Investigating UFOs is fun and exciting. Well, no, not actually. It actually requires dedication, expertise, knowledge of the field, patience, money, time, a good head on your shoulders, persistence, sensitivity, diligence, and a few more things we're sure we've missed. And, yes, we did lie just now; it can be fun and exciting, too. But mostly, it's those other things.
Still interested? Read on . . .
At Oregon MUFON, not just anyone can be a field investigator because you must take a test of 100 questions and get an 80% grade or better to be awarded a calling card by MUFON that says "Field Investigator" on it. MUFON wants you to be trained for the important task of dealing with people who have witnessed something they believe is strange enough to contact MUFON about.
After you study the MUFON Field Investigator's Manual and have passed the MUFON Field Investigator's Exam and have read through the Oregon MUFON Investigator's Guide, you are ready to accompany an Oregon MUFON field investigator on a visit to a witness. Once you've done this three or four times and the State Director is satisfied with your performance, you can embark on a career as a MUFON field investigator.
When the State Director receives notification of a new report, he (or she) looks at his (or her) list of available field investigators. If he (or she) picks you, you then discuss the case to see if you want to take it on. If you decide to, you are off and running. It is your case and you are responsible for completing it in a timely manner, hopefully, a month or so. Sometimes, doing a good job means a lot more than a month, however!
Your first task is usually to determine how far the witness is interested in going with the investigation. You usually begin with a cordial email or phone call to see if the witness is amenable to further investigation. If you get a positive response, then you can set up and conduct interviews, gather evidence, make witness assessments, and do the many other things involved in properly investigating a UFO event.
Sometimes the conclusion of the investigation results in a designation of "genuine UFO." (MUFON calls this an "unknown.") At other times, the investigation leads directly (or sometimes indirectly) to the identification of the stimulus of the sighting as a conventional object of natural or human-made origin. But if you are really lucky, sometimes you will uncover a genuine hoax. These are always fun to expose because the culprit is caught by you doing your job carefully like a good detective or scientist. However, we don't want to get your hopes up! You will very likely run into far more genuine UFOs than hoaxes (or pranks) and many more IFOs than genuine UFOs ("unknowns").