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52 years has not dimmed interest in the Kecksburg UFO incident

Mary Pickels
| Wednesday, July 26, 2017, 9:00 p.m.

More than 50 years after what some believe was an occupied capsule allegedly crashed in the woods of a Mt. Pleasant Township village, the legend of the Kecksburg UFO remains a tantalizing mystery.

The Dec. 9. 1965, incident currently is the subject of an annual local festival, an autumn documentary and an upcoming regionally produced film.

Grand Conspiracy Films, a production company based in Washington County and specializing in films based on folklore and urban legends, is getting closer to an expected spring filming date in West Virginia and southwestern Pennsylvania.

"Kecksburg " is expected to be released in September 2019, says writer/director Cody Knotts.

The film seeks to answer many unresolved questions surrounding an object that has been described as acorn-shaped that is believed to have fallen from the sky.

The "object in the woods" was designed for the movie by Lycos founder Michael "Fuzzy" Mauldin, a Carnegie Mellon University graduate.

Mauldin is designing an exterior and interior alien ship, along with creating an alien language for the film, Knotts says.

His interest in bringing the film to the screen is both its local relevance and the potential for tourism in the Kecksburg area, he says.

Knotts expects to promote the film at this weekend's annual Kecksburg Volunteer Fire Department's UFO Festival .

The July 28-30 event will include a crafts sale, vendors, a corn hole tournament, parade, bed race, live bands, hot dog eating contest and hay bale toss.

According to Stan Gordon, longtime local UFO researcher, a conference meeting will begin at 1 p.m. on July 30 covering UFOs, Bigfoot and cryptozoology (the study of hidden or unknown animals).

Speaker line-up includes:

• Gordon, addressing a look back at historical local UFO and Bigfoot cases and update on more recent encounters, including cryptids, from the area.

• Brian D. Parsons, author and executive director of ParaNexus and radio show host, on the foundation of UFO research and investigation.

• Colin Schneider, at age 16, one of the youngest UFO researchers and cryptozoologists in the country; host of the Crypto-Kid radio show "Cryptozoology 101."

• Ron Murphy, author, lecturer, radio host, and professional actor, he has investigated the unexplained from Maine to Florida and in the United Kingdom and will discuss the unexplained world of the Chestnut Ridge and a hike through Western Pennsylvania's goblin universe.

Details: 724-423-9540 or kecksburgvfd.com/ufo-festival-events

The Kecksburg UFO crash, the Uniontown Bigfoot sightings, and encounters with a large, prehistoric bird in Keystone State Park are among the subjects of the documentary "Invasion on Chestnut Ridge."

Producer Small Town Monsters recently released "The Mothman of Point Pleasant," and travels the country making short and feature-length documentaries about unusual creature sightings in rural areas and their effects on local culture.

Its trailer includes interviews conducted with locals, witnesses and investigators, along with footage depicting some of the "hotbed of paranormal activity."

The documentary is expected to hit DVD and streaming services in October.

Mary Pickels is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-836-5401 or mpickels@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MaryPickels.

Jeanne Pollock of Acme, dressed as an alien, puts her head through a wooden alien cutout at the Kecksburg UFO Festival on Sunday, July 31, 2016.
Patrick Connolly | Tribune-Review
Jeanne Pollock of Acme, dressed as an alien, puts her head through a wooden alien cutout at the Kecksburg UFO Festival on Sunday, July 31, 2016.
Stephen Knautt throws a hay bale during the hay bale toss event at the Kecksburg UFO Festival on Sunday, July 31, 2016. This was Knautt's second throw with a distance of 23 feet, 7 inches.
Patrick Connolly | Tribune-Review
Stephen Knautt throws a hay bale during the hay bale toss event at the Kecksburg UFO Festival on Sunday, July 31, 2016. This was Knautt's second throw with a distance of 23 feet, 7 inches.
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