Anomalistic Observational Phenomena
Written By: Jeff Behnke
Let's say that someone tried to measure out a square plot of land to create a house, but were unsure if the house would fit in the area they had chosen. So they decide to take some measurements. They jam a stake in the ground, hook up a tape measure, and start walking. It's reasonable to assume that they might discover the plot of land is not big enough, and as a result, they pick up their measuring tape, leave the stakes in the ground, and walk away.
Hundreds of years later a farmer walks across this same plot of land and sees an unusual object sticking up. If he has the mindset that there was no one else there before him he would probably try to take some guesses as to how it got there. He might then conclude that a tornado or hurricane or a mere wind gust came by and deposited the stick there, thus declaring that the mystery has been solved.
But let's say that this same farmer was to walk across to the other end of his field and find the exact same type of stick with the exact same shape, bearing the same markings. Being rather curious, he takes the initiative and walks to the third end of his field and finds a stick there as well. Will he still say that a tornado did it?
For starters, he has to investigate. He has to perhaps take out a measuring tape of his own, lay it across the field and determine the distance between each of the stakes. He has to see if the stakes line up in an unusual or well-thought out pattern. He has to possibly compare the stakes to other branches and trees in the area to see if they are alike. And after all of his research is said and done, he could finally state, "I have to say that it seems that someone has been here before me."
But what could discourage him from doing this?
Let's say that in a nearby area where his farm is located is a guy who says, "I've spent a lot of time scanning this area with my ham radio, and I have no evidence that anybody else besides me and you are here or have ever been here. My radio proves it."
Would the farmer accept this as a fact and say, "Well I guess I'm wrong. This must have been caused by a tornado after all." Or would he say, "What the hell do you know? You're scanning with a damn radio and I've got these sticks laid out in a pattern. They've got markings on them which say 'made in Taiwan.' How do you explain that?"
"Well you obviously must have placed them there yourself to cause an uproar in the community and to raise your property value."
"Hell no!" says our farmer. "The last thing I need is for someone to think I'm a liar. No one will do business with me. I found these sticks here, they weren't made by me or anyone else in the community. I mean, what is Taiwan?"
"I'll tell you what," states the man with the radio, "You keep the scanning to me. If there's someone else here or if there has ever BEEN someone else here, I will let you know." At which point he walks away.
What a strange thing seeking the truth has done to our farmer. He was ridiculed and branded as a liar, all because our radio operator 'didn't find any proof' that anything else was out there.
Could it be that this same mindset has befallen our own planet? Our own solar system? We're relying so much on the SETI organization to prove the existence of extra terrestrials that we are overlooking OTHER MEANS of proving their existence.
What if, for instance, we set up a research organization that scanned the skies, not for radio signals, but for physical remains of intelligent beings? Mars sure has a number of interesting artifacts. Are they extraterrestrial? Why hasn't an organization been set up to study this? We could have proof right in front of our very eyes that yes, someone was here before us and possibly still is, but we continue to rely on a method that is yielding no official results. Science itself teaches us that if one method is not working we should try another method, but when it comes to the great search, we're continuing to rely on an inefficient data hunt.
In the few years that we have embarked in space exploration, we've gotten to the point where we can send probes off to other planets to gather needed data. Isn't it possible with a civilization that is billions of years older than us that they have done the same thing and sent out probes to find new planets with new life forms? These probes could be all around us. Physical evidence. Not 'electromagnetic signals.' We're talking the real deal. Will we just sit back and let the radio operator tell us what is and isn't a fact?
There are so many other methods out there for seeking the truth about extra terrestrial intelligence, some of which could take place on our very planet. We could, perhaps find 'stakes made in taiwan' right in our own communities. Could these be what crop circles are? How will we know if we don't look?
In fact, AOP (Anomalistic Observational Phenomena) research has asked these very same questions but public knowledge of them is inexistent. Their teams lack funding, and they lack researchers. They are attempting to do what our radio operators are not: expanding our horizons and suggesting new means of acquiring data, new means of answering questions that we have all had: Is there something out there?
This research needs to be done. SETI @ Home has logged over a million users, and this alone implies great public attention. Now we must broaden our horizons, look through our microscopes, telescopes, ancient burial sites, and surrounding planets so that we can honestly and objectively say that we, as a human species, are not at the top of the civilized ladder. Why? Because there's something out there, and we need to know what it is.