If you're a true believer who scans the December sky for a man on a sleigh, take heart. You're not alone. The Denver UFO Society has been conducting such work year-round for more than forty years. But while Mr. Claus's followers cite presents under the tree as proof of his existence, the Society has much more evidence. Most of the group's members say they have seen flying saucers, often in the Denver metro area. Many attest to enjoying contact with aliens, and several claim to have spent time on board their crafts.
According to club secretary Alta Rogers, a seventy-year-old who's been with the group for fifteen years, the club's exhaustive research contains no substantiated report of a red-suited man piloting a team of flying deer. "No," Rogers says, "I don't have any information on that." Neither does club vice president Juan Green. "People at our meetings are generally well-read and very knowledgeable," Green says with a chuckle, "so you can't pull the wool over their eyes like that."
A Society member since 1960, Green traces his interest in unidentified flying objects back to the Korean War, where he heard reports of combat skirmishes interrupted by UFO flyovers. After moving to Denver a few years later, Green sought information on these reports at a Society function. He recalls that "they were good people, sincere people, investigating the UFO phenomenon, trying to find out what was going on.
"I saw my first UFO in 1964, over Arvada," adds Green, a retired Continental Airlines machinist. "It was dish-shaped, had three red pulsating rings around it and a black dome. It was beautiful. I got the binoculars out and watched it for about twenty minutes. When I saw that ship, I thought I'd kinda like to know how that thing worked. Well, enough information came into the Society that I did eventually learn how that machine worked: It was a combination of electrostatic and electromagnetic propulsion principles. So I built a model to see if it worked out that way. It did."
Some of the details for his creation came firsthand. "We met this fellow that had been on a ship for two hours and twenty minutes," Green says, "and he'd been shown the internal workings of the ship. They explained what they had and said if we did that, we'd have close to what they got. I've got an awful lot of knowledge on their propulsion techniques and what they use."
Rogers eyeballed her first UFO in the Forties, while driving across the California desert with her late husband. According to Rogers, the pair was met by a strange hovering light, and when her husband stepped from the car to investigate, he disappeared. Time seemed to stand still, Rogers says, as she watched a jackrabbit--"squished down like he was frozen, he wouldn't even move"--out the car window. She doesn't know how long her husband was gone before he appeared again and they drove off. He never spoke about the incident, and her nagging questions led Rogers to join the UFO Society. "See, we can talk about things and we can relate to each other," says Rogers, who has spotted UFOs over Red Rocks Park. "That's important. You don't even talk to your neighbors about these things, because, you know, they'll think something's wrong with you."
Monthly meetings of the Society cover reports of recent sightings or unexplained phenomena, and get-togethers include a guest speaker, usually a UFO expert or one of the group's "investigators." Meetings take place the fourth Friday of every month at the Glendale Fire House, 999 South Clermont Street, and run from 7 to 10 p.m. (This month's meeting is an informal potluck on December 12; call 303-659-2886 for details and location.) Club dues are $15 a year for one person and $22.50 for a family, and attendance at each session requires an additional $3 donation.
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According to Green, fellowship between humans and aliens has taken a turn for the worse in recent times. Today most encounters involve kidnappings of earthlings instead of the more "positive" contacts of the past. These abductions, Green says, are the result of an unlikely alliance. "There's government involvement," Green says. "Eisenhower made a deal with the UFOs. They wanted to experiment with us people, in exchange for giving the government technology. Eisenhower signed that--it was a high betrayal of our race of people. When you're grabbed out of the night sky, so to speak, against your free will, that's a violation of natural law. But I'm not too interested in abductions. I'm interested in the knowledge and their technology."
According to Green, "There's a lot of thought that culture has advanced not because we were smart, but because somebody upstairs was implementing the thoughts in our mind to advance the culture. They seem to have the ability to impose an invention on the mind of the individual down here. A person thinks it's his idea, but really it comes from somewhere else."
Could this have some connection to the myth of a strange being in an oddly fashioned suit dropping from the heavens and bringing gifts to folks on planet Earth? "Well, it's possible I guess," Green says. "But I don't know anybody that's ever looked into it. But the idea of the reindeer, and the fact that they buzz around in the sky, that could be tied to some UFO aspect. It probably would be worthy of investigation."