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Reporting UFOs without ridicule

I just got off the phone with one of my relatives, who reminded me he had seen a UFO back in the mid-1970s in Olathe, Kansas.
He watched it hover a few blocks away from him for about 20 minutes. Then it ascended high in the sky and shot off into the distance.
“It was as big as a house,” he said.
He drove to the area where he had seen it hovering and found some friends in a parking lot. When he asked if any of them had seen it, they laughed at him.
He knew what he saw.
But the deck seems stacked against him for getting anybody to take him seriously. He did call a radio station that asked people to call in if they saw something over Grandview, Missouri. But he never officially reported his Olathe sighting to any authorities. And he never learned if anyone else saw it.
What stops a lot of people from reporting UFOs is the fear of looking silly, or losing your credibility, or even not knowing who to tell.
As I researched my book, UFO Cold Cases: Kansas, I learned there were rumors of a behind-the-scenes effort — pushed by the CIA — to ridicule witnesses.
Also, the U.S. Air Force came to the conclusion there was nothing to UFOs when it ended its Project Blue Book investigations in 1969.
However, there were still 701 official UFO cases they couldn’t explain away as familiar objects, like stars, birds or balloons.
Since that time, major news media outlets have generally treated UFO sightings frivolously — most are reported with a laugh or with a reference to the latest sci-fi movie.
And the Internet is full of hoax reports, faked photos and doctored videos mixed in with real sightings.
So it’s no wonder most of us are skeptical.
Even if our relatives and trusted friends claim they’ve seen a flying saucer, a flying fuselage, an orange glowing light or a triangular craft, we’re suspicious. We have trouble believing them. We laugh. We joke about it. We insist they’re wrong.
Fortunately, more witnesses are coming forward to report sightings than ever before, thanks to online websites built by several UFO research organizations.
One place is MUFON, the Mutual UFO Network, MUFON.com.
MUFON gets between 500 and 1,000 reports a month.
You can leave your name, or request anonymity. You fill out a meticulous report and upload any photos or video. A trained investigator gets back to you. Eventually they let you know what they’ve found.
Other places that will take your report are the National UFO Reporting Center, which gets hundreds of reports a month, the Center for UFO Studies, and the J.Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies.
Pilots and aviation workers, who might be worried about hurting their credibility, can report their sightings confidentially to NARCAP, the National Aviation Reporting Center for Anomalous Phenomena.
You can also make reports to local police and sheriff’s officers.
And you can contact your local news media. However, your sighting will probably be treated as an off-the-wall feature story, rather than hard news.
And be prepared for the snickering.

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