If you've ever wanted to see an Unidentified Flying Object, the opportunity may be hovering just over your head.
Texas-based MUFON (Mutual UFO Network), a group dedicated to the research of flying objects, will sponsor an end-of-summer celebration, the RODS Hunt, during which the public will have the chance to learn all about its work. Organizers even hint at the possibility of filming UFOs that have been spotted by the group (including rod-shaped apparitions they believe may contain visitors from other planets). Participants can also learn the tricks of "skyfishing," a method of using video cameras to record UFOs.
MUFON members don't pretend to have all the answers. Indeed, part of the appeal may be the mystery of the quest toward infinity and beyond.
"It is a weird mystery," says John Shuessler of Denver, international MUFON director and a retired engineer. And there's more to it than just simple flying saucers. Shuessler and MUFON members contend that sightings seem to be on the rise, with everything from "rods" -- tubelike objects streaking across the sky -- to so-called cattle mutilations defying logic. Where the alleged aliens are coming from is anyone's guess.
"We have even looked at the nearness of Mars" to explain the crowded skies, he says.
Among the attractions will be a skyfishing workshop with Jose Escamilla, a Los Angeles-based expert who trolls for aliens among the stars. Several other UFO-related phenomena, including crop circles, will be explored as well.
Still, the gathering will be fairly down to earth, organizers say. Space artist Ron Russell will have his works, some of which have been commissioned by NASA and Star Trek, for sale. A picnic with free (rod-shaped?) hotdogs for the first 100 people will be part of the proceedings at Ken Caryl Community Park, behind the MUFON headquarters in the Ken Caryl Martketplace. Inhabitants of all planets are welcome.