Getting to Where the UFOs Are: UFO Spotter’s Checklist (Part 2)

UFO Spotter’s Checklist


  • Name
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Present occupation
  • Occupational/professional training
  • Address
  • Eyeglasses
  • Contact lenses
  • Prescription medication
  • Non-prescription medication
  • Sole sighting to date
  • One of multiple sightings
  • When and where were others?
  • Your physical state immediately prior (ill, well, tired, etc.)
  • Your distance from object
  • How you arrived at the scene (automobile, motorcycle, boat, walking, etc.)
  • Any obvious effect on automobile or other machines?

Location of Sighting

  • Nation
  • State or province
  • County, district, or province
  • City or town
  • Zip code
  • Sighting at or near your home
  • Compass reading
  • GPS reference
  • Notable buildings, structures, or establishments nearby
  • Military base
  • Armory
  • Military proving grounds
  • Police station
  • Fire house
  • Airport
  • Observatory
  • Aerospace campus
  • Television station(s)
  • Radio station(s)
  • Newspaper office
  • Factories and heavy manufacturing
  • Power plant
  • Power relay station
  • Power lines
  • Power towers
  • Nuclear reactor
  • Schools
  • Colleges or universities
  • Hospitals
  • Farms or ranches
  • Food-processing plant
  • Bridges
  • Tunnels
  • Dams
  • Major roadways
  • Zoo
  • Sacred sites (burial grounds, etc.)
  • Monuments
  • Other

Duration of Sighting

  • seconds
  • minutes
  • hours
  • Sighting interrupted and then resumed
  • Not sure

The Object

  • Altitude
  • Distance
  • Shape
  • Bell
  • Boomerang
  • Bullet
  • Cigar
  • Circle
  • Cluster (individual shapes difficult to discern)
  • Cone
  • Cross
  • Cylinder
  • Delta
  • Diamond
  • Disc
  • Dome
  • Egg
  • Fireball
  • Football
  • Hat (flat top, flat bottom)
  • Irregular
  • Light bulb (widest at top)
  • Manta
  • Missile
  • Orb
  • Organic
  • Pancake
  • Point of light
  • Polygonal (pentagon, etc.)
  • Rod
  • Saturn (bisected horizontally)
  • Saucer
  • Sphere
  • Star
  • Teardrop (widest at bottom)
  • Top
  • Triangle
  • Trident
  • Wedge
  • Shape changed/shifted
  • Other
  • Size (approximate inches, feet, or meters)
  • Outer material (steel, alloy, plastic, etc.)
  • Color(s)
  • Black
  • Blue
  • Charcoal
  • Gray
  • Green
  • Metallic
  • Red
  • Silver
  • White
  • Yellow-white
  • Other (specify)
  • Unchanging combination of colors
  • Shifting/changing colors
  • Speed/speed range
  • Bursts of acceleration
  • Sounds (whir, hum, engine noise, etc.)
  • Silent
  • Windows
  • Portholes
  • Hatches or doors
  • Antennae or other mounted extrusions
  • Visible occupants
  • Number of visible occupants
  • Illuminated
  • Glow
  • Cornea or ring
  • Exterior lights
  • Direction(s) of travel
  • Dramatic changes of angle or elevation
  • Trail left behind (exhaust, electrical disturbance, etc.)
  • Angle of elevation
  • Chased by another object(s)
  • If yes, what chased it?
  • Landed/touched down
  • If yes, how long did it remain on the ground?
  • Two objects
  • Three or more objects
  • If two or more, did the objects fly in tandem, or in formation?
  • Primary object releases other objects
  • Other objects joined the primary object
  • Noticeable odor
  • Organic
  • Non-organic
  • Sweet
  • Sour
  • Sickly
  • Nauseating
  • “Hot” or “electrical”
  • Object appeared to perform a specific task
  • Task
  • How did the object disappear from your sight?
  • Did the object return?

Immediate Environment

  • Time of day
  • Weather (sunny, windy, fog, haze, sleet, etc.)
  • Did the weather affect the object?
  • Did the object affect the weather?
  • Did the weather change during the encounter?
  • Visible moon
  • Visible planets
  • Other aircraft (identifiable and otherwise) in the vicinity?
  • Urban
  • Industrial
  • Suburban
  • Semi-rural
  • Rural
  • Beach or waterfront
  • Terrain (trees, foothills, river, etc.)
  • Animals nearby
  • If yes, what species, and did they exhibit reaction(s) to object?
  • Effect on vegetation (flattening, crushing, burning, wilting, etc.)
  • Crop circles nearby
  • Unusual sounds before and after object presented itself (humming, crackling, etc.)
  • Unusual heat or cold

