Welcome to Southeast Michigan Mensa!

Mensa is the largest of the international high-IQ societies. The purpose of our Southeast Michigan chapter is to provide opportunity for intellectual and social belonging and networking among diverse people. Bookmark this site to see SEMM’s calendar of events for members and their guests. In addition to local events and monthly meetings, SEMM hosts a Winter Bash (games party), SEMMer Bash (picnic), and a Regional Gathering held each April, known as SEMMantics. We're also on Facebook and Meetup!

01 September 2016

October Monthly Gathering

Ann Arbor vs. the Flying Saucers
The Great Michigan UFO Chase!

On March 14th of 1966, the lives of hundreds of people in Southeast Michigan collided with the paranormal, when seven eyewitnesses reported an unidentified flying object maneuvering over Livingston and Washtenaw counties. Ordinarily, these reports might have been dismissed by officials as the work of cranks. But this time, the seven witnesses WERE officials — police officers from the two counties.

These stories were backed up by more than 100 additional witnesses, including a civil defense director, and dozens of students who watched the football-shaped object for four hours as it maneuvered near the University of Michigan campus, a nearby airport and a local swamp. In the following week or so there were numerous additional sightings, many reported by equally credible witnesses.

At the time, the U.S. Air Force actively investigated UFO reports in a program called “Project Blue Book”. On March 23rd the Project’s chief scientific consultant, Dr. J. Allen Hynek, was dispatched to Michigan to seek an explanation for the strange phenomena, and hopefully quiet the situation which had reached a state of near panic.  Following a whirlwind probe, on March 25th, Hynek offered an explanation for some of the sightings as nothing more than “Swamp Gas.” A concept which was widely ridiculed by the national press.

The “Swamp Gas” UFO sightings and their aftermath ignited a worldwide sensation, and played a pivotal role in how unidentified flying objects would in future be investigated and discussed. Yet most accounts of these events are inaccurate, and much of what happened 50 years ago is not understood.

Using little-known materials from the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library, the J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies, and recent work of other investigators, our guest speaker Bill Murphy will discuss the wider spate of UFO sightings of March 1966, examine then-House Minority Leader Gerald Ford’s role in the Swamp Gas aftermath, and probe the larger issues of government suppression of UFO knowledge and the importance of the fact that UFOs, whatever they actually are, do exist.

Bill Murphy is a Board Member of the J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies, and was co-State Director of the Michigan Mutual UFO Network. He has an MA in History from Michigan State University, studied Ancient History at the University of Michigan, and taught at the college level concurrently with a 35-year career in the automotive industry. He holds four certifications from the American Society for Quality.

Join us on Saturday, October 15th for an excursion into the unknown and controversial. Doors open at 7pm. The program begins at 8pm.


WHEN: Saturday, September 17, 2016
6:00 pm: The ExComm business meeting begins. All members are welcome to attend.
7:00 pm: Mingling begins.
8:00 pm: Program starts.
ADMISSION (Exact change appreciated)
Adult members: $4, Adult guests: $5; Children 13 and under: $3
Members receive free admission in the month of their birthday
LOCATION: Northwest Unitarian Universalist Church

08 September 2016

AML Database Switch Will Cause Short Online Service Breaks

American Mensa’s website will experience some brief, planned service interruptions in the coming weeks. For example, there will be a short period where payments, such as event registrations, will not be able to be processed onus.mensa.org.

The interruptions are an unavoidable side effect of the organization’s transition to a new Association Management System (AMS).

“The new AMS will be fantastic at making easier some tasks performed by volunteers and the National Office, so we can offer more and better services to members and improve the Mensa experience,” said Trevor Mitchell, American Mensa’s Senior Director of Membership and Strategy, who is leading the AMS changeover. “Unfortunately, the transition is not as easy and instant as flipping a switch, and there will be short periods where some functionality on Mensa’s website will not work.”

The parts of the website that will be affected are primarily related to functions that involve payments, logging on to the site and uploading information. The interruptions are expected to last only a few days, notwithstanding unforeseen technical glitches, and will be timed during low-traffic periods on the site. Members can expect periodic updates, primarily via email, on the exact timing and services affected. And Local Group leaders and other Mensa volunteers will receive communication informing them if and how their work will be affected.

Because the new AMS will operate using member email addresses for login, members are encouraged to check their contact information and make sure theirs is up to date. This can be done by visiting us.mensa.org/profile. After the website’s transition to a new AMS in early November, membership numbers will no longer be used for login purposes.

Updates on the AMS transition, including affected services and their timing and the answers to frequently asked questions, can be found at goo.gl/9aFOlB, which will be updated regularly.

Pamela Donahoo, CAE

Executive Director, American Mensa

29 August 2016

Mr. Mensa? Of Course I Know Him; He’s Me! by Tommy Patrick Ryan

First of all, yes that title is a Star Wars reference. Secondly, guess what? Mr. Mensa 2016 is one of your very own, and I’m very proud to say that he in fact the writer of this article. What or who is “Mr. Mensa,” you say? Well, I’m glad you asked me that! Mr. Mensa is a fundraising event (for the Mensa foundation) that is held every year at the Annual Gathering. It’s a somewhat tongue-in-cheek “beauty” pageant with all male participants. Much like other beauty pageants, there is a talent portion, a formal wear portion, Q&A, and a “sexy legs” portion, which is basically the equivalent of a swimwear competition. It’s all in good fun and, extremely entertaining to watch and participate in, bribing the judges is encouraged, and the winner is crowned Mr. Mensa. But not so uneasy lies the head that wears this crown!

