50 years of UFO research is being made public — but it could take 10 years to catalog

Desperate depressed businessman with lots of paperwork in his messy office at night, he is leaning o...
ByTebany Yune

When Stanton T. Friedman, nuclear physicist and prominent ufologist, AKA someone who studies UFO phenomena, passed away in May, archivists in New Brunswick, Canada had already gathered his vast collection of UFO documents for preservation. According to a report by Motherboard, Friedman had over five cargo vans worth of reports, notes, and lectures on UFO sightings. Nearly 50 years of UFO data that was scattered everywhere — and the archivists have to categorize it all.

Joanna Aiton Kerr, manager of the Provincial Archives in New Brunswick, described the files as a whirlwind of papers. "We can find a single page of a letter or document in one pile, another page somewhere across the room, another page tucked into a book, and so on." The discovery came as a surprise to other ufologists, who had assumed Friedman was incredibly organized given his thorough and well-referenced presentations.

Friedman was most famous for being the "original civilian investigator" of the Roswell UFO incident in 1947. During that event, he interviewed a witness and documented the recovery of the unidentified materials found, pushing the idea of extraterrestrial spacecrafts into public view. He spent the majority of his career debating the existence of extraterrestrials, advocating to the U.S. House of Representatives for more transparency into the Air Force's UFO research, writing books about UFO incidents, and creating hypothesis over the origins of UFOs.

A career like that creates a lot of paperwork, and organizing the files is a gargantuan effort. Kerr told Motherboard that 25 boxes have been processed for public viewing, but there's still a lot more to plow though. It could take up to 10 years to catalog everything with their current resources at the archives. Even with two full-time employees dedicated to working solely on his collection, the ideal amount of help needed, it would still take 3-4 years. And the library currently lacks the funds to hire additional archivists.

The Provincial Archives is not deterred from the task, however. The archivists continue to dedicate at least one day per week strictly to sorting through Friedman's work. "There is definitely a demand to see the records," said Kerr, "and we definitely feel the pressure to make it available as fast as we can — but we also want to do the work right."

The project has caught the interest of UFO believers and critics alike, especially as more sky-bound mysteries pop up here and there. "[T]he collection is like looking through King Tut’s tomb," said one ufologist to Motherboard. Perhaps, in the future, we'll be able to use Friedman's works as a historical reference as we continue to learn more about these UFO sightings.