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Bob King/News Tribune
Julie 'Jitterbug' Pearce glances skyward as she adjusts the quartz crystal atop her homemade UFO attracting device. The three large tubes are strobe lights while red lasers, hidden in the short silver tubes direct light at the crystal. She hopes the combination of lights and sound will attract UFOs. The box at lower right house a compass and an EMF (electromagnetic field detector) while the keyboard is available to communicate notes back to any intelligence that might answer.

Woman continues search for aliens


UFO WATCH: Enthusiast begins looking for aliens after contraption's creator dies before its unveiling.

By Nick Kotzea

08/06/04 - News Tribune

It looks like a prop from a low-budget science-fiction film. But the optimism Julie "Jitterbug" Pearce exuded Friday when talking about the likelihood her unlikely contraption can detect extraterrestrial life was undeniable.

Outside a country home several miles west of Duluth, Pearce, 23, unveiled an experimental machine she hopes can detect, attract or even communicate with alien life forms. With a little camping gear and a group of adventurous friends, Pearce is spending the first half of her weekend monitoring her awkward apparatus, equipped with colored strobe lights, low-powered lasers, a radio transmitter and a series of gauges said to track atmospheric changes common to extraterrestrial encounters.

Pearce said her machine's triangularly patterned strobe light design, coupled with looped radio transmissions and laser light refracted through a quartz crystal, may help signal aliens in the area.

Few would deny it's a longshot, and many would flat out roll their eyes, but Pearce combats skepticism with an ambitious smile. And, if nothing else, she says friends around a campfire make for a pretty good weekend.

"Regardless of what we see or hear, it still leaves the mind to wonder," said Pearce, who, with associate's degrees in art and chemical dependency counseling from Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College, someday hopes to study emergency medicine.

Her ever-evolving range of interests got Pearce thinking UFOs about six months ago. After a friend was involved in a project to locate the legendary Bigfoot, Pearce logged onto the Internet and became inspired by the search for life beyond Earth.

That's when she came across an online posting by a man in Wisconsin who was selling the framework to a "UFO Attractor." Although many would have considered the very name of the item a signal of simplicity and potential absurdity, Pearce was quick to find out there was a scientist behind the equipment that she would come to purchase -- as incomplete as it was.

Myron "Mike" Muckerheide, a pioneer in laser technology in the medical and defense fields, died in December 2003 at age 73 before completing his UFO Attractor. Whether or not the Port Washington, Wis., man's home project would have worked, or what the final product was supposed to look like, may have died with Muckerheide.

But, for a few hundred bucks, Pearce purchased the elementary remnants of Muckerheide's brainchild from his daughter and her husband in Cedarburg, Wis.

"He (Muckerheide) wasn't saying there were or weren't (aliens), but if there were, he wanted to get them on tape," said daughter Susan Schreiner.

Pearce admits the philosophies deployed in building much of her machine were based on guesswork. But through Internet research, Pearce said she incorporated an array of theories popular among extraterrestrial enthusiasts. For example, hanging from a chain on her machine is a small piece of Labradorite. Pearce said the mineral is said to be found in locations prone to extraterrestrial encounters. She also hopes to monitor changes in electromagnetic energy.

Sitting in a group chatting about the best and worst of alien movies, Pearce's friends ranged in attitudes about her experiment.

"It could work," said Summer Steward, 20. "If we think we're the only life form, we're pretty arrogant."

For John Belanger, 23, a cigarette and relaxed demeanor said it all.

"I believe in aliens," he said. "But I'm here just hanging out."


Man setting up for UFOs isn't too far out there

by Mike Nichols

06/17/02 - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

I hesitate to admit this in the current climate.

Hate to put myself square in the middle of a bull's-eye, and be the one to hand out the rotten tomatoes. But I have an opinion I'd like to share about the possible existence of alternate life forms - and, no, I am not talking about Michael Jackson.

I am one of that small number of much-maligned, much misunderstood Americans who don't believe in them.

I know. I know. I know what mainstream America thinks of independent-minded people like me. Crazy. Deluded. About as rational as Woody Harrelson. I am not hankering for a fight.

