The subject of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) is more popular today than it has ever been; its mounting interest to the general public has paralleled its increasing maturity and complexity. Sceptics were predicting in the 1950s that ‘flying saucers’ were just a fad that would quickly pass. Now, in the closing years of the twentieth century, that has become an incredible mark, some would say stain, on world culture. UFOs are no longer a fringe interest, locked outside the mainstream of society and associated with ‘cranks’. The phenomenon is now on the inside, woven into the fabric of day-to-day life. It has been a silent, subtle invasion.
What is a UFO?
This is an unidentified flying object (UFO), any object or light, reportedly sighted in the the sky, that cannot be immediately explained or readily identified by the observer. Sightings of unusual aerial phenomena date back to ancient times, but UFOs (sometimes referred to as flying saucers, OVNIs,, Ghost Rockets, Foo Fighters, Flying Airships, Pearls, or LITS) became widely discussed. Many thousands of such observations have since been reported worldwide.
At least 92% of UFO sightings can be identified as conventional objects, although time consuming investigations are often necessary for such identification. The objects most often mistaken for UFOs are bright planets and stars, aircraft, birds, balloons, kites, flares, peculiar clouds, meteors and satellites. The remaining sightings most likely can be attributed to other mistaken sightings or to inaccurate reporting, hoaxes, or delusions, although to disprove all claims made about UFOs is impossible.
From 1947 to 1969 the U.S. Air Force investigated UFOs as a possible threat to national security. A total of 12,618 reports was received, of which 701 reports, or 5.6 percent, were listed as unexplained. The Air Force concluded that ‘no UFO reported, investigated, and evaluated by the Air Force has ever given any indication of threat to our national security’.
Since 1969 no agency of the U.S. government has had any active program of UFO investigation. Some, nevertheless believe that UFOs are extraterrestrial spacecraft, even though no scientifically valid evidence supports this belief. The possibility of extraterrestrial civilisations is not the stumbling block; most scientists grant that intelligent life may well exist elsewhere in the universe. Scientific method requires that highly speculative explanations should not be adopted unless all of the more ordinary explanations can be ruled out. UFO enthusiasts persist, however, and some persons even claim to have been abducted and taken aboard UFOs. When a UFO becomes readily identifiable, hence becoming an (Identified Flying Object). These are simply referred to as IFOs. In some cases there has been reports of UFO seen lifting from the sea and even those seen travelling under water. These type of encounters are known as (Unidentified Submersible Objects) and are simply referred to as USOs.
Seven basic rules to UFO investigating.
Every UFO case should be judged individually but there are a number of rules under each of the following headings, which should prove helpful in determining the necessity for follow up investigation.
1. Duration of Sighting: When the duration of a sighting is less than 15 seconds, the probabilities are great that it is not worthy of follow up. As a word of caution, however, should a large number of individual observers concur on an unusual sighting of a few seconds duration, it should not be dismissed. When a sighting has taken place for just a few seconds, the incident, when followed up in the past, has almost always proved to be a meteor, bolide or a gross mis-identification of a common object owing to lack of time in which to observe, and occasionally mis-identified due to the witnesses having some form of impaired vision.
2. Number of Persons Reporting the Sighting: Short duration sightings by single individuals are seldom worthy of follow up. Two or three competent independent observations carry the weight of 10 or more simultaneous individual observations. As an example, 25 people at one spot may observe a strange light in the sky. This, however, has less weight than two reliable people observing the same light from different locations. In the latter case a position fix is indicated.
3. Distance from Location of Sighting to Nearest Field Unit: Reports which meet the preliminary criterion stated above should all be investigated if their occurrence is in the immediate operating vicinity of the squadron concerned. For reports involving greater distances, follow up necessity might be judged as being inversely proportional to the square of the distances concerned. For example, an occurrence 150 miles away might be considered to have four times the importance (other things being equal) than one that is 300 miles away.
4. Reliability of Person or Persons Reporting: In establishing the necessity of follow up investigations only 'short term' reliability of individuals can be employed. Short term reliability is judged from the logic and coherency of the original report and by the age and occupation of the person. Particular attention should be given to whether the occupation involves observation reporting or technical knowledge.
5. Number of Individual Sightings Reported: Two completely individual sightings, especially when separated by a mile or more, constitutes sufficient cause for follow up, assuming previous criterion have not been violated.
