Photographs aren’t the only items enclosed in the Post-Gazette’s archived folder labeled “Unidentified Flying Objects.”
Hundreds of tiny rocks lay at the bottom of this manilla folder, their origins unknown.
Maybe they’re space rocks. After all, Pittsburgh has a history of supposed “out of this world” encounters.
While all of the encounters produced different descriptions of aliens, spacecrafts, and even kidnappings, each reporter had one thing in common: all were positive that what they saw was real and (truly) out of this world.
Some reports remain more believable than others. Take Jane Allyson – a visiting New York UFO lecturer – for example, who claimed that she kept in contact with Cytron, a leather-skinned man who lives on the sun. Cytron, she reported in the 1980, could predict future events for planet earth such as global warming and warned about the dangers of nuclear devices. Allyson claimed that Cytron was right in his predictions “about 90 percent of the time.”
And then there were those with tangible proof of outer space visits. Elgar Brom of McKeesport reported in 1980 that “very tall, cinnamon-skinned humanoids from beyond Jupiter” made contact with her 42 times in the span of six years and left behind “blue dust” and undecipherable scroll.
Even “down-to-earth” types were questioned and absolutely swore by their stories. In 1968 a World War II veteran described a spacecraft swooping over a parking area in the middle of the night near his home in Carnegie. In response, he was mocked with questions such as, “Did the little green men wave back at you?” and “Where can I get some of that LSD?”
Both Allyson and Brom shared their stories at the First North American UFO & Space Expo at the Downtown YMCA. Pittsburgh was host to several major UFO conferences, lectures, and organizations in the 1970s and 1980s aimed at better understanding outer space encounters happening in both in the area and throughout the country.
Local scientist Stanton T. Friedman founded the downtown-based UFO Research Institute of Pittsburgh in 1968. The institute, which had more than 120 members in its inaugural year, served the purpose of researching any UFO sightings in the area, and challenged claims against studies that questioned the reality of UFOs.
Another Pittsburgh-based organization was the Westmoreland UFO Study Group, founded in 1970. It later expanded to the Pennsylvania Center for UFO Research, but was best known in the Pittsburgh area for its investigation surrounding both UFO and Bigfoot sightings around 1973.
Looking at the National UFO Reporting Center index (http://bit.ly/Xlis9h), UFOs continue to be reported on a daily basis in and around Pittsburgh to this day. In fact, there have been 65 reported UFO sightings in July 2014 in Western Pennsylvania.
However, just as reporting remains constant, speculation does as well.