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UFOs Over Kansas City— Again!
By Rick Jordahl
No matter what your attitude is regarding UFOs, here are some photographs that will have you scratching your head along with the rest of us.
Last summer on July 4th, I was on my way to Platte Purchase Park intent on capturing that elusive ‘great’ fireworks photo, which has become an annual objective. Instead, I wound up with some photos stranger than fiction.
It wasn’t dark yet however, and just over there was a beautiful cemetery, with all the graves decorated in royal style and beckoning an amateur photographer with a little extra time on his hands. So I entered the cemetery and began taking photos of all the beautiful decorations. And at precisely 9:02 pm I noticed the object descending from aloft.
Although I never saw the object land I reckoned if it did it would have been near the junction of I-435 and Highway 169 North.
After squeezing the shutter four times I wanted to see if I was actually recording this— this thing. So I inquired of my camera’s memory and quickly checked. Sure enough, I saw the object in all four frames.
I looked up again and saw the object which was still descending and by now nearing the treetops surrounding the cemetery. I had to act fast. I aimed and clicked one more photo before the object was lost to sight behind the trees. It turned out to be the most unusual photo I have ever recorded on my Nikon Coolpix 7700, or any camera for that matter.
Now before you begin thinking, “hmm, I’ll bet it’s a weather balloon or maybe some strange new fireworks,” let me tell you what I did with the photos.
After a quick internet search I learned that the Mutual UFO Network, or MUFON, is the world’s leading repository of UFO reports and photos and the organization directs an active chapter in Kansas City.
So I submitted my report with the details of my sighting on the MUFON website, and was later invited to attend the next meeting that the group had scheduled. I told them I had photos of my sighting that were very interesting.
When I arrived at the meeting I asked for the person assigned to my case- Wayne Lawrence, field investigator for Missouri MUFON. Prior to our first meeting, Lawrence had investigated the report which I had filed on the group’s website. After reviewing my photos, and asking many questions, he admitted, “I believe this is definitely a UFO,” and added “these photos are among the best I’ve seen.” Lawrence also encouraged me to shoot video if I ever see another UFO — a very good piece of advice for budding UFO photographers. In follow-up emails, I asked Lawrence several questions about UFOs including what factors constitute an actual sighting and if he had ever personally witnessed a UFO.
“The evidence that is most reliable for me includes video, photos, drawings and landing site evidence,” according to Lawrence. The investigator has written reports on 37 sightings that he has had personally. In addition, Lawrence has seen hundreds of unidentified aerial vehicles (UFOs), only a few of which he devoted the time to write up. As of December, 2019, Lawrence has investigated 74 cases for MUFON.
The investigator is often called upon to do digital analysis on photos and videos turned in to the organization. For video and photo analysis, Lawrence uses software commonly available in stores and online.
Lawrence believes there is a UFO base beneath the surface of a local lake. “I am convinced that there is at least one such base under the middle of Blue Springs Lake,” he says. “More likely several.”
Lawrence will see unidentified aerial vehicles “about anytime I set my camera to record video over Blue Springs Lake which is where I have seen most of them.” Lawrence has seen far more just by taking random videos and then reviewing them frame by frame. “Every time I shoot three or four random videos I will observe craft in at least two of them.”
The investigator has witnessed multiple craft coming from and going to the same location. “I see them day or night. The ones that I can see with the naked eye are fewer but that is what sparked my interest initially.”
When asked about his first UFO sighting, Lawrence remembered it clearly. “On May 1, 2014, I noticed something in the sky that appeared to be blinking, but not moving,” the investigator recounted in an email. With the aid of astronomical binoculars he determined the lights made a triangular shape.
“A light on one point of the triangle would light up, then the next point would light up, and so forth in a counter-clockwise direction.” Then Lawrence noticed there was more than one set of lights. “I looked carefully and saw a swarm of them all doing the same thing. This took place over the northern part of Lake Jacomo,” according to the investigator.
UFOs by the Numbers
It’s not surprising that each month the US leads all other countries in UFO reports to MUFON by a significant margin. For example, in December, 2019, 384 UFO reports were made in the US while the United Kingdom, in second place, reported 39 UFO sightings.
Likewise, the states with the most sightings on a monthly basis are the usual suspects; California, Florida, Texas, New York, and Arizona usually rank high in reported sightings. It seems natural that those states with large populations and milder climates would typically have more people who spend a larger portion of the day outdoors, and able to observe the sky for longer periods of time.
