Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Wytheville's UFOs

Reviewed by Nancy

Do you believe UFOs are out there? Or do you think everyone who claims to have seen one is a crackpot? Either way you should read Don't Look Up! The Real Story Behind the Virginia UFO Sightings (001.942 GOR Main).

In the late eighties there was a rash of UFO sightings over southwest Virginia. And by a rash of sightings, I mean a rash! A bunch! A passel! If UFO sightings are the realm of crackpots, then there are quite a few kooks in that part of the country for sure.

This book was written by Danny B. Gordon and Paul Dellinger. Gordon, the news director of WVYE Radio in Wytheville, Virginia, and Dellinger, the Bureau Chief for the Southwest Bureau of The Roanoke Times and World News, became deeply immersed in the UFO controversy in Southwest Virginia.

It all began when Danny Gordon received a report from Wythe County Sheriff Wayne Pike that five police officers had spotted a UFO over Wytheville on the night of October 6, 1987. The report was aired as a sixty second spot on the radio station's news. Gordon thought the story would make the wire service, get a chuckle, and go away. Things didn't work out that way. Other news media picked up the story, and calls began coming in from people who had experienced similar sightings.

Then Sheriff Pike reported another sighting, this time by a vacationing family from Ohio who claimed that a low-flying object had run their car off the road. Unfortunately, while the family reported the incident, they had received a guarantee that their names would not be released.

This was frustrating for Gordon, who felt the stories lacked impact as long as the people who experienced the sightings insisted on remaining anonymous.

He got a break when veteran State Police Dispatcher Brooks Coleman saw an unidentified something-or-other in the night sky and was willing to go on the record and talk about it. Coleman had seen two green lights, one above the other, hovering in the sky. He was absolutely certain that what he had seen was not any type of aircraft he had ever encountered.

Happy to have his first credible UFO witness willing speak publicly, Gordon aired the interview on the radio station and then transcribed it for the United Press International wire service.

As Gordon was covering this story for his radio station, Paul Dellinger picked the story up for the Roanoke Times. Danny Gordon initiated a call-in program for the radio station, the subject under discussion to be the UFO sightings, and invited Dellinger to sit in during the call-in session so he could write his own story for the newspaper.

The program was not aired as the calls came in, but rather was taped and edited to be aired at a later time. As things progressed Gordon and Dellinger were stunned at how similar many of the stories seemed to be, even though none of the callers were hearing what the others were saying.

There followed denials from the military that they had generated any of this aerial activity, a UFO conference, and things took off from there. (Sorry, I could not resist saying that things "took off from there.") Even the TV show "Unsolved Mysteries" took an interest and aired a segment on Wytheville.

So, in conclusion, as I said in the beginning, read this book whether you believe or not. It's pretty interesting.

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