Taking UFO Experiencers Seriously – The Paranormal Podcast 824

It is time to take UFO experiencers seriously and Micah Hanks is doing something about it. 

My former Paranormal Report co-host, author, podcaster and writer has launched the UAP Sightings Reporting System to intake first hand accounts of UAP/UFO sightings.

We talk about the importance of respecting experiencers, gathering their stories and continued research on the mysterious topic of what is in our skies.

You can find Micah’s new website for the effort at https://uapsightings.org/

Thanks Micah!


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Jim Harold (00:00):

Taking UFO experiencers seriously with Micah Hanks. Up next on the Paranormal Podcast.

Announcer (00:20):

This is the Paranormal Podcast with Jim Harold.

Jim Harold (00:24):

Welcome to the Paranormal Podcast. I’m Jim Harold. So glad to be with you once again. And the subject today is that of UFO and UAP Experiencers, and we’ve got the perfect person – that man, Micah Hanks, and he is a very exciting project. It’s called, well, he’s also on the debrief, but we’re not going to talk as much about that today. Great project. The debrief.org. Got to push the right button, Jim, but we’re going to talk about uapsightings.org. UAPsightings.org. Micah, welcome to the show and congratulations on this new project.

Micah Hanks (00:58):

Yeah, good to be here. Jim. Feels like old times. There was a day many, many days ago, many moons ago, in fact, where you and I were regularly doing video dispatches like this. So good to be back with you and on camera. 

Jim Harold (01:10):

Yeah, it’s kind of fun because now everybody’s like, ah, you got to do video. And we were doing video like over a decade ago, so it’s kind of nice to see everything come full circle. So tell us about UAP sightings.org. What is it and why did you decide to start it?

Micah Hanks (01:30):

Yeah, naturally, I’m somebody who can’t stay still for very long, and I’ve always got a lot of projects running, but this one’s kind of near and dear to my heart. Of course, anybody who’s been following the UAP situation, UAP –  unidentified anomalous phenomena being the new term that the military uses for what we old timers, Jim, call UFOs. But the recent developments, including the DODs establishment of the All Domain Anomaly Resolution Office, which for anybody who doesn’t follow this, that’s essentially the Pentagon’s official UAP investigative office, and then also the NASA Independent Study Group last year and their findings, which essentially resulted in a report that made some advisory moves, kinds of things that could be done to improve UAP investigation, resources that NASA can maybe advise or can provide to researchers in the scientific community. So that report essentially was saying, we need better data, we need more of it, and we need more people on the ground armed with smartphones, filming things, maybe even have a good website where this kind of information can be centralized.


There already are, and there in fact, for a long time have been, sites that collect information about UAP sightings, but based a lot on the kinds of data that both the DODs AARO as it’s called, and also the NASA Independent UAP study team recommended. I wanted to try and build a website that incorporated some of those same criteria, those same recommendations that could also geolocate the sightings on a map, and fundamentally really just be a hub where people who have seen things they can’t explain can report that, and that information thereafter is freely available online. So that’s what the UAP Sightings reporting system is, and you’ve got it right there on the screen. Of course, people can find it at uapsightings.org. This is an independent effort. This is basically run just by yours truly for the time being. But I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback and also some guidance from some leading members of the scientific community who are looking at UAP, and they’ve been instrumental in helping me really kind of tailor this project to be something that is freely accessible.


It’s easy to use. Anybody can go online. They can file a report if they’ve seen something, or if they just want to learn about UAP sightings that others are making in maybe their neighborhood. You can go online, you can look on the map and you can find sightings near you. So right here at the outset, Jim, if I may, I just want to say anybody out there who says that they have seen something in the skies they can’t explain, I’d love to hear from you. You can log on right there at uapsightings.org and file reports of your own, and I’m sure we can get into some of the reports we’ve received and also really the state of this whole UAP situation as we go on.

Jim Harold (04:07):

Well, I want to talk about the site, and you were experienced thus far with experiences before this site and now that the site’s launched. But first I want to get a little bit of breaking news update. Now we’re recording this on February 15th. That may be a week or so, a week and a half before this is out. So there’s always the possibility of new things cropping up in the interim, but there was a lot of kerfuffle with the former director of AARO, Dr. Sean Kirkpatrick, and a lot of back and forth, a lot of controversy, and I think maybe the kind of casual observer kind of heard something about that, but they’re like, well, I don’t know what that was about. Even I had a hard time following. I’ve got my head down working on my next Campfire book. So fill us in on where that stands, because that seemed kind of distressing where when you looked at AARO at the beginning, it looked very promising. And now I don’t know if it looks quite as promising as it did.

Micah Hanks (05:07):

Those are all really good observations, Jim, and of course, I’m glad to fill folks in. We follow this regularly over at my news reporting site, thedebrief.org. And I like yourself and many others had high hopes, and I tried to suspend judgment just to wait and see what would happen when the DOD established AARO or the Alderman Anomaly Resolution Office, we’ll call it AARO moving forward. Dr. Sean Kirkpatrick was announced as the director, and this is a guy who has a tremendous background working with US Space Comm, he’s a physicist, and he’s someone who has stood up a lot of different offices and projects within the DOD. So with national security in mind, not an effort to try and discover alien life or anything like that, Dr. Kirkpatrick essentially went to work trying to hire the right people and to try and leverage the capabilities, the technologies that the Pentagon has, and to try and conduct serious scientific analysis of UAP sightings that are being reported by the military.


