[The following is excerpted from a longer article that appeared January 7, 1996 in the Gazette Telegraph, a Colorado newspaper. CNI News thanks Rebecca Schatte for forwarding this story.]
By D'Arcy Fallon, Gazette Telegraph
Life as he knew it changed for Tim Edwards after seeing and videotaping what many believe is a UFO, while Jeanne Shaw and her sister Loni Smith saw what they call a "mothership," the size of a football field, going by a window at Shaw's home.
SAN LUIS VALLEY -- Tim Edwards is a jumpy man these days. Some might say he's an ordinary guy reacting to an extraordinary experience. Others might say he's seen too many "Twilight Zone" reruns. Puffing nervously on a Marlboro, Edwards, binoculars around his neck, paces back and forth on the front lawn of his Salida home and gestures to the mountains above him. Up there. He gazes at the sky with palpable longing. "There are so many weird things up here," says Edwards, 42, a quiet man who runs a popular family cafe with his wife and father.
Edwards swears he saw a UFO in August from his back yard, and he's still shaken up about it. "I don't look outside no more. I don't get no sleep." He's probably not alone.
Steeped in history and folklore, the San Luis Valley has long been a UFO hotbed. As long ago as 1917, the residents of Salida told of mysterious "vehicles of the air" flying about the night sky, according to a 78-year-old edition of The Salida Record.
Many American Indians considered the valley's Mount Blanca to be the Sacred Mountain of the East -- a doorway for the emergence of the Star People, often described as "arriving aboard flying seedpods," according to an article in Spirit magazine.
But Tim Edwards says he didn't see a flying seedpod on August 27. He describes it as a silver cigar-shaped spacecraft. Like Richard Dreyfuss in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," Edwards exudes an aura of nervous intensity as he talks about the sighting. It happened on a Sunday morning when Edwards was working outside on his house with his daughter, Brandy, 6, at his side.
Brandy, worried that it might rain, looked upward and said, "Daddy, there's something up there in the sky," Edwards recounted last week. He brushed off his daughter's comments, but when she kept insisting he look up, Edwards said he realized she was right. There was something in the sky. He grabbed his video camera and for more than a hour shot footage of the disc shaped or cigar-shaped object. It had oscillating lights that appeared to rotate from left to right, and it darted back and forth just above the morning sun.
During subsequent sightings, Edwards shot videotapes showing small, white spheres emerging from the object. Edwards' first tape was shown in November on "Sightings," and was analyzed by Village Labs, a digital video technology company in Tempe, Ariz. Village Labs president Jim Dilettoso said the tape wasn't a hoax or an optic aberration. He said it appeared to contain legitimate footage of a very large, solid, possibly three-dimensional object flying at high altitude.
Whether one believes Edwards saw a UFO or simply an odd-looking plane, he swears he's a changed man. "They put some feelings in me I've never had before," he said. "When I was looking at the main craft, I got, like, an electrical impulse through my body. It was very important for the world to know the truth. Now I'm convinced we're not alone." The UFOs are buzzing the Earth because they're concerned about its inhabitants, much like humans are curious about whales and dolphins, said Edwards. And how should earthlings respond? With "brotherhood, universal love, and get rid of the nuclear stuff," Edwards said. "Not since Jesus was here has something so major come down," he added. "Most people are terrified that something could be out there." Or fascinated.
On the eastern edge of the huge valley, on a windswept hillside near La Veta, two sisters, Jeanne Shaw, 49, and Loni Smith, 53, talked about their cosmic encounter. Before launching into her side of the story, Shaw explained she had always seen herself as "a bit of a skeptic" when it came to the paranormal. "Just because I see a little light in the sky, doesn't mean it's a UFO," she said. Shaw's sister, a property manager in La Veta, is the same way. In fact, neither of the sisters -- who grew up in Colorado Springs -- seemed quick to jump on the UFO bandwagon. And yet both are unshakeable in their explanation about what they saw one night this past fall. It wasn't a Black Hawk helicopter, as the Walsenburg police suggested to them when they phoned in alarm. Not a plane. Not a dream or an hallucination. It was a UFO.
Here's their story: On Sept. 23, about 8:15 p.m., as Shaw, her two children and Smith sat at the kitchen table after dinner, they heard a strange humming outside their mobile home in the Navajo Ranch Resorts subdivision, located between La Veta and Walsenburg. "I heard, no, felt this humming noise," said Shaw, who moved to the La Veta area last spring after she got tired of life in Denver. "I felt something huge coming up the back of my lot."
Smith: "It was a vibration, although the windows weren't rattling." They looked out the window and say they saw a slow-moving, rectangular-shaped spacecraft skimming the tops of the pinon trees. It had yellow and white oscillating lights in front and two red lights in the back, like a Cadillac's. They estimated it was as wide and long as a football field.
Shaw: "It was huge."
Smith: "It was monstrous. It was the mother ship."
The sisters' words leapfrogged over each other as they attempt to explain their reactions to the sighting. Tumbling out of the mobile home, they stared, incredulous at the thing.
Smith: "Our mouths were open to our navels. I felt like I was looking up at the bottom of a barge."
Shaw: "My knees buckled. I screamed. It was in our face." As the object slowly moved away from them, Smith waved her arms after it, yelling, "Here we are! Here we are!" Shaw, petrified, slugged her sister on the arm. "Shut up!" she said. "They'll beam us up!"
Shaw's son, Robert, 27, ran behind the spacecraft as it flew down the arroyo, trying to catch up with it. Shaw estimates it took about 20 minutes before it disappeared.
Two miles away in the subdivision, another resident, Joan Newland, was getting ready for bed. She, too, heard a low humming noise and figured it was a helicopter. But the sound persisted, and her dogs were going wild. She looked out the window and gasped. Like Shaw, her knees buckled. "It was huge. I saw it going over the trees. It was a shock to see something that big. I thought, holy..., what is that?"
Shaken and frightened, Newland decided to keep her observation to herself. Then she got a call from Shaw, asking if she'd seen something strange out her window. The women compared notes and decided it must have been a UFO. "What else could it have been'?" asked Newland plaintively. "There's nothing that could fly that low without making any draft or wind."
Since that night, neither Newland nor Shaw has seen the spacecraft. Not that they've stopped looking.
Newland: "We keep our eyes to the sky now."
Shaw: "Only about 20 times a night."
[EDITOR'S NOTE: The object reported by Shaw, Smith and Newland sounds similar to other slow, low-flying, HUGE and almost silent aircraft sighted in remote parts of the country in recent years. A notable feature of these reports is that the craft are never said to move fast or suddenly disappear, as in many other UFO reports. Some researchers now speculate that witnesses like Shaw are actually seeing human-built lighter than air (LTA) craft, a new breed of huge and oddly-shaped "heavy lifters" in development for military and industry but still apparently secret, for reasons unknown. One reason for secrecy might be that these craft have military reconnaissance applications and may even employ stealth technology. However, while large experimental LTA craft have been reported in the open press, including one huge triangular shaped vehicle under development in Russia as a possible commercial passenger craft, there is no proof as yet that such craft are secretly flying over such places as the San Luis Valley. Nor does it seem likely that LTA craft can account for the claims of Tim Edwards. CNI News will continue to report on these events as new information becomes available.]
Original file name: .CNI - Salida UFO Update
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