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UFO buffs touch down in Arkansas

April 10, 1997
Web posted at: 11:02 p.m. EDT (0302 GMT)
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(CNN) -- Forget the Kiwanis Club and the local Rotary contingent -- Eureka Springs, Arkansas is hosting a conference this week with a decidely more galactic outlook.

As many as 500 UFO buffs from around the country are expected to converge on the Inn of the Ozarks Conference Center Friday through Sunday for the ninth annual Ozarks UFO Conference.

Researchers are planning to present the latest evidence on crop circles, landing marks, animal mutilations and cases of aliens abducting humans -- among other things.

"I don't know that we have anything really spectacular," says coordinator Lucius Farish. "It's all really taken a back seat to this cult thing [in Rancho Santa Fe, California] the past couple weeks."

Farish says he expects the Heaven's Gate mass suicide -- and the group's belief that there is a UFO trailing the Hale-Bopp comet -- to be a topic among participants. But he says it's not the kind of mentality the conference embraces.

"We're trying to present evidence, not push any belief system at all ... not just a bunch of wild stories," he says.

Farish says he founded the conference because "I have seen a few things I couldn't identify." He says most attendees have either had "experiences" with UFOS or have a strong intellectual interest in them.

"I don't like the term 'believers' -- it implies an act of faith," he says. "And I think there is enough evidence to support it."

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