UFO’s What Is Our Government Not Telling Us?

Ever since Roswell,  UFOs have been in the news. There were supposedly sightings before than, but they did not make the news like that little town in New Mexico did.

The debris was recovered by rancher WW Mack Brazel and was gathered by the military from the Roswell Army Air  Field under the direction of base intelligence officer Major Jesse Marcel. On July 8, 1947, public information officer Lt. Walter Blanchard, which said that we have on our possession a flying saucer. The next day another press release said they had a weather balloon. That change in the report, fostered decades of UFO conspiracy theories. I included the photo from the first  press release and the retraction.

UFO conspiracy theories argue that various governments, and politicians globally, most especially the officials of Washington, D.C., are suppressing evidence of extraterrestrial unidentified flying objects and alien visitors. Such conspiracy theories commonly argue that Earth governments, especially the Government of the United States, are in communication or cooperation with extraterrestrials despite public claims to the contrary, and further that some of these theories claim that the governments are explicitly allowing alien abduction.

Various UFO conspiracy ideas have flourished on the internet and were frequently featured on Art Bell‘s program, Coast to Coast AM.

Individuals who have publicly stated that UFO evidence is being suppressed include Senator Barry Goldwater, British Admiral Lord Hill-Norton (former NATO head and chief of the British Defence Staff), Brigadier General Arthur Exon (former commanding officer of Wright-Patterson AFB), Vice Admiral Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter (first CIA director), astronauts Gordon Cooper and Edgar Mitchell, and former Canadian Defence Minister Paul Hellyer. Beyond their testimonies and reports they have presented no evidence to substantiate their statements and claims. According to the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry little or no evidence exists to support them despite significant research on the subject by non-governmental scientific agencies.

Sightings of the unknown and unexplainable have been a part of our entire recorded history. I am sure they occurred even before man had the ability to record these events.  I have included in the addendum section a series of tables describing many of these historical sightings.*

On the night before Halloween in 1938, Orson Welles directed The Mercury Theatre on the Air live radio adaptation of H. G. Wells‘s novel, The War of the Worlds (serialized in 1897). By mimicking a news broadcast, the show was quite realistic sounding for its time, and some listeners were fooled into thinking that a Martian invasion was underway in the United States. Widespread confusion was followed by outrage and controversy. Some later studies have argued that the contemporary press exaggerated the extent of the panic, but it remains clear that many people were caught up, to some degree, in the confusion.

In other countries, reactions were similar. In 1949, part of the script for The War of the Worlds was read out over the radio in Quito, Ecuador, without announcement, as if it were a major piece of breaking news. Huge crowds of people emerged onto the streets and sought refuge inside churches with their families. When the radio station was informed of this, its announcers broadcast the fact that no invasion was happening. An angry mob formed and burned the station to the ground, causing between six and twenty deaths. Many other countries also experienced problems when broadcasting The War of the Worlds.

According to U.S. Air Force Captain Edward J. Ruppelt, the Air Force’s files often mentioned the panicked aftermath of the 1938 War of the Worlds broadcast as a possible reaction of the public to confirmed evidence of UFOs; however, the files have not been made available to corroborate his assertions.

Donald Keyhoe later began investigating flying saucers for True magazine. Keyhoe was one of the first significant conspiracy theorists, asserting eventually that the saucers were from outer space and were on some sort of scouting mission. Keyhoe claimed to derive his theory from his contacts in Air Force and Navy intelligence. Project Sign, based at Air Technical Intelligence Command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and its successors Project Grudge and Project Blue Book were officially assigned to investigate the flying saucers. Edward Ruppelt‘s book The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects, reports that many people within these research groups did in fact support the hypothesis that the flying saucers were from outer space.

Keyhoe later founded NICAP, a civilian investigation group that asserted the U.S. government was lying about UFOs and covering up information that should be shared with the public. NICAP had many influential board members, including Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter, the first director of the CIA. To date no substantiating evidence for NICAP’s assertions has been presented beyond accounts that are anecdotal and documented hear-say or rumor.

The Great Los Angeles Air Raid

“The Great Los Angeles Air Raid” also known as “The Battle of Los Angeles” is the name given by contemporary sources to the imaginary enemy attack and subsequent anti-aircraft artillery barrage which took place from late February 24 to early February 25, 1942 over Los AngelesCalifornia.

Initially, the target of the aerial barrage was thought to be an attacking force from Japan, but Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox speaking at a press conference shortly afterward called the incident a “false alarm.” A small number of modern-day UFOlogists have suggested the reported targets were extraterrestrial spacecraft.

When documenting the incident in 1983, the U.S. Office of Air Force History attributed the event to a case of “war nerves” likely triggered by a lost weather balloon and exacerbated by stray flares and shell bursts from adjoining batteries.

