Journal: Tell us what brought you to MUFON.
Bill: While I’ve had a number of personal UFO sightings in my life, one, in particular, was the one that steered me to contacting MUFON and inspired me to join. In February of 1989, two friends and I saw three lights - one blue, one white, and one red – doing strange maneuvers directly overhead in the night sky. I was a high school senior at the time. A few years later, I described this sighting to a college friend and she said I should report the sighting to a UFO investigative group. I found MUFON and was impressed with how well they handled my report, so I decided I wanted to join and investigate UFOs myself, hoping that participation would provide a conduit to uncovering answers to the many mysterious things I’ve witnessed. I’m glad I joined and have remained a member for over two decades. There is nothing else out there quite like MUFON.
Journal: How long have you been with MUFON?
Bill: I’ve been a member since reporting my high school sighting in 1993. Before I became Michigan’s State Director in 2004, I was an investigator, Michigan MUFON Newsletter editor, one-time webmaster of mufon.com, and current webmaster of Michigan’s site mimufon.org.
Bill: The sighting case that personally stands out the most is a local gentleman in March 2005 who reported that a UFO had landed in his backyard for an hour, one afternoon in September 2004. He sat and watched the car-sized, wedge-shaped, black craft silently by himself from his living room couch until it flew off. During this time, there was no direct interaction between the witness and the craft. He was profoundly shaken by his sighting, even though it had been six months since he’d seen it that he reported it to me. There is no doubt in my mind he was telling me exactly what happened. While this investigation didn’t change any of my theories, it stuck with me how deeply a close encounter can affect a witness who had never previously paid the topic of UFOs much attention.
Journal: In your book Experiencer: Raised in Two Worlds you relate some of your encounters through the years. Tell us about one of them.
Bill: My very first memory in life is from age two. A little gray being came into my room and stared down into my crib at me for several seconds before walking out. I’ve always had this memory with me, not something I remembered years later, and it was a completely real and physical event. I’ve had many more unusual sightings and encounters while growing up, as well, and ultimately combined my many notes into a book. This was some difficult stuff to share and I feel blessed that it’s been so well-received.
Journal: Interest in MUFON seems to have greatly increased since “Hangar 1: The UFO Files.” What has been the impact of that show as it relates to MUFON in the state of Michigan?
Bill: While there’s maybe been a marginal bump in UFOs reported in Michigan, there has been a significant increase in folks coming to our state meetings and public presentations. I always enjoy the looks of surprise on the faces of librarians when a UFO talk brings in several times the number of patrons they’re used to seeing for a typical guest speaker. On a related note, we’re hoping for a strong turnout for our upcoming March 19 “Swamp Gas UFO Conference” here in Michigan (swampgasufo.com). This event is completely devoted to the 50th anniversary of the great UFO flap that occurred in Southeast Michigan in 1966 which led the USAF to infamously declare that what witnesses were seeing was nothing but swamp gas. This story has got it all: several hundred witnesses, major media coverage, J. Allen Hynek, Gerald Ford, the demise of Project Blue Book. Truly fascinating stuff. Historic.
Journal: Do you feel there are any corners of Ufology that are understudied?
Bill: As difficult as this is to study, it’s a fact that a surprising number of UFO witnesses and (especially) abductees commonly also experience other so-called paranormal phenomena, such as spirits, cryptids, and psychic phenomena. It’s easy to hypothesize that there’s some kind of link between them, but really tricky to meaningfully investigate.
Journal: There is a lot of discussion about government disclosure on UFOs. Do you think that will happen in our lifetime? If so, how do you think that will impact MUFON?
Bill: I don’t put much focus on conjecture over what the government knows or doesn’t know or will or is willing to say when MUFON has so many exceptional sightings coming in directly to our organization. It’s tough enough to keep up with the UFO reality that’s on our plates, let alone wonder what the government may have on theirs. I will say, though, that, if the government eventually does show it’s hand, I think MUFON will publicly raise to the level of exceptional importance that we members already know it is. The public will ask, “What do we already know about UFOs?” MUFON will reply with many thousand ready-to-read sighting investigations.
Journal: Is there anyone at MUFON that you have never actually met that you would like
to talk with?
Bill: Several years back, I missed an opportunity to see John Keel give a presentation and will likely never forgive myself. He’s passed now but his insights on the UFO phenomena are still an important voice in the conversation. I strongly encourage everyone to read his material on the topic which encourages one to think outside the box when ruminating on the phenomenon.
Journal: Thank you very much Bill for sitting down with us for the MUFON One-On-One. To suggest someone from within MUFON as the next One-On-One guest – please get in touch with Marie Cisneros at firstname.lastname@example.org.