Editor’s Note: It is suggested you read Part 1 before continuing. The following is a transcript of the conversation between TESA founder Ryan Stacey and ufologist Chris Rutkowski.
We encourage Chris Rutkowski to contact Superstitious Times to present an editorial on his work.
The Conversation: Between March 31, 2017, and April 18, 2017
Ryan Stacey: “The only bad thing I have found, so far, is nothing huge, but something you may want to be mindful of in the future, someone may attack the credibility.”
“The math for your averages and totals is not correct with the information you have in the table. I am scanning the pages right now to show you what I mean. I have always been very good at math, but, please double check the math yourself, I went over these five times and had the same answers. Please verify yourself in case I made the same mistake five times.”
[I was referring to EXHIBIT C]
Chris Rutkowski: “No. I suspect you are right that there are some arithmetic errors. Part of it is that some cases got added into the database after the cut-off date every year. So, the database has more cases than is reflected in the yearly surveys. So that’s a good point and will mention it to Geoff. The averages aren’t really much use, anyway, so we had been thinking of dropping them”
- Off to a good start, he is human, and he made a mistake and appeared to be aware of it prior to me asking.
- Geoff appears to be an associate of his. I am learning this for the first time.
- According to the 2017 essay which can be found here: http://www.canadianuforeport.com/survey/essay/2017essay2.pdf
- The averaging was not dropped, and the numbers are inconstant. They do not reflect the same data as the 2016 Essay and have been changed. (EXHIBIT F)
RS: “Ok. It seems small at the moment but as a private investigator. I have used things like this to attack one’s credibility. That’s not a threat to you or anything, I just want you to understand how important credibility is with this type of stuff. If the averages are not needed, I agree with you, drop them. Don’t give anyone anything to use. Just a friendly tip for future reports.
[Re: The Strangeness data] “What is the process you take in deciding how strange a case is, and how do you decide on what rating to use?”
CR: “As for attacking the survey, Tim Printy reviews it every year and tears it apart. But as a devout debunker, he kind of has to. The process was given in previous years.”
“The assigning of a Strangeness rating to a UFO report is based on a classification adopted by researchers who note that the inclusion of a subjective evaluation of the degree to which a particular case is in itself unusual might yield some insight into the data. For example, the observation of a single, stationary, starlike light in the sky, seen for several hours, is not particularly unusual and might likely have a prosaic explanation such as that of a star or planet. On the other hand, a detailed observation of a saucer-shaped object which glides slowly away from a witness after an encounter with grey-skinned aliens would be considered highly strange.”
“The numbers of UFO reports according to strangeness rating show an inverse relationship such that the higher the strangeness rating, the fewer reports. The one exception to this relationship occurs in the case of very low strangeness cases, which are relatively few in number compared to those of moderate strangeness. It is suggested this is the case because in order for an observation to be considered a UFO, it must usually rise above an ad hoc level of strangeness, otherwise it would not be considered strange at all.
“The average strangeness rating for UFO reports during 1999 was 3.6, where one is considered not strange at all and nine is considered exceptionally unusual. This would seem to suggest that most UFOs reported are of objects which do not greatly stretch the imagination. Hollywood-inspired flying saucers are, in reality, relatively uncommon in UFO reports”
RS: “Just so I understand that correctly, the higher the popularity, the higher the strange level ?”
CR: “The higher the weirdness”
RS: “Who determines what is weird?”
CR: “I do It’s pretty straightforward and based on Hynek’s views on it.”
RS: “Okay. So, is it fair to say that the strangeness is opinion based?”
CR: “Consensus-based So light in the sky is low. A claim of telepathic contact with aliens is high”
- Tim Printy does exist and appears to be a skeptic. http://www.astronomyufo.com/
- Classifications are Rutkowski’s personal opinions.
RS: “Do you have a panel of judges?”
CR: “We used to have a roomful of people looking through each case and evaluating them. When the numbers got too much, it was left to data entry people and then a check by myself and/or one or two others.”
[Strangeness evaluations are based on Hynek’s work]
“Pretty straightforward. It’s consensus by ufologists on what constitutes strangeness “
RS: “Right, but for the purpose of YOUR survey. You are the one that makes the decision on the strangeness by using the work previously performed by Hynek. Correct?”
