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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Oct > Oct 28

UFO Center Moves To Old Missile Site

From: UFO UpDates - Toronto <ufoupdates.nul>
Date: Sun, 28 Oct 2007 10:25:22 -0400
Archived: Sun, 28 Oct 2007 10:25:22 -0400
Subject: UFO Center Moves To Old Missile Site

Source: The Jackson Hole Star Tribune - Wyoming, USA


Sunday, October 28, 2007

UFO Center Moves To Old Missile Site
By Nicholas K. Geranios
Associated Press writer

HARRINGTON, Wash. -- To find the new home of The National UFO
Reporting Center, you must go several yards underground at a
former nuclear missile site in Eastern Washington.

The National UFO Reporting Center, which moved to this sparsely
populated farm country from Seattle last year, is basically a
telephone, tape recorder and desktop computer run in an
underground bunker by one man who collects and publishes UFO
reports from across the country.

Director Peter B. Davenport took over the UFO center's work from
founder Robert J. Gribble in 1994. It had been located for years
in Seattle's University District, until Davenport decided he
wanted a change and paid $100,000 for the former Atlas missile
site located about 50 miles west of Spokane.

"There was the allure of owning my own missile site," Davenport

Missile Site No. 6 now contains a large row of file cabinets and
boxes, neatly organized by date, containing thousands of reports
of UFO sightings stretching back decades. A typical file reads:

"Longview, WA. February 25, 1999 1158 hrs. (Pacific)
Description: Fourteen forestry workers witness a horseshoe
shaped object lift an adult elk out of the forest and fly off
with the apparently dead, or unconscious, animal."

The missile site covers 22 acres, and the massive concrete
buildings are underground. The old Atlas E missiles rested flat,
not upright in silos, in what were called "coffin launchers." In
the event of war, a concrete lid would slid open, the missile
would be hoisted upright and the engine fired.

The UFO files, along with some office furniture, are stacked in
a dark, dank room the size of a basketball court, where the
yellow missile hoist remains in place. A few bare bulbs provide

Davenport is still cleaning out the missile site, which is
pretty decrepit, and is living in an apartment in nearby
Harrington while he works to make it habitable.

Davenport doesn't spend much time scanning the skies, or
traveling to UFO locations. Most of his work is transcribing
numerous calls or e-mails each day from people who think they
have seen UFOs. He places those reports on the Web site for all
to see.

Davenport also gives lectures and appears often on radio talk
shows tied to UFOs. He considers himself among the most
skeptical of ufologists, and estimates that 90 percent of the
calls he receives can be quickly disproved, and many of the rest
likely have a rationale explanation.

But that still leaves a lot of reports for which no terrestrial
explanation is available, Davenport said.

Washington has a long history of UFO reports, including the
famous Mount Rainier sighting in 1947 that led to the coining of
the term "flying saucers." In that incident, pilot Kenneth
Arnold reported seeing nine silver vehicles flying in formation
at high speed and moving "like a saucer if you skip it across

Whether UFOs exist has been hotly debated for decades. Believers
point to loads of evidence, including photos and eyewitness
accounts. They contend there must be other inhabited planets,
and some with more advanced civilizations may be visiting us.

Like many ufologists, Davenport also believes the world's
governments and press are hushing up the existence of UFOs to
avoid panic.

"There is nothing more bizarre in the galaxy than human behavior
toward UFOs," he said.

Despite decades of official denials, UFOs abound in movies,
television, books and advertising, he said. They even show up in
religion, where some reports of visions have all the earmarks of
a UFO sighting, Davenport said.

UFO skeptic Jim Oberg said Davenport performs a valuable service
by recording all the strange things people see in the sky. The
problem is that he and other ufologists are too quick to label
them extraterrestrial, Oberg said.

That doesn't necessarily mean that aliens are not visiting
Earth, Oberg said.

"But the evidence does not rise to the level of an unavoidable
conclusion that there is no other explanation," Oberg said,
acknowledging that the debate won't end anytime soon.

Last March, former Arizona Gov. Fife Symington said he believes
mysterious lights widely seen over Phoenix 10 years ago were
UFOs. Also in March, France became the first country to release
its extensive UFO files on the Internet. The oldest sightings
date to 1937.

Earlier this month, actress Shirley MacLaine revealed that
Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich saw a UFO at
her home in Graham, Wash. Representatives of Kucinich's
presidential campaign and congressional office have not
responded to requests for comments on MacLaine's recollection.

Last fall, numerous employees of O'Hare Airport in Chicago
reported seeing a mysterious, saucer-shaped craft hovering over
the airport. The workers said the object hovered over a terminal
before shooting up through the clouds, according to the Chicago

The Federal Aviation Administration said nothing showed up on
radar, and that the sighting was likely a "weather phenomenon,"
the newspaper reported.

Davenport graduated from the University of Washington with a
degree in fisheries, and specialized in research on the genetics
of steelhead trout. He was friends with Gribble, who founded the
center in 1974, and agreed to continue the work when Gribble

He estimated the center's work costs $500 a month.

Davenport does not spend all his time on UFO work. He is an
unopposed candidate for Harrington City Council this fall, and
is considering a run for the state Legislature.

"Initially this job was fun," Davenport said of running the UFO
center. Now it is just "a secretarial job."

[Thanks to Greg Boone for the lead]

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