As the evenings draw in, the candles flicker, and the leaves wither and fall, ancient fears and dark rumours gather around these darkly dreaming spires. The anodyne veneer of the modern world, the brittle certainty of our science, falters in the face of the primal fears that come with the night.
At this time of year, when our resolve against the unknown is at its
weakest, we must remember our strengths, our tools, and our ideals. As Halloween approaches, as scientists, rather than turning away from our methods we must embrace them and apply them to the darkness around us.
Folklore, legends, myth. Hauntings, strange creatures in the mist, and
unidentified lights in the sky. From early terrified reports, to modern
documentation, the data concerning these arcane phenomena has swelled, as has our ability and willingness to lay them bare, to subject them to analysis, and to interrogate their secrets.
This year, we will tremblingly delve into a Bayesian analysis of seventy years of UFO sightings, drawn from the National UFO Reporting Center (NUFORC) dataset. Scepticism, doubt, and (frankly) statistical rigor may be cast aside.