By Paul Seaburn
If there’s something strange flying in your neighborhood … who ya gonna call? If you’re anywhere in Europe, the only place left to call is the government UFO center in France, the last state-run publicly-funded alien hunters on the continent.
The Study Group and Information on Non-Identified Aerospace Phenomenon, or Geipan for short, is part of France’s National Centre for Space Studies headquartered in Toulouse. While the parent organization has over 1,500 employees, Geipan has a staff of four and a dozen volunteers working diligently for Xavier Passot, who says they receive an average of two UFO reports a day.
For every sighting, Geipan requires an 11-page form to be filled out in order to obtain all pertinent information, especially pictures and videos, while eliminating hoaxes and clear cases of mistaken UFO identity. The data is then posted on their website, which gets 30,000 hits per month.
The Geipan staff will conduct investigations of credible or unusual sightings. They have access to commercial and military aircraft flight paths and contacts with air traffic controllers. They contact local police and occasionally go onsite to interview both the spotters and neighbors who might be shy about admitting they saw a UFO.
After eliminating the usual suspects – balloons, meteors, drones, Chinese lanterns, too much partying, etc. – Geipan still has around 400 cases reported since the 1970s that haven’t been explained.
Is that enough to keep the Study Group and Information on Non-Identified Aerospace Phenomenon open? The UK and Denmark didn’t think so, having been the last two other European countries with UFO offices until closing them. Perhaps the notoriety of being the only UFO office left standing will be enough to convince the proud French to keep theirs open.
Merci beaucoup, Geipan.