Monday, 23 November 2015
Of Plaster Casts, Area Maps And Running Scared If You See A Light!
Around 1976 I accompanied the late Graham F. N. Knewstub of the British Flying Saucer Bureau (BFSB) on an investigation. Graham was getting on a bit in years and suggested that I take over as head of Investigation and Research (I & R) but there was some opposition as I was an "H-dropper" and "not from quite the right background" for some members -an attitude toward me that, eventually, made Franklyn A. Davin-Wilson eventually resign from the BFSB Committee.
However, on the day in question I had gone with Graham to a place called Little Stoke. Two young women had been terrified by a very large, discoidal object late one evening and had been in such a panic that they began banging on the door of the family home to get in (they had been so scared they could not use the door key). So, Graham and I questioned both in a very relaxed manner on a nice sunny day.
As we all talked I made a line drawing of the family home, showing position of street light, tree and then a much larger sketch of the area. The girls were asked to point to where the object was seen and we were able to estimate size, etc., and realised the object was quite low -probably 50-60 feet (15-17 m).
I then set about drawing a rough map of the area including house, garden, tree and light positions and noting distances and so on. Once we had finished we drove off, stopping along the way to go over the report. Graham was, apparently, impressed at how I had made the line drawings, map and so on. "But that's how everyone does it -right?" It seems not. I was told that most investigators filled in a witnesse report form and might double check things -in a case like this investigators usually never bothered because, initially, it was classed as a Light-in-sky (usually a satellite or aircraft, etc.).
Graham told me "It's probably because you are a naturalist!"
I know what he means. You see, if a naturalist or zoologist goes to an area they will carry a local map. Often they will make a smaller, hand drawn version to fit into a pocket. Once at a site they will mark out reference points and usually estimate distances and sizes. They might also make sketches or line drawings for their notes. Even at that time this was just standard for me. It helped me vizualise in my mind what was where -and it made explaining to others easier.
Later Graham told me that he had swung the I & R job for me by showing this report and, surprisingly to me, the Committee had been "overwhelmed" by the detail.
However, as I was in contact with more and more groups I found that most lacked even the basics. Some vital evidence was lost in two cases for the simple reason that in one group no one knew how to get plaster of paris let alone how to make a cast of ground marks said to have been left by a UFO. The other group had gotten some plaster of paris but added too much water so after two hours left the scene. Had they sketched and measured the ground markings? "Well, roughly triangular....6 or 7 inches?" Later in the 1970s a vital piece of evidence was lost when a group made a plaster cast of a foot print said to have been made by an entity in a garden. Never even having practiced making plaster casts the mixture was too dry and the footprint "crumbled to pieces".
We never had digital cameras or phone cameras back then and, unbelievably, a camera (using film) was a luxury. Yet I had at least two "in case". So all the evidence was lost. I then produced a four page Field Investigators Guide and sent it to all of the UK groups I could find.
When I later helped set up UFO groups in Somerset, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and South wales everyone was given the Field Investigators Guide. Time and again I heard of problems that lost evidence or information that was useful and time and again when I pointed out this was all covered in the Guide I got a response of "Oh. Right. Didn't think of checking that"
There are Entity cases of High Strangeness, Missing Time cases, etc., in the UK, where I read "No investigation carried out" and then I get angry. Why not? It seems that the very unscientific approach used by some Ufologists (who want their subject to be accepted as a science!) is that "I don't believe that" or "Probably cranks" and so a case is filed away or lost.
There were two cases from the 1970s involving women who had both had lifelong "experiences" -this was well before Budd Hopkins and the "abduction explosion". One woman had so many correlations with abductions noted in the later literature -but hypnosis was NEVER used- that it still stands out today (I have no idea where either percipient is these days as they were very -VERY- badly treated by Ufologists. The first had been thrown from UFO group to UFO group and I still have one very well known veteran UK Ufologists letter telling me they "all know about her, we just don't bother"! The second woman was never insulted to her face but she knew what was going on behind her back and decided that she would only discuss what was going on with me.
The thing is, even if you suspect there might be a psychological reason for a claim, if someone comes to you with an account and asks for advice then, as a UFO investigator or researcher it is your duty to offer help or advice not just milk someone for information so you can write the next book or claim "Yeah, I've investigated UFO abductions" and throw it on your website. These are people and if this is all too much like work for you then go jump onto the paranormal or other latest trendy subject.
The same applies to investigating UFO landing sites. I have talked to one 'investigator' after another who would not go to an alleged landing site for these reasons:
1. "It's December -it's too cold!"
2. "It's been raining since the report so any signs have probably gone"
3. "Oh, it was so muddy I didn't want to get covered in the stuff!"
There is a report from NUFOIN of an investigator who, at his father's rural home, along with his family, observed a low level UFO that landed in a copse in a nearby valley -about three minutes walk away. The investigator, in his report, states how he was so scared that he did not want to go and investigate -his father went instead! Some ground traces but these were found hours later in daylight when the investigator felt "a little safer" -we have his word on these traces. No photoes,etc..
I have been at Cradle Hill, near Warminster and chased 'UFO' hoaxers -on two occasions between 20-30 people including UFO investigators, were calling me back and getting hysterical because I was "risking" my life!!
If you are going to investigate UFOs learn HOW to investigate. If the idea of approaching a possible landed UFO gives you the terrors -this is not the right field for you.