There were some problems along the way, which included, for instance, AARO taking quite a while to get their website online. Eventually, there was a bit of a, kind of a, I guess you might say that there was an intervention by Kathleen Hicks, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, and it was reported that she was having regular meetings to kind of try and speed things along. So that was an interesting development in itself. And then eventually they finally get a reporting system online, but it was very limited and all of these things prior to the departure of Dr. Sean Kirkpatrick back in December, which was pretty abrupt. He hadn’t been with the office for all that long and he’s already leaving. So as far as the recent developments, what recently came to light was of course, Dr. Kirkpatrick now says that in advance of the release of a historical review from his office, that he has essentially found that there are just a few people who have worked in government for many decades, and a lot of these people having been there for a long time, kind of believe that there’s an issue, but they all seem to be each other’s sources.


And he called it circular reporting. I think the term he used actually had been a self licking ice cream cone. And all of these allegations, all these allegations were being made in a scientific American op-ed. Now, shortly after that, he also spoke with Peter Bergen, the Pentagon expert with CNN in a podcast. And then there was a Scientific American podcast where Dr. Kirkpatrick made similar allegations. We didn’t find any evidence at all of extraterrestrials. Furthermore, there’s no evidence of this secret program that many whistleblowers, especially David Grusch, have been alleging now for more than a year. But what we did find was that a lot of people may have come across information about things that they shouldn’t have known about secret government projects. And as Kirkpatrick said recently to Scientific American, he takes some solace in the fact that probably these kinds of things that people are seeing represent that the US has an edge rather than that there are extraterrestrials in our atmosphere.


Naturally, these statements, I think made a lot of people upset. It wasn’t what a lot of people wanted to hear. And I also took issue with a lot of it too, Jim, because we’ve been hearing stories for decades from people who say there are clearly some unusual things in our skies and some of our experiences with these, even if most of that data is anecdotal, seemed to point to there being a kind of layer to reality that science has been very hesitant to get involved with, that  the military at times have been very dismissive of many saw Dr. Kirkpatrick’s recent statements is just kind of being more of the same. Here we have another government official downplaying, this brought, yeah, nothing to see here, move along. And for my own part, I have to say, I think that the UAP phenomenon is far more complex. I don’t dispute that most cases AARO is investigating, probably do have simple explanations or maybe traced back to the government. But I mean, we have to also say that two to 5% of the genuine anomalies that Kirkpatrick talks about, those cases are really interesting to me. What are those?

Jim Harold (09:06):

Yeah. Yeah. They always seem, a lot of skeptics always seem to do that, say, well, there’s a small percentage we can’t explain. But quickly shunt that aside. Now, didn’t Christopher Mellon have some comments kind of opposing Kirkpatrick’s view? Wasn’t there something about that?

Micah Hanks (09:26):

Yeah, Christopher Mellon and many others of course came forward and they said, really, I mean here we have somebody from within government who, and again, one of the issues that some have raised is that AARO may not have actually ever attained what’s called Title 50 authority, which would’ve gotten them access to some of the most relevant intelligence community data probably that’s been collected about UAP over the years and other issues too. But fundamentally, Chris Mellon and others had been saying Kirkpatrick is kind of toeing the status quo line. And what he’s saying is not in line with what other former officials and even some current ones are saying that the UAP situation appears to represent. I mean, just as a simple example of that, when David Grusch last year first made his complaint, the official complaint that he filed with the Intelligence Community Inspector General, it was deemed credible and urgent.


And very recently, we also saw a classified briefing occur on Capitol Hill where the intelligence community Inspector General spoke with members of Congress. Naturally because it was classified, they couldn’t talk about exactly what the meeting entailed, but many of them did come out and they spoke to reporters and they said, look, the ICIG basically has said to us that there is something worthy of investigation and we’re going to continue to follow this. I think that Tim Burchett of Tennessee notably had said, yeah, basically our takeaway was that Grusch is legit and the claims that he has made so far, according to the Inspector General of the intelligence community seem to be worth pursuing. So if that’s the case and if that was the takeaway from members of Congress who received this classified briefing, it’s a little strange that the guy who has been leading the investigation within the Pentagon is saying, well, we didn’t find evidence of anything.


We didn’t find any evidence of secret programs involved in these alleged UAP crash wreckage recoveries and things like that. It seems that the right hand here doesn’t know what the left hand’s doing and that kind of division among people even currently within government or formerly members recently having left like Kirkpatrick, it’s a little bizarre. So I think that that was the issue many in the UAP community had with those recent statements. But one more thing too, Jim, again, rather than waiting for the official report to come out, why preemptively go to Scientific American? Why only speak with people who we might deem to be friendly journalists and furthermore make certain assertions that aren’t backed by any kind of verifiable data, specifically related to what certain UAP may or may not be. These are all issues I took with some of the recent statements too, and although I can to an extent kind of sympathize with anybody who feels like he was harassed and who felt like really his actual investigations were hampered by having to investigate conspiracies and claims of them, really a lot of the statements that Dr. Kirkpatrick has made really just don’t quite hit the mark. And I’ve said as much in recent commentary we’ve provided there at thedebrief.org,

Jim Harold (12:15):

