BY ED GEBERT
Times Bulletin News Writer
For John P. Timmerman, talking about unidentified flying objects is a daily occurrence. The Lima native began his study of UFOs before the town of Roswell, New Mexico became famous for a baffling experience. He has interviewed many about their own experiences with UFOs, yet there is one major hole in his life experience.
"I have never seen what I would like to experience," admitted Timmerman. "In the rest of my life, I have spoken to, talked to, talked with thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of real people who are part of the program I put together for people to come to me and tell me of their experiences. And they did."
Now, at the age of 87, Timmerman's passion is to share what he has learned and to get others to think about the unknown.
He noted, "I want to make sure that the people who really want to know will realize the realities of their lifetime and study the subjects, the planets and the sky around us, because we're dealing with something extremely interesting. To ignore it would make us all fools."
According to Timmerman, it was 1946 when his interest in astronomy collided with reports of "flying saucers" in Washington. "I wrote a letter to three professors in a college nearby and asked them if I could be of help in finding stories," he remembered. "They sent a nice letter back to Lima and told me I was welcome to try."
Timmerman was asked to join the J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies as an investigator and board member. He jumped at the chance.
"This was an opportunity for me to work with a man that I thought was highly intelligent and deeply interested in what he was assigned to do by the United States Air Force. All the calls and experiences he had during that time were something well beyond what he could handle by himself," stated Timmerman.
After all the interviews he has conducted and all the investigations he has undertaken, Timmerman remains convinced that there is more in the universe than most people realize. While some sightings turn out to be easily explainable, others are not.
"I can't explain all these things," he shrugged. "I just think we should study the things around us and prepare to protect our planet from maybe a big rock coming alongside and tearing us up. That's astronomy. So instead of some of the other things we waste our time on, we should make sure we have a clear understanding of reality on our planet."
Timmerman's stories raise more questions than provide answers. He asserts that the government has covered up information and changed facts in official reports. He claimed that Hynek discovered the discrepancies and spoke out against Project Blue Book - the project with which his name had become forever linked.
Some of the stories that Timmerman has heard firsthand can boggle the mind. He believes there is much that mankind does not know or understand, but does not offer much in the way of speculation. Aware that his mind has begun to weaken, he has become content to raise questions and to urge people to wonder about the unknown.
He said, "We should be reconsidering our belief in everything. We should pay attention to what we don't know now."
Timmerman has spoken out about UFOs perhaps as much as people have spoken to him on the topic. His work with the Center for UFO Studies has carried over to local groups like the Lima Area UFO Research Associates (LAURA). Although his mind works more slowly, his steady voice still resonates strongly with a charge to look beyond what is already known. At an advanced age, Timmerman still strives to teach people about the unknown.
"I'm glad that I have taken a study of the unknown," he declared. "My wife wants me to stay how and work in the garden! But I want to be informative and do things to increase people's knowledge about the world in which they live."