Ghost rockets

In 1946 and 1947, numerous reports occurred of so-called ghost rockets appearing over Scandinavian countries, primarily Sweden, which then spread into other European countries. One USAF top secret document from 1948 stated that Swedish Air Force Intelligence informed them that some of their investigators felt that the reported objects were not only real but could not be explained as having earthly origins. Similarly, 20 years later, Greek physicist Dr. Paul Santorini publicly stated that in 1947 he was put in charge of a Greek military investigation into reports of ghost rockets sighted over Greece.  Again, they quickly concluded the objects were real and not of conventional origin. Santorini claimed their investigation was killed by U.S. scientists and high military officials who had already concluded the objects were extraterrestrial in origin and feared public panic because no defense existed.

Roswell Incident

In 1947, the United States Air Force issued a press release stating that a “flying disk” had been recovered near Roswell, New Mexico. This press release was quickly withdrawn, and officials stated that a weather balloon had been misidentified. The Roswell case quickly faded even from the attention of most UFOlogists until the 1970s. Speculation persisted despite the official denial that an alien spacecraft crashed near Roswell. For example, retired Brigadier General Arthur E. Exon, former commanding officer of Wright-Patterson AFB, told researchers Kevin D. Randle and Donald R. Schmitt that a spacecraft had crashed, alien bodies were recovered, and the event was covered up by the U.S. government. Exon further claimed he was aware of a very secretive UFO controlling committee made up primarily of very high-ranking military officers and intelligence people. His nickname for this group was “The Unholy Thirteen.”

In the 1990s, the US military published two reports disclosing the true nature of the crashed aircraft: a surveillance balloon from Project Mogul. Nevertheless, the Roswell incident continues to be of interest to the media, and conspiracy theories surrounding the event persist. Roswell has been described as “the world’s most famous, most exhaustively investigated and most thoroughly debunked UFO claim”.

Mantell Incident

In 1948, Air Force pilot Thomas Mantell was killed in a crash while pursuing what he described as “a metallic object…of tremendous size”. Project Blue Book concluded that Mantell had lost control of his aircraft while chasing a then-classified Skyhook balloon. Some UFOlogists reject Bluebook’s conclusion because of its initial suggestion that Mantell was chasing “Venus or a comet”.

Project Sign

The U.S. Air Force may have planted the seeds of UFO conspiracy theories with Project Sign (established 1947) (which became Project Grudge and Project Blue Book). Edward J. Ruppelt, the first director of Blue Book, characterized the Air Force’s public behavior regarding UFOs as “schizophrenic“: alternately open and transparent, then secretive and dismissive. Ruppelt also revealed that in mid-1948, Project Sign issued a top secret Estimate of the Situation concluding that the flying saucers were not only real but probably extraterrestrial in origin. According to Ruppelt, the Estimate was ordered destroyed by Air Force Chief of Staff Hoyt Vandenberg.

Project Sign’s final report, published in early 1949, stated that while some UFOs appeared to represent actual aircraft, data were insufficient to determine their origin.

Interplanetary Phenomenon Unit

Some UFOlogists have claimed the existence of a U.S. government group called the “Interplanetary Phenomenon Unit” allegedly established by General Douglas MacArthur that was “supposedly formed to investigate crashed and retrieved flying saucers”.

The 1950s saw an increase in both governmental and civilian investigative efforts and reports of public disinformation and suppression of evidence.

The UK Ministry of Defence’s UFO Project has its roots in a study commissioned in 1950 by the MOD’s then Chief Scientific Adviser, the great radar scientist Sir Henry Tizard. As a result of his insistence that UFO sightings should not be dismissed without some form of proper scientific study, the Department set up the Flying Saucer Working Party (or FSWP).[26]

In August 1950, Montanan baseball manager Nicholas Mariana filmed several UFOs with his color 16mm camera. Project Blue Book was called in and, after inspecting the film, Mariana claimed it was returned to him with critical footage removed, clearly showing the objects as disc-shaped. The incident sparked nationwide media attention.

Frank Scully‘s 1950 Behind the Flying Saucers suggested that the U.S. government had recovered a crashed flying saucer and its dead occupants near Aztec, New Mexico, in 1948. It was later revealed that Scully had been the victim of a prank by “two veteran confidence artists“.[27]

Donald Keyhoe was a retired U.S. Marine who wrote a series of popular books and magazine articles that were very influential in shaping public opinion, arguing that UFOs were indeed real and that the U.S. government was suppressing UFO evidence. Keyhoe’s first article on the subject came out in True magazine, January 1950, and was a national sensation. His first book, Flying Saucers Are Real also came out in 1950, about the same time as Frank Scully’s book, and was a bestseller. In 1956, Keyhoe helped establish NICAP, a powerful civilian UFO investigating group with many inside sources. Keyhoe became its director and continued his attacks on the Air Force. Other contemporary critics also charged that the United States Air Force was perpetrating a cover-up with its Project Blue Book.

