UFO experience set to fly in Myrtle Beach

03/26/2013 10:02 AM

03/29/2013 7:13 AM

Known for customizing his own acronyms, actor Gary Busey from the NBC-TV show “Celebrity Apprentice” might spell out UFOs (unidentified flying objects) as “unusually fascinating oddities.”

The exhibition “Encounters: UFO Experience” will premiere April 4 at Broadway at the Beach, and continue through Sept. 2, in the same hall where “Bodies Revealed” opened eyes and horizons the past two summers. Look for a flying saucer in the outer side of the building for this show, though.

Brian Bouquet from The Event Agency in Los Angeles, which handled the primary development and design of “Encounters,” said the exhibit caps off more than five years of research, and assembly of artifacts and content begun three years ago.

He said amid various other entities’ “alien-related exhibits, nothing like this with the set designs” has been produced. With a Hollywood-set designer’s touch, “Encounters” relates specifically to UFO phenomena in a family experience.

“It’s brand new,” Bouquet said. “We designed this, including all content, to speak to all ages.”

Although some material might appeal more to people with doctorates, other parts will engage 6-year-olds, he said.

“Kids will be blown away,” Bouquet said.

He brought up a “propulsion gallery” that covers intergalactic connections to “habitable planets” from a “How do we get there?” approach.

“For me, that’s the gallery perhaps of greatest interest,” Bouquet said, crediting scientists whose research continues on the subject.

Bouquet thinks some must-see aspects for youth include ties to such late 1970s/early ‘80s movies as “E.T. The Extra Terrestrial,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and “Alien.”

With “a collection of more than 12 alien specimens in jars” and more than 200 artifacts dotting the exhibit, Bouquet said such interest dates to ancient times, especially seen through some old vimana and sanskrits. He said pyramids built thousands of years ago, the way people, with “the tools they had at the time,” moved, stacked and finished the rocks, “is amazing, and one of early science’s great mysteries.”

“It looks like it’s from a power above,” Bouquet said, hopeful this new exhibit lets “everybody make their own conclusions. ... Certainly we give enough information, to maybe persuade people that there is something else out there.”

Bouquet also said Broadway at the Beach was chosen for the world unveiling of “Encounters” because of the success of “Bodies Revealed” as well as the traffic from tourism and the community, Broadway being “a very easy place to do business,” and the amount of witnessed “credible UFO sightings” in the area, of which “Myrtle Beach has a lot.”

Patrick Walsh, senior vice president of asset management and commercial leasing with Burroughs & Chapin Company Inc. of Myrtle Beach, which owns Broadway at the Beach, spoke of the big-ticket draw for “Encounters.”

“Each year, Broadway at the Beach strives to introduce something new and exciting that becomes a ‘must-see’ for visitors to Myrtle Beach,” he said. “This year, we’re particularly excited to bring the world’s first exhibition exploring the history of UFOs.

“From ‘Good Morning America Online’ to the top travel sites, people are talking about it and we’re expecting it to be the hit of the 2013 tourism season.”

Already, some requests for the exhibit’s next stop have come in, Bouquet said, also eager to have occasional guest speakers such as Stanton Friedman, a nuclear physicist, who will give a free lecture 3-4 p.m. April 4 at Legends in Concert, nearby.

“He’s fascinating,” Bouquet said. “if you want to get a greater understanding of the science behind propulsion systems that could take us to another galaxy in an eighth of the time we need, he’s the one who can tell you.”

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