Hynek Close Encounter Classification

  • (See chapter ten for details) _ CE1
  • CE2
  • CE3
  • CE4
  • CE5
  • CE6
  • CE7


  • None
  • Visible while aboard object
  • Visible after leaving object
  • Bodily configuration
  • Human
  • Humanoid
  • Non-humanoid (avian, reptilian, insectoid, winged, quadruped, “blob,” etc.)
  • Head size and limb lengths matched typical human proportions
  • Number of fingers
  • Number of toes (if visible)
  • Male
  • Female
  • Males and females
  • Unknown or indeterminate gender
  • Height (typical human height, shorter, taller)
  • Weight
  • Anomalous facial features (oversized eyes, nose slits, small mouth, etc.)
  • Skin tone
  • Skin texture
  • Hirsute
  • Hair color
  • Hair length
  • Hair texture
  • Hairless
  • Attire (uniforms, headgear, footwear, varied attire, no attire)
  • Demeanor
  • Friendly
  • Wary
  • Frightened
  • Disinterested
  • Neutral
  • Mischievous
  • Aggressive
  • Menacing
  • Indeterminate or unknowable
  • Sexual contact (if multiple occupants/ creatures)
  • Communicative _ Audible speech (English and any other human language)
  • Audible, indecipherable organic sounds _ Audible “artificial” or “mechanical” sounds
  • Touch
  • Telepathy
  • Symbols
  • Music
  • Patterns of light
  • Patterns of color
  • Non-communicative
  • Miscellaneous anomalous creatures (Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Chupacabra, ghosts, etc.) Abduction
  • Invited aboard craft
  • Forced aboard craft
  • Nature of craft’s interior (bulkheads, machinery, etc.)
  • Interview/conversation
  • Physical examination
  • Sexual violation
  • Blood drawn
  • Tissue samples taken
  • Photographed
  • Released at point of abduction
  • Released elsewhere


  • Additional witness(es) able to give first-person corroboration
  • Physical evidence (burned vegetation, metal objects, etc.)
  • Digital photo (camera, smartphone, or tablet)
  • Film photo
  • Video
  • Film footage
  • Audio recording
  • Police report
  • Did you prepare (or asked to have prepared) a sketch or other illustration?

Report Made to Authorities

  • Local police or sheriff
  • Federal law enforcement
  • Local airport
  • Fire department
  • FAA
  • Military

Report Made to UFO Group

  • Other (specify)

Report Made to Media

  • Newspaper
  • Television/cable television
  • Radio (traditional, satellite, podcasts, Internet)
  • Facebook, blog, or other Internet post
  • Magazines (general-interest or specialty)
  • Websites and Web forums
  • No report made


  • Examined by doctor or nurse
  • Hospitalized
  • Partial amnesia
  • Missing time
  • Muscle strain
  • Broken bones
  • Marks on body
  • Bruises
  • Wounds
  • Welts
  • Bite marks
  • Bumps or ridges
  • Implant(s)
  • Impression marks
  • Burns
  • Singed hair
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Vertigo
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Rash
  • Patchy hair
  • Pregnancy
  • Spontaneous abortion or miscarriage
  • Childbirth
  • Other (specify)
  • Unsettling dreams
  • Encounters with Men in Black (MiB)
  • Voluntary hypnosis/hypnotic therapy/hypnotic regression Eyes Only: Selected UFO Sightings Since 2000

Thanks to the Internet and smartphones, the number of UFO reports made since the millennium is almost literally uncountable. What once might have been termed a flood of fresh UFO information, pre-Internet, has become something larger and metaphysical: a great, overtly challenging force. For instance, NUFORC, for the brief period of August 7–22, 2011, posted approximately 350 new reports. Another leading UFO organization, MUFON, maintains and posts a running log of UFO reports coming into that organization—averaging sixteen each day. If every sighting from the last decade and a half could be added to a haystack, and each of us had a pitchfork, we’d be pitching hay for the rest of our lives. But because we’re curious, we try to process as many UFO accounts as possible.

For whatever reasons, the preponderance of reports made since 2000 have an obvious sameness: clusters or formal formations of lights, usually orange (though sometimes red or white) that show themselves for less than a minute before zooming out of sight. Amazing, too, how many recent accounts begin with, “I stepped outside for a cigarette . . . .”

Here is a sampling of recent reports that are somewhat more engaging.

January 5, 2000

Four police officers and three civilians in St. Clair County, Illinois, spot a large, silent V-shaped craft, as it follows one course, and then another, and then still another, at about 4:00 a.m. The first witness, a civilian, says the object is “as big as a house.” That witness, and subsequent ones, agree that the craft’s perimeter is illuminated by white lights, and by a red one on the underside. Note: The UFO community quickly regarded the “St. Clair Triangle” as a major event, generating discussion sufficient to inspire a pair of cable-TV pseudo-documentaries (Discovery Channel, 2000; Sci-Fi, 2004). ABC-TV news anchor Peter Jennings hosted a 2004 UFO-investigation special that prominently featured the St. Clair Triangle. Despite this attention, many who studied the reports, and checked them against known aircraft activity on January 5, concluded that the witnesses saw a lighted advertising blimp operated by the American Blimp Company.