My whole read of the whole thing, and this is not an original statement, a lot of people feel the same way, and I’ve said it on the round tables we’ve done with the Astonishing Legends guys and so forth. My feeling is this, the disclosure thing got a little out of hand, and there’s different factions in government and there’s a faction, which I believe is a smaller faction who says, Hey, we’ve got to get some of this information out. That’s the Gillibrands, that’s the Rubios, that’s the Burchetts, that’s the Moscowitzes. And say, hey, we respect national security, but we do have to, something’s going on. We got to let people know a little bit what’s going on. And then I think you have a much larger piece of the government and people associated with the government, like the military industrial complex, certain other representatives who feel very much different than the Moscowitzes and the Rubios of the world, and they’re kind of saying, okay, we got to put the toothpaste back in the tube. We got to put the genie back in the bottle. This has gotten out of hand, so let’s go on this kind of rekookification project and let’s put it back in the venue of something to laugh at and make fun of. And there is nothing to see here. I mean, is that an oversimplification or do you think there’s something to that?

Micah Hanks (13:37):

No, I definitely think there’s something to it. Jim, I’ve even spoken with other longtime aerospace and defense reporters, some members of the scientific community and people who are not necessarily always just tuned into the UAP happenings. I mean, they’re following government reporting and government accountability and astronomy and physics, and yet many of them have expressed the same kind of perspective to me privately. They’ll essentially say, we should be asking why former officials are suddenly now going to media outlets and providing what seems to be a fairly biased perspective on all this rather than simply releasing information, releasing data. And then there are the contradictions. I mean Politico even reporting the other day, for instance, that Sean Kirkpatrick had expressed, I guess some frustrations that he had that during his time as the director of aero, he felt that really the Pentagon wasn’t engaging the public enough.


And he said that that essentially was giving rise to conspiracy theorizing. In other words, if you don’t give the public enough information about what you’re doing, people are going to be left to have to speculate and they’ll fill in the blanks. That’s really, yeah, it’s all too human behavior that is going to happen. But then we had a Pentagon spokesperson who actually provided a statement to Politico that, well, nobody ever told Dr. Kirkpatrick that he couldn’t speak to the public every time he requested to do so. To our knowledge, the Pentagon allowed him to. So now there’s even this kind of back and forth between Pentagon leadership, or at least those who are speaking on behalf of them and Dr. Kirkpatrick in terms of how much the Pentagon has attempted to engage the public. So some might try to say, and maybe Dr.


Kirkpatrick would say this himself, that he felt like he could only go to the public through the media and through certain ones like Scientific American or CNN, because only after having left government was he really unbridled and was finally allowed to really speak at length about this. But the things that he’s saying, again, seem to conflict with what other former officials like Chris Mellon and many others have also said. So it’s a very strange situation, and I don’t think it’s wrong for some to say, well, is there a certain steering of the narrative? I also don’t think that’s a conspiracy necessarily to assert that. Yeah, there’s a careful control of certain ways that the information gets out. And I’ve just got to say this too, Jim, you’re always going to encounter those issues when it comes to government and government’s involvement with something as controversial as UAP. And that’s one more reason why A, I think that really scientists should be more involved. Civilian science efforts should be trying to get to the bottom of this and collect data of our own. And really fundamentally, that was what drove me to launch uapsightings.org. If we don’t have much hope that the government will release what data it has, let’s try and build our own dataset and make sure that is freely available for all.

Jim Harold (16:21):

Now that makes a lot of sense. It reminds me of just a YouTube short I saw the other day, and I want to get your opinion on it. It was Neil deGrasse Tyson, who I think is fantastic in explaining science and those kinds of things. A lot of times, I don’t necessarily agree with him on this question, but he’s always, he’s just so great on camera and can really explain things in a way that the average person can grasp it. But he was saying about UFOs, and it plays into the idea of experiencers and what you kind of said about all the smartphones and technology in people’s hands. It’s like there are billions of smartphones out there. He said in the short there, at any given time, there’s a million people flying around in the air. If the craft are here, if they are ETS or interdimensional or they even come from the depths of the earth and they’re flying around in our skies, why don’t we have more and better footage? That’s one of his complaints against the idea of the fact of UAPs and UFOs being things other than people who are mistaken, hoaxing, government, military projects and so forth. What would you just say to the good doctor about that perspective?

Micah Hanks (17:40):

Yeah, well, first of all, Jim, like yourself, I like Neil deGrasse Tyson. I actually went and saw him speak when he was here in Asheville. A lot of people really don’t like him. I try not to get tribalistic when it comes to it, I can respect Neil for the things that he says about astronomy. And I’ll also quote or paraphrase something that he told CNN reporters when the first big story broke back in 2017. Immediately they went to Neil Tyson and they said, Dr. Tyson, what are these things? And he said, look, I don’t know. He said, I look at things way out there. I’m an astronomer. I’m not looking at things in our atmosphere. Talk to a meteorologist or maybe go talk to the folks at the defense department. And he further said, I’m glad that they’re investigating these things, but that’s not what I do.


That’s not my job. Point taken. So I mean, why we would look at Dr. Tyson as being an authority on all things both in the sky and further out there beyond it kind of baffles me. So just putting that aside and really kind of looking at the recent arguments that he, I guess perpetually is asked to comment on and the things that he says and other astronomers and scientists have said, really, I see a lot of anthropomorphization into this. Humans always have a tendency to put ourselves at the middle of the equation. Well, if extraterrestrials are visiting earth, why in the world would they come all this way and not pop down and say hello? Why wouldn’t they land on the White House lawn and announce their presence? But I look at COVID-19 and I look at all the wars, the fighting in Ukraine, I look at all of the issues that society faces and really that team civilization all around this planet faces and has faced throughout time.