Canadian radio engineer Wilbert B. Smith, who worked for the Canadian Department of Transport, was interested in flying saucer propulsion technology and wondered if the assertions in the just-published Scully and Keyhoe books were factual. In September 1950, he had the Canadian embassy in Washington D.C. arrange contact with U.S. officials to try to discover the truth of the matter. Smith was briefed by Dr. Robert Sarbacher, a physicist and consultant to the Defense Department’s Research and Development Board. Other correspondence, having to do with Keyhoe needing to get clearance to publish another article on Smith’s theories of UFO propulsion, indicated that Bush and his group were operating out of the Research and Development Board. Smith then briefed superiors in the Canadian government, leading to the establishment of Project Magnet, a small Canadian government UFO research effort. Canadian documents and Smith’s private papers were uncovered in the late 1970s, and by 1984, other alleged documents emerged claiming the existence of a highly secret UFO oversight committee of scientists and military people called Majestic 12, again naming Vannevar Bush. Sarbacher was also interviewed in the 1980s and corroborated the information in Smith’s memos and correspondence. Throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, Smith granted public interviews, and among other things stated that he had been lent crashed UFO material for analysis by a highly secret U.S. government group which he wouldn’t name.

A few weeks after the Robertson Panel, the Air Force issued Regulation 200-2, ordering air base officers to publicly discuss UFO incidents only if they were judged to have been solved, and to classify all the unsolved cases to keep them out of the public eye. In addition, UFO investigative duties started to be taken on by the newly formed 4602nd Air Intelligence Squadron (AISS) of the Air Defense Command. The 4602nd AISS was tasked with investigating only the most important UFO cases having intelligence or national security implications. These were deliberately siphoned away from Blue Book, leaving Blue Book to deal with the more trivial reports. 

In 1954 an automatic working station for UFO monitoring was installed at Shirley’s Bay near Ottawa in Canada. After this station detected the first suspicious event, all data gained by this station was classified as secret, although the cameras of the monitoring station could not make any pictures because of fog.

1956 saw the publication of Gray Barker‘s They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers, the book which publicized the idea of sinister Men in Black who appear to UFO witnesses and warn them to keep quiet. There has been continued speculation that the men in black are government agents who harass and threaten UFO witnesses.

Also in 1956, the group Foundation for Earth-Space Relations, led by film producer Tzadi Sophit, tested their own flying saucer outside the Long Island town of Ridge Landing. It is speculated in Robertson’s The Long Island Saucer that an FBI cover-up silenced witnesses.

On January 22, 1958, when Donald Keyhoe appeared on CBS television, his statements on UFOs were censored by the Air Force. During the show when Keyhoe tried to depart from the censored script to “reveal something that has never been disclosed before”, CBS cut the sound, later stating Keyhoe was about to violate “predetermined security standards” and about to say something he wasn’t “authorized to release”. What Keyhoe was about to reveal were four publicly unknown military studies concluding UFOs were interplanetary including the 1948 Project Sign Estimate of the Situation and a 1952 Project Blue Book engineering analysis of UFO motion presented at the Robertson Panel

Astronaut Gordon Cooper reported suppression of a flying saucer movie filmed in high clarity by two Edwards AFB range photographers on May 3, 1957. Cooper said he viewed developed negatives of the object, clearly showing a dish-like object with a dome on top and something like holes or ports in the dome. When later interviewed by James McDonald, the photographers and another witness confirmed the story. Cooper said military authorities then picked up the film and neither he nor the photographers ever heard what happened to it. The incident was also reported in a few newspapers, such as the Los Angeles Times. The official explanation was that the photographers had filmed a weather balloon distorted by hot desert air.

MJ-12

The so-called Majestic 12 documents surfaced in 1982, suggesting that there was secret, high-level U.S. government interest in UFOs dating to the 1940s. Upon examination, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) declared the documents to be “completely bogus”, and many ufologists consider them to be an elaborate hoax.

Linda Moulton Howe

Linda Moulton Howe is an advocate of conspiracy theories that cattle mutilations are of extraterrestrial origin and speculations that the U.S. government is involved with aliens.

Milton William Cooper

In the 1980s, Milton William Cooper achieved a degree of prominence due to his conspiratorial writings.

Bob Lazar

In November 1989, Bob Lazar appeared in a special interview with investigative reporter George Knapp on Las Vegas TV station KLAS to discuss his alleged employment at S-4.[47] In his interview with Knapp, Lazar said he first thought the saucers were secret, terrestrial aircraft, whose test flights must have been responsible for many UFO reports. Gradually, on closer examination and from having been shown multiple briefing documents, Lazar came to the conclusion that the discs must have been of extraterrestrial origin. He claims that they use moscovium, an element that decays in a fraction of a second, to warp space, and that “Grey” aliens are from the Zeta Reticuli star system. According to the Los Angeles Times, he never obtained the degrees he claims to hold from MIT and Caltech.

MoD secret files

Eight files from 1978 to 1987 on UFO sightings were first released on May 14, 2008, to the National Archives’ website by the British Ministry of Defence. Two hundred files were set to be made public by 2012. The files are correspondence from the public sent to government officials, such as the MoD and Margaret Thatcher. The information can be downloaded. Copies of Lt. Col. Halt’s letter regarding the sighting at RAF Woodbridge to the U.K. Ministry of Defence were routinely released by the USA’s base public affairs staff throughout the 1980s until the base closed. The MoD released the files due to requests under the Freedom of Information Act. The files included, among other things, alien craft flying over Liverpool and Waterloo Bridge in London.

