‘Nobody laughs at them’: UFO believers will gather near Pittsburgh on Saturday

The truth is out there … in Greensburg.

Ted Van Pelt / Flickr
Sarah Anne Hughes

The people of Pennsylvania are “very open” to UFOs and paranormal topics, according to John Ventre, director of the state chapter of the Mutual UFO Network.

“The media,” he said, “is not.”

MUFON’s Pennsylvania chapter will hold its ninth area conference in Greensburg this Saturday. It’s a space where people who have seen something can say something without fear of ridicule.

“Our goal is to make it comfortable to report what they’ve seen. Nobody laughs at them,” Ventre said.

This year’s speakers include Stanton Friedman, a physicist-turned-UFO investigator, and former Allegheny County Commissioner Bob Cranmer, who wrote a book about the exorcism of his previously haunted Brentwood home. Ventre will speak about his research into the Kecksburg, Pa. UFO crash in the 1960s.

The nonprofit also holds annual conferences in Erie and the Philadelphia area. Ventre said around 300 people usually attend each of the conferences, and some of them share their own experiences with UFOs.

“A lot of people have seen stuff,” he said. Ten MUFON investigators will be in attendance Saturday to take reports.

Ventre said 38 MUFON investigators handle six to seven cases a week statewide. Of those cases, about two per week are reported in Southwestern Pa., where there are five or six investigators, he said. There’s a need for more, and MUFON hopes to recruit new investigators at the conference.

There are “more cases than people [who] are willing to do them,” Ventre said.

The conferences began in 2008, Ventre said, after “a very large UFO wave across the state.”

Ten years from now, he hopes MUFON doesn’t have to do them anymore. By that time, he wants to know what exactly is behind these sightings.

“Nobody really has the proof,” he said. “Every theory you can think of has been proposed. I cannot tell you which one is really correct.”

Ten years from now, Ventre said he hopes “we’ve figured it out.”

“We’re not speculating.”