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There is a hypothetical grid of invisible lines, known as ley lines, that delineate our planet's surface.

"The Great Pyramid at Giza happens to be on a great intersection of ley lines, and Sedona, Arizona is too," says Elise Eagle, "and so is Garden of the Gods. There are some places on the planet that are actually more attractive, because these ships actually use this grid to maneuver."

The ships she's referring to? They're UFOs, perhaps like the shape-shifting object she photographed flying over Old Colorado City not too long ago.

"This is all interdimensional and frequency-vibration-based," Eagle continues. "And it all depends on your interpretation of reality. Someone might be standing right next to you, and you see something and they don't."

Eagle serves as communications coordinator for the twice re-booted UFO Institute, a local group of extraterrestrial enthusiasts. She met the group's founder, Steven Alexander, in 2007.

Alexander was involved at the time in a tricky balancing act: exploring an alien obsession that began in the early 1990s thanks to the wildly popular TV series, The X-Files, and the demands for discretion that come with being an officer in the Army Reserves.

A 1972 Air Academy High School graduate, Alexander joined the Colorado National Guard in 1983. From 2003 to 2011, he was active-duty, doing two tours in the Middle East and earning a Purple Heart. Last May, he retired as a lieutenant colonel. Now, at age 58, he's free to explore his eccentric interests unfettered. In addition to his work with the UFO Institute, he's wrapping up another novel, after writing three that have spanned coming-of-age tales, historical fiction and, yes, the paranormal.

Of course, as any UFO follower will attest, truth is often stranger than fiction.

"Yeah, we've had people at our meetings who say that they are extraterrestrials," says Eagle, a former engineer with IBM and Ingersoll Rand. "And who are we to judge? They really believe that they are, and they're welcome."

"That's what's neat about our group," adds Alexander. "Our doors are open. The person three seats down might say that they're dating someone from Venus, and we have to just go along with it."

"We've had people talk about Sasquatch at the Air Force Academy," offers Eagle.

A woman who serves on their board believes that aliens have moved in with her.

On the other hand, Alexander says, some of the most fascinating stories he's heard come from ex-military members. Like the retired Air Force pilot who chased aliens in an F-4 Phantom across Laos and Cambodia in 1969.

Eagle and Alexander want to hear everyone's stories, regardless of how bizarre they might sound, to advance the study, evaluation and documentation of UFO sightings.

There was a time, says Eagle, when discussing your alien encounter was considered taboo — a good way to alienate friends and family. "But things are changing now. The veil is lifting. Consciousness is expanding. We are waking up, so more and more people are beginning to see the ships, or faeries, or the other dimensional phenomenons."

And being in Colorado Springs, they say, offers a great front-row seat for this lifting of the veil.

The UFO Institute meets at 7 p.m. every third Tuesday in the Carnegie Room at Penrose Library.

chet@csindy.com

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