UFO Expo to draw scientists, kooks alike to San Jose

UFO Expo to draw scientists, kooks alike to San Jose/August 25, 2007

By Kevin Fagan

Bet you didn't know there was a civilization on the moon as recently as 1870. Or that a 900-year-old skull dug up in Mexico dubbed "Starchild" is that of human-space alien hybrid. Or that a whole world of USOs - Unidentified Submergible Objects - swirls in the depths of our oceans.

Don't feel alone. Most people don't know these things. Or believe them.

But don't tell that too forcefully to the crew of scientists and UFO experts gathering in San Jose this weekend for the ninth annual Bay Area UFO Expo. They're true believers, and they expect to have 2,000 fellow fans of all things extraterrestrial touch down at the Doubletree Hotel today and Sunday to hear their theories and see their evidence.

As the biggest UFO convention in the nation, the event is sure to draw the usual, shall we say, kooks who feel vibrations in their brains from alien rays and the like, organizers admit.

But the intent of the expo is dead serious, evidenced by the veritable flying saucer-full of authorities in the field of "UFO-ology" - ranging from former CIA spy pilot John Lear (son of the Lear Jet inventor) to William Birnes, best-selling author of true-crime books.

To add a little broader star power, so to speak, actor and UFO buff Gary Busey will serenade the crowd with his version of songs by Buddy Holly, whom he portrayed on film. It remains to be seen if hits such as "Maybe Baby" will be recast as "For Sure Baby" in keeping with the tone of the event.

"There are a lot of people out of their trees about this stuff, and hucksters who prey on the true believers, but that just goes with the territory," said Mark Allen, who as co-owner of is one of the main speakers. "Heck, on my Web site, we even get people who say they're having tea with an alien right now.

"On the other hand, we also get astrophysicists who understand there is life out there in space and really know their business. We have NASA people on our site. This is a serious subject."

His Web site is a sort of MySpace for UFO and conspiracy buffs. It was created in 1997 and drew 3.3 million posts in the past three years from all over the world.

Among the subjects to be plumbed this weekend will be the usual debates over aliens crash-landing in Roswell, N.M., 60 years ago, ET-carved crop circles popping up in England and the United States, and a fistful of recent and moldy sightings of weird saucers, rockets and lights in the air.

Lear will tackle the subject of civilizations on the moon and cover-ups of U.S. mining operations there. Jack Kewaunee Lapseritis will detail what he says is contact he has had for 26 years with psychic "Sasquatch (a form of Big Foot) and Starpeople." And author Birnes will take on UFO sightings in Roswell and at Chicago's O'Hare Airport last November.

Believers and doubters endlessly bat these things around, and in some cases the government weighs in - as when the Air Force declared 10 years ago that the UFOs reported in Roswell were simply secret U.S. experimental crafts.

Whatever, sigh the experts converging on San Jose.

"With the amount of evidence we have gathered over the years, there is absolutely no doubt that UFOs exist," said Ruben Uriarte of Union City, who is Northern California director of the national Mutual UFO Network.

His organization investigates alien sightings. He said he can document that a flying saucer zipped above a car dealership in Pleasanton two years ago, that a triangle-shaped craft buzzed the Blue Angels last year, and that a hunter in Lake Tahoe was gassed to sleep in a tree in 1964 by space creatures.

Uriarte, who is co-master of ceremonies for the expo, also has a book coming out soon called "Mexico's Roswell - the Chihuahua UFO Crash," that he says will show that an alien starship smashed down in Mexico 33 years ago. When two dozen Mexican soldiers checked it out they mysteriously died, the book contends.

"There is a lot to tell, and I for one never get tired of telling it," said Robert Perala, a real estate investor in Scotts Valley (Santa Cruz County) who is co-producing the expo.

He said he was abducted in 1977 from a cabin in Heavenly Valley ski resort by three aliens who "materialized in the room like something out of 'Star Trek,' opened up a side of the cabin and took me to an illumined room." There, he said, they extracted DNA for their own bizarre purposes, then deposited him back in his room "with a hell of a sunburn and two black eyes."

"I know it sounds incredible, but it's the absolute truth," Perala said. "Come hear for yourself."

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