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The Ozark Mountain UFO Conference takes place each year on the second weekend of April at the Inn of the Ozarks Conference Center in Eureka Springs (Carroll County). As many as 700 attendees hear national and international researchers discuss their findings regarding unidentified flying objects (UFOs) and related topics. A typical three-day conference begins at 1:00 p.m. on Friday and ends at noon on Sunday, featuring between nine and twelve speakers, a speakers’ panel discussion, and the showing of documentary films. Nationally known speakers in attendance have included Dr. John Altshuler, Peter Davenport, Dr. James Deardorff, Richard Dolan, Linda Moulton Howe, Antonio Hunneus, Dr. David Jacobs, Dr. John Mack, Kathleen Marden, David Marler, Jim Marrs, Ted Phillips, Wendelle Stevens, and Nancy Talbott, along with speakers from Canada, England, Mexico, Russia, and Turkey.
Bill Pitts of Fort Smith (Sebastian County) organized the original UFO conference in Eureka Springs, held on March 25–26, 1988. It was titled “Flying Saucers—The Beginning,” with the stated desire of the conference planners being to “capture as much information as possible from the persons who were actively involved with various U.S. government agencies in active investigations of UFO (flying saucer) sighting reports.” Of the twelve speakers, at least three had connections to the U.S. Air Force’s Project Blue Book, which investigated UFO reports from 1952 through 1969.
Following the inaugural 1988 conference, one of the attendees—Lucius “Lou” Farish of Plumerville (Conway County), who was co-editor of the UFO Newsclipping Service—believed there was a need in the central United States for an annual conference featuring leading UFO researchers, and he organized another conference in April 1989, called the Ozark UFO Conference. Wanting the conference to be as accessible and affordable to as many attendees as possible, he scheduled it on the first weekend in April to take advantage of off-season lodging rates. He also set the registration fee for the three-day conference at only $35 and maintained that fee for many years. Because of the affordable cost, the quality of the speakers, and the natural beauty of Eureka Springs in early April, many attendees returned every year, sometimes reserving a room for the following year as they checked out of the Inn of the Ozarks.
With a committee of volunteers, Lou Farish directed the Ozark UFO Conference for over twenty years, through the conference of 2010. Before Farish died of cancer in January 2012, Lee Clinton of Rogers (Benton County), who was the conference’s audiovisual coordinator for many years, agreed to direct the conference, and did so in 2011 and 2012, before passing the leadership to Dolores Cannon of Huntsville (Madison County). Cannon was an internationally known author and the president of Ozark Mountain Publishing, LLC. The conference name then changed to the Ozark Mountain UFO Conference. She served as director of the conference for the years 2013 and 2014, before she died on October 18, 2014. Her daughters pledged to continue the conference.
For additional information:Ozark Mountain UFO Conference: http://www.ozarkufoconference.com/ (accessed January 6, 2015).
Rafinski, Karen. “Who Ya Gonna Call? MUFON.” Arkansas Gazette, April 7, 1990, pp. 1B, 6B.
Steed, Stephen. “200 Gather for Meeting about UFOs.” Arkansas Gazette, April 16, 1989, pp. 1B, 7B.
Jerry Blackburn Little Rock, Arkansas
Last Updated 11/2/2016
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