Are we alone in the cosmos? This question has bedeviled mankind since the dawn of time. Norm Gagnon, a seasoned paranormal investigator in nearby northern Virginia, and occasional speaker at Maryland’s annual Mysteries of Space & Sky Conference, admits there are no easy answers. But Gagnon believes that, by carefully piecing together eyewitness testimony and tangible evidence, certain conclusions begin to emerge.
“I am a licensed private investigator in the state of Virginia. I began seriously investigating UFO’s in 2004, when I joined the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON). Since then, I have investigated some 150 different cases. In the 1990’s, I was a paranormal investigator or a “ghost hunter” if you will, but I moved away from that field when I saw the way some television shows staged paranormal investigation events; setting buildings on fire and so forth. That was the point where I decided to focus my attention on UFO’s.”
Did Gagnon have an interest in UFO’s prior to signing on with MUFON?
“Yes, I’ve been interested in UFO’s most of my life. I’m in my mid-50’s, so I grew up watching shows like Star Trek and Lost in Space; science fiction films of that sort. As a teen, I did a science fair project on UFO’s in the 1940’s, complete with newspaper clippings and a model I had built. But again, I didn’t start investigating specific cases til I joined the Virginia chapter of MUFON in 2004.”
Gagnon said that most of the cases he has investigated have striking similarities with only minor differences in the details, noting, “A lot of the time, it is only lights in the sky performing outrageous maneuvers which cannot be done by any known aircraft.”
We asked Gagnon to walk us through a typical UFO investigation.
“I don’t like to use the term UFO to describe a craft. UFO to me simply means Unidentified Flying Object. Most of the cases we receive globally are reported online at MUFON.com. People can go there and look for the link to report a sighting. The state director will notify a local investigator. Sometimes I will get two cases at a time. Depending on the type of case, I will get this call within 24-72 hours. From there, I will either make telephone calls or solicit email interviews. If there is any potential trace evidence, such as residual marks left by a craft hovering above or touching down on the ground, I’ll go to the site. Those are the cases I particularly like. I always ask the witnesses not to touch anything until we can get there to take measurements, photographs and soil samples. We want to make sure if there is any radiation present, the levels are safe. Those cases are rare, but I do 1-2 of them a year.”
Gagnon recalled one investigation where extreme heat seemed to leave discernable evidence.
“A man who reported seeing a UFO said he was standing on his porch one night, when a diamond-shaped object lit up the night sky and raced directly above him, before disappearing behind a grove of trees maybe 1000 yards away. The heat was so intense the man could feel it on the left side of his face. Another investigator and I surveyed the area and we did find an oak tree with a lot of wilted branches. I’m not saying the craft in question caused the damage to the tree, but we did take pictures, along with some samples and included this information in my final report.
“Of course, some will say, ‘You should have gotten a tree doctor to look at the oak to be sure there was no disease or infestation; things like that.’ But being a volunteer organization, we are limited in time, manpower and money. There are a lot of things I would like to do which are just not feasible. I simply gather what evidence I can, put my report together, and leave it to others to speculate what the evidence suggests. I’m not someone who will say, ‘This thing came from Venus’ because I don’t know. There are plenty of people out there making such outrageous claims.”
MUFON Virginia currently has four dedicated investigators. Gagnon says he often sees former police and military at MUFON meetings. Some express interest in joining, but for one reason or another, never follow through.
“These are the kind of people we would really like to see out in the field. People who know how to ask penetrating questions and observe. People who have experience in and around traditional aircraft. We do have one former Air Force pilot (Victor B. Rodriguez) who is very sharp at describing the aerodynamics of reported objects, noting what is feasible for man-made aircraft and what is not.”
When asked if any particular case stands out in his mind, Gagnon quickly cited a Danville, Virginia investigation which he said sounded like, “Something out of a science fiction film”.
Here is the case summation by Gagnon as submitted to MUFON:
MUFON STI ID# 10061 – Norman Gagnon
CASE#: 57661 – Danville, VA
LONGITUDE/LATITUDE: -79.434062, 36.566832
SYNOPSIS: 3 flying saucers seen exiting an aerial funnel/vortex after a 4th of July event.
OBJECT DESCRIPTION: Classic style flying saucers with multicolor, rotating lights at the bottom.
WEATHER INFORMATION: Temp: 75.0°F, Humidity 40%, Winds speed 6.9 mph from the North, Visibility 10.0 miles, clear.
