CHENNAI: Ever since I started writing this column about UFOs, I have been getting calls from people narrating their UFO sighting experiences, some that happened the previous night to the ones that happened years back. Eye witness accounts are the largest source of information we have about UFOs, but at the same time we have to be careful when dealing with these, because it is also one of the most misleading. Just because you saw something fly in the sky which you couldn’t identify, doesn’t mean it is a flying saucer from another world. As Stanton Friedman points out, all UFOs are not crafts from another world, but all Flying Saucers are UFOs. UFO sightings can be categorized into three major groups.
Insufficient Information Category (IFO):
This category is about sighting-reports made by people several years or decades after the incident had happened. They are unable to provide sufficient information like exact date, time of incident, direction of motion, color, shape and structure of the UFO. Not much can be done with these cases. Most of the UFO sightings narrated to me come under this category.
Identifiable flying objects category (IFOs):
This is the largest category, where sufficient information is thoroughly examined by competent authorities. What’s revealed is explained with evidence under the following sub-groups: Astronomical phenomena like planets Venus, Jupiter and Mars, artificial satellites, meteors and comets; Atmospheric phenomena like Aurora Borealis, ball lightening, advertising blimps, balloons, clouds, contrails, magnesium flares, migrating birds, insect swarms, fireworks, swamp gas, dust devils, elevated streetlights, window reflections, lights from cars, lighthouses, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), military test crafts, re-entering satellites, rocket launchings, and finally crackpot UFO sighting reports borne out of desire for seeking publicity.
The unknowns or UFO category:
This category deals with actual UFO or Flying Saucer phenomenon — objects seen in the skies or ground which cannot be connected or identified with any of the sub-groups mentioned in the IFO.
The reports are made by very competent, reliable observers like highly trained pilots (both military and civilian), military and civilian radar operators, commanders of nuclear missile bases, generals, astronauts, police officers, government officials and scientists.
The 150 former military officers who testified in Robert Hastings book, UFOs and Nukes, detailing UFO intrusions and tampering with ICBM nuclear missiles fall under this category.
In 1968, Arizona University professor James E McDonald, an expert in atmospheric physics presented a 71-page report titled Statement on Unidentified Flying Objects before the US Congressional Committee on Science and Astronautics. This report, based on his analysis of 41 authentic UFO cases and interviews with more than 500 witnesses, proved UFOs are real. He died mysteriously in 1971.
Media-hyped scientists like Donald Menzel, Carl Sagan, Howard Robertson, Edward Condon and Seth Shostak, some of whom had worked secretly for the American intelligence agencies never bothered analysing the irrefutable evidence available in the third- Unknown or UFO category. Instead, they went all over town denying and debunking the UFO phenomenon, citing examples only from the first two categories, which was then given extraordinary coverage by the American mainstream media and government agencies creating the so called UFO myth.
The truth got lost in the noise of lies by the latter. If one is interested in knowing the truth about UFOs, they must study the Unknowns or UFO category in the six official scientific studies conducted on the subject since 1948.
(The writer is the Director of INSETS-Indian Society for Extraterrestrial Studies and author of ACCIDENTAL APOCALYPSE)