From: Eustaquio Andrea Patounas <socex.ufobras.nul> Date: Sat, 3 Feb 2007 11:15:01 -0200 Fwd Date: Sun, 04 Feb 2007 11:34:00 -0500 Subject: Interview With Geoff Dittman Of UFOROM Interview With Geoff Dittman Of UFOROM: Ufology Research of Manitoba by Milton Frank President Brazilian Ufology Center 1 - Why did you start to study and research ufology? Have you ever seen a UFO? If so, how was your experience? My love of a good mystery I think is what ultimately drew me to ufology. I have never personally seen a UFO, though not from lack of trying. 2 - What is UFOROM? How did it come up? Who was the founder? What is the work of UFOROM? UFOROM stands for UFOlogy Research of Manitoba. It is the primary UFO research organization in the Canadian province of Manitoba. It was founded in 1975, and is a small and loosely organized group. There typically are only a few researchers involved in UFOROM at any given time, and it is not open to the general public. 3 - What are the most interesting cases for ufologists to study in your opinion? Those would have to be the so-called Close Encounters of the Second Kind, or CE2 cases. These are the sightings involving physical effects on the environment or witnesses. With most UFO cases, ufologists can only study reports of UFOs, which are subject to the interpretations of the eyewitnesses. Did the eyewitnesses accurately interpret what was really there? Maybe, maybe not, as most ufologists discover early on that the mind can play tricks on the best of us given the right circumstances. But with CE2s, there is something that can be studied scientifically. Unfortunately, such cases are quite rare. UFOROM has been cataloging cases since 1989, and in that time we have collected almost 6,000 UFO reports. Of that, there have only been 57 CE2 cases. That's less than 1%. Unfortunately when a case does come up, researchers often can't afford to do a proper scientific investigation. The pockets of the volunteers just aren't deep enough to cover the expenses required. 4 - Now a day it is very normal to find sects and beliefs related to UFO phenomenon. About Canada we've heard about UFOLAND and Rael. What do you think about this? What is your opinion about it? Yes, Canada has had its fair share of UFO/space related cults too. Sometimes with unfortunate results, such as Solar Temple, which existed in Quebec? I haven't paid much attention to such groups for a while now, though around ten years ago or so I did. From a ufological standpoint, I don't think they matter much. While they might give us all a bit of a bad name, they don't typically get enough publicity to do us much harm. From a sociological standpoint, these groups are quite interesting, which is why I studied them years ago. And of course, the sometimes-harmful effects they have on their members are also of concern, but what any of us can do about such things is beyond me. 5 - What are the main cases that you've been researching in Canada? What is in your opinion the most important job you've done like an ufology researcher? Can you tell us a little bit about this research work? My main contribution has been with the Canadian UFO Survey, which I have been involved with since about 1993. I've also done other smaller things, such as compiling a catalog of UFO cases involving injury to the witness. Most recently, I and a UFOROM colleague named Chris Rutkowski wrote a book published last summer entitled The Canadian UFO Report: The Best Cases Revealed. It is a history of UFOLOGY in Canada going back as far as 1663 and up to 2005. While UFOs haven't got as much attention in Canada as they have in some other countries, there is still an impressive list of cases. We have had pretty much the full spectrum of cases: close encounters, injury cases, crash cases, men-in-black, etc. 6 - What is the Annual Canada Survey? What is your contribution to it? How many people work in this survey? What conclusions did you get from this survey? This is a survey of all known UFO reports in Canada every year. We compile a database, do elementary statistical analysis of the data, and interpret and publish the results in a written annual report that usually gets published around March of every year. It was started back in 1989, and we have since collected almost 6,000 reports in that time. In the early years we were only getting 100 to 150 cases a year, but in the last five years or so the numbers have been considerably higher. We almost hit 900 cases a couple of years ago. They have declined somewhat the last two years, but we are still being overwhelmed with reports. Chris Rutkowski and I first enter the reports into the database, and then attempt to come up with a conclusion (unexplained, explained, probable/possible explanation, and insufficient information to come to a conclusion). We then analyze the data, and write the report. Most of the other researchers in the country contribute their reports to the Survey. We typically have a dozen or more contributors. As well, the military and another government department (Transport Canada) also send us their UFO reports. As for conclusions, after all those reports the only conclusion we have arrived at is that we should continue to study the phenomenon. There isn't evidence of alien activity, but there is evidence that something is going on. It's just a question of what that something is. Aliens, natural phenomena, a psycho / socio phenomena, or a combination of all of the above? We still have learned a few things from the data. UFO reports have increased significantly in recent years. The reports are coming from all over the country, with no region seemingly being favored over others in the long run. UFO sightings typically involve a simple light in the night sky, though a significant number of cases (about 37%) involve the sighting of a structured object. More UFOs are seen during the summer months, particularly between 8:00pm and 1:00am. While the average number of witnesses per case