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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2004 > Feb > Feb 16

Re: Off-Season UFOs - Hatch

From: Larry Hatch <larryhatch.nul>
Date: Sun, 15 Feb 2004 16:44:10 -0800
Fwd Date: Mon, 16 Feb 2004 14:30:27 -0500
Subject: Re: Off-Season UFOs - Hatch


>From: Nick Pope <nick.nul>
>To: <ufoupdates.nul>
>Date: Sun, 15 Feb 2004 11:10:46 -0000
>Subject: Re: Off-Season UFOs

>>From: Larry Hatch <larryhatch.nul>
>>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <ufoupdates.nul>
>>Date: Wed, 11 Feb 2004 14:36:53 -0800
>>Subject: Off-Season UFOs

<snip>

>>The question occurs, where are UFOs seem _between_ the major
>>waves?

>>To study this, I set up filters on my software to _exclude_ the
>>following months/years:

>>June-July 1947; Mar-Apr 1950; June-Sept 1952;
>>Sept-Nov. 1954; November 1957; August 1965;
>>March-April 1966; March 1967; July-Sept 1968;
>>Oct-Nov 1973.

>>I left the rest of the data in to study the remainder.

><snip>

>>I haven't done a fine analysis of the new data yet, but it might
>>be fun to compare and contrast those displays with the wave
>>years maps.

>>Maybe there are some discernible patterns to UFO sightings
>>locations "off-season" versus the busiest periods.

>Larry,

>Thanks for posting this. I know you'll be aware of some of these
>factors, but thought I'd share my views on some of the problems
>that arise when trying to do statistical analysis of UFO
>sightings.

>When running the UK Government's UFO project I asked a member of
>staff to do a study into the geographical spread of sightings. I
>gave her some outline maps of the UK and asked her to go through
>the files for the last three years, marking the locations. Here
>are some of the issues that arose:

>The Ministry of Defence didn't have a monopoly on the data. Some
>people reported to us, and there was a national reporting system
>that ensured we received reports sent to military bases, civil
>airports and police stations. But this reporting system had
>broken down in places, and some people were not aware that
>reports should have been forwarded. But in any case, we had no
>way of sweeping up reports that were sent to civilian UFO groups
>or researchers, or to the media. We would find out about some of
>these sightings, but by no means all.

Hello Nick:

Everyone trying to compile reports has to run into
this and similar. I simply collected reports from
all sources available to me, most in the public
domain, some from obscure sources. Here's a list
of many/most of those:

 http://www.larryhatch.net/USOURCE.html

A fairly lengthy file, it took almost 2 decades
to wade thru that.

>Many people who see UFOs don't report them at all, either
>because they fear ridicule or because they don't know where to
>send their reports. Again, this brought it home to us that we
>were plotting only a proportion of the overall sightings.

Yes! My sister's sighting in about 1950 is a case in point. A
golden sphere came right down this very street, possibly 1000
feet altitude. It came to a stop briefly, then almost instantly
shot back to the Northwest, from where it had came. Its not in
the literature, and the date is very approximate. I might have
been 5 years old at the time, in the opposite yard playing.

You will search the literature in vain for any reference to
this. There must be thousands if not millions of similarly
buried sightings. There isn't a damned thing I can do about it.

>A straightforward exercise to map UFO sighting reports takes no
>account of any analysis of the sightings. Ministry of Defence
>and USAF data told me that 95% of sightings were likely to be
>attributable to prosaic explanations, or involve situations
>where insufficient data existed to make a reliable assessment of
>what was seen. To give one example of how this can affect the
>data, we knew that a high proportion of UFO sightings were
>caused by misidentifications of aircraft or aircraft lights.
>Therefore, any meaningful analysis of the geographical spread of
>UFO sightings should take account of the location of
>flightpaths. There are many other things to factor in: the sites
>where weather balloons are launched, areas where airships fly,
>etc.

By 'straight-forward' I presume you mean uncritical. I work to
filter out the obvious junk, and derate seemingly questionable
accounts if I list them at all.

