Civilians have no way to report UFOs

Who you gonna call?


Peter Davenport collects witness reports such as this for the National UFO Reporting Center database. (Photo via the National UFO Reporting Center)

I’ll just get this out of the way: I want to believe.

But don’t bust out the tinfoil hats just yet. I’m still a skeptic. I don’t know if there are space aliens messing around in our atmosphere, and this isn’t really the place to talk about it.

But if I encounter a UFO, I want to have a game plan. Who should I contact? Where do I send my video evidence? Where’s the UFO hotline?

If I found a ghost, I know to call Ghostbusters. If I found Bigfoot, I would call a park ranger. Who do I call if a flying saucer is zipping around? Who has jurisdiction over UFOs? There needs to be a well-known, official authority to call in those situations.

On Feb. 21, Steve Douglass, a radio transmission interceptor, recorded a transmission from the American Airlines 2292 pilot flying over New Mexico.

 “We just had something go right over the top of us that,” the pilot said in the transmission. “I hate to say this, looked like a long cylindrical object that almost looked like a cruise missile type of thing—moving really fast over the top of us.”

After the pilot landed in Phoenix, Ariz., the Federal Aviation Administration was waiting for an explanation. Afterwards, the FAA released this statement:

“Following a debrief with our Flight Crew and additional information received, we can confirm this radio transmission was from American Airlines Flight 2292 on Feb. 21. For any additional questions on this, we encourage you to reach out to the FBI.”

All right, so it looks like I would call the FAA, who later calls the FBI. This makes sense. The FAA controls the skies, and the FBI probably has a secret UFO division, or at least an agent who specializes in the paranormal. I’ve seen enough TV.

Nope. The FAA doesn’t particularly care about UFOs—except as a “We don’t want anything crashing in the sky” sort of way. They don’t take UFO reports. Instead, the agency’s website encourages you to reach out to any of the citizen scientist databases who record such information, such as the National UFO Reporting Center.

The FBI doesn’t handle UFOs either. They haven’t handled UFOs since 1947, when the U.S. Airforce claimed jurisdiction. They handled all UFO investigations under Project Blue Book until 1969 when it was closed. The military was less concerned with the thought of space aliens and more concerned with foreign technology spying on us. 

The National UFO Reporting Center is run by a single man, Peter Davenport. Davenport dutifully logs every phone call and email he receives, sorting them by event date, state, shape of UFO, or date posted. NUFORC isn’t affiliated with the government in any way.

In fact, there are no US government agencies that take UFO reports from civilians.  

Does this strike anyone else as odd? If I see a UFO, I call a guy in Washington who puts it on his shady-looking website. That’s what the federal government told me to do.

The government should create a UFO hotline. 98 % of the calls would be pranks or hoaxes. But what about the other 2 %?

Working for the official UFO hotline would be a great internship opportunity. Most days, the callers would just be trying to convince the hotline workers that the dog was flying and that no drugs were involved. But occasionally, someone would call with something unexplained.

In August, the Navy established the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force. UAPTF investigates all UFO reports from Navy personnel (now known as UAPs. It just doesn’t have the same ring to it though.) This takes care of military reports, but what about civilian reports? 

Clearly the Department of Defense considers UFO activity to be important information for our national security. All of the intelligence agencies have been ordered to come forward with all of the information related to UAPs, per the Federal Covid Relief bill passed in December. The CIA recently released all of their declassified files to Black Vault, a public database for paranormal phenomena. Why don’t they already have a place for civilian reports?

The UAPTF is a good start. But if we want more possible cases to be investigated, we need a place for civilians to report too.