The doormat on the front porch says,. "All Species Welcome,"
You know you've found the right place by the doormat on the front porch. "All Species Welcome," it says.
Dave Rosenfeld didn't put the mat out for the stray cats and squirrels that frequently drop by his apartment in Emigration Canyon. He put it out for the aliens. Not illegal aliens but space aliens, particularly the kind with clammy gray skin and enormous, buglike eyes.
Dave hands you his business card and you immediately want to go home and tack it to your bulletin board so everyone can see it. "Alien Dave, UFO investigator and contactee," it reads, next to a picture of a little alien with an "Alien Busters" red slash through it.
"Come on in," says Dave with a grin, motioning to a sofa surrounded by a collection of UFO videos, magazines and books. He wanted to get together for a Free Lunch of takeout Indian food to talk about his favorite hobby and the group he started six years ago to investigate Utah UFOs, crop circles, Bigfoot sightings and other paranormal activities that most of us haven't experienced outside of watching the "The X-Files."
As director of the Utah UFO Hunters, Dave, 33, regularly goes on "sky watches," hoping to add to the collection of alien spacecraft photos in his family photo album.
He already has a couple of snapshots that are pretty spectacular: One shows a bright, saucer-shaped craft, surrounded by a neon-green glow, while the other is of a strange, cylindrical object that Dave says he spotted hovering at the top of Emigration Canyon one night.
"It was huge," says Dave, "and one end of the cylinder was much brighter than the other. This canyon is a great place to spot UFOs. That's why I moved up here."
Ever since 1994, when Dave claims he was visited by an alien while sitting in his pickup truck in the canyon, he has been fascinated by life outside Utah, er, Earth.
"It was after midnight and I saw something staring at me through the passenger window," he says. "It was a typical 'gray' with big black eyes. Did I freak? Of course, I freaked! I flew down the canyon, then I noticed it was half past 3. I was missing a chunk of time. That's what happens when most people have an encounter."
You might laugh at his stories and wonder if he's been pouring something besides cream into his coffee, but Dave doesn't care.
"Look, there are 16 people in the UFO Hunters, and a lot of them are professionals," he says. "We have an EMT, a probation officer, a rescue scuba diver, even a guy who's in the military. We go out and look for UFOs, and there are times when you can't deny what you're seeing. Why is it so hard for some people to believe that ours isn't the only planet with life on it?"
Dave, who runs a mobile semi-truck wash when he isn't heading to the hills with his binoculars and camera, has a comeback for every question you give him.
If UFOs exist, why hasn't one landed on the White House lawn?
Dave sighs. "With the current world climate, would you land on the White House lawn?" he says. "You'd be shot at."
If aliens really are hanging around Emigration Canyon, why hasn't anybody at Ruth's Diner had an encounter?
"Because they choose who they contact," says Dave. "I've come to the conclusion that some of these aliens aren't aliens at all, they're earthlings. This is their home planet. They've been here a lot longer than we have."
Just then, the doorbell rings. A short gray alien who has spotted the welcome mat? Dave laughs. "Nah. They wouldn't bother to knock," he says.
Have a story? Let's hear it over lunch. E-mail your name, phone number and what's on your mind to firstname.lastname@example.org or send a fax to 801-466-2851. You can also write me at the Deseret News, P.O. Box 1257, Salt Lake City, UT 84110.
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