varies from year to year, it has always been greater than one. Anyone wanting to view the annual reports, or take a look at the raw data can go to the Canadian UFO Survey website at http://www.canadianuforeport.com/survey 7 - Could you tell us about your first UFO report? How was it? In each case it was? How did you fell after finishing it? What conclusions did you find out? My first exposure to a UFO incident was as a child. There was a fairly famous UFO sighting by my family's cottage in Quebec. The incident involved a UFO landing on a nearby farm, scaring the farmer and leaving several round patches of burned grass. In other words, this was one of those elusive Close Encounters of the Second Kind. This sighting was quite famous, (or maybe infamous is a better word), in the community, and entered the local mythology. For years afterwards, it would sporadically become a topic of conversation of locals. It is still unexplained. This is what first got me interested in the mystery, as it really got my imagination going at the time. 8 - What would you say to a young man or woman that intends to be an UFO researcher? What is the most important thing that an UFO researcher has to learn in your opinion? Knowledge of astronomical and atmospheric phenomena would obviously be very helpful. While having an open mind is nice, it shouldn't be too open. The vast majority of UFO cases have a natural explanation. Anyone new to the field also needs to realize that they will not "get to the bottom of it all" anytime soon. So many researchers charge head first into UFOLOGY, putting in incredible hours studying the phenomenon, only to get discouraged when they realize the answers aren't readily available. The excitement they used to feel in the early days of studying reports turns to boredom as cases begin to all seem the same, and they get bogged down with all the inconclusive evidence. They then get discouraged and drop out. This hurts UFOLOGY in that we keep losing good researchers shortly after they acquire the skills it takes to properly study the phenomenon. New researchers have to remember to keep it slow and steady, and be willing to live with a lack of closure. 9 - What is the Ufology future in your opinion? That's a depressing question. I don't mean to sound pessimistic, but as we come to the 60th anniversary of the beginning of the modern UFO era in North America (the Kenneth Arnold case in 1947) I can't help but wonder what we have accomplished in all those years. In short, very little. And I don't expect we will accomplish much more in the years to come. At least not the near future anyways. But that isn't the fault of researchers. We have had, and continue to have, a lot of dedicated and intelligent people in this field. Unfortunately however, it takes more than that to acquire scientific evidence. When it comes right down to it, it takes a lot of money. When you think about it, how many of the great scientific advances that have been accomplished in the last sixty years would have occurred had the researchers not received a lot of money from either government or corporate sources? Not many. And money isn't something that is readily available in UFOLOGY. So what we really need is government funding. And in Canada anyways, that isn't going to happen anytime soon. 10 - Do you know some Brazilian UFO CASES? Do you read about them? Which UFO cases have you heard about Brazil? My knowledge of Brazilian UFO cases is largely limited to the research of Jacques Vall=E9e and Bob Pratt. This is partially because I don't speak Portuguese, and partially because there are enough more local Canadian and American cases for me to read about to keep me occupied. But based on the cases written about by Pratt and Vall=E9e, there certainly have been some interesting cases in Brazil over the years. 11 - In your opinion, which is the top 3 cases, happened in Canada? Why do you believe so? One of the best cases in Canada is the Stefan Michalak case of 1967. It occurred in the cottage community of Falcon Lake Manitoba, where Michalak was out in the wilderness engaging in some amateur prospecting. During this time, he observed several disc-shaped objects hovering in the sky before him. One of those objects eventually landed nearby. Michalak approached the craft. After a brief period where Michalak tried unsuccessfully to communicate with any occupants, the object rose up into the air. While doing this, a blast of hot air came out of some sort of exhaust vent, setting Michalak's shirt on fire. All the objects departed, and Michalak, after putting the fire out, staggered back to civilization. He suffered from numerous physical ailments after the sighting, including burns, weight loss, an odd rash, and recurring dizziness. What make this case so important are not only the physical effects, but the fact that it was investigated by numerous bodies, including the RCMP (Canada's national police force), the Royal Canadian Air Force, and the U.S. Air Force sponsored UFO investigation, the Condon Committee. The different organizations were not able to come up with a viable explanation. Another top-notch case occurred much more recently. In December of 1996, at least 31 eyewitnesses, many of whom were independent of one another, observed an enormous (estimated to be around 0.9km long) UFO slowly and silently travel over Yukon Territory (this is a sparsely populated territory in northern Canada). The case was studied by Martin Jasek, who a real first rated job looking into the incident. Probably one of the more famous Canadian cases is the alleged UFO crash at Shag Harbour back in 1967. As it was initially seen as a possible plane crash, the incident prompted an investigation by the RCMP, the Coast Guard, and the Military. After a fairly intensive search, nothing was recovered. But what the eyewitnesses saw crash into the harbour was never satisfactorily explained either.
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