Disclosure

In the early 2000s, the concept of “disclosure” became increasingly popular in the UFO conspiracy community: that the government had classified and withheld information on alien contact and full disclosure was needed, and was pursued by activist lobbying groups.

In 1993, Steven M. Greer founded the Disclosure Project to promote the concept. In May 2001, Greer held a press conference at the National Press Club in D.C that demanded Congress hold hearings on “secret U.S. involvement with UFOs and extraterrestrials”. It was described by an attending BBC reporter as “the strangest ever news conference hosted by Washington’s august National Press Club.” The Disclosure Project’s claims were met with by derision by skeptics and spokespeople for the U. S. Air Force.

Allegations of evidence suppression

Allegations of suppression of UFO related evidence have persisted for many decades. Some conspiracy theories also claim that some governments might have removed and/or destroyed/suppressed physical evidence; some examples follow.

On July 7, 1947, William Rhodes photographed an unusual object over PhoenixArizona. The photos appeared in a Phoenix newspaper and a few other papers. An Army Air Force intelligence officer and an FBI agent interviewed Rhodes on August 29 and convinced him to surrender the negatives, which he did the next day. He was informed he wouldn’t get them back, but later he tried, unsuccessfully, to retrieve them. The photos were analyzed and subsequently appeared in some classified Air Force UFO intelligence reports.

A June 27, 1950, movie of a “flying disk” over LouisvilleKentucky, taken by a Louisville Courier-Journal photographer, had the USAF Directors of counterintelligence (AFOSI) and intelligence discussing in memos how to best obtain the movie and interview the photographer without revealing Air Force interest. One memo suggested the FBI be used, then precluded the FBI getting involved. Another memo said “it would be nice if OSI could arrange to secure a copy of the film in some covert manner,” but if that wasn’t feasible, one of the Air Force scientists might have to negotiate directly with the newspaper. In a recent interview, the photographer confirmed meeting with military intelligence and still having the film in his possession until then, but refused to say what happened to the film after that.

In another 1950 movie incident from Montana, Nicholas Mariana filmed some unusual aerial objects and eventually turned the film over to the U.S. Air Force, but insisted that the first part of the film, clearly showing the objects as spinning discs, had been removed when it was returned to him.

According to some conspiracy theorists, during the military investigation of green fireballs in New Mexico, UFOs were photographed by a tracking camera over White Sands Proving Grounds on April 27, 1949. They claim that the final report in 1951 on the green fireball investigation claimed there was insufficient data to determine anything. Conspiracy theorists claim that documents later uncovered by Dr. Bruce Maccabee indicate that triangulation was accomplished. The conspiracy theorists also claim that the data reduction and photographs showed four objects about 30 feet in diameter flying in formation at high speed at an altitude of about 30 miles. According to conspiracy theorists, Maccabee says this result was apparently suppressed from the final report.

On January 22, 1958, when NICAP director Donald Keyhoe appeared on CBS television, his statements on UFOs were censored by the Air Force. During the show when Keyhoe tried to depart from the censored script to “reveal something that has never been disclosed before,” CBS cut the sound, later stating Keyhoe was about to violate “predetermined security standards” and about to say something he wasn’t “authorized to release.” Conspiracy theorists claim that what Keyhoe was about to reveal were four publicly unknown military studies concluding UFOs were interplanetary (including the 1948 Project Sign Estimate of the Situation and Blue Book’s 1952 engineering analysis of UFO motion).

A March 1, 1967 memo directed to all USAF divisions, from USAF Lt. General Hewitt Wheless, Assistant Vice Chief of Staff, stated that unverified information indicated that unknown individuals, impersonating USAF officers and other military personnel, had been harassing civilian UFO witnesses, warning them not to talk, and also confiscating film, referring specifically to the Heflin incident. AFOSI was to be notified if any personnel were to become aware of any other incidents.

John Callahan, former Division Chief of the Accidents and Investigations Branch of the FAA, Washington D.C., also a Disclosure Project witness, said that following the Japan Air Lines flight 1628 incident that involved a giant UFO over Alaska, recorded by air and ground radar, the FAA conducted an investigation. Callahan held a briefing a few days later for President Reagan’s Scientific Study Group, the FBI, and CIA. After the briefing, one of the CIA agents told everybody they “were never there and this never happened,” adding they were fearful of public panic.

According to one theory related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the CIA killed Kennedy in order to prevent him from leaking information to the Soviet Union about a covert program to reverse-engineer alien technology.

