Friday, March 23, 2012


How to be a UFO Investigator, Part 2

Why bother to collect UFO reports?

In one sense, the answer may be as simple as “because they’re there.” Polls by both professional and lay organizations have shown that approximately ten per cent of all North Americans believe they have seen UFOs. Given the population data available, this implies a very large number of UFO reports. If UFOs are trivial and non-existent, as some claim, then one might ask why such a large percentage of the population is labouring under the delusion of seeing things that are “not there.” If, on the other hand, UFOs represent a “real” phenomenon, the data should be examined for insight into its nature. In either situation, it can be argued that UFO reports deserve and merit serious scientific attention.

The Collection of UFO Data

Many individuals, associations, clubs and groups claim to investigate UFO reports. Many solicit reports from the general public. Comparatively few actually participate in any kind of information sharing or data gathering for scientific programs. Some are primarily interest groups based in museums, planetariums, church basements or individuals’ homes, and do essentially nothing with the sighting reports they receive. Some groups, such as the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) solicit reports and dispatch regional investigators to interview witnesses about their experiences. 

In recent years, websites have been developed for the public to report UFO sightings, some claiming to be major UFO research groups but in reality do little more than publish witnesses’ accounts without thorough investigation or even referring witnesses to investigators or researchers in their area. While witnesses may be applauded for their courage in giving details of their UFO sighting to a webmaster, without proper investigation their report may be of relatively little use to serious UFO researchers. In fact, the vast majority of UFO reports posted on UFO-related websites are never actually investigated, and neither are most of the cases that are posted on Youtube or make it into mainstream media.

Because there is no way to enforce standards in UFO report investigations, the quality of case investigations varies considerably between groups and across provinces. Quantitative studies are difficult because subjective evaluations and differences in investigative techniques do not allow precise comparisons. UFOROM’s requests for data from Canadian UFO researchers and investigators, and our transcribing of information from others’ websites, unfortunately allow input of only basic information for analyses. 

Most Internet postings of UFO report information are incomplete and do not show any actual case investigation results, often forcing an evaluation of “Insufficient Information.” Case data which can be obtained from such sites usually includes things such as date of the sighting, the time, duration, number of witnesses and their location—facts which are not subjective and can be used in scientific studies before interpretation.


Chris is too polite to explain the current state of affairs.
What I've learned these last three years of observing the UFO community -- mostly UFO fandom -- is people find the answer they want and stop looking.
UFO advocates have no motivation to make investigations that have the potential to upend their beliefs.
There are exceptions but these good people are usually ignored or treated with suspicion.
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