Thursday, October 19, 2023
AARO and CUS and UAP
The latest AARO report on UAP has been released, and many UFO fans are panning it already, likely because it doesn't say that aliens are here.
Actually, there is some interesting detail in the report, which I will get into another time, but what I'd like to do quickly is point out that for the first time, we have a decent breakdown of the cases that are being reported to AARO.
The latest AARO report includes a few pie charts, such as this one on UAP Morphologies (i.e shapes of UAP that were reported):
If this looks familiar to anyone who has been viewing the annual Canadian UFO Surveys, it's because the breakdown is very similar to what we've been finding over the past 35 years or so.
Here is the shape breakdown from the Canadian UFO Survey (CUS) for 2022:Now, while it's not a perfect one-to-one comparison, it's really quite close to what we've been finding each year.
If we look a bit more closely:
Comparison between reported shapes of UAP in AARO vs CUS
Shape AARO CUS
Orb/Round/Sphere 25% 9%*
Rectangle 2% 1%
Triangle 1% 3%
Irregular 6% 20%
Disk 2% 4%
Cylinder 1% 0%
Oval 4% 2%
Not Reported 53%
Ambiguous Sensor Contact 5%
Point Source 41%
A few things need to be noted right from the start. First, AARO grouped reported shapes of Orb, Round, and Sphere together, but there's no category of Orb in CUS. I've addressed this in previous discussions, and stated it explicitly in the Coding Key for CUS data:
If a witness states the object observed was an “orb,” it is important to determine if this was just a judgement on the part of the witness. “Orb” is commonly used by UFO fans to describe a simple light observed in the night sky, even at a great distance, believing the light to be a much larger object, or something that is spherical in nature, despite the human visual limitation and inability to determine an actual shape of a distant light. Therefore, “orb” should not automatically imply a spherical object.
Another major difference is the AARO category of "Not Reported." It's not at all clear what this means. Does it mean that the UAP didn't have a discernable shape? If so, was it a Point Source, as categorized in CUS? If not, where are the AARO reports of Point Sources, since all previous studies of UFOs and UAP have found that the majority of reports fall into that category? Were they radar returns only, perhaps, or Unambiguous Sensor Contacts?
One other thing to note is that AARO focuses mostly on military reports, with some recently from commercial pilots. The Canadian UFO Survey includes not only reports from pilots and cases obtained through the Canadian Department of National Defence, but also from civilians, which is different from the AARO dataset. That may factor into why there are other differences in the categories of reported UAP.
At any rate, it is good to see we are finally getting some breakdown of AARO data.
Thursday, September 21, 2023
Darn that NASA!
“Darn that NASA! Why don’t they do what we want them to do and admit UAP are alien spacecraft?”
The furore has not died down. UFO buffs are still distrustful of NASA for what it said (or didn’t say) in its UAP report released in September 2023. Never mind that it was late, or that they didn’t want to say who would be the new UAP director. Or even that by their own admission they won’t be looking at classified UAP data.
What, exactly are they hiding?
Actually, as I noted in my interviews on NewsNation, CTV, and CBC, it’s really not as bad as most ardent UFO fans are stating.
The NASA UAP report is a huge first step for an organization that has generally held UFOs at arms length and at bay for its entire existence. Astronauts have been almost universally (see what I did there?) dismissive of UFOs and played down the subject, with the exception of a few whom UFO fans insist saw aliens on the Moon and in Inner Space.
Dan Evans of NASA’s UAP study stated very clearly that “understanding UAP is vital” to NASA’s mission. Nicola Fox, of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, said that NASA wants to “de-stigmatize” UAP so that it is a legitimate field of study, and funds will be made available for research projects. And Bill Nelson, NASA’s director, wants to shift UAP discussion from “sensation to science.”
All great ideas and goals.
So what’s the problem?
Here’s the nub: pop ufology and science don’t mix well. Bringing a biker boyfriend to a debutante ball doesn’t usually lead to a good blending of cultures.
In the NASA UAP report, there’s a clear explanation of the issue, but it’s buried on page 29:
In science, data need to be reproducible, and hypotheses falsifiable—the scientific method works by systematically analyzing data with the intent to falsify a hypothesis.
As a general principle, the data should support measurement that can rule out specific explanations or interpretations, leaving us with no choice but to embrace its opposite. In the case of UAP, the hypothesis we seek to reject (or “null hypothesis”) is that the UAP have phenomenology consistent with known natural or technological causes.
And that’s exactly opposite to pop ufology.
