An Interview with Angelia Joiner
by Brent Raynes
Angelia Joiner is the news reporter who broke this year’s biggest UFO story from Stephenville, Texas. For additional details and updates go to her website: www.stephenvillelights.com.
For our exclusive interview just read on!
Angelia Joiner: Now before I was totally passive about UFOs. I had no interest. If I saw something on TV or maybe read something I might think, “Well, that’s interesting,” and then I wouldn’t think that much about it at all.
But now I’m totally interested and I would say that it has pretty much engulfed my life. It has really been a wild ride for me. You know, I ended up out of a job and I’ve met some of the nicest people that I have ever met and some of the most intelligent people I have ever met. I still get emails from all over the world. I just got one from last week from Lebanon.
You know, you asked what it felt like to be a UFO celebrity? I don’t really feel like a UFO celebrity but that guy in Lebanon kind of made me feel like that. (laughed)
Editor: Well, I know that you’ve been doing radio programs and I know that you were a speaker back in April at the Eureka Springs UFO Conference in Arkansas and I’m sure at many other places you’ve been asked to come and speak at.
Angelia Joiner: Well, you know I was a speaker at the X-Conference at Washington, D.C., after Eureka Springs. But really those were the only two who had asked me. I haven’t had any other invitations.
Editor: Why did the newspaper that you worked for, the Stephenville Empire-Tribune, let you go?
Angelia Joiner: I was only there for 18 months. I was a teacher before. And you want to know why it didn’t work out?
Editor: Yeah, what reason they gave or how valid you felt that reason was or whatever.
Angelia Joiner: They wanted me to let the UFO stuff go and I tried to do that, I tried to honor their wishes, but they really didn’t provide me with a way to let it go because I was still the media contact, I was still the witness contact, and so what I tried to do was to direct that attention to after hours, to where it would not be on newspaper time. Because I was just a staff writer, I was just an hourly employee, so I figured if I could direct it away from newspaper time then that would be okay. But it wasn’t and I gave my notice. You know, I was still getting tons of phone calls, an extreme amount of email, and my editor told me to just ignore those and I didn’t know quite how to do that without being rude. Plus I didn’t really feel like I could abandon those witnesses because they had been thrust into the limelight and this is a rural community. Some of them didn’t know what Associated Press was. I didn’t feel like I could do that to them. They trusted me from the very beginning and they trusted me to tell their story, just like it was, and then I didn’t feel like I could go, “Okay, it’s over. I’m not going to talk to you anymore.” And it was to the point that I was afraid the editor might walk by my desk and hear me talking about UFOs. So I gave my notice.
Editor: It was certainly such a big news item. CNN and Larry King Live were abuzz with the latest developments and the latest so-called expert opinions on those developments. It put Stephenville on the map. You would have thought that they would have been grateful.
Angelia Joiner: January was a record sales month for that little newspaper, but in all honesty and fairness I have to say that it drained the resources of a small newspaper. I was supposed to do two front page stories every day. It’s a daily newspaper except for Saturday. On Sunday’s I was supposed to have two front page stories, plus I was supposed to do an education page and a Tarleton State University page, which that’s the local college, and I was supposed to have everything together for that on Sunday’s, and because of all of the attention and things, I was lucky to get one story done on the front page. So other people were having to pull up my slack and I realized that, and it was a hardship for that newspaper too.
I just couldn’t do my normal routine. It wasn’t possible. I tried and was working 12 and 14 hour days, but it just didn’t work. So anyway I gave my notice and I expected to fully honor my two weeks notice, but a week into that I came in and my computer was gone, my rolodex was gone, and they accused me of looking for other jobs. The only thing that I did was, because I used to be a teacher, I had emailed an administrative person for the school district in Stephenville and asked what I needed to do to update my file so that I could substitute teach again. That could have been what they were referring to. I really don’t know because they didn’t go into specifics. I did have a lunch date that same day, which lunch was on my time not newspaper time, with the Dallas Morning News. One of the writers there wanted to do a follow up story and I had explained to him, “Look, I’m in this precarious situation and it would have to be on my lunch hour.” He agreed to that, and I think that somehow they might have heard about that meeting and thought that it was a job interview because the publisher said, “We heard that you’re going to work for the Dallas Morning News,” and I said, “No, I can’t move to Dallas. I have a teenager in high school here. I’m not going to move her, and I wouldn’t do that anyway. I can’t move.” And I said, “The meeting I had was for his follow-up story. I’m just trying to help him out.” Anyway, they just said get my stuff and go and gave me cardboard boxes and I had to pack up in front of the whole newsroom. I don’t know if you’re familiar with newsrooms, but there’s no partitions or anything. Just desks everywhere and it was a very humiliating experience and not something I would like to relive at all.
