STEUBENVILLE - For area residents interested in all things paranormal, a new group set to meet monthly will host its first get-together Thursday at Eat n' Park in Steubenville.
Fred Saluga, organizer, said W.Va. CUE will meet from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month at Eat 'n Park in Steubenville and offer those attending a forum in which to cover everything from unidentified flying objects and ghosts to Bigfoot and other paranormal topics.
CUE is an acronym for Center for Unexplained Events.
Fred Saluga, group organizer
-- Janice Kiaski
"This is to give the community a better understanding of the paranormal community," explained Saluga, a longtime UFO investigator who has taught free classes on the subject at Eastern Gateway Community College and will have an upcoming 10-week class there in the near future.
"A lot of people have had some type of incident or experience. They don't know who to talk to, what to say, so we are there. You can come and talk to the people, and it's therapy, too," he said.
Saluga is confident there will be a good turnout for the initial meeting and subsequent ones.
"There will definitely be people there," the Weirton resident said, noting individuals from his classes will likely be on hand in addition to "some ghost hunters from East Liverpool" who expressed interest and others.
The setting will be an open forum with topics driven by participant input. Guest speakers at future meetings will be a possibility.
"We'll start off with UFO sightings around the area, whatever the group wants," he said. "If the group wants us to do something, we'll work with them."
A former law enforcement officer, Saluga is the state director of MUFON of West Virginia. MUFON, an acronym for Mutual UFO Network Inc., is a nonprofit corporation founded in 1969 that's dedicated through its volunteers to resolving the scientific enigma known collectively as UFOs.
He also is a Western Pennsylvania section director of MUFON of Pennsylvania. He estimated that he has investigated "a couple thousand" UFO reports since the 1970s.
MUFON's mission is "the scientific study of UFOs for the benefit of humanity" with its four goals, according to the website, listed as to investigate UFO sightings and collect the data in the MUFON database for use by researchers worldwide; to promote research on UFOs to discover the true nature of the phenomenon, with an eye toward scientific breakthroughs; to educate the public on the UFO phenomenon and its potential impact on society; and to ensure the economic viability of MUFON to achieve its mission and goals.
Ninety percent of reports filed about UFOs can be identified, he said, and 7 percent "would be government stuff we're not aware of."
The other 3 percent?
"We really don't know what they are," he had said in a previous interview.
Saluga said a discussion he had in recent months was with an area resident who claimed to have had a "Mothman" sighting in West Virginia about 10 years ago.
Mothman is a legendary birdlike creature reportedly seen in the Point Pleasant area of West Virginia.
"She was talking to me, and she was getting goosebumps. Her voice started cracking like she was actually scared telling me what she was telling me," he said.
Saluga said "shadow people" constitute another example of the paranormal. "When you look through the side of your eyes and see a shadow, they call them shadow people. They're actually there they say. I don't know. I've never seen one."
The forum is a nonjudgmental setting for people to talk about such topics, according to Saluga.
"It is good to get it off your chest. At lot of people need someone to talk to," Saluga said.
For information, contact Saluga by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.