EDMONDS — The cheesy subject line stood out amid the serious emails that flood The Herald’s newstips inbox: “Washington top ten state for UFO sightings in the US, revealed!”
The press release said Washington has 6,028 reported UFO sightings, ranking third in the nation. California was first, Texas second.
What’s up with that?
The stats were from the National UFO Reporting Center, which details two sightings in Everett in September and another in Lake Stevens in August.
It was time for this skeptical reporter to do some investigative journalism of the paranormal kind. I knew just who to ask: UFO-buster Michael W. Hall, a crusader for little green men and the people who’ve seen them.
Hall was listening to Christmas smooth jazz when I called his Edmonds home that serves as his alien-sleuthing headquarters.
He vouched for the credibility of the National UFO Reporting Center, which it turns out is in Eastern Washington near an abandoned missile site. Hall knows the guy who runs it out of his home.
A Gallup poll of 1,522 adults in the U.S. found that one-third of respondents believe extraterrestrial spacecraft are visiting Earth.
“Nowadays it is dead serious stuff,” Hall said. “It’s not a snicker factor anymore.”
Hall, a semi-retired attorney, started a group called UFOiTeam in 2017 that has a dozen members in the Snohomish County region.
His UFOiTeam of “abductees,” “experiencers” and “contactees” was featured in May 2018 in this column. At that time they met at the Lynnwood Denny’s and live-streamed sessions for those beyond.
No time or need for pancakes anymore. “We have become so busy in the community doing our stuff,” Hall said.
Hall, 67, had bariatric surgery and lost 150 pounds. He traded his field vest affixed with his badges, telescope, compass and other alien bling for a nice blazer and Indiana Jones fedora.
“I’ve upgraded my look,” he said.
He claims strange stuff has happened to him: Scoop marks, roundish “punch biopsy” scars, on his legs in 1991. An inflamed bump on his shoulder after he sighted a UFO over his house in 2012.
He suspects he has been abducted. “I’ve had some experiences of missing time,” he said.
UFOiTeam member Mary Kennedy, an Arlington graphic designer, said she saw a UFO in Idaho and remembers being taken from her room by small beings.
“I consider it an abduction,” she said. “Why else would they come and get me out of bed and lead me out of the house?”
Years later she said she saw a beam directed at the car and something circled with orange lights hovering off to the side of the road.
The group validates her beliefs.
“I like the different viewpoints the members bring,” she said. “Everybody’s got an open mind and is willing to go out in the field.”
Several members recently met to scope out restricted airspace over Seattle-Tacoma International Airport after seeing photos of unidentified flying objects.
“It is unmistakable there is something weird going on down there,” Hall said. “I’ve been in this business long enough to know what’s important and what’s not.”
They didn’t find anything there. “Not with the naked eye, but we’re still in the process of reviewing the hours of video we took.”
In September he went to Alienstock, a five-day alien-themed music festival in the tiny desert town of Rachel, Nevada.
The fest originated from a viral Facebook joke about storming the military’s classified site Area 51, where some claim the government is warehousing crashed UFOs and possibly aliens. A few million people pledged to attend “Storm Area 51” and Bud Light sponsored it.
“I was just a little too young, 17, to go to Woodstock in 1969. I wasn’t going to miss it this time,” Hall said.
Not sure how much three days of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll has in common with five days of aliens and light beer, but no matter.
“It turned out to be a phenomenal event,” Hall said.
Only a few thousand people showed up, with many of them being media. No known extraterrestrials made an appearance.
Duh. Nevada didn’t make the UFO Center’s top 10 list, or even the top 25. It had fewer sightings than Connecticut, according to the site, which “makes no claims to the validity of the information in reports.”
What makes Washington so UFO friendly?
“We are very lucky. We are peppered with many mountain volcanoes to watch the night skies,” Hall said. “We are never skunked when we go with our night vision and flare photography.”
The gear keeps getting better.
“A guy on our team has invented a pair of high-powered binoculars that he can point to the night sky and capture any light source — a star, the International Space Station, meteor or a commercial airline flight — and he can turn that light frequency into sound.”
It can be used to eliminate those normal known things to track anomalies that don’t match any signature, he said.
Are you following all of this?
Hall said it can be used to transmit back to the source, to show aliens “that we can see them and recognize their frequency.”
It’s what Hall and his ilk refer to as close encounters of the fifth kind, or “human-initiated contact.”
Which is also what the UFOiTeam gives its members.