Ever since the dawn of prehistoric man,
that thought has both intrigued and terrified mankind.
Now, with several new discoveries including the fact that
planets exist beyond our own solar system, scientific
discussion of extraterrestrial life has moved beyond the
question of whether it exists to where and how we should
look for it.
Recently, more than 100 researchers
gathered at the NASA Ames Research Center in California
to develop a five-year plan for exploration and study of
life beyond our world.
Yet, if you ask one Marlette man,
researchers and scientists wouldn't have to look much
further than their own backyard.
"Something unusual is happening.
Hundreds of thousands of people have witnessed something
that hundreds and thousands of people say doesn't
exist," 32-year-old Jeff Westover said.
Westover, who has had many UFO
sightings, several of which occurred in the Marlette area
as far back as the mid-1970's, is now a UFO Investigator
and sketch artist assisting the Michigan Mutual UFO
Network (MUFON). In the next two weeks to follow, some of
Westover's research will be recounted in the Marlette
Leader which includes first hand accounts of both past
and recent sightings in and around the Thumb of Michigan.
His purpose is twofold; first to hope
to collect additional data from readers willing to talk
to him on the subject and secondly to let others know
that people who have had sightings of UFO's haven't gone
off the deep end.
"I have no answers. I am not
trying to peddle a view, I am just collecting data. There
is a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding on this
I am collecting data and trying to put
together a UFO data base on the area as very little has
been recorded. I am hoping that others would come forth
with their sightings and experiences, anonymously or
I also want to let people know that
they are not crazy. There are a lot of people that see
things that they can't comprehend and it scares them. If
you can live without seeing one, great. I am not trying
to convert people's belief structures" Westover
Westover's own personal experiences
have ranged from denial as a youngster to a complete
knowledge that something does exist. Throughout his
experiences, he even underwent a M.M.P.I. test which
concluded he tested normal in all areas and was not
fantasy prone as some might have suggested. Following
more personal sightings recently in the Ann Arbor area,
he contacted Michigan MUFON and now investigates others'
accounts of encounters with UFO's.
Just this summer, his research has
landed him in contact with a woman who videotaped an
alleged UFO to initial denials by law enforcement
officials to reviewing police reports of Michigan
Westover's own personal
sightings have ranged from the sublime to the bizarre.
His first sighting came as a youngster in 1977 or 1978 at
the softball field near where he lived.
"I was riding my bicycle at the
softball field and suddenly, out from behind the
backstop, a lot of light appeared. As a kid, I was not
terribly interested in this stuff. My initial way of
dealing with this sighting was thinking that it was a big
black car that appeared out of nowhere, the only thing
was that this car was not on the ground. It was suddenly
not more than 20 feet above me. I rode back home as fast
as I could and by the time I got back home I was terribly
frightened. It was a profoundly confusing
experience," Westover said.
He didn't have long to contemplate his
experience as his next sighting came less than a year
"I was ice skating with a friend
on the flooded tennis courts. I caught a bright red flash
out of the corner of my eye. Suddenly, there was a
saucer-shaped object some 200 feet in the sky just
bathing the homes on Chard Street in red light. Suddenly,
it zipped to the west side of the sky then back over
Chard Street. The fear kicked in and we ran home on our
skates," Westover recalled.
"I saw a red light that looked
like an antenna light above a house. I stopped the car to
look at this odd light and it suddenly shot off at
thousands of miles an hour from a dead standstill. It was
a pulsating red blot of light that performed an amazing
maneuver," Westover said.