By Michael Curta
The following article is reprinted with permission of the Mutual UFO Network, or MUFON, a nonprofit organization "dedicated to the scientific study of UFOs for the benefit of humanity." The group collects and analyzes UFO data, publishes a journal and holds an annual conference. For more information, go to www.mufon.com..
Every year, more than 70,000 reports of UFO sightings come into UFO research organizations around the world. While it is true that nine out of 10 sightings are explainable, it is also true that only one in 10 is ever reported, and each year the number of reports increases. Is this because there are more sightings? Is it because more people are willing to come forward and report their sightings to researchers? Or could it simply be that, in the past, witnesses did not know where to report sightings? Whatever the case may be, and you could make a case for all three, the fact remains that the number of reports is going up at an incredible rate.
There are far more reports than investigators, and that is where the witnesses must help the investigator. Think of the sighting like a crime. Though the only crime being committed is the one our government commits by its unwillingness to openly investigate such sightings, I say think of it as a crime because you never know what is going to happen, and you need to remember exact details of the event for recall at a later time. The information that follows is designed to help you help investigators.
1. The No. 1 thing to remember is REMAIN CALM! But protect yourself from any hazards real or perceived. Be prepared to take evasive (but not aggressive) action to get out of its way. Remember: You might be witnessing the event of a lifetime and will want to remember every detail. You can't do that if you are hysterical.
2. Be objective. Not every UFO is extraterrestrial. Eliminate every other possibility (within your means) first. Only after that should you consider the possibility that what you saw might be a true UFO.
3. Use a camcorder or camera to record the event. Try to keep reference points in the field of view, as this will aid researchers in analyzing the film. If you do not have a camera or camcorder, draw pictures of what you saw and the area around it.
4. If you have a tape recorder, record your description of the event as it happens. Include reference points on this tape also. For example, "I am about 10 yards from the big oak tree and the craft is 30 yards beyond that." If you don't have a tape recorder, write down your observations right after the event.
5. If other witnesses are present, ask them to write or record their observations. But do NOT discuss the event with them (at least until after your observations have been recorded) as investigators want to know what you saw, not what your neighbor saw.
6. If the UFO left some trace of its presence behind, do not disturb the area around it, and restrict access to the site (it's not a crime anymore; it's now a crime scene). Photograph the area around the site before you enter the area, and make note of the exact position of everything. Take close-up photos or videotape the evidence before touching it. Remember: You don't know what you're touching, where it came from or what type of hazards might be associated with it.
7. If the sighting is from a distance, at an arms length, what would it take to cover up the object? A quarter? A penny? A dime? An aspirin? Or would it take something bigger? A golf ball? A baseball? Or a tennis ball?
8. Try to judge the distance from you to the object, the object's altitude and its speed. Was it across the street or was it over the next field? Was it treetop level or was it a few hundred feet up? Did it cross the sky in five seconds or five minutes?
9. Should you encounter some type of extraterrestrial being associated with the craft, be prepared to take evasive action to protect yourself. From a safe distance, in a concealed position, photograph or videotape the being. If you are unable to safely get photos of the being, draw it and write down a description as soon as it is safe to do so.
10. Immediately report the event to a UFO research organization for investigation. There are several such organizations around the world. The Mutual UFO Network is the largest and most noted of these organizations, with investigators in all 50 states and around the world.
Â© Copyright 1994 by Michael Curta, all rights reserved.
Story source sfgate.com.