The 24th Annual International UFO Conference 2015 (IUFOC) — The Best One Yet!

We left Minneapolis early Tuesday morning (Feb 17, 2015).  It was 3 degrees F when we boarded.  Southwest is an awesome airline … the best we have flown nationally.  A smooth, quick flight, three and one half hours later we landed at Sky Harbor International in Phoenix, AZ and were welcomed by a beautiful, sunshiny 70 degrees (later in the day it got up around 82 degrees). What a GREAT change from the past 3 months of cold and snow we were putting up with!

My wonderful sister-in-law, Jane, picked us up at the airport and drove us to our rental car location.  We used to just grab a car at the airport car rental, but you can save 25% or more by going into town and renting at an offsite car rental location so this makes total sense for the fiscally conservative crowd. This year it was Enterprise … we had a premium car lined up. We walked in, gave our confirmation number, and they said they had a mini-Cooper there for us. A WHAT!?! Excuse me, but I rented and confirmed a premium car, not a toy metal box! I’m 6’2″ and prefer a little leg room! They tried their darnedest to convince me that it was good, but I was having no part of it. They then said they didn’t have anything else but would call around to see what else might be available. A few minutes later they said they had located a brand new Ford Taurus (the new ones are pretty nice actually) but it was 40 minutes away in Scottsdale. I assured them that was OK and we’d go grab a bite to eat while they went and grabbed it for us. SO … we went and ate at Chick-fil-A (man, I LOVE their food and their exceptional service) and the rental people reluctantly went to get us the car that should have been there for us in the first place.

After an hour we went back to Enterprise and grabbed our new Taurus, and headed off to my brother’s home in Mesa. Got settled in and then went and saw “the fam”: Mom, my sister and her boyfriend, one niece and her daughter and, of course, my brother Jimco and his wife, Jane. Ate a Chinese dinner (calories kill us on these trips!) and went back to get some sleep and rest before the show tomorrow.

Wednesday morning we headed to Fountain Hills where the IUFOC takes place. The speakers and presentations today were as follows:

  • Clifford Mahooty The Zuni Pueblo Indian People and the UFO Connection
  • Thomas Reed The Reed Family Abduction
  • Cheryl Costa 200 Years of UFOs Over New York
  • Joan BirdLifting the Lid In Montana and Beyond
  • Linda Zimmerman – Hudson Valley UFOs

Clifford Mahooty‘s presentation was good and thought-provoking. It’s always very fascinating to me to listen to the Indian legends and stories they tell which have been handed down by mouth for millennia (or at least hundreds of years).

Thomas Reed‘s lecture pertained to a very significant case from the 1960s. Another well-done presentation. You can view details of this case here: 

Cheryl Costa was a ‘new face’ in the UFO lecture circuit for me. I had not heard of Cheryl before, but found she is an excellent speaker and presenter. She is an author at the Syracuse New Times and does an excellent job. She has 2 new fans 🙂  She’s authentic and captivates your interest well. I believe this was a first UFO speaking event and I must say, “Bravo, Cheryl!”

Joan Bird‘s talk was about UFO sightings in the 1950s and later in Montana and quite interesting.

Linda Zimmerman‘s presentation was also very interesting on the various UFO sightings around the Hudson Valley dating from a century ago and through the present.

In between and after presentations, we spent some time walking around and talking with exhibitors and authors in the exhibit hall where there was everything from T-Shirts to DVDs to alien sculptures to books, crystals, metaphysical objects, and much more. One can get lost in the fascinating items and people there. This is a big part of the attraction of attending this conference.

On day two of the IUFOC, Thursday (and each day thereafter), we started with an ‘Experiencer Session’. These are some of the most fascinating sessions we have ever been to, and we make it a point to hit them all at each conference we attend. The stories you hear that others have experienced range from comical to hair-raising, and there’s never a dull moment. Complete anonymity is required so no names, pictures or recordings are allowed. We also brought Jane, my sister-in-law, along with us for the day. We happened to meet up with friends we had made a few years ago at an earlier IUFOC, Michael and Jenny … two very nice Californian people that attend the IUFOC each year. It’s always a pleasure to meet up with others you have met. Yvonne Smith, hypnotherapist and regression specialist, headed up the experiencer sessions this year. Yvonne does an excellent job and it’s always nice to see her there and sit in on her sessions.

Speaker list for Thursday:

  • James ClarksonFinding June Crain.
  • Derrel SimsProfiling the Alien: His History and Our Evidence Tells the Story
  • Christopher O’BrienStalking the Herd: Unraveling the Cattle Mutilation Mystery
  • Charlie FoltzThe Allagash Abductions
  • PanelRare Cases of Mass Alien Abductions

I had not heard of June Crain before so James Clarkson‘s presentation was quite informative.

