EUREKA SPRINGS -- In the 22 years since the first Ozark UFO (Unidentified Flying Objects) Conference, UFOlogy has gained more acceptance in the mainstream with about a third of Americans expressing beliefs UFOs are real and five percent reporting actually having seen a UFO. But with so much information out there -- not all of it good -- the Ozark UFO Conference is a way for true believers to separate the wheat from the chaff.
"There is so much information (and disinformation) out there on the subject of UFOlogy," said Lee Clinton, who with Jean Seifried is organizing the conference this year. "Many conference attendees feel comfortable being surrounded by like-minded individuals who aren't stigmatized by discussing topics related to high-strangeness. Some have had up close and personal experiences that have left them traumatized or, at the least, caused them to question reality as they have been taught. They come to not only learn more about their experience, but to share their experience with those who have had similar encounters with the unknown."
The 22nd annual 2010 Ozark UFO Conference will be held at the Best Western Inn of the Ozarks Convention Center on April 9 through 11. The first Ozark UFO Conference in 1989 was organized by Bill Pitts of Fort Smith and the last 20 conferences were organized by Lou Farish. This year, Farish turned over the organization of the conference to Seifried and Clinton. Pitts will be a special guest speaker at the conference this year.
With average attendance of 450 to 500 people in recent years, the conference has a big impact on the local economy. In the 1990s, attendance was every higher averaging from 500 to 600.
"I suspect the drop off is primarily due to the information explosion on the Internet," Clinton said. "There is a loyal core of attendees who have attended every conference, and will continue to do so. Our goal, starting with this year's conference, is to attract new faces and to get past attendees to come back. We are running newspaper ads as far away as Springfield, Mo., and have added an exciting lineup of top-tier researchers who will discuss not only older, still-evolving cases such as Bentwaters, but current efforts to get the government to disclose what it knows about UFOs."
Clinton said many "new" UFO developments are related to cases decades old. Linda Moulton Howe's (www.earthfiles.com) presentation will cover the 1980 RAF Bentwaters UFO case in England. John Burroughs, an airman who witnessed the event, will tell about his encounter with an unknown landed object.
As for more current research, Stephen Bassett's presentation will concentrate on the political resolution of the UFO/ET issue (See www.paradigmresearchgroup.org). Decades-long efforts by many in the UFOlogy community as well as former government workers have attempted to get the U.S. government to disclose not only Top Secret UFO files but to publically release what it knows about the UFO phenomena.
"If you are wondering why you read about UFO sighting reports only in publications such as the National Enquirer, it probably has to do with news outlets -- print, electronic, TV -- not wanting to be perceived as a less-than-credible news source," Clinton said. "There are plenty of sightings of unknown craft that are ignored by the mainstream press. A case in point: In Mexico City in 1991 during a total eclipse, millions of people witnessed and videotaped unknown objects in the sky."
Clinton said polls from different countries show about half the world population believes in UFOs. In other polls, nearly 80 percent of Americans think the government is hiding knowledge of the existence of extraterrestrial life forms.
"Any rational, thinking adult who asks themselves, 'Am I unique in the universe?' will have to conclude, based on the countless number of galaxies, stars, planets, inhabitable planets and planets with sentient life forms, that we are not alone," Clinton said. "Shortly after NASA was created, the Brookings Institute was contracted to prepare a report entitled, Proposed Studies on the Peaceful Space Activities for Human Affairs. There is a link at www.enterprisemission.com/brooking.html to a possible reason for the non-disclosure of ET by or government. The Wikipedia version is at www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brookings_Repo....
Registration for the conference is $50 in advance or $70 at the door.