We’ve all gazed into the sky to look at the moon, maybe a shooting star, and possibly something we couldn’t quite explain.
Cheryl Costa has been following U-F-O sightings for years and writes a column for the New Times and a blog. In 2015 She and her wife Linda Miller Costa cast an eye on actual reports
“We figured let’s crunch the data for New York and it suddenly started revealing patterns that none of the UFO researchers in New York had ever seen before.”
And then they decided to check out the entire nation…using that big data approach.
“I started downloading the National UFO Reporting Center databases for all 50 states.”
You might notice she’s not trying to convince you.
“We couldn’t set out to prove alien life exists. But people have been telling us for a number of years, ‘UFO sightings, they’ve been on the decline since the 1980s.’ Well, we set out to prove that wrong.”
Her book, UFO Sightings Desk Reference 2001-2015, has break downs of the reported sightings from every state, down to the county level. The information came from the national organizations that collect sighting reports, the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) and the National UFO Reporting Center (NUFORC).
What they found – 121-thousand reported sightings from 2000 to 2015 …5200-plus in New York, and on the increase.
SIGHTINGS BY-THE-NUMBERS FOR NEW YORK STATE AND LOCAL COUNTIES
- 5141 - Total reported sightings in New York State 2001-2015
- 161 - Total reported sightings in Onondaga County 2001-2015
- 105 - Total reported sightings in Oneida County 2001-2015
- 31 - Total reported sightings in Onondaga County 2001-2015
- 554 - Total reported sightings in Suffolk County 2001-2015 (most in state)
- 657- Number of reports seeing a Circle Shape (highest shape frequency in state reports)
But Costa says the data revealed other findings…like clusters around the Saint Lawrence and Hudson rivers.
“Those two waterways alone, on a first appearance, it doesn’t look that way, but when you add them up, they are 51% of New York State’s sightings and people have always been saying these things hang out around water for some reason.”
I talked with Cheryl up on Onondaga Hill, thinking less light pollution = more sightings. But she said the bulk come from urban areas.
“It raises the question, ‘Are we seeing more UFOs in the city because there’s more people there to see them, or is it because there’s more people there and the UFOs are studying the people.”
Costa emphasizes her book UFO Sightings Desk Reference – mostly charts and graphs of data, state by state – down to county level – does not prove existence. That’s a job, she says for scientists, academics, maybe government, even though the Air force stopped investigating reports in 1968. The book does group sightings by form, a disc, cigar-shaped …and Costa says the truth is in the shapes and the 6-7 percent that can’t be explained away.