From SKYLOOK Magazine, December 1973, No.73

SKYNET - Making Sense From Confusion

By Ann Druffel, SKYNET Director

 

When asked for a one-page article on SKYNET's purpose and function, I thought it would be easy to describe the project which has occupied a great part of my research time during the past eight years. It has proved a difficult task, however, to summarize SKYNET's multiple purposes and results, originally conceived by the Los Angeles NICAP Subcommittee in 1965, SKYNET, a unique UFO tracking/identification system, is now an official adjunct of the Mutual UFO Network and its Southern California Section.

In view of the present nationwide flap and the heightened scientific approach to UFO research, Walt Andrus, MUFON Director, and the MUFON members in our area feel it is time to spread the idea of SKYNET to other cities and rural localities throughout the country.

Basically, SKYNET is a group of dedicated UFO researchers and other interested citizens, comprising a loosely-knit skywatch team. It involves immediate dissemination of sighting information, prompt investigation and analysis of results for correlative purposes.

The heart of the system is the SKYNET map. Though concentrated in the Los Angeles Basin, the map's southern limit is San Diego near the Mexican border, its northern rim is the Antelope Valley, its eastern edge is the Santa Ana-Orange County area of Heflin fame, and the western edge is the Pacific Ocean and its offshore islands.

The location of each of 52 member locations are marked with numbered signal dots, their numbers corresponding to information on a Member List. Each member is provided a map, list, and Instructions on Procedure. By means of these, which are kept current through laborious detailed work, each member knows who lives in line-of-sight of any unexplained object in the sky. The equipment available to SKYNET runs through the usual cameras, binoculars, elevation-finders, compasses, recorders, telescopes etc. up to such exotic devices as UFO doctors, a radio telescope, and an advanced design fisheye camera/magnetometer invention!

The gathering of good UFO reports is SKYNET's main task. But we have gained spinoff results such as the sharpening of identification skills. Having become familiar with local atmospheric conditions, some peculiar to the Los Angeles area, we have learned to recognize many conventional objects which can become twisted into weird and puzzling shadows of their real selves. In addition, we have detected recurring phenomena such as mystifying "cloud cigars" in the Santa Catalina Channel and small, craft-like objects in Orange County which have a penchant for close approaches to witnesses, an in spite of all its exhausting and time-consuming work, SKYNET has proved well worthwhile. Statistical studies are now being made on the more than 200 cases already on our report charts. The data is being fed into the MUFON computer lists and Dave Saunder's UFOCAT.

If there are readers out there who feel they might like to begin a SKYNET system in their area, they are invited to write me at ann@anndruffel.com


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