UFO researchers can postulate and theorize all they want, as they have done all week here at the fifth annual International UFO Congress convention.

But the vortex of the UFO phenomenon, in America anyway, continues to form around people like Tim Edwards - average, everyday citizens who experience something incredible that they can't explain.After a day of lectures rife with weird science and unconventional explanations for the creation of the universe and the origin of Homo sapiens, the mild-mannered restaurateur from Salida, Colo., brought conventioneers back to Earth with extensive home video footage of a UFO.

Taken in daylight on Aug. 27 outside the Edwards home, the video shows a disc- or cigar-shaped object hovering - then darting about - in the skies above Salida. A series of ripples or moving lights are seen to rotate from left to right on the object, which stayed just above the morning sun while Edwards, his daughter and four construction workers watched in amazement.

Other footage Edwards took on Sept. 25, and subsequent videos, shows small, white spheres emerging from the object.

Edwards told an audience of about 300 here Wednesday night that the sighting was the most profound experience of his life. He said he is convinced the intelligence behind the moving objects is of extraterrestrial origin.

"I never gave much thought to UFOs before this happened. When something this unusual happens, your life is completely changed in a moment," said Edwards, 42, who runs the small cafe his father started 18 years ago. "It's been a very emotional and stressful time, but I've never felt better about life. I'm totally honored to be a part of what's transpiring.

The entire San Luis Valley of Colorado has been a hot spot for UFO sightings and mysterious cattle mutilations for several years, and Edwards said he had been remotely aware of the reported activity. Since Aug. 27, Edwards said, he has been driven to learn more about the phenomenon and tell his story to anyone who will listen.

Edwards said he has talked with another Salida-area man who can't account for 35 minutes of his life and has "physical evidence" that he has been abducted by apparent aliens.

With the help of his father and friends, Edwards said he has accumulated more than 16 hours of UFO video footage, some of which was featured on the television program "Sightings" earlier this month.

Edwards said a similar object has been seen recently by residents of Grand Junction and Lamar, Colo., and Las Vegas, and has been videotaped in the skies above Phoenix.

Edwards said the object is always seen near the sun, where most people wouldn't choose to look. He was able to record the UFO only by positioning himself under the eaves of his house to block the sun.

Michael Heseman, a German documentary filmmaker attending the convention, has studied dozens of amateur videos of UFOs. He said Edwards' video depicts a craft similar to one captured on tape in Russia in 1990.

"I'm highly impressed with this," said Heseman, echoing the statements of other UFO researchers assembled here. "I can say for sure this is an authentic film of a UFO."

Edwards' video was the hit of the day, despite intriguing presentations in which a retired professor said an advanced Martian civilization left an encoded geometric message on that planet's surface; a farmer said he believes ingesting something called orbitally rearranged monoatomic substances may be the key to travel through space and time; and an American Indian revealed secrets of the universe passed down to him from his grandfather, who rescued an alien from a crash landing in New Mexico.