Thursday, June 28, 2012


Lies, Damn Lies, and Polls about UFOs

While we're waiting for results of our latest analyses of Canadian UFO data during 2010 and 2011, let's look at what the latest poll has to say about UFOs.

A poll released yesterday by the National Geographic Channel found that 36 per cent of Americans believe UFOs exist. The poll was conducted by Kelton Research for NatGeo as a marketing campaign advertising the new NatGeo show Chasing UFOs that premieres this week. They did the survey between May 21 and May 29, 2012, "using e-mail invitations and online surveys." It was noted there was a sampling error of 2.9 points.

The survey noted that 80 million Americans (36 per cent) are sure UFO exist, 17 per cent do not think they exist, and 48 per cent aren't sure.

The first poll to ask the same (or similar, I think) question was done by Gallup in 1966, and found that 46 per cent thought UFOs were real, while 29 per cent thought UFOs were just the product of imaginations. Gallup's re-poll in 1971 found 51 percent in favour and 28 per cent against. In 1978, the percentages were 57 per cent and 27 per cent, respectively. In 1987, Gallup found 49 percent thought UFOs were "real," and 30 percent thought they were imaginary, while 21 per cent were "not sure."

A Canadian Gallup Poll in 1974 found that 53 per cent of Canadians thought UFOs were "real," and 26 per cent thought UFOs were just in people's imaginations. In 1978, a duplicate poll was conducted, and the numbers had shifted slightly to 57 per cent in favour and 22 for imagination.

Industrial Research Magazine in 1971 found the percentage of those who believe UFOs definitely existed was 54 per cent, while the non-believers were at 31 per cent. An Opinion Research survey in 1978 found that 35 per cent of respondents "believed" in UFOs, while 52 per cent thought UFOs were "real." (An interesting distinction.)

The latest NatGeo poll also reported that about 11 per cent of Americans believe they've seen a UFO. And 20 per cent say they know someone who has seen one. This is completely consistent with all previous polls, including those including Canada.

The Nat Geo poll also reported that about 79 per cent of Americans think the government is keeping information on UFOs from the public, and, even more remarkable, that 55 percent (or more than half of all Americans) think that Men In Black are real and are threatening witnesses of UFOs.

Then the Kelton types went really off the deep end. They asked, if you did meet an alien, what would you do? 22 per cent would befriend the alien; 15 would run for the hills; 13 would lock their doors; and two percent would go on the offensive and attack.

But, if aliens did attack Earth, who would you call? 21 per cent would call the Hulk; 12 per cent would call Batman; and only 8 per cent would call Spider-Man. The question leading up to this asked if aliens are more likely to exist than superheroes, vampires and zombies. This seems a bit off-base, since most astronomers think alien life is likely in the universe, so that grouping aliens and The Avengers is not logical.

The most significant finding, however, was that 65 per cent of Americans believe that Barack Obama would be better suited to handle an alien invasion than Milt Romney. Furthermore, 68 per cent of women thought Obama would be the best to deal with aliens, while 61 per cent of men thought so. In terms of age differences, those under 65 thought Obama was the man, while for those over 65, Romney and Obama were tied.

Although almost half of all respondents weren't sure that UFOs existed at all, the poll shows that aliens are still on the minds of a lot of people. And on marketers, especially.

And we haven't told you what the actual report numbers for UFO cases in Canada are for 2010 and 2011 yet.

Stay tuned.


Monday, June 04, 2012


Canadian UFO Survey coming soon

Yes, I know it's a bit late. But it does take time to examine all the hundreds of Canadian UFO reports and enter them one at a time into the database. It's the least glamourous part of UFO research. (Note you don't see UFO Hunters doing any of this on TV.)

Geoff Dittman and I are close to finishing a set of 2010 and 2011 case data. We'll see how they compare with previous years.

In the meantime, I just received a report from December 1965. What often happens is that a recent news story about a UFO sighting jogs people's memories and they report something they saw many years ago. In this case, it's not anything unexplainable, but it shows what we get.

December, 1965
Toronto, Ontario.

I was driving home from work travelling East on the 401 Highway North of Toronto. It was around 6:00 pm and I was still on the North West side of the city. Suddenly, the traffic slowed to a stop and people started getting out of their cars and looking toward the South, toward Lake Ontario. I got out of my car and looked in the same direction .

What I witnessed was astonishing. A huge fireball was travelling towards us in what appeared to be slow motion. It was like a huge lump of glowing coal with sparks and bits falling away from it as it went overhead. We all watched it as it travelled North and then disappeared over the horizon. I watched for news of the sighting and kept my ears pierced for any local talk about the incident. There didn’t seem to be an inordinate amount of coverage, except for vague reports about a meteorite landing in the Algonquin Park region North of the city.

This sounds like it was a spectacular bolide: a chunk of comet impacting the Earth's atmosphere at high speed and burning up within a few seconds. According to Blue Book, there was a brilliant meteor on December 9, 1965, seen over the Northern USA and also Canada.

That's likely what this person saw 47 years ago, and reported it today. Good memory.


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