CR: “No. The data entry people, based on my advice. And then I or Geoff take a look later”
RS: “Okay. Forgive me, I am just trying to understand, so I can explain it simply to others. You collect the data from sources, then you use the Hynek scale to determine the strangeness, and then Geoff reviews it later? Am I getting it yet? How close am I?”
CR: “Geoff or myself, yes.”
- http://www.isaackoi.com/best-ufo-cases/20-quantitativecriteria-hynek-strangeness-and-probability.html is a dead link.
- Rutkowski takes credibility for the final assessment of the survey.
- Rutkowski mentions that Geoff is responsible as well.
- “Data Entry people” is vague and no specific. These people could be anyone.
CR: “Is strangeness an intuitively difficult concept?”
RS: “Ok. Here is where I am confused. When the sighing comes in, how is the strangeness determined BEFORE you and Geoff review it?”
CR: “By the data entry people, based on the Hynek criteria and our advice.”
RS: “Ok. Who are the data entry people? And when you say “our” does that only include you and Geoff? or are there others?”
CR: “Advice and directions from me and Geoff. Data entry people have been Ashley, Kelly, Brad, etc. This year it was Vicki and Kelly. And I did some data entry too”
RS: “Ok, so you have a fairly large team then. Based on everything I have read, it seemed like you were the sole person responsible for the survey.”
CR: “During the past 28 years, people have come and gone”
RS: “Okay. I understand that.”
CR: “But ultimately, I oversee it”
- Rutkowski leads a team but takes full responsibility for the end result.
RS: “I am only interested in those involved in the 2016 survey. Is that Geoff, Ashley, Kelly, and Brad? And yourself.”
RS: “Vicki is the only one involved this year? Or she is also added to the names I listed above?”
CR: “Also added Is any of this important?”
RS: “Yes, it is, I just need all the information before asking my next question is all. I understand your role in the survey, can you help me understand the others? What is Geoff’s responsibility within the survey?”
CR: “He’s the stats guy. He takes the database and generates the tables and charts.”
RS: “Great. Thank you. What about the rest, Ashley, Kelly, Brad, and Vicki?”
CR: “Data entry. Although Ashley has been doing investigations too.
RS: “Okay, and they all enter the data the same way?”
CR: “Yes, per our coding key.”
RS: “Investigation under who’s behalf?”
CR: “Ufology research.”
RS: “Okay. Is that where all the others are from as well?”
RS: “Ok great. So, if I was a witness and I sent in a case. The following is assumed: Either Ashley, Vikki, Brad, or Kelly, will talk to me, and then pass that information on to Geoff who will input the data in your database, and then it will be passed on to you for a final review. Am I understanding the process correctly?”
“We can safely say that at least three people have reviewed the data before it is included in the survey. Correct?”
CR: “If the report is received by Ufology Research directly. Otherwise, the data comes from other groups like MUFON, NUFORC, etc.”
RS: “Okay. I understand that. Great. Have you ever been a member of MUFON?”
CR: “No. But I’ve spoken at MUFON meetings I remain unaffiliated with any group to remain objective.”
RS: “Okay. Understandable. Are you familiar with the Vallee classification and the Ballester-Guasp Report Evaluator?”
CR: “Yes. We started the survey before Vallee had promoted his classification system. And Hynek’s was adequate given the limited information available for cases. We tried shifting to Vallee’s one year but it was too awkward.”
RS: “What year did you start? 1989?”
CR: “Yes. Hey, why don’t you take a look at previous years’ surveys on the website and also our 25-year cumulative study? Much of what you may be wondering about is there.”
RS: “Vallee introduced his first class in 1966, MUFON was founded in 1969 and adopted this class. It wasn’t until 1990 when Vallee came out with his second class, the one we use today. Were you not aware of this since you started in 1989? I don’t think it is possible for you to have been started before the class was invented. Since 2016 currently is composed of 53% of MUFON cases, why would you not chose to use the Vallee Classification and the Ballester-Guasp Report Evaluator?”