If I were an extraterrestrial and I were quietly observing earth, I would be very careful about ever engaging with humanity, with all the issues that we face. I mean, you look at all of the potential that they might be attacked if they make their presence known. It makes a lot of sense that if there were extraterrestrials, and perhaps there are, we don’t know that, but if they are here and if they are indeed surveilling planet earth, it’s probably in their best interest to do so covertly. And so maybe with rare exceptions where in the interest of trying to learn about humans, if we take for instance, alleged abductions or similar kinds of contact cases in due question, and some of them to me, I think are at least as exotic and crazy as they might sound to some people, I think they’re worthy of looking into, and I certainly look at them very seriously.


But in some of those rare instances where people claim to have had direct contact, the alleged visitors may say things like, we are merely scientists. We’re just observing. When I go out into the wild to observe a black bear or a bobcat, I don’t go up and try to introduce myself. Okay, I usually keep a distance. I might even be armed rather than with a weapon. I might be armed with binoculars so that I can ensure that that observation is made at a distance, and it’s probably better that the potentially dangerous wildlife is not aware that I’m watching it. So I say, why would extraterrestrials, if they were visiting Earth, why would they do any differently? And again, one more point too. If you really do think about the way that we humans interact with wildlife, wildlife biologists could go and they could launch a dart gun at a large bear or a mountain lion or even a larger and more ferocious beast, and they could very quickly and capably dispatch that animal for study.


And when that animal wakes up after the tranquilizer wears off, that animal doesn’t know that it’s been studied. It wakes up with a hangover that has no idea what happens and forgets about it five minutes later. But humans do that because of what well, we want to learn, but also often because we care. And so the idea that an extraterrestrial presence, even if it were interested in humans, the idea that they would come here to try and say hi actually seems extremely unlikely. And that’s what I would say to those like Neil deGrasse Tyson and others who argue, well, they should be announcing their presence. But on the subject of blurry videos and why we don’t have better evidence, we appear to be dealing with the technology that is very advanced. I mean, the OD and I report from 2021 said as much, it said, some of these technologies may require significant advancements before they can really be studied and before we can even begin to move toward characterizing them.


So although again, I understand the necessity for better data when people say, look, if people have smartphones in their pockets and UFOs are really here, and they’re all over the place, like people say, we should have lots of videos by now. Well, one point is we do actually from time to time get pretty good videos of these things. But two, these phenomena aren’t always very easy to film, especially with the limited capabilities that a smartphone allows. I think that really people like Dr. Avi Loeb have the right idea, in terms of trying to introduce advanced sensor arrays that are far more capable in detecting various different parameters in terms of what UAP might represent and also the kinds of signatures they may produce that’s going to be effective in filming these things, probably not smartphones. That’s what I would say to Dr. Tyson respectfully.

Jim Harold (22:39):

Well, the other thing is, I mean, I’ve got an iPhone, the recent one, and the camera is spectacular, but it’s still for nighttime for example, or at a distance, it’s not that great, even though it’s great. If I want to take a snapshot of my family or it’s Christmas or something, it’s fantastic. But if you’re talking about something in the sky at nighttime, it ain’t that hot. And people, I think overemphasize how good these cameras are because really for stuff like this, they’re not as great as you might think.

Micah Hanks (23:13):

Yeah, I mean, a simple explanation really. Or actually, let’s propose an experiment really, since we’re talking about science here. I mean, take your smartphone outside any night of the week on a clear night, try to film a plane that’s flying by now, if it flies directly over you under certain conditions with a smartphone, you may be able to get pretty good footage of an aircraft. But I mean, especially if there’s one at a distance, and if the visual conditions are less than optimal, I mean, you’re going to have a hard time filming even conventional aircraft. Now, imagine filming something with the flight capabilities and dynamics that are described with relation to some UAP as has been indicated in some of these previous government assessments. I mean, to me, Jim, that’s a very simple experiment that people at home can try that demonstrates the kinds of issues that we’re facing.


Now, you compare that with the really fuzzy unimpressive videos that probably Dr. Tyson and others are referring to, like those that are currently in the inventory collected by the US Navy and that were acknowledged officially and released after they were leaked online back in 2020. The Department of Defense said that these are examples of unidentified aerial phenomena. And of course, there are some examples that have been disputed. Some skeptics have said that parallax and other things might account for the seemingly anomalous acceleration and the motion of some of these objects. But a really good example of what to me, I think is probably a good representation of a valid UAP is the 2004 Nimitz footage. And there’s a good reason why everybody always goes back to that case in points at that particular footage. When the weapons systems officer, Chad Underwood was filming that, he said not only was he able to lock on it after several attempts using the Raytheon targeting pod, the at FLIR targeting pod that was equipped on the FA 18 Super hornets at that time.


