- Wisconsin isn't New Mexico, but it's close. Wisconsin
has the nation's second-highest number of Unidentified Flying Object sightings
- second only to New Mexico.
- That fact sparked the interest of a Sheboygan man.
- On a clear, starry night some years ago, John Hoppe saw
what he thinks was a UFO. The 33- year-old man noticed a light in Lake
Michigan. He first thought it was a flashlight beam in the water, but the
object - which was the size of a basketball - kept moving. He can't explain
- "They're here," Hoppe said. "We live on
our little planet here, and if UFOs exist, we'll know that life does exist
outside of Earth. It's been an age-old question, 'Are we the only ones
in the universe?'"
- Hoppe is the director of UFOWisconsin.com, a Web site
dedicated to the paranormal in Wisconsin. And the truth might be closer
than you think. Wood and Dane counties lead the state in reported sightings.
- There was an anonymous report of many small lights -
red, yellow and green - in the sky between Marshfield and Pittsville on
Jan. 9. A Brian O. said he saw a V-shaped, almost transparent craft over
his Wisconsin Rapids home - "it was moving way too fast to be a flock
of geese" - on May 3. Then on July 4, someone known only as Brad said
a 20-foot diameter craft with gold flashing lights all around came slowly
up his driveway before disappearing: "It did not fly away," he
wrote. "It just disappeared! Amazing!"
- "There are people out there who have some interesting
stories out there," Hoppe said. "But they don't want to come
forward because they don't want their lives destroyed and be called liars
- and that's a shame."
- One man claims to be an alien hybrid - half human, half
alien. Hoppe is keeping an open mind. After all, he said, there's no way
to know. No one has seen a hybrid, and even if he's an alien only in his
own imagination, the man is content and not hurting any one, Hoppe said.
- The Web site was launched last September, and so far
it has received more than 400 reports of UFOs or aliens. Incident can be
confidentially reported, and a UFO investigator will look into the case.
- In the past year, sightings have been reported in Auburndale,
Marshfield, Pittsville, Stratford, Chili and Spencer. Other reports of
shining objects in the sky come from Medford, and Loyal's Tribune Record
Gleaner newspaper reported on April 14, 1976, that the "sheriff's
department has received 'a few' calls from persons who reported seeing
'strange' objects in the sky, some of them have been quite low to the ground."
- Aaron Weber, 31, Marshfield, has never seen a UFO, but
he's a believer.
- "It's one of those things that until somebody proves
it wrong, you have to keep an open mind to it," he said.
- The state's love interest in the paranormal doesn't stop
there. The American UFO and Sci-Fi Museum in the Wisconsin Dells highlights
other Wisconsin encounters and recreates Area 51's famous alien autopsy
in New Mexico.
- And UFO enthusiasts will celebrate aliens and maybe even
see a saucer at the 14th annual UFO Daze on July 20 in Dundee. Last year,
participants reported different sightings around the area, and this year
they will continue to look for the little green men. UFO experts will also
present their findings.
- Hoppe admits that hoaxes are a problem when talking about
the paranormal. He researches every report to the best of his ability,
but said that there will always be some who exaggerate. Meteors, weather
balloons and satellites have all be mistaken for space objects. According
to UFO Wisconsin, 20 percent of UFO reports are valid.
- "I have been reading UFO stories and doing research
since I was a kid," Hoppe said. "There's more statistical information
that proves it rather than disprove it."
- Amy E. Bowen can be reached at 1-715-384-3131 or 1-800-967-2087,
Ext. 333, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If you go . . .
- What? The 14th annual UFO Daze When? Noon July 20 Where?
Dundee, of Highway 67 in eastern Fond du Lac County For more information
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