Based upon an extensive literature review it was determined that there is little to no officially sanctioned institutional research into a classification system when reporting Unidentified Aerial Phenomena. The lack of a quantitative systematic methodology in analysing a subject shrouded mainly within a psychosocial framework hinders any accurate classification of the phenomena. We aim to impose a new classification system which incorporates a vast array of relevant variables placed within a given case report.
Erimus Systematic Classification Model
Unidentified Aerial Phenomena
A. F. Stahl,
MSc, BSc, DIp
The issue of appropriately classifying Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) sightings stems from an associated psychosocial stigma which hinders effective data collection and analysis. To date there is very few academic reviewed research studies or methodologies based primarily on evaluating UAP civilian, government and military case reports. The topic of ‘Ufology’ is not accepted as a genuine field of study within academic institutions. Consequently, the past 70 years has meant a limitation of any substantial advancement and progression in direct contrast to officially sanctioned fields of study.
‘It is not looked on highly in certain scientific circles to be preoccupied with phenomena that are deemed to come under the heading of popular mythology or that are, at any rate, outside the realm of science’
This has meant that very little progress has been made to develop a working methodology to effectively capture an appropriate classification system. Due to the vast amount of data coming from the recollection of witness testimony we are faced with a psychosocial subjectivity dilemma. The reliability of witnesses testimony is questionable when faced with extreme claims which seem to contradict official narrative and current academic understanding of propulsion physics. In addition, photos and videos can be created and edited in age where every household owns at least one computer.
Psychological and sociological factors are all subjective elements which have the capability of significantly effecting the validity of research investigation within UAP case reports. Confirmation Bias is a term aptly applied within ‘Ufology’, the extraterrestrial hypothesis is not so much a hypothesis as it is a pre-emptively fixed conclusion. Very little focus is given to open scientific inquiry from the onset, specifically with regard to any case report classification system.
Even the most notable classification systems into the phenomena are essentially qualitative in nature and suffer from the psychosocial subjectivity framework dilemma.
Most notorious is the Hynek Classification system which documents distant Encounters and Close Encounters. Distant Encounters include those sightings that are from a distance, listed as further than roughly 200 yards away.
Distant encounters included three subcategories:
Nocturnal Lights – Unexplainable lights observed in the night sky from a distance.
Daylight Disk – A daytime sighting of an unexplained disc, oval, or cylinder, often metallic.
Radar-Visual – UFO sightings observed by radar, occasionally coinciding with visual sightings.
Close Encounters are direct encounters that occur at a close distance, defined as within roughly 200 yards in proximity.
Close Encounters of the First Kind (CE-I) – A visual sighting of an unidentified object at a close enough range to observe details about the object. The UFO does not interact with the person in these cases.
Close Encounters of the Second Kind (CE-II) –A visual sighting that includes interaction between the UFO and the nearby environment or the observer. Reported effects may vary from interference with vehicle electronics, to burns or marks on the ground, to effects on plants, animals or humans.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (CE-III) – A witness reports directly observing beings associated with the UFO, usually with no direct contact or communication.
The Hynek classification system essentially defines the type of encounter experienced by the witness or witnesses, it unfortunately does not postulate the potential determinate or modus operates of the phenomena in question. Further ‘Close Encounters’ (CE-4 and 5) have been added by researchers since this classification system however in the case of CE-5 it could be argued it follows a weaker scientifically based methodological approach.
Jacques Vallee’s attempted to unify his classification system with Hynek ’s, and to incorporate those “psychic” or otherwise anomalous reports he stated to have a connection with the UAP phenomenon, and to regularize the classification system.
Vallee used a point system out of four are given for the three categories of source reliability (first digit), site visit (second digit) and possible explanations (third digit). A rating of 222 or higher indicates the case was reported by a reliable source, the site has been visited and a natural explanation would require a major alteration of at least one parameter. The approach is credited for implementing a quantitative element to analysing data however it can be argued for example that such approaches fail implement a strategy which distinguishes mis-identified phenomena from genuine unidentifiable phenomena. More detail is required to incorporate a more in-depth approach.
