A lot of UFO researchers have never seen a UFO themselves, and yet something about the subject fascinates them, compels them to research the phenomena. It's not an issue if one has seen one or not, not for me, -- if we reverse it how many UFO witnesses turn to writing or research? The fact that there are many out there who find the topic endlessly fascinating and explore it in various ways and from diverse perspectives is a gift. Thankfully there are people out there, whether they've seen UFOs or not, that feel it's important enough to investigate.
I myself have seen UFOs, and, being a writer, put the two together. Regan Lee; Experiencer-Pontificator At Large, that's me.
When it comes to Bigfoot however, I'm in the "haven't seen one"camp. I've never seen one, and even said to Jeremy Vaeni, during a Book of Thoth interview, that I hope I never do. I don't know why I said that; on thinking about it, it would be fantastic to see one. But I've never seen one, never heard one or smelt one, never saw tracks up close. I do know people who've seen one, as well as know people who know people who've seen one. (I live in Oregon, where it's easy to find Bigfoot witnesses.)
I find myself becoming more intrigued by Bigfoot stories and research all the time, and have come to a few little theories. One, Bigfoot exists. I mean really, what is it that witnesses are seeing? Two, there is some relationship that goes beyond the flesh and blood, "Giant Ape" idea. Orbs, telepathic communications, UFOs, Bigfoot dematerializing, seem to accompany Bigfoot in many cases. This is the area in particular that I find fascinating.
I'm fortunate in that people e-mail me with their stories and photographs of this weirder aspect of Bigfoot. Something about this phenomena compels me, and it isn't because I myself have seen either orbs or Bigfoot. Yet I'm drawn to these tales nonetheless. What's interesting about this aspect of research is my initial reaction to the idea there was "paranormal" Bigfoot. The first I heard of such a thing, I thought it was truly "nuts," and a real abberation. And, one of a kind. Until I began to come across another story, then another, then one more ... finding that there are countless accounts out there of a paranormal Bigfoot.
When it comes to ghosts, I've seen them. Heard them, smelled them, and seen them in action. I've felt them literally go right through me. They exist all right. But I don't feel particularly compelled to research haunted places or go much further with ghosts, other than stand in a spot, go with what I feel/sense/know, and move on. Maybe I'll take some photos for my own use, but that' about it. I'm not interested in "hunting"ghosts, or communicating with them. If ghosts were about in my own home (and they have been) I'd engage, but with other situations, I leave them be. Unless they go out of their way to bother me.
Like a lot of Bigfoot research, where teams of people move in with all kinds of electronic equipment and make a lot of noise, I find that whole approach intrusive and self defeating. Calling out ghosts to come and show themselves -- I mean really, how'd you like it if you found yourself dead, and a bunch of bozos came lumbering through, demanding you perform for them? And what if they started praying at you, waving crosses around? Fine if you're a Christian, but I can tell you that I'd be one extremely ticked off ghost if someone had the arrogance to do that to me. Then we'd get into all kinds of trouble, for my reaction would be construed as "demonic"and someone would have to go and get up an exorcism, which would just tick me off more, and before you know it, we have another The Amityville Horror on our hands.
Some things should be done quietly, with one or a very few people. It's foolish to go off in the woods by yourself, but looking for Bigfoot takes a purposeful yet quiet and respectful approach. Easy for me to say, I've never seen a Bigfoot, so how would I know? I'm just going on instinct. Something within me tells me this is the way.
However, with UFOs, it's another matter. The more people involved, the better. The more data, the more witnesses that come forward, the different approaches from a variety of areas (hard science to folklore, etc.) the richer the investigation of UFOs will be.
Although, as with looking for Bigfoot and listening to ghosts, there's something to be said for standing by yourself under the sky, just simply ... looking up.