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Top UFO investigator yearns for 'disclosure'

UFO investigator James Clarkson has spent much of his life trying to discern reality from fantasy. He understands that UFOs and extraterrestrial life are mocked by many — “the giggle factor,” he calls it. “As an investigator, there’s too much smoke in it for there not to be fire,” says Clarkson, 58, who’ll be a featured speaker in the UFO Festival, Friday and Saturday, May 14 and 15, at McMenamins Hotel Oregon in McMinnville; he’ll speak at 7 p.m. May 14. “I’m long past people judging my interest.” Clarkson is an Olympia, Wash., resident who works for the state government and is a former military policeman officer and criminal detective. Investigating UFO encounters is his hobby, and he serves as executive director of the Mutual UFO Network of Washington — Oregon has a “MUFON” chapter as well. Clarkson authored a book about June Crain, who worked at Wright Patterson Air Force Base and purportedly had firsthand knowledge of the alleged UFO crash at Roswell, N.M., in 1947. As with many UFO enthusiasts, Clarkson cries governmental cover-up with Roswell and the entire subject. “(Skeptics) have tried to shoot down Roswell any possible way they could, and they can’t, because there are too many witnesses and evidence,” he says. “June was just one of them.” It’s interesting work, UFO investigations. “It’s like panning for gold,” he says. “You spend a lot of time dealing with mud and gravel and not getting very far. Seven out of 10 times it’s probably going to have a conventional or manmade explanation. People can talk themselves into most anything.” He doesn’t buy, however, most explanations of sightings being swamp gas, weather balloons or meteors. Clarkson has investigated one case in Oregon; the man, he says, described a holographic image — “cloaked” — and intense compression in his presence. “You could say he was hallucinating or on drugs, but he described it in great detail and was very articulate,” he says. Accounts vary, he says, from sightings to abductions. The movie “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” played into the mystery; Clarkson says UFO investigators now talk about fourth- and fifth-degree encounters. He believes contact with “non-human intelligence” has occurred and “is ongoing.” Famed physicist Stephen Hawking recently declared that it was “rational” to believe that life existed in outer space, and that people on Earth may not want an encounter with extraterrestrials, who could end up being predators. “I’m surprised how overly simplistic his arguments were,” Clarkson says. “How many species on Earth are there? I don’t think it’s going to turn out to be that different in the universe. How many different agendas are there with plants and animals on this Earth? I don’t think there’s one argument or theory that covers the nature of alien life.” Clarkson looks forward to government opening UFO files with “disclosure with a capital ‘D.’ I’m not sure that it’ll happen any time soon. A lot of people were hoping that Obama would be the ‘Disclosure President.’ ”