ACCOUNT – REPORT DATE: 07/16/14: At approximately 10:15 PM, after enjoying the 4th of July fireworks at their neighborhood pavilion, “Lily” and her husband drove back to their home which was just a few miles away. Before long, they pulled off West Main Street to park their car. Once inside, after a short walk down the hall and past her living room window, Lily’s attention was diverted outside and up to the night sky, as she observed what appeared to be a classic flying saucer that swiftly whooshed over her house! Bewildered by this, she quickly turned her head to see where this object came from and was mystified to see a dark, ominous cloud swirling above her area, much like a cyclone. This funnel seems to have had random bursts of multi-hued lights pulsating within its core then suddenly, two more saucers ruptured out of its vortex, one after the other – both trailing the same flight path over her house and out of her sight.
Lily: “First I saw one flying saucer with rotating multicolor lights underneath, then two more flying saucers with the same multicolor lights underneath flew out of it. They disappeared one by one over my rooftop flying southwest…it only lasted a few seconds, maybe 15. Then the hole closed and the sky looked normal again.” The fleeting emergence of these UFOs did not affect the home’s electricity or electronic equipment and her three cats did not react negatively during this event. Her husband did not witness this sighting.
Lily: “My husband was very excited but this is not the first time he hears me tell him about UFOs sightings. I think he’s more scared than anything else. He had an “experience” when he was a teenager, with a close friend of his they witness some object in the sky and a huge beam of light as they were out late at night at a public park in Brooklyn, NY. They told the science teacher at their Catholic school but were detered from going any further.” Lily also added that she has seen these ships before, ever since she was a child and they feel familiar to her.
[POST CASE] January 21, 2015: Lily: “As I had mentioned before, my husband did not witness the vortex sighting but about a week later, we both saw a very high flying multicolor lights UFO doing “pirouettes”. It lasted long enough for him to doubt what he was seeing, but he is reluctant to admit he is sure it was a UFO but knows a plane could not do that kind of flying. I spoke with a couple of neighbors/friends at that time, one of them saw multicolor random lights in the sky but did not pay much attention to them. I did not press any further. We relocated back to New York in October of last year (2014). Sorry I cannot be of more help, but I am completely certain of what I saw: Three flying saucers coming out of a tunnel/funnel like hole in the sky.”
Gagnon allowed that, in the natural world, Lily’s description does not make any sense. But in the world of the paranormal, almost anything is possible.
“These things seem to appear and then disappear at lightning speed. Some think of this as when on Star Trek the ships goes into warp speed. But in our world, the idea of wormholes makes a lot more sense to me. Physicists don’t want to deal with that out of fear of being ridiculed, but I have had scientists tell me off the record there is a lot of stuff happening which defies explanation. I’ve also had policemen, Secret Service members, pilots who have flown F-16s, all say, ‘Don’t use my name, but here is what I saw’.
“When you have an F-16 pilot say he saw something traveling ten times faster than his jet, you listen.”
Gagnon stressed the importance of listening with an open mind, but we asked if he has drawn any conclusions from his work.
“I’m not someone who would point at a galaxy or name any planet. But I know from my investigations, there is intelligence behind these phenomena. I personally lean towards these being interdimensional encounters because, to me, it doesn’t make sense that intelligent beings would travel millions of miles to land on earth, wave, ‘Here I am!’ and then take off.
“Some friends in the field speculate that these are time travelers. I cannot prove that, though for fans of science fiction, I can see the appeal. What I can say is these are highly advanced vehicles being piloted by intelligent beings. These are not weather-related disturbances or ‘anomalous light phenomena’ as they say in the United Kingdom. They fly, they stop and they start and then they just disappear.
“I cannot prove these events have actually happened, but I trust the credibility of the eyewitnesses I’ve encountered.”
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Mysteries of Space & Sky: 2016 takes place on Saturday, October 22 from 9:30am – 6:00pm at the Bowie Elks Lodge No 2309, 1506 Defense Hwy. Gambrills, MD 21054. Information about cost and this year’s speakers may be found online at Eventbrite by visiting Mysteries of Space & Sky: 2016.
Anthony C. Hayes is an actor, author, raconteur, rapscallion and bon vivant. A one-time newsboy for the Evening Sun and professional presence at the Washington Herald, Tony’s poetry, photography, humor, and prose have also been featured in Smile, Hon, You’re in Baltimore!, Destination Maryland, Magic Octopus Magazine, Los Angeles Post-Examiner, Voice of Baltimore, SmartCEO, Alvarez Fiction, and Tales of Blood and Roses. If you notice that his work has been purloined, please let him know. As the Good Book says, “Thou shalt not steal.”