He said, when he attempted to do so, the thing immediately began trying to jam their radar. And he further said that he said, in controlled US airspace during maritime training operations, like they were doing at that time, an unknown craft that they couldn’t identify. Keep in mind that that targeting pod is also supposed to identify the craft that it locks onto, and it was unable to do so. But Amid saw that this object, whatever it was, was trying to jam their radar, which Commander Underwood, now, he wasn’t a commander at the time that he filmed it, but he is now, and he has since said that was effectively an act of war. So whatever this object is, we don’t know what it is, but it seemed to have advanced capabilities and clearly displayed those. And furthermore, it was an attempt not to be detected, but it obviously was aware that there were efforts being made to track it.


Now, that footage may seem very unimpressive, but the context that it provides is that we’ve got an object that’s difficult to track with some of the most sophisticated tracking capabilities the military has. This object was out there, it was filmed, it was taken seriously, it was detected on radar too, if you recall. And all those things, to me point to a genuine anomaly. So yeah, the video may be unimpressive at a glance, but again, that’s a very superficial examination of the situation. And again, to scientists or others who look at that and who have said those kinds of things, well these videos aren’t impressive, I wish that they would take into consideration all those other factors that make that case more important really than they are looking at and are able to see with that superficial glance. There’s a whole lot more going on there.

Jim Harold (26:24):

Now. Getting to your site, uapsightings.org, UAPsightings.org, can you talk to us a little bit about your experience before you started this site in terms of your experience with experiencers? Because I know over the years, having talked to experiences of various phenomena that over time I’ve really come to think how important it’s to respect them and to hear their stories and to hopefully share their stories. Can you talk about your experience with experiences even before you started this site?

Micah Hanks (27:04):

Absolutely. And that is, I really think at the very core of all this, I mean people for really centuries, but I mean even if we just look at the modern UFO mystery as it kind of began in the late 1940s, people have said for decades, if they have seen what to be technological objects operating in our skies, there’ve been very good observations made, very vivid descriptions people have provided. And I’m sure, Jim, you have heard in these stories that you have collected for many decades. And I’ll just kind of emphasize the fact that those stories that on your podcast that you have featured and that you’ve collected, those to me are as important as any interview with any expert that you or I as podcasters might offer. Because fundamentally, I think that really documenting the history of this phenomenon and what people have said that they’ve seen their relation to it, we’re documenting the human experience of unraveling a phenomena that may be a number of things.


In other words, a UFO could be a natural phenomena, it could be a secret government technology, it could be an extraterrestrial spacecraft, it could be other things. And we often kind get stuck to the idea that there’s just one thing we’re talking about. Obviously certain kinds of UFOs or UAP are more interesting than others. I study the entire phenomena broadly in that context in terms of trying to understand the varieties of different UFO experiences, but also the importance of the human relationship to that idea and the way that we try to wrap our heads around this and the way that we relate to the experience of the phenomenon. So to your point, documenting these cases is very important and even prior to the launch of the UAP sightings reporting system, yeah, I’ve heard these stories like yourself for many years, and it really compelled me to think that, I mean a lot of people, people who have worked in industry, people who have worked in government, people who’ve worked in law enforcement, people who are educators, people from all walks of life that I’ve spoken to have told me seemingly incredible stories, and many of them are not people who are really particularly interested in this phenomenon.


That’s another fascinating thing to me about this. They aren’t necessarily people who come to me or who listen to my podcast and they’re getting or trying to get attention. A lot of ’em are just people who I meet in various other kinds of situations socially. I play music also and often have done that over the weekends for many years, especially in the summertime. And I’ll sometimes be at a cookout someplace with my band and we’ll be performing. And a simple question people ask is, do you do this full time ? I’m like, no, I’m a journalist. My day job is this. And I often report on these topics when they hear about UFOs more often than I get side eye glances these days. People will say, ah, that’s interesting because many years ago, and then I’ll hear a story. And if I hadn’t brought it up, that person probably never would’ve ever talked about it.


And many in fact do say, I hadn’t even thought about that until now. So to me, it’s probably more ubiquitous than many would think. I mean, the UFO sighting experience is something that a lot more people have probably had, and that is reflected somewhat also in what I’m getting right now in the sightings reports that are coming in. Many people come to this and they say, I’ve never told this story before, but my daughter or a family member told me about you and the new project. And they had heard the story once and they said, you should really report this to this gentleman. So a lot of people are sharing their sightings for the very first time. And again, to me, I think it’s important to document that history and also make sure that that information is available to people. Because a lot of folks, Jim, who have seen these things or had these experiences, they’re kind of baffled by it.


Some people are a little disturbed. Some people often describe to me that they feel like there’s a hole that they can’t fill. They say, after I had this experience, I’ve gone through the rest of my life feeling like there’s something missing and I can’t find what it is. And so in a lot of ways, I felt like those who are wrestling with whatever issues that may stem from the experience or questions they have about it, it could be helpful for them A, to have someone who listens and who will talk to them about the experience and to hear them out about what they experienced and what it was like and how it made them feel. And also to be able to see that there are others reporting similar things. A lot of people have communicated to me that they find a degree of comfort in being able to go online, read similar sightings reports and find out, my gosh, other people have had an experience like mine, and they don’t feel quite as alone when they do.

Jim Harold (31:29):

That makes a lot of sense to me. So can you walk people through the experience? We’re looking at the site right now, and there’s that big report of sighting button. You can’t miss that. If I click on that, what happens?

