Category Archives: UFO investigation

Videos on Brown Mountain, Road to Nowhere, and Cumberland Gap Tunnel


I had meant to get to Brown Mountain in North Carolina last month but couldn’t fit in the time for days away, so I did a few one-day trips nearer.  I’ll try to visit it in the early Spring 2016 after daylight savings returns and snow is melted.

I visited the general area in July 2013, driving through the Smokies from Charlotte and Hickory to (eventually) Oak Ridge, TN.  I drove up NC 226, the next highway to the West.  The pictures here are a close as I got to Brown Mountain.  Had I known more about the subject then, I would have chosen the 181 route.


Brown Mountain is a ridge that extends somewhat perpendicular to the Blue Ridge, on the county line between Burke and Caldwell counties.  Linville Gorge is to the north, and the nearest town is Morganton, with a viewing overlook on Highway 181.  It’s a fairly easy drive for people in the Charlotte area, and the server farms of Apple and Google, around Hickory, are not far away.

The ridge typically runs around 2800 feet, with many sharp rocks and crags.  It somewhat resembles Old Rag in Virginia (80 miles from Washington DC), which has a similar relationship to the Blue Ridge by jutting out to the southeast.  The lights, which may have a reddish hue (like a “red shift”) often appear below the ridge top and may rise above somewhat, but they are usually not “high in the sky” like most UFO sightings.

There is a local cable TV episode in “Carl White’s Life in the Carolinas” called “The Mystery of the Brown Mountain Lights” (21 minutes without commercials), by LITCTV, from March 2015.

This episode cuts through the UFO myths and gets to the science.  The most likely explanation is that magnetite and certain forms of quartz (which has pizo-electric properties) occur together in the same area.  Heavy rain can dissolve tannic acid in fallen leaves.  The resulting reactions seem to release phosphorescent gas (with some sulfur compounds) which some say can resembled ball lightning (which normally would occur only in thunderstorms, not in the late fall when these lights are most likely to be seen).

Quartz (including blue quartz) and Magnetite occur in many locations in the Piedmont and Blue Ridge and valleys in both Virginia and North Carolina, but not usually in exactly the same place, as is the case on Brown Mountain.  Another area with similar deposits may be the Blue Ridge east of Wytheville VA, another area with supposed UFO sightings (especially in the late 1980s).  The Appomattox area NE of Lynchburg may be another such location.  Roberts Mountain SW if Charlotteville may have attracted the Monroe Institute as a location for similar reasons.  This sort of “pseudo-ball-lightning”, which seems harmless, may sometimes be seen at other locations in both states.

The Brown Mountain lights became the subject of a film “Alien Abduction” by Matty Beckerman, reviewed by me on Blogger in Aug. 2014, here.

Another attraction in the “Tarheel State” is “The Road to Nowhere: Abandoned Mountain Tunnel“, itself the subject of a mystery film by Monte Hellman, reviewed by me in July 2012 here.  This was an unfinished highway project near Bryson City NC and Lake Fontana, itself a location in “A Walk in the Woods” (by Kewn Kwapis, review link).   A filmmaker (who sponsors “Adam the Woo” on Tumblr) has a walk through the tunnel at the end of an obscure road.  It looks like it is about 3000 feet long (a little shorter than the Paw-Paw tunnel on the C&O Canal in Maryland, and much shorter than the Pennsylvania Turnpike tunnels).

Finally, let me share the fact that I visited the Cumberland Gap in February 1990, 500 miles from DC, in a rental car from Johnson City TN, on a gratuitous weekend trip.  That was before the tunnel on 25E was finished.  The construction of a tunnel, at 1600 feet elevation, to go under a 500 foot ridge seems gratuitous, when you consider that the Pennsylvania Turnpike took out the Sideling Hill, Rays Hill, and Laurel Hill tunnels in the 60s, and may take out Allegheny Mountain by 2020 (story).  In Maryland, officials made a 350 foot cut in Sideling Hill rather than build a tunnel on I-68 near Hancock MD. I prefer tunnels to “mountaintop removal”.



Here’s the “Cumberland Gap Tunnel”, simultaneous north and south approaches, filmed by Michael Kincaid.

(Published Wednesday Nov. 4, 2015 at 1 PM EST)

“Alien Interview”, rogue video of 1989 (and 1957) interviews with captured “aliens” leaves questions open


I came across a rogue YouTube video, slightly over an hour, called “Alien Interview” (or “The Is a Real Interview with an Actual Gray Alien“),  published in 2013, apparently directed by Art Bell. The film sounds like it has NatGeo footage.


For most of the film, someone whose face is blacked out named “Victor” describes an interview somewhere at Area 51 with a captured alien in 1989.  There is reference to an earlier such interview around 1957, some years after the Roswell incident in 1947.

Victor seems to believe that the beings view the body as a temporary repository for consciousness that lives forever, maybe in other dimensions (like “angels” or “devils”).

Giving some credibility to the claim is the apparent incident in 1989 where South Africa reportedly intercepted a crashed saucer and shipped specimens to both Wright Patterson in Ohio and to Area 51.

The alien shown in the film seems to be the elongated head-only shot of what could be a puppet.  The 1957 alien body in black-and-white is full and comports to the popular idea of a “gray”.

There are well-know versions of the Roswell “Alien Autopsy” also.

It’s well to mention a few of the more important commercial films on the subject  These include “Roswell” (1994)by Arthur Kopit, and “The UFO Incident” (1975), by Richard A. Colla, about Betty and Barney Hill, “Fire in the Sky” (1993), by Robert Lieberman, about the Travis Walton abduction in Arizona in 1975 based on Walton’s book, and “Communion” (1989), by Phillippe Mora, with Christopher Walken playing author Whitley Strieber.

