David Marler has had a fascination with unidentified flying objects since he was small.
Marler, formerly of Fairmont City, remembers that as a child of 5 he had to stay home with his mother in 1973 while his father took his brothers and a sister to investigate UFO activity in Piedmont, Mo.
Now, 40 years later, after many investigations of his own, he has written "Triangular UFOs. An Estimate of the Situation."
"It is written with the purpose of placing focus on triangular UFO sighting reports," he said.
Marler graduated from Althoff Catholic High School in Belleville and from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville with a degree in psychology.
In 1990, he became a field investigator trainee with the Mutual UFO Network, eventually rising to becoming Illinois state director. Now he is an independent investigator in his spare time, lives in Albuquerque, N.M., and works for a large medical company.
He also speaks at conferences and meetings and in 2012 was talking about the 2000 UFO metro-east sightings at the Ozark UFO Conference in Eureka Springs, Ark. After his talk, people were asking to buy his book. He had to tell them he hadn't written one.
On the flight home he decided he would, he said.
Marler says as an investigator he is open minded yet skeptical.
"I was not looking for an alternative religion or spiritual path as many have attempted through the vehicle of the UFO subject," he said. "Rather, I was interested in following the evidence to where it may or may not lead. I wanted to ascertain whether or not there was truly something behind this mystery."
The Jan. 5, 2000, incident began with a sighting of an unknown object in Highland. Described as a "flying house," the object moved southwest across the metro-east and was tracked by police officers in several towns, including Lebanon, Shiloh, Millstadt and Dupo. But the officers mostly noted the object was triangular in shape.
The incident received a lot of attention in the local media but the prevailing theory, despite silence from the U.S. Air Force, was that since it was in the proximity of Scott Air Force Base, it must have a military explanation.
Marler's investigations have turned up later reports about the object that suggest there actually may have been two triangular objects, one in Illinois and one west of St. Louis, as well as the flying house shaped UFO.
Marler checked reports from far back and found a lot of similar sightings, some more than 50 years ago and some from the turn of the 20th Century.
"It certainly was the most well documented, serious case to hit the St. Louis area," he said. "But there were similar instances in Belgium and other places.
"When I went looking I was amazed at the number of local newspaper stories about sightings."
He speculates about some of the explanations that are offered, but in the end, not a lot makes sense.
"The military explanation would make the most sense, but earlier sightings sort of punch holes in the whole military idea," he said. "Plus, if they have something that great, why aren't they using it?"
Another weird aspect is the shy extraterrestrial theory.
"If extraterrestrials don't want to meet us, why do they keep running around in the sky flashing lights?" he said.
Marler said that after you gather all the possibilities and eliminate the known, you are left with the unknown.
"However, at the very least, we must acknowledge the possibility of a tangible reality behind this mystery," he said.
He hopes to keep investigating and find new information.
"Perhaps one day we will have definitive answers," he said.
The book is published by Richard Dolan Press and is available at bookstores or online sites for $19.99.
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