When discussing the efforts of the Canadian UFO survey over the past twenty-five years, Chris Rutkowski wrote:
Regardless of one’s belief in the “reality” of UFOs (however that may be construed), studies such as ours affirm that there is a persis- tent phenomenon that deserves further scientific study. If UFOs are not “real,” then why are tens of thousands of Canadians (and others worldwide) seeing unusual objects in the sky? Is there a need for better education of the masses? If there is a residual percentage of truly unexplained cases, what do these represent? Alien visitation? Clandestine military exercises? A hitherto unrecognized natural atmo- spheric phenomenon?1
In my opinion, Rutkowski’s claim that these objects are “unusual” is another instance of UFOlogists not understanding the fact that these are reports made by witnesses who are reporting what they perceived and may not be a true reflection of what they actually saw. It is the witness who often introduces the “unusual” part of the UFO report which can turn an Identified Flying Object (IFO) into an Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) that can not be explained.
Is 94% good enough?
Chris Rutkowski recently published an article describing how he examined Ted Molczan’s database for re-entries that were vis- ible from Canada and compared them to the twenty-five year history of the Canadian UFO survey. His results seem to confirm that UFOlogists, in Canada, were right in identifying the possible source of the sighting (many of them appeared to be classified as a fireball but that is splitting hairs) a significant majority of the time. While I am impressed by this success, I think it is important to examine the 6% of the cases that the survey did not identify as reports of re-entering space debris.
The first report occurred during the Cosmos 2096 re-entry, which was visible from the northern tier of states in the central United States. Apparently, it was also visible in the lower provinces of Canada. The unidentified report was from Portage la Prairie, Mani- toba about sixty miles north of the US border. The source of this report was from the UFO database of Manitoba and was listed as follows2:
Rutkowski then describes why it was listed as “unidentified”:
It was classified as Unknown because the witness was a reliable observer. However, the witness only reported “lights,” so no structured object was described.3
Rutkowski gives no other reason to explain why this was listed as “unidentified”. The time of observation and re-entry match. The description even appears to match. He saw lights flying in a parallel course. This sounds like a description of a re-entry that broke up. In my opinion, justifying the classification because the observer was “reliable” is a mistake often used by UFOlogists. The history of UFO reports has shown that there is no such thing as “a reliable observer” based on occupation. It appears that the classifier got this report wrong.
The next report was associated with the Russian Astra satellite re-entry on April 14, 1996. Again, the re-entry was visible from the northern tier of the mid-western United States. It also appeared to be visible from Quebec because at the same time the re- entry occurred there were four reports from Quebec. Rutkowski lists two entries that were listed as “unidentified” and “insufficient information”:4
Rutkowski explains the classifications:
The report listed as “Unknown” is curious because it has descriptors unlike a re-entry. The sighting at 0315 hours local was noted as a “Close Encounter,” yet in time and location matches the re-entry.’5
Both of these observations seem to match the time of the re-entry. One has to consider the possibility that they may have been observations that were distorted by the witnesses.
The Insufficient information report involved the witness saying it stopped over the road and then took off. They also gave an al- titude of 100 feet. This is similar to some observation errors often seen in fireball and re-entry reports. Witnesses often misjudge the distances involved and interpret the object to be relatively close when it was really very far away. I agree that it is “insufficient information” since the report does not include enough data to draw an adequate conclusion but there is the possibility that this might have been a re-entry.
The “unidentified” sighting from this field is the one I found most interesting. It is the classic description of a re-entry straight from the Zond IV incident. A “yellow cigar” with “four large lights”, which was “big as a trailer”. The airship/excitedness effects appear to have taken hold in this description. Despite these apparent clues, Rutkowski states that it has a description that is “unlike a re-entry”. Like the Yukon case, he appears to ignore the lessons from the past regarding how some re-entries can be reported as UFOs.
The last “unidentified” is a case from 2004, where the witnesses reported seeing three lights going west five minutes after seeing a bright fireball. 6
This appears to indicate that their “three lights” going west had nothing to do with the re-entry. One wonders if the witness might have gotten their directions and times wrong. Maybe there was a bright meteor prior to the re-entry. We don’t know for sure. One could easily classify this as “insufficient information” .