Typically, I receive several UFO (or UAP) reports every week, from various sources, including witnesses. The implication is that I am asked to explain what was observed, if I can. Often, I simply receive a blurry video of a light in the sky that the witness says was mysterious. Sometimes, I am even challenged to explain photos and videos, usually without the sender providing any context such as where the images were taken, the date, time, and any other necessary information for evaluation.
In other words, we are given a report of an object that is deemed unexplained and asked to try and explain it.
That’s not the “null hypothesis.”
In the case of a photo of an object in the sky, the null hypothesis would be something like: “This is a photograph of an object in the sky. Determine if it is unexplained.”
Pop ufology starts with the assumption that something is unexplained/unusual/alien and then debunkers are tasked with coming up with a viable explanation.
The Peruvian “mummies” that were trotted out at a UAP conference recently show how this plays out. The sticklike bodies of odd-looking creatures were presented and announced to be aliens. It was then up to others to try and explain them.
In science, however, what would have happened is that such artefacts would have been presented along with all necessary provenance and documentation, offering them to researchers as objects of interest. It would be the researchers who would then test them, analyze them and compare them with other artefacts to see what they might be. Alien mummies would be a possible explanation, but much, much father down the line.
A second important thing in the NASA UAP study was its confirmation of the numbers of UAP reports that the AARO has received during its few years of operation. From page 26:
Between March 5, 2021, and August 30, 2022, DoD received a total of 247 new UAP reports, according to an analysis published by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) in 2022. In contrast, 263 reports had been filed in the 17 years prior to March 2021. Dr. Sean Kirkpatrick reported at this panel’s public meeting that AARO has now collected more than 800 reported events. This includes the addition of data from the FAA.
While these numbers have been bandied about by UFO fans, if you take a good look at the numbers, they aren’t that impressive.
Between about 2005 and 2022, there were a total of 510 UAP reports received by the US Department of Defense. That’s an average of 30 each year, or maybe two each month. Everywhere. Around the world. From all American military bases. (Yes, all the reports were from military personnel only.)
In contrast, the National UFO Reporting Center (NUFORC) receives about 5,000 UAP/UFO reports from civilians (and some military personnel) each year.
The 510 AARO reports were added to by including reports of UAP filed by civilian pilots with the FAA, and so by September 2023, the total number is now above 800 reports. That’s about 50 per year, a factor of 100 less than the rate reported to just one civilian group.
At the moment, there is no way for civilians to file UAP reports with NASA, and it’s not clear how this will change. Civilians also can’t file reports with AARO.
Another point of note from the NASA UAP study is their definition of an unidentified UAP. In her remarks at the news conference, Nicola Fox stated that one problem with UAP is that there is limited high quality data about them, “which renders them unexplained.”
If you missed the implications of that, read it again. NASA’s view is that because there is insufficient data to explain some UAP, they then are considered unexplained.
Not that the UAP in question are truly mysterious, but that there’s just not enough information to rule out other explanations.
That’s not the way most UFO fans consider the term “unexplained.”
This is especially relevant when you look at the original UAPTF report in which 144 UAP reports were examined.
We were able to identify one reported UAP with high confidence. In that case, we identified the object as a large, deflating balloon. The others remain unexplained.
Aha! 143 cases were unexplained!
Yes, that’s not really what “unexplained” means, is it?
In contrast, during my talks and presentations on UFOs, I often use this graph, taken from Project Blue Book Special Report 14, in which 3,201 UFO reports from 1947 to 1952 were analyzed and broken down by classification. There were categories of Astronomical (such as stars, planets, and meteors), Aircraft, Balloon, Other, Insufficient Information, and Unknown.
For now, let’s ignore the fact that there were 19.7% of all cases that didn’t have an explanation.
But consider this: the majority of UFO reports had explanations, about 69%. It’s the category of “Insuf. Info” that’s significant. In other words, only about 10% of the cases didn’t have enough information to rule out a plane or a meteor.
But the UAPTF report had only two categories: explained (1) and unexplained (143).
Why? Because science.
Either the data is sufficient to warrant a definitive conclusion, or not. In a court of law, you are either guilty or not guilty, regardless of circumstances. If you can’t tie the murder weapon to the accused with certainty, including using DNA testing to prove he had actually been in the room with the victim, the murderer walks.
So while the majority of UAP reports examined by the UAPTF are “unexplained,” they are likely only “Insuf. Info.”
