By Brian BabcockAll K.T. Davis and Frank Dixon want is to be taken seriously. But respect can be hard to come by when people think you're looking for flying saucers and little green men.
Search is on for who shot photos
Search is on for who shot photos
"Both our wives just roll their eyes at us," Dixon says.
It's not just family who mocks them, though.
"We get ridiculed (by our friends)," Davis says. "They ask, 'Are you on drugs?' or 'When's the last time you took those mushrooms?' and 'If you want to see an alien just look in the mirror.' "
Both men know they've put their reputations on the line for this pursuit. They were once officers in the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department. Davis retired as a captain, Dixon as a lieutenant, both after 30 years of service to the department.
After retiring, Davis, who lives in Saratoga, became a private investigator, shadowing cheating spouses and finding runaway kids, using Dixon on cases as needed.
Then came the call in January. A woman from London wanted to speak to Davis. He ignored her message. Then came a second call, which he again ignored. When she left a third message, Davis figured the woman was serious and called her back.
The woman claimed to be a member of the Open Minds Forum, a collection of individuals from around the world who use the Internet forum to talk about everything alien. The woman said she and a few others were part of a subgroup called the Drone Research Team.
The woman told Davis about a picture of a UFO drone that had surfaced on Craigslist and caused a stir over the Internet in 2007. Someone named "Raji" claimed to be visiting his fiance's parents' home in Capitola when he saw the drone in the sky and snapped a picture of it. Then there was a student photographer who caught a similar drone with his camera off of Big Basin Way in Saratoga and a bicyclist who posted a picture of the same drone.
What the woman wanted Davis to do was simple: Find the utility pole in "Raji's" drone picture so you can find "Raji." Once "Raji" is found, he can prove the picture is real, the woman said.
"They have put no pressure on us to say, 'Oh yeah, (the drone is) real,' " Davis says.
Four months later and they still can't find "Raji."
Davis has dropped his other cases to focus on this one, fueled by the money he's making from the group and his interest in the case. But countless of hours spent scouring the Internet for clues and hunting utility poles in Capitola hasn't brought the two private eyes any closer to answers.
Dixon, who Davis says has become the utility pole expert, says he doesn't think the picture was taken in Capitola, but could have been taken in an area surrounding the city.
The duo still won't label the photo as a fake. They won't even use the word hoax, instead calling it "The 'H' word." Dixon says no one has been able to prove the photo was altered to include the drone.
"We can't debunk this," Dixon says. "It had to start from somewhere. To this day we can't find a model or picture."
What Davis and Dixon have done is find the area on Highway 9 where the "Big Basin" picture was taken. That coupled with all the tips they are receiving gives them hope that they'll still be able to find "Raji."
Both men say they haven't given up and that the experience has actually opened their minds to what may be out there, although both stop short of saying they believe in aliens.
"The Holy Grail is Rosswell. Something happened there," Dixon says. "But have I ever seen anything? No. Are aliens walking around amongst us? No. But it would be naive of me to say there's nothing out there."