Friday, January 18, 2008


Sent in by Bob Gribble

The Seattle Times, January 4, 2008
By Michael M. Phillips
The Wall Street Journal

The Democratic presidential candidate acknowledged a 1982 sighting, but has clammed up about the subject on the campaign trail. But two people who shared the experience are more forthcoming with details.

The 2006 presidential race has raised many questions about the candidates' personal histories. What exactly did Democratic candidate Dennis Kucinich see hovering above actress Shirley MacLaine's house 25 years ago?

This fall MacLaine revealed in her new book that the Ohio congressman had seen a UFO and felt "a connection in his heart and heard directions in his mind." In a Democratic presidential debate in late October, Kucinich acknowledged seeing something airborne that he couldn't identify and then defused the issue with a joke about opening a campaign office in Roswell, NM, the capital of unexplained sightings.

Since then, the long shot candidate has refused to elaborate on the experience.

Now, after keeping quiet about the incident for a quarter of a century, the two people who say they were at Kucinich's side that evening have come forward to describe an event they say left them convinced that there's intelligent life in outer space.

"At no time did I feel afraid, even though I felt very small," said one witness, Paul Constanzo. "I sensed that I was in the presence of a greater technology and intelligence."

The close encounter, Costanzo said, took place in September 1982 at MacLaine's former home in Graham Pierce County - an expansive estate on a ride above the Puyallup River, with a view of Mount Rainer.

Kucinich, 61, who declined several requests to comment for this article had been the wunderkind mayor of Cleveland in the late 1970s and had met MacLaine through Bella Abzug, the late New York congresswoman and feminist. The actress says she quickly realized she and Kucinich were kindred spirits. Years later, he asked MacLaine to be the godmother of his daughter.

"We just thought the same," MacLaine said in an interview. "We have the same political points of view."

When Cleveland voters ousted Kucinich after one tumultuous term, MacLaine offered him her home as a sanctuary where he could write his memoirs. He lived there for the better part of a year.

Also in residence was Costanzo, a Juilliard-trained trumpet player and jujitsu black belt, who worked as MacLaine's assistant, personal trainer and bodyguard. He and Kucinich became good friends, and Costanzo, now 55, served as deputy campaign director and security chief for the congressman's unsuccessful 2004 presidential run.

MacLaine - well-known for her fascination with things mystical and extraterrestrial - was in Canada that weekend in 1982, performing her one-woman show. But Costanzo's girlfriend at the time, a model and actress, was visiting when the UFO incident took place. She spoke after Constanzo requested she do so, and on condition that her name not be published.

Here's what happened, according to separate interviews with Costanzo and his former girlfriend.

The day was strange from the start. For hours, Kucinich, Costanzo and his companion noticed a high-pitched sound. "There was a sense that something extraordinary was happening all day," the girlfriend said. She and Costanzo siad none of the three consumed alcohol or drugs.

As they sat down to a dinner Kucinich spotted a light in the distance, to the left of Mount Rainer. Costanzo thought it was a helicopter. But Kucinich walked outside to the deck to look through the telescope that he had bought MacLaine as a gift. After a few minutes, Kucinish summoned the other two: "Guys, come on out here and look at this."

Constanzo and his girlfriend joined Kucinich, where they took turns perring through the telescope. What they saw in the far distance, according to both witnesses, was a hovering light, which soon divided into two, and then three.

After a few minutes, the lights moved closer and it became apparent that they were actually three charcoal-gray triangular craft, flying in a tight wedge. The girlfriend said she remembers each triangle having red and green lights running down the edges, with a laser-like red light at the tail. Costanzo said he recalls white lights, but no tail.

Costanzo said each triangle was roughly the size of a large van, while his former girlfriend compares it to a "larger Cessana, smaller than a jet certainly." Neither recalls seeing any markings, landing gear, engines, windows or cockpits.

The craft approached to within 200 yards, suspended over the field just beyond the swimming pool. Both witnesses say it emitted a quiet, throbbing sound - nothing like an airplane engine.

"There was a feeling of wanting to communicate something, but I didn't know what," Costanzo said.

The craft held steady in midair, for perhaps a minute, then sped away, Costanzo said. "Nothing had landed," he said. "No strange beings had disembarked. No obvious messages were beamed down. When they were completely out of sight, we all looked at each other disbelieving what we had seen."

At Kucinich's suggestion, they jotted down their impressions and drew pictures to memorialize the event. Kucinich kept the notes, according to MacLaine, who said he promised her recently that he would try to find them.

"It was proof to me that we're obviously not alone," the girlfriend said.

The next day, the group spotted what they thought to be military helicopters huzzing around the valley wehre they ahd made the sighting. And the high-pitched sound remained.

Kuchinich called MacLaine in Canada to tell her what had happened. "He said it was beautiful, serene, and it moved him," said MacLaine, who is supporting Kucinich's candidacy. "He was not afraid of it, let's put it that way. Seeing something that close and sophisticated and gentle."

MacLaine said she has seen UFOs from a distance in New Mexico and Peru, but never up close. She was envious.

"I'm the one who reports them, but they never make close visitation," she said. "What am I doing wrong?"

None of the three reported the incident to authorities. And over the years that followed, they shared the story with few people. "Unfortunately people are ridiculed when they say they've had these kinds of experiences, which is why I never came forward with it," the girlfriend said.

MacLaine said she called Kucinich before she included his UFO sighting in her book, "Sage-ing while Age-ing," a recounting of her spiritual and professional journeys. "I can handle it," she said he told her.

More recently, Kucinich has dodged it. Approached by The Wall Street Journal for comment in December - moments after he voted on a House resolution praising Christmas and Christianity - Kucinich looked unblinkingly ahead: "I don't have any comment," he said.

One time I was up at Mt. Rainier. It was getting late in the day and the sun was setting in the West. On the shadow side of the mountain something brilliant and shining was flying around. It was very small from my perspective. It definitely was a "UFO".

I used to belong to a group that would meet up at Longmire at the "Lodge," just outside the Rainier National Park gates. One night we were all outside when a UFO flew right over our heads.

Our UFO group (The UFOCCI) and the Tacoma Astronomy Club gathered together at a viewpoint up at Mt. Rainier. They brought their huge telescopes on wheels that we were allowed to look through. We saw the most fantastic sights out in the Universe. No UFOs but the Andromeda Nebulae, Saturn, etc. We spent the night at the viewpoint and left at dawn. I will never forget that night. Some of our members are no longer with us but they are somewhere out in that magnificent universe enjoying themselves! - Sunshine

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