So Independence Day was a UFO Storm? (final analysis)
The 4th of July or Independence Day in the United States would appear to be a magnet for UFOs. At least the number of reports have increased many times what the usual daily average would be for many years in a row now. For this year (2012) there were 9Xs more reports on that day than was seen on days just 2-3 days earlier. Interestingly, not only does this occur on the very day and time when the earth is farthest from the sun in its orbit, it also occurs in a month when UFOs are usually also at their maximum intensity. This year's July was the biggest month for UFOs at the National UFO Reporting Center (NUFORC) since Peter Davenport began as director there nearly 18 years ago. The biggest Independence day for UFOs there was in July 2010 (that was the 2nd biggest month for UFOs during the last 18 years and July 2012 had the 2nd biggest 4th of July for UFOs).
It should be pointed out here that although this last July 2012 produced 2-3Xs more reports than the number of an average month when figured over the last 18 years, it was actually just 1.6Xs more than the average July for the last ten years. June 2012 was actually more significant (even though it had less reports) because it was not only the biggest June for reports in the last 18 years, but the forth biggest month ever (right behind the last three months of July), AND (most noteworthy) had 1.8Xs more reports than the average June during the previous ten years. June also doesn't have a national holiday that attracts tons of people to outdoor events at night that mostly (in my opinion) adds more noise or dilutes the signal of true events during the month. I will try to back up my view as this article progresses.
Not only does this very American day seem to have a record number of sightings in the United States but, conversely this last one had zero UFO reports originating from outside of the U.S. when looking at the records kept at the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) and NUFORC (usually there would be 2 or 3 submitted to each of those organizations on an average day). The daily average was 3 foreign reports to each reporting agency for the first three days of July and half of that for the four days following July 4th. There are three possible reasons for this fact. Either it is completely and most peculiarly a coincidence, UFOs are attracted from outside the U.S. to observe our festivities, or (my belief) that this would be perhaps a below average day for UFOs worldwide if it wasn't for many more times the number of people outside and looking up in the US during what is usually prime time for UFO sightings each day.
A couple of more pieces of evidence that backs this last possibility is the fact that, for the filtered reports for the first few days of July shows that the percentage of what I determined to be the most promising sightings reports (that were satisfactory for analysis) turned out to vary by 37% (NUFORC) to 40% (MUFON) of the total raw reports (averaging 38.5%) for the same period and varied 36.6% (NUFORC) to only 24.3% (MUFON) for July 4th (averaging 30.5%). Similarly, the Close Encounter (CE) reports (where the Unexplained Aerial Object is reportedly 500 feet or closer to the witness) were only 11.8% of the total reports (from MUFON since they are the only one of the two main reporting centers that notes the distance most of the time). For the year before this date the monthly percentages of CEs averaged 17.1% of the total. Interestingly, just the month before (June 2012) the percentage was 17.2% and the lowest percentage was last July when it was 12.1%. The numbers of CEs and total reports mentioned here were the raw or unfiltered numbers. The percentage of filtered CEs to the total filtered reports in June 2012 was 12.55% while the percentage of filtered CEs to the total filtered reports for July 4, 2012, was 4.17%.
What all this implies is that on every 4th of July in America, not only are their record increases in reported UFOs, but also there is a greater percentage of misidentifications of conventional objects and likely hoaxes perpetrated on unsuspecting witnesses. One witness to a supposed UFO in Washington state said that he discovered after his sighting that those selling fireworks there were also selling Chinese lanterns (he tried them out and said it was identical to what he had seen earlier).
In filtering the total reports, 21.8% were rejected from MUFON and 25.3% from NUFORC in June 2012 as being either likely IFOs, hoaxes/pranks, or having insufficient information to reach a conclusion. On July 4, 2012, 75.7% of MUFON reports and 63.4% of NUFORC reports were rejected. From the comparison of the figures for raw to filtered CE reports on July 4, 2012 (last sentence of 2nd to last paragraph), where the difference was 3 to 1 (for MUFON only), and the comparison of total raw to filtered U.S. reports was also 3 to 1 for the MUFON events and 2 to 1 for the NUFORC reports, one might think that I was prejudiced or had a bias when doing the filtering. Actually, I took great care and read all of the reports rather than skimming through them as I often did in June 2012. The results were more a result of taking the time to consider each report carefully and weighing all of the available evidence before reaching a conclusion. This thorough examination of the reports may have in part been responsible for the stark contrast, or there were just more bad reports. It was probably a result of a little bit of both (but I think more of the later).