Never assume that your encounter with an extraterrestrial will be free of threat. If you’re unwary, you could be in for a disagreeable experience. Just ask Gloria Castillo, clutched here by one of Paul and Jackie Blaisdell’s cabbage-heads in Invasion of the Saucer-Men (1957).

August 23, 2001

Forty-five miles off the New Jersey coast, a recreational fisherman observes a metallic cylinder that hovers a thousand feet above the Atlantic, and fifteen hundred feet above his boat. The cylinder has two equal sections that counter-rotate against each other. Although the fisherman discerns no engine noise, the mid-afternoon air is charged with an audible electrical hum.

The boat’s GPS and compass systems go off-line, and small fish (the witness calls them “bait fish”) become agitated and swim to the surface.

Note: In the time the fisherman needed to dash below and grab his camera, the cylinder departed. GPS, compass, and fish shortly returned to normal.

January 11, 2002

At 4:30 a.m., a male camper at Point Mugu (California) State Park (located about a dozen miles northwest of Malibu) observes a bright light hovering a hundred feet above the Pacific, moving back and forth in synch with two lights visible beneath the water. After half an hour, the elevated light accelerates into the sky and disappears; the pair beneath the water dive out of sight.

April 26, 2003

A “missile” shooting a focused blue beam from its nose streaks across the sky above Delta, British Columbia, Canada. The witness watches as the object ascends from about five hundred meters to “several kilometers” in just a couple of minutes, before disappearing over the Pacific.

December 6, 2003

Eight people on a bus traveling between Salta and Puna, Argentina, get a close-up look at a luminous “device” measuring more than three hundred feet across, resting on thirty-foot struts in the middle of the Tin Tin road. The witness who ventures closest, a La Poma farmer named Julio Espinosa, watches thin, brightly glowing “strange beings” exit the object. One jumps into a bramble bush, apparently to examine it and take samples. After twenty minutes, Espinosa returns to the bus to tell the others about the creatures.

Note: The news story published in Salta, Argentina’s Diario El Tribuno (January 11, 2004) says nothing about how much longer the object remained on the road, or how and when it departed.

April 15, 2004

A low-flying flashing object showing red, green, and blue is observed moving east to west over Tabriz, a city in northwestern Iran, by a woman named Saina Haghkish.

Note: Iran’s state news agency, IRNA, suggested that the witness saw a spy or communications satellite. This event is often discussed as one of a series of sightings over Iran during April 12–15 or, alternatively, April 12–21. An Iranian astronomer, Sa’dollah Nasiri-Qeydari, insisted that Haghkish and others saw the planet Venus.

September 9, 2005

A big-headed humanoid with red eyes, and standing less than two-and-a-half-feet tall, is seen by villagers at Huay Nam Rak, Mae Chan District, Thailand. Sawaeng Boonyalak and others observe as the creature blithely explores a rice field. After about an hour, the creature floats into a tree and then ascends into the sky, “into the bright light.”

Note: No footprints were discovered in the rice field. Later elaboration claimed that the creature was preceded into the field by “floating fire.” Witnesses could not agree about whether or not the creature had arms.

January–March 2006

Numerous witnesses report glowing discs flying above Aliso Viejo, in California’s San Joaquin Valley. Accounts describe the objects as about a yard in diameter, and festooned with flashing lights. One witness recalls the disc as a “glowing Nerf football.” In a separate incident, a cab driver is so startled he runs his car up a curb. The staff of an Aliso Viejo restaurant is scared to come outside.

Note: In March 2006, the Los Angeles Times interviewed Aliso Viejo resident Gaylon Murphy, a cardiovascular surgeon; and Steve Zingali, a facilities engineer from Mission Viejo. The two friends created the foam-board and carbon fiber saucers in their garages, pursuing a hobby that became a side business: flight-ready saucers, with lithium batteries, remote control, and forty mph capability, for a thousand dollars apiece.

October 14, 2008

From an ideal vantage point on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, the manager and other staffers with the Sheraton on the Falls Hotel observe a very large, triangular object slowly fly west, toward the hotel, about five hundred feet above Horseshoe Falls. Each of the craft’s three edges is marked by a trio of white lights; a single red light illuminates the object’s underside. As the object continues west, a wide, white beam of light originating at the underside plays across the water. The witnesses are startled when the beam suddenly shines at them.

Note: The hotel manager and other employees described the craft as being about 250 feet long. See next entry, May 15, 2009.

