Cassidy Nicholas – MUFON Evolves

For all my bashing of large UFO groups, I haven’t actually confronted someone from one of those groups to pose some of the questions that I’d been asking almost rhetorically. Hearing about Cassidy Nicholas changed that. For the past two years, she has been Associate Communications Producer for the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) which puts her in charge of their national media. She is also the author of three books on the paranormal, as well as a field investigator for MUFON, and has hosted many radio interviews. We started out with her experiences as an interviewer and the chance it gives the host to learn directly from the guest, which is something I always like.

How does an investigator keep from imposing their views and even unconscious motivations on a UFO witness? Nicholas says that MUFON field investigators are supposed to adhere to a standard set of questions that have no ET or other bias. She emphasized that they are routinely reminded not to impose any point of view in their reports or questioning. She added that MUFON as a group does not espouse the ET explanation, even though individual members may try to speak for the organization with that belief. I asked of there was any movement towards the inclusion of nonstandard questions about the witness, such as ethnic background as well as subjective data about emotions, feelings, or life changes, and she indicated that they were moving towards some of these goals, and are open to alternate viewpoints.

Cassidy began as a paranormal investigator of ghost and haunting cases, but soon grew tired of the culture of that group, as well as the realization that she might not be able to deal with some of the more disturbing aspects of that world. She says her young son was thrown out of bed in the middle of the night during a period when she was working on a particularly intense case. At one investigation of a site with a myriad of phenomena, she told me that all the various researchers (bigfoot, paranormal, and UFO people) all got along great, which surprised me.

The one statement which impressed me the most in this interview was Cassidy’s response to my question about what she thought was the source of UFO reports and what she might be searching for when investigating a case. “I don’t know,” she said.

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16 Responses to Cassidy Nicholas – MUFON Evolves

  1. SpecialExperiencer says:

    So how many fields does the database have? Or is it just region, date and a long report that relies on search terms. Be interesting to know what fields they have chosen — what data points they feel important enough to isolate into its own field. Relying on text searches of long reports is hardly ideal, surely the more fields/categories/headings the better so that things can be quantified

    • Cassidy says:

      Hello SpecialExperiencer,

      There are many search options available. Not just the word search like I mentioned with Greg, if you go to this link, you can search by everything listed.

      http://mufoncms.com/cgi-bin/report_handler.pl?req=search_page

      I will list them below as well. This is what is offered in a public search:
      Date Submitted (within date range): / / – / / CLEAR DATE TODAY PAST 30 DAYS PAST 90 DAYS
      Date of Event (within date range): / / – / / CLEAR DATE TODAY PAST 30 DAYS PAST 90 DAYS
      Event Country: CLEAR COUNTRY, STATE / PROVINCE Exclude selected Country
      Event State (USA): CLEAR STATE
      Event Province (Canada): CLEAR PROVINCE
      Event County:
      Keyword / Phrase Search: ? <<< ENTER KEYWORD OR PHRASE HERE Whole word only
      Case Number:
      Entity:
      Landing – Observation:
      Shape:
      Color:
      Distance from Witness:
      Primary Sorting Method:
      Secondary Sorting Method

      Now, when it comes to the report itself, the witness making the submissions has a lot more to fill in. Also, these are the options the public can use. There are quite a bit more avenues to the Field Investigators.
      I brought up the word search because usually when I am sent on a wild goose chase, it is a particular part of an event.

      I hope this helps 🙂
      Cassidy

  2. SpecialExperiencer says:

    Access to hypnotists hardly inspires confidence. Subjecting witness to professional UFO sector hypnotists is a sure way to muddy the waters and delegitimise a case, even tarnish the witness. MUFON shld update their policy on hypnosis considering latest evidence regarding unreliability

    • Cassidy says:

      Hello SpecialExperiencer,

      I do hope that Greg can interview Kathleen Marden, she specializes in this area. She is a very smart woman, with many years of research under her belt.
      Like I said in the interview, this is one sect of research that I am not involved with. Though, I can say that, in my opinion, if the hypnosis is done correctly without suggestion to further information gathering it would be an aid?
      This of course is the next step in SOME situations, but this comes far after the original cases is closed.

      Best,
      Cassidy

  3. Adam says:

    Very interesting interview. I’ve been hearing people complain for years that this data is inaccessible (Christopher O’Brien comes to mind). I wonder if anyone has really asked? Now that is clear that it is available, I wonder if those people will actually use it to answer the questions that they have?

  4. Bob B. says:

    Very good show which helps answer the qu.”What’s up with MUFON, anyway?”
    Among other things, I was pleased to learn the Bigelow story’s apparently false, the one I’ve heard a few times in recent years that secretive Bob Bigelow had somehow persuaded MUFON to sell him their archives, or some of them, for his supposed exclusive, proprietary use, which sounded like a terrible thing for MUFON to do. I’m glad Cassidy says there’s no truth to the tale (or to the notion MUFON is ideologically wedded to the ET hypothesis). Instead, it seems MUFON’s archives are more available & accessible than ever and the public can do extensive, detailed searches of their data base online. This show proves MUFON would do well to go on more paranormal/UFO radio shows & podcasts so more people would get to know more re. “What the heck is really up with MUFON?” They really should speak more to the public.