Micah Hanks (31:41):

Yeah, if you click on Report of Sighting, it’s going to take people to a questionnaire. I have a brief kind of introduction about here are the kinds of things that I want you to consider before you submit this report. Might you have seen starlink satellites? Could it have been a planet? And we also have a fact page that’s linked to there where people can learn about the kinds of things that are often mistaken for UAP sightings. We also offer different ways of contacting the reporting system, which again, I’m the director and so those emails will all come to me, and of course, I review every single case that comes in. Email addresses are provided, but fundamentally, there is a questionnaire. The reason for the questionnaire is because, and this was by design. There were very specific criteria that have been introduced, and that’s one of the things that makes the UAP sightings reporting system a little different from existing efforts.


And also I have to acknowledge a lot of the people like Peter Davenport with the UFO Sightings Reporting Center up there in Seattle, national UFO Reporting Center. We also have NARCAP headed by Ted Roe, MUFON. On the About page there is also a link to a page that gives a brief history of information about government and civilian sightings. And a lot of those organizations are mentioned because they too are very instrumental in this effort. To me, I don’t think there needs to be just one website that collects this information. I think that really a cumulative effort by many is going to be more helpful. But what makes this one a little different is that a lot of the data that you’ll find on the actual sightings reporting page when you click that report, a sighting button is tailored somewhat to the information that NASA says we need.


In fact, a lot of the very kinds of questions about payload propulsion system and certain other ones too, how did it make you feel? What is the witness’s assessment of the phenomena that they observed? Those kinds of questions were essentially derived from information that was put out with the launch of the all domain anomaly resolution office’s website. And despite whatever issues or anybody else may have with some of the conclusions of the staff of AARO, I do think that if the DOD has put up this office at the direction of Congress, and this is the kind of information that they’ve said would be useful to collect, I wanted to be sure that that would be incorporated into this questionnaire so that when people log on and they submit their information and they can provide a written description they can provide, I mean, there’s a whole lot of data that I’m asking for as you’ll see when you log on there.


But again, in addition to trying to tailor this to what the history of ufology has taught, people like you and I and a lot of the researchers who I’ve communicated with for many years, I also want it to be something that NASA or the DOD would look at and say, okay, well, this isn’t just another UFO website. They’re taking note of the kinds of things that we’re looking for. But again, I want to emphasize also that this is a civilian effort. It says so right there on the website, just because we incorporate the kinds of things that NASA and the DOD have said would be interesting and important for us to collect. That doesn’t mean that this information is going to be explicitly made available to any group or anybody else. And I’m sure that there will be some Jim who will say, okay, is this a front operation?


Who are you working for Hanks? I’ve already heard that for more than a decade. Anyway, I can assure you this is just me, myself, and I, and it is a civilian effort, not for profit, to try and both collect information, provide people a place where they can learn about this phenomenon. Sometimes just provide a listening ear. And many of those who I have communicated with, they’ve said just that. I mean, I’ve had some brilliant conversations with people that often end in somebody just saying, thank you. Nobody ever wants to listen. A lot of people, and this is kind of heartbreaking, a lot of people who I’ve spoken to say that they sit down with family members. Some of ’em will say It was after a picnic, and I had to work up the courage to tell family members about this to begin with. And then when I told my son, he kind of laughs and just walks away, or my wife just kind of thought, oh, well, you must have imagined it.


A lot of these people don’t know who else to talk to. And when they’ve tried to talk about these experiences, they’ve been met with derision. And yet again, both the military and some members of the scientific community have also talked about that stigma. Look, the stigmas that people have about this, oh, it’s crazy. The idea that people are seeing strange things in the sky that’s also prevented our war fighters. That’s prevented members of the military fighter pilots and other government personnel from talking about things they’ve seen too, and that could affect national security. So again, I think that we really need to try and lift those stigmas. People need to be comfortable being able to talk about these things. We’re going to collect data that officials have said is going to be useful, but I really want to make sure that this information is available to everybody freely accessible online. And again, anybody can log on even if you haven’t seen a sighting or had a sighting of your own, but you can read about those who have, and you can study this stuff using the information we provide on the website.

Jim Harold (36:31):

But again, everything is anonymous. People’s identity is not going to be revealed if there’s a report that people can read. I’m assuming that part is excised, correct?

Micah Hanks (36:42):

Let me explain how that process works too. Yeah, because obviously I want to be able to vet the people who are reporting information to me. So when somebody submits a report, they’ll notice that there’s personal information on the reporting form. That personal information comes to me, that does not go directly onto the website. Every single case that comes to us is curated and it is processed, personal information is removed. Now, there are some people who from time to time will contact me and they’ll say, I don’t mind if my name is included. Some people even prefer to have their name included, and that’s not because they’re trying to get attention or anything. I think that for a lot of people, they feel that it lends credibility to the report if their name is attached to it, and I can certainly respect that. But as a general practice, we always try to ensure anonymity.


I try to remove basically all names and personal information, the direct information that’s provided to me. We produce a summary of that, and then we include all of the relevant details that are included in the form. And basically that information is thereafter, once it’s processed and included on the website, it’s accessible in three different ways. First, we’ve got a publicly searchable database where you can search by the object’s shape or the location and other certain criteria. And when you go on there and you search on the database page, actually there are several different interfaces that I’ve put together. It took a lot of work, Jim, A lot of different ways that there are a lot of different ways people can comb the database and search for sightings. You can search also by state and other kinds of criteria, country. Then there’s also the sightings map, and this is probably one of the more popular features where you can look at an entire map of the world and you can navigate to regions of interest and you can look at the sightings that have happened around there.


