Researching UFO sightings can be a challenge. It often depends largely upon photographic evidence and witness testimony. Aside from ruling out the misidentification of man-made objects or natural phenomenon, you frequently have to deal with hoaxes and faked evidence, which can be a real nuisance, and a waste of time and resources.
Some hoaxes are pretty good. And some, not – as exemplified in the image to the left.
It doesn’t take long to realize someone tried to hoax a UFO sighting by throwing a trash can lid up into the air, and taking a photograph of it.
I guess you could argue that the non-terrestrial inhabitants are disguising their craft as trash can lids to throw us off, but a quick web search will reveal a very similar looking object, available at Amazon.
So, how does this relate to the UFO Research Database?
Glad you asked!
Presumably, a person serious about researching the UFO phenomenon would want to filter out the obvious hoaxes. The question is, how do you handle that in the database? Really, you are left with only 2 choices:
- Omit the hoax from the database completely.
- Code, or flag, the sighting as a probably hoax.
The problem with omitting probable hoaxes from the database, is that the person coding the entry into the database is making a decision for everyone using the database on what is a hoax, and what is not. What if a UFO sighting is thought to be a hoax initially, and is omitted, but evidence surfaces at a later time that may indicate it was not a hoax after all? What if the researcher is researching hoaxes, for one reason or another?
It seems that the best solution is to include the sighting, just as MUFON did in their database, and let the researcher decide on whether the sighting is a hoax, a misidentification, or something truly unidentified.
However, we can evaluate and rate the sighting, so it can be filtered, as long as the evaluation criteria is well defined. So the question, is now…
How do we rate the UFO sighting in terms of credibility?
This is an issue that’s needs to be addressed for the UFO database to expand it’s usefulness – if not initially, at least in the near term. This is a feature that is still in the design phase. Proposed categories would need to include sighting characteristics, such as:
- Probable or Possible Hoax
- Probable or Possible Misidentified Terrestrial Craft
- Probable or Possible Natural Phenomenon
- True Unknown
- True Unknown with Highly Credible or Multiple Witnesses
- True Unknown with Other High Credibility Factors
Of course, that just some initial thinking out loud. Much more thought and defining of categories would need to go into this ‘credibility factor.’
If you have any thoughts or suggestions on this, please leave a comment, or contact us using our contact form.
UFO Database Update
Well, the UFO database has hit a new milestone. A test sighting entry has been successfully entered into the database. More testing needs to be done, to make sure there are no bugs in the entry process.
All this is still behind-the-scenes, unfortunately. Once testing is complete, sighting data can start to be entered, and a publicly visible page can be created.
As always, comments and suggestions are welcomed!