Sunday, November 9, 2014

Dateline 1966: A Paranormal Encounter


X? and the witness, circa Fall 1966.


The Witness: Boy, aged 7.5 years, student in elementary school, second grade. 
Conventional nuclear family, two sisters, one older, one younger. Boy exhibited typical activities and interests for his age and gender, although interests skewed towards fantasy, especially cartoons, comic books, monsters and heroes.


Jackson, Mississippi, USA #pinitdown

1960s satellite photo of neighborhood & shot of house exterior.
Exterior of the sighting location.

The Location: 3735 Lee Drive, Jackson, Mississippi, USA. Modest three-bedroom home in a stable suburban neighborhood. The incident occurred in the front room, a den or living room facing East, with two curtained windows.

Key element to the story, television programs establish year, time and day.

The Date:
The day is verified as a Saturday, a morning, the time, between the hours of 9:00 and 11:00 A.M. Exact date unknown, believed to be early Fall of 1966.




The Incident: A single witness sighting of a “ghost” by young boy. Parents were told, but no police or official report was filed. All case information comes from the witness' memory of incident, collected over four decades later.


Yeah, the boy was me. My introduction to the concept of ghosts may well have been Casper the Friendly Ghost on television. I’d watch it when it was on, but all I really cared about was Batman and other super heroes.


False advertising. No cartoon ghosts appear.
I had seen the Ghost and Mr. Chicken sometime earlier the year, my first scary movie in a theatre. There was some creepy stuff, but I don’t recall an actual ghost being depicted. I can’t be sure if I saw or noticed the one in the advertising, which looked like an evil, four-armed Casper. No nightmares or anything afterwards, though.

The Incredible True Saga

In the Fall of 1966, I saw a ghost-like apparition, or perhaps an indoor UFO. It wasn’t a life changing event, but I’ve thought about it now and then over the years, and finally tried to get the facts together. 

It was a Saturday morning. I was 7.5 years old when this event took place, and don’t remember what had happened earlier in the morning, but speculate that our family had breakfast together and then everyone else went back to their rooms. I pounced on the rare opportunity to get the den television all to myself. CBS had an excellent block of Saturday morning cartoons, and I probably came in during Underdog, but may have begun as early as Captain Kangaroo.



Our TV was B&W.
Schedule for CST. Not mine, we had only 2 channels.
  8:30 AM The Underdog Show
  9:00 AM Frankenstein, Jr. and The Impossibles
  9:30 AM Space Ghost and Dino Boy
10:00 AM The New Adventures of Superman
10:30 AM The Lone Ranger
11:00 AM The Road Runner Show

I settled in and laid on the couch with my head on a pillow, ready to enjoy the full run. Sometime, probably during Space Ghost or Superman, I became aware of a presence, a ghostly form hovering beside the couch to my right. It was if about two feet away from me and about as tall as an adult.




My diagram is based on memory, guesswork and photos (which only show the exterior of the house). I can’t even be certain of dimensions or anything, except the placement of the door, windows, television and couch. There were no lights on in the room, just the TV, and whatever daylight got past the curtains.

It reminded me of this, but no legs.

My impression of the figure was that it was a ghost, and though it didn’t look much like it, the match I made for it in my mind was one of the adult ghosts as seen in Casper.


L, similar to the shape. R, similar to the transparency.

It was roughly six feet tall, but the body mostly formless. There seemed to be a head (but no face), possibly arms, but not legs, and it was completely transparent as if made of cigarette smoke. I found two pictures that somewhat resemble aspects of it, one a bit of the shape, and the other the smoky transparency. However, my ghost was not so billowy as either smoke picture.

My distinct impression was that this thing was hovering over me and silently watching. It scared me, and at that age, I had the notion that if you ignored bad things, they would go just away. 
I froze motionless and silent, and pretended not to see it. I focused my attention into tunnel vision on the television screen.
Two avoidance techniques: Ostritching and Playing Possum, 
Every so often, I’d steal a glance over it at, and see that it continued to hang there in the air motionless. I distinctly remember that it was there during the Lone Ranger program. While it was on, I became so focused on the show, that stopped thinking about the ghost. Sometime after the show was over, I turned to look and the ghost was gone. 