The problem is that without the actual case data being made available for us to examine, like for the Blue Book cases or the Canadian UFO Survey, we don’t know for sure what the actual percentage of “unidentified” cases there really are that are held by AARO.
And if NASA is using the AARO process of UAP analysis, who knows what they will find.
Tuesday, July 25, 2023
Mining the Transport Canada Incident Reports for UFOs
Next up: one of the few only actual UFO reports that made it through. And it's from Mississippi! On May 29, 2023, the pilot of a Canadian private jet saw something remarkable. It was described as: "...an unidentified object (estimated height six feet with white dome and red device attached under it) visible in the left-hand windshield and estimated at less than half a mile from the plane."
The next incident of concern was a problem affecting the Collision Avoidance Systems of four different aircraft. On June 22, 2023, approximately over Kitchener, Ontario, no less than four different aircraft reported "erroneous targets" on their Traffic alert and Collision Avoidance System because of a small private plane in the area. This is a problem because TCAS alerts advise pilots of airborne objects that are too close to their flight paths.
On July 1, 2023 (Canada Day), at 9:14 pm, a helicopter pilot flying near Penticton, British Columbia, filed a "Laser interference" Incident Report. He said that a "flashing blue light source somewhere northeast of the airport, possible laser" while he was flying from the northeast. He noted it was a "Short burst, possibly part of Canada Day celebration, but did not seem directed at aircraft." He was too far away to tell exactly where it was coming from.
Another curious incident occurred on June 12, 2023, at 3:25 pm near Westham Island, BC. A civilian complaint was received because: "A large yellow helicopter overflew a residence from the northwest at approximately 200ft altitude. The helicopter circled back and overflew the house a second time and dropped a burning flare onto the property. The flare set fire to a hedge beside the house. The house resident saw the flare drop and was able to extinguish the fire with a garden hose. The helicopter departed to the northwest."
The follow-up to this was rather odd. After investigation, it was found that: "Contrary to the initial report, the helicopter did not drop a flare. A witness reported seeing a flare being launched, from the ground, in the direction of the helicopter. The Delta Police were contacted and are investigating."
On July 9, 2023, at 11:47 am, a pilot flying near Abbotsford, BC, received a TCAS alert, even though there was: "No reported or observed traffic by air traffic controller (ATC)." How reliable are TCAS systems, anyway?
Next on the list: on July 16, 2023, at 4:27 pm, a bit north of Thurso, Quebec, "A Societe Air France Airbus A330-200 (AFR327) from Ottawa/MacDonald-Cartier Int'l, ON (CYOW) to Paris/Charles de Gaulle, France (LFPG) reported a drone encounter at 13 000 feet. Round Drone approximately 1 meter in diameter."
15,000 feet is more than twice the height of the nearby mountain, so at least the UAP/drone had enough clearance.
But finally, an actual UFO report! It took a few months to make it through NAV CANADA, but on May 31, 2023, at about 9:30 pm, near London, Ontario, "a member of the public at the Elginfield Observatory reported seeing an unidentified flying object (UFO). The UFO appeared to be a string of overlapping semi-transparent spheres travelling south at a high altitude, then ceased being visible in an instant."
Monday, February 06, 2023
The 2022 Canadian UFO Survey
The 2022 Canadian UFO Survey
Since 1989, Ufology Research (formerly Ufology Research of Manitoba) has solicited UFO case data from known and active investigators and researchers in Canada. The goal has been to provide data for use by researchers trying to understand this controversial phenomenon.
2022 marked the 34th year of collecting and analysing Canadian UFO report data by Ufology Research, with the total number of Canadian UFO reports in the database now more than 23,500 in total. Tables of most Canadian UFO reports included in the annual surveys from 1989 to the present are available online at: http://survey.canadianuforeport.com
The 2022 Canadian UFO Survey: Summary of Results
• There were 768 UFO sightings recorded in Canada in 2022, a slight increase of about six per cent from 2021. The number of UFO sightings reported in Canada in 2022 was the fourth-lowest over the past 20 years.
• In 2022, Quebec led all Canadian provinces with about 29 per cent of all Canadian UFO reports, edging out Ontario’s 28 per cent. This is the first time that Quebec has recorded the most Canadian UFO reports in a single year since the Canadian UFO Survey began in 1989. BC had 14 per cent, unchanged from 2021, and other provinces and territories had negligible changes in report numbers from the previous year.
• In 2022, about 8.2 percent of all UFO reports were classified as unexplained.
• The typical UFO sighting lasted approximately 13 minutes in 2022.
