At the beginning of each year, I generally lay out 3-5 New Year's Resolutions that relate specifically to how I'm going to further my education of the paranormal field. This year, I was bitten by the UFO bug. Honestly, I had never been that interested in UFOlogy; I always sided on the ghosts/hauntings side of paranormal investigation. Still, it was something that had sort of been on my mind for awhile. You can't be this involved in paranormal research (especially here in Mothman Country) and NOT help but to skirt the UFO angle. I was further inspired by a rash of sightings by my boyfriend and my father of a strange light that would appear in the skies near my new house.
My plan involved an intense study of ufology over the next year through classes, books, documentaries, and anything else that I could find, such as conferences and speakers. I would also attempt to gather some more field-specific equipment and network with local UFOlogists. By the end of the year, I would hopefully be prepared enough to join the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) and begin study under a "professional."
It is now close to the halfway mark of the calendar year, and I haven't made much progress, lol.
As part of my study, I signed up for a UFO Studies 101 class through my annual subscription to Universal Class. I had taken this professor several times before, and enjoyed his classes. This would be an exception, lol. It isn't the professor's fault; I'm just cannot get enthusiastic about the subject, and what would normally take me a month or two tops to finish a class has become what is shaping up to be a year-long pursuit as my coursework seems more of a chore than a pleasurable pursuit of knowledge.
To supplement my original plan of taking this class, I have also been reading one UFO-related book a month, also a bomb. Here's my list so far:
January--West Virginia UFOs, by Bob Teets. This one wasn't BAD, but it wasn't good, either, lol. It was a collection of previously non-reported sightings from around the mountain state, and while each case was unique, they all seemed to follow the same pattern: apparently West Virginian's believe that UFOs and/or aliens are angels. I've previously read and own several other WV ufo books by another journalist, Kyle Lovern, which are a little more my speed.
February--UFOs Examined, by Milo Monzetta. This was a FREE Kindle download, and now I know exactly why it was free! Self-publishing has been such a mixed blessing in the field of paranormal research, but this is one of those works that were just awful, lol. It was poorly written, jumping from topic to topic with no discernible flow. It seemed like every third word was either spelled incorrectly or contained a grammatical error. I'm not entirely sure what popular theories are out there in the UFO realm, but the theories in this work, combined with the poorly written format, read like the ramblings of a schizophrenic.
March--The Flying Saucers are Real, by Donald Keyhoe. This was another free Kindle download, but unlike most free works I run across, this one was very well written and researched. It is a VERY early work on UFOs by a legitimate journalist. I learned a lot, and got through the entire book without my eyes bleeding once!
April--I'm actually still working on April's book, despite it being well into May. It's a biography on Barney and Betty Hill, and it isn't bad. Aaron bought it several years ago from the second annual Braxton County Monster Festival.
My plans from this point are to finish this UFO course, and perhaps take another through another online institution, lol. I'm also going to attempt to muddle through the rest of the year's reading, relying heavily on what is already on my shelf and what I can obtain for free for Kindle. The exception will be a Gray Barker book that I've had my eye on for awhile, and a book on the Braxton County Monster that I never got around to actually purchasing.
As for actually seeking out MUFON accreditation...that may take a little more soul searching. Although the passion just isn't there, I do feel that this is an aspect of paranormal research that I'm not as comfortable with as I should be. I want to be able to add a working knowledge of such to the resume in order to better serve our clients, and also to further distinguish HPIR as a unique institution dedicated to providing the best possible resources to our community as possible.
At the end of the year, I'll post an update as to whether or not I've actually reached any of my goals, lol. Wish me luck!