“UFOs are back in the news, and Minnesotans are seeing more of them.” That’s the title of an October 14, 2019 article in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. The article doesn’t contain any new revelations, but it does compile data from the Minnesota listings of the NUFORC (National UFO Reporting Center) website to try to the chart the local phenomenon. You’ll want to check out the article for it’s interesting charts and graphs. Tom Maher and Mike Harris of Minnesota’s chapter of MUFON (Mutual UFO Network) provide some analysis and context.
Unfortunately, the data is skewed by the source it utilizes. The article observes that half of all Minnesota UFO reports have been made in the last decade, and it speculates that this may be due to increased drone activity. Harris suggests that people are more prone to observe and report unknown objects because they are inspired by the recent uptick in paranormal television. Both of those theories sound plausible, and both factors certainly contribute to the increased reporting, but according to recent analysis, there has been a downturn in UFO sightings since their peak in 2014.
The seeming increase in sightings over the last decade is part of trend, clearly visible on the charted data, that begins in the late 1990s and peaks in the last five years. That trend correlates exactly with the development of the internet. In other words, the increase in UFO reports over the last decade has more has more to do with accessibility to the internet and the creation of the NUFORC website from which the data is drawn. Not exactly a scientifically sound sample.
Prior to the late 1990s, people did not have access to online searches, and there were no online reporting options such as NUFORC. People who observed UFOs in 1979, for example, did not have a NUFORC website where they could easily post a report. Reporting methods were cumbersome: most people did not know about the existence of civilian groups or how to contact them, the Air Force made it clear that they were not taking UFO reports, and newspapers usually did not follow up on reports. UFO reports in the data prior to the internet age had to be entered into the NUFROC database manually by someone who compiled them from other sources such as the Project Bluebook files or civilian saucer records. That does not make for a consistent data set or an accurate reflection of the frequency of sightings over the seventy-two year span of UFO history.
Despite the skewed data set, the article’s charts and graphs provide some interesting insights into the phenomenon. The map, for example, seems to indicate that the UFO reports are distributed according to population density, challenging the stereotype that most sightings occur in remote rural areas. Another chart ranks the type of UFO sightings by frequency. Nocturnal lights lead by a wide margin, followed by circular craft, triangular, spherical, fireballs, and disks in order of frequency respectively.
It’s a great article, and here at UFOdays.net, we are happy to have the Star-Tribune taking the phenomenon seriously. Anytime the media writes a straight piece of journalism on UFOs without making the obligatory references to X-Files theme music and tinfoil hats, it should be celebrated. The Star-Trib article is just one more piece of evidence that it’s happening … again.