19-Oct-87 21:16 MST Sb: APtn 10/19 0859 UFO Sightings By DIRK BEVERIDGE Associated Press W

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19-Oct-87 21:16 MST Sb: APtn 10/19 0859 UFO Sightings By DIRK BEVERIDGE Associated Press Writer WYTHEVILLE, Va. (AP) -- Wythe County sheriff's deputies have seen the lights in the sky that are causing a local UFO craze, but they are not preparing to battle space aliens. "I'd rather have something else put us on the map," chief deputy Herb Cooley said. "This brings all the weirdos out. Before this is over, somebody's going to have to see some little green men." Cooley said the department has received more than a dozen calls about UFOs in the past few weeks, but he pointed out that many more people who have seen the flying lights probably keep their mouths shut so no one will question their sanity. He has heard reports of the objects swooping down and running cars off the road, but the department has not received any such complaints. Sheriff's Sgt. Cihmer Collins, who spent 22 years in the military before he became a civilian lawman, has seen the mysterious craft and says they are probably with the armed forces. "I've seen a bunch of them, and all I've seen is refueling," a manuever that involves two aircraft joined in what appears to be a stationary position before suddenly bolting off in different directions. That matches the behavior of red and white lights seen by some of the UFO witnesses. "They did the same thing in Vietnam," Collins said. "There ain't no UFOs." But three military spokespersons in the Norfolk area said by telephone that the silent airships described over Wythe County do not sound like anything in the U.S. arsenal. "I don't have anything that doesn't make sound," said Ace Ewers, a spokesman for the Naval Air Station Oceana. He said A-6 Intruder bombers from Oceana fly in the Wytheville area, but they make a lot of noise. "If it wasn't making sound, I don't have any explanation for what they're talking about," Ewers said. "If the government's working on something like that, I don't know anything about it." Nobody else contacted by The Associated Press had a good explanation, although eyewitness accounts of the UFOs are easy to come by around Wythe County. A waitress in the Country Kitchen in Rural Retreat said a crowd watched a UFO from the parking lot one night last week. She described it as round, like a Frisbee, with bright red and white lights cutting silently across the sky. Other witnesses have reported green lights on objects of varying shapes. Jack and Carolyn Ellison told reporters about their sighting of two flying objects, one shaped like a saucer and the other like a large arrowhead that was following it at a rather low altitude. "We just stood right there where that Oldsmobile is and it went right over that maple tree," Jack Ellison said. "An airplane wouldn't have been that low, and it would have made noise," said Carolyn Ellison. "I said, `Maybe it's the Goodyear blimp,' but Jack said, `No, that makes noise."' She had no idea what the things might be. "I've heard of UFOs, but I don't know," she said. "When I turned the radio on and found out other people saw it, I began to wonder." Wytheville radio station WYVE has received numerous calls about the UFOs. News Director Danny Gordon has been recording and airing some of the accounts. "Eighty percent are probably natural lights, Jupiter, the moon -- eyes playing tricks on them, the bottle," Gordon said. The other 20 percent sound believable, he said. His callers have described objects including a silvery cigar shape, a green camouflage cigar shape, a floating triangle and pairs of lights that hover for a while before splitting apart and quickly vanishing. Gordon said he has talked with people who seriously keep up with UFOs, and they have warned him to be on the alert for government men in black suits who will try to get him to stop publicizing the sightings. UFO followers have said the government has for years hidden its knowledge of UFOs to avoid widespread public panic. "I haven't heard anything from the government to tell me to stop doing the story," Gordon said. "If they're down here, they're down here incognito." Copyright 1987 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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