11-02-89 CHESHIRE, Conn. When the official Soviet news agency Tass reported a UFO sighting earlier this month, John W. White was among the earliest to doubt the story, even though he's a firm believer in the extraterrestrial.
White, a 50-year-old author and educator, said claims that 10-foot aliens debarked the UFO and briefly abducted a 16-year-old boy in the city of Voronezh, 300 miles south of Moscow, just didn't make sense. Most significantly, a majority of people reporting contact with aliens have described the creatures as being only about 4-feet tall, White explained. Despite doubts about the sighting, White said UFO enthusiasts are investigating the matter. "I would have liked for it to be true," White said. "But the report was so bizarre, I'd to be very skeptical and doubted the authenticity of it. We have to make sure it was not some hoax, or some fantastic embroidery."
Since he was a child, White's been fascinated by the unknown and the unexplained. As a teen-agar growing up in Cheshire, this interest was satisfied by reading science fiction. But as he progressed through undergraduate and graduate school, White came to believe UFO's are real and not just fiction. He began to studying the subject and in the process built an international reputation. He's written 14 books and numerous magazine or newspaper articles about UFOs and contacts with aliens.
The primary focus of his research's been of the religious or pyschic aspects of the UFO phenomenon. "I'm trying to bring education and credibility to the subject," White said. As part of that continuing effort, White's organized his third annual UFO conference, which will be held on Nov. 11 and 12 at the Ramada Inn in North Haven.
White and 11 other leaders in the field of UFO research will speak to about 150 people who have paid $150 apiece to attend the gathering. People will be coming from as far away as Seattle, Wash., and western Canada. A total of 20 states and Canada will be represented at the conference, White said. Among the speakers will be Walter Andrus, the international director of the Mutual UFO Network, the largest UFO organization in the world; and Whitley Streiber, a best-selling author of non-fiction books.
A University of Connecticut psychology professor also will report on the result of his extensive interviews with people who claim to have seen UFOs. "It's a chance for people who attend to have direct access to researchers and contactees (those who've met aliens). Essentially, it's a forum for public education," said White.
Despite his long-time belief in UFOs, White's only seen an unidentified flying object once in his life, and that sighting occurred just two years ago in April in New York state. White said the sighting also was witnessed by his oldest son, a neighbor and some of their friends. "It was a brilliant red rectangular light that rose from behind a tree line," White recalled. "It hovered motionless, and as it did so...it changed its dimensions to about three times its previous size for about 10 seconds. Then it returned to its previous size and sank behind the tree line." White said he attempted to locate the exact area where he'd seen the light, but he was unable to get to it because it was a swampy area. But he said he's convinced it was a UFO. "What it was I can't say. It didn't have a valid structure that I could see," he said.
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