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Ohio Saucer Watch

Ohio Saucer Watch is an informal UFO organization which focuses primarily on researching cases from Ohio. Established by Erin Kavanaugh (along with friends of hers and other local hobbyists) following the disappearance of her sister, the organization has mostly flown under the radar. Erin, still active in the group, maintains a strong stance opposed to accepting any and all crankery, which has caused friction within the group. However, very few have left due to this, as they hold a sort of "primacy" on what is widely considered to be one of the best "close encounter" cases on record. Although it has mostly stayed out of the public eye since the police stopped their search for the missing Ta'zhen (then known as Kayla), the case has floated endlessly through UFO circles, and what proof there is has been endlessly analyzed.   OSW holds original copies of surveillance footage and cell phone video featuring Saeh'han, very rarely photographed without his hexagonal-patterned mask. It also has extensive records of interviews with local persons who have encountered him (including Nat Atrella, recent but vocal skeptic, thorn in the side of everyone else in the UFO field, with whom OSW has very cordial relations). The case is considered the raison d'être of OSW and is, in many ways, its claim to fame. However, OSW commonly avoids UFOlogical conferences on cost grounds, and members have privately admitted that they view the case as "unfinished", and their goal is to recover information about Kayla's whereabouts. Their best hope is establishing proof of life.


Despite having founding members, the OSW operates on a very flat team structure, with many contributions from members considered of more or less equal value (until further analyzed). They also have associates who are not official members of the Watch, but who also contribute information. They have worked very closely with Atrella while he developed his book Debunked, as both parties share a vested interest in "The Girl Who Ran Away With ET", as Kayla is commonly known in Esterholt gossip.


Certainly unlike major UFO groups, OSW has never endorsed a "big" case. This is something Kavanaugh has enforced at the suggestion of Atrella, on the grounds that they should only do so if they think they have the evidence. This has influenced OSW's relations with other groups, causing them to widely be labeled as "skeptical" even though they are not (Atrella himself classes the group as "skeptical believers", and has once privately admitted to colleagues that he thinks what they have is "very good"). Instead, it is better to categorize them as "single-minded", as they were founded in response to a specific case, rather than any general trends in society. Their primary goal is a fact-finding mission at its core, and that has driven them for the better part of a decade.

Public Agenda

OSW considers itself to have one goal: discover the whereabouts of Kayla Kavanaugh and hopefully establish proof of life for her. This daunting task required the sub-goals of establishing the identity of the individual she was seen with in the weeks and months leading up to her disappearance, where the person came from, and if they can be reached by some means. While theories on the nature of extraterrestrial intelligence abound, OSW has not formally adopted a position, believing that prevents them from obtaining their goals as stated. Over time they've evolved into a sort of truth-finding organization, making their findings and those of others available on their official website. Because of their apparently dim view of almost all UFO cases, they are widely viewed as a "skeptical" or "debunking" organization in the pay of the government, when this is not the case (and Kavanaugh would like to know where that sweet, sweet government money went).


OSW operates out of the basement of one Keith Billenheimer, a classmate of Erin Kavanaugh's who was once rumored to have beaten Kyle Curakkis to a pulp. Billenheimer's friend Andrew Levi concocted the idea of pooling everyone's resources into video and photo analyzing equipment, which currently resides as software on the laptops of every member, although his dream is to establish a more permanent set up which can be fully devoted to the task. The advancement of technology has allowed many such upgrades over the years, usually originating with one member and slowly circulating through the rest as means allow.   This equipment is devoted pretty much solely to analysis of extant photos and videos related to the disappearance of Kayla Kavanaugh, mostly from police records (they billed it as "a better option than simply destroying something that could have historic value", and police were more than happy to turn the case file over to OSW).   Mostly, however, OSW represents an investment of everyone's off time from their day jobs, and is built by sleepless nights going mad staring at computer screens, struggling to decipher data, interviewing witnesses on weekends or after church, and tracking down any possibly similar case and evaluating it. Usually, they have come up empty, but they are driven by a deep conviction that they have something.


Founded in early 2012 (local time) by Erin Kavanaugh as something of a "spiritual successor" to the abandoned search for her younger sister Kayla, Ohio Saucer Watch has only expanded this goal, taking in the task of sorting fact from fiction in the UFO field. This work has led them to associate with Nat Atrella, who was working on the same thing and had developed similarly dim views of most of UFOlogy. The two groups shared evidence and research with each other, and OSW has made public on their website what Atrella would later include in Debunked (published in mid-2018, local time). OSW has become known in wider UFOlogy both for this tendency and their single-minded devotion to a case which sparked a host of fanciful notions in many other proponents. OSW has largely ignored the hypotheses, focusing on teasing apart the available data and tracking down any more that might exist. This approach has been widely commended by skeptics, and the friendly relations between OSW and skeptics and their organizations has negatively impacted relations between OSW and UFO proponents. Many of the latter have come to suggest that the case was a delicately orchestrated hoax by the CIA (or NSA or Air Force or other bogeyman) to discredit them (or alternatively, as the work of the Lizard People, also to discredit them but for different reasons). Due to this pushback, OSW has been able to fly under the radar and maintain its focus while the rest of the world gradually moved on.   They are given acknowledgements in Debunked and cited heavily in that book's chapter on the Kayla Kavanaugh disappearance. Likewise, the chapter is reprinted almost in full on the OSW website, with appropriate citations. This page is the most detailed on the website and where one can find the most comprehensive collection of data on the case for their own perusal.

The Truth is Out There

Founding Date
Social, Activist
Alternative Names
Bunch of Whack Jobs, OSW, the Watch
Notable Members

Articles under Ohio Saucer Watch


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Feb 12, 2021 20:59 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

I like the alternative names. XD This is a really interesting group. I like their history.

Feb 12, 2021 23:18

UFOlogy is one of my favorite "paranormal" subjects, and one of the reasons I love this series is I get to write in a world where the idea of UFOs as alien spacecraft has some merit.