On this basis we are attempting to incorporate a methodology which results in a classification system that identifies a working hypothesis as to what the given phenomena in each case report most probably is to an adequate degree of certainty. We appreciate that even using a more in-depth and specific methodological approach to UAP classification we are still faced with limitations, primarily as a result of human experience and subjectivity along with the difficult observability of the phenomena.
With the investigated subject matter of UAP open to psychosocial subjectivity it becomes imperative to utlise a methodology that incorporates relevant quantitative determining data. Qualitative methodologies were considered and rejected on the basis witness interpretation following in the psychosocial framework. Due to the vast specific requirements of UAP holistic investigation we decided to adapt a quantitate approach to the methodology. Building on Hynek and Vallee the approach was therefore taken based on a basic point system which determines a final classification.
For each given case report we aim to evaluate the case against a point system. Points are assigned based upon whether the case incorporates one or more of each ‘class sections’. The total of each section is calculated and a final score is taken, that score then determines which classification the case report falls under. A working hypothesis is then formulated.
Within the class section, the factors are broken down into groups 1-3, so for example ‘Singular civilian sighting with witness testimony’ CWT-1 is assigned +1 point and ‘Multiple civilian sighting with witness testimony’ CWT-2 is assigned +2 points. Multiple witness sightings are taken as more credible than single witness sightings and therefore receive a higher mark.
In the same pattern we assign government official sightings (police, officials, governors, etc) more credible than civilian sightings in terms of points given, (a police mans word is worth more than a drunk etc). And again, a military personal (fighter pilot, officer, general) sighting is deemed slightly more credible than a government official or a civilian.
When sightings are taken of advanced propulsion technology, (as stated in the advanced aerospace identification threat program classification) this would be deemed as receiving a higher mark than of those sightings were advanced propulsion was not observed. The highest marks are when advanced propulsion is observed by multiply military witnesses and this then will be shown in the final classification group ranging A-E.
*Verified sightings are those which are generally confirmed via various media sources. Cases for which there are single source output (YouTube, etc) receive less points.
**Civilian witness/witnessses are everyday people who come forward with statements.
***Government witness/witnesses are people working in various offices of the government (Fife Symington, Governor of Arizona, Phoenix Lights Case, etc).
****Military Witness/witnesses are people working within the military (David Favour, F-18 pilot, Nimitz 2004 Case, etc)
Classification System A, B,C, D and E
The classification system A-E gives a basic indication of where the case report should rank in terms of identification. A represents a Unidentifiable quality to the phenomena through to E which is basically terrestrial craft (advanced, next generation but chemical propulsion).
Civilian witness testimony (CWT)
- (CWT-1) Singular civilian sighting with witness testimony <+1>
- (CWT-2) Multiple civilian sighting with witness testimony <+2>
- (CWT-3) Multiple civilian verified sighting with witness testimony <+3>
Government witness testimony (GWT)
- (GWT-1) Singular government sighting with witness testimony <+2>
- (GWT-2) Multiple government sightiing with witness testimony <+3>
- (GWT-3) Multiple government verified sighting with witness testimony <+4>
Military witness testimony (MWT)
- (MWT-1) Singular military sighting with witness testimony <+3>
- (MWT-2) Multiple military sighting with witness testimony <+4>
- (MWT-3) Multiple military verified sighting with witness testimony <+5>
Civilian witness testimony of advanced technology (CWTAT)
- (CWTAT-1) Singular civilian sighting with witness testimony of advanced propulsion <+3>
- (CWTAT-2) Multiple civilian sighting with witness testimony of advanced propulsion <+4>
- (CWTAT-3) Multiple civilian verified sighting with witness testimony of advanced propulsion <+5>
Government witness testimony of advanced technology (GWTAT)
- (GWTAT-1) Singular government sighting with witness testimony of advanced technology <+4>
- (GWTAT-2) Multiple government sightiing with witness testimony of advanced technology <+5>
- (GWTAT-3) Multiple government verified sighting with witness testimony of advanced technology <+6>