I told my family, and they reacted as parents always do, assuring me it was just my imagination, or a shadow etcetera... Parents are the original debunkers. Before there were weather balloons, it was always, “Just the wind blowing.”

Even though I repeated the morning television viewing on many other days, there was never any ghost, cloud or disturbance of any kind, but then the chances to duplicate the event were limited.  In May 1967, we moved to another house on the other side of town.

The Investigation


All we know are the facts.

What was it... a Hallucination?

I remain firmly convinced that what I saw was real, and not a hallucination, dream or my imagination. I’ve caught glimpses of shadows or objects that have fooled me briefly lots of times into thinking I’d seen cats, people or whatever, but this thing remained in place for so long, it was really there. While I can’t recall the plots of the shows I watched today, I could have at the time, I hadn’t fallen asleep and dreamt it.

What was it... a Ghost?

I was under the impression it was a ghost, even though it really didn’t match the depictions of a ghost I’d seen in media. I thought they were spectral people, or maybe looked like Casper’s friends. I didn’t associate it with a spirit of someone dead, but for this project, checked to see if there were any deaths near the sighting. It turns out that in the eighteen months leading up to my ghost, I’d lost three grandparents. At that age, about all it meant to me was those people weren’t around anymore, but it was a bit of a mystery to me why my parents were so worried and sad about it.

I'd recently lost grandparents, but it didn't seem like one of them.
As the ghost experience was happening, I was just afraid of this unknown thing, but never got the sense of an identity or message coming from it. I did feel a sense of menace from it though, mostly due to how near me it was. If this was a messenger from the beyond, they largely failed in the delivery.



The angle of the Sun seems all wrong. 

What was it... Sunlight?

The ghost resembled smoke, but hung motionless for some period of time greater than an hour. My parents smoked, but were in the other end of the house, and there was no source for smoke. Over the years, I’ve often considered sunlight as the best prosaic candidate. The house faced East, and there were windows behind the television. While the curtains were closed, maybe sunlight streamed through a crack and illuminated dust particles floating in the air.

The Sun remains is a "person of interest."

During the part of the year the sighting likely occurred, the sun rises at Approximately 6:45 A.M. and sets at 7:00 P.M.
Adds a bit of color, but no answers.

That might explain how it appeared and then vanished. Maybe. I’ve tried to gather information on the Sun’s position thorough the day, and the angle at the time of the event seems wrong for that theory. Also, the fact that it happened on just that lone Saturday seems to argue against it.


This is the house we used to live in. From Google Maps.

I’d hoped to really test the angles, but the house was abandoned and eventually torn down sometime after 2007. There’s just an empty lot there now, nothing physical to go on, and only one object from the sighting room remains in my possession.

A silent witness.

What do you hope to achieve?

Trying to track down the details  turned out to be an interesting exercise, testing my memory against the facts, and seeing just what can be proven or documented. The memory of the event is a bit unclear, and this point, it’s more like I remember remembering, it, and not so much the original event itself. Checking the facts against my memory revealed several surprises. A whole lot happened to the family in a concentrated period of time, things that seemed spaced years apart as I remembered them. 

One interesting thing about gathering the information: there was an almost irresistible temptation to use imagination to connect one fact to another or use speculation to fill in the blanks. I think many yield to this temptation, and often tell more than they know.


ex scientia vera

Maybe someone can read this and piece together things that I've missed or provide a more professional analysis of how the Sun may have created a ghost effect. I’ve never had another similar experience, and it remains an unsolved puzzle. 
My ghost sighting was not a transformative event, but it has given me some insight into the experiences of UFO and paranormal witnesses, and what they go thorough in not being believed. And I have to wonder, if being scoffed at doesn't somehow make it even more real in one's mind and memory. 

I know it did for me. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Lockheed, the Area 51 Interceptors & John Lear

Al Frickey tells all!