Editor: Okay then, we’ll get off that subject. (we both laugh)
So what are you doing now?
Angelia Joiner: Now I have sold my home in Stephenville. My husband and I will have been married two years this July, and he already had a house in Dublin so since I’m not working and I’ve sold my house, we’ve moved to Dublin. It’s only like 12-14 miles from Stephenville.
I have had a contract offer on a book. I haven’t signed off on anything yet. I don’t know what I’m going to do. My life has really taken a…well, I can’t even explain to you what this has been like. It’s been incredible. I just did a television program for the Discovery Channel and I understand that Larry King Live is going to be back here in the next couple of weeks. We do have some interesting radar information that is going to come out soon. I’ve been in contact with several radar specialists since the very beginning and they got 2.5 million pieces of raw data from five different towers, from the hours of 4 to 8 p.m. on January the 8th.
So they kept in contact with me almost daily as to what they’re looking at and what they’re seeing and tracking the military jets that were here. Carswell Naval Air Base said that there were ten, two weeks later. They have found those ten jets, but there were some other things in the air that they’re not quite sure what they are. So that should be interesting. I’m waiting for the final, final report. I have a lot of information already, but I’m just waiting for the final report. I understand that the report at this point is 70 pages long.
Editor: Is this the FAA?
Angelia Joiner: Yes, it’s five towers from the FAA. 2.5 million pieces of raw data.
Editor: Wow. You say 2.5 million pieces. Is that like each image of a picture frame?
Angelia Joiner: That’s right. A radar does a sweep every ten seconds and so you get a lot of data from five different towers.
Editor: That sounds like it’s going to be intriguing. Also there is some video documentation that has come out?
Angelia Joiner: The constable, Lee Roy Gaitan, has video of what he thinks is a UFO. I have looked at that and I was very impressed with it, but Linda Howe looked at it and she wasn’t impressed at all. She thinks it’s out of focus, and she may be right. She has a lot more experience than I do. Ricky Sorrells has a video but it’s on a cell phone and it’s just not good quality. It’s very pixilated and you can’t tell what you’re looking at. What you see may be a cloud. Who knows. You’re going by what he says, and I believe him to be a very honest man. I believe what he says, but as far as to put that out there for the world it would be debunked in a second.
Editor: Overall the main thing is the credibility and the caliber of the eyewitnesses.
Angelia Joiner: Exactly. Steve Allen is a pilot and he’s been flying for years and years and he was the first person who reported to me on January the 9th (he saw it on the evening of January the 8th, with three friends). He is very credible. He’s a very respected businessman and because he was a pilot that’s one reason that I went ahead with the story. I did call the local airport, and it’s called Clark Field, and I did talk with some people out there that knew him and they said, “Yeah, he’s already called us. We’re trying to help him figure out what it is.” So that’s one reason that I went ahead with the story because he was a pilot, he had three other people who went on the record with him.
Editor: Is there still any activity ongoing or has it all died down?
Angelia Joiner: You know, there really has been activity ongoing, but because of all of the media attention there’s a lot of people who won’t go on the record. They don’t want to be on the news. They don’t want to be the center of attention. It’s a rural community. People are out in the evenings feeding their cows, taking care of livestock, horses or whatever, and it’s not like the big city where everybody goes home at 5:30 and eat dinner and they stay in and they watch TV. So there have been dozens of people seeing something and it appears to be ongoing.
Now myself I’ve never seen anything, and I have looked. (laughed) I mean, I walk around with my nose up towards the sky now because I know that these people saw something. I have no doubt. I don’t know what it was. Definitely it’s unidentified, and that’s all UFO means is unidentified. Could it be military? Possibly, I don’t know. I have wracked my brain. I have been on the internet and searched and tried to find some other alternative for what it could be besides something from outer space.
Editor: What details of these encounters impress you the most?
