UFOver and Out

A local space odyssey reaches the final frontier.

After more than a decade of Muldering out the truth behind extraterrestrial phenomena, the team at UFO AZ is calling it quits.

The local public-access TV show, which debuted on November 11, 1991, presented its final episode at 8 p.m. last Friday.

"We've been longer running than Fox Mulder, longer running than Star Trek: The Next Generation, as well as Voyager," boasts Ted Loman, who has hosted the show for the last dozen years. Loman, who is moving to northern Idaho, decided to wrap the show for a number of personal reasons, including the need for some rest.

Over the course of the show's run, Loman and his cohorts, Peggy Kane and Jim Nichols, interviewed hundreds of guests, from run-of-the-mill abductees to former Harvard psychologist John Mack, author of Abduction, and Do, aka Marshall Applewhite, who led the sneaker-clad Heaven's Gate cult into a mass suicide in March 1997 as part of a plan to catch a lift on a craft they believed was traveling with the Hale-Bopp Comet.

Although his 12-year investigation didn't yield what the skeptics would call concrete proof of extraterrestrial encounters, Loman says "there's enough evidence out there pertaining to the UFO phenomena that if presented in a court of law, it would be enough to put somebody on death row."

Although he's sketchy about the details, Loman recalls his own "nocturnal experience" as a frightening experience, despite his regular admonitions to viewers to welcome close encounters of the third kind. "I said, 'I'm afraid of you guys right now, so can you leave?' And they left," he remembers.

"Were they hallucinations?" he wonders. "I don't have any tangible proof to say one way or the other. It's my word against the skeptics."

Co-host Nichols has never had a CE3K, but remains convinced "there's something really serious at the bottom" of UFO phenomena. But he's "more skeptical about us ever finding the truth, short of a full-blown landing. My sense is that the government and the media have a vested interest in keeping this really confusing and keeping any clarity away from the public."

Part of that stems from the current political climate, he adds.

"It's not really a PC topic," says Nichols. "Ever since Heaven's Gate, that fiasco in San Diego, people have wanted to distance themselves from the UFO stuff because it was getting too woo-woo, too weird. There was too much in-fighting, too many prima donnas in the field and they're all fighting to get their name out in front of the public. The actual research seemed to take a back seat to all of that."

Nichols says he's "kind of relieved and kind of nostalgic. We've been doing this for better than 10 years and it's become a real big part of our lives here."

The professional artist expects he'll spend more time at the easel now that he's closed his X files.

"I think it's time to move on," he says. "The aliens didn't land to appear on our show, so it's like, OK, we gave you a chance. If the aliens want to let us know they're here, that's their responsibility."

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