We’re able to do that because one of the questions we ask for on the questionnaire is latitude and longitude. Not everybody of course knows or submits that, but I’m amazed that a lot of people do take the time to try and provide that information for us directly. And when they don’t, we’re able to usually calculate that based on nearby landmarks and things along those lines. And then we geolocate them and produce those summaries, which are also displayed on the map. And when you go on the map and you click on a pin, what you can then do is you can see a little report summary pops up, and then there’s a link on each window that pops up. When you click that link, it takes you to the full report. And that’s the third thing that we also feature. There is a complete report that includes that summary of the sighting and then all of the data that the witnesses submit in accordance with our actual questionnaire there on the report of sighting page. And we put a file, a report page up for each individual sighting that’s logged that goes in the database. So I’ve tried as best as possible to comprehensively provide as much information, but protect people’s personal information and of course, make this accessible and easily navigable for those who find the website. I think so far we’re doing pretty good, and the feedback is pretty good as well. But naturally, I’m open to additional feedback and comments from people about things they may like to see.

Jim Harold (39:42):

So I mean, I know it’s early days, but are you seeing any trends?

Micah Hanks (39:49):

Yeah, that’s a really good question. So there are some interesting trends, and some of the first ones that are really interesting to me are a lot of people describe what otherwise seem to be kind of innocuous sightings of little objects moving through the sky that resemble satellites. They say it looked kind like a star or a satellite, and it’s just moving along, and then it just stopped and it hovers. And then after hovering for a while, then it moves in a different direction. Now, obviously satellites and stars don’t do that, but a lot of people who when they file these reports will even say, my sighting;s kind of boring, but I thought I’d report this to you anyway. I’ve got a lot of those sightings going all the way back, at least to the 1990s, some actually date to earlier. But the reason I find that interesting is because even if that doesn’t necessarily involve an unexplained, I mean it is by definition an unexplained phenomena, but let’s say that that might have some sort of a natural or maybe even a military answer, I’ve wondered whether or not this could represent something in space that maybe our government or some other government might’ve used.


We saw a recent paper that came out about plasmas that one of the co-authors, Chris Impey and astronomer from Arizona University, Chris Impey and his co-authors have said, some of these plasmas are observed in space. So I mean, are these observations of the kinds of atmospheric or even space bound plasmas that some scientists say may exist? So even those seemingly innocuous cases to me point to the possibility that we may be gathering some interesting information. One of the more interesting trends to me though, Jim, and this is a long held interest of mine, I’m amazed at how many sightings have come in of these big black triangles,

Jim Harold (41:29):

David Marler.

Micah Hanks (41:30):

Those sightings. Yep. David Marler, who by the way, of course, in addition to this project I’m doing, David brought me on board with his national UFO historical Records Center. I’ve been to the records center, and in fact, I don’t know if you know this, but last year, David Marler and I traveled together to the location of the famous Socorro, New Mexico. Yeah, I that, I think I did know that. That’s so cool. Yeah. So David and I, of course, we always try to do research together, both in the field and also of course in the archives. And David has also been very instrumental in helping to kind of get this idea together. But the big black triangle sightings have interested me for a long time. David wrote an incredible book about those, and we’ve been getting a lot of those kinds of cases submitted to the sightings reporting system.


In fact, if you don’t mind, may I share just a couple? We’ve got a couple of really interesting ones here. The earliest one comes to me, and this is I think very important because conventional wisdom about UAP might say that, well, the triangular UAP sightings didn’t start until maybe the late 1980s or the early 1990s. There was the famous Belgian wave. But here we have a very interesting case that was submitted to me, and this one dates all the way back to the fall of 1967 near Chicago. Essentially what happened was, yeah, the family had been told for years that the aunt in this family had seen a flying saucer, and it scared her so bad that she would never even talk about this. And so the gentleman, a family member who submitted this sighting, put it to me like this.


He said, I’d always wondered, but had always been concerned about even bringing up the story because my mom had always said, don’t you dare mention that, it scared her so badly. And so one time at a family dinner, he said, I’m just going to go for it. And he said that they were all sitting there in a restaurant and he was sitting kind of adjacent to her, and he asked his aunt, he said, listen, I know you don’t like to talk about this, but can we discuss the siding, the UFO that you saw back in the sixties? And instead of getting upset or getting frightened or anything, she just said, yeah, sure, why not? And so he asked, what did it look like? I hear it was a flying saucer. She said, no, it wasn’t a flying saucer at all. It was actually really strange.


It was huge, and it was triangular. And when he submitted this sighting, he said, and he was fully aware of that. He said, I mean, she described a classic black triangle. She had been walking her dog, and she initially thought that she saw the lights, and she thought that there were a water tower nearby. But when it became evident to her that she was looking at a massive structure hanging there in the sky, it frightened her so badly that she ran home. She told her husband and she closed the curtains, and that when the thing left, it just had been hovering, and then it just took off like lightning. And she even said that she and her husband, on another instance, saw a large triangular object like that. So she’d had a couple of sightings, but that one which occurred near Chicago, Illinois, occurred in 1967, which predates the modern sightings.


