In Hamilton, ‘Dr. UFO’ is on the case

Tuesday, April 28, 2009 2:47 PM EDT
By Michael Redmond Lifestyle Editor


The Doctor will see you now.

“Dr. UFO,” that is, otherwise known as Pat Marcattilio of Hamilton, the affable founder of the New Jersey-Pennsylvania UFO Study Group, which has been meeting monthly at the Hamilton Library for nearly 25 years. In the UFO community (yes, “community” is the word), Mr. Marcattilio is one of New Jersey’s most prominent figures. Over the years, through his travels to UFO conferences around the country, also through the conferences he organizes here, he has come to know many of the bold-face names in American “ufology.”

A father of four, a granddad, a retired postal worker who grew up in Trenton, Mr. Marcattilio first saw a UFO in 1963 and has been on the case ever since. “I was out in the back yard while my wife was cooking dinner.” he says. “That was the time when satellites were big and people used to watch for them. I saw this big bluish- white light coming across the sky and I said, ‘Honey, come look at this. It’s beautiful.’ Then the light took a right-hand turn and zoomed away. ‘Wow, that was no satellite,’ we both said.”

Mr. Marcattilio picked up his “Dr. UFO” moniker by being the go-to guy for lots of ordinary people with out-of-the-ordinary questions, and also for his personal library of more than 1,200 UFO-related books and videos. He has created something like a traveling museum, too — some 75 large panels mounted with UFO photos, scientific reports, police reports, etc.

Who attends the meetings of the UFO study group? What happens there?

First, if you were expecting a freak show, you would be disappointed. Like Mr. Marcattilio, the people who turn up for meetings are regular folks, solid-citizen types indistinguishable from the people you might run into at the supermarket or the mall. Some of them are merely curious. Others have had life- changing experiences and are seeking answers in a supportive environment, where they will not be ridiculed or rejected. Others are UFO “professionals,” such as MUFON investigators from New York and Pennsylvania and independent researchers.

A recent Harris poll found that of those Americans surveyed, 33 percent said they believe that intelligent beings from other planets have visited the United States. Skeptics view such findings as evidence of “unexamined belief in pseudoscience, fantastic claims, and irrational superstitions.”

The Hamilton group’s proceedings are informal. Mr. Marcattilio runs the meeting with a light touch and lots of humor.

“We go with the flow. There’s no power trip,” he says. “I try to make the meetings interesting. I have a UFO datebook and I might talk about what happened in ufology on people’s birthdays. We show UFO videos. We talk about what’s going on in the news, about programs we’ve seen on TV. And I ask them to share their stories.”

Recent discussions have centered on the ongoing UFO flap in Bucks County, where more than 70 sightings have been reported since last summer. Newspapers and TV news, usually reluctant to cover such news, have had no choice but to do so. In January, a conference called by MUFON’s Pennsylvania chapter at Bucks County Community College attracted hundreds of attendees. On the entertainment front, the Discovery Channel has devoted an episode of its “UFOs over Earth” series to “The Bucks County Flap” and the History Channel’s popular “UFO Hunters” is taking a look, too.

“Turnout goes up and down, people come and go,” Mr. Marcattilio says, “but there’s a core group.”

The conviction that UFOs are physically real and that extraterrestrials pilot them is widely shared, but there’s no party line. One longstanding member has done professional research in parapsychology and serves as the group’s in- house debunker. Some reports provoke sharp questions from group members. But everybody has their say — and people are almost always courteous, he says.

Also, if you were expecting dramatic testimonies, you would probably be disappointed about that, too. Group members turn out to be reticent about their personal experiences, in the main, but Mr. Marcattilio has a gift for bringing people out of their shells.

A 30-something Little League coach from Yardville recounts what he saw on Aug. 6, 2006, while walking in his neighborhood.

“I’m a normal guy, a boring guy, but sometimes I feel like the guy on ‘Close Encounters,’” he says. “This thing can just consume you, it can take over your life. I’m a quality control manager, I’m a stickler for detail. You wouldn’t believe the hours I’ve spent doing research on this, searching for answers.”

“Dr. UFO” will be presenting this year’s Great UFO/ET Congress on Saturday and Sunday, May 2 and 3, at the Bordentown Ramada, Route 206 North at New Jersey Turnpike Exit No. 7 North. Speakers will include Stanton T. Friedman (“Flying Saucers and Science”), David M. Jacobs, Ph.D., Temple University historian (“The Hybrid Presence”), and John Ventre, Pennsylvania state director for MUFON (“The 2008 Bucks County Sightings”).

UFO / ET Congress

Bordentown, New Jersey

May 2 & 3, 2009

Ramada Inn

1083 US Highway 206, Bordentown, NJ 08505

Near US Highway 206 and the New Jersey Turnpike Exit 7

The Ramada Inn -- 1-609-298-3200

For more information on speakers and their talks check the Speakers page.

For information on registration see the Registration page.


Post a Comment