So ... What IS it?
Mysterious cone-shaped object centerpiece of Reeds Spring museum for the unexplained
By Scott Meeker
Globe Staff Writer
September 15, 2000
REEDS SPRING, MO --- Inside the glass case, lights shine down on the cone-shaped object as it slowly spins on a revolving platform.
Peering inside, one wonders if the truth might be in there . . .
Bob White believes it to be of extraterrestrial origins, but he is still searching for what the truth really is.
The 69-year-old Reeds Spring resident was recently featured on the syndicated tabloid program "Extra" and has been contacted about a possible FOX special on the object.
"They'd like to find out what it is," he said. "Welcome to the club. I'd like to find out, too."
The object has become the centerpiece exhibit at the Museum of the Unexplained, which White opened two weeks ago on the main strip in Reeds Spring.
White retrieved it in the 1980s after a strange encounter while driving with a friend near Colorado Springs early one morning.
"I like to say "retrieved" because "found" sounds like you're just walking down the road and then you find it," he said.
White said that he was sleeping when he was awakened by his friend. The two watched as an extremely bright light hovered in the air.
He says that the light was as big as a three-story building. It rose into the air, connected with two other lights and then projected an object from it before flying away.
"Had it fallen straight down, I never would have found it," he said.
"But it shot out, and it was on fire at the time. It hit on the other side of a little embankment, so I just followed the groove it made and there it was."
White said that he had never had an interest in UFOs and that it never occurred to him that his encounter might have been with an object that was extraterrestrial in origin.
"I just thought it was some sort of experimental thing the government was working on and was nobody's business," he said.
He shelved the object in the attic and soon forgot about it.
At the time, White was pursuing his career as an entertainer, making appearances in the Pia Zadora films "Butterfly" and "Lonely Lady" and landing jobs at Branson's Shepard of the Hills and Mutton Hollow.
After his retirement in 1993, his wife came across the object again.
"She thought I should pursue it and find out what it is," he said.
But his search for answers only yielded more questions.
"I'm as patriotic as the next guy. I did my stint in the military and if they had told me that at Los Alamos, that would have been the end of it. But they didn't tell me that."
He said that a Los Alamos scientist identified it as an extraterrestrial in origin, but later denied having said it.
Samples of the object have also been analyzed at the National Institute fro Discovery Science and most recently by NASA, but no one has been able to conclusively identify it.
"Los Alamos refers to it as "the unknown object" 19 times in their report," White said.
"Basically, what they've told me is that it's aluminum, but it has the grain structure of stainless steel and the strength and hardness of stainless steel."
More than 30 elements have been positively identified within it, including such rare and unusual components such as Europium, Strontium and Vanadium.
"The list is quite impressive," White said.
White recently lectured at the 21st annual Rocky Mountain UFO Conference at the University of Wyoming and was also invited to the UFO Research Center in Roswell, N.M.
White's partner in his museum venture is John Huey, who did much of the research for many of many of the museum's exhibits and serves as webmaster for the website devoted to the object, www.hardevidence.com
Huey said that he came on board in 1996, when White was looking for someone to help research the mysterious object.
"It was such a chore that we started working full time on it," he said.
"It just felt like the right thing to do, to let people know that there is real evidence out there.
The museum's exhibits include information on UFO sightings and other unexplained phenomena all over the world, including the Spook Light in Southwest Missouri and a 1993 photograph taken by a member of the Nixa, MO., fire department that seems to show an Indian on a horse amid the flames.
Computer monitors run footage of UFO sightings, some of which are proven hoaxes.
"But there's a huge amount of data out there that is real science, not pseudo-science," Huey said.
"We hope to show more serious, objective things in the museum and let people decide for themselves."
The museum has a number of alien and UFO-themed items for sale, from keychains to T-shirts. White says that he also plans to bring in guest lecturers from time to time.
The Museum of the Unexplained is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are accepted.
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