UFOs, unexplained to be focus of weekend conference at college near Youngwood

| Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, 1:58 a.m.

For the fifth year, the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) of Pennsylvania will host an event at which those with an interest in the unexplained can gather, learn and discuss.

The 5th annual 2012 Pittsburgh UFO Conference will be held from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Sunday at the Westmoreland County Community College's main campus in the Science Building at 145 Pavilion Lane near Youngwood.

John Ventre — PA MUFON state director — said last year's event attracted 530 people.

“This part of the country is just loaded with UFO, Big Foot and paranormal sightings,” Ventre said. “Popular Mechanics wrote an article that said this area has had the most UFO sightings in the country in the past 50 years so people in this area believe in it.”

The two-day event will feature vendors, speakers and discussions on hot topics in “Ufology.”

This year's event features three keynote speakers ­— Travis Walton, Bill Birnes and Richard Dolan.

“We are very excited. The way we are able to bring in speakers of this caliber is by people coming out and attending,” Ventre said. “Each year we have been able to make it better and better and getting big name speakers.”

Walton claims that, in 1975, while he was working as a logger in Arizona, he and several co-workers came across a UFO in the forest which shot a beam of light at Travis.

Frightened, his friends fled the scene. When they returned, Walton was gone. Walton says he recalled waking up on the side of the road. He thought only a few hours had past, but he had actually been missing for 5 days.

He later recalled being on the craft and the strange creatures that were there with him.

Walton's story was made into a movie called “Fire in the Sky.”

He will speak on Saturday.

Also on Saturday, Joseph Marra, Ph.D., will speak on The Truth Campaign; Richard Lang will address Non-Physical UFOs; Ventre will expound on UFOs over Washington D.C. and Los Angeles; and Stan Gordon of Greensburg will center on Mysterious Encounters.

“This program will discuss my many years of research and investigation of UFO sightings and strange creature encounters reported from across Pennsylvania. Many cases will be discussed concerning incidents that have occurred in Westmoreland County and surrounding communities,” Gordon said. “This program will focus on incidents where the witness was within very close range with UFOs or various strange creatures such as Bigfoot.”

A special meet and greet dinner buffet will be held with all of the speakers, after which Birnes, an American writer, editor, book publisher and literary rights agent will speak.

He is best known as an active publisher of UFO Magazine and host of the popular series “UFO Hunters.”

He is the co-author of The Day After Roswell — a New York Times bestseller in 1997 — which subsequently served as the foundation for a documentary aired on The History Channel.

On Sunday, Dolan will speak about Mapping Out the Future: Ufology in the 21st Century.

Dolan is among the world's leading UFO researchers and the author of two volumes of “History, UFOs and the National Security State,” as well as an analysis of the future titled “A.D. After Disclosure: The People's Guide to Life After Contact.” He is a regular guest on Coast-to-Coast AM radio and he has also appeared on many television specials for The History Channel, SyFy and BBC.

Other speakers on Sunday include Ventre, who will pontificate on the subject of UFOs and their place in art and history; Karyn Dolan, who will talk about UFOs vs. Paranormal; and Roger Marsh of Scottdale, who speak of UFO Witness Theater. There will also be a question-and-answer sparker panel at the end of the day.

Registration starts at 8:30 a.m.

Special rate packages are available on the conference website.

Those interested in any additional information are asked to visit the website mufonpa.com or to call Ventre at 724-836-1266.

Linda Harkcom is a freelance writer.

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