In December, 2019, Missouri ranked 13th in the nation with 10 UFO reports, while Kansas, claiming 27th place, reported four sightings. However, according to 2018 MUFON data, Missouri was second in the nation for UFO “cases of interest” sightings numbering 62 for the year. Cases of interest are the year’s best reports deemed by MUFON investigators as very likely authentic and indicating that further research is warranted.
How many people believe in aliens and UFOs? A poll conducted by Glocalities worldwide independent market research in 24 countries found that 47 percent of those questioned believe that alien civilizations exist in the universe. Meanwhile, the same poll found that 61 percent responded in the positive when asked if they believe that some form of life exists on other planets. “People who believe in alien civilizations are not a marginal minority,” says Martin Lampert, Glocalities.
Yet, in a 2012 National Geographic poll it was discovered that only 36 percent of Americans, or about 80 million of us, believe UFOs exist. The poll also found that 77 percent believe there are signs that aliens have visited Earth in the past.
How many have actually seen a UFO, or an extraterrestrial entity? Estimates vary widely. A study conducted by Kelton Research polled 1114 Americans and found that 10 percent of the sample had personally witnessed a UFO. Other studies peg UFO witnesses at 17 percent of American adults. Still other sources say that since most reported UFO sightings are not documented with photos or videos reliable estimates are not available.
Project Blue Book… Skeptics Abound
Many discussions about UFOs begin with Project Blue Book — the official stance of the US Air Force on the topic. Published in 1969 and covering UFO sightings between the 1940s and 1969 one gets the feeling that the Air Force was saying that they quit trying to figure this phenomenon out.
Although Project Blue Book was based on authentic sightings of UFOs many skeptical readers accuse the Air Force of making up stories about what the UFOs “actually” were. Many sightings were identified as a weather system phenomenon, a balloon, a planet or a star, or a flare.
Following the publishing of Project Blue Book, containing information from thousands of actual sightings, came books revealing the skepticism of Air Force pilots, scientists and other highly credible people who had real life, hair-raising experiences with UFOs. However, the Air Force admitted that not all reports in PBB were solved. They left the door open to speculation on 700 cases labelled ‘Unidentified.’ Despite the acknowledgement however, one author calls Project Blue Book “the greatest cover-up of scientific data the country has seen.” Robert Salas, author of UNIDENTIFIED: The UFO Phenomenon, even says that “governments around the world have conspired to conceal humanity’s biggest secret.”
Salas, a graduate of the US Air Force Academy, was deeply involved in UFO shenanigans. He was monitoring a missile silo in the 1960’s when UFO’s took the Minuteman missiles “offline” for a period, rendering a number of nuclear warheads non-functional. One can imagine the angst that the incident caused among officials at the Air Force and the Department of Defense. Salas to this day remains unhappy with the government’s lack of full disclosure on UFOs accusing the Air Force of a “blatant, pervasive, and continuing cover-up of the facts;” along with “deception, distortion, and lying to the public about the reality of the UFO phenomenon.”
Area residents, however, do not have to be detectives, pilots, space travel experts or investigators to find the mystery and intrigue of UFOs. For many UFO cases, if you are in the right place at the right time, all that is required is to simply look up.
Missouri and Kansas UFO Cold Cases
Long-time Kansas City-area journalist and author Dave Toplikar has studied Project Blue Book and taken a new look at some of its unidentified cases that occurred in Kansas and Missouri. The author has published two books so far in his UFO Cold Cases series, one on Kansas cases and one on Missouri cases.
Toplikar, an Olathe, Kans. native, spent much of his career as a journalist in the Kansas City-Lawrence-Topeka area. “I have not seen a UFO myself, but I have close relatives who have,” he said in an email.
All of the cases in Toplikar’s books were determined by the US Air Force in Project Blue Book to be either "unknown" or "insufficient information" or had something about them he thought intriguing and should have been investigated further.
The Kansas book came first. After looking up some of PBB’s cases around Olathe, Toplikar realized few had ever been publicized. “I decided to do a book about the Kansas sightings which were never solved and were among Project Blue Book's unknowns. Then I wrote a second book on Missouri's unknowns."
Toplikar selected the cases in his books based on the ”believability of the witnesses due to their demeanor, their profession, or their status in their home community. One such credible witness was Bill Squyres, 36, a radio entertainer employed at a Pittsburg, Kans., radio station.
