Miscommunication that humans haveRon Westrum, Eastern Michigan University sociologist of science, has written of anomalous phenomena: "If they are seen they are typically not reported, if reported they are typically not recorded, if recorded they are typically not transmitted, and if transmitted they are typically not believed." For this reason, Westrum says, he calls anomalies "hidden events."
He describes two incidents which exemplify the difficulty human beings have in communicating or receiving information about anomalies. In a case which occurred in Washington state, five persons witnessed a strange UFO event. Among them were a married couple. The wife refused to discuss the experience afterwards with her husband, and her silence contributed to their subsequent divorce. The wife and another female witness later married other men and did not talk about it with their new spouses. Her former husband became obsessed with the experience and, according to his second wife, suffered regular nightmares.
Concerning the receiving end of the transmission, Westrum recounts an academic experience. While an undergraduate, he suggested to a professor, described as a "brilliant sociologist," that it might be interesting to study how society deals with UFO reports. The professor replied, -UFOs are only interesting if they have little green men in them, and anyone who thinks they have little green men in them is crazy." Westrum remarks:
This nicely summarizes much of the scientific community's attitude toward anomalous events generally: if they are really there, they are terrifically important, but since they are not, why worry? Or, looked at another way: If there was something that important, there is simply no way it could have been overlooked....
I have spent a considerable amount of time studying the generation, transmission, and evaluation of information about anomalies, and my conclusion is very different. It is evident that all kinds of events can be witnessed and even reported without the scientific community's knowing anything about it.