• Based on the number of reports in 2022 and using the average number of witnesses per case as 1.37, more than 1,000 Canadians had sightings of UFOs in 2022.
• The study found that in 2022, about 52 per cent of all UFO sightings were of simple lights in the sky, similar to previous years. Witnesses also reported triangles, spheres, and boomerangs.
Results of this study show that many people continue to report unusual objects in the sky, and some of these objects do not have obvious explanations. Many witnesses are pilots, police and other individuals with reasonably good observing capabilities and good judgement.
At least two UFO sightings are reported each day in Canada. Some of these could have explanations such as military exercises and overflights occurring over populated areas. In addition, people are often unaware of the nature of conventional or natural objects in the sky, such as Starlink satellite constellations and large meteors. The good news is that people are taking the time to observe their surroundings, and making a conscious effort to report them to organizations and agencies seeking to monitor UFO activity.
Popular opinion to the contrary, there is no incontrovertible evidence that some UFO cases involve extraterrestrial contact. The continued reporting of UFOs suggests a need for further examination of the phenomenon by social, medical and/or physical scientists.
UFO reports in Canada
The following shows the number of reported UFOs per year since 1989, collected by Ufology Research.
The number of UFO reports per year has varied, although there has been a general trend towards a gradual increase in yearly UFO report numbers over the past 30 years until 2015, and then a slow but steady decline. Media reports of a “huge increase” in UFO reports are not supported by available data. The six per cent increase in UFO reports in 2022 over 2021 is largely due to 37 separate reports filed by one individual regarding objects with definitive explanations. Without these cases, there would be no negligible increase in UFO reports last year at all.
Although there may be a perceived notion that UFOs are not being reported with as much frequency as in the past, UFOs have not “gone away.” This data clearly contradicts comments by those who would assert that UFOs are a ‘passing fad’ or that UFO sightings are decreasing.
For this study, the working definition of a UFO was: “an object seen in the sky which its observer cannot identify.”
Although the term Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon (UAP) is currently being used more often instead of Unidentified Flying Object (UFO), for consistency this study will continue to use the original term UFO that was in use when the study began in 1989.
Polls have shown that about ten per cent of the Canadian population believe they have seen UFOs. This means that about 3.7 million Canadians have seen UFOs. However, studies have also shown that only about ten per cent of all witnesses of UFOs report their experiences (although this percentage is thought to be much lower).
UFO witnesses range from farmhands to airline pilots and from teachers to police officers.
Witnesses represent all age groups and racial origin. What is being observed? In most cases, only ordinary objects. However, this begs a question. If people are reporting things that can be explained, then the objects they observed were “really there.” Were the objects we can't identify “really there” as well? If so, what were they?
These are questions that only continued and rational research can answer, and only if researchers have the support and encouragement of both scientists and the public.
Data for each UFO case was obtained by Ufology Research from participating researchers across Canada, through receipt of reports directly from witnesses, or through data mining of known websites devoted to UFO reports. This method has not changed significantly during the past 30 years.
Sources for the 2022 Canadian UFO cases included:
UFO groups and organizations: AQU, AUFOSG, GARPAN, KBCCUFO, MUFON, NUFORC, UFOBC, Ufology Research, UFOSNW
Government sources: Transport Canada, CIRVIS reports
Social media: Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, YouTube
The original intent of the Canadian UFO Survey was to understand exactly how many cases were being reported in a given year, and how they were distributed across the country. It was also deemed desirable to know other characteristics of the UFO reports, such as predominant colours, the durations of sightings, reported shapes, and which UFO types were most common.
The information available on each case was then coded by members of Ufology Research, entered into a database, and statistically analysed. Information on almost all UFO sightings in 2022 was obtained through online sources.
An example of the coding key is as follows:
Example: 2022 01 09 1530 Vernon BC DD 900 silver 2 ps 6 5 UFOBC p 4 objs. seen
Field: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
Field 1 is a default YEAR for the report.
Field 2 is the MONTH of the incident.
Field 3 is the DATE of the sighting.
Field 4 is the local TIME, on the 24-hour clock.
Field 5 is the geographical LOCATION of the incident.
Field 6 is the PROVINCE where the sighting occurred.
Field 7 is the TYPE of report, using the Modified Hynek Classification System.
Field 8 is the DURATION of the sighting, in seconds (a value of 600 thus represents 10 minutes).
