The speakers were absolutely outstanding beginning with TV News personality George Knapp who kicked off the Symposium Friday night with a nice after dinner shtick that was a big hit with the crowd. He had everyone laughing while still managing to tell the latest on the Bob Lazar story with new and interesting never before heard details about Bob’s time at Area 51. He also managed to bring his entire family from New Jersey with him filling an entire banquet table. Turns out George grew up in New Jersey and lived there until he left to seek his fortune in parts west. It was quite the family affair.
Prior to George speaking, the FIs and State Directors were asked to stand and be recognized for all the hard work they do each and every day bird dogging nearly a thousand UFO cases a month to an ultimate resolution. Also, several certificates of appreciation were given out to a number of individuals including Marketa Klimova, our HQ Office Manager, for her outstanding customer service to the MUFON membership; Erica Lukes for her on-going work as a volunteer creating Constant Contact communications for our extensive email list; Roger Marsh for his excellent work as our Journal editor, and his work coordinating the media and keeping them delighted with MUFON as well as for his research for the “Hangar 1” TV show. And finally to Tony Cataldo, our newest board member for his help negotiating the contract for Season 2 of “Hangar 1.” And that was just the warm-up. The big awards went to Paul Garver for FI of the Year, Fletcher Gray for Volunteer of the Year, and to Stephen Bassett for the MUFON Excellence in Ufology award. At the end of it all Tom Deuley received special recognition for his retirement from the MUFON Board after 38 years of outstanding service to MUFON. You’ll be reading more about these awards further on in the Journal.
Saturday morning’s speakers began with our own Roger Marsh telling it like it is in the UFO Media business, sharing his insights into the thinking, and minds, of the media. He was followed by John Ventre who discussed his highly edited time on the Anderson Cooper show, as well as his personal thoughts and research on the UFO phenomenon. The afternoon continued with Lee Speigel of the Huffington Post, Dr. Lynne Kitei of Phoenix lights fame, and James Fox sharing the trials and tribulations of being a UFO Filmmaker which included some bouts with homelessness (fortunately very brief). Then after dinner a five-hour extravaganza with Stephen Bassett, the master of disclosure sharing the making of the 2013 Citizens Hearing on Disclosure that won him the Excellence in Ufology award mentioned earlier.
Sunday opened with Ben Hansen, followed by “UFO Hunters” personality Bill Birnes, then perennial conference favorite Linda Moulton Howe, before concluding the conference with Paul Villadolid, the executive producer for the “Hangar 1” TV show sharing his thoughts on the new hit TV show “Hangar 1.”
After it was all over, everyone agreed it had been a great weekend and vowed to return next year for more UFO speakers, venders, comradery and networking. I’d like to thank John Ventre and his entire Pennsylvania state team including Jennifer Stein, Bill Weber, Fred Saluga, Dan Medleycot, George Medich, Sam Colosimo, Terry Ray and Joie Dozpat, and many, many others on the team for putting on an outstanding event. Well done!
If you missed any or all of the 2014 MUFON Symposium, despair no more, the Proceedings and DVDs are now available at the MUFON Store for your viewing pleasure. Don’t make the same mistake twice. Make your plans now to attend the 2015 MUFON Symposium in Southern California. Details will be forthcoming shortly. I look forward to seeing you there!