The 2014 International UFO Congress in Arizona

What a great event! Each year Open Minds seems to do it better and better!

Yes, I’m talking about the 23rd annual International UFO Congress (IUFOC) that was held in Fountain Hills, Arizona (near Phoenix) on February 12 – 16th. This was our 4th year attending the IUFOC and was just as good as ever. From the kickoff morning of Feb 12th through the last panel in the afternoon of Feb 16th, everyone was mesmerized with new information on the possibility of other worldly craft and beings visiting our planet earth.

We attended the Experiencer Sessions each morning with a group of people who believe they have had contact both in the past as well as currently. These sessions were led by licensed and very experienced hypnotists/therapists, Yvonne Smith and Gwen Ferrell. Many people chose to share their experiences with the group and were made to feel quite comfortable by the professionalism of Yvonne and Gwen. Some of what the contactees relayed to the group were what you’d expect, other experiences were quite sensational.

Open Minds IUFOC

The presentations began with Master of Ceremonies Alejandro Rojas welcoming the crowd and doing a marvelous job as usual. If you’ve ever listened to Alejandro’s podcasts, you’d recognize his professional yet light manner as well as his well thought-out introductions to upcoming speakers.

The speakers are way too many to list here, but you can find their biographies and presentation subjects at the UFO Congress’ website at A few that really did a marvelous job were:

Stephen Bassett – Stephen spoke about UFO disclosure and fascinated the attendees on the very first day. He’s a marvelous speaker and certainly knows what he is talking about and how to best proceed in order to obtain disclosure from our government.

Don Schmidtt – Don is yet another fantastic speaker and has done a phenominal amount of research on the 1947 Roswell Crash. He brought out information I had never heard of before, including information on the REAL Area 51 (it’s not in Nevada…)

Yvonne Smith – Yvonne not only led the experiencer sessions this year, but also put on a great presentation concerning her years of research on abductees. She was both interesting and captivating.

Dr. John Alexaner – John has very interesting information on what the government does/does not know about UFOs. While some will find what he presents questionable, he certainly does a great job of presenting the information and definitely has knowledge in the field.

George Noory – who could not think George would do a great job? George simply brought down the house Saturday evening and took a variety of interesting questions from the audience.  If you have not listened to George on Coast to Coast AM, you are missing out on much! And, there was a special appearance with George by Lee Speigel, writer and paranormal expert for the Huffington Post and last year’s IUFOC emcee.

On opening day, Wednesday evening, there was a Welcoming Cocktail Party in which you were able to meet the speakers and chat with them over a drink and snacks.

On Thursday and Friday evenings there were EBE Film Festival Screenings of the latest UFO and alien films that have been produced. As usual, they were well worth enjoying.

Then on Saturday evening the Awards Banquet was held… dinner with friends, old and new followed by the EBE awards on the films that were shown – the ‘Oscars’, UFO Congress style.

Open Minds IUFOC

All in all, the IUFOC is well worth attending if aliens and/or UFO research interests you. This is not a convention of tin-foil hat wearing people, but instead honest, intellectual researchers trying to find out the answers to what is out there. With a variety of authors, researchers, scientists, PhDs, therapists, ex-Heads of state, ex-military personnel, past government high-level employees and more, this has got to be one of the best, if not THE BEST, UFO conventions held annually anywhere. Keep an eye on their website,, and try to attend next year’s conference, again in Fountain Hills, Arizona. You’ll find it very well worth doing so.


A Personal Sighting

I’ve been fascinated by space and the possibility of extraterrestrial life from a very early age, back to when I was around 8 years old. I collected photos and news articles about NASA and our space program, and read anything I could find on UFO and alien encounters. I would lay out at night in our yard and watch the stars, wondering what and whom was out there and if we’d ever meet them. I still do this today, albeit now it’s around a campfire with a cold glass of sparkling wine on warm summer evenings. I’ve become rather good at locating and tracking satellites as they meander across our night sky from horizon to horizon, at identifying which planets in our solar system are making an appearance and also at identifying a number of heavenly constellations. I jump at the opportunity to attend any lecture or presentation at our local observatory, still fascinated by what I can learn. Of course, I also salivate at the chance to attend conferences and seminars around the country with the subject matter being aliens and UFOs, but only the serious ones. 

I’ve had 3 UFO sightings/events in my life thus far. I have no idea if those sightings were extraterrestrial craft being piloted by alien entities, if they were some yet to be revealed ship or weapon that the government possesses that I just happened to stumble across and witness, or even if they were something else entirely. However, I am relatively certain they were not misinterpreted natural phenomenon nor identifiable military or civilian aircraft. Instead they were, by definition, Unidentified Flying Objects, i.e. UFOs. There was a second person with me during the sighting I am going to relate to you tonight and she saw pretty much the exact same unexplainable thing that I did.

