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.
This may seem obvious, but it really is about knowing as much as possible about an encounter before going out into the field. You always want to be prepared, and by conducting research into an extraterrestrial encounter, you'll set yourself up for as much success as possible. This includes finding and contacting witnesses, researching the area of the encounter, possible prior encounters in the area, and what you will need to bring with you should you go on site.
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."
When and where did the encounter occur? Who are the key witnesses? Are you able to contact them? If so, can you meet them in person? If not, that's okay; it is not always feasible to meet a witness in person. Some times the event happened years ago and they have since moved out of the area or they are not comfortable meeting with you and prefer to remain anonymous. If the latter happens, that's okay, too! Thank them for being willing to share their experience and ask what method of communication is preferred/would make them most comfortable. In one of my instances, a witness was most comfortable utilizing Facebook Messenger. Don't be discouraged, it is about their level of comfort and we need to respect that.
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.
What type of location is it? Private or public property? Do you have permission or need a permit to be there? Even if it is public property, say a park, school field, or waterfront area, you may need permission from the local police/municipality to be onsite with equipment or to be there after hours as many public areas close at sundown. Once you have secured permission/permit, is it safe to get to? If it's a rugged area, do you have the means and are you physically able to get yourself there safely? If your investigation is slated for nighttime, make sure to scout the location during the daylight hours to familiarize yourself with the area. This is important because landscapes can look different at night and it is imperative that you stay safe.
When I go onsite for an investigation I make sure to have a few pieces of equipment with me to capture any possible evidence. First and foremost, I like to bring a video camera with night vision capabilities. I also bring a Full Spectrum Camera that can capture video/images that can "see" more light than regular cameras such as infrared images, ultraviolet light images, and more. Since we have no idea what UFOs are or what they are made of, it's important to capture the full light spectrum or as much as is possible. As stated previously, I also bring a digital audio recorder for interviewing witnesses but it could also prove useful during the investigation to capture any pertinent sounds emanating from a possible UFO or possible EVPs (electronic voice phenomena). With that said, recording audio outside can sometimes be problematic, especially if you find that your location is particularly windy, rainy, or otherwise noisy. Due to this, I have implemented use of a parabolic microphone. This type of microphone helps to pinpoint weaker sounds or to boost sounds so they can be clearly heard by the human ear. Lastly, I bring along an electromagnetic field detector and a Geiger counter to measure any possible electromagnetic signals or radiation potentially caused by a UFO. Again, we do not know what they are, what they are made, of or how they travel. If more than normal EMF or radiation readings are captured, it could show evidence that a UFO may have been in the area recently. You could also bring your data to an academic or expert to try and figure out why that particular area had higher than normal readings; a natural or mundane answer could be the explanation.
As I previously mentioned, these are the methods that I use to conduct a UFO investigation. There have been researchers, investigators, members of MUFON, NUFORC, and many other people who have or continue to investigate claims of UFO activity and their methods may differ from mine. These methods have worked for me but I also continue to learn from my peers and pioneers in the field. And for you, you may find a different methodology that works for you and your witnesses, and that's okay, too! Maybe you can let me know what you do differently because it's all about treating witnesses with respect and to find out what's really happening in our skies.