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UFO enthusiasts to gather for local conference

by Tina Canon

STAFF WRITER

CLARKSBURG -- Fact or Fiction?

You be the judge as UFO enthusiasts from around the United States converge on Clarksburg, for the 2001 Gray Barker UFO mini-conference at Waldomore.

The event centers on the library's 600-plus collection of books and papers of UFOlogist Gray Barker, who contributed to the creation of popular mythology such as Flying Saucers, Men in Black, and the Mothman.

The second annual event will run from 9 a.m. Saturday and conclude with a field trip to Point Pleasant on Sunday, the home to the legendary Mothman.

The conference is free and open to the public.

The host for the day will be James Moseley, Florida, who has appeared on radio and television shows throughout the United States. Moseley has lectured as an expert on UFOs to many colleges around the country. He is the publisher for a Saucer Smear UFO trade journal.

An open panel discussion held Saturday afternoon will include: Moseley, Antonio Huneeus, international coordinator for the Mutual UFO Network; Tom Benson, former MUFON director for New Jersey, and Rick Hilberg, author of the Northern Ohio UFO Casebook.

Longtime Barker friend and confidant Jim Moseley once created a bogus film of a flying saucer by using a small plaster UFO shaped object. The saucer is on display in the Barker Room at Waldomore along with photos of Barker.

Whispers from Space, a film about Barker's life and times, will be screened during the conference weekend and a circulating video copy is available at the library.

Bob Teets, publisher of the West Virginia UFO Journal and author of West Virginia UFOs: Close Encounters in the Mountain State, and John Sherwood, a prize-winning journalist who began his career while still in high school writing for Gray Barker's Saucerian Press are expected to attend.

"Barker played with the idea of flying saucers," said David Houchin, curator of the West Virginia Collection at Waldomore. "He would take material that other people have seen, claimed they have seen, claimed they knew, and used that as material.

He would add to it to create his entertaining stories," he said.

"We promise the event will be completely unusual," said Houchin.

For more information call the Clarksburg-Harrison Public Library at 627-2236.

Staff writer Tina Canon can be reached at 626-1404 or by e-mail at tcanon@exponent-telegram.com.

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