High Strangeness: Is Your UFO Running?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Is Your UFO Running?

This just makes me sad. I was reading up on recent UFO news today and happened upon a site for a UFO research organization that I had never heard of before. I'm not going to share the organization's name, for reasons that will become clear, but I can give you a hint: It has the letter U in it.

Looking over their site, I started reading the catalog of the latest reported sightings, and I was struck by something: a hell of a lot of people report UFO sightings every day. Not just on this site, but on a lot of others as well. I follow a UFO reporting Twitter account and some days they tweet more than Neil Gaiman and Stephen Fry combined.

So, if hundreds and hundreds of people each month report UFO sightings to a multitude of sites like this one, that means there must be many hundreds more who choose not to report their sightings because they're afraid someone like me will blog about them, and many hundreds more who would report their sightings if they only knew how to do it.

But that's not the sad part. That's actually the really quite amazing part, and something I will need to write more about at another time. Because now I want to write about the sad part. Scrolling down the very, very long list of UFO sighting reports on this site, I kept running across messages from the director of the organization scolding people for making prank phone calls to the UFO hotline. Just read this plaintive note and you'll understand why I'm sad:

 "The flood of prank calls we have been receiving goes unabated, despite our efforts to reason with the inconsiderate dolts who seem amused by this nonsense.  We recently received in excess of 60 prank calls during a 16-hour period, many of them from the same group of individuals in Utah.  The volume of calls now takes up, we estimate, the majority of our time, and it is threatening to cause us to have to end our policy of either answering, or returning, all telephone calls placed to the UFO Hotline."

A few frustrating weeks later, this was posted:

 "NEW HOTLINE POLICIES - Because the steady stream of pranks and obscene telephone calls has not abated, we are considering a change in our policy regarding staffing of the Hotline.  On a typical day, 50-80 percent of the calls we receive are hoaxes and pranks, more often than not, accompanied by some of the worst profanity a person could imagine.  This situation is having a deleterious effect on the Director, and we are going to have to fight back..."

Hells Bells. Hoaxes? Pranks? Profanities? What is wrong with these young hoodlums? Who are these inconsiderate dolts and why are they tying up UFO hotlines with their juvenile pranks and japes? Don't they realize they are interfering with important UFO research? And driving the Director to distraction?

I can't believe I have to say this, but please do not make prank calls to UFO hotlines! And please do not use profanities. Unless they are an integral part of your sighting report. It's quite common to say "Holy ****!" or "Holy ****!" or even "Holy ****ing ****!" when encountering a UFO, and we want your report to be as accurate as possible.

Otherwise, keep it clean, bub.

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