Flying Saucers & Aliens are a part of modern day Americana with film, books and music all getting involved in the subject. Throughout history mankind has been fascinated with looking up at the stars and wondering if we are truly alone. This question is what got Kristen Ann Winslet, a mild mannered financial & business analyst from rural northern New Jersey involved in a search for the truth. As early as the late 70’s with the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Kristen became fascinated with the thought that we are not alone in the universe.
Today, Kristen uses her analytical skills to investigate reports of unidentified flying objects and/or lights seen in the sky through a volunteer organization called the Mutual UFO Network, (MUFON). The organization was founded in 1969 by Walt Andrus and John Schuessler. MUFON has grown into the premier UFO investigative organization in the United States today. To become a member of MUFON and to become a Field Investigator, please refer to the web site for more information. There are roughly 3,000 members in the organization today and the organization is getting ready to celebrate it’s 40th Anniversary this summer at it’s annual symposium which will be held in Denver, Colorado.
The investigative process begins when a witness reports seeing an Unidentified Flying Object, (UFO) on MUFON’s web site. The MUFON Case Management System, (CMS) was developed to gather statistical and other important information about reported cases for analysis purposes. The focus of MUFON is based on the scientific study of the UFO Phenomenon through the collection of this statistical information pertaining to these reports. It is hoped that by methodically collecting all of this data, that the organization can pull out real business language results to help bring us closer to understanding the UFO Phenomenon.
Kristen joined the organization a few years ago after learning of the organization through the television series ‘The X Files’. Through the series, she became very intrigued in the investigative techniques used in the series She thought that with her skills as an analyst, and her long time interest in the great question, ‘Are We Alone’ that it might make sense for her to at least join the organization to learn more about what MUFON was all about.
After an experience she had in the summer of 2007, she decided to become a Field Investigator, Kristen says; ‘I still struggle today to try to understand what it was that my brother and I witnessed in the sky over Annandale, NJ. It was a dark brown saucer shaped object traversing across the sky with a raised dome in the center and it traveled without any sound in broad daylight ! The object was about 35 feet in diameter. As a pilot, it was something that I just could not explain scientifically based on my understanding of current aerodynamics and laws of physics. I was compelled to become a Field Investigator for MUFON”.
Kristen ordered the Filed Investigator’s Manual in order to pass the test to become a MUFON Field Investigator. She took the test in late 2007. She included her resume with the exam’s answer form in order to allow Chuck Reever who is MUFON’s Chief Investigator, to review her profile. She felt that she wanted to go beyond what a typical Field Investigator did because of her passion for the subject. A few days later Chuck called Kristen and said that she passed the test and he wanted to know if she was interested in becoming a member of MUFON’s Star Team. Because of her skill sets from her resume, Chuck told her that he was interested in having her join a new team specifically organized to investigate high profile cases.
The Star Team (Strike Team for Area Research) as it was named is tapped to be a rapid deployment strike team in a case where the Press is involved or there is possible evidence at the site where there may have been a UFO landing. Shortly after the team was developed, James Carrion who is the International Director of MUFON contacted Kristen and asked if she would design an emblem to represent the STAR Team. She had designed emblems before for a few shuttle astronaut crews years ago as well as for other non-profit organizations like the National Space Society. After a few minor changes made by the other members of the team, the emblem was approved. With just over a year of investigative experience, Kristen has completed fifty cases with a number of these cases being associated with a STAR Team deployment.
The Case of the UFO Balloons. Kristen received a call by Richard Lang who is the STAR Team Director on the afternoon of January 6, 2009 while she was on the road preparing for a job interview. Richard said that a case was developing in the northern New Jersey area near Morristown as a result of an incident the evening before. Richard asked if she could quickly deploy to investigate the case as there were a number of CMS case reports filed. Without hesitation, Kristen acknowledged and accepted the case. That night, the case hit the 6 O’clock news on CBS in New York City; “Strange Red Lights Over Morris County, N.J.” She prepared to get organized for her field investigation work that would commence in the morning.
The Investigation in the Field: The next morning, Kristen set out to investigate the case. She first read each of the cases filed and printed out a copy to have with her so that she had all the necessary information with her while she was in the field. She traveled to Cedar Knolls, Morristown, Madison and then the Morristown Municipal Airport near Florham Park, N.J. She took pictures of her travels as she entered each municipality identifying the locations where she performed her investigation. While in Madison, although she was not able to gain access to an area where debris had supposedly landed, she drove around the perimeter of that secured location looking up in trees for anything suspicious. Kristen had analyzed the video from the news the night before and suspected that the objects were incendiary devices attached to balloons. The news clip reminded her of the strange lights over Phoenix from a few years back.
While driving in the area, she took a photograph of something in a tree that looked suspicious and then completed the rest of her field work before driving home. Once home, she looked at the photos and began to write her report. The suspicious object in a tree was included in her report. In the mean time, Marc Dantonio who performs photo analysis for MUFON had identified the objects in the video as being Chinese Lanterns. While preparing the case, Kristen remembered investigating a case in September that was very similar to this case so she pulled out the case file from her cabinet of ‘X – Files’ and included that case report in her analysis. She then decided that she should begin to prepare a Case Study Report on these two cases in the form of a PowerPoint presentation in the event that other incidents occurred.
Weeks later, more cases did occur and Kristen continued her analysis of each of these cases pulling out similarities and documenting the evidence. As time progressed Kristen began to prepare a suspect list behind these events. In early March she completed her Case Study Report after seeing the Wikipedia Web Page called ‘Morristown UFO’. It was here on this web page that all the evidence came together. Kristen noticed the damning evidence in two places on that web site. First, she noticed that the only video linked on that page was provided by Joe Rudy. The second and last piece of evidence was a remark that Joe Rudy and Chris Russo were traveling on Hanover Avenue and had taken Video and Still images of the incident. That was the clincher . . . they were prepared to document the event with Video AND still photo’s !!!
Case Disposition “Hoax – Event”: On March 15, 2009, Kristen completed her report and mailed a paper copy to her New Jersey State Director, Retired USAF Maj. George Filer III. She also mailed a copy of the report to Matt Wilson, a Field Investigator from southern New Jersey who had assisted her on the February 7th cases pertaining to these events. Kristen was in the process of training Matt who is one of MUFON’s newest Field Investigators.
On April 1st, 2009 an article in Newsweek identified Joe Rudy & Chris Russo as being the two individuals who pulled off the UFO Balloon Hoax. What Newsweek did not know was that MUFON, who was never contacted by anyone had not only immediately identified the case as a hoax, but later through analysis, had identified these two men as having been the individuals who pulled off the hoax.
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Kristen is also available for commentary about the case and/or follow-up via e-mail: email@example.com