It is a wonderful experience to get the opinion of a very selective group of people at an international level and get them together giving answers to just 8 questions referred to the Unusual Aerial Phenomena.
We give a big thanks to all those colleagues who are answering our survey and we are very pleased to present to you their ideas. We hope that what they say would be useful to you in your own work with the UAP and that their criteria would help to shape your own one.
We continue today the publication of the answers of these colleagues, and we are doing so in the order they were received.
International UFO Reporter, who has written some 25 books dealing with anomalies and
fringe beliefs. These days he is a regular contributor to the London- based Fortean
Times. The third edition of his award-winning UFO Encyclopedia was published in two volumes by Omnigraphics in late August.
1) Do you use the acronym UFO or another designation, and if so, why?
I see no reason to abandon UFO, a perfectly serviceable name. I never use "UAP" or anything comparable because no one has demonstrated a need for such.
2) Have your idea about UFOs changed along the time?
Yes. Over the course of a long career in ufology, I have undergone an intellectual evolution in my understanding of the UFO phenomenon. In my late career I have come to a synthesis which cuts across the usual distinction between nuts-and-bolts and so-called paranormal approaches. I believe that both are valid, but they are separate issues addressing different questions and unrelated sets of data. This explains, for example, why there is no abduction equivalent to, say, the RB-47 case, nor will there ever be. Such reports have no fundamental relationship to each other, only a surface one that makes it appears as if they are generated by something we call UFOs.
3) Should the UFO investigator become an expert in IFOs?
I'm not sure what an IFO "expert" (or a UFO "expert" for that matter) is, but obviously one should be able to disentangle genuinely puzzling reports from those that only appear to be.
4) If there were still some unexplained phenomena, what could they be?
Anomalous, beyond current knowledge, and probably more than one phenomenon. Likely, there is an event phenomenon (exemplified in CE2s and radar/visuals), and there is an experience phenomenon (high-strangeness episodes which while highly anomalous are unprovable in any scientifically meaningful sense, are related to centuries of supernatural traditions, and are perceived in ways that reflect a culture's sense of the otherworldly. In my view the two aspects are related only in superficial appearance.
5) How do you consider this issue in general? What do you think about the whole subject?
I think it is important, likely to lead to significant advances in knowledge, but it will not be taken up by science in our lifetimes.
6) Is it possible to do something effective to bring the truth to the public and to change the mind of those who still proclaim or believe that extraterrestrial beings are living with us on Earth?
I'm not sure what the "truth" is supposed to be here. I do think, however, that UFOs merit serious, adequately funded scientific study.
7) Do you think SETI and similar searches are valid activities?
Maybe. I'd like to see a good chunk of that funding go to research into the most anomalous UFO reports.
8) What is your idea about multiple universes?
Not being a physicist, I have no useful opinion on the matter.
Next publication: answers from Ignacio Cabria (Spain)