March 7, 2021

UFO Sighting Report Magnitude Study 1960-2000 (NUFORC & MUFON)

Painting of a UFO UAP

In 2017, my spouse and colleague Linda Miller Costa and I, published the UFO SIGHTINGS DESK REFERENCE – United States of America: 2001-2015.

Our objective was to do the sighting report statistics and patterns for 21st century UFO sighting report events. One of the questions we heard over and over was “Why didn’t you go back 40 years.”

As I said, our objective was to strictly study 21st century UFO Sighting events. As of this writing we are preparing to publish, UFO SIGHTINGS DESK REFERENCE – United States of America: 2001-2020.

During our analysis work we wanted to generate a 60-year magnitude study chart. To do this required that we obtain the forty-year period of 1960 through 2000, sighting report data to combine with our 2001-2020 data.

To do this forty-year retro compilation required older data from both NUFORC and MUFON. Since NUFORC is publicly available on the NUFORC web site, this data was easy to acquire.

MUFON data on the other hand, required a special written request. When we requested the 2019 and 2020 data from MUFON, we also made an addition request for 1960 through 2000 data dump with dates only. The MUFON folks involved in the approval and data extraction process were gracious and accommodated our request.

Certain things in life are never easy! As it turned out the retro data formats from the two data dumps were not readily compatible. This required considerable problem-solving and writing an algorithm to perform the required manipulations. All this to get more than 13k records to align in a common format.

Ok UFO data junkies.  The 1960-2000 MUFON data yielded 7538 usable records. The NUFORC data for the same period yielded 5618 usable records. For a total of 13,156 for the forty-year period.

Usable Records you ask? Yes, there is always some volume of corrupt records or records missing data.

When we were writing our 2017 book, we noted that there was about 3% of the sighting records that did not have complete or usable date. Its important to mention that another 3.7% had no municipal location defined. In this case we defined it as Unspecified and assigned it to an Unknown County in each state. Finally, some 7.3% of the records had misspelled municipalities or extraneous verbiage mixed in with the municipality name.

In our 2001-2018 version of the database, we recently spent 600 hours fixing municipality spellings and augmenting each of the 146,800 records with Latitude, Longitude and Zip code information. This was an arduous task but worth doing to support this year’s publication of the 2001-2020 UFO SIGHTINGS DESK REFERENCE. In addition, this was needed to support the publication of fifty separate individual state books with resolution down to the county and local municipal level.  

The chart above has a 1960 through 2000 year-by-year magnitude bar charts for NUFORC, MUFON and a combined NUFORC-MUFON data chart. This is a first anywhere.

Brought to you by Linda Miller Costa and Cheryl Costa, the “Mothers of UFO Statistics.” CC