Chris has been publishing his surveys for over 20 years – a long time! Most, if not all of them, are available in some form or other on the internet; his 1993 survey helps to explain what I see in this present report. Firstly, let’s look at the collecting of UFO reports?
In the 1993 Survey (.txt) 3, Ufology Research had the assistance of 27 individual
researchers from 7 different groups (MUFON, UFO BC etc) and nobody was dependent on the internet. Collecting reports was mostly carried out via phone
and actually meeting people – the data was often shared with others. Obviously, the *quality* of researchers will always be open to question
and even today some who I can think of are awful whilst others are rather good. In fact, never mind the *quality* what about the
*sanity?!* Some researchers have less outright intelligence than a bag of cats!
The point I’m trying to make is that investigation was far more personal and follow-ups could happen. Let’s say someone is in the mood for
hoaxing? Is it easier to find a phone number and call or is it easier to post something on the internet whilst your mates are laughing?
How do we get a feel for the reporter if they are never seen or heard? I’ve listened to 100s of sightings reports and it makes a difference. Some
people just don’t sound believable! Others sound crazy. In some cases, it’s the background chatter on phone calls that helps to build confidence
in the honesty of the witness.
In ’93 Chris was annoyed by fellow researchers being late to submit their files; others didn’t respond at all. He was also pissed that some
‘self-proclaimed’ investigators didn’t actually investigate and that others didn’t keep useable records. No doubt, those days are like a
Golden Age to him now. By 2011, most of the reports were sourced by himself using internet sites like NUFORC, MUFON and sightings.com. A number of
Canadian groups still contributed, but it’s moved a long way from 1993 and to what extent have they taken their own reports from websites or
e-mails? Have they spoken directly to witnesses?
Another point to make is that UFO sightings exist - people see stuff and a small number of them want to let others know by reporting them. The thing
is, mainstream media has long since stopped publishing UFO reports. Smaller outlets like internet news portals and local newspapers are similarly not
interested in reporting UFO sightings. Billy Cox is all alone out there. The stories aren’t as
exciting as they used to be and, truth be told, most of their audience aren’t interested anyway. Looking at the reports in the 2011 Survey gives us
a handful that might be worth putting in a newspaper.
What this suggests is that an aspect of UFO sighting reports exists without being driven by popular media alone. Reports aren’t being made in
reaction to tabloid hype or the release of an alien movie. The mainstream media sentiment of ridicule and disbelief should have a negative
impact on the numbers of people making reports. Likewise, the hysterical conspiracy-based section of UFO fans has influence through sites like
You Tube. Their influence can’t be underestimated and yet the Canadian reports are remarkably unexciting.
I think the basic mildness of the Canadian reports strengthens the possibility that they are accurate and honest.
Reading between the lines of Rutkowski’s report is like reading the writing on the wall for the future of ufology. The databases of the past were
mostly sourced from direct contact (at some point) with witnesses. That doesn’t mean they were infallible – they weren’t, but some of the
reports were very good and had been fully investigated face-to-face. Future databases will be sourced from anonymous internet reporters with little or
no direct contact. This will essentially render the reports meaningless and condemn any studies based upon them to GIGO.
All in all, it doesn’t look good for the future of ufology! The good guys we have today, like Chris Rutkowski, aren’t being replaced by a younger
generation. Databases will become meaningless. Ufology has every chance of becoming an historical point of interest for people studying 20th Century
Americana or social phenomena.
Some will rejoice at this possibility and others will mourn…What’s intriguing about this likelihood is that the focus of ufology (UFOs!) will
continue to provide ‘WTF moments’ for future generations. Lights and objects in the skies are here to stay…sadly, nobody will be around keeping
score. Until then, I think Mr Rutkowski should be applauded!