Lamar Todd always thought UFO's were the stuff of science
fiction. "As far as UFO sightings and all that, I normally wasn't a believer, no." he said. That is, until he had two 'close
encounters of his own in Memphis during the 1970's. Lamar Todd isn't just any UFO observer either, he's a Memphis police Captain,
who served in the elite TACT squad. His first encounter came in about 1973, in South Memphis. He saw a strange light in the
sky. "I stopped, stepped out of my car and looked up. I could see the light myself, but there was no helicopter noise..."
Todd described. He later learned Memphis Police had grounded it's choppers for the night. (red more)
But about that same time, the police radio's crackled with
sightings to the north. "advising there are police officers at THP station observing a Unidentified Flying Object." said the
dispatcher. "It's trying to land behind Plough incorporated. It's flashing red blue and green looks like it's trying to look
for a landing area." said an unidentified officer on the scene at Jackson and Warford.
The sighting faded into memory until 4 years later. Again,
Todd, this time with partner Jerry Jeter see something at night along 240 and Norris. "My partner Jerry Jeter took a scoped
rifle out of the truck we were driving, and pointed at it so we could get a better look and the craft moved off to the north."
Three other TACT squad officers saw the same thing over power
lines near the north precinct. Lots of people see things they can't explain, but for it to happen to a group of highly trained
police officers... well that IS unusual. Even now, no one can explain what the officers saw, nor can they explain how the
object disappeared just as suddenly as it appeared in the first place.
Scientists say they can easily explain many UFO sightings
. "So far as we know, these are the only alien visitors the earth has had?" I asked as we looked over the collection of meteors
at the Pink Palace Museum. They say meteors, weather balloons and even crash test dummies can explain many sightings. Besides,
they argue, such tentative sightings just don't make sense. "It would have to be a major event for them come here. I cannot
imagine them coming here and walking around and saying 'hey, nice place.' and then leaving... or you know, 'oh, here's supper
Let's take it home!'" said Bill Cupo who helped found a Memphis astronomy group.
But all jokes aside, even scientists believe there is life
out there... many just doubt aliens have made the trip. Lamar Todd says his sighting 26 years ago made a believer out of him.
"Yeah, I'm more of a believer now, than I used to be. I'm not as cynical any more." he said.
Captain Todd says he's keeping an open mind, because even
the US government has yet to explain all of even the best documented UFO cases, including the one in Memphis in May of 1977.
Written by Dennis Turner