Editor’s note: This is the second of a three-part series about “Unidentified Flying Objects” or “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena” reported in the night sky over the White Mountains.
TUCSON — Don Woodward’s reports of seeing many unidentified flying objects over the White Mountains have been investigated by the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON).
MUFON is a US-based nonprofit organization composed of civilian volunteers who study reported UFO sightings. It is one of the oldest and largest organizations of its kind, claiming more than 4,000 members worldwide with chapters and representatives in more than 43 countries and all 50 states.
Woodward, 83, reports closely detailed sightings of a “triangle pattern” of UFOs and their “mother ship” flying in the area for more than 200 nights in the past year.
Diane Gleason, MUFON field investigator and Star Team Member based in Tucson, told the Independent she believes Woodward’s reports are true.
“MUFON is a very odd creature in the fact that we have very distinct guidelines on how we close cases. If you have even a 10% chance that you can identify it, you have to go with identified. That’s how it works. In this case I did close it as identified,” Gleason said.
She said after speaking with Woodward and J.D. Zinke (who has also seen the flying objects with Woodward), she found at least the required 10% chance to support a single one of the many sightings.
“We can only investigate the incident that was reported. The other cases can inform what happened, but you can only investigate the case that you are investigating. I didn’t have much to go on. I didn’t have another witness. I didn’t have any photos,” she said.
“I think he may have been seeing an astronomical thing with Venus but I’m not sure. I have no way of knowing. He may have seen some unusual things. That is entirely possible,” Gleason said.
The MUFON field investigator said the federal government’s recent release of information about UFO sightings has created a lot of excitement.
“We will see where they go with it. I think the idea of establishing a commission to have a look at it in-depth is a good idea. There is a decent chance that they know a whole lot more than they are saying. This is kind of a way of introducing it to the public. We have never had the government this direct. At first I thought there must be something big coming that they can’t control. They are trying to manage it. So far we haven’t seen anything big,” Gleason said, adding, “I’m a scientist and have been investigating these things a very long time now. I am really happy to see it becoming more mainstream. That means there will be more science done on it.”
Gleason said Arizona is always among the top-10 states for UFO activity. She believes this has a lot to do with heavy military operations and training across the state.