Dec 3, 2012 10:32 AM by Bernie Riggs (Missoula)
Have you ever had a unexplained run-in with a UFO or extraterrestrial?
Helena author Joan Bird has written a new book on Montana's encounters with such phenomena.
The first chapter of the book covers what may be the first ever camera footage of "flying saucers," taken in 1950 near Great Falls.
It was the "Mariana sighting," and it remains one of the most famous of all supposed UFO sightings (see below).
Bird said, "They were hovering and when he put the camera on them they were still hovering and then he said they moved across the river and behind a grain elevator and behind a water tower, so we have these objects in the landscape to be able to judge their relative speed which was very important in later analyses of the film."
The book "Montana UFOs and Extraterrestrials" also covers crop circles in the Flathead Valley and UFO sightings over Minutemen missile silos during the 1960s.
Bird hopes that skeptics will keep an open mind and not ridicule people who come forward with their experiences.
She said, "Just take a look at the evidence and the other thing I would really encourage people to do is to allow people tell their stories without judgement. So many people are fearful of sharing this information because they feel like they'll be ridiculed or persecuted or thought crazy."
Bird will be in downtown Missoula on Sunday for a book signing at 1:30 at Fact and Fiction.
Click here to learn more about Bird's book.
Videos of the Mariana incident are available on YouTube; here is one clip:
The website for the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena provides a description of the Mariana incident; here's an overview:
Nick Mariana, then general manager of the Great Falls baseball team...reported seeing two rotating, disk-shaped objects in the daytime sky which he was apparently able to capture as small white dots on 16-mm color movie film.
The film, taken from the vacant Legion Ball Park in Great Falls, Montana, on the fifteenth of August has withstood the best efforts of debunkers to discredit it or of skeptics to explain it.
The time was 11:25 A.M., when a bright flash of light caught his eye. Mariana could see two bright, silvery objects, that appeared to be rotating as they flew over Great Falls. He estimated their speed at between 200 and 400 miles per hour. He called to Raunig as he ran to get his 16-mm movie camera, which he normally kept in his car.
Mariana was able to film the two circular UFOs as they passed over a building behind a water tower. In the short film, the objects seem to flash brightly, then move away from the camera. In less than twenty seconds, the UFOs disappeared.