

The Gulf Breeze sightings set off a media frenzy, and the
community of about 6,000 residents became one of the country's
UFO capitals.

"These phenomenons happened so often that Gulf Breeze became the
center for these E.T. observations," Broxson said. ``I thought
[the Gulf Breeze sightings] had been a hoax all this time. Just
some people seeing something with very active imaginations."

After his own sighting, Broxson became less skeptical.

Questions about the validity of the UFO sightings started almost
as soon as the sightings themselves.

Phillip Klass, an investigator for what is now known as the
Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, studied the Gulf Breeze
sightings and wrote his own book declaring them a massive hoax.

Klass died a couple years ago, but CSI executive director Barry
Karr said he believes the accuracy of his former colleague's
work.

"I really don't think there's any question the Gulf Breeze
sightings were a hoax," Karr said. ``There are things in the sky
that can't be identified, especially near an air base. Just
because it can't be identified doesn't mean it's a visitor from
another planet."

The biggest piece of evidence pointing to a hoax was a UFO model
constructed from drafting paper and paper plates reportedly
discovered in Walters' former home after he had moved out.

Ware said he believes CSI workers planted the model and then
informed the media of its location to debunk the validity of
Walters' sightings.

"They try to debunk all the things that people see that they
don't want understood too well," Ware said.

Karr laughed at the idea his organization planted the model to
debunk the UFO stories. "That's just hilarious. No, our
organization did not plant the model," he said."

Karr said he believes after word of the UFO sightings in Gulf
Breeze started to break, everyone wanted to see one so much that
their imaginations got carried away.

JUST A FLARE

One video he has seen of a "Gulf Breeze UFO" ended up being a
flare shot into the air. Karr said pieces of the flare are
clearly visible falling away from the larger flare in the tape.

During the late '80s and early '90s, UFOs became synonymous with
Gulf Breeze. Businesses up and down the Emerald Coast took
advantage of the UFO sightings to profit from the experience.

While it's been about 14 years since the period of the Gulf
Breeze sightings ended, people still look to the sky and
occasionally see something unexplained.

Cedric Cadow of Okaloosa Island never believed in UFOs. That
changed after he said he saw two last month after leaving his
home.

Cadow said he saw two bright orange oval discs hovering above
Fort Walton Beach. He said the discs emerged from behind the
clouds. One hovered stationary while the other descended toward
the ground, eventually going out of sight before coming back up.

The two UFOs then sped away, he said, in a flash of light that
did not make any sound. It all lasted about 12 seconds, Cadow
said.


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