The success of MUFONs hit show on the History Channel, Hangar 1, has led to an increase in sighting reports from time to time, but recently our CMS was hit with an exceedingly large number of cases. When I have to assign 26 cases in one day, I know that something's definitely up. The one thing that stood out the most was the fact that most of these cases were "Historical", which means that they are not recent, but could go back to the '50s and '60s, or even older!
As a Field Investigator it is important to learn how to prioritize your cases. While many of these old historical cases are fascinating, they do not hold the potential information that a new case does. It is more important to get to the witness that just had a sighting while their memory is fresh, instead of someone who is recalling an incident from years past. A rule of thumb in most investigations is that the first 24 hours is the most important. Obviously, we don't get a chance to get to most of our witnesses within that timeframe, but the closer to it you can get, the better.
This does not diminish the validity, or importance of historical cases, but if a witness is just reporting the event a handful of years afterward, a few more days isn't going to hurt the investigation.
Quite a few of the new "Historical" cases that came in I found to be quite fascinating, and the witnesses that I interviewed were extremely credible. One trend that I did notice among these cases, is that most of them are military-related in some fashion. I also found it interesting that in most instances when I asked the witness why they were coming forward with their account after so long, they all answered that Hangar 1 had something to do with it, mainly because they didn't know about MUFON before they saw the show. Also, almost every witness that I talked to said that they'd be very interested to know if anyone else saw what they did.
While a lot of these old cases will be filed away as Information Only, getting as much information as possible about the sighting recorded into the database can help us to correlate cases to find matches on things like dates and locations.
In conclusion, case triage is important, so get to those fresh cases first while the witness remembers everything clearly, then when you have time you can delve into the historical cases which while being just as important, will only reveal more information by writing FOIA requests, and interviewing any other surviving witnesses if they can be found.
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