In fact, until now, when the subject of UFOs and non-earthbound life forms came up in conversation at cocktail parties (usually in those rare few minutes in the beginning when everyone is sober), I would simply nod my head and keep my mouth shut. Because, nowadays, absolutely everyone, if not an outright believer, professes themselves open to "the possibility."

On Thursday - a day not even close to April 1 - the Ozaukee Press, ran a banner headline across the top of its front page stating, "Inventors hope device will lure UFOs to Port."

Experiencing sun burn

This was not the National Enquirer. This was an established local paper with news judgment and accolades as one of the best weeklies in Wisconsin - and for a reason. They were a day ahead of the New York Times. Or close enough.

On Friday, the New York Times reported that astronomers have, "for the first time found a planetary system of a distant star that in significant respects reminds them of the sun's family of planets." The other "sun" is known as 55 Cancri, and is like ours in age and size. There is also a Jupiter-like planet nearby, which is important because our Jupiter was pivotal in "setting up conditions conducive to life on Earth."

"It's not inconceivable, astronomers say, that somewhere between the Jupiter-class planet and its star orbits an Earth-like planet," according to the Times.

Back on Earth, the Ozaukee Press story was about three local men - Myron "Mike" Muckerheide, Dee Willden and Allan "Butch" Klopp - building "The Attractor," a device to be placed in Muckerheide's backyard.

I called up Muckerheide and asked if I could stop by, expecting to find a guy with tinfoil wrapped around his head and living underneath some particularly high-voltage power lines.

Instead, I found an articulate, 72-year-old, obviously successful man with a beautiful house and expansive yard on the shores of Lake Michigan - a guy who was once director of the laser laboratory at St. Mary's Hospital and has his name in books I can't even understand.

Who's the pinhead?

The Milwaukee Journal in the 1980s described him as a guy who worked with a surgeon to develop a laser that could put pinhead-sized holes in the heart.

The only pinhead I have experience with, it occurred to me, is the one typing this column.

Yep, Muckerheide confirmed matter-of-factly, he and his cohorts are building three 27-inch diameter mechanisms that could - possibly, they think - both attract and document UFOs.

Colored lights, some infrared, set in a pattern and flashing sequentially will be used to, perhaps, draw the craft in. All sorts of other equipment, ranging from a laser magnetometer, a range finder, an ion chamber, a shortwave scanner and audio and video recording equipment will document whatever appears.

Muckerheide calls the endeavor a "long shot," says that if something shows up he would be "amazed by it." But he is serious when he says, "I think most people deep inside expect something is possible."

What do I think? I think I'd be a little surprised if anything other than a New York Times reporter landed in Muckerheide's backyard. But if anything does, I'll gladly eat my hat.

Tinfoil and all.


Port Washington UFO 'attractor' project

By Kristyn Halbig Ziehm

06/13/02 - Ozaukee Press

They say they don't necessarily believe in flying saucers, but three Port Washington men have set out to determine whether UFOs exist.

The men -- Myron 'Mike' Muckerheide, Dee Willden and Allen 'Butch' Klopp -- are building what they call the Attractor, a device intended to lure UFOs to the area and record information about them.

They plan to have the bulk of the system up and operating in the back yard of Muckerheide's home atop the Lake Michigan bluff next month.

"There's been so much controversy -- are there (UFOs) or not(?)" Muckerheide said. "We thought it would be a good thing to try to find out. We're fishing. Lake Michigan is a good place to go fishing."

The men said they realize their venture will give some people pause, but they are serious.

"Some will say we're nuts," said Willden. "We're open-minded. We're just trying to find out are there UFOs or not."

"There are going to be people upset about this," Muckerheide added. "It's a harmless thing. We're not hurting anybody."

"I think fear is a factor. Whenever things aren't known, there is fear. Me? I'm intrigued."

Anyone interested in what they are doing is invited to check out the Attractor, the men said. They're particularly interested in talking to anyone who has seen a UFO.

"We invite the curious," Muckerheide said.

The men are reviewing the need for any licenses to run their module, he said. If it can't be placed in his Noridge Drive yard, he added, they will consider placing it elsewhere.

Muckerheide and Willden said they've been intrigued by the topic of UFOs for a long time.

There has been an increase in UFO sightings in eastern and central Wisconsin recently, Muckerheide said, and this spurred their venture.