Field 9 is the primary COLOUR of the object(s) seen
Field 10 is the number of WITNESSES
Field 11 is the SHAPE of the object(s) seen
Field 12 is the STRANGENESS of the report.
Field 13 is the RELIABILITY of the report.
Field 14 is the SOURCE of the report.
Field 15 is the EVALUATION of the case.
Field 16 includes any COMMENTS noted about the case.
Distribution of UFO reports across Canada
In 2022, Quebec led all Canadian provinces with about 29 per cent of all Canadian UFO reports, edging out Ontario’s 28 per cent. This is the first time that Quebec has recorded the most Canadian UFO reports in a single year since the Canadian UFO Survey began in 1989. BC had 14 per cent, unchanged from 2021, and other provinces and territories had negligible changes in report numbers from the previous year.
Alberta, Quebec, PEI and Newfoundland and Labrador were the only provinces with increases in report numbers in 2022 compared with 2021.
In addition, geographical names of UFO sighting locations were examined for trends. Many cities were found to have multiple reports, as noted. (Large metropolitan areas include their suburbs.)
Number of UFO Reports in Metropolitan Areas in 2022
Quebec City 10
Monthly Trends in UFO Reports
Monthly breakdowns of reports during each year tend to show slightly different patterns. UFO reports generally peak in summer and are at minimum in winter, presumably due to the more pleasant observing conditions during the summer months, when more witnesses are outside. In Canada in 2022, the monthly trend saw a distinct shift to the fall.
UFO Report Types
An analysis by report type shows a similar breakdown to that found in previous years. The percentage of cases of a particular type remains roughly constant from year to year, with some variations. Most cases were Nocturnal Lights and Nocturnal Discs, which comprised 65 per cent of cases.
Less than four per cent of all reported UFO cases in 2022 were Close Encounters, emphasizing the reality that very few UFO cases involve anything other than distant objects seen in the sky. This is an important statistic, because the current popular interest in abductions and sensational UFO encounters such as direct contact with aliens is based not on the vast majority of UFO cases but on the tiny fraction of cases which fall into the category of close encounters. Speculation on what aliens may or may not be doing in our airspace seems almost completely unconnected to the question of what are actually being reported as UFOs.
For those unfamiliar with the classifications, a summary follows:
NL (Nocturnal Light) - light source in night sky
ND (Nocturnal Disc) - light source in night sky that appears to have a definite shape
DD (Daylight Disc) - unknown object observed during daytime hours
C1 (Close Encounter of the First Kind) - ND or DD occurring within 200 metres of a witness
C2 (Close Encounter of the Second Kind) - C1 where physical effects left or noted
C3 (Close Encounter of the Third Kind) - C1 where figures/entities are encountered
C4 (Close Encounter of the Fourth Kind) - an alleged "abduction" or "contact" experience
Note: The category of Nocturnal Disc was created in the 1980s by UFOROM originally for differentiation of cases within its own report files, and has been adopted by many other groups worldwide.
Other Report Types
The category of PH indicates the sighting was entirely photographic, without any actual object seen visually. In 2022, there were about 11 per cent of these cases recorded, double the amount in 2021. Many reports listed as NL or ND or DD may also have associated photos or video, so this should not be considered exclusive.
However, about 40 per cent of all UFO reports are accompanied by photographs or videos (usually from cell phone cameras). This is one rejoinder to the complaint to there are no photos of UFOs, considering the abundance of cameras. Of course, the problem is not that there are no photos or videos of UFOs, but that there are so few good, high-quality, and information-rich useful photos of UFOs.
EV indicates a case in which physical evidence was observed (not necessarily related to any observed object) and RD is a case in which an object was detected with radar but not necessarily observed. UX cases are those in which anomalous phenomena are reported and believed by witnesses to be UFO-related, but no UFO was actually seen. These include reports of “odd sounds,” observations of strange creatures, and dreams.
The hourly distribution of cases has usually followed a similar pattern every year, with a peak at 2200 hours local and a trough around 0900 hours local. About a third of all UFO sightings in 2022 occurred between 9 pm and 11 pm. Since most UFOs are nocturnal lights, most sightings will occur during the evening hours. Since the number of possible observers drops off sharply near midnight, we would expect the hourly rate of UFO reports would vary with two factors: potential observers and darkness.
The category of Duration is interesting in that it represents the subjective length of time the UFO experience lasted. In other words, this is the length of time the sighting lasted as estimated by the witness. Naturally, these times are greatly suspect because it is known that most people tend to badly misjudge the flow of time.