In the article, Ben Rich, Area 51 & Taking ET Home, I focused on the specific remarks attributed to Ben Rich from one particular occasion. It's fairly been pointed out that Lockheed had other connections to UFOs, and that Rich mentioned UFOs to others both in letters and conversations. 


Kelly Johnson

Clarence "Kelly" Johnson

Kelly Johnson had reported spotting UFOs, knew others working with him that had also, and he had a serious interest in the topic.
Kelly Johnson letter fromProject Blue Book files.
http://www.fold3.com/image/6314607/
For discussions of Johnson's sightings, see:

“The Lockheed UFO case, 1953,” by Joel Carpenter

http://conspiracy101.com/ufos/skunkworks/

Kelly Johnson: The founder of Aera 51's UFOsightings
http://ufopartisan.blogspot.com/2010/08/area-51-founders-ufo-sightings.html

The Lockheed UFO Case Revisited
http://www.notaghost.com/2012/03/a-prosaic-explanation-for-a-famous-ufo-case.html



Ben Rich

Ben Rich, the Area 51 Interceptors & John Lear

Ben Rich shared Johnson’s interest in UFOs, as demonstrated in his letter to John Andrews

Ben Rich Letter to John AndrewsJohn Andrews' Correspondence with Ben Rich, Lee Graham and others.

John Andrews was Andrews designer for scale-model kits of cars and airplanes for the Testor Corp. With his contacts in the aviation industry, he managed to get inside information and build models based on secret military designs before their release to the public.


Andrews on "Sightings" 10/02/94 (at 8:33 of this clip)

John Andrews had an interest in UFOs, and was responsible for getting John Lear involved:

John Lear, the delicious part of
every 80s conspiracy theory.
“...up till 1984, my sole interest was SR-71, F-19, Stealth Fighter, stuff like that. As a matter of fact, you can go on the internet: John Andrews, who was Vice President of Testors, and eventually made the ‘Sport Model’. You know he and I had letters going back and forth. He’d say, “Hey, you ought to look into this flying saucer deal.” And I’d say, “No, its bullshit, you know I don’t need to waste my time.”  http://projectcamelot.org/lang/en/john_lear_2008_transcript_1_en.html

Andrews and Lear were also friends with Jim Goodall, an avid aviation author and historian. Goodall was fascinated with the Stealth programs at Area 51, and wondered what else might be flying there. He became a member of the original Area 51 “Interceptors,” and came to share the interest of his friends in more exotic aircraft.

“[Jim] Goodall had come to believe in the saucers.”
By the time he went up to Whitesides to look down on Dreamland for the first time with John Lear in the fall of 1988, his obsession had expanded. At some point during the revelation of the Lazar story, and talking to those who had worked at the base, Goodall crossed the Ridge—or began to straddle it. He came to believe in the presence of alien craft, as did John Andrews, his frequent companion on the trips."There are things out there that would make George Lucas green with envy," he had been told, and he believed. 
The key moment in his conversion was a letter Ben Rich had written to him, in which Rich said that both he and Kelly Johnson believed in UFOs. (But in the account I had, this was a tease.) From Dreamland: Travels Inside the Secret World of Roswell and Area 51  by Phil Patton, 1998.

Jim Goodall, describing has aviation sleuthing

Making George Lucas Drool

Jim Goodall took some of his experience, mixed it with some unattributed quotes and a heaping helping of speculation in a 1988 article for Gung-Ho magazine:

Gung-Ho, Feb. 1988

Rumour has it some of these systems involve force-field technology, gravity-drivesystems, and "flying saucer" designs. Rumour further has it that these designsare not necessarily of Earth human origin - but of who might have designed themor helped us to do it, there is less talk. "Let's just put it this way,"explained one retired Lockheed engineer. "We have things flying in the Nevadadesert that would make George Lucas drool."
Feb. 88 issue of GUNG-HOStealth - And Beyond - A look at Aurora and Some "Unfunded Opportunities" (UFO) by "Al Frickey, "pseudonym of Jim Goodall

See more Jim Goodall quotes from "Area 51 - the Dreamland Chronicles" by David Darlington at 

Larger Than Life

Ben Rich
The Ben Rich rumors circulating are either distortions or gross exaggerations he may have said.