Derrel Sim‘s presentation was somewhat different than what we normally hear, but fascinating. We had a fairly lengthy conversation with Derrel the day before in the exhibit hall and he is a very interesting and knowledgeable person with a background in law enforcement. He also has been on Animal Planet’s “Uncovering Aliens” along with Maureen Elsberry (who puts on the IUFOC), Mike Bara (‘Ancient Aliens’ contributor and author) and Steven Jones (Contactee). Derrel let us know that he is involved in another bigger and better “show” that will be coming out later this year — (can’t wait, Derrel!)

Christopher O’Brien‘s lecture covered a LOT of new information. He seems to be at odds a bit with Linda Moulton-Howe who is very well known for her years of research in cattle mutilations, but was certainly worth listening to and digesting the information he had to present.

‘The Allagash Abductions’, presented by Charlie Foltz, was fantastic.  I recall reading about it many years ago. Charlie is just so very believable, and I truly believe the experience he told everyone about. Chilling, yet amazing!

After eating dinner at a small Italian eatery with Jane and our Californian friends, we went back to the convention center for a night of unreleased, brand-new UFO/Alien films that will be coming out this year — that is, until we couldn’t keep our eyes open any longer. Excellent films, though. I think Jane really enjoyed the day and may be back with us next year.

Day Three, Friday. The lineup was:

  • Ruben UriarteBorder Crossing of the Third Kind
  • James GillilandAnnunaki Return: End of the Draconian/Archon Network
  • Joshua P. WarrenThe Brown Mountain Lights
  • Mark PilkintonThe Abuses of Enchantment
  • PanelUFO Jeopardy

Ruben Uriarte‘s lecture brought up some old memories of what I have read in the past as well as a bunch of new information. Essentially it was about alien craft crashes that have happened along the southwest border between the US and Mexico.

I had not had the pleasure of listening to James Gilliland in the past. James is a best-selling author, nationally-known lecturer, minister, counselor and contactee. He has a weekly radio program that is listened to by people around the world, and his website can be found at  He had great information to relay to everyone and was a pleasure to listen to.

Day Four, Saturday.

  • Richard DolanUFO’s the Real Power Struggle and the End Game
  • Jaime Maussan Breaking News
  • Jeremy CorbellThe Invisible College
  • George KnappArea 51 Whistleblower
  • Bob LazarQ&A Session with George Knapp

What UFO conference is complete without a lecture from Richard Dolan? He did an excellent and professional job as he always does. I’ve read Richard’s books and he is a great writer as well.

I’ve seen Jaime Maussan many times and he always has a ton of new information on sightings and instances around the world. Jaime is a very well known television personality in Mexico.

Then (WOW!) George Knapp! George is an investigative reporter for KLAS TV where he has earned the highest honors in broadcast journalism, including two Peabody awards, the Dupont Award from Columbia University, and 24 regional Emmy’s. His presentation was a brief history on Bob Lazar. George had a room full of attendees … I don’t think there was an empty chair anywhere, and after just a few minutes, one knows why!

Last, the presentation of the day that so many of us were waiting for: Bob Lazar doing a special Q&A session along with George Knapp. I haven’t heard from Bob Lazar in a long, long time, so this was a real treat. His story is fascinating and, while I admittedly have been a little bit of a skeptic concerning him in the past, I’ve gained more faith after listening to him in that he is telling the truth about what he has experienced and been a part of.

Lastly, day five, Sunday:

  • Frank KimblerXenoarchaeology: The Science of Hunting Alien Artifacts
  • John BurroughsThe Rendlesham Incident
  • PanelUFO Secrets Leaked: Whistleblowers Tell All

We were not able to attend the 5th day this year as we had to leave for another engagement, but the 4 days we did do were simply spectacular! All in all, it was a wonderful conference, as always … even better than the last. Maureen Elsberry did tell me that next year the IUFO Conference would take place again in Fountain Hills, AZ. and that was refreshing to hear as we love the venue as well as the area (not to mention the warmth and sunshine in February as opposed to here in Wisconsin!). I hope she and ‘Open Minds Production, LLC’ can keep it there indefinitely as the mysticism of the place and the beauty seem to go so well with this conference. I’ll be here in my office patiently (or not) waiting for the sale of tickets to the 25th Annual UFO Congress to be made available!


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.

Upcoming UFO Conferences

Two great UFO conferences that are upcoming you may want to look into and plan for:

October 17 – 20, 2013 Paradigm Symposium in Minnepolis, MN. Information here:

We’ve not yet attended this one, but the speaker lineup looks quite impressive.

February 12 – 16, 2014 International UFO Congress & Film Festival in Fountain Hills, AZ. Information here:

We’ve traveled to the UFO Congress for the past years and can very highly endorse this event. The speakers are professional and quite scientific, ranging from physicist, to military, to government, to doctors, to lawyers and even TV personalities. The people attending are genuine, friendly and fascinating themselves. The venue is comfortable, inexpensive yet ‘classy’, easily accessible and very affordable. Alejandro Rojas, Jason McClellan and Maureen Elsberry and others do a fantastic job of planning and setting up this event. If you’ve never been to a large UFO event, you need to attend and experience this one.