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Date: Sun Sep 25 1994 00:00:18 From: Sheppard Gordon Subj: Identified UFO SKEPTIC ------------------------------- Even skeptics fooled by mysterious lights 09/22/94 Milwaukee Sentinel When it comes to UFOs, even skeptics can be fooled. Take Charles Tolbert, a professor of astronomy at the University of Virginia and member of the Society for Scientific Exploration. One night, Tolbert saw a strange sight a bright light rising out of a grove of trees. The light divided into two lights and one moved higher than the other, then disappeared. Later, Tolbert realized an airport was 10 miles away on the other side of the trees. The lights, he deduced, were coming from a plane taking off and climbing. The one landing light separated into two as the plane drew close enough for Tolbert to distinguish them. One light moved higher than the other as the plane banked. The lights suddenly disappeared when the crew turned off the lights. "If I had gone in the house to get other people to look at it, and it was gone when I got back, I would have been convinced that the light that rose up out of the trees was a UFO," he said. "If enough data were available, all UFO sightings would be explained in terms of perfectly normal phenomenon." "I'd like to see some of these extraordinary claims really turn out to be true, but so far the evidence I've seen presented and the arguments are not proof of extraordinary events," said James Oberg, an aerospace engineer and author who lives in Dickinson, Texas. Oberg is a member of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, a skeptics' group. "Certainly the Center for UFO Studies people are of high intelligence and integrity," he said. "I'm not questioning their motives, but I think many of their methodologies are inadequate for the phenomenon." Contrary to what many people believe, Oberg says pilots "are among the poorest observers of UFOs," mainly because they are trained to fly defensively, to take evasive maneuvers to avoid collisions with aerial objects. This does not exactly make for cool and calm analysis, he said.

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