"Ben Rich was well known as both a joker and someone who enjoyed embellishing a good story. I asked one of his former co-workers about the truth of a certain story Ben included in his memoirs and was told that, 'Ben tended to fire for effect rather than accuracy.' That was why I was interested in finding out how true his supposed statements were regarding technology to 'travel to the stars.' The truth became clear after I had a chance to examine Ben's personal papers." - Peter Merlin

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Ben Rich, Area 51 & Taking ET Home

In his autobiography, Skunk Works, Ben Rich wrote that while Lockheed was developing the stealth plane, 
Ben Rich

"Some of our senior engineers thought it might be easier to build a flying saucer. The problem was how to build one… We don't know how to do that. The Martians wouldn’t tell us.” 

Rich had a sense of humor, and he could engage in some boastful sensationalizing (BS for short) to improve a story.



It came from Area 51



The myth of the Skunk Works super technology is closely tied to the lore of UFOs. The stories told by Paul Bennewitz were repeated by John Lear, who grafted Area 51 onto the narrative. Shortly afterwards, Bob Lazar surfaced to spotlight Area 51, which soon gave rise to stories of the legendary Aurora.

The Area 51 "Interceptors," Jim Goodall and John Andrews were involved in pusrsuing this, as well as Andrews' friend Lee Graham, who got tangled in the MJ-12 document circus. Andrews and Goodall tried to coax Stealth secrets and UFO stories out of Ben Rich, but he mostly responded in friendly deflecting replies. If Ben Rich ever made extravagent statements about Lockheed spacecraft, there's no indication that it was anything more than words.

Kooks and Charlatans


On the forum Above Top Secret, ATSZOMBIE asked about the Skunk works legends,
Ben Rich, stated during a 1993, Alumni Speech at UCLA, 
"We already have the means to travel among the stars, but these technologies are locked up in black projects and it would take an Act of God to ever get them out to benefit humanity...Anything you can imagine, we already know how to do." 
A traceable context for the quote, if he actually did gave it? 

Peter Merlin

There were several floundering answers, but using the screen name Shadowhawk, aviation historian Peter Merlin joined the conversation:


Ben Rich is constantly misquoted as saying "We now have the technology to take E.T home." That is not what he said. 

At the end of his presentation he showed his final slide, a picture of a disk-shaped craft – the classic “flying saucer” – flying into a partly cloudy sky with a burst of sunlight in the background and he gave his standard tagline. It was a joke he had used in numerous presentations since 1983 when Steven Spielberg’s "E.T. the Extraterrestrial," a film about a young boy befriending a lost visitor from space and helping the alien get home, had become the highest-grossing film of all-time. Rich apparently decided to capitalize on this popularity. By the summer of 1983, he had added the flying saucer picture to the end of a set of between 12 and 25 slides that he showed with his lecture on the history of Lockheed's famed Skunk Works division. 

Rich had long used a standard script for his talks, tailoring the content as necessary to accommodate his audience. Since most Skunk Works current projects were classified, it didn’t matter whether he was addressing schoolchildren or professional aeronautical engineers; he always ended the same way. At a Defense Week symposium on future space systems in Washington, D.C., on September 20, 1983, he said, “Unfortunately, I cannot tell you what we have been doing for the last 10 years. It seems we score a breakthrough at the Skunk Works every decade, so if you invite me back in 10 years I’ll be able to tell you what we are doing [now]. I can tell you about a contract we recently received. The Skunk Works has been assigned the task of getting E.T. back home.” The audience laughed, as it was meant to do. 

If something is successful, it is worth repeating. Rich gave an identical speech at the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, on September 6, 1984, and continued using his script during successive appearances. Sometimes he refined the details a bit. “I wish I could tell you what else we are doing in the Skunk Works,” he said, wrapping up a presentation for the Beverly Hills chapter of the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution on May 23, 1990. “You’ll have to ask me back in a few years. I will conclude by telling you that last week we received a contract to take E.T. back home.” 