Nick Cook, an aviation investigative journalist for Jane’s Information Group and researcher of Billion Dollar Secret and author of The Hunt for Zero Point claims to have uncovered documentary evidence that top-secret US Defense Industry technology has been developed by government-backed Defense Industry programs, beginning in the 1940s using research conducted by Nazi scientists during WWII and recovered by Allied Military Intelligence, then taken to the U.S. and developed further with the collaboration of the same former German scientists at top-secret facilities established at White Sands, New Mexico, and later at Area 51, allegedly resulting in production of real-world prototype operational supersonic craft actually tested and used in clandestine military exercises, with other developments incorporated later into spy aircraft tasked with overflying hostile countries: the UFO story that evidence of alien technology is being suppressed and removed or destroyed was generated and then promoted by the CIA, beginning 1947, as false-lead disinformation to cover it all up for the sake of National Security, particularly during the Cold War, at a time when (his investigations found) the Soviet Union too was developing its own top-secret high-tech UFO craft. Cook’s conclusions, alleging suppression of evidence of advanced human technology instead of alien, together with what he presents as declassified top-secret documents and blueprints, and his interviews of various experts (some of doubtful reliability), was developed and broadcast as a feature documentary on British television in 2005 as “UFOs: The Secret Evidence” and in the US in 2006 as a two-part episode on the History Channel’s UFO Files, retitled “An Alien History of Planet Earth”, with an added introduction by actor William Shatner. The History Channel program teaser promised “…a look at rumors of classified military aircraft incorporating alien technology into their designs.”

In 1993, Steven M. Greer founded the Disclosure project to promote the concept of disclosing allegedly suppressed evidence of extraterrestrials. In May 2001, Greer held a press conference at the National Press Club in D.C that featured “20 retired Air Force, Federal Aviation Administration and intelligence officers” who demanded that Congress begin hearings on “secret U.S. involvement with UFOs and extraterrestrials” In 2013, Sen. Mike Gravel claimed that the government was suppressing evidence of extraterrestrials. Benjamin Radford has pointed out how unlikely such suppression of evidence is given that “the UFO cover-up conspiracy would have to span decades, cross international borders, and transcend political administrations” and that “all of the world’s governments, in perpetuity, regardless of which political party is in power and even among enemies, would have colluded to continue the cover-up.”

An extraordinary 95 percent of all Americans have at least heard or read something about Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs), and 57 percent believe they are real.  Former US Presidents Carter and Reagan claim to have seen a UFO. UFOlogists–a neologism for UFO buffs–and private UFO organizations are found throughout the United States. Many are convinced that the US Government, and particularly CIA, are engaged in a massive conspiracy and coverup of the issue. The idea that CIA has secretly concealed its research into UFOs has been a major theme of UFO buffs since the modern UFO phenomena emerged in the late 1940s. 

In late 1993, after being pressured by UFOlogists for the release of additional CIA information on UFOs,  DCI R. James Woolsey ordered another review of all Agency files on UFOs. Using CIA records compiled from that review, this study traces CIA interest and involvement in the UFO controversy from the late 1940s to 1990. It chronologically examines the Agency’s efforts to solve the mystery of UFOs, its programs that had an impact on UFO sightings, and its attempts to conceal CIA involvement in the entire UFO issue. What emerges from this examination is that, while Agency concern over UFOs was substantial until the early 1950s, CIA has since paid only limited and peripheral attention to the phenomena.

The emergence in 1947 of the Cold War confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union also saw the first wave of UFO sightings. The first report of a “flying saucer” over the United States came on 24 June 1947, when Kenneth Arnold, a private pilot and reputable businessman, while looking for a downed plane sighted nine disk-shaped objects near Mt. Rainier, Washington, traveling at an estimated speed of over 1,000 mph. Arnold’s report was followed by a flood of additional sightings, including reports from military and civilian pilots and air traffic controllers all over the United States.  In 1948, Air Force Gen. Nathan Twining, head of the Air Technical Service Command, established Project SIGN (initially named Project SAUCER) to collect, collate, evaluate, and distribute within the government all information relating to such sightings, on the premise that UFOs might be real and of national security concern.

Amid mounting UFO sightings, the Air Force continued to collect and evaluate UFO data in the late 1940s under a new project, GRUDGE, which tried to alleviate public anxiety over UFOs via a public relations campaign designed to persuade the public that UFOs constituted nothing unusual or extraordinary. UFO sightings were explained as balloons, conventional aircraft, planets, meteors, optical illusions, solar reflections, or even “large hailstones.” GRUDGE officials found no evidence in UFO sightings of advanced foreign weapons design or development, and they concluded that UFOs did not threaten US security. They recommended that the project be reduced in scope because the very existence of Air Force official interest encouraged people to believe in UFOs and contributed to a “war hysteria” atmosphere. On 27 December 1949, the Air Force announced the project’s termination. 

With increased Cold War tensions, the Korean war, and continued UFO sightings, USAF Director of Intelligence Maj. Gen. Charles P. Cabell ordered a new UFO project in 1952. Project BLUE BOOK became the major Air Force effort to study the UFO phenomenon throughout the 1950s and 1960s. The task of identifying and explaining UFOs continued to fall on the Air Material Command at Wright-Patterson. With a small staff, the Air Technical Intelligence Center (ATIC) tried to persuade the public that UFOs were not extraordinary.

CIA closely monitored the Air Force effort, aware of the mounting number of sightings and increasingly concerned that UFOs might pose a potential security threat.  Given the distribution of the sightings, CIA officials in 1952 questioned whether they might reflect “midsummer madness.”  Agency officials accepted the Air Force’s conclusions about UFO reports, although they concluded that “since there is a remote possibility that they may be interplanetary aircraft, it is necessary to investigate each sighting.” 