CR: “I said we started before it was widely promoted. At the time, in 1989, we decided to use the Hynek classification system instead. And until recently, relatively few MUFON cases have been included in the survey. We certainly would not change our classification system now because it would not allow consistent comparisons. And MUFON does its own analyses.”
“Look, the Canadian Survey is not perfect. We have come up with many ways in which it could be improved. But it’s a baseline study. One thing we would like to do (probably if we get some funding) is going back through all 18K reports and re-evaluate and enter them into a different database with more rigorous criteria.”
“It started as a simple counting program, to see how many reports there were per province and with dates and times and so forth. Nothing like it had been done by that time as a national project”
- MUFON was first mentioned in the 1994/1995 report as shown here: http://www.canadianuforeport.com/survey/data/9495data.html.
- That statement is valid although, subjective to opinion.
- I agree that it is a large project and a huge undertaking. The amount of work put into it, accurate or not, needs to be recognized.
RS: “Chris, I understand your defence here, I need you to understand that I am collecting information to determine whether or not MUFON should accept your survey as a reliable source of the material. I had only a few questions but your answers created more questions. I appreciate your time and co-operation, I only have a few more.”
CR: “That’s some chutzpah. If MUFON doesn’t want to accept the survey as reliable, that’s their business. The survey is based on the actual reports filed to more than a dozen separate organizations, of which MUFON is only one. There should be no need to make a decision like that at all.”
RS: “I apologize for upsetting you, not my intentions at all. I am only wanting you to help me understand it so I can determine the best way to use it. As you said it isn’t perfect, BUT there are many things that are useful. I only have two more questions. I’m looking at your data sheet and I see all the MUFON cases are you aware that each MUFON case has a five-digit code beside it?”
CR: “Now, about your question about being aware of MUFON’s case numbers. You ask me that one more time and I’ll clock you. You think I just started this last week? I did not include the MUFON case numbers.”
RS: “I know that. I am asking you why not?”
CR: “I didn’t want to add another field.”
RS: “Okay understandable. The difficulty here, is when I search our CMS, for the date you mentioned on line 3 for Gatineau Quebec, nothing comes up And we do not delete our reports If I had the code it would be easier to narrow down the search, but nothing for Gatineau comes up between Dec. 1, 2015 and Jan. 31, 2016.”
CR: “Not sure. I don’t have the hard copies in front of me I also don’t have access to CMS.”
RS: “Then how do you know these cases were reported to MUFON? The same for the next 3 cases for MUFON, no traces found in CMS using the information you provided.”
CR: “Until about November when the CMS was revised, the MUFON database was accessible to the public.”
RS: “For the last three years the 20 most recent sightings have been available to the public, and still are today.”
CR: “You are wrong and stop questioning my expertise. Terry Groff himself has said there’s a glitch and so does Rich Hoffman.”
RS: “Anyways, thank you, Chris, I appreciate your time. I have enough information to focus on a detail investigation. I will be going through the data report soon. And as for your threat ‘You ask me that one more time and I’ll clock you,’ need I remind you Chris, I am a provincial investigator, I can have you arrested for uttering threats. One phone call to your local police in your province and its done. I will be in touch. Thanks again for your time.”
CR: “You’re amazing. Can I ask why you are so focused on the Canadian UFO Survey? So, what I perceived was banter was perceived as a threat, alright. I apologize for that comment.”
RS: “I understand your defence. You have been doing this for 28 years, and then all of a sudden you are being interrogated. It wasn’t intended to be that way, unfortunately, it is how it turned out as a result of your answers. I am not your enemy. I am just collecting information perhaps from a perspective you never experienced before, and at the very least I hope I gave you some tips and tools to look out for 2017 when you send out your report.”
“I don’t care about the other organizations, but if you are going to mention or affiliate with MUFON, I care that your information is accurate and cited.”
CR: “I certainly will be much more careful from now on Would you be willing to provide 2017 case data for next year’s survey so that there are no errors?”
RS: “I don’t see a problem with that, but I would need to seek permission from those above me first before I do that. Is that okay?”
CR: “Certainly. As you know, I don’t include personal witness info, so there is no security concern.”
RS: “Okay. I will be in touch.”