Looking at the raw MUFON data, the average daily raw report figure for June 2012 was a bit under 17 reports per day. July 4, 2012 had 8-9Xs more than that average daily rate. The daily average of filtered reports in June was a bit over 13 per day. On July 4, 2012, the filtered reports were only 2.66Xs more than that. Normally, when one has 2-3Xs more (or greater) reports than usual, one has a true flap or wave of activity. During such times the percentage of exceptional reports usually also increases. Since this last July 4th ended up with significantly less (2-3Xs less) usable reports than normal, and that there were no reports for outside of the U.S. submitted to the organizations responsible for recording such things, and that this is something that repeats on a regular basis and can logically be related to an increase in potential witnesses due to large crowds.. I would say that Independence Day is an exception to that rule and thus not a true period of time that can be said to increase the percentage of truly extraordinary or real UFO events. But I am getting a bit ahead of myself; there is more..
The filtered reports in Washington, the state with the highest concentration of UFO reports on that day, were 8.8Xs above the US state average (if all states had the same population density of Washington state). If we had a true flap or UFO Storm as I like to call it, Washington, and possibly 2nd place Oklahoma (with 5.8Xs more than the US state average) would be the centers of the storm. Something extraordinary seems to have occurred in Washington state but, as mentioned in an earlier hub, I have lived in that state for over two years now and have been through two Independence Days. I know how liberal the fireworks laws are in this state and how like a war zone it feels to experience the 4th of July here. You don't have to go anywhere to see fireworks or at least hear them, you are literally in the thick of it almost no matter where in the state you happen to be. Also, at the time, Washington had been one of the few places, until August anyway, to escape the drought. There were no emergency declarations stating that fireworks were banned for the festivities. So in Washington state there were probably more fireworks and more people to see them than just about anywhere in the US.
Comparing Oregon (with a 7th place ranking), a state with much more conservative fireworks laws, to Washington state, one sees that UFOs were at a significantly smaller concentration (2.6Xs the national average). Unfortunately this is based on just one single report that remained after filtering. So that result is a bit unreliable (based on too little data to be confident about). The same, but not so much, could be said for Oklahoma with three remaining reports that put it in 2nd place. Oklahoma also has pretty stringent laws when it comes to fireworks, so it is harder to explain away the concentration of reports there (except that the smaller number of reports to work with again makes those results a bit less certain than the figures for Washington's figures). In order to determine if these elevated concentration numbers were due in fact to an increase in the percentage of extraordinary UFO events would require comparing this data to at least the three days before and four days after the 4th of July and seeing if the concentrations of filtered data correspond to the same locations in both cases and also compare the level of intensities between the two sets of data.
Looking at the map for the days surrounding the 4th of July, one sees that the concentration of filtered reports shifted to the east. What was focused in the states of Washington and Oklahoma, migrated to Idaho, Montana, South Dakota and Missouri. When comparing the averages of the MUFON and NUFORC data to the two periods of time for the US as a whole one sees a higher percentage of useable reports (around 32%) than in the case of Washington state (around 27%). There is a much bigger difference for the better reports when comparing the NUFORC data (with around 36% useable reports) to the MUFON data (with 24% for the US as a whole and 14% for Washington state). What this exceptionally strong contrast would seem to indicate is that NUFORC's data would appear to show more significance for the July 4th event than MUFON's data would. In other words, the NUFORC data would imply that the 4th of July UFO activity was notably better than a typical day, pointing to there being a real flap of increased UFO activity on that day, while the MUFON data would seem to show that it was a below normal day other than the fact that there was a significantly larger pool of witnesses that boosted the number of events for that day. Also, the Washington state data points to something similar except the contrast is even more stark.
Whatever the reason for the vast differences in the percentages between filtered and non-filtered reports when comparing events on July 4th to June's, as well as the lack of foreign reports (both hinting that there is less significance to the data then the large number of reports would seem to indicate) and, on the other hand, the high concentration of reports in the states of Washington and Oklahoma (adding weight to the possibility that there was significance or a UFO storm on that date in two key areas), the important thing is that we are still left with 60 out of 164 (NUFORC) and 35 out of 144 (MUFON) reports or a total of 95 of sufficient quality to get a fairly accurate snapshot for a single day of the states with the highest potential for witnessing a UFO in the near future.
So what is my final conclusion? I wanted to dismiss the 4th of July as simply an artifact of their being many more witnesses during UFO prime time than usual on this date, but now feel that something exceptional was happening in both states of Washington and Oklahoma on that date (I think that they were probably tied for 1st if you consider how many more fireworks and crowds watching them there were in Washington). Not only that, but it would seem that UFO activity was also channeled from outside to inside the US on that date. However, the bulk of the effect for the increase in sightings was due to the increased number of witnesses. So, it is a mixed bag.
© 2012 Joseph Ritrovato