The StarworksUSA conference — “Back to the Future: Nostalgia, UFOs and Consciousness” — is a return to the desert for fans of ufology. For 20 years, Bob Brown and his family hosted the International UFO Congress in Laughlin, Nevada, from 1990-2010 before the torch was handed off to Open Minds Productions and moved to Phoenix.
Paola Harris revived the concept of bringing a conference back to Laughlin through StarworksUSA. And boy is she smart. She brought back Bob Brown as host, knowing Bob’s followers would return — and they did. She also was brilliant to focus on something profoundly more important than solely on the UFO experience, thus the conference title. The “nostalgia” part is Bob Brown and Laughlin and the Aquarius Casino Resort and friends getting together to reminisce about their memories of events past. And Bob acknowledge as much with his voice cracking during the opening comments Friday morning. But when Bob brought Paola on to the stage, the tone changed. No more discussions about the past or telling the same stories from the same people for the umpteenth time. The focus shifted dramatically. Paola is all about where we are now and where we’re going as humanity. While the subject of UFOs and experiencers is integral to the event, a significant focus is on awareness and raising consciousness among the masses.
Paola brought 10 year old Anna McClure to the stage during her intro to introduce a future torchbearer of awareness. Anna is an experiencer, and Paola shared the importance of reaching younger generations who can continue the research and storytelling that her and her colleagues have done for 30+ years.
She was a bit emotional, too, when discussing that many of her contemporaries are no longer with us, and that it’s important that others are waiting in the wings ready, willing and able to continue when Paola and her contemporaries steps aside.
Anna’s story: simple and innocent
I tweeted an image of Paola on stage with Anna yesterday, and it was met with some negative responses; the assumption was Paola was using Anna to advance her personal agenda. Taken out of context, I completely understand how this might come across. But the message really was simple: It’s time for the next generation to step up, and they are here.
I had a chance to talk with Anna and her mother, Kerry, about Anna’s experience and whether or not she felt she was being “used” to advance an agenda.
“Absolutely not,” said Kerry with a puzzled look on her face. She couldn’t fathom the idea that she or her daughter was being manipulated. “This was all Anna’s idea. She hounded me to attend Paola’s event in Sebring last year. She was relentless. And she’s the only reason why we’re here today. She absolutely had to be here.”
Anna’s experience is straight forward. When she was seven years old, she saw a UFO hovering outside her brother’s bedroom window and told her mom about it.
“She said it was hovering with lights directly outside the window, ” recalls Kerry. “I was going along with her, not wanting to discount what she was saying — ‘uh, huh … yes … really … wow … that’s special.'”
Kerry said no one in their family has seen a UFO or had experiences before, so she really didn’t think much about it, until Anna shared one additional detail the next morning.
“Mommy, there’s one more thing I forget to tell you,” said Anna, according to Kerry. She went on to tell her mother she had a dream that she was visited and taken from her bedroom. “She went on to share details about what happened and I was amazed. I then did some research, and the things she was sharing were similar to what others who have been abducted have shared. There’s no way she could have been exposed to the details she shared with me.”
Kerry expressed that Anna is a normal child, who goes to school, has numerous friends and gets picked on by older brothers. She has simply had a unique experience — one that she is not frightened by.
So much so that when Anna learned about a UFO conference in Sebring, FL, in May 2013, she pleaded with her mother to go.
“She was relentless; there was no denying her,” said Kerry. At that conference, Anna approached Paola to share her story. As a result of that outreached, Anna collaborated with Paola on the book “Anna’s Tale: Contact from Space.”
“Really, the only thing Anna wants from this is to find other children who have had similar experiences so she has someone her age to connect with,” says Kerry.
Are there any other Annas out there?
Dinner with George Noory
Lori Wagner, a valued friend of altPOV.tv, sponsored Coast to Coast radio host George Noory‘s visit to Laughlin for the conference. As the sponsor, Lori had the opportunity to eat dinner with George and his producer, Tom Danheiser. And she invited me to tag along, too.
While some might think dinner with George would be nothing but nonstop discussions about UFOs and conspiracy theories, it was far from that. We were four people shooting the breeze over dinner talking about a variety of subjects. There were a few jokes, George humming to the muzak while the rest of us were talking, and several contested convos between George and Tom, which George assured us was the norm: “I fire him all the time and rehire him minutes later.”
The one observation I had was that George appreciated time when he was not in the spotlight as host of Coast to Coast. Whether it’s walking down the street, riding in cabs or walking to the restroom during our dinner, people notice George and want to tell him their story. I imagine that gets a little old, so having dinner and not talking shop was most welcome.
As we were wrapping up dinner, there was a 10-minute convo about what was going to happen next with George hosting the mixer event at the conference. Tom blocked out the details and George sat there comfortably nodding, interjecting only for clarification. Then, George calmly said, “Okay, it’s showtime.” We headed up to the conference center for the mixer, George grabbed the mic and took over the room. I don’t think he needed any pre-planning assistance at all. The guy’s a natural when the spotlight’s on, and those in attendance loved basking in George’s spotlight.
“Stranger at the Pentagon”
The evening ended with George introducing a screening of what is an extended trailer for the feature film “Stranger at the Pentagon” adapted from Frank Stranges’ book of the same title by director Craig Campobasso (You can watch the VOD for $5 here — be forewarned, though, the film is only 17 minutes long, including credits). Campobasso’s goal is to use the short format to stimulate interest in financing a long-form feature film about Valiant Thor and his visit to Earth in the 1950s and his connections with President Eisenhower and the Pentagon.
The film quickly introduces Valiant Thor and quickly guides the viewer thru series of conversations with the president, Pentagon officials and members of Thor’s crew on their spacecraft. It’s a teaser that leaves you wanting more and the special effects are low-budget, but given the $20K budget and that the intent of the film is to do a big-budget version, there is promise for something better. Give it a watch if you’re okay with spending $5 for a short film.