Peter Davenport, director of the National UFO Reporting Center in Seattle, has received more phone calls than he cares to count that have an unusual opening: "Please believe me, I'm not crazy."
Davenport spoke Sunday at the Little Green Men Festival in Hopkinsville with tales of what he believes are some of the more fascinating, provable cases reported. The festival, at the Hopkinsville-Christian County Conference and Convention Center, commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Aug. 21, 1955, report of an alien invasion at Kelly.
After a lifetime of studying what many brush off as science fiction, Davenport feels certain that UFOs exist and have been witnessed on Earth, and second, that the government has known about them for decades.
"I have not just a mountain of data, perhaps a mountain range of data. And I assure you, it's strictly by accident," Davenport said. He has spent the last 11 years filing accounts and eyewitness reports of UFO sightings from a reporting center that consists of one phone, one fax, and one Web master, and is almost completely privately funded by Davenport and donations.
Davenport graduated from Stanford with degrees in Russian and biology and received his MBA in finance and international business. But, years before receiving a master's degree in genetics and biochemistry of fish, Davenport heard of the Kelly Green Men incident on the radio. The story from Kelly was one of several that piqued his interest in UFOs, which eventually led to his involvement in the National UFO Reporting Center.
Davenport said his perspective of UFO sightings took on a whole new dimension when he was 6-years-old on a July night in 1954. Davenport said that's when he, his mom and brother saw a strange object in the sky while at a drive-in theater on the edge of the St. Louis Airport.
"We didn't know it at the time, but my father, and people in the tower on the north side of the airport, were looking at the same object with their binoculars," he said. Davenport said the object was about the size of the moon, bright red like a traffic signal and slightly oval in shape. "And (it) stopped, almost stock-still, in the sky to the east of our location. People were getting out of their cars," Davenport said. "It was casting a red light ... all over the theater, all over the airport, as far as we could see."
Since then, Davenport has logged literally thousands of calls about colored lights, flying triangles and hovering disks.