On his way to work early in the morning of Aug. 25, 1952, Squyres sees a big “dull, metallic craft” hovering about 10 feet off the ground as he makes his way into Pittsburg. The details remained vivid in his mind when questioned by a special agent. Squyres described the platter-shaped saucer as 75 feet long, 40 feet wide and 15 feet vertically through the center of the object with a “man sitting at the controls” that he observed through windows on the craft.
Toplikar keeps the mystery fresh when recounting each detail of each case. Another case involved two college seniors who saw a glowing UFO over a Kansas City, Kansas neighborhood. The men approached the UFO stopping under the craft where they observed it for several minutes. This happened as described, in January, 1950— 70 years ago!
Curiouser and curiouser
Had any of the subjects been abducted, I asked Toplikar. “None of the reports in my books talk about abductions,” according to the author. “However, when I spoke at a recent MUFON meeting, a Kansas City man introduced as an investigator for the organization, told the gathering that he believed one of the UFO reports in my Missouri book was actually the same one that had abducted him as a child.”
There have been many other strange things that beg explanation. For instance, in the Missouri book Toplikar describes at least two sightings which were reported at or near the Lake City munitions plant south of Kansas City. In both cases, which happened decades apart, a large craft was seen flying over or near the plant. Toplikar gleaned this information from the book The Kansas City UFO Flaps by Margie Kay, who was the investigator on those cases.
In the earlier case, the witness’s car inexplicably shuts down as the object passed overhead. In the other case, decades later, workers at the munitions plant said the electricity at the plant was shut down while an object was seen going from building to building.
The Missouri book also describes ‘Butler’s Lights’— a mysterious string of lights seen by three individuals in Butler in 1954. Toplikar identifies the incident as part of the ‘Wave of 1954,’ the year dozens of UFO sightings took place in the US as well as in Europe. The Butler Lights seems like the practice run for the ‘Phoenix Lights’, a V shaped pattern flying low over Phoenix on the night of March 13, 1994- observed by hundreds of Phoenix residents, some 40 years after the Butler Lights. Toplikar’s books, UFO Cold Cases: Missouri and UFO Cold Cases: Kansas are available through Amazon.com
There are certain recurring “themes” that seem to emerge when reading UFO reports or watching television programs. One such theme is the UFO’s ability to turn a car off, or the electricity, as well as render weapons non-functional.
There is also a theme of underwater activity by UFOs as stated by Wayne Lawrence above. There are many reasons for an underwater rendezvous, a primary one being privacy. A number of UFO reports have been made from war zones. Could it be that aliens do not understand why we earthlings wage war upon each other?
Yet another theme is the morphing, or shape-shifting, seen in UFOs such as in the photos accompanying this report.
One need not look far into the UFO subject to find real mysteries. But don’t expect a clear and rational explanation to emerge, especially if the government is involved in the investigation. In fact, if the government is involved in the matter, it almost surely will be explained away as a weather phenomenon or atmospheric disturbance, a star, a planet or a balloon.
However, recent reports hold out hope that sooner or later, officials will be more forthcoming in telling us what is known about UFOs. In December, 2017, the Department of Defense released video taken by US Navy pilots as well as conversations between pilots about the other-worldly craft. And just a few months ago, there was a report about an unidentified object in the sky over Washington, D.C. The object created enough alarm that jets were scrambled.
And who knows, some day we may get the full story from the government on what lurks in their Top Secret files of alien spacecraft and why they are visiting us earthlings. Or, more likely in my estimation, first contact will be made known to us all in a big event, and in turn, the government would be obliged to reveal its UFO secrets.
It’s just irksome that those in power think we are simply not ready to know the truth, or the extent, of UFOs. I hope that changes soon.
Until one of the above scenarios plays out, keep your cameras handy, and keep looking up.
Photo 5: 9:02: 54 This final photo displays a side of the craft not visible in the other photos.
Photo 2: 9:02:08 You see a little detail in the UFO which is clearly changing shape as it descends.
Photo 1: 9:02:01 This is the first UFO I have seen as well as the first UFO photograph I have ever taken. Captured July 4, 2019 at 9:02:01 pm.
Photo 3: 9:02:12 Here you see a little more detail emerging.
Photo 4: 9:02: 23 This photo shows a totally different shape from the preceding three.