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Aliens: Really Now, How Likely Are They? If They Exist How Likely is it They'd be Friendly?

Who hasn't looked up at the immense black night sky and wondered if other life is looking back? Those who attended the 6th Annual UFO Festival in McMinnville, Oregon (if you're interested, you just missed it on May 12) sure have. The festival attracts everyone from serious alien aficionados to those who just want to enter their dog in the alien pet costume contest or watch the alien parade.

The keynote speaker at the event was Roger Leir, a California podiatrist who says he's performed 11 surgeries to remove alien implants from those who have been abducted. He's written five books on the topic and also worked as a consultant for the TV show X-Files.

When asked about the strangest thing he's ever found in a person, he replied in an interview in Salem, Oregon's Statesman Journal:

"There is one that really blew me away, even now when I think of it. There was a lady who came in, she had a marble-sized object in her arm that moved. And if you put your finger 2 inches away from it, it would come toward your finger. When we removed it, it was a pea-sized yellow object that was completely biological. It was not attached to anything. Now, I've done surgery for over 40 years, and I've never seen anything like it."


This photo, taken by Paul Trent on May 11, 1950 near McMinnville, Oregon, remains one of the most mysterious UFO photos of all time.

The annual UFO festival is held in McMinnville for a very specific reason: It was near this town, on May 11, 1950, that Evelyn Trent reported seeing a strange metallic object in the sky while outside feeding her rabbits, then yelled for her husband, Paul, to come outside. He snapped the two photos (see at right) that became some of the most famous, and controversial, UFO photos of all time.

Today a solid conclusion has yet to be made, with experts on either side proving and disproving the authenticity of the photos. Bruce Maccabee, an optical physicist and active UFO researcher who analyzed the photos, may have summed it up best:

"There have been a lot of such events, but this was of particular interest because of the clarity of the photos. Without the photos, it would have been just another sighting by some people, but the Trent case stands out because these photos are so clear that it's either the real thing or a hoax."

Do Aliens Exist?

How likely is it that aliens really exist, and if they do, are they the hostile type like those in the films "Alien" and "Independence Day" and H.G. Wells' classic novel "The War of the Worlds," or are they the friendly type, like in E.T.?

When a radio version of The War of the Worlds was broadcast in 1938 by Orson Welles, thousands of people called the police and fled their homes, convinced that Martians were indeed invading the earth. (If you've seen any of the trailers for the upcoming Steven Spielberg film The War of the Worlds that is based on the book, it sure doesn't look like the police would have been of much help!) Back then, at least, it seems that many Americans were open to the idea of extraterrestrials, but what about today?

According to the 2002 Roper Poll, commissioned by the SciFi Channel, 74 percent of Americans believe they are "at least somewhat psychologically prepared for an official government announcement regarding the discovery of intelligent extraterrestrial life."

Interestingly, though, 72 percent of Americans don't think the government has released everything they know about UFO activity to the public, and 68 percent think the government may be keeping some knowledge of extraterrestrial life secret.

Alien Autopsy

This is a reported picture of a Roswell alien taken during the autopsy

Roswell: Did the Government Find Aliens?

What comes to mind first when it comes to the government and aliens? The Roswell Incident. It's alleged that aliens crashed near Roswell, New Mexico in July 1947, the government picked these aliens up, performed an alien autopsy and have been hiding their existence ever since (a number of civilians reportedly witnessed the dead and injured alien bodies at the time of the crash).

In July 1994, a member of congress request prompted the General Accounting Office (GAO) to make an inquiry to the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force to investigate these claims. The U.S. Air Force concluded that the reported "aliens" were actually "anthropomorphic test dummies" carried by high-altitude balloons for scientific research, and the "unusual military activities" observed in the New Mexico desert were related to the launch and recovery of these balloons.

However, there are still those who believe the aliens were real, including Frank Kaufmann, now in his 80s, who witnessed the event. According to a CNN report, Kaufmann, " ... Still insists he saw dead aliens put into body bags after their spacecraft crashed near the town 50 years ago."

As for whether or not aliens are likely to be hostile, Roger Leir doesn't think we need to worry. "If they were hostile, they would have eaten us a long time ago. UFO sightings go back thousands of years. They've had plenty of opportunity to get rid of us if they wanted," he says.

If Extraterrestrial Life Exists, We'll Know in 20 Years

That's right. According to Seth Shostak, senior astronomer at the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute in Mountain View, California, signs of intelligent life in space will be found in 20 years if any exist.

This is the amount of time the researchers will need to finish analyzing radio signals from 100 billion stars. SETI has already spent four decades searching for intelligent life via radio waves, and so far have found nothing.


Are these strange lights over Worcestershire, England (taken in July 2003) UFOs, or is there another explanation?

But says Shostak, according to a formula that involves factors such as how many stars with planets are out there, and how many might contain life at an advanced stage, there should be between 10,000 and 1 million aliens transmitting signals.

And he's not the only one who believes life is likely to exist outside of earth. James Gardner, a lawyer and scientist who's come up with a new theory of evolution he calls the "selfish biocosm," believes the universe if full of life.

"Intelligent life is, in essence, the reproductive organ of the cosmos," said Gardner. He lists three reasons why the universe is a life-friendly one:

  • The big bang occurred at just the right pace to allow the universe to expand at a pace suitable for life to evolve (with too much force, it would have collapsed).

  • Carbon, necessary for life and intelligence, is easily made in the universe.

  • The universe has a three-dimensional structure that allows life to exist.

"Collectively this stunning set of circumstances renders the universe eerily fit for life and intelligence," Gardner said.

But for now, the mystery of whether we're alone in this vast universe is up to you to decide. Take a look at the sky, watch some alien movies, catch next year's UFO festival (there's also a Roswell UFO festival, July 1-4, 2005), or whatever you feel is necessary. As for us at Sixwise, if aliens do exist, we're rooting for the E.T. versus The War of the Worlds type!

Recommended Reading

Muons Will Be Used to Protect You from Terrorist Attacks

Dreamwork: The 5 Important Lessons of Dreams & How to Learn Them


Statesman Journal May 12, 2005

National Geographic News

UFO Evidence: Public Opinion Polls on UFOs

Air Force News Special: Roswell Report

CNN: Roswell 'Aliens' Were Crash Dummies

UFO Casebook

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