- Rutkowski understands authority. His attitude changed immediately when he was advised of what he had said out of anger.
- Rutkowski is aware that I will be providing him data before his survey release in 2017.
- The conversation ended positively.
- Rutkowski may not have ever experienced an interrogation like this before. His behavior was anticipated and was as expected.
- My position at this point is to educate and inform him to help enhance the work that he has done all these years, at the same time ensure that above all, the MUFON data he reports is 100 percent accurate.
- I do hope that by releasing this report, I encourage the other reporting agencies that Rutkowski draws from does the same.
April 18: Constructive Criticism
Even though I had already gone through the report and calculated my percentages, I went over the document a few times over again and again to make sure I wasn’t missing anything or doing the wrong math. I even shared the information with a few colleagues to get their perspective on the situation to make sure that I was not overacting.
Once I was through with that process, I reached out to Rutkowski again with the intent of making him aware of how severe the situation was and offering a way to help him enhance his survey before someone else realizes what I have come to learn. (EXHIBIT G)
RS: “Hey Chris, I’m going to need about another week to complete the analysis of the data sheet. I have to tell you that so far, I’m not impressed with the accuracy. When I am done, I will have a few suggestions and options on how we move forward. I will tell you two things right now.”
- I am scheduled to report my analysis public when complete
- You will be requested and strongly advised not to include MUFON data with your future reports.
“But I do have some positive solutions that will hopefully allow you to continue what you are doing in conjunction with MUFON. If I go public with my current findings it will affect your work significantly. Luckily, I feel that your intent is genuine and the effort is great and I truly don’t believe that these inconsistencies are on purpose.
“Despite how bad this sounds; I do want to help you improve and develop a better survey for the future in a way that minimally effects your progress and your reputation. I do apologize for leading this on as long as I did, but there are a lot of things I need you to fix. I will contact you soon and hopefully, we can arrange a positive chat and decide how we move forward from here.”
“For now, if you are collecting MUFON data for 2017, I suggest you stop and wait for my solutions. I have been authorized to give you accurate information. So, there is a solution here.”
“I can’t avoid responding to the media but I have delayed them long enough to allow me to negotiate with you before talking to them. It would be in your best interest to have the upper hand. Talk soon.”
- I am aware of how the message will be perceived based on the way Rutkowski reacted prior. I have taken every ounce of consideration to deliver this message as sensitive as I could without omitting or avoiding any of the pressing matters.
CR: “It would be useful to explain why 2017 is inaccurate.”
RS: “2016 you mean?”
RS: “I do plan on explaining yes. I just want to make sure I’m 100 percent sure and I have enough time to block when we discuss it.”
CR: “Is it a matter of us not getting, say, the colour, right? The data and time? The conclusion? Is that what you mean? How do I interpret the photo you sent? Date and time?”
- Rutkowski is referring to Exhibit D
RS: “The photo is the back sheet of your survey. Right now, I’m analyzing what you recorded against what exists. Accuracy is important for one’s credibility.”
CR: “Yes, you keep saying that. What on the back sheet\of the survey is inaccurate? In what way?”
RS: “The report is 26 pages. The back sheet is where I’m collecting my date. The entire document is not accurate.”
CR: “What is inaccurate with the cases listed on the back page, for example? Pick one. Maple Ridge, December 25th. When you say the “entire document is not accurate,” does that mean that each entry is false in your opinion?”
RS: It is either accurate or its not.
CR: “And again, I ask, what is wrong with Maple Ridge, Dec. 25?”
RS: “Our standards are 100 percent accuracy.”
CR: “So, what you are saying is that MUFON data is 100 percent accuarate?”
- I am allowing him to interrogate me to get a sense of his confidence level. Rutkowski is either lying or genuinely making mistakes and I don’t want to make any accusations unless I am 100 percent certain as Rutkowski has a lot at stake.
- I wanted him to twist my words, and he did exactly as I set up.
RS: “That is not what I said. I can see that you are getting defensive again, I want to remind you that I’m trying to help you as a courtesy. I don’t need to. I can report my findings to the media at any time and make things really uncomfortable for you. Please understand that I see the report’s potential and I am trying to help you. I need more time to go through the rest of the provinces. Please be patient. It is in your best interested to cooperate with me. Don’t make me your enemy.”
