Flawed Investigation

Roger Stanway and Jenny Randles. UFO Investigation: A Field Investigators Handbook. BUFORA, 1976.
The idea of producing a guide on how to investigate UFO experiences is in theory quite good; this attempt is not so good. The main impression that is generated is that of an obsession with trivial detail, and a weight of bureaucracy. Within the actual investigation procedure, the obvious vies with the absurd. After warning that investigators should not alarm percipients by wild talk (quite correctly), they then urge that investigators should approach alleged 'landing sights' accompanied by Geiger counter, dosimeter, and "the investigator ought to wear rubber gloves, face mask , goggles and wellington boots". One wonders what effect that would have on the percipient, let alone the spectacle it would present to the popular press!

Then there are the official looking questionnaires for both the percipient and the investigator, plus supplementary forms, and report sheets to be done in quadruplicate - a feast of paperwork that would be the envy of any civil service. In fact, such questionnaires are rarely helpful and tend only to scatter meaningful information. The whole procedure is implicitly based on the supposition that the investigation is to determine whether or not a particular UFO report is generated by (as one BUFORA official put it) "genuine extraterrestrial hardware"; and alternative concepts, to which these techniques would not apply , are not considered. The investigation is geared very much to LITS, and occupant reports are still regarded with great suspicion.

The lack of understanding of parapsychology among UFO organisations is illustrated by the listing of The Complete Illustrated Guide to Psychic Sciences, Colin Wilson's The Occult, and John Taylor's Superminds as representative works - a choice unlikely to enamour them to parapsychologists. The work emphasises a rather sad fact, that the more 'scientific ' and pretentious UFO researchers try to become, the more they appear to outsiders as ' playing scientist': to quote one American correspondent "people who have never got over their pre-adolescent interest in chemistry sets and toy telescopes”. – Peter Rogerson. MUFOB New Series 6, Spring 1977.

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