How to Train Your UFO Hunter
Victorian UFO Action's (VUFOA), a UFO investigation group in Australia, has recently introduced in-house training and an examination for prospective real-life UFO hunters. The test not only examines the test-taker's knowledge about the investigative process, but also proper conduct when interacting with the public.
"Our first test was held on Sunday but its still in its infancy," said Ivan Rigoni, VUFOA's investigations case coordinator.
"The test touches on preliminary research and investigation. It's an educational tool to help our investigators realise the difference between natural phenomena like meteors, stars, the lunar cycle, ball lightning and cloud formations, as opposed to man-made phenomena like weather balloons, aircraft and drones. The test also touches on how to write a report; how to conduct yourself with a witness, what questions to ask; and how to determine whether someone might be hoaxing or if it's a misidentified object."
Their manual is already two inches thick, but VUFOA still hopes to make their process even more official through the examination and by bringing in experts to give new hunters advanced training in the investigative process.
VUFOA was founded by UFO enthusiast Andrew Arnold in 2008. Arnold is also a documentary filmmaker, and thoroughly documents their investigations. These videos are available on Youtube. Anyone can join the organization, provided they pass the examination and generally attend weekly meetings. They investigate approximately 150 UFO sightings in Victoria per year, and they also maintain an X-Files-type database of information about aliens and man a 24-hour hotline.
The team includes investigators, a disclosure document specialist with access to 240,000 previously classified documents from different countries, and a qualified in-house hypnotherapist, who counsels self-identified alien abductees.
Rigoni explains, however, that the group's stance is solely one of science: "UFO stands for unidentified flying object, we don't perceive it as being extra-terrestrials. We like tangible evidence that can be qualified and quantified. We tend to stay away from alien abduction. It's foolish to assume we're alone in the universe and we all presume [extra-terrestrials exist], but I've never seen or touched ET or an alien space ship."