At the McMinnville UFO Festival in Oregon last spring, the Bales brothers gave a simple, yet on the edge of your seat presentation about their giant triangle sighting in Idaho. During the Q & A one man chided the brothers for not being more involved in UFO research. He expected them to be sudden experts, with a mission and message of spiritual alien based insight. An astoundingly arrogant and condescending comment to make. After a slight pause, one of the brothers, who looked a bit confused at the comment, simply said "We're here, aren't we?"
Peter Davenport, who provides us with a much needed database of UFO reports, is perennially irritated at people who won't "take ten minutes" to write a UFO report in "black ink on white paper." His frustration is understandable, but not everyone feels comfortable putting such experiences down on paper. Treating UFO witnesses like stupid school children discourages people from making UFO reports.
I've been involved in a few local UFO minded groups through the years. The seeds of such gatherings are simple: people getting together to talk about UFOs. The purpose of these groups is to have people with experiences to share with others, but I've found there isn't much honesty happening in these groups. Because as soon as you have the "leaders" of such groups state what will, and what will not, be accepted, you are being dishonest. Telling witnesses to keep things positive -- in other words, don't talk about the scary, negative parts of your experience -- is a type of control. Creating a forum of only what you want to hear, in the form you want to hear it, is being dishonest. It sets up false forums of data; if you are continuously rejecting accounts you don't like based on your biases, you're not after genuine UFO experiences.
None of these methods consider the individual's experience. We listen and decide they're too negative, or not spiritual enough, or not literate enough, or are too lazy because they won't write something down, or . . .
And maybe they are some of those things, sometimes. Maybe some witnesses are too lazy or incompetent to write a report. Maybe the witness is still experiencing trauma from their encounter and are stuck, for the time being, in a dark place. Maybe their paranoia and fears, their nervousness and confusion, is part of the process and where they need to be for awhile. Making witnesses feel bad, lazy or stupid -- or crazy because they're depressed or anxious -- pushes them away.
All we can expect from people who have decided to come forward in whatever small way with their UFO experience is honesty. Negative, positive, spiritual, literate, sloppy, bad spellers, -- doesn't much matter, if they are being honest.
BOA interview: Tim Binnall interviews Peter Davenport
Peter Davenport: National UFO Reporting Center
McMinnville, Oregon's UFO Fest.com: annual UFO Festival in May