Angelia Joiner: Ricky Sorrells details really impressed me. He is the only person who has seen it in the daytime, that I know of anyway. He had a little problem with some harassment going on afterwards with black helicopters flying over, way, way low. He was afraid they were going to run his cattle into fences or run them to death, and I think that could be (and this is speculation on my part, and I want to stress that) that might be because he has more detail in his sighting than anybody else because it was daytime. He says it was a gray object, sort of a barn metal gray (and that’s exactly the type of description you would get from somebody living out here). It had cone shaped indentions, and he was looking up at it in the woods. Most of his property is very heavily wooded, so he could not see a perimeter. He could not see where it started or ended. He didn’t know how big it was, but when it took off there was no air displacement, no sound, and it left at an angle (and I don’t know if I can make this clear to you because I can’t really show you with my hands) it left at an angle, of a 45 degree angle, but at the same time it stayed horizontal, and that’s unusual. He was out hunting and that’s why he saw it. He actually saw it in December. Where he works he’s a machinist and he told everybody, “God, you won’t believe what I saw,” and he described it to them, described it to them as having no seams, no joints, no bolts. It looked like one solid piece, and of course he got a lot of ribbing. Well when the story came out, the first story that I wrote on January 10th, he said that people were flocking to him saying “Look! Look what’s in the newspaper!” Then they started to go, “God, maybe we shouldn’t have ribbed you so bad.”
Editor: I remember reading something about what sounded like military harassment, so I guess that was the only case I guess where that occurred, with the helicopters?
Angelia Joiner: That’s the only case that I know of. Right after that story came out, the day of January 10th or the 11th, I had a lot of people calling me at the newspaper office saying, “Is this why we’re seeing all of this increased military traffic? There’s a lot of helicopters. There’s a lot of jets.” I noticed that myself. I would see these transport helicopters and things, and all I could say was, “I don’t really know if that’s why we’re seeing all of this increased traffic.” But possibly, and the people around here noticed that increased traffic.
We’re accustomed to seeing jets fly over because they go from Carswell in Fort Worth to the Brownwood Military Operating Area, and we’re right in that flight path, so we’re used to that, and so that’s back to normal.
Editor: So by and large it has changed your life for the better, you feel? It’s obviously been a big change.
Angelia Joiner: Well I don’t know if it has changed my life for the better. I still don’t have a job. Sometimes I look back and I think, well, I have to tell you this. I truly loved writing for the newspaper and I thought that I had finally found my nitche. In March, I turned 47 and I thought this is my nitche, this is what I was meant to do. I loved writing for the newspaper. I loved what I did and sometimes I look back and I think, “God, I wish Steve Allen had never called me.” But at other times I feel like it has made me grow, as a person, and it has opened up a whole new world to me that I really didn’t know existed.
Editor: It’s like a little of this and that, right?
Angelia Joiner: It is. It’s kind of a mixture of feelings that go with it. Evidently the people at the newspaper who I thought were friends were not. That was hurtful. But I’ve made so many new friends and that part I’m really grateful for.
Editor: One of the witnesses, it might have been Steve Allen, and I believe that this was an article that you had written, and he had been contacted, as I recall, by some Japanese people who were interested in the phenomenon going on in Texas, and it was expressed that the governments of nations from around the world should be releasing formerly classified UFO data and they were hoping that the trend would continue.
Angelia Joiner: It does seem like everybody is releasing information, except for the United States. James Fox of “Out Of the Blue” is working on a new movie called “Beyond The Blue.” He was just here a couple of months ago. He’s been here a couple of times. But I know that he spent time in France for several weeks pouring over the documents that they had released. We had a news crew here from Brazil and they had had some unexplained sky phenomena, and I’d almost rather call it unexplained sky phenomena than UFO because there is such a negative connotation with that. You say UFO and people say “little green men.” It’s just all kind of connected, and it’s really not what that means. And somebody will ask me, “Do you believe in UFOs?” Well, it’s not a belief, it’s not some kind of religion. They’re just unidentified or they’re not. It seems to me like there should be some new term created or something.
Editor: Yeah, if they said, “Do you believe in flying saucers?” That would I guess narrow it down a little. UFOs are simply anything unidentified.
Angelia Joiner: But flying saucers are even…I have people who report…I just had an email (it’s a very impressive report) from Houston, Texas. This man described a cube coming out of a cloud. A flying saucer really isn’t it either. I don’t know what it is but I do feel that something is going on and like with the Vatican coming out with their statement that it’s all right for people to believe in extraterrestrials, that it’s not against the Catholic religion, I thought that was huge.
Editor: Yeah, because a lot of people in the Christian community kind of freak out over some of these stories.
Angelia Joiner: Yes, they do.
I think there is just too much going on, throughout the world, for there not to be something to this. And that’s another thing. When I was at the X-Conference in Washington, D.C., and one of those nights was a banquet night and the astronaut Edgar Mitchell spoke to us, and I started looking around at the speakers and there were doctors, people with Ph.D’s. I started thinking: Could this many very smart people be that far off in left field if there’s not something to this?