10-08-90 ELMWOOD, Wis. A recently published book billed as an expose of the government's clandestine search for extraterrestrial life in Elmwood's renewed interest in this west central Wisconsin town.
Mayor Lary Feiler, 48, has gone from a small town administrator to a sought-after guest on talk shows dealing with UFO sightings. He attributes the recent fame to "Out There: The Government's Secret Quest for Extra-Terrestrials," written by former New York Times reporter Howard Blum. The book mentions the town of 1,009 about 45 miles west of Eau Claire throughout the text, commenting on residents reports of numerous UFO sightings in the surrounding hills over the past 15 years. The stories have become the focus of an annual community festival called "UFO Days." In the last two weeks, Feiler's been interviewed by telephone on two radio stations in New Zealand & one in Australia & featured on the TV programs Hard Copy & The Oprah Winfrey Show.
Although the book's accurate, it exaggerates some details. The harrowing description of Carol Forster's encounter with a UFO was "played up as much more dramatic than she ever reported it." The efforts of Tom Weber to build a multimillion-dollar landing site for UFOs near Elmwood are described in the book. Weber spent two years trying to build an extraterrestrial welcome center on a high plain above the village. Now, living near Mauston, where he's recovering from a heart attack, he doubts the book will result in significant donations to his "UFO Site Center." "It might generate funds for Howard Blum, but it's not going to result in anything meaningful."
Blum disagreed. "When I wrote `Wanted,' the government said nothing could be done about Nazi war criminals. But since its publication, many have been deported." For Blum, who was in Milwaukee last week as part of a 12-city promotion tour, "Out There" is an effort to force the federal government to reveal the extent of its spending on UFO research & its "malicious & illegal attempt to discredit UFO believers. I hope that the government will tell all & that we'll find out how much money's being spent on the search for extraterrestrial life. After all, it's our tax money." Blum already's sold the television rights to his book.
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