A massive buildup of sightings over the United States in 1952, especially in July, alarmed the Truman administration. On 19 and 20 July, radar scopes at Washington National Airport and Andrews Air Force Base tracked mysterious blips. On 27 July, the blips reappeared. The Air Force scrambled interceptor aircraft to investigate, but they found nothing. The incidents, however, caused headlines across the country. The White House wanted to know what was happening, and the Air Force quickly offered the explanation that the radar blips might be the result of “temperature inversions.” Later, a Civil Aeronautics Administration investigation confirmed that such radar blips were quite common and were caused by temperature inversions. 

Although it had monitored UFO reports for at least three years, CIA reacted to the new rash of sightings by forming a special study group within the Office of Scientific Intelligence (OSI) and the Office of Current Intelligence (OCI) to review the situation.  Edward Tauss, acting chief of OSI’s Weapons and Equipment Division, reported for the group that most UFO sightings could be easily explained. Nevertheless, he recommended that the Agency continue monitoring the problem, in coordination with ATIC. He also urged that CIA conceal its interest from the media and the public, “in view of their probable alarmist tendencies” to accept such interest as confirming the existence of UFOs. 

Upon receiving the report, Deputy Director for Intelligence (DDI) Robert Amory, Jr. assigned responsibility for the UFO investigations to OSI’s Physics and Electronics Division, with A. Ray Gordon as the officer in charge. Each branch in the division was to contribute to the investigation, and Gordon was to coordinate closely with ATIC. Amory, who asked the group to focus on the national security implications of UFOs, was relaying DCI Walter Bedell Smith’s concerns. Smith wanted to know whether or not the Air Force investigation of flying saucers was sufficiently objective and how much more money and manpower would be necessary to determine the cause of the small percentage of unexplained flying saucers. Smith believed “there was only one chance in 10,000 that the phenomenon posed a threat to the security of the country, but even that chance could not be taken.” According to Smith, it was CIA’s responsibility by statute to coordinate the intelligence effort required to solve the problem. Smith also wanted to know what use could be made of the UFO phenomenon in connection with US psychological warfare efforts. 

Led by Gordon, the CIA Study Group met with Air Force officials at Wright-Patterson and reviewed their data and findings. The Air Force claimed that 90 percent of the reported sightings were easily accounted for. The other 10 percent were characterized as “a number of incredible reports from credible observers.” The Air Force rejected the theories that the sightings involved US or Soviet secret weapons development or that they involved “men from Mars”; there was no evidence to support these concepts. The Air Force briefers sought to explain these UFO reports as the misinterpretation of known objects or little understood natural phenomena.  Air Force and CIA officials agreed that outside knowledge of Agency interest in UFOs would make the problem more serious.  This concealment of CIA interest contributed greatly to later charges of a CIA conspiracy and cover-up.

The CIA Study Group also searched the Soviet press for UFO reports, but found none, causing the group to conclude that the absence of reports had to have been the result of deliberate Soviet Government policy. The group also envisioned the USSR’s possible use of UFOs as a psychological warfare tool. In addition, they worried that, if the US air warning system should be deliberately overloaded by UFO sightings, the Soviets might gain a surprise advantage in any nuclear attack. 

Because of the tense Cold War situation and increased Soviet capabilities, the CIA Study Group saw serious national security concerns in the flying saucer situation. The group believed that the Soviets could use UFO reports to touch off mass hysteria and panic in the United States. The group also believed that the Soviets might use UFO sightings to overload the US air warning system so that it could not distinguish real targets from phantom UFOs. H. Marshall Chadwell, Assistant Director of OSI, added that he considered the problem of such importance “that it should be brought to the attention of the National Security Council, in order that a community wide coordinated effort towards it solution may be initiated.”

In November 1954, CIA had entered into the world of high technology with its U-2 overhead reconnaissance project. Working with Lockheed’s Advanced Development facility in Burbank, California, known as the Skunk Works, and Kelly Johnson, an eminent aeronautical engineer, the Agency by August 1955 was testing a high-altitude experimental aircraft–the U-2. It could fly at 60,000 feet; in the mid-1950s, most commercial airliners flew between 10,000 feet and 20,000 feet. Consequently, once the U-2 started test flights, commercial pilots and air traffic controllers began reporting a large increase in UFO sightings.  The early U-2s were silver (they were later painted black) and reflected the rays from the sun, especially at sunrise and sunset. They often appeared as fiery objects to observers below.

During the late 1970s and 1980s, the Agency continued its low-key interest in UFOs and UFO sightings. While most scientists now dismissed flying saucers reports as a quaint part of the 1950s and 1960s, some in the Agency and in the Intelligence Community shifted their interest to studying parapsychology and psychic phenomena associated with UFO sightings. CIA officials also looked at the UFO problem to determine what UFO sightings might tell them about Soviet progress in rockets and missiles and reviewed its counterintelligence aspects. Agency analysts from the Life Science Division of OSI and OSWR officially devoted a small amount of their time to issues relating to UFOs. These included counterintelligence concerns that the Soviets and the KGB were using US citizens and UFO groups to obtain information on sensitive US weapons development programs (such as the Stealth aircraft), the vulnerability of the US air-defense network to penetration by foreign missiles mimicking UFOs, and evidence of Soviet advanced technology associated with UFO sightings.

