The study in question aimed to look at human interactions with all things extraterrestrial and unidentified aerial phenomena. In charge of the study were two exports in the field: Philip Mantle, the director of investigations for the British UFO Research Association; and Nick Pope, a former Ministry of Defence UFO investigator.
Evidence or mere shams?
The problem with conducting these types of first hand experience based studies is that there is too much room for error in that what someone could claim to have been a UFO could very well just be an airplane for instance.
Still, there have been numerous reports of UFO sightings that some experts believe to be concrete evidence of life outside of Earth. Last year, the Pentagon came out with three declassified videos of UFOs which all went viral and spraked yet another debate as to whether these were doctored or 100% unaltered sightings of UFOs.
Can subjective experience be considered evidence?
According to 52% of respondents, panic and fear would be the immediate reaction if aliens were in fact proven to be visiting our planet. Mantle, one of the experts involved in the study, said that after speaking to people who have claimed to have had close encounters by alleged contact or abduction, the experience –though it might be subjective– must be taken under consideration. He explains that:
A number of people said they wholeheartedly believe it was beings from another world, others said they thought it was some kind of spiritual experience, others just didn’t know.
[One Welsh man] was frightened to death at the time, and continued to be scared for some years afterwards. David was so scared he went for hypnotherapy, because he had nightmares about it.
Much like religious experiences, UFO sightings can not 100% be confirmed as legitimate evidence but it should not be discounted for the individiual who lived the experience. But despite the numerous accounts he has heard throughout his career, he says that:
It’s fear of the unknown. It can be scary, yes, because these experiences, whatever they are, happen to anyone, at any place, at any time, so it’s not something you can predict, it’s not something you can protect yourself against. But to the best of my knowledge, nobody’s been physically harmed by these encounters.