>The media can create a UFO wave. When a UFO story runs in a
>local newspaper, the article often ends with a request that
>other witnesses come forward. This creates a receptive
>environment for reports, and UFO witnesses who might otherwise
>have said nothing will feel more comfortable about speaking out,
>and will have an obvious outlet. There can be a domino effect
>here; a local newspaper might run a story and ask for other
>witnesses to get in touch; local radio or television may then
>pick up the story and make a similar request. Finally, even
>national newspapers or television channels may run the story.
>Before you know it, you have the next Warminster or Bonnybridge
>on your hands. Are such places really UFO hotspots, or are they
>just areas that have been portrayed as such? Once an area gets a
>reputation as a hotspot, ufologists go on skywatches there, and
>may direct reporters and documentary makers to these areas as
>opposed to others. Things are seen in these locations because
>this is where people are looking. It becomes a self-fulfilling
>prophesy.

Yes indeed! The self-created wave. Good reports that would have
been lost surface, but this skews the numbers. And of course the
me-too types and bandwagon hoppers jump in with all sorts of
bogus stuff.

That's one of the main reasons I made these 'off-season' maps.
Hopefully, media-generated effects are much reduced.

 http://www.larryhatch.net/NWMNAM.html
 http://www.larryhatch.net/NWMSAM.html
 http://www.larryhatch.net/NWMEUR.html

>This point about the media is also important to bear in mind
>when looking at apparent peaks in UFO sightings at a particular
>time, as well as in a particular location. Media interest in a
>UFO story is likely to be short-lived, but the receptive
>environment for sighting reports that exists while the media
>spotlight is on can skew the figures for anyone trying to plot
>whether there are more sightings at a particular time of year.

>UFO researchers can create UFO waves. A proactive researcher
>will smoke out reports that might otherwise not come to light,
>and act as a 'lightning conductor' for such data. In much the
>same way as applies in the point about the media, an apparent
>hotspot does not necessarily mean there are more sightings in a
>particular area. It may simply be that a more receptive
>environment has been created for people to make reports, and a
>higher proportion of UFO sightings will be reported in this area
>as opposed to another.

I think that's what happened in NE Utah in the 1960s-70s when
Biologist Frank Salisbury went cataloging sightings there. Look
at the blob of sightings just below the SW corner of Wyoming on
this map.

http://www.larryhatch.net/WESTUSA.html

The sightings density is _way_ out of proportion to the small
population. The whits blob of events shown outweighs metro Salt
Lake City, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Tucson, even Portland Oregon.

And... that's about 98% all from one single book by Salisbury.
It makes me wonder what else is lurking, unstudied,
unpublished...

>We need to factor in data on population density. If more UFOs
>are seen in a particular area, might it not reflect the fact
>that there are more people there to see them? Indeed, the
>results of my MOD study produced maps that seemed to reflect
>this very point. More UFO reports came from in and around London
>than from anywhere else, and there were similar clusters around
>major conurbations.

I have a routine in the database software that ranks states, the
DC, and Canadian provinces/territories by raw sightings counts,
same over population, and same over area. This isn't on my
website yet, stay tuned.

On the same map above, compare Arizona to New Mexico. Areas are
about the same (NM slightly larger than AZ) but AZ has less than
one quarter the filtered sightings counts per 1000 population as
New Mexico.

I don't see any obvious demographic reason for this.

>There's an issue regarding how to score multiple witness
>sightings. Do we treat a UFO seen by a family of four as one
>report or four? What about sightings in broadly the same
>location at broadly the same time, but by witnesses not in
>precisely the same location?

Trying to avoid "numbers inflation", I give one listing to each
event (with rare exceptions) regardless if there was one witness
or a score of them. Sometimes I will discover two listings
(different sources usually) for the same event. If/when I do, I
combine them into one record noting both sources.

If two sets of witnesses are removed by a few miles, I give them
two listings, even though the original stimulus or craft may be
identical. This might suggest a trajectory if the times of day
are close enough. It might also suggest a mundane explanation.

>I no longer have access to the Ministry of Defence's UFO files,
>and I'm doing this from memory, so I may have missed out some
>important issues. But I hope this has at least highlighted some
>of the difficulties we faced when trying to do statistical
>analysis of UFO data. I'm sure ufologists ran into exactly the
>same problems, and I'd be interested in people's thoughts on
>this.

>Best wishes,

> Nick Pope

I have no special access to official records like
these. They offer important pieces to the puzzle.
Its important to get them out where I and others can
study them.


Best wishes

- Larry Hatch





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