Journal: You stated in your bio that you’ve been investigating UFOs for 39 years. What started your interest in UFOs and brought you to MUFON?
Douglas: I had been interested in UFOs and the possibility of extraterrestrial life as a kid and my first interests in reading the newspaper were following the progress of the University of Northern Colorado Project or Condon Committee in the late 1960s. I had my first UFO sighting at 17 during a ride-along with a State Patrol Officer, who was kind enough to “keep me in the loop” during the subsequent investigation. That was my first investigation and when word got out, local people began writing and telephoning me to assist with their sightings. Eventually, my investigations grew to include a fair amount of traveling and during the mid-90s I began spending my vacations in the Tikaboo Valley in Nevada, doing research on AREA 51. In 2005, my long time research partner decided he could no longer do these trips and my wife began to grow concerned about my traveling alone. She suggested I find some organization or group I could join rather than do my investigations alone. MUFON seemed like the natural choice, so I joined.
Journal: Being an investigator who has completed 356 cases for MUFON, you’ve seen many cases come and go. Is there one that stands out in your mind? Did it change any of your theories on UFOs, encounters, etc.?
Douglas: I could cite several cases that stand out as being memorable, but I think it’s the slow accumulation of bits-and-pieces from so many cases that indicate trends, similarities and a gradual compilation of knowledge that truly stimulated the changes in my perceptions and theories on UFOs.
Journal: Over the last few years, there has been an upsurge in UFO reports. What do you attribute this to?
Douglas: I think the upsurge in reports is due to the public’s increasing awareness of MUFON and the fact that they have discovered someone to whom they can report their sightings.
Journal: Do you feel that your experience and research working in this have changed through the years?
Douglas: Absolutely, many times. The longer I am involved with research and investigations, the more I learn and the more knowledge I gain. Increased knowledge requires one to reorganize and re-examine their hypotheses.
Journal: As a State Director, investigator and Star Team member, you’ve had the opportunity to work with new investigators coming into the field. What are the qualifications of a good investigator?
Douglas: Ideally, I think an investigator should have an open mind, a wealth of background knowledge, a strong attention to detail and a firm understanding of the Scientific Method.
Journal: Has your educational background with degrees in anthropology and geology contributed to your work with MUFON? Has it helped or hindered it?
Douglas: I don’t think true knowledge ever hinders any intellectual endeavor. But yes, my anthropology background has helped me a great deal. How the witness responds to unknown situations and stimuli is strongly influenced by their religious and cultural backgrounds, education and experience; all of which are best understood through anthropology. Also, there are a number of ways in which geology can be a factor in a UFO investigation.
Journal: In your bio, you mentioned that in 2011 you accompanied a National Geographic film crew to Tikaboo Valley near AREA 51 for a film shoot. That sounds very exciting. Can you share a little bit about it?
Douglas: In 2010, National Geographic decided to make their first foray into ufology. At first, the program was to be all about MUFON and MUFON recommended several members who National Geographic might want to interview. As the planning progressed, the decision was made to expand the scope of the project to include people, places and events outside of MUFON; however, two MUFON members were kept on the project, myself and Marc D'Antonio. Due to my experience researching AREA 51, I was sent to Tikaboo Valley with a four-person film crew. We spent three days in Tikaboo where we shot about 10 hours of footage, about half was interviews and the rest was location backdrop. We were lodged in a small group of cabins which is about a 45-minute drive outside of the valley on the other side of a mountain range. I tried to get the crew to spend time, after dark, in the valley where we might have been able to see, and film, some phenomenon, but they were totally uninterested. For some reason, they seemed to think the "holy grail" of opportunities would be to get footage of me being pulled over and questioned by local law enforcement! Fortunately for me, the only time law enforcement took any notice of our activities was when the Australian sound man made a beer run to Ash Springs, and I wasn't with him. I had a great time, the crew was a kick, but when the program was finally edited, I think they only used about fvie minutes of the footage, three minutes of me talking and two of me doing drive-bys in the desert.
Journal: Sounds like you work with a great MUFON bunch out in Colorado. Can you tell us how working in this field in Colorado may differ than in other parts of the country?
Douglas: There are so many great people in ufology all over the world. I think MUFON's very existence and reach proves that; however, I have been insanely fortunate to have such an exceptional team here in Colorado. It's their dedication, passion, knowledge and camaraderie that makes for such a great success in everything we do.
Journal: If you could go back in time and be the lead investigator in any case in UFO history, which one would it be?
Douglas: That's a tough one. Either the 1947 Maury Island case or the 1966 Portage Ohio case. I think the importance of both these cases has been incredibly underestimated.
Journal: Thank you again very much, Mr. Wilson, for sitting down with me for the MUFON One-on-One.
Douglas: Thank you, Marie, for the opportunity.
Journal: To suggest someone from within MUFON as the next One-On-One guest – please contact Marie Cisneros at firstname.lastname@example.org.