Three years later he was still using the same line and the same slide. “We did the F-104, C-130, U-2, SR-71, F-117 and many other programs that I can’t talk about,” he proclaimed during a 1993 speech at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, home of Air Force Materiel Command, the organization responsible for all flight-testing within the Air Force. “We are still working very hard, I just can’t tell you what we are doing.” As usual, he added his by now infamous punchline, “The Air Force has just given us a contract to take E.T. back home.” 

Within the UFO community, Rich’s words, and additional statements attributed to him without corroborative proof, have become gospel. He is named as having admitted that extraterrestrial UFO visitors are real and that the U.S. military has interstellar capabilities, and although nearly two full years passed between Rich’s UCLA speech and his death in 1995, some believers have touted his comments as a “deathbed confession.” It was nothing of the kind. 

Rich, a brilliant scientist, apparently believed in the existence of other intelligent life in the universe, though only as something distant and mysterious. In July 1986, after Testor Corporation model-kit designer John Andrews wrote asking what he thought about the possible existence of either manmade or extraterrestrial UFOs, Rich responded, “I’m a believer in both categories. I feel everything is possible.” He cautioned, however, that, “In both categories, there are a lot of kooks and charlatans – be cautious.” 


Merlin goes on to say in another comment:

The main point of my earlier posts was simply that Ben Rich did not say what some people claim he said. Most of his so-called quotes are not traceable back to a reliable source. The Keller/Harzan accounts of his 1993 UCLA speech are based solely on memory and were only reported years after the event. The overall description of Rich's presentation matches (for the most part) his standard script, though I'm not sure that I believe he ended that talk with a discussion of the F-117A. By 1993, he was ending with the YF-22 winning the Advanced Tactical Fighter fly-off competition, something the Skunk Works was justifiably proud of at the time. Perhaps he mentioned it earlier in his UCLA speech, or maybe Keller and Harzan simply forgot. It is not really important. I won't hold it against Keller and Harzan that they describe his UFO slide as a black disk flying into space, rather than as a metallic flying saucer in a cloudy sky with a sunburst. Their description is not bad for being based on memory, and I was just looking at a photocopy of the original slide last week. Quoting Rich as saying, "We have the technology to take E.T. home" is a close but memory-distorted version of what he actually said, as evidenced by his presentation scripts, which he followed closely. 


SUNlite5_6.pdf


Merlin later greatly expanded the material, providing documentation in an excelent article for Tim Printy's SUNlite,
 "Taking ET Home: Birth of a Modern Myth." See pages 17-19 at
http://home.comcast.net/~tprinty/UFO/SUNlite5_6.pdf




Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The APRO Bulletin Archives at Open Minds

At Open Minds, Alejandro Rojas has posted the later issues of the APRO Bulletin collection:

Jim and Carol Lorenzen
"The APRO Bulletin was the official publication of the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization which was founded in 1952 by Jim and Carol Lorenzen. APRO continued through the 1980s and below is a nearly complete collection of the APRO Bulletins for research use."


APRO Bulletin Vol 29 #8
The APRO Bulletin is a great slice of UFO history and you can follow how cases were reported, discussed and disputed. APRO was the first organization to get the Cash-Landrum case, but they were unable to investigate it, and passed the job to Project VISIT, led by John F. Schuessler. They continued to follow and report on the case, providing valuable insight and opinion.

APRO Bulletin: Directory of Cash-Landrum articles

Vol. 29 #8 Sept. 1981 
Burns Follow UFO Incident
1st published detailed report on the case, an excellent article, with details never featured anywhere else. Material from this issue were used by Peter Gersten in the claims filed for the witnesses.

Vol. 29 #10 Oct. 1981 
Cash-Landrum Follow-Up, and announcement about Dr. Leo Sprinkle on "That’s Incredible!" with Vickie Landrum, 

Vol. 30 #6 June 1982 
Rumors Permeate Cash-Landrum Case

Vol. 30 #9 1982 
Cash-Landrum Analysis

Vol. 30 #10 Oct. 1982 
More on Cash-Landrum

Vol. 31 #4 March 1983 
Cash-Landrum Update 
(Earliest mention of C-L book in the works by John F. Schuessler and Bob Pratt.)


