The National UFO Reporting Center (NUFORC), founded in 1974, by investigator Robert J. Gribble, receives, records, documents, and corroborates reports from individuals who have witnessed unusual, possibly UFO-related events.¹ NUFORC’s online database contains 150,000 reports of unexplained aerial phenomena from all 50 American states, the 13 provinces of Canada, and countries around the world.
Gribble’s fascination with UAP began in 1954 when he happened to pick up a copy of True Magazine. An article about UFOs led him to Donald Kehoe’s book, Flying Saucers Are Real, which he found convincing. Gribble established one of the very first UAP organizations, The Space Observers League, soon renamed Civilian Flying Saucer Intelligence and then Aerial Phenomenon Research Group (ARPG). He launched a newsletter, Flying Saucer Review (and then ARPG. Reporter) which grabbed the reader’s attention with titles such as “UFOs Swarm Over Northern Midwest States,” “Mysterious Object Sighted in Sky Over Montana,” and “Giant Disc Seen Over New Jersey.” He even had a Brazilian researcher report on UAP sightings there.
While his research drew wide attention and media interest, Gribble could not sustain the combined demands of his UAP research and full-time job as a firefighter in Seattle. He quit the field in 1971 and threw away all of his material, but could not shake his passion for the subject
In 1974, Gribble founded the National UFO Reporting Center (NUFORC). The purpose of this endeavor was to provide the public with a means to report UAP sightings systematically. He reached out to sheriff’s offices to let them know there was a place to direct people who wanted to report a UAP sighting. Word spread, and NUFORC gained credibility. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) instructed pilots to refer such encounters to NUFORC. Airports and military bases kept NUFORC’s hotline number (206-722-3000) at the ready. For the next two decades Gribble acted as a one-man clearinghouse for UAP information and operator of the 24/7 on hotline.
In 1994 Gribble turned over operations to Peter Davenport, a biochemist with lifelong interest in UAP. Davenport moved NUFORC’s center of operations from Seattle to a former Atlas nuclear missile site about 50 miles west of Spokane.² NUFORC, said one press report, “is basically a telephone, tape recorder and desktop computer run in an underground bunker by one man who collects and publishes UFO reports from across the country.” NUFORC also has a Twitter account that automatically sends out the latest UAP reports to the Center’s 350 followers.³
Davenport supports NUFORC with his own financial resources and occasional contributions from donors. “There is really no adequate reason to explain why I do this,” Davenport told Stanford alumni magazine in 2007. “I simply believe that this evidence is of supreme importance to the American people.”⁴
NUFORC’s online database is searchable by date, locations, and shape of the UFO. The NUFORC’s data can also be downloaded. Timothy Renner, a machine learning engineer, has created a site on the GitHub platform that “contains the code necessary to collect the data in the [NUFORC] database, perform some standardization and cleaning, and geocode the sightings at the city/state level.”⁵
Audio recordings collected by NUFORC over the years are also available. Wendy Connors, a former U.S. Air Force employee who specialized in the preservation of historic recordings and photographs, created an audio archive of interviews and witness statements collected by Gribble. The recording categories include Project Blue Book, High Strangeness, National UFO Reporting Center Recordings, Humanoid Encounters, Alien Abduction and Animal Mutilation, and Law Enforcement and UFOs.⁶
Using NUFORC data, Business Insider reported in 2018 that “reports of UFO sightings has been in massive decline for the past few years. The slump started in 2014, after years of increased sightings. "The significant decrease in the number of reports has baffled everyone investigating within the UFO field," Davenport said.⁷
Sightings rebounded to 6,315 in 2019 and and 7,315 in 2020, according to the NUFORC database, only to decline to 3,412 in 2021.⁸