You’re Pulling My Leg .. Eh?

By Graham Conway
April, 2006


As an investigator of the UFO scene (and associated topics) for a period of sixty years I frequently am asked the same, but very relevant question, "How do you know they aren’t having you on"?.....or, "What if it's all a big hoax"? Good point! Well let me try and answer that based upon past experience from having met and spoken with many hundreds of witnesses.


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If you the observer come to me all excited and relate a story about seeing a UFO I shall always politely listen, but not be too enthused, as I know full well there is really nothing to investigate. I take note of the few details that you can provide, then I may ask additional questions such as have you had any previous sightings and what is your ethnic background. And this might be a good place to point out that old cliche,..."all UFO's are NOT flying saucers, but all flying saucers ARE UFO's",....then having said that I hasten to add that out of the multitude of reported GENUINE UFO's, only a very small percentage conform to the stereotype saucer shaped craft. But back to your sighting report. Getting out of my chair, putting the phone down and quickly recording the conversation is as far as I am going with that investigation. Going to the site will only tell me possibly if high tension towers are present, TV or radio masts, possibly micro wave reflectors, satellite dishes, dams, etc. These can also be easily ascertained quite frequently from the reporting witness. Apart from all the above there will be nothing to see, apart from the scenery. So as you the reader have probably gathered by now neither my heart/nor pulse is demonstrating signs of excitement.

Then again, but far less frequently we have the witness who claims to have not only seen a vehicles land, but occupants were seen in attendance. Now you have my full attention. I wish to meet with that person ASAP.... a time and convenient location is agreed upon, preferably the scene of the report if that is possible and often it is not I'm sorry to say. Then on meeting with my eager to relate experiencer I ask him to start at the beginning and tell the story in sequence. The majority of witnesses naturally focus on the high lights of the event; that holds true of any captivating situation one might come upon or be involved in.

At this point, I the listener, am watching someone not only tell a story but relive the experience. All the emotion of what he/she observed is present within the telling. The voice wavers, the cheeks flush, they tremble,...well not all these things together of course and indeed sometimes none of the above. They frequently assure me prior to relating the circumstances that they don't drink, don't use drugs and are not crazy. The witness is very anxious to convince me he/she is telling the truth, (i.e.) "I wouldn’t lie to you about something like this, (well maybe you might!) However what I am hearing is one thing, my eyes tell me something else; your body language is also expressive, and really demonstrative now. You finally, breathlessly finish and wait for my response. Because now you don't know what questions I am going to ask you. Anyone or number will help confirm to me that yes you really are on the level. But should I have my doubts about your story, then what...intuition?

O.K. there are things in this story that really don't jive with what I have heard or read about previously. So I wait two weeks then I phone my experiencer and tell him or her that I was relating this encounter to a friend and he would like to meet with you. We choose a meeting place I then ask you to tell my buddy what you told me, again from the beginning. I sit back and listen. The story I have replayed must be identical in telling and emotional content as when it was told for the first time. The later questions I asked will be repeated and the same replies expected.

At this point the potential hoaxer must possess a number of admirable qualities. He/she must be well read on this topic. A good actor and have an excellent memory. Best of all the ability to keep their mouths shut. Any hoax is ego driven,... "I fooled them",...'.'good on you fella".… but now for the hard part, you can't brag about it, because if you do the chances are that sooner or later we are going to hear about it. You would be surprised how many people get pissed off when they discover that a dedicated group of researchers are being bamboozled by some smarty-pants buddy. Its been said that credibility is like virginity, you only lose it once and you never get it back!

Genuine witnesses invariably are anxious their name not be made public. They don't seek remuneration. No objections to the story being published as long as they are not identified either by name, employer or location. With a heartfelt request that you don't tell anyone! Then adding, "do you know if this has happened to anyone else, and who, when, where!?"

In conclusion, have I ever been fooled? Well I don't wish to pretend I'm fire proof! I did have one friend, a photographer gleefully admitted to me in Ontario he had thrown a Frisbee and filmed it convincingly as a UFO. Then back in the seventies I had a local "gentleman" convince me he had recovered a "meteorite" that fell close to him on Mount Seymour. As it was like no meteorite I had ever seen before I visited UBC who quickly identified it as something entirely different. But the story teller in that case did a good job I must admit. But at that time I was in a learning process. Come to think of it, I still am!


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