Since the theme of this year’s AG was “Mensa-con” (San Diego, where the AG was held, is famous for having the biggest “Comic-Con”), my love of comic books and things came in handy. For the introduction, I came out dressed as Spiderman, removed my mask, and announced that I was from SEMM, where with great brain power come great responsibility. I followed this up with sexy legs wearing Batman socks and briefs and a Darth Vader workout shirt. I later learned that I tied for first with a gentleman in scuba

gear. Then it was talent. In Batman t-shirt and jeans, I played my version of the Rolling Stones tune “Sympathy for the Devil.” It was a crowd favorite, as was evidenced by getting a large number of votes in the form of donations. Next was the formal wear competition. I wore my Irish kilt and used this opportunity to bribe the judges. I gave out little bottles of Jameson Irish whisky, and said “Water of life, shed for you” in an Irish brogue as I handed out each one. The Gaelic word for whisky means “water of life.” This worked, as I later learned the judges gave me first on that portion. The last was the Q&A. I was faced with a difficult decision between boobs and bacon. The details of my answer are a little long for this forum, but suffice to say the judges enjoyed it enough to score me second on that portion.

Shortly after this, the winner was announced…and it was ME! I was mostly just glad to have had fun and entertained the audience, but the crown and sash they gave me were pretty darn gratifying. All the contestants were auctioned off for a date (I took my date to the zoo!), raising even more money for the Mensa foundation. I spent the rest of the weekend wearing my “royal vestments,” (as was more than suggested by other former Mr. Mensas), and generally enjoying the modicum of celebrity afforded by my victory. It was a great time, and I’m proud to have brought the title home to our very own SEMM!

24 July 2016

Finding Your Fellow Mensans

We know about what is going on in our local group through M-Pathy, our website (MensaDetroit.com), facebook pages (SEMM and SEMMantics) and occasional special emails if American Mensa has your current email address and you have given permission to share it within AML.  (See http://mensadetroit.com/notification-help/ to see how to do this.)

But do you think about connecting with Mensans when you travel?  Thanks to the internet, that is much, much easier than it used to be.

If you have a question about something where you will be travelling, don’t forget the SIGHT Program.  Most American Mensa groups also have SIGHT coordinators.  Go to US.Mensa.org/Connect/Local groups to find contact information for local group officers across the country.  Also see US.Mensa.org/Connect/SIGHT for additional information on the program.  If you need more help, our SIGHT Coordinator is John Voymas (see inside the back cover for contact information for all the SEMM Officers).

If you just want to see if anything is happening when you are going to be somewhere, go to us.Mensa.org/Connect/Read/Local group Newsletters for over 140 newsletters from A-Q-Men to WoMensa.  You can do the same in over 45 countries by going to US.Mensa.org/Connect/Mensa International, where you simply click on the country to get their contact information.  Ed and I have met with Mensans on every continent buy Antarctica, which has led to unforgettable experiences.

And how many of you have discovered the fantastic possibilities of US.Mensa/org/Connect/Member directory?  Want to know who else shares your name?  No problem.  How about who lives around you?  Fill in a zip code and hit search.  Maybe you need the email address or phone number of someone you met at a Mensa event.  You guessed it—two clicks and you can find it if they have given permission to display their information.  You can even search for others who share your interests from a huge list that runs from accounting to Yoga/Pilates.

One of the primary benefits of Mensa is networking.  Here’s hoping you will make good use of that ability soon.

Jean K. Becker

Communications Officer

26 May 2016

MAGC 2016


The Michigan Association for Gifted Children’s Fall Conference promises to be an exciting, inspiring, and educational day! We hope you can join us for this great event!
Dr. Joy Lawson Davis– Opening Plenary Keynote Speaker – Author, Professor, and NAGC Board Member
“Unique Psychosocial Challenges of Diverse Gifted Learners”

Dr. Jennifer Cross
– Keynote Speaker -Author, Director of Research at the William & Mary Center for Gifted Education
“The Social World of Gifted Adolescents”
Dr. Tracy Cross – Closing Keynote Speaker – Author, Executive Director of the William & Mary Center for Gifted Education, former NAGC President
“From Underachievement to Self-Harm: How Students Cope with Being Gifted”


There will be many more sessions and speakers!

If you are a parent, educator, or friend of gifted children, this conference is for you! Register now and share this information with others!

Date: Saturday, October 15, 2016 

Time: 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

University Prep
Science & Math Elementary
Detroit, Michigan
                                                  MAGC Members: $50
                          Early Bird Registration – Includes Membership
                                               (through 9/10/16):  $65
Regular Registration – Includes Membership
(after 9/10/16):
Students: $25
SCECHs: $5 (available during registration)
Registration includes lunch, vendors, contact with gifted school representatives, and give-aways!
For more information, please visit: www.migiftedchild.org/conference
To register, go to: Conference Registration