    • Cassidy says:

      Hello Bob B,

      Like I mentioned in the show, I have access to all of the archives with in our Case Management System, and then there are the Pandora Files, in which some of our staff is working on digitizing and organizing.
      If you are ever interested in, “What’s up with MUFON?” call us!
      I am so glad Greg gave me the opportunity to be a guest on his show. I knew going into it that it was going to be quite the ride, but I am so glad! Information is a wonderful thing; I will always be glad to speak to anyone that has a question in the why or who. Also, they can contact Roger Marsh, our Director of Communications at editor@mufon.com

      Best regards,
      Cassidy 🙂

  5. Phil From Lunopolis says:

    I listened to parts of it Saturday, and will listen to it in full when I have time. In the meantime, there’s been a strange coincidence…

    I enjoyed Cassidy’s rant about the X-Files music and the way it’s abused in various broadcast networks

    Then this morning, one of my aggregators spit out a link to a Fox News article about how “Apollo 10 astronauts reported hearing odd ‘music’ on far side of moon.”

    That should be enough for the dedicated to find that article or a similar one at another site on their favorite news search engine. Rest assured that someone somewhere has already made the obligatory Pink Floyd joke, even if that particular album hadn’t come out yet.

    • Phil From Lunopolis says:

      OK, I listened again, this time more awake… I have a more serious technical question. Ms. Nickolas: In many places in the interview you mentioned The Database, but in one place you mentioned having to perform searches on it that sounded like they were manual, i.e. the search to tabulate state-by-state sightings with silence or a lack of sound.

      What sort of software is this database stored in? (I think you mentioned at one point it was being upgraded; would it be too much to ask for information on both systems?)

      • Cassidy says:

        Hi Phil From Lunopolis!

        Here is the link I stated above when it comes to doing searches within our system. When I was talking about the silent cases, or what not; there is a key word (s) area in the search that helps me tip toe through cases by the witness statement.

        http://mufoncms.com/cgi-bin/report_handler.pl?req=search_page

        Ha Phil, I was quite reserved when it came to my media rant. Though, like I said, there are some very good investigative reporters out there, that are more interested in the information than making fun of something because they don’t understand it… But not many.

        As for the CMS, I am not sure the exact platform is being designed right now, but I have worked with it. Shows how little I know in the arena of computers. 🙂
        I will find out though, and I will either report back to you here, or let Greg know.

        Best,
        Cassidy

        • Phil From Lunopolis says:

          Since recently becoming unemployed I’ve been trying to brush up on my computer programming skills; and since noone knows what c is anymore (“C? Was that your grade in the course?”) I’ve been looking at modern scripting languages. One of the common ones used these days is called python. You can find a list of a lot of free python texts for the beginning and advanced student at:

          http://www.linuxlinks.com/article/20121228122317781/20oftheBestFreePythonBooks-Part1.html

          But primarily, I’ve been using this online introductory computer-science-using-python course at MIT:

          http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/electrical-engineering-and-computer-science/6-00sc-introduction-to-computer-science-and-programming-spring-2011/

          It’s free, there are video lectures, and the textbook is about $ 20.00 on kindle. Just keep in mind it’s a Comp. Sci Course with some computer languages on the side, not a computer language course.

          When I next actually have spending money, I also plan to get “Automate The Boring Stuff With Python,” which is explicitly an introductory course for beginners with an emphasis on things like web and database scraping.

          I don’t know how useful any of the credentials from the credentialed versions of courses like that are at the moment, BUT… it’s a start, I guess.

  6. Finally listened to this one. Excellent show. I like Cassidy’s honesty about the results of experiencing these things. Much truth in this conversation.

  7. MaryAnn Nelson says:

    Ar 42:24 in, Greg, you make a great point; the witness might be wondering what the investigator may want to hear (are they looking for ETs or interplanetary ships?).
    The quickest way to get the best info from a witness, that I can tell, is to make them feel comfortable. It’s not easy to do since very few of us have the time to devote to the issue whether witness or FI. I’m not an FI, but if I happen to be on a good wavelength with a cashier, the mechanic working on my car or the driver of our moving van then I ask them point blank, “Have you ever seen something in the sky you couldn’t explain?” They open up with some interesting stories sometimes. This is all easier said than done, right?

    Also an easy route to getting info is that both witness and FI are educated about the subject and its multiple avenues that the phenomenon takes. That won’t happen until people take this seriously which means that it would have to somehow generate revenue because, in this country, money talks. (That’s my opinion, of course. There are many devoted, unpaid FIs and interested people, thank goodness.)
    So, my point is that you have hit on the other side of the coin; good communication, good information will not flow if the witness fears being ridiculed.

    Thanks for reading,
    M…

    • Greg says:

      Thank you for your comments. It seems like a fine line to walk between getting information from a witness and not leading them. You make a good point about putting people at ease before starting with the questions. I think part of my point is that the interviewer needs to forget their own prejudices completely when talking to witnesses. That might be difficult for most. The might also discourage the interviewee from trying to create a full picture or narrative and stick with pure observations, feelings, sesnory input, and possible out-of-the-ordinary issues that occurred before and after the event.

  8. I have an extensive database on UFOs in New York, New Jersey, and Virginia. George Filer is well aware of my research, and recently published an article on a UBO near Pine Bush. I worked for NIDS in 2004, and am writing a book on over 120 personal close encounters. I would like to talk with you, if you are not too busy. A documentary on History Channel called UFO vortexes aired in March 2008. Tutored under Richard Hoagland in 1994-1995. Yes, there are underground alien bases on three Moon.

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