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October 1997

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Strangeness in the Night

A close encounter with the mystifying world of UFO investigators

by Lynn Hazlewood (Editor-in-Chief)

Hudson Valley magazine

October 1997 Vol. XXVI, No. 6

    [Only that part of Hazlewood's article pertaining to Dr. Cornet is reproduced below, with permission from Hazlewood and Hudson Valley magazine.  Hazlewood went to the July 1997 United Friends Observer Society meeting (U.F.O.S.). There were about 30 people attending; some had come from as far away as Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Jersey. She reported that the meeting attendees sat on metal folding chairs in a large circle and spoke in turn. The group agreed that there hadn't been any alien activity in the area for a while, and the discussion that night mostly concerned the black helicopters -- reputedly flown by government agents -- that are believed to be monitoring the area.]

    Present at the July UFO meeting in Pine Bush was Dr. Bruce Cornet, who'd lectured at the hall the previous month to a packed house. Cornet's education places him firmly on the bedrock of planet Earth. He has a BA in biology, an MS in paleobotany and a PhD in geology and palynology. Before he became a UFO investigator, Cornet worked for 14 years exploring for oil on the East Coast. He's spent a lot of time looking down.

    Short and balding with a pony tail, Cornet looks younger than his 52 years. He is eloquent and serious, but in spite of his impressive education, his zeal on the subject of what he calls Transient Luminescent Phenomena suggests that he may occasionally shuck off the restraining mantle of scientific objectivity. He admits his open involvement in the UFO community has essentially ended his mainstream scientific career.

    In 1991, Cornet was living in Middletown in Orange County just a few miles from Pine Bush, and had never seen any unusual lights or craft. His second wife, Bonnie, was dying, and her unshakable conviction that there was an afterlife opened Cornet's mind to the world of metaphysics. In 1992, a year after Bonnie's death, Cornet discovered Ellen Crystall's book. Intrigued, he started to accompany Crystall to Pine Bush on field trips, and began his own collection of photographs and videotapes. "I'd love these to be conventional planes," he says, not very convincingly. "But they do loops, tiny figure-eight loops, zig-zag, go backwards, stop in midair, dive into the ground."

    In addition to offering an aerobatic announcement of their unearthly nature, these UFOs also stage a pretty good light show. The time-exposure photographs that both Crystall and Cornet have taken reveal huge plumes of brilliant yellow-orange gas rising up from the lights of the craft. "Conventional planes don't produce geysers of light," says Cornet. The theory is that the lights are plasma, high-temperature ionized gas that's so hot it glows. To the naked eye, this light would look like a flash.

    "To make plasma," Cornet says, "requires a tremendous amount of energy." We earthlings have not yet harnessed the energy source to effectively allow us to have these plasma lights. Also, as Cornet points out, it wouldn't make much sense to use plasma lights on a vehicle carrying aviation fuel. "It'd be a flying bomb," he says. "We're not dealing with a normal light source."

    During his lecture at the VFW hall, Cornet showed slides illustrating the crazy flight patterns of craft he's witnessed in Pine Bush. He also ran a videotape he'd made on May 17 this year. Accompanying him that night was Marc Whitford, member of MUFON (Mutual UFO Network), the national organization dedicated to resolving the UFO enigma. The video showed a pair of lights heading slowly toward the camera for several minutes -- Cornet calculates the average / speed at about 60 miles an hour, half the stall speed of a conventional jet airliner. As they grew closer, the lights alternately flashed and dimmed, like a signal. Then the craft began to bank, and its shape became visible -- it was triangular. It rolled onto its back, and moved slowly away, sideways. It was an amazing sight. But this, of course, is videotape.

    "If you look at the video by itself," says Cornet, "you can interpret it two differ ways: It could have been a jet liner banking and doing a U-turn. Or it was a craft that banked and flipped over.... But the time exposures show that it didn't bank and turn; it rotated clockwise and travelled away sideways and upside-down.

    ''All you see at night are the lights," concedes Cornet. "Airplanes do have lighting on them in a triangular formation. Wing lights, nose lights. But strobes in normal planes are either on or off. The pilot cannot flash the lights in patterns. He can't dim the lights and make them bright again. To create that effect he'd have to be fishtailing. Regardless of whether or not this was from outer space, it was a performance. A roIlover and a light show. This was not just some plane on its way to Stewart; it was a special event."

    Assuming they're here, why did the aliens pick the Hudson Valley? What's so special about Pine Bush? Some ufologists suggest that there are connections between Earth and the planet Mars. Video images of the Cydonia region sent back from Viking Orbiter in 1976 revealed, with a little computer enhancement, what looks like a face, pyramids and the remains of other structures. English researchers recently theorized that this area on Mars bears similarities to the Great Sphinx of Giza area in Egypt. In addition, the geological formations around Stonehenge in England supposedly form a 1/6 scale of the face. Because the countryside around Stonehenge has a high incidence of UFO sightings, Cornet wondered if such geological similarities might exist in the Wallkill Valley.

    Beginning the summer of '92, Cornet embarked on a two-year geological and magnetic survey of the 20-square-mile crater area between Pine Bush and Walden, setting up 1,800 stations to collect data. He found characteristics identical to the crater in the Cydonia region. He calculated the latitude of the crater on Mars at 41 degrees, 36 minutes. The center of the Wallkill Valley crater is also at 41 degrees, 36 minutes. Both craters have a diameter of 2.3 miles. He then broadened his survey and discovered topographical similarities in the land surrounding each region's craters, including those that would resemble the controversial "face" on Mars. As Cornet admits, you can make a case for anything. But, he asks, "what is the probability of taking 12 geologic anomalies over a 200-square-mile area on one planet and have it correspond with those on another?"

    One conclusion that Cornet and other ufologists draw from these similarities is that there may have been a technological civilization on earth before the end of the last Ice Age, and that our ancestors had interplanetary links. Some members of the UFO community clearly believe these links are still active.

Copyright Hudson Valley magazine.  Reproduced with permission (13 February 1999).

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