CIA also maintained Intelligence Community coordination with other agencies regarding their work in parapsychology, psychic phenomena, and “remote viewing” experiments. In general, the Agency took a conservative scientific view of these unconventional scientific issues. There was no formal or official UFO project within the Agency in the 1980’s, and Agency officials purposely kept files on UFOs to a minimum to avoid creating records that might mislead the public if released. 

The 1980s also produced renewed charges that the Agency was still withholding documents relating to the 1947 Roswell incident, in which a flying saucer supposedly crashed in New Mexico, and the surfacing of documents which purportedly revealed the existence of a top secret US research and development intelligence operation responsible only to the President on UFOs in the late 1940s and early 1950s. UFOlogists had long argued that, following a flying saucer crash in New Mexico in 1947, the government not only recovered debris from the crashed saucer but also four or five alien bodies. According to some UFOlogists, the government clamped tight security around the project and has refused to divulge its investigation results and research ever since.  In September 1994, the US Air Force released a new report on the Roswell incident that concluded that the debris found in New Mexico in 1947 probably came from a once top secret balloon operation, Project MOGUL, designed to monitor the atmosphere for evidence of Soviet nuclear tests. 

Circa 1984, a series of documents surfaced which some UFOlogists said proved that President Truman created a top secret committee in 1947, Majestic-12, to secure the recovery of UFO wreckage from Roswell and any other UFO crash sight for scientific study and to examine any alien bodies recovered from such sites. Most if not all of these documents have proved to be fabrications. Yet the controversy persists. 

Like the JFK assassination conspiracy theories, the UFO issue probably will not go away soon, no matter what the Agency does or says. The belief that we are not alone in the universe is too emotionally appealing and the distrust of our government is too pervasive to make the issue amenable to traditional scientific studies of rational explanation and evidence.

The real Men in Black, Hollywood and the great UFO cover-up

In a new documentary, US government agents claim they spent decades giving fake evidence of extraterrestrials to gullible ufologists. But why? And how can we trust them now?

Hidden among the avalanche of documents leaked by Edward Snowden were images from a Powerpoint presentation by GCHQ, entitled The Art of Deception: Training for a New Generation of Online Covert Operations. Images include camouflaged moths, inflatable tanks, women in burqas, and complex diagrams plastered with jargon, buzzwords and slogans: “Disruption Operational Playbook”, “Swap the real for the false and vice versa”, “People make decisions as part of groups” and, beneath a shot of hands shuffling a deck of cards, “We want to build Cyber Magicians“. Curiously, sandwiched in the middle of the document are three photographs of UFOs. Not real ones – classic fakes: one was a hub cap, another a bunch of balloons, and one that turned out to be a seagull.

Devout ufologists might seize upon this as further proof that our governments “know something” about aliens and their transportation methods, but really it suggests the opposite: the UFO community is a textbook case of a gullible group susceptible to manipulation. Having spent too long watching the skies and The X-Files, it’s implied, they’ll readily swallow whatever snippet of “evidence” suits their grand theory.

If there really is a UFO conspiracy, it’s surely the worst-kept secret in history. Roswell, Area 51, flashing lights, little green men, abductions – it’s all been fed through the pop culture mill to the point of fatigue. Even the supposed enforcers of the secret, the “men in black”, have their own movie franchise. But a new documentary, Mirage Men, unearths compelling evidence that UFO folklore was actually fabricated by the US government. Rather than covering up the existence of aliens, could it be that the real conspiracy has been persuading us to believe in them?

Mirage Men’s chief coup is to land an actual man in black: a former Air Force special investigations officer named Richard Doty, who admits to having infiltrated UFO circles. A fellow UFO researcher says: “Doty had this wonderful way to sell it – ‘I’m with the government. You cooperate with us and I’m going to tell you what the government really knows about UFOs, deep down in those vaults.'” Doty and his colleagues fed credulous ufologists lies and half-truths, knowing their fertile imaginations would do the rest. In return, they were apprised of chatter from the community, thus alerting the military when anyone was getting to close to their top-secret technology. And if the Soviets thought the US really was communing with aliens, all the better. As Mirage Men discovers, central tenets of the UFO belief system turn out to have far earthlier origins. Mysterious cattle mutilations in 1970s New Mexico turn out to have been officials furtively investigating radiation in livestock after they’d conducted an ill-advised experiment in underground “nuclear fracking”. Test pilots for the military’s experimental silent helicopters admit to attaching flashing lights to their craft to fool civilians. Doty himself comes across as a slippery character, to say the least. “He remains an absolute enigma,” says Mark Pilkington, writer of the book Mirage Men, the basis for the documentary. He found the retired Doty working as a traffic cop in a small New Mexico town. “Some of what he said was true and I’m sure a lot of it wasn’t, or was a version of the truth. I have no doubt Rick was at the bottom of a ladder that stretches all the way to Washington. It’s unclear to what extent he was following orders and to what taking matters into his own hands.” Mirage Men finds an even more extreme example in the form of industry veteran Robert Emenegger, who claims that in 1971 he was approached by the Pentagon to make a film revealing “what the government really knows”. The Pentagon’s big lure was that they would let him incorporate top-secret footage of an alien craft landing at Holloman Air Force Base in the 1960s.