It is admirable that the Canadian UFO survey got a score of 94 % for identifying the cases in the re-entry database. Yet, in 6% of the observations, the UFOlogists were unable to identify the likely stimulus because of preconceived notions about how these events should be reported and the “reliability” of the witness. Did this inability to properly identify the source 100% of the time indicate that there are other cases in the database classified as “unidentified” , which can be explained?
Unidentified ≠ Unexplainable
Back in SUNlite, I pointed out how the 2012 survey got some of their classifications wrong. In one instance, it ap- pears that ten reports were not identified as a venting booster rocket used to launch NROL-25 from Vandenberg AFB. Six of these were classified as “unidentified” and four were listed as “insufficient information”. One would think the cluster of sightings might have caused the classifier to make a check if there might be a known source. Like the recent Trident missile launch off the California coast, UFOlogists dropped the ball and performed no investigation/check to see if there might have been a source that produced these reports.
If one thinks this is an isolated incident, I took a look at some of the different survey’s over the last few years and could point to other “unidentifieds” in these lists that probably have explanations. It is not unusual for UFO databases to contain IFOs masquerading as UFOs. It is also not unusual for some of these databases to contain a certain percentage of cases that do not appear credible but are listed anyway.
In the 2013 survey, I noticed four “unidentifieds” that involved some rather bizarre descriptions. One witness, on February 3rd, mentioned seeing a 3-foot high alien in the hospital:
I saw tranparen entity at a hospital. This being clearly had a cloaking device of some sort as it could not allways hide it’s eyes. One it no- ticed it’s eyes could been seen slightly it would quickly hide them . This being was about 3ft tall. It was there to study so a science collector of sorts. I am not the only that saw this.7
Another case involved an individual, who woke up in the middle of the night on July 16, to see an orb in his room.8 The witness states he is now so scared he sleeps in his car. A third case, on June 9th, involved a rather disturbing account of an alien abduc- tion claim.9 The fourth case, on June 5th, comes from a database that is not public.10 These reports, by themselves, seem difficult to believe without any supporting evidence. In my opinion, putting them into the “unidentified” category gives them credibility they do not deserve. At best, these should be considered “insufficient information”. At worst, the possibility exists that these might be reports made by people with mental problems or are hoaxes.
This makes me wonder how many reports in the survey(s) are made by individuals wanting attention or having possible psychologi- cal issues. I am sure it is a small percentage but there seems to be the possibility that some of these reports might originate from such sources. What effort, if any, is expended to quarantine such reports from the rest of the survey? If there is none, then one begins to wonder if the database might contain more suspect reports being classified as “unidentifieds”.
Lather, rinse, repeat....
Anybody can collect UFO reports the way kids collect baseball cards or comic books. One can even produce statistics about these reports that appear to demonstrate that there is something unique about the “unidentifieds”. However, UFOlogists have been collecting these reports for many decades and appear to still have problems filtering out the IFOs and poor quality reports.
The ultimate goal of a UFO database should be to weed out all the IFOs so one can focus only on the “true” UFOs. I found it interest- ing that the 6% failure rate in the re-entry cases is in the ballpark range of the 10% often cited as percentage of unknowns found in many UFO databases (the Canadian survey quotes an average value of 13% of 25 years). It is not that big of a stretch to suggest that one of the major reasons that UFOlogists/skeptics can’t identify every case is because the witnesses tend to distort the observations to the point an identification can not be made. This human element makes the effort of collecting and evaluating reports a flawed exercise.
The repetition of this program over the decades demonstrates that UFOlogists are not really learning anything new. UFOlogists need to divorce themselves from the idea that presenting a listing of enigmas as an argument is not the same thing as producing verifiable evidence that can not be refuted. Instead of grabbing headlines, UFOlogists should be attempting new ways to grab the evidence that can be analyzed without the potential for human error.
Quelle: SUNlite 6/2014