May 15, 2009

Seven months after the manager and other staffers at the Sheraton on the Falls Hotel (at Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada) witness an enormous, triangular craft slowly fly above the Falls, a security staffer tells the manager that numerous employees encountered two “extremely odd-looking” men on May 14. Employees remember very pale men, of identical height and attired in identical black trench coats and black hats. The strangers had come to the hotel looking for the manager. The manager and hotel security review May 14 surveillance tapes of the inside front entrance, and quickly locate the two visitors. Later on the fifteenth, a female staffer meets with the manager to describe the men further, recalling not just the identical clothing, but large blue eyes that never blinked; and a complete lack of facial hair, including eyebrows.

The woman remembers that both men appeared to wear wigs. More significantly, she reports having had the uncomfortable feeling that the strangers could read her mind.

Note: Although hotel staffers present on May 14 informed the men that the manager was not in that day, the men roamed the hotel nevertheless, buttonholing employees and asking to see the manager. Aerial Phenomenon Investigations (API), a D.C.-based UFO research group, could not resolve the October 2008 Niagara Falls sighting, or explain the later presence of the Men in Black.

December 10, 2009

After being taken from his Indiana apartment at 4:30 in the morning and physically examined by four or five “Reptilians,” a man realizes that a barbed implant has been placed in his penis.

Note: In the report he prepared for MUFON, the victim expresses great (and repeated) worry about his penis, which he refers to as “my johnson.”

September 13, 2010

While on a night training exercise with Special Forces recruits at Camp Mackall, North Carolina, about thirty miles southwest of Fort Bragg, a veteran instructor observes a pair of F-15 Eagle fighter jets flying at about ten thousand feet, in rapid pursuit of an enormous triangular craft flying at two thousand to three thousand feet. The object is “gunmetal or carbon black” and the size of “an NFL football stadium.” Each corner of the silent ship is marked by a pale blue light. The craft proceeds north for about two minutes and disappears behind a tree line—only to show itself again, this time moving south.

By now, a third Eagle has joined the other two. All four craft disappear behind trees to the witness’s southwest.

Note: Besides the primary witness, the craft was observed by an assistant instructor and fifteen Special Forces trainees. Although the instructor searched local newspapers for accounts of the object, he found none.

Mid-June 2012

A security guard working a construction site near Yuba City, California, spots a brightly illuminated white object traveling above treetops about six hundred yards away. Binoculars and night-vision apparatus give the man a clear view of the object’s “classic” saucer shape. The fuselage has illuminated points of red, blue, and green. Because the saucer illuminates the trees, the witness is able to estimates its diameter as between fifty and a hundred feet.

Note: The witness observed the object for five minutes, and then left to fetch a friend. When the two returned, the object was gone.

December 28, 2013

While looking from his window in a Hong Kong hotel, a traveler named Jack Watson sees “something” in the distance, and is shortly visited by an alien. The creature is “big green. . . . ten feet tall and five feet wide.” When it pulls Watson from bed, they dance.

Note: In the account taken and posted by, Watson revealed that “the alien was actually quite good at dancing and as I like to try new things we had sex.” Welcome to the Internet.

March 20–22, 2014

A farmer who discovers an alien in his barn at New Paltz, New York, is surprised when the creature stays for three days.

Note: A witness photograph provided to MUFON reveals the head of a classic gray (large cranium; dark, oversized eyes) as it peers from around the doorway of a dilapidated hay barn.

November 15, 2015

International Space Station astronaut Scott Kelly posts a nighttime image of India as that country appears from space; the photograph’s upper-right corner is dominated by an elongated object that suggests a cylinder with a pod at each end; or a cylinder with a bright light(s) at each end. Kelly, who may not have noticed the object, makes no mention of it in his accompanying tweet.

Note: The UFO Sightings Daily blog described the object as cigar-shaped, with a metallic body measuring about eighty feet in length. The blog deduced that when Kelly snapped the photo, the UFO was between 500 and 650 feet from the Space Station. Other sources ventured that the object is a reflection on Kelly’s window; or, more persuasively, one of the many hunks of equipment that festoon the Station’s exterior. Forbes magazine suggested that the object is the Station’s High Definition Earth-Viewing System (HDEV).

January 2, 2016

Shortly before dawn, a man living in Tempe, Arizona, observes a saucer-shaped “mother ship” disgorge at least three flying discs.

Visible for about thirty minutes, the four craft appear to play keep-away with military helicopters on the scene. The mother ship displays yellow-white illumination that changes to green, blue, red, and orange. Finally, the smaller craft ascend back to the mother ship via “ropes” of light.

Note: Although the witness saw no physical engagement with the saucers, he observed jet fighters on the scene, as well as copters.