Gold plaques embossed with winged bee goddesses, perhaps the Thriai, found at Camiros in Rhodes, 7th century B.C. MUFON Maryland Director Teresa Tindal believes there may be a connection between mythological creatures and modern extraterrestrials. (Public Domain)
On March 10, 2018, at 11:57 p.m., a Maryland witness at Manchester – sitting inside his house near a deck door – reported watching a low-flying, triangle-shaped object with a red blinking light in front and white lights at the back, bottom, and sides. The man was able to video this encounter. (Testimony in Case 90710 from the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) witness reporting database.)
At about 8:32 p.m. on June 9, 2018 a Maryland witness at Alexandria reported watching a self-illumination, missile-shaped object moving rapidly 50 feet over a bridge. (Testimony in Case 92619 from the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) witness reporting database.)
On September 13, 2017, at 8:35 p.m., a Maryland witness at Boonsboro reported watching a low flying, blimp-shaped object. According to the witness, the object – which was moving silently through the air – “looked like a football field size and was really low to the ground.” (Testimony in Case 86700 from the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) witness reporting database.)
You may not always see stories about UFOs on the local evening news, but for Teresa Tindal – State Director of MUFON Maryland – events such as these are pieces of an ever-growing puzzle. It’s a puzzle that Tindal believes will someday be the ultimate societal game-changer. Tindal will be addressing several aspects of the UFO phenomena in Gambrills, Maryland this Saturday, at the 2019 Mysteries of Space and Sky Conference. We recently caught up with Tindal to discuss her career in the field of UFOlogy and to learn about the work of MUFON Maryland.
BPE: Thank you for taking some time from your busy schedule. I understand you’re in the middle of a move?
Tindal: Yes, we are. We’ve moved to offices in the National Press Building. Right now, I’m in the process of unpacking boxes. I believe, once we are settled in, we will have the largest collection of UFO-related books in Washington DC.
BPE: These are offices for the Disclosure Project? Will MUFON Maryland be in there as well?
Tindal: No, they will be separate. I am the Maryland Director for MUFON, which is a separate endeavor that I’ve taken on. I partnered with Steve Bassett of the Paradigm Research Group. You probably know that he did the Citizen’s Disclosure Hearings. That was a pretty remarkable event. I think it will go down in history.
We’re also involved in a new project called The Disclosure Wire. It will be the only video podcast to cover the disclosure efforts from Washington, DC. We are both registered lobbyists on the extraterrestrial issue. In fact, I am the second registered lobbyist and the first woman registered on this issue. So we’re very excited about this project.
BPE: How did you get involved in the UFO field?
Tindal: Well, when I was 10 years old, I actually saw a UFO. And it changed my life forever.
BPE: Please tell us about that encounter.
Tindal: I was living in Tucson, Arizona at the time, so it wasn’t associated with the Phoenix Lights. That event occurred in 1997. My encounter happened in 1989.
What I saw was kind of atypical for a UFO sighting. I saw a gold disc. It didn’t have lights – it didn’t do anything crazy. But seeing it close profoundly changed me.
BPE: Was this a daylight sighting?
Tindal: It was actually around sunset. The sun was just behind the line of houses in my neighborhood. It was still daylight, so I saw it very clearly.
BPE: Did anyone else in the area report seeing anything?
Tindal: I don’t know if anyone reported anything. I ran next door to get my best friend. It was spectacular, and I wanted her to see it as well. It took her grandma a while to come to the door and then get my friend to come out with me. But she was able to see it too, even though by that time, it was off in the distance. It was moving from west to east but not at a high rate of speed.
BPE: When you use the term UFO, most people think of something other-worldly – men from Mars and such. For the sake of our readers, would you explain exactly what a UFO is and is not?
Tindal: Oh, you’ve hit on a really good point here. In the world of UFOlogy, terminology has always been an issue. As of yet, there has not been an academic study or an agreed-upon nomenclature for this stuff.
UFO is actually an older term. We’ve moved on to using UAP – Unidentified Aerial Phenomena. It simply just means whatever it is, it’s unidentified. I hope that helps answer the question.
BPE: Well, obviously, after 70 years of using “UFO”, changing the terminology – while perhaps being more on point – would tend to confuse the casual reader. Why do that?
Tindal: I don’t want to speculate too much here, but I think one of the goals is to reduce the stigma. As you just said, we have over 70 years of using the designation “UFO”. That’s a very loaded term with a lot of stigma involved. By changing the term, you reduce the stigma, and that encourages people to acknowledge that these sightings – whatever they are – are very real.
BPE: Would you touch briefly on your educational background?
Tindal: Sure, I have a B.S. in psychology. I started out as a biology major, then hit organic chemistry and didn’t have the maturity for follow-through.
BPE: Let’s transport ourselves from Arizona to Maryland and talk about your efforts to resurrect the MUFON Maryland chapter. Is it true that you took over a chapter that was inactive for a number of years?
Tindal: Yes and no. Maryland was always taking cases, but the person taking those cases moved to Florida, and they didn’t have an active field investigation team. There was no one here to do outreach or hold monthly meetings. So, it has been a great pleasure to step into the role of Maryland Director and find that people have confidence in me. Since starting here, the Maryland chapter has just grown exponentially. It really has been very exciting.
BPE: You have monthly meetings?
BPE: Are we talking about meeting here in Baltimore? Rockville? Frederick? Ocean City???
Tindal: Well, that has been something of an issue. We started out at On The Border in Bowie. They have a very nice enclosed patio they would let us have for free, but within the first three months, we outgrew that space. Finding free meeting space anywhere in this area is difficult. One of our members belongs to the American Legion, so our last meeting was held at the Legion Hall in Crownsville. They were very generous to us, so we hope to meet there for the foreseeable future.
