I noticed a while back that there seem to have been a number of UFO sightings within a fairly small area. I've always kept records of every sighting I've investigated, but for some reason I hadn't thought about how they were distributed geographically. Could there be any significance in this?
I started with the past year's worth of sightings. Quite a few. More frequent than at any other time I can remember. I've added a few older ones, too, sightings that I know are reliable.
As best I could, I marked the location of each sighting on a map. It's not always easy. Sometimes the witness is unsure of his or her location when the event occurs. Sometimes, they tell me, when the event is over, they find themselves in a different place to where they started.
And sometimes, to be honest, I'm not sure how much to trust them.
This is something all UFO investigators have to confront. Among those who claim to have had contact with the unknown, there is a small portion who are liars, a handful who are simple fantasists and perhaps some who are just confused or flaky. It's my belief that most are genuine, but how do you decide where any one witness fits into these categories?
I have to go on instinct. As the Weekly World Inquisitor is ... well, the kind of publication that it is, we probably get more than our fair share of liars, fantasists, and flakes contacting us. I have techniques for weeding them out - obviously I can't say here what they are. But the rest is down to gut feeling.
If I feel the report is from someone reliable, and the information is detailed, the sighting gets a solid dot - the size of the dot representing the significance or importance of the sighting.
In the case of witnesses who seem genuine, but who are unsure or confused, I draw a ring. That ring represents uncertainty of various kinds - of exact location or my reservations about the witness.
The dots and rings are building up. There are more rings than dots. Why is that?
I'm looking for patterns. We are pattern-seeking animals, after all. But I think something is starting to emerge. I haven't finished yet, so more when I've completed the map...