Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Analyzing the August 2011 UFO Wave


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By Alejandro Rojas
Openminds
10-10-11

     Several media outlets covered the story of increased UFO sightings in the late summer of 2011, including Fox News, MSNBC and the popular UK paper, the Daily Mail. It all started when the International Director for the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON), Clifford Clift, told reporter Benjamin Radford, that over 1000 UFO reports were received in August 2011, doubling the typical 500 or so they receive on a monthly basis. I have collected all of the data I could to take a closer look at this UFO wave to try and determine what might have been the cause.

In the story, Radford and Clift, tried to speculate on some of the reasons reports may have increased. Some of the ideas listed were: more people looking up in the summer, accidental duplication of data or that perhaps the increase in UFO movies this summer has made people more interested in the subject. The data I collected can dispel a few of these otherwise plausible theories.

Some of the stories stemming from Radford’s interview with Clift implied that UFO sightings have increased recently. Some of these headlines even pondered the possibility of an impending alien invasion. Most of these headlines were tongue in cheek jocularity, although some were dead serious. In order to test this I graphed out the number of sightings that MUFON has received over the past few years. I was a MUFON investigator for many years, and a functional Director, and have been accumulating data for a long time from the MUFON’s online database (nothing that isn’t publicly available mind you). MUFON began collecting UFO sightings through the database in mid-2006. There has also been an ongoing effort to scan all old paper reports and get them into the database as well.

However, this data was still not in a form that could be easily exported into a spreadsheet, so I painstakingly ported the information out. Anyone can go query the database, and when you see the results, although great for light perusal, you can see it would be a bear to format it into something you can graph out. It has taken me years to get dates and places. Some of the data also comes from MUFON emails, when you subscribe to the MUFON email list, Clifford conveniently emails monthly statistics. I also put those in the database to get some information regarding sightings this year. . . .

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