UFO author to speak in Livingston Thurs.


By Jasmine Hall

Enterprise Staff Writer 


Speckled with stars and constellations against a backdrop of landscapes, Montana has one of the most beautiful night skies, but sometimes there are unusual things we cannot explain, and Montanans are starting to talk about it.

Zoologist and UFO activist Joan Bird, who has been investigating Montana UFO sightings and landings for over a decade, will present findings from her book “Montana UFOs and Extraterrestrials” at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 4 at the Livingston-Park County Public Library as a speaker from the Humanities Montana Speakers Bureau Program.

Bird, who received her Ph.D. in zoology, specializing in ecology and animal behavior, from the University of Montana, said she became interested in the subject of Montana UFOs and alien encounters because she was impressed by Montana UFO evidence. 

“There have been some very significant UFO events that have happened in Montana,” Bird said in a recent phone interview. “And the deeper I’ve gotten into the subject, the more I wanted to see if there weren’t ways for more people to take a look at it.” 

Baird, a Montana resident, said there have been a number of sightings in Montana but what stands out in the state’s UFO history were the deactivations of the nuclear missiles associated with Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls. 

Bird said the first witness of a deactivation was by retired U.S. Missile Launch Officer Robert Salas, and that he came forward to reveal several sightings, including the deactivation of a missile site near Roy, Montana, in March of 1967.  

“I thought, ‘This is pretty important information — people need to know about that,’” Bird recalled. “… These are weapons of mass destruction, and if they are capable of neutralizing, of deactivating them, these are pretty significant capabilities, and something that I think the people need to know about.”

Bird first became interested in the subject when researching crop circles north of Kalispell, in Flathead County. She later discovered the Kalispell crop circles were man-made, but since then, she has researched cases of circles in Montana that were not easily explained, Bird said. 

Researching the science behind the unusual formations — such as unexplained soil formations and the bending, not breaking, of the plants — she dove into the world of UFOs.

“A lot of people aren’t aware that there have been crop circles in Montana,” she said. 

Another significant Montana UFO event occurred in 1950, Bird said, when Nick Mariana, a former journalism graduate, filmed a UFO above a baseball park in Great Falls.  

Bird said the video shows two hovering “spinning disks” by the Anaconda Copper Mining Company’s old smelting stack and, because of the lack of technology in the 1950s, it makes the video compelling evidence.  

“The movie is still considered to be some of the best physical evidence of UFOs that has ever been submitted to the Air Force as a case for investigation,” Bird said. “… Not a lot of people had cameras. It was very difficult in that point in time to fake anything.”

Bird considers the Mariana and Salas cases to be the two most important and well-documented cases in Montana UFO literature, but she said she has begun her own investigation into other Montana reported sightings and landings. 

While she visited Livingston and Park County for her book signing in 2012, a Paradise Valley man told her about multiple UFO sightings of “lights in the sky,” Bird said.

She said she looks forward to hearing more Park County sightings.

“I continue to gather information and I have files from a number of towns around the state,” she said. “… I’ll get out my Livingston file when I come.”

At her presentations, Bird enjoys listening to local accounts from attendees about their own experiences.

“So many people have sightings but they are wary of talking about it for fear of ridicule or persecution,” she said. “I’ve heard some really fascinating stories.”

Bird is particularly interested in personal experiences with landings. She has so far spoken with a couple of Montanans about their experiences with landings. 

One of the landing stories occurred in Deer Lodge, along the Clark Fork River, which became inspiration for the UFO documentary “Secrets of Redgate,” Bird said. She also described another landing between Butte and Anaconda of a ship with legs. 

Although the subject of UFOs and aliens could scare people, especially when talking about control over nuclear missiles, she advises people to look at the positive side, such as Montanan extraterrestrial encounters where people had experiences with “benevolent beings,” Bird said. 

“It’s frightening to a lot of people, and that’s why a lot of people would rather not know,” she said. “... (In my book) I wanted to talk about the things that are potentially good news and the encounters that have been very positive — not that I will ever try to make the case that all encounters are good.”

Bird said there is still a controversy surrounding the subject of UFOs and extraterrestrials, but her experience has been encouraging in that most people now discuss the possibility of otherworldly activity.

“There’s a taboo about talking about UFOs, so I talk about them whenever I can,” she said. “I was amazed — I would say about a third of the time people would either tell me about a sighting they had or that their friends have had, and they would often say, ‘And I’ve never told anyone.’”


Jasmine Hall may be reached at jhall@livent.net.