Although a witness’ estimate of “one hour” may be in error by several minutes, it is unlikely that the true duration would be, for example, one minute. Furthermore, there have been cases when a UFO was observed and clocked very accurately, so that we can be reasonably certain that UFO events can last considerable periods of time.
The average duration of UFO sightings in Canada in 2022 was about 13 minutes, similar to that in 2021.
The length of time an object is seen suggests some simple explanations for what was being observed by the witness. In fact, the duration of a sighting is one of the biggest clues to its explanation. Experience in studying UFO reports has shown us that short duration events are usually fireballs or bolides, and long duration events of an hour or more are very probably astronomical objects moving slowly with Earth’s rotation. Long-duration sightings tend to occur in the early morning hours, from about midnight until 6:00 a.m.
In cases where colours of an object were reported by witnesses, the most common colour in 2022 was white, mentioned in 290 cases or 56 per cent of reports where a colour was indicated. In 2021, this percentage was 52 per cent.
This result might be related to the abundance of Starlink-related reports, which were uniformly white starlike objects. The next most common colours were orange, multicoloured, and red. Since most UFOs are nocturnal starlike objects, the abundance of white objects is not surprising.
Colours such as red, orange, blue and green often are associated with bolides (fireballs). Orange is most often associated with the observation of a Chinese lanterns, the launching of which have been popular during the past decade or so.
The ‘multicoloured’ designation is problematic in that it literally covers a wide range of possibilities. This label has been used, for example, when witnesses described their UFOs as having white, red and green lights. Many of these are certainly stars or planets, which seem to flash a variety of colours when seen low on the horizon. Aircraft are also frequently described as having more than one colour of light, such as flashing coloured red and green wing lights. However, seen from a distance, aircraft can often be visible only as moving white lights.
The average number of witnesses per case in 2022 was 1.37, up slightly from 2021. This value has been as high as 2.4 in 1996, indicating that a UFO experience often has more than one witness, and supports the contention that UFO sightings represent observations of real, physical phenomena, since there is usually at least one corroborator present to support the sighting.
We can then extrapolate the number of Canadians who had seen UFOs in 2021. Given the number of reports in 2022 as 768 and using 1.37 as the number of witnesses per case, we get a value suggesting that at least 1,052 Canadians saw UFOs in 2022.
The number is likely higher, as studies have shown that only about ten per cent of all UFO sightings are reported (most witnesses choose not to tell anyone, out of fear of ridicule or concern for their reputation). Multiplying by ten, this means it is probable that more than 10,000 Canadians saw UFOs in 2022, or about one in every 4,000 people.
Witnesses’ descriptions of the shapes of UFOs vary greatly. In 2022, like other years, most reported UFOs were simply “point sources”—that is, “starlike” objects or distant lights. There were 268 reports of a UFO that was only a light in 2022. The classic “flying saucer” or disc-shaped object was reported in 28 cases in 2022, down from 36 cases in 2021, and “triangles” were reported in 23 cases in 2022, slightly more than the 17 cases in 2021. Curiously, the number of reports of an object that was cigar shaped or cylindrical increased from 10 per cent in 2021 to 16 per cent in 2022.
The shape of a perceived object depends on many factors such as the witness’ own visual acuity, the angle of viewing, the distance of viewing and the witness’ own biases and descriptive abilities. Nevertheless, in combination with other case data such as duration, shape can be a good clue towards a UFO’s possible explanation.
One recurring problem is the description by a witness of a distant light as an “orb,” implying a spherical shape. The term “orb” has also been adopted by many in ufology who infer that an orb is something mysterious and distinct from a simple light. Upon interviewing witnesses who describe orbs, however, it is clear they only observed a distant light, and their personal belief in alien visitation drove them to label it as something unexplainable.
The assigning of a Strangeness rating to a UFO report is based on a classification adopted by researchers who noted that the inclusion of a subjective evaluation of the degree to which a particular case is in itself unusual might yield some insight into the data. For example, the observation of a single, stationary, starlike light in the sky, seen for several hours, is not particularly unusual and might likely have a prosaic explanation such as that of a star or planet. On the other hand, a detailed observation of a saucer-shaped object which glides slowly away from a witness after an encounter with grey-skinned aliens would be considered highly strange.
A Strangeness rating is assigned during the data entry process, based on the given information about each case. It is subjective, but based on the general criteria noted above.
