Information for API Witnesses
Note to API Volunteers: this is meant to be tailored to the witness and the case. You should feel free to use your own words, or simply pass along the link to this document and let the witness read it at their leisure. We don’t want to overwhelm people with a lot of information before we get started.
Thank you for sharing your experience with us. We want you to know what you can expect from API, before, during and after our investigation. We also want you know what we will need from you in order to conduct a good investigation, and hopefully help you understand what it was you saw.
Before the Investigation
Whether you requested anonymity or not, we will protect your privacy and not reveal any information about you to the public, media, or other organizations at any time without your permission.
Please note that we are only interested in talking to primary witnesses. We will not investigate hearsay reports.
If you do not request an investigation, then generally we will not investigate, but if the case appears to be of particularly high quality we may contact you to ask you to reconsider.
As soon as possible after your experience please make as many sketches as necessary to illustrate what you saw (you do not need to be an accomplished artist), and write down as many details as you can recall.
Depending upon our caseload, we may elect not to investigate a particular case. We will let you know that as soon as we make that decision. Our priority is recent cases with multiple, credible adult witnesses or physical evidence. It is rare that we investigate cases solely based upon childhood memories, or cases older than 10 years, although there are exceptions made.
If we do decide to investigate, the assigned Field Investigator (FI) will contact you to set up a time for a witness interview. If there are minors involved, we will also request parental permission. We will not interview very young children, although they are invited to submit a sketch.
If you may have been harmed in any way by the experience, your first priority should be to seek medical attention before contacting us.
During the Investigation
Our priority is to determine the indisputable facts of the case. The FI will probe for specifics: times, date, locations, direction, apparent size, color and so on. Some witnesses are surprised by the number of details that are important to an investigation. If you don’t clearly remember something, or are not sure, then you should tell us.
The FI may determine that more than one witness interview is necessary as new facts come to light. These interviews will usually be recorded, but the recordings will not be made public without your permission.
Please stay in touch with the FI and answer his or her e-mails or other communications as soon as you can. We understand that your time is valuable, and will not contact you more than necessary.
If digital photographic or video evidence is involved, it is important that we have the original file(s), unaltered, straight out of the camera or mobile device, unprocessed by any software. We will not examine images that have been cropped or enhanced. If your camera uses an SD or CF card, please remove it and put it in a safe place. It is very important to maintain a chain of custody for all evidence.
If there are aspects to your experience that you find troubling or that cause you emotional distress, then you can expect us to listen respectfully and without judgment, but please note that we are not trained or qualified to serve as therapists. We recommend that you seek out a PhD psychologist should you need help to recover your serenity.
We will not pay you for the rights to any evidence or testimony. Any request for payment from a witness results in immediate closure of the case and the end of API’s involvement.
After the Investigation is Closed
You have the right to know about the conclusions of our investigation and to receive a copy of our report. We would ask you not to take our conclusions personally. Given the vagaries of human memory and perception, it is in no way impugning your character or honesty should we conclude that your experience is the result of an unusual experience of a usual object. The majority of our cases are explainable in this way, and most of our witnesses are happy to learn of this.
Although we close a certain proportion of our cases as unidentified, that should not be construed as identifying the experience as being otherworldly in origin. We will also assign a probability and strangeness rating to your case, depending upon objective criteria.
We will not attempt to sell the rights to your story, although we do reserve the right to reveal the case evidence – expunged of all personal information – to whomever we choose, either publicly or privately. This includes copies of photographs, videos, or physical evidence collected or received from you. Our policy is to return physical evidence to you once an investigation is complete, unless you request otherwise.