TribLIVE

| AandE

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

UFO conference lights up subject for believers, the curious

John Ventre Credit: Courtesy of John Ventre

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

2012 Pittsburgh UFO Conference

What: Lectures, dinner, speakers, vendors

When: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday

Admission: $25 Saturday ($28 with speakers); $22 for Sunday

Where: Westmoreland County Community College, Youngwood

Details: 724-836-1266 or www.mufonpa.com

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012, 9:02 p.m.
 

If you've seen something suspicious in the skies over Pennsylvania, you're probably not alone. The state has played host to more UFO sightings — in the past 50 years — than all but two other states.

So, there's either a lot of aliens out there who are curious about football and giant sandwiches, or Pennsylvanians are just always out there, looking.

You'll find a lot of them— Pennsylvanians, not aliens (well, probably not)— at the 2012 Pittsburgh UFO Conference, hosted by the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) of Pennsylvania. It's being held at the Westmoreland County Community College in Youngwood this weekend.

John Ventre, state director of the network, says Westmoreland County is something of a hub for UFO activity.

“ ‘Popular Mechanics' did an article saying it has the most UFO sightings of any county in the country over the past 50 years without a major city,” he says.

That's not all. Apparently, Westmoreland County has weirdness to burn.

“You've got Bigfoot sightings, and a lot of paranormal activity.”

“You've got 260 ghost-hunting groups in Pennsylvania. I was trying to recruit them to become (UFO) investigators.”

That didn't really work out.

“The ghost people don't like the UFO people,” Ventre says. “The Bigfoot people don't like the ghost people. And so on. But they know how to investigate.”

UFO investigations are fairly simple. Someone reports a sighting to the MUFON website (www.mufonpa.com), and Ventre assigns one of 30 or so investigators in the state to check it out. Investigators start by eliminating other explanations through sources like the Federal Aviation Administration.

“We're able to eliminate 80 percent as man-made right off the bat,” he says.

Ventre has actually never seen a UFO.

“I saw something one night while out walking my dog,” he says. “It ended up being an asteroid.”

His interest in the subject actually came from his studies of other subjects.

“It wasn't until I was about 40 years old,” Ventre says. “I was researching Mayan end-times prophecy, and wrote two books about it. I kept coming across other, different cultures talking about ‘people from the stars,' ‘people on flying shields,' — the Mayans, the Hopi, the Dogon tribe from Africa.”

At the conference this weekend, Ventre will be speaking, one of 10 noted UFO researchers, including publisher/author/“UFO Hunters” host Bill Birnes, and Travis Walton, whose story of alien abduction became the movie “Fire in the Sky” (1993).

Ventre thinks the interest in UFOs is growing, helped along by popular shows on the History Channel, like “Ancient Aliens.”

“I have to applaud the History channel because it helps educate the people what's out there,” he says. “But when they get to Season 3 and 4, they're out of material. When they're saying Da Vinci was an extraterrestrial — you're out of material at that point. But they do give you a lot of information.”

Michael Machosky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at mmachosky@tribweb.com.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Kang’s 9th-inning home run gives Pirates wild victory over Twins
  2. Rossi: ‘Hockey guy’ Sutter will be missed
  3. Steelers’ Wheaton adjusting his game moving to slot receiver
  4. Pirates notebook: Prospect Tucker unaware of ‘trade’ frenzy
  5. School credit ratings a problem for several in Western Pennsylvania
  6. Penguins trade Sutter to Canucks, sign free agent center Fehr
  7. Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell gets suspension, fine reduced
  8. Van Halen plays plenty of favorites in First Niagara show
  9. 5 face trial in beating of black man in Pittsburgh
  10. More than 100 stamp bags confiscated in Greensburg; 4 arrested
  11. Pirates’ Liriano unaffected by poor last outing against Twins