Military witness testimony of advanced propulsion (MWTAT)
- (MWTAT-1) Singular military sighting with witness testimony <+5>
- (MWTAT-2) Multiple military sighting with witness testimony <+6>
- (MWTAT-3) Multiple military verified sighting with witness testimony <+7>
Civilian Photographic Evidence (CPE)
- (CPE-1) Singular civilian photograph <+1>
- (CPE-2) Multiple civilian photographs of same Incident <+2>
- (CPE-3) Verified multiple civilian photographs of same incident <+2>
Government Photographic Evidence (GPE)
- (GPE-1) Singular government photograph <+2>
- (GPE-2) Multiple government photographs of same Incident <+3>
- (GPE-3) Verified government photographs of same incident <+4>
Military Photographic Evidence (MPE)
- (GPE-1) Singular military photograph <+3>
- (GPE-2) Multiple military photographs of same Incident <+3>
- (GPE-3) Verified military photographs of same incident <+4>
Civilian video footage (CVF)
- (CVF-1) Civilian video Footage <+1>
- (CVF-2) Clear civilian video footage <+2>
- (CVF-3) Clear civilian video footage with audio <+3>
Government video footage (GVF)
- (GVF-1) Government video Footage <+3>
- (GVF-2) Clear government video footage <+4>
- (GVF-3) Clear government video footage with audio <+5>
Military video footage (MVF)
- (MVF-1) Military video Footage <+5>
- (MVF-2) Clear military video footage + Audio <+6>
- (MVF-3) Clear military video footage + audio, with official chain of custody from department of defence <+7>
Two contrasting examples,
A) Case Report: Middlesbrough (2018) would score on (CWT-1) +1, (CVF-1) +1 = 2. Therefore, 2 points places the case report in Classification (E) – Identified – Identified object or technology is terrestrial in origin and nature. This could be classed as next generation rocket/chemical propulsion aircraft, planes, drones, helicopters, birds, weather balloons, etc.
B) Case Report: The Nimitz (2004) would score on (MVF-1) +5, (MWTAT-3) +7 = 12. Therefore, 12 points places the case report in Classification (A) – Unidentifiable – Unidentifiable phenomena is set apart from current terrestrial technological understanding. This classification system is for genuine unknowns and displays advanced technology/capabilities beyond military craft.
The points system is set up to display that truly unidentifiable phenomena will be distinguished from identified terrestrial objects.
Case Report: The Nimitz (2004)
Official UAP gun camera footage from the Nimitz Case Report (2004)
Case Report: Middlesbrough (2018)
Civilian footage of the Middlesbrough Case Report (2018)
Classification (A) – Unidentifiable (11+)
Unidentifiable phenomena is set apart from current terrestrial technology understanding. This classification system is for genuine unknowns and displays advanced technology/capabilities beyond military craft.
Classification (B) – Unidentified (7-10)
Unidentified phenomena seemingly apart from current terrestrial technological understanding. This classification system is for genuine unknowns which display advanced technology/capabilities beyond military craft however that still may potentially be identified in the future as terrestrial.
Classifcation (C) – Unknown (5-6)
Unknown phenomena which has the potential to be classified as ‘Unidentified’ however the case report may be lacking relevant data or sufficient evidence to effectively receive a higher classification.
Classification (D) – Identifiable (3-4)
Identifiable object or technology which in all probability is mid-identified as an Unknown.
Classification (E) – Identified (0-2)
Identified object or technology is terrestrial in origin and nature. This could be classed as next generation rocket/chemical propulsion aircraft, planes, drones, helicopters, birds, weather balloons, etc.
The quantitative approach allows for a basic understanding of how as researchers we can start to formally distinguish between the truly Unidentifiable and the generally mis-Identification of identifiable objects. The methodology is far from perfect and should be seen as a starting point when formulating more precise classification systems working within the civilian world.
Limited access to relevant data for case reports is the major limitation of the methodology, whilst the data may only present a specific side to the case this essentially may not be accurate.
The subjectivity of the human experience will continue to plague research, more complex and varied data is called for to add to the Erimus Systematic Classification Model to enhance performance.
More collaboration with civilian and government researchers is required to progress models such as the ESCM. Further research would do well to expand the methodology proposed in the ESCM over the coming years.
**Draft research proposal, to be continued
Cometa Report (1999) – https://archive.org/details/Cometa