The numbers of UFO reports according to a strangeness rating show an inverse relationship such that the higher the strangeness rating, the fewer reports. The one exception to this relationship occurs in the case of very low strangeness cases, which are relatively few in number compared to those of moderate strangeness. It is suggested this is the case because in order for an observation to be considered a UFO, it must usually rise above an ad hoc level of strangeness, otherwise it would not be considered strange at all.
The average strangeness rating for UFO reports during 2022 was about 4.1, where 1 is considered not strange at all and 9 is considered exceptionally unusual. This was similar to 2021.
The average Reliability rating of Canadian UFO reports in 2022 was just under 5, meaning that most cases had minimal investigation, likely only a report form filled out by a witness, and without extensive supporting documentation or investigation.
Higher reliability cases include actual interviews with witnesses, a detailed case investigation, multiple witnesses, supporting documentation and other evidence. Since data for many cases are taken from websites and second-hand postings, or in fact self-postings, there is usually no significant investigation of UFO sightings. Well-investigated cases seem to comprise only a small fraction of all UFO data, a fact that makes UFO case data have limited value.
Reliability and Strangeness ratings tend to vary in classic bell-shaped curves. In other words, there are very few cases which were both highly unusual and well-reported. Most cases are of medium strangeness and medium reliability. These are the “high-quality unknowns” which will be discussed later. However, there are also very few low-strangeness cases with low reliability. Low-strangeness cases, therefore, tend to be well-reported and probably have explanations.
UFO data used in this study were supplied by many different groups, organizations, official agencies and private individuals. Since this annual survey began in the late 1980s, more and more cases have been obtained and received via the Internet.
In 2022, about 28 per cent of Canadian cases in were reported to the large organization known as the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON), which has an online reporting system. L’association québécoise d'ufologie (AQU) provided 17 per cent of the 2022 case data. About 20 per cent of the total cases were obtained through the National UFO Reporting Center in the USA, about double as many as in 2021. Like MUFON, both AQU and NUFORC have toll-free telephone numbers for reporting UFOs and a large sightings list created through voluntary submission of online report forms by witnesses.
About five per cent of all UFO sightings reported in 2021 were sent directly to Ufology Research, but 11 per cent were reported to The Night Time Podcast, which were then provided directly to Ufology Research. About six per cent of all cases came as a result of information obtained through government sources such as Transport Canada and the Department of National Defence.
Often, UFO sightings are reported by witnesses on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and YouTube. Because of the difficulty in verifying information posted on social media, these cases usually have lower Reliability ratings.
It should be noted that the preparation of this Survey is becoming quite challenging. Few UFO investigators or researchers actually submit case directly data to UFOROM, despite requests, requiring considerable searching of online sources. And, although many sites post information about UFO sightings, very little actual UFO investigation is being conducted. In fact, it could be said that the science of good and thorough UFO investigation has nearly become extinct, if it existed at all. This does not bode well for an area of study that is under constant criticism by debunkers wishing to prove the unscientific nature of the subject.
There are four operative categories in the Canadian UFO Survey: Explained, Insufficient Information, Possible or Probable Explanation, and Unknown (or Unexplained). It is important to note that a classification of Unknown does not imply that an alien spacecraft or mysterious natural phenomenon was observed; no such interpretation can be made with certainty, based solely on the given data.
The breakdown by Conclusion for 2022 UFO reports showed the percentage of unexplained cases at about 8 per cent of the total, up marginally from last year. The percentage of cases with definite explanations is about 14 per cent. The percentage of cases with probable explanations was about 44 percent, and those with Insufficient Information comprised 33 per cent.
It is also important to note that a high number of Unexplained cases in a given year does not mean those cases are necessarily alien spacecraft. Many Unexplained cases have low reliability or Strangeness, and some might be Unexplained but could be objects such as drones or military projects for which we do not have full data but enough to suggest they are unusual.
The evaluation of UFO reports has both subjective and quantitative components.
E (Explained) is used when it can be determined with certainty that the UFO seen was a known object, such as a Chinese Lantern, a photographic defect, re-entering satellite, or astronomical object.
I (Insufficient Information) is used if there is information lacking that could help identify the UFO. A lack of a definite date or location is insufficient information, for example.
P (Possible or Probable Explanation) is used if the description of the observed UFO fits well with a prosaic explanation or a conventional object.
U (Unknown or Unexplained) is used if all data points are available, if the description and behaviour of the UFO do not easily conform to that of a conventional object. If there is supporting documentation and there has been some investigation to rule out a prosaic explanation, this increases the likelihood of coding the case as an Unknown.