In May 2000, I drove along the Extraterrestrial Highway, state route 375, heading west from US 93, about 100 miles due north of Las Vegas, Nevada.  I stopped at the UFO shop (“Little A’len’in”) in Rachel, Nevada. I didn’t really see anything “suspicious”.

My own perception is that the depiction of aliens as “grays” is a bit trite.  The idea that an alien could look and act and perform as one of us (like the teenager Clark Kent in “Smallville”) is a lot more challenging.


Little A’Le’Inn Rachel NV 2” by Cooper, in Wiki Commons known as 18:45, 7 August 2006 (UTC) – scanned from own paper print. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Commons.

One of the casinos in Las Vegas does have a small Area 51 exhibit.


Wikipedia attribution link for image (owned by X51) of  “No photography” sign on border of Area 51, under Creative Commons 3.0 share alike license.

(Published Friday Oct. 23, 2015 at 3:45 PM EDT.)


I “almost” see a fibbie (?) remote viewing center for ET’s; books and films on aliens; remembering Dan Fry and Understanding


Yesterday, I was returning from Lynchburg, VA on US-29, and got curious about checking the “Monroe Institute” that is mentioned in the 1996 book “Cosmic Voyage: A Scientific Discovery of Extraterrestrials Visiting Earth”, by Courtney Brown, published by Dutton.


The books describes a process called “remote viewing” with astral projection, which is accomplished by a variety of spiritual disciplines and meditation. It goes on to describe the idea that there was a civilization on Mars billions of years ago, before a tragedy (the planet lost its magnetic field and most of its atmosphere). They seemed to have some powers that we don’t have. I have some more detailed comments on my own DADT site here.


Brown suggested in 1996 that the federal government and some private interests had set up a property called the Monroe Institute at Faber, VA. Now, it happens that country road 632, about 15 miles south of the Charlottesville bypass, is called Faber Road, and it leads to a baseball field and some unusual, secluded homes and estates. For all I know, there could be an “intentional community” there. However, I checked Google Maps, much more modern today than it was a decade ago, and found that the address given by the web site is actually on the west side of US 29 (on Roberts Mountain) and not on 632. The site has some photographs of the property, which you can view here. I’ll try looking for it again another time. It appears to be a private facility where you pay for extended stays (but that is how intentional communities, like Twin Oaks and Acorn, maybe 40 miles to the east (but still in the Piedmont) from there, work). It might be more like Lama Foundation in New Mexico (which I visited in 1980 and 1984 – origin of “Be Here Now” by Ram Das) but I’ll have to look into it further.

If in fact, humankind (and maybe all of life, or at least animal life) was seeded from Mars (or Venus before runaway greenhouse effect a billion years ago) or from any other solar system some light years away, it raises another question. If a person like “Clark Kent” really did exist, would he have all the legal rights of personhood? What it his DNA gave full human functionality and appearance (perhaps superior functionality in some areas) but could not produce a child when mated with a human? (Or perhaps he produces a “Rosemary’s Baby”.) Would Clark legally be human? Would he be protected by the law? The next time you see a teenager disappear (dematerialize) and reappear instantly in another location, ask yourself.

The “dadt” link above also reviews a book “The Day After Roswell” (1997, Pocket Books), by Philip Corso, who claims that the Cold War was really a guise for building a defense against aliens, like in the 1996 film “Independence Day” where a president Bill Pullman (a David Lynch actor) plays hero. Don’t forget that Paramount made a TV film of “Roswell” in 1994. And Minnesota-based director Timothy B. Johnson (whom I met in 2000 while living in Minneapolis) directed “Six Days in Roswell”.

In 1975, while living in New York City, I learned about an organization founded by Dan Fry, “Understanding”. I found out about it from a pamphlet at a vendor on 86th St as I left a movie theater. I visited the area in Arizona of Travis Walton’s abduction (Robert Liebeman’s film “Fire in the Sky” for Paramount in 1993) near the Mogollon Rim in Arizona, and met a journalist who totally believed the story. I tracked down the “saucer city” at Tonopah just off I-10 40 miles west of Phoenix and met the Fry’s. This was December, 1975, when it was unusually cold for low desert Arizona. I would attend conventions at Understanding in October 1976, 1977, April 1978, and (in Upton CA), the fall of 1979. The 1978 convention was called “Man in Space”. I remember a speaker who warned that one coke of coffee could destroy one’s psychic abilities. We believe we saw a real UFO at night in the 1978 convention.

The Understanding property seems to have disappeared; there is a cotton plantation there now.

Daniel Fry’s life and works are presented on a website in his memory, here.

His best known book (self-published) is “To Men of Earth”. (based on “The White Sands Incident”).  Fry claims that while he was in the military and stationed in New Mexico, he was abducted in the desert and introduced to a young man named “Alan” who would then appear on Earth and function like a regular person. “Alan” met messenger. Fry would get fake documents for him, and help him get a job. This could make an interesting film if someone wanted to try making it. It’s a little more subtle than “The Day the Earth Stood Still” (both versions).

Another book was “Atoms, Galaxies and Understanding”. Fry claimed that the results from the first 1976 Viking lander on Mars might really have indicated life.

I helped sponsor a unit of Understanding in New York City. In early May, 1976, about 40 people came to a meeting in my small apartment in the Cast Iron Building “between the Villages”. One member was transsexual (female to male) and claimed to have been abducted somewhere near Harriman Park NY (40 miles N of Manhattan off the Thruway) in the mid 1970s.

Published: Tuesday, May 6, 2014, at 10 PM EDT.  The third picture is a bizarre strip mine for sand east of US 29 near Faber.