One sighting that intrigued the men was in Port Washington in October 1998 (see: www.ufowisconsin.com/county/reports/r1998_1015_ozaukee.html). According to a report by the National Institute of Discovery Science, a woman and her husband saw a large craft about 500 feet in the air above their home moving silently. The UFO executed a perfect, rapid, flat bank before flying slowly over the lake.

Still, the men said, it took some time to decide whether to pursue the project.

"We talked about it for three or four months," Willden said. First, we had to kind of talk ourselves into it."

They have poured themselves into the project, spending a considerable amount of time researching the topic and designing the modules.

"We're looking at advanced technology," Muckerheide said. "We're not fooling around.

This is the kind of thing that is high-tech, it has possibilities, and it's worth a shot. Besides that, it's exciting."

Although plans for the Attractor are still evolving, the device will have three domed modules arranged in an 8-foot triangle and a decahedron (10-sided) module placed off to the side.

The domes, which each measure about two feet in diameter, and are 14 inches deep, will contain a variety of equipment. There will be a laser magnetometer, which will measure even small changes in magnetic fields.

"In many sightings, they've found that compasses were affected," Muckerheide said. "Any deflection will set off a bunch of other systems for recording."

There will be a range finder to measure how far away the object is, and a barometer sphere. An ion chamber will determine radiation.

Solar panels will charge the circuits, and a shortwave scanner will monitor high and low frequencies. The scanner will pick up beacon and satellite tones, Muckerheide said.

An audio receiver and tape recorder, as well as a video recorder and an infrared viewer, will be in the module.

An on-board computer will run the modules.

In addition, there will be a ring of lights around the perimeter of each module. The red and white lights will pulse in sequence and change color.

The pattern of lights has been copied from configurations reported on a number of UFO sightings, Muckerheide said. Strobe lights may also be used, he added.

The decahedron module will contain a variety of lights that will diffuse and shine in patterns. This module probably won't be operating until August.

The lights used in the Attractor will shine 500 to 1,000 feet into the air, Muckerheide said.

Once the devices are in place, Muckerheide said, he won't stand around watching for UFOs.

"I'm going to let the system find them," he said. "When it senses something, it'll turn on the video camera and infrared camera."

The device will detect things 50 feet above the surface or higher, Muckerheide said.

"It'll pick up a plane, but that's a definite signature," he said. "We'll know if it's something normal."

While some people snicker when hearing about the device and the men's quest, Klopp said they should be taken seriously.

"Don't take these guys lightly," he warned, "These guys do everything seriously."

Their background bears that out.

Muckerheide is a scientist whose specialty is laser technology. He has received eight patents dealing with lasers.

Muckerheide talked about the early 1960s, when scientists -- himself included -- raced to become the first to create a laser. He wasn't the first, but he devoted his career to working with laser in the medical, weapons, space and corporate fields.

"It consumed my life," Muckerheide said, "It put total direction in my life.

Lasers have taken me from aligning sever pipes to meeting with White House security people during the Iraq war. Some of the lasers I've worked on are so powerful the air explodes into plasma and it sounds like rolling thunder."

Willden, one of the founders of Matrix Packaging Machinery in Saukville, has spent much of his life in the food processing industry and has several patents pending for laser technology. He met Muckerheide 20 years ago when they both worked at St. Mary's Hospital.

Klopp, the newest member of the group, brings experience in underwater diving and that expertise can be applied to their current project, the others said.

Muckerheide said he's been interested in the subject of UFOs for years. He's talked to many men, some of them respected members of the military and scientific communities, who have seen these objects.

"I've talked to astronauts about UFO's too," he said. "Some believe, some don't."

If UFOs are real, Muckerheide said, the technology used to create them shows that those who operate them are intelligent.

"If they're that intelligent, they're peace-loving beings," he said. "What must they think of our wars?"

"I think they're concerned about these atomic bombs we have."

It's likely that people have little to fear from them, Muckerheide said, noting that they have not interfered or caused problems in the world yet.

"I think they're going to be as interested in us as we are in them," Willden said.

The men are cautiously optimistic about their chances for success.

"I just hope if there is some contact, we can record it and prove it," Muckerheide said.

"That's the bottom line, to see if there is anything," Willden said. "Just because we don't make contact doesn't mean there's nothing there."


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