Vol. 32 #7 Sept.1984 
Ufology-according to whom? 
Response to the MUFON editorial by John F. Schuessler, features summary of APRO’s involvement in the C-L case.

The link again, to the entire collection: 



Some of these articles were used in a heated exchange between the Lorenzens and Schuessler, with notes written in the margins. See this earlier article:

MUFON vs. APRO, Allegations, Accusations & Countercharges






Sunday, September 21, 2014

Hollywood's Plan 701 From Outer Space


Hollywood and UFOlogy have a long history together and at times, it seems like one feeds the other. Here's the story of how a movie producer and a famous actor were enjoying the view in California wine country when an unidentified flying object interrupted their conversation, and how the event led to a UFOlogy Hollywood connection.

Tony Cataldo and Martin Landau

The witnesses were Tony Cataldo and Martin Landau, both entertainment professionals, and business partners in the company Miracle Entertainment. 

Martin Landau in some of his famous roles
Landau is a distinguished actor who is probably best known for his role as Rollin Hand in the classic espionage show Mission Impossible, but science fiction fans may remember him for his work in Space: 1999 as Commander John Koenig, and other projects over the years ranging from the Twilight Zone to the X-FilesLandau portrayed Bela Lugosi of “Dracula” and “Plan 9 From Outer Space” fame in the 1994 movie “Ed Wood,” for which he was awarded an Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.

Cataldo has a distinguished career producing movies as well as success in other endeavors: see http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0145874/ and his bio at MUFONTheir sighting details are fascinating. In 2001, while at Cataldo’s 30 acre vineyard estate in Napa, California, he and Landau were sitting on the porch enjoying conversation and a glass of wine when a massive UFO appeared. The visitation was jarring and made even stranger when this translucent object flew away, leaving a rainbow trail.

Cataldo reported a UFO in Napa

Unfortunately we don't have testimony on this sighting from Landau, but Cataldo has gone on record in this short film, where he describes the circumstances of the event and also discusses joining the board of directors at the Mutual UFO Network:



404: Sadly, a formal report of this sighting does not seem to have been filed, and details of this case are not available in MUFON's online Case Management System.

Falling Upwards: 701

Cataldo’s sighting has led him to become very active in representing UFOs in the media, and he is currently working on his next film, “701 The Movie.”

701The Movie
Tobias McGriff of Blue Orb Cinema provided a description of 701 on Facebook:
“Great news that we can finally talk about. '701' will be the first ever full feature film that is based on actual government UFO cases with a Hollywood budget for the re-creations and played to a national/international audience. Think 'real Close Encounters'. We are proud that Blue Orb Cinema's own Tobias McGriff has come aboard as one of the Producers on this groundbreaking project! It will feature the talent of Tracy Torme (Star Trek: Next Gen, Sliders, Contact much more), award winning UFO filmmaker James Fox , Former Cannon Films CEO and high profile Producer Tony Cataldo as well as Ines Romero. This film is going to feature some of the most credible witnesses ever featured on the UFO subject. Get ready to have your mind blown!”

Unlike MonsterQuest 


Flatwoods 411 in 701
 UFO Magazine's blog had an insightful article explaining how the producers are working closely with UFOologists, in which Frank Feschino explained that 701 will finally allow a quality presentation of the Flatwoods Monster case. 
Unlike the MonsterQuest producers, the 701 people in California are keeping in constant touch with me and working with me every step of the way!”

More On Media Projects


Cataldo is playing a vital role in keeping the Mutual UFO Network a presence in the media as well. He was recognized by the director, Jan Harzan, at the 2014 MUFON Symposium, who gave thanks “to Tony Cataldo, our newest board member for his help negotiating the contract for Season 2 of Hangar 1.”
Hangar 1, companion show to Ancient Aliens on H2
Season one of Hangar 1 performed well, but there were some problems with the content. MUFON insider Susan Swiatek has explained that season two will be greatly improved, based on genuine UFO cases and actual MUFON investigations.

