In my latest book, Otherworldly Encounters, I wrote about some of my expeditions into the UFO phenomena. There are four areas that I work through every time that I am on a case: research the event, contact witnesses for interviews, learn about the location, and if possible, attempt an investigation of the encounter and document the entire process. I conduct these onsite investigations so I can fully understand and immerse myself into the witness's encounter. By doing so, I have the potential to capture what they saw on video or to find some trace evidence, potentially confirming their experience. If nothing happens, at least I will know the conditions in which their encounter occurred; details are everything. The following information are the tried and true methods that I have used for interviewing witnesses, going on site of an encounter, and how I've managed to increase my chances in observing a UFO.
If you are not sure of where to start there are a few places that you can check out. MUFON and NUFORC have extensive databases, you can check for your state's local MUFON chapter for in-person meetings, or simply Google, "UFO sightings near me."
The most important aspects to keep in mind before, during, and after interviewing a witness is to be kind and patient. Often, these encounters can be scary or confusing to people and it is essential to treat them with respect throughout the entire process. Give them time to answer and allow for them to describe it in their own way. Being pushy, asking leading questions, and not being empathetic to their situation can cause a witness to become uncomfortable and not want to share their experience.
Once you have their preferred method of communication, get as much detail as possible. If you are meeting them in person ask permission to record the conversation with an audio recorder as to not miss any detail. If you cannot, that's okay—take down as many notes as possible. For me, I try to essentially transcribe in the moment; simply do your best. Ask them about the initial encounter first. What happened, when did it occur, and what did they see? Details are essential here and it is okay, once they are done telling you about their experience, to ask follow up questions. Some examples, Lights: how many and what color? Were they blinking? If so, rhythmically or randomly? Brightness of the light, approximate distance from them, and was there anything in the witness's line of sight to measure size and distance, such as trees, houses, etc. Objects: Did it have lights? If so, locations of them on the object, and how many? What was the shape of the object? Also include approximate distance/items in line of sight for measurement. Ask about prior history of sightings for them and for their family. Ask about the days and weeks before the encounter for anything out of the ordinary. Glean information from the day of the encounter as well. Minute details are essential to truly understand what their day was like, state of mind, and what they were doing the day of the encounter. Ask how they felt during the encounter but leave it open ended because you are trying to understand the entire situation and scope of their encounter. Examples of this could be that they felt fear during the encounter (normal) or they might say that the air felt electrically charged (abnormal).
When you are finished with the interview, it is my opinion that you should provide your contact information to the witness (if you haven't already) in case they would like to contact you again in the future. Some reasons that they may want to contact you again is to possibly provide you with additional information that they did not remember at the time of the interview, they may have a new encounter that they want to share, they may want to refer someone else to you, or they may simply need someone to talk with to help them process their experience. Everyone is different, and if you can help them (within reason) it is my opinion that you do so.
Nomar Slevik (Bangor, Maine) is a ufologist and paranormal researcher. He is a member of Paranormal Research in Maine (P.R.I.ME Paranormal). ...