CR: “I’m not being defensive. I am trying to understand your comments.”
RS: “I know Chris. Perhaps what I’ll do is arrange a phone call when I’m ready?”
CR: “So, what you are saying is that you believe the survey is inaccurate. And that you will tell media that if I do not follow your recommendations. Is that not what you are saying? I would rather any exchange be via email or text message, thank you. It is easier for me to review my statements that way.”
- He is trying to make this look like blackmail instead of honest investigating. I can see how he sees it that way based on what has been transpired and what is at stake. The fact that he is thinking this way would suggest that he is aware he is in hot water.
- He is wise to save his conversations. No excuses.
- My response to the media is a newspaper article about my thoughts on the stats provided by Rutkowski. If I say no comment, then that requires explanation. I am trying my best to get a good sense of what Rutkowski has been doing so that I can honestly defend him if need be.
RS: “I have to report to the media no matter what. I’m expected to. And I’ve been delaying so I can talk to you first. Because I want you to be an ally, not an enemy. I can say one of two things. One, the documents are inaccurate and this is why. Or, two, Rutkowski is limited with his resources and MUFON Canada has agreed to assist Rutkowski in making his survey better for 2017 and the years to come. But before I can make you a deal, I need to know all the errors in the report to make sure that I can fix them.”
“Option 3, Mufon Canada does their own report without you and then we have to explain why we don’t use yours. What you need to understand is I’m trying to avoid lying to the media and prevent being backed in a corner and discrediting your 28 years of work. Do you understand that I’m trying to help you? This needs to be clear. I am trying to help you to preserve your work as a courtesy. Do you understand this?”
CR: “I see. It is certainly clear.”
RS: “Ok. My plans are to share with you all my concerns with a suggestion on how to improve your survey with the aid of MUFON Canada.”
CR: “And when do you think you can inform me of the errors in the 2016 survey?”
RS: “We want you to present at ACE next year, but we need to clear this up first.”
CR: “I would rather have MUFON be part of the annual survey.”
RS: “Just to make sure we are on the same page, do you see that I am trying to help you?”
CR: “You are trying, yes.”
RS: “Okay, good! So, please be a bit more patient and allow me more time. I just wanted to keep you updated on my situation I need a least another week.”
- Full transparency.
- Rutkowski is willing to accept advice and appears to be cooperative.
April 19: The Next Day
I saved the Toronto Star article that was given to me as a reference point. This is why you will see the date as April 19, 2017. (EXHIBIT A)
I have emailed Rutkowski with EXHIBITS B, C, and D as attachments. I told Chris to review the images and explain the reason for missing reports and adding MUFON reports that we have no record for.
Shortly after, I have received calls from Jan Harzan, the executive director of MUFON, inquiring what I was doing. Rutkowski had created a fuss with Harzan, who did not know me at the time. Rutkowski painted the picture of blackmail, demanded I make a public apology and have me demoted from MUFON, if not removed entirely.
I am not sure how serious Harzan reacted, because since then, I have been promoted by him personally as National Director for FI Training, and after resigning from that position, I was then promoted from Ontario Chief to National Chief Investigator for Canada.
If I had done anything wrong in the sense with Rutkowski, there was plenty of reason to deny my advancement.
Shortly after the call from Harzan, I had learned that I had been blocked on social media by Rutkowski.
share your thoughts on the conversation above while keeping in mind that my
interrogation was intentional and Rutkowski’s responses were voluntary.
It should now be clear that my reason for these articles is to get this message to Rutkowski so that he can have the fair opportunity to discuss and defend his work.
Since Part 1, I have received “attention” from individuals in Rutkowski’s circle, yet not a peep from the man himself.
I encourage all who read this to share this with Rutkowski.
To Be Continued…
Part 3 will be posted in and around the end of May or early June. I will share the events that transpired from April 19, 2017, up to the day I released Part 1.
If I still haven’t heard from Rutkowski by then, Part 4 will be released in July revealing all exhibits mentioned in these reports, and I will personally mail him copies.