By I mean a couple of decades, we got a report from the Czech Republic too, case number 87, and the U-A-P-S-R-S and this reporter described having in 2016 near Prague, observed something along with maybe seven or eight other witnesses, or I think actually it was probably six or seven witnesses, he says. They described the object as being set against a beautiful pink sky late in the day. So they were very clearly able to see it. As he described it, the object remained static and slowly got smaller, as if gaining altitude, it was black in color. Didn’t em embed any lights or sounds? It had no metallic or shiny features. Couldn’t see any windows on it either, but it was large and it was triangular. Then we had this one, and this one’s a really interesting case too. From August, 2019 near Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, a teacher in the community was actually getting gas one evening when she saw a large black triangular UAP.


She said it had three white lights at the angles and then a smaller black rectangle that appeared to be close behind it. She observed it for close to 30 seconds. But Jim, I’ll just say that one of the most interesting cases, and this one’s still in the processing phase, I haven’t put it in the database, but it’s soon going to be there, was relayed to me by a military witness who was off duty at the time. So this was in civilian life when this was observed, but during a camping trip for several hours, he observed the slow movement of a massive black triangular object as it approached the hilltop near where he was camping. It actually scared him pretty badly. He hid under his jeep for a period as he was watching it, and he called a friend and described in real time, seeing this thing as the point with the light gradually came up close to the hill where he was.


He gets really, really frightened and he’s hiding. And then he says that it eventually kind of veers off and leaves heads back down into the valley, and he continues to watch it for several more hours. But this is the truly anomalous part. Jim, after a certain point, he says, the thing begins to kind of hover over this feature down in the valley, and he says that it orients itself vertically so that the leading edge is pointing downward and it hovers, and he says it hovers like this. And then he says that something that’s red, some sort of an object that he said from that distance, he said to him, reminded him of a burn barrel, like if you took a barrel and just built a fire and it everybody standing outside roasting marshmallows or whatever. He said it looked like a red burn barrel that lifted up out of the top of the thing, came down and flew autonomously, and he said it went through the forest like it was conducting a grid search, and he watched it for several hours. Tried to get photographs of it. But he said that with the flip phone he was using at the time, he wasn’t able to get photos from that distance back to our earlier point about the limitations of handheld cameras and camera phones. But it’s an incredible story, and this gentleman with his military background essentially said to me, I’ve seen some crazy things in my time, but nothing like this.

Jim Harold (47:13):

That’s great. Well, it’s just the beginning for your website. It is uapsightings.org. Micah, it’s been a pleasure to talk to you about this. As always, explain to people, once again, I think it’s pretty obvious, but explain to once again how they can submit their sightings and then let us know about anywhere else you would like them to check out at the present time.

Micah Hanks (47:37):

Well, thank you, Jim, and again, it’s always a great time talking with you and any excuse for us to get together and chat a little is at the top of my list. But for anybody who’s out there listening and anyone who regularly listens to Jim’s podcasts, again, I keep saying to people, if you’ve seen something, say something. I believe that the information that I’m trying to collect and make available online could be very important to our development of ideas about this and to our observations of nature. This could be incredibly important to science in general. And so for those out there, I know a lot of your listeners have probably had experiences of their own. And I encourage you, if you have seen something that you think, even if you don’t think necessarily that it falls into the explicit technological craft category, if you’ve seen something anomalous, especially if you saw it in the skies, consider sending along your report.


And if you’ve seen something that you would absolutely without any question, call a UFO, I want to hear from you for sure. And so please head over to uapsightings.org and consider submitting your report. Again, I appreciate all the reports that have been coming in, and we’ve got close to 130 I think there on the website, but I mean, anyone who’s seen something, I encourage you sincerely to submit that report as far as my other information, and of course, that is uapsightings.org, but if you’re interested in the UAP topic and you want to follow some of the developing stories, we comment on those frequently over at thedebrief.org, which is the news site run by yours truly, along with Tim McMillan, NJ Benia, Chrissy Newton, Chris Plain. We have a great team of people who are working over there. And then everything else I’m doing, my podcasts and all the other stuff that I’ve got going on, you can find at micahhanks.com. But I naturally encourage feedback, emails, comments, questions, love to correspond with people about their sightings, and look forward to hearing from them.

Jim Harold (49:27):

Micah, it’s always great, and it was today, thank you for joining us, and all the best with uapsightings.org and everything you do.

Micah Hanks (49:36):

Thank you, Jim.

Jim Harold (49:37):

Well, thanks so much for tuning in today. I appreciate it very much. Really enjoyed the chat with Micah. My only regret is that we did this before the AARO report came out. For those of us who believe that there’s something to the phenomena, it was disappointing. Right Now, I won’t tell you exactly what I think, but I will just suffice it to say that I find the findings highly suspect, and I’m sure we’ll talk about that in the coming weeks and months on the Paranormal Podcast and all of our online outlets. And if you enjoy the programs, please tell a friend. That’s the only way that we get the message out. I see all these newcomers to the space, to the podcasting space, and welcome to them. I am fine with that. I mean, everybody has to start somewhere, right? But I want to make sure that old Jim and the Paranormal Podcast don’t get lost in the mix. We think we do things a little bit differently than others out there. We’re not your typical Paranormal Podcast. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but we think we do something different and fill a unique space. And if you appreciate what we do, please tell a friend today, share it right from the app. You’re listening in right now, assuming you are at a safe place to do so. We’ll talk to you next time. Have a great week, everybody. Stay safe and stay spooky. Bye-Bye.

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