UFOlogy's Plan?

Bela Lugosi's unfinished business

There are some who keep saying that UFOlogy is dead. Is it possible that, like Dracula in the movies, it can’t really be killed? By the time of “Plan 9 From Outer Space,” Bela Lugosi’s greatest days were behind him, and he was just a tired shell of his former self. He died during the making of the film, but Ed Wood found another actor to wear Dracula’s cape in order to finish the work. 

...but Lugosi's business is not left unfinished.
UFOlogy can strive to follow this example and pass the cape from one generation to the next. Maybe Hollywood can help in this effort. The show must go on.

Bob Ryan wants you to get involved
Is that something you might be interested in? If so, do your part. Support UFO research.

Monday, September 1, 2014

What Good Are 25 Years of UFO Reports?

"UFOs Over Canada: 25 Years of UFO Reports" was issued in July from Ufology Research. The media has given the report some good coverage, but mostly short bits not allowing for detail. At the end of August, Chris Rutkowski was invited to appear on the Paracast (a UFO and paranormal talk show), and their format allowed for an in-depth discussion. His intro:


Explore 25 years of UFO sightings in Canada with long-time investigator Chris Rutkowski. He and his colleagues have accumulated a huge archive containing some 15,000 UFO cases in Canada. The new survey covers the years 1989 through 2013. When you check the report at his Ufology Research site, you'll notice that the number of sightings increased in 2012 before settling down to a somewhat lower, but still historically high, level in 2013. Says his bio: "Chris Rutkowski, BSc, MEd, is a Canadian science writer and educator, with a background in astronomy but with a passion for teaching science concepts to children and adults. Since the mid-1970s, he also has been studying reports of UFOs and writing about his investigations and research."


Chris Rutkowski, as seen on TV

The interview turned out to be a far-ranging one, touching on many major issues in the examinations of UFOs, from their study to media coverage. Several cases were discussed, both famous and obscure, including one of great personal interest to me, the Cash-Landrum incident.



The Paracast August 31, 2014 — Chris Rutkowski
http://www.theparacast.com/podcast/now-playing-august-31-2014-chris-rutkowski



Required Reading



Chris was asked to be on the show to primarily to discuss the study, "UFOs Over Canada: 25 Years of UFO Reports." The report itself is very interesting and it makes excellent points about the value of data collection and analysis. I recommend highly reading it no matter what your views are on the subject. The study strives to accurately record what is reported, and does not seek to characterize the unexplained cases beyond saying they are unknown.

"If UFOs are not 'real,' then why are tens of thousands of Canadians (and others worldwide) seeing unusual objects in the sky?"

Ufology Research: 25 Years of Canadian UFO Reports (introductory article)

UFOsOver Canada: The "25th Anniversary Written Report" (in pdf format) 






Applying the Data

Utilizing the database in the 25 year study, Chris Rutkowski, made
A Comparison of UFO Sighting Reports Between 1989 and 2013 with the list of Visually Observed Natural Re-Entries of Earth Satellites compiled by Ted Molczan
http://uforum.blogspot.com/2014/08/re-entries-of-rocket-boosters-and-ufos.html

This re-entry comparison study is interesting for several reasons. It immediately demonstrates the practical application of having a disciplined body of data. Having Ted Molczan's list allows for a comparison of the success rates of ufologists (or at least this group of Canadian ufologists) in identifying reported objects. 

Another, interesting point is that the orbital object re-entries allow a good sample of reports generated by known stimulus, allowing for an examination of how well witness are reporting the objects they see. Skeptics tend to distrust eye witness reliability, but this collection shows that the objects and actions were reasonably well described, if not understood, by the  witnesses. 

Re-entries of man-made objects provides an excellent opportunity for science and ufology to work on a common area of interest and share information. UFO proponents and skeptics alike should be able to agree on the value in that kind of dialogue.