Kucinich and UFOs

Today’s WSJ picks one of Dennis Kucinich’s old scabs: just what happened with this whole UFO sighting claim that he made? Remember that back in October, Kucinich mentioned the incident in a debate, but he has smartly kept the matter quiet since. Well, apparently, this incident happened when Kucinich was staying at Shirley Maclaine’s house (Maclaine was away at a performance), with Maclaine’s security guard, Paul Costanzo, and Costanzo’s anonymous ex-girlfriend:

The day was strange from the start. For hours, Mr. Kucinich, Mr. Costanzo and his companion noticed a high-pitched sound. “There was a sense that something extraordinary was happening all day,” says the girlfriend. She and Mr. Costanzo say that none of the three consumed alcohol or took drugs.

As they sat down to a dinner, Mr. Kucinich spotted a light in the distance, to the left of Mount Rainier. Mr. Costanzo thought it was a helicopter.

But Mr. Kucinich walked outside to the deck to look through the telescope that he had bought Ms. MacLaine as a house gift. After a few minutes, Mr. Kucinich summoned the other two: “Guys, come on out here and look at this.”

Mr. Costanzo and his girlfriend joined Mr. Kucinich, where they took turns peering through the telescope. What they saw in the far distance, according to both witnesses, was a hovering light, which soon divided into two, and then three.

After a few minutes, the lights moved closer and it became apparent that they were actually three charcoal-gray, triangular craft, flying in a tight wedge. The girlfriend remembers each triangle having red and green lights running down the edges, with a laser-like red light at the tail. Mr. Costanzo recalls white lights, but no tail.

Mr. Costanzo says each triangle was roughly the size of a large van, while his former girlfriend compares it to a “larger Cessna, smaller than a jet certainly.” Neither recalls seeing any markings, landing gear, engines, windows or cockpits.

The craft approached to within 200 yards, suspended over the field just beyond the swimming pool. Both witnesses say it emitted a quiet, throbbing sound — nothing like an airplane engine.

“There was a feeling of wanting to communicate something, but I didn’t know what,” says Mr. Costanzo.

The craft held steady in midair, for perhaps a minute, then sped away, Mr. Costanzo says. “Nothing had landed,” he says. “No strange beings had disembarked. No obvious messages were beamed down. When they were completely out of sight, we all looked at each other disbelieving what we had seen.”

At Mr. Kucinich’s suggestion, they jotted down their impressions and drew pictures to memorialize the event. Mr. Kucinich kept the notes, according to Ms. MacLaine, who said he promised her recently that he would try to find them.
In an interview with WSJ’s Jeffrey Trachtenberg, actress and author Shirley MacLaine discusses the cosmic scope of her new book, “Sage-ing While Age-ing.”


  1. Tegumai Bopsulai, FCD

    I notice that the witnesses list estimates for both size and distance. These quantities are highly interdependent; it is hard to estimate one without knowing the other.

  2. Actually, under these viewing conditions, size, distance, and speed are all interdependent; all the witnesses have, really, is a particular amount of retinal arc being stimulated, and no way at all of knowing whether something is big, distant, and fast, or small, near, and slow. Also, the “three charcoal-gray, triangular craft, flying in a tight wedge” could easily be the lights of one craft. Or three, of course. It is also interesting that the telescope, brought as a gift, was used. One may suspect that none of the witnesses was experienced at using that particular scope–an out-of-focus plane could very easily be seen as three craft.

  3. The idea of UFOs is an odd one indeed. The only requirements are that it is an ‘OBJECT’ which seems to be ‘FLYING’ and is ‘UNIDENTIFIED’. Just because we don’t know what something is doesn’t make it other worldly. And as long as something is unidentified, the observer is free to make presumptions. So what’s the big deal?

  4. I actually rather liked Kucinich’s answer to this question. “It was an unidentified flying object, okay? It’s unidentified.”

  5. I actually rather liked Kucinich’s answer to this question. “It was an unidentified flying object, okay? It’s unidentified.”

    Posted by: Jane Shevtsov | January 2, 2008 12:24 PM

    I agree with Jane. Unidentified means unidentified. I am not sure I would like to see one of these things, even with fellow witnesses at hand. I saw a UFO doesn’t always go over so good on a resume! LOL!
    Dave Briggs :~)

  6. Barn Owl

    Darn. I like Dennis Kucinich (as well as his answer to the UFO question).

    But hangin’ out with Shirley MacLaine, a celebrity high priestess of New Age woo?? She was good in movies such as “Terms of Endearment” and “Steel Magnolias”, but more recently it seems that she’s a few pyramidal cells short of a functioning frontal cortex.

  7. I don’t doubt the existence of a species on some distant planet, the universe is very large and so the possibility becomes more likely, but I doubt we or they have made any contact. I’m not sure what neurons have to be floating through someone’s brain to make them think an alien species would just fly in and out of our atmosphere, because it seems more rationale that one would try to say hi before creating necessary equipment to drop in and out of our planet.

    And it really doesn’t surprise me that a Democrat is saying such a thing. It’s very normal indeed for a Democrat to ruin their chances at becoming president over something silly like this. 😉

  8. I don’t know what is “typical” for a Democrat to say other than that s/he’s not a Republican. However, I’m afraid that Dennis K. hasn’t a chance in hell of winning the nomination, let alone being POTUS, and if anything, mentioning that he’d seen a UFO, however he meant it, is irrelevant to those chances.

