#: 128 12-Jan-87 11:37 MST Sb: APnc 01/12 N.C. UFOs Fm: Executive News Svc. [72135,424] To

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#: 128 12-Jan-87 11:37 MST Sb: APnc 01/12 N.C. UFOs Fm: Executive News Svc. [72135,424] To: 72135,424 By TOM MINEHART Associated Press Writer CHARLOTTE (AP) -- The boomerang-shaped, brightly lit object, as big as two football fields, made no sound as it cruised over Alfred and Elizabeth Edwards of Hampstead, but Mrs. Edwards says it gave her "the most terrifying feeling I've ever had in my life." "It felt like my body was vibrating, but I think it was from fright," she said of the Jan. 9, 1986, experience. "It scared me so bad I cried. It left me with a very uneasy feeling, a very humble feeling. I did not want to see anything like that again. But three or four days later, I would have given anything to see it again." The experience was one of eight apparent UFO sightings reported in North Carolina in 1986 to Lincolnton resident George Fawcett, assistant state director for the Mutual UFO Network. Fawcett, who investigates and compiles sightings of unidentified flying objects, said the number is about the same as the year before. "But these are significant reports -- we have electromagnetic interference, animal reactions, multiple witnesses and people who have agreed to use their names," he said. "This is the best I've seen in about two and a half years. They (the witnesses) don't seem to express the fear of ridicule." Mrs. Edwards, a 53-year-old housewife, said she and her husband, a 52-year-old construction worker, were returning home from dinner in Wilmington at about 7:45 p.m. when they saw lights about 400 feet up in the sky along U.S. 17. "It just came over real slow, he estimated about 15 or 20 mph," Mrs. Edwards. "I believe it was the most terrifying feeling I've ever had in my life. ... I caught myself trying to hide from the lights behind him (Edwards). I begged him to get back in the car ... but it was like he was mesmerized." Mrs. Edwards said she called the Wilmington airport, which reported there was no plane in the area and that nothing showed on radar. Airport officials suggested she call a UFO study center in Washington state, which contacted Fawcett. "I was kind of like other people," said Mrs. Edwards. "I did try to keep an open mind, but I still had a little doubt. I thought maybe what they saw could be explained. But not anymore. ... Believe you me, they are there -- whatever they are." Fawcett said UFOs were reported in seven other North Carolina towns in 1986: -- Greensboro, Jan. 12: Scott and Tina Kay reported seeing 10 glowing, gray, disc-shaped objects as big as airplanes flying in formation about 9 p.m. They said the formation changed as the objects flew overhead. -- Shelby, Feb. 9: Frances Shaw reported seeing a spherical, orange object with blinking lights moving eastward and leaving a trail of smoke about 7:15 p.m. -- Maiden, March 16: Allen and Koninger reported seeing three objects to the left of the moon about 25 degrees above the horizon at about 11:30 p.m. They said the objects had colored lights and that seen through binoculars, appeared to have rounded tops and flat bottoms. -- Bessemer City, June 1: Six members of the Ragan Wesleyan Church reported seeing a round object with windows shortly before 10 p.m. The airplane-sized object moved from north to south in the sky about 3000 feet away, emitting smoke from the center and three bursts of red fire before entering a cloud bank. -- Murfreesboro, July 27: Ronald E. Wood reported seeing a milky white, disc-shaped object with a dome top hovering above power lines for about 30 minutes. Fawcett said the man took some photos, but that they only showed some unfocused lights. -- Mount Airy, Oct. 19: Jonathan Semones reported hearing a swishing sound around 3:30 p.m., looking up and seeing a tan-colored, crusty object about the size of a basketball hovering 70 feet away. After a few seconds, the object moved away. -- Boger City, Dec. 13: Two high school students, who asked that their names not be published because they had an illegal car radar detector, reported hearing noises on the device, then seeing a small round white object that later turned reddish-orange. The object appeared to maneuver above their car, moving up and down in an arc and disappearing. The object reappeared when they got home, where their cat "threw a fit," Fawcett said. He said this report accounted for both the electromagnetic interference and the animal reactions he mentioned in the 1986 reports. Fawcett also reported three more UFO sightings from late 1985 -- from Wilmington, Maiden and Concord. The yearly reports probably represent only a small portion of the UFOs seen in North Carolina, he said. Some people report them to local law enforcement, while others may not report anything at all. The last "major wave" of UFO sightings in North Carolina took place in 1973, when hundreds were reported in more than 100 towns, he said. Smaller waves took place in 1975 and 1978, he said. Fawcett, who works at a textile mill, is working on plans and financing for a UFO museum. He said it would have classrooms, library, lecture room, exhibit room and snack bar -- offering "space doggies" and "unidentified fried objects." Among the exhibits would be photographs, UFO investigative kits and displays of objects that were later identified or revealed as hoaxes.

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