It was a brisk fall evening, somewhere around 8:30pm. My wife and I were coming home from Marshfield, WI, heading south on County Road M, near the small village of Auburndale. About 1/4 mile north of US Highway 10, we both noticed up in the sky in front of us a series of 5 lights, slightly angled upwards to the right, very similar to pictures of the infamous ‘Phoenix Lights’. My wife was driving so she stopped her jeep on the side of the road and we both stepped out to get a better view of these lights and try to figure out what they were. They flashed off, slowly, one at a time and did not come back on. The entire sighting lasted approximately 30 seconds. There was no indication that the lights were part of some solid craft as has been noted in other such sightings, but it was not a starry nor moonlit night so the outline of a craft would have been difficult to see. I estimated the height of the lights to be approximately 500 feet and the distance in front of us at around a mile or so. We noticed one other car behind us had stopped also to look at these lights, but at the time, unfortunately, we never thought of walking back to find out whom they were to discuss our sighting with them. A few minutes after getting in our vehicle and driving off, we decided to see if we could locate this other vehicle and compare notes. We drove around Auburndale for about 10 minutes looking but never did find them.

The next day we checked the newspaper to see if there was any mention of the lights in the sky from the night before — none. I contacted a Sheriff’s deputy whom was a friend of mine to ask if he knew of anyone who had reported this but he said it was the first he had heard of it. We watched the sky the next few evenings, but the lights did not return. Later that week in talking with another friend from work, he told me that he saw pretty much the exact same lights we did so we at least found 1 other witness to corroborate our sighting. To my knowledge, the lights never returned or, at least, I have never heard of anyone seeing them at a later time in the past 10 years.

Were they aliens? I don’t know. Was it an unknown military craft? I doubt it, yet that certainly is a possibility. Was it swamp gas, or Venus, or a reflection, or flares, or clouds? Absolutely not! In fact, it’s insulting to one’s intelligence at the mere mention of one of these idiotic possibilities that some people will insinuate. Bottom line is we saw lights that were in a strange, angled pattern in the sky that normally should not have been there, and they blinked off in perfect order in from what I could tell was an even-timed pattern. Since I do not know what they were, that is a text-book definition of a UFO.

It’s quite possible that our worlds’ governments knew, way back then in the 1960s (and most likely before) that we truly are not alone in this phenominally huge universe, but that there are many other forms of life out there, and some of them have, are and will continue to visit us here on Earth. If governments did know this, they’ve done a rather fine job of keeping it from the public. But, eventually the truth does come out as it seems to be doing, a little bit more year after year. Perhaps full disclosure is right around the corner. We enthusiastic UFO investigators would welcome this revelation with open arms.


Star Gazing and Pondering

While walking my dog this evening I looked up at the brilliant celestial bodies, showing themselves during this, the coldest of Wisconsin’s winters. Orion sits majestically in the eastern sky, the large crescent moon hangs opposite, just above the horizon, and Venus prominently stands out amongst the countless stars around her. I stood wondering how many civilizations out in the cosmos look towards our sun – just a dot in their evening skies – and how many are aware of Earth and its inhabitants.

If we assume that there are extraterrestrial beings who are aware of us, then we must also assume that they are more advanced than we are. This distinction makes me wonder if they view us as mere, ant-like creatures, or if they see us as beings that are worthwhile of investigation? If we are ants then I suspect they gander at us amusingly, becoming quickly bored at our seemingly meaningless running to and fro. But if they see us as worthy creatures, do they see us as intelligent? As disgusting? Frightening? Perhaps some combination?

After observing us they may decide, sadly, that we are too dangerous a species with which to make contact, because, surly, any civilization who has been in existence long enough to develop the kind of technology that interstellar travelers must possess has learned that evil, greed and war-mongering are not indicative of a sustainable and prosperous species. Perhaps that is why contact has not yet been made. Perhaps it never will be. Perhaps it would be self-destructive to contact beings who refuse to live together harmoniously, who plunder natural resources so casually, who hate other members of their own kind based merely upon race or religion, etc., and who value the accumulation of wealth at the expense of anyone or anything.

Will we ever know beyond all doubt that we are not alone in this universe? We send messages into space, hoping to reach intelligent life; notifying them of our existence; believing those messages will be, or have been, intercepted. But how they are interpreted is to be determined. Do they view our messages individually or as a collective, with every transmission speaking on behalf of all humankind? Do they even observe our messages, or do they observe only our actions? And if they are there to observe at all, do they do so as we do, or are their observations based on criteria that we either cannot understand or do not find significant?

The beauty of the night sky momentarily distracts me from my unanswered questions, as billions of stars shine down. The mysteries of space burst forth, creating new questions each time I gaze up. If we are being observed, perhaps the observer(s) came from a planet near a star in our own beautiful night sky.