BPE: How many people attended your last meeting?
Tindal: Over 50 people.
BPE: How many active field investigators do you have?
Tindal: I don’t have the number off the top of my head, but we’ve been adding new field investigators every month, and that has been really exciting. Remember, this is all volunteer work, so to see that level of enthusiasm here has been wonderful.
BPE: Does being a member of MUFON carry any kind of stigma?
Tindal: What do you mean?
BPE: I mean the old school perception that people who follow UFO stories are wearing tin hats.
Tindal: Um, no, and that’s why being the Maryland Director is so exciting. I’m sure you are aware of the recent Navy revelations.
BPE: Yes, the stories and films of unexplained phenomena from pilots on the Nimitz and the Theodore Roosevelt. Do you have friends in Annapolis that could get you onto one of those carriers?
Tindal: (laughing) I wish I did! But one of the great things about being here in Maryland is we have an extremely educated core of members. Very diverse, very educated, with a wide array of backgrounds. That’s a real pleasure.
BPE: Isn’t it correct that when you talk about field investigators, these are people who, by virtue of the phenomena, may be doing interviews in cases where there is no physical evidence?
Tindal: Yes, that is often the case. A lot of times you’re simply working with witness testimony. If we’re lucky, we get good pictures and video. The real thing here is looking at the patterns. One thing that becomes evident very quickly is that there are patterns – not just here in Maryland – but across the United States and around the world. I don’t care what sort of reasons the debunkers come up with, if this wasn’t real, I don’t think those patterns would be consistent. And that’s something scientists look for – they look for patterns. It’s in all the literature on the subject, and we certainly see it here with MUFON Maryland.
BPE: What kind of patterns are you seeing here in Maryland?
Tindal: One of the things we’re getting word of here are a lot of unidentifiable triangles. And when we do our interviews – either with individuals or entire families – these people are genuinely shaken. They all say the same thing: It’s something they have never seen before, they are extremely shaken about it, and they need to talk with someone about what they saw. They want to report it.
BPE: We recently ran a story about a local man who had an encounter with a Bigfoot sort of creature. He maintained that what he witnessed had a discernible spiritual quality to it. Is this something that comes up in interviews with people who have seen UFOs?
Tindal: Absolutely, and we had a speaker at one of our meetings who talked specifically about that subject. For a lot of people who have witnessed something like this, it becomes a journey of discovery. They want to know what they saw. And that’s understandable. All throughout human history, people have been reporting these kinds of experiences. They have been using different language or terminology; they may have been attributing it to different things.
It’s actually very exciting, because we’re at a point now where science, religion, and spirituality are sort of coming to an understanding. It’s as if they can honestly say to each other, “Ah, we finally understand what you’ve been saying. Now, we can talk with each other.”
BPE: A lot of my readers will retort, “Well, I don’t care what scientists and religionists say, I don’t believe in UFOs.” Could you point to one specific case here in Maryland as the most compelling case you’ve seen?
Tindal: Compelling in what way? From a scientific standpoint, you never hang your hat on just one case. Again, you look to see where the patterns emerge. Now, if you asking about one exciting case, there was a local man who reported that he and his entire family were returning home one night and saw a giant black triangle fly over their home. He said it was so upsetting that his two children ran into the house because they were so frightened.
BPE: Did this encounter fall into an area-specific pattern?
Tindal: I’d have to go back into the database and see if other reports came in from the same location.
Let me just say here that, in a lot of cases, what was seen can be identified. But there is that small percentage which cannot.
BPE: Do you have any idea how many cases are reported annually here in Maryland?
Tindal: On average, we get about three cases per month, which averages 36 cases a year. However, it’s not an equal distribution.
BPE: Is there a breakdown by the time of day or by season?
Tindal: That’s a question you’d have to ask my chief investigator. He oversees the minutia of all of our investigations. If you are interested, that’s a subject he’ll be speaking on at one of our upcoming meetings.
BPE: Are there any specific areas in Maryland that seem to be hotbeds for UFO activity?
Tindal: I’d say the coastline – both the Atlantic coastline and along the Chesapeake Bay.
BPE: What will you be speaking about at this weekend’s Mysteries of Space & Sky?
Tindal: Along with talking about my new television show, I’ll be addressing the history of mythological creatures as they relate to modern unexplainable experiences. The title for my talk this Saturday at Mysteries of Space & Sky is “Experiencers & Archetypes: Repeating Patterns Throughout History.”
People today, who identify themselves as experiencers, talk about encounters with insect-like creatures. Who’s going to make that up? That’s weird. Some of those experiences sound very bizarre, but when you look at the history of mythology, you see times where people actually worshiped insects, so having an encounter today with an insect-like creature fits into an archetype.
If one person was making that up, you might nod and then shake your head. But a lot of people are saying the same thing, so again, it fits into a pattern.
BPE: Is there anything you would like to add in closing?
Tindal: I just want to stress to your readers that what their neighbors are seeing is a very real phenomenon, with a history that goes back thousands of years. Our terminology may be different, but it’s no less real. And I think it’s something our military has been aware of for a long time. The question for the average person is, what will you do with that information? It really changes everything in our society – just the implications of the technology alone.
What the Navy pilots described is outside all the known laws of physics. That’s the future – that’s where we are going. I believe our children will live to see interstellar travel. The question is: When are we going to start preparing for that.
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Teresa Tindal will be addressing several aspects of the UFO phenomena this Saturday at the 2019 Mysteries of Space and Sky Conference. The all-day conference, which runs from 9:30 a.m — 5:30 p.m., will be held at: Bowie Elks Lodge No 2309, 1506 Defense Highway, Gambrills, MD 21054
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.”