Audio Interviews—Alternate Perceptions Magazine, May 2021
Hosted by Brent Raynes
DONALD A. JOHNSON, Ph.D.: UFOCAT – Tracking the UFOs
Donald Johnson has been a counseling psychologist, organizational consultant, and test developer for over 35 years, and has been living and teaching in Thailand since 2003. He received his B.A. in anthropology in 1975 from the University of Colorado and his Ph.D. in psychology in 1987 from the University of Washington. Dr. David R. Saunders was his mentor in psychology and UFO research, whom he first met in 1971.
Dr. Johnson has had a long term interest in the UFO phenomenon dating back to the Michigan "swamp gas" UFO wave of 1966, and maintains a computer database of over 178,000 UFO reports for the J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies, called UFOCAT. He was the former MUFON State Director for Washington State from 1986-1988, and the MUFON State Director for New Jersey from 1988-1992, and served on the CUFOS Board of Directors during the 1990s. He is the author of The UFOCAT User’s Guide (2003), published by CUFOS. He is also an avid student of cultural and biological anthropology, behavioral genetics, and the evolutionary history of human beings.
Editor’s Note: This was a long overdue interview. Sometime back around the late 1960s, when Donald and I were both teenagers, we briefly corresponded. Back then I was a reader of his mimeographed magazine Flying Saucer Observer. He lived in Connecticut and I lived in Maine. Our connection ended when he went off to college. After all of these many years, both of us continuing our involvement in the UFO field, we finally reconnected, and as you’ll discover in our interview we had a good deal to catch up on! Though he’s now half-way around the world, 12 hours away over in Bangkok, Thailand, thanks to Skype we were able to easily reconnect once again.
Donald has pondered possible patterns to the UFO activity, hot spots and where activity has clustered over the years, and recently wrote me: “The list hasn't changed much since the last time I did this about 20 years ago. The western states, upper midwest, and northeastern states produce more hotspots than the southeast region. I am not sure if that is due to reporting dynamics or the real phenomenon. People in the Bible Belt tend not to report UFOs (1973 was an exception). Missouri is also an exception, being both in the Bible Belt and a region of UFO hotspots.
“About 50 years ago David Saunders looked at Orthoteny (remember that he published an article in FSR "Is BAVIC Remarkable?" in which he showed that Aime Michel's 1954 Bayonne to Vichy line was statistically very significant.) A number of very important cases fall on BAVIC. If you extend the great circle line into South America, the Antonio Villas Boas abduction case in Sao Francisco de Sales falls on the line!
“There is an orthotenic line that runs from Monterrey, California to Baltimore, Maryland (David called that line MOBAL). It runs through southern Missouri, and I think that is why Missouri overproduces reports. There is a book by Ben Mezrich, "The 37th Parallel: The Secret Truth behind America's UFO Highway". He is partially correct, but what he is writing about is not being caused by the 37th Parallel. Rather, it is due to the Great Circle line MOBAL, which happens to run close to the 37th parallel through Colorado, Kansas, and Missouri.
“There are two more important orthotenic lines in the USA. One that parallels the Appalachian Mountains in the Eastern US. I think it is the extension of AUPER that runs through France and intersects BAVIC at a hotspot in south-central France. And there is another one that runs north-south through Minnesota and down through Louisiana.”
He added: “There are currently 177,283 unexplained UFO reports in UFOCAT, and 114,666 are in the United States (excluding Hawaii, which I include in the Pacific region).” [April 20]