6. The Value of Obtaining Additional Information Immediately: If the information cannot be obtained within seven days, the value of such information is greatly decreased. It is of great value to obtain additional information immediately if previously stated criteria have been met. Often, if gathered quickly, two or three items (weather conditions, angular speed, changes in trajectory, duration, etc.) are sufficient for immediate evaluation. If investigation is undertaken after weeks or months, the original observers cease to be of value as far as additional new information is concerned. Generally, late interrogation yields only bare repetition of facts originally reported plus an inability on the part of the observer to be objective.
7. Existence of Physical Evidence (Photographs, Material, Hardware): In cases where any physical evidence exists, a follow up should be made even if some of the above criteria have not been met. It is understood that all above criteria must be evaluated in terms of 'common sense'. The original report, from its wording and clarity, will almost always suggest to the reader whether there is any 'dirt' in the report.
The UFO Classification System.
CE1 : Close encounter of the first kind:
This is a close approach of an object giving some time for pertinent observations and possibly giving some interactive experience between the event stimulus and the witness.
CE2 : Close encounter of the second kind:
These are encounters which leave permanent or semi-permanent physical traces (which can be subject to investigation) such as ground markings, burns or radiation traces.
CE3 : Close encounter of the third kind:
This is generally accepted to be simply those cases where non-human entities are witnessed in association with the event stimulus.
CE4-1 : Close encounter of the fourth kind : Class One.
These are events which are generally known as abductions, but which more specifically create severe reality distortion for the witness such as memory lapse, physiological effects, paralysis, time and space disorientation and post abduction trauma, such as inexpressible fear, anxiety and vexation.
CE4-2 : Close encounter of the fourth kind : Class Two.
These are events that use to be categorised as an abduction; however we believe that not all witnesses are taken against their will and are therefore not, technically abductees. These types of experiences occur when a witness may voluntary assist or follow an entity to an awaiting craft of some sort, or claim to have communicated (usually by forms of telepathy). These are cases that are simply forms of communication or interaction.
CE5 : Close encounter of the fifth kind:
These events consist of non-physical means of communication with the UFO or UFO entities, using sound, high powered lights etc. There has been considerable documentation with varying degrees of success.
CE6 : Close encounter of the sixth kind:
These are encounters which have resulted in the death of animals or even humans. For example, a witness reports a large disc shaped UFO over a field of cattle. Suddenly there is a bright flash of light and the UFO quickly speeds out of sight. As the witness walks nearer to the location, he or she find a mutilated cow.
Distant Encounter Range : UFO Stimulus Over 150 yards away.
DE1 : Distant encounter of the first kind:
These encounters are low definition cases with no definitive shape or effects. They are often called LITS (Lights In The Sky) and are probably the most difficult type of UFO reports to investigate, as they could be almost anything.
DE2 : Distant encounter of the second kind:
These encounters are medium definition cases, where clear shapes are witnessed.
DE3 : Distant encounter of the third kind:
These are objects or anomalies detected by instrumentation such as radar equipment, camera etc.
The Anomalous Encounter Range:
AE1 : Anomalous encounter of the first kind:
These are anomalies that do not have lasting physical affects, such as amorphous lights or unexplained explosions.
AE2 : Anomalous encounter of the second kind:
These are anomalies with lasting physical affects, such as poltergeist phenomena, apports, asports (materialised objects) and areas of flattened or burnt grass.
AE3 : Anomalous encounter of the third kind:
These are anomalies which are associated with UFO entities and reports of apparitions, manifestations, and other strange creatures such as dwarfs or fairy folk and strange or profound creatures similar to the Yeti, sea monsters, mermaids and many many more. The study of strange or mythological creatures is known as cryptozoology.
AE4 : Anomalous encounter of the fourth kind:
These are reports of people who claim to have had a personal interaction with UFO entities, and also include Near Death Experiences (NDEs), religious miracles and visions, Out of Body Experiences (OBEs), and Altered States of Consciousness (ASCs).
AE5 : Anomalous encounter of the fifth kind:
These are cases of anomalous injury or death, such as Spontaneous Human Combustion (SHC) or unexplained wounds of Stigmata (wounds corresponding to those of Crucifiction, often thought to be a method of (Self Induced Spontaneous Physical Marking). Also cases of permanent healing often described in literature of the paranormal. The unexplained beating of people may be related to poltergeist activity, therefore a careful analysis must take place.
AE6 : Anomalous encounter of the sixth kind:
These cases are concerning strange disappearances or appearances of people, in association with UFO experiences. Also missing time, or time slip experiences. Remember all these types of anomalous encounters include UFO experiences and a relationship with the paranormal.
Details Compiled by J. Allen Hynek, Jacques Vallee & Steve Mera.
Special Thanks to the National Investigation Committee.
If you have had a UFO Sighting or Experience, MAPIT would love to here from you.