Published: 1:06 PM 1/10/2016
Columnist Sheryl Costa confronts the skeptics, the believers and the clueless...
By Cheryl Costa
After being introduced at a recent holiday party as the author of the “New York Skies” column to several guests, I suspected the host knew that the UFO topic would spark some lively conversation. It did!
I would describe the people that huddled around me with questions like the beginning of a joke: “A UFO skeptic, a true believer and a clueless person walked into a bar …”
The skeptic asked me, “why are you writing such nonsense?” My simple answer, “because very few others in the media are bothering to write about it.”
The clueless one innocently asked, “surely there aren’t that many sightings here in New York?” She pointed out that she never reads about it in the press. I simply smiled and commented that New York averages in excess of 300 UFO reports a year or roughly 5,000 in the past 16 years.
The true believer gave me a puzzled look and asked, “What are the U.S. numbers for the same time period?” I casually told her, “About 74,000.” I watched both the clueless and the believer get deer-in-the-headlights looks at the sheer magnitude of that number.
The skeptic coughed, “… cracked pots and hoaxes.”
Biting my lip, I calmly told the gentleman that there’s a standard formula for breaking down the sightings into percentages of mis-identifications, as well as the crazies and hoaxes. I further pointed out that crazies and hoaxes only account for 7 percent of sightings in the standard formula.
The true believer mentioned that the world UFO sightings averaged about 4,000 a year. I explained that the world average UFO sightings had been about 4,500 per year until 2012 when it climbed to a new sighting report average of around 8,000 per year, although 2015 appeared to be down about 11 percent. I further clarified that New York’s UFO sighting reports are typically about 4 percent of the world sightings total.
Again the skeptic snickered, “… but you can’t prove they’re real …” I simply remarked, “you can’t prove they’re not!”
The true believer interjected that some percentage has to be real. The skeptic snorted a belly laugh, “how big is that number?”
I knew this guy wasn’t going to be persuaded by anything I said but I decided to go on record with one last salvo of information:
“Since 2000 the world has averaged a little over 80,000 reported UFO sightings; if we use the standard formula that leaves about 22 percent as unknown or around 18,000. But let’s be really conservative with the number and let’s say only 1 percent, are the real ETs. That number is still about 800 events in the past 16 years. 50 potential real ET visits a year, that’s a lot.”
The clueless one asked, “how do you know the information you quote is accurate?” Mr. Skeptic concurred with her query.
I closed the conversation stating, “In the past 16 years there have been over 80,000 eye witness accounts of UFO sightings worldwide. Common wisdom suggests that eye testimony can get you convicted in any court in this country. Why is it that UFO eye witness reports are so easily discounted?”
With that, I politely excused myself from the conversation to refresh my holiday beverage. Later when I was putting on my coat to leave, the clueless one came up to me and quietly asked, “are they here to eat us?”
“I doubt it,” I quipped. “I think we as a species are like cats, we’re entertaining to watch.”
(UFO Sighting stats complied from National UFO Reporting Center data.)