There is noise, and there is signal, and it helps to know the difference. Only, sometimes there is no signal.
Originally posted by enthuziazm: what makes a ufo sighting credible?
Speaking strictly for myself, I always look for enough information to allow the object to be identified if it's something prosaic and NOT a flying
saucer: time, date, location, and directions (of view and of travel) at a minimum. After all, if there's not enough there there to be recognized if
the thing is ordinary, how can anyone seriously hope to identify it as something unknown?
After that I want to know what a person saw
, not necessarily what they thought or felt. Descriptions like "it was
about xxx feet long" or "it was xxx miles away" or "it was travelling xxx mph" are mostly useless unless the object is already recognized; tell
us how many degrees it covered, or that it looked about the size of your outstretched hand, or that it went from A to B in xxx seconds, etc.
I also want to know, not what happened, but what else
happened. What was going on around the witness? Too often some "little" detail is left
out; thanks to the internet, that is less of a problem than in the past, but it still irks me. For instance, I was reading an apparently very
credible account of a witness to a giant silver object gliding silently over a neighbor's house. I got curious and actually looked up her address
(dontcha love broadband?). Apparently she didn't remember she lived a few hundred meters or so from a Marine air field, directly in-line with one of
the runways, or I'm sure
she's have mentioned it in her UFO report.
Something that especially appeals to me are are the "stupid" details: things which seem to make absolutley no sense, but, I feel, are the real key
to the UFO phenomenon. They are the things which most researchers try to ignore, even belittle, but need to be incorporated into any real theory.
Phototographic evidence is pretty uniformly miserable (and video even more so), and what decent images do exist are suspect nowadays. I do enjoy the
occasional debunk, if, as I said, there is enough information available to make any kind of analysis at all, but it's usually just too easy.
What does it take for you to truly believe?
Belief has no relation to credibility. That said, I can be convinced that a theory is useful and pertinent. In the case of UFOs, show me a theory
which explains both the commonalities and the stupid details -- without invoking magic.