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ET? Phone Here! NYC Man Launches UFO Hotline

Apr 11, 2011 – 2:49 PM
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Ben Muessig

Ben Muessig Contributor

When New Yorkers see something unusual on the street, they can call 911. When they see something unusual in the sky, they can call Joseph Capp.

Capp, a 68-year-old retiree in Brooklyn, has launched what appears to be New York City's first UFO hotline, offering a sympathetic ear to those who have just witnessed an unexplained phenomenon.

"When some people see UFOs, it changes them. It alters their belief system, it challenges a lot of what they believe," he told AOL News. "That can affect someone."

But when witnesses try to explain the strange things they've seen, they face intense scrutiny -- alienating themselves and potentially deterring other witnesses from coming forward, said Capp.
The Big Apple has been the location of some big UFO sightings. In October, New Yorkers spotted strange objects hovering above the city. The objects were later identified as balloons.

"They get slammed by UFO researchers and they get slammed by the media," the former computer consultant said. "The minute they come forward, they are on trial."

So Capp decided to start a 24-hour hotline where people can discuss UFO sightings without fear of ridicule.

"We're not gullible -- we know the difference between satellites and stars and what might be an unidentified object. But we will give you the benefit of the doubt."

Perhaps that's because Capp himself has experienced a UFO sighting at Atlantic City Beach.

"I witnessed two disk craft in a daytime sighting in 1962. I have witnessed the 'impossible' and so have others," he wrote on his blog, UFO Media Matters.

"Whatever we do will be dedicated to gaining a better understanding of this subject and advocating compassion for those honest and courageous people who experience and report the UFO phenomenon."

Capp's UFO hotline isn't the first of its kind -- larger groups such as the National UFO Reporting Center and the Mutual UFO Network accept calls from witnesses.

But in the wake of recent UFO sightings in the Big Apple, perhaps New York City needs a hotline of its own.

"New York deserves it, right?" he said.

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The New York City UFO hotline grew out of a monthly discussion about UFOs that Capp has hosted at a diner in Manhattan since 2007.

He started the hotline in February and says he received about 20 calls in the first two months. But in the past few days, since news of the hotline spread online and in an article in the New York Post, Capp says he has fielded an additional 20 calls.

And with the help of other volunteers, he hopes to receive -- and possibly verify and research -- many more.

"We are not going to lie to them, but we are not out to make fun of them."

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