It is important to note that a classification of Unknown does not imply that an alien spacecraft or mysterious natural phenomenon was observed; no such interpretation can be made with certainty, based solely on the given data. Evaluation reflects a subjective evaluation by researchers who question whether a particular report has enough information to consider it as having a possible explanation or if there is simply not enough information to make that judgement.
This situation has likely arisen because very few UFO sightings are ever fully investigated, as most are simply reported and published online, often without any follow-up or investigation possible. An Evaluation is made subjectively by either or both the contributing investigators and the compilers of this study.
The category of Unknown is adopted if there is relatively significant information or data available and/or if the contributed data or case report contains enough information such that a conventional explanation cannot be satisfactorily proposed. This does not mean that the case will never be explained, but only that a viable explanation is not immediately obvious. With additional investigation, many Unknowns can be moved to other categories or explained completely.
The level and quality of UFO report investigation varies because there are no explicit and rigorous standards for UFO investigation. Investigators who are “believers” might be inclined to consider most UFO sightings as mysterious, whereas those with more of a skeptical predisposition might tend to subconsciously (or consciously) reduce the Unknowns in their files. It unfortunately true that comparatively little investigation is done on the majority of UFO or UAP sightings reported.
Special thanks are due to Geoff Dittman, Ralph Howard, Curt Collins, and Jordan Bonaparte for assistance and advice in preparation of the 2022 Canadian UFO Survey.
Some Interesting UFO Sightings Reported in 2022
Some Interesting UFO Sightings Reported in 2022
In 2022, out of the 768 UFO/UAP reports that were recorded or received by researchers, a small number were of objects that seemed more interesting than others. These ranged from a saucer-shaped object that hovered over a boat near Vancouver, to an arrangement of lights seen over a field in Quebec. One person submitted 37 separate reports of UFOs photographed by an infrared camera, and there were 45 incidents of interest noted by Transport Canada, including a pilot’s observation of what appeared to be a person in a “wingsuit” at an altitude of 13,000 feet.
Cases of note:
March 3, 2022 6:45 am Fox Creek AB
A witness watched an object in the sky that seemed to have a spiral of light surrounding it. It travelled slowly northeast until the spiral vanished and the light itself went out. Possibly a missile launch. Source: MUFON
July 1, 2022 7:15 pm Montreal PQ
A round, black object moved across the daytime sky, underneath clouds. Possibly a balloon of some kind. Source: MUFON
July 11, 2022 6:15 am Alberta Beach AB
A line of bright lights appeared in the dawn sky near the horizon before sunrise. Source: MUFON
September 24, 2022 7:00 pm Ste-Martine PQ
While driving, witnesses watched a group of bright lights stationary above trees along the horizon. Source: AQUhttps://ovni-expert.com/2022/09/25/ufo-ste-martine/
June 6, 2022 1:58 pm Lodgepole AB
A trio of bright objects moved slowly, altering their formation as they flew across the distant hills. Source: MUFON
March 29, 2022 5:45 am Yellowstone AB
A bright object was seen several mornings as it moved near the witness. Later, footprints thought to be from a Bigfoot were found. Source: MUFON
September 10, 2022 8:00 pm Vancouver BC
Witnesses reported that a large, disc-shaped object, with a mirror-like finish on its underside, hovered over their sailboat on the Fraser River. Source: MUFON
October 24, 2022 8:05 pm Edmonton AB
A loud noise like an explosion was heard. Then a grey, vibrating, boomerang-shaped object moved above a terrified witness before it flew away. Source: MUFON
June 19, 2022 2:15 am Tunnel Lake ON
A witness observed a bright object with several distinct sections within it, appear and move slowly southeast. It stopped in the sky for 30 seconds then continued on its way. Source: MUFON
June 28, 2022 8:02 pm Gatineau PQ
An automatic infrared camera recorded a fast-moving object that flew past its field of view in less than two seconds. Although this is likely just an insect beating its wings as it went by, 36 other photographs like this were submitted as reports in 2022 by the same individual. Source: NUFORChttps://nuforc.org/webreports/reports/172/S172766.html
June 16, 2022 5:54 am Toronto ON
A pilot reported seeing what was described as “a person in a wingsuit” flying at an altitude of 13,000 feet. The incident was filed with Transport Canada.
July 6, 2022 5:06 pm Spruce Grove AB
A witness said he was followed by a black, triangular object that buzzed him and flew away. Later, chunks of what appeared to be molten metal were found on the ground where he had been standing. Source: MUFON