    If Kucinich were one of the leading candidates for the Dems and said he speaks nightly to God, I’d be more inclined to take it as a shameless attempt to play to some of the voters the party has lost over the past couple of decades, but it might also be more or less true. Lots of people pray, after all, even if I don’t, and “speaking nightly to God” would be a nice politically clever way of announcing one’s piety. I doubt it would cost such a candidate many votes from staunch skeptics like me, and it would probably reassure a few believers. But most people in this era would likely see it as political pandering, and that reflects both the cynicism and the reality of the times. As has been pointed out, all Kucinich said was that the object he saw was not identified, not that it was clearly of alien origin. I agree, too, that Shirley M., for all her liberalism, should be scorned for making money off her 3rd rate spiritualism and exploiting the greed and stupidity of many others. But I don’t quite think having been her guest tars Dennis Kucinich with the same brush.

  9. Russell

    Doesn’t everyone who looks at the sky see UFOs from time to time? I’ve seen my share. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t believe any of this stuff about aliens in spaceships. But there’s lots of stuff in the sky, and it’s not always easy to tell what it is you’re seeing.

  10. Harry Abernathy

    It’s not like Kuccinich goes around spouting off about UFOs and aliens. He was asked directly by Tim Russert (the moderator) about the experience in the debate. He (Dennis) didn’t bring it up himself, nor does he make it any part of his campaign. I give Dennis credit for at least being honest, saying he saw something that he could not identify instead of dodging the question. Frankly, I think Russert is so far up the Clintons’ keisters that he probably asked that question to make Kuccinich look even more foolish since he refuses to drop out of the race.

    So the man sees something in the sky that he cannot identify. So what? He doesn’t (publicly) state that he believes it to be extraterrestrial in nature. You can find better reasons to like or dislike the man besides this. I mean, we elected AND REELECTED a drunk and former cokehead who believes in the Apocalypse as president — all character flaws I consider much more objectionable than seeing a UFO.

  11. Barn Owl

    But I don’t quite think having been her guest tars Dennis Kucinich with the same brush.

    Nor do I, of course. In fact I think that interactions between celebrities and politicians are stupidly over-emphasized in American culture, so I guess you could say my comment above was facetious. In any case, I have a number of flaky friends who are into various types of woo and religion, totally unscientific and not evidence-based, and I love them every bit as much as I love my rational atheistic friends. AFAIK, my flaky friends aren’t exploiting or harming anyone with woo or religion (e.g. none is refusing vaccinations or other allopathic medical treatments for their children), and the woo doesn’t stick if you don’t let it.

    I’m bitterly disappointed that Kucinich, regardless of UFO sightings or celebrity friendships, will never be a viable presidential candidate in this election. His values, interests, and agenda match my own more closely than do those of any other candidate. One of the key Kucinich quotes for me was this one, from a speech immediately post-Katrina:

    The President said an hour ago that the Gulf Coast looks like it has been obliterated by a weapon. It has. Indifference is a weapon of mass destruction.

    Too bad that none of the other candidates seems to be aware of the damage that indifference does in this country, especially when that indifference leaves those already impoverished and marginalized utterly adrift, literally and figuratively.

  12. My feeling is, people can’t control what they see. After all, most people see stuff that they can’t explain in the course of their lives.

    The question is, what does that MEAN to you?

    I hear lots of politicians talking about what “God told” them to do. with regards to public policy.

    They worry me a lot more than some politician who says he saw somtheing weird that he can’t explain, doesn’t try to dissemble, and also doesn’t try to tell us that the aliens told him to run for president or some dumb stuff like that.

    Hanging with Shirley McClaine might be weird, but I hang out with woo-woo types as well. They’re OK people. At least he doesn’t hang out with neo-nazis or gangters or whatever, like some.

  13. If all the people who said, “I love Dennis but he can’t win” actually voted for him, then he might stand a good chance of being elected! Remember, the media doesn’t vote. Corporations don’t vote. And, in the end, elections are about votes.

  14. Christina

    And, in the end, elections are about votes.

    And he lost any chance in hell of getting mine when he even entertained the idea of putting Ron Paul on the ticket.

  15. Interrobang

    Oh, good grief, is that what all the fuss was about? Yeah, the corporate media (which doesn’t vote; it doesn’t have to, but shh, don’t give them ideas about which other rights they think corporate legal persons should have) is really going out of its way to make him look bad, isn’t it?

    By the criterion of “saw something in the sky that s/he couldn’t identify,” just about everyone has “seen a UFO.” I’m better than average with aircraft identification (my dad is a retired pilot and lifelong aviation buff; it rubs off) and even I have. Yeeesh…

  16. I don’t think of this as anything but hype for the following reasons:

    1)He is not using it to pander to the voters.

    2)He admits that he simply does not know what it was. He did not concoct a ludicrous story to explain it.

    3)He is not actually trying to incorporate it into his public policy. It would be a different story if Kucinich’s policy included things like creationism in school curriculum or telling secular Americans that they are not free. *coughHuckabeeandRomneycough*

    4)So? There are much bigger issues out there. The media seize on the candidate’s minor characteristics and actions, as well as unfounded rumors (MadrasaGate), while ignoring what he or she will actually do.

    5)If one judges UFO claims with the criterion of “I saw something in the sky, and I have no clue what it was,” everyone has seen a UFO. I have, and I don’t think it was a saucer. I attributed it to a plane in the clouds, my dreadful vision without glasses, aurora borealis, etc.

    Kucinich is still a good candidate, and I wish the MSM would realize that the presidency should not be decided on a candidate’s hair, or his claims that he saw something he can’t explain.

  17. I wonder how many people who mock Kucinich believe in an invisible man in the sky, or virgin births, or people being raised from the dead, or seas parting, or burning bushes talking, or special incantations which can improve one’s health, finances, love life, etc. And then someone says he saw a thing flying he didn’t understand or make out to be a plane or helicopter and he gets the tin foil beanie treatment. Huh?

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