In the cold light of the post-cold war, the evidence is starting to look pretty shaky for UFOs. Numbers at UFO conventions and clubs are dwindling. The UK’s Ministry of Defence closed its UFO desk in 2009, and, like many countries, has declassified its UFO documents. If there was any smoking gun, you’d imagine it would have been found in our current golden age of leaks and disclosures – but so far there’s only been more smoke. On a Guardian webchat in 2010, relating to Wikileaks’ release of the US embassy cables, Julian Assange asserted that “many weirdos email us about UFOs” but he’d come across nothing concrete. There were references to UFOs in the cables, he noted, but mostly to do with UFO cults rather than UFOs themselves – in the same way that GCHQ’s Art Of Deception slideshow references UFO cults.

If nothing else, the leaked GCHQ document tells us the Mirage Men are still out there, sowing deception and disinformation. These days they’re more likely to be targeting suspect extremist religious groups, or hackers and online fraudsters. Meanwhile, recent claims to have “deciphered” hidden backwards messages about UFOs in Edward Snowden’s interview only go to show how desperate the alien conspiracy cause has become. As always in the conspiracy-theory hall of mirrors, it’s possible to flip the hypothesis on its head: what if the lies and hoaxes Mirage Men reveals are simply a smokescreen for the fact that the authorities really do know secrets about extraterrestrials? What better way to conceal them than by getting “found out” in their disinformation tactics? What better way of throwing sceptics off the scent than disseminating the confessions of an ex-man in black like Richard Doty, in documentaries, and articles in respectable new organisations – like this one. Perhaps we’re no closer to knowing if the truth really is out there, but we can be sure the lies are.

White House Reply on UFO’s

The White House has responded to two petitions asking the U.S. government to acknowledge formally that aliens have visited Earth and to disclose any intentional withholding of government interactions with extraterrestrial beings.

“The U.S. government has no evidence that any life exists outside our planet, or that an extraterrestrial presence has contacted or engaged any member of the human race,” Phil Larson from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy reported on the WhiteHouse.gov website.“In addition, there is no credible information to suggest that any evidence is being hidden from the public’s eye.”

The petition calling on the government to disclose any knowledge of or communication with extraterrestrial beings was signed by 5,387 people, and 12,078 signed the request for a formal acknowledgement from the White House that extraterrestrials have been engaging the human race.

“Hundreds of military and government agency witnesses have come forward with testimony confirming this extraterrestrial presence,” the second petition states. “Opinion polls now indicate more than 50 percent of the American people believe there is an extraterrestrial presence and more than 80 percent believe the government is not telling the truth about this phenomenon. The people have a right to know. The people can handle the truth.”

These petitions were sparked by an Obama administration initiative called “We the People.” Initially, the White House said staffers would respond and consider taking action on any issue that received at least 5,000 online signatures within 30 days. The requirement has since been raised to 25,000 signatures.

Larson stressed that the facts show there is no credible evidence of extraterrestrial presence here on Earth. He pointed out that even though many scientists have come to the conclusion that the odds of life somewhere else in the universe are fairly high, the chance that any of them are making contact with humans are extremely small, given the distances involved.

“However, that doesn’t mean the subject of life outside our planet isn’t being discussed or explored,” Larson wrote.

Larson mentioned that a scientific search for extraterrestrial intelligence is keeping an “ear” out for signals from alien civilizations, with none found so far. (He noted that this at first was a NASA effort, but is now being funded privately.)

He added that the Kepler spacecraft is searching for Earthlike planets in the habitable zones around other stars, and that the Curiosity rover will launch to Mars this month to “assess what the Martian environment was like in the past to see if it could have harbored life.”

Regarding any evidence for alien life, all anyone has now is “statistics and speculation,” Larson said. “The fact is we have no credible evidence of extraterrestrial presence here on Earth.”

The Paradigm Research Group, one of the organizations promoting the petitions, said that the response by a “low-level staffer” was unacceptable and that it would begin a new petition campaign.

Conclusion, Such As There Is One To Be Made:

After pouring through countless articles on the net and reviewing documentaries and looking at grainy photos, and even reading copies of original newspaper articles of sightings. I am no closer to the answer than I was before I started researching this article. Maybe, that in itself is an answer to whether UFO’s truly exist. I firmly believe that there is intelligent life in the universe. However there are laws that all life forms have to obey. There is no time travel and you can’t go faster than the speed of light. Well as far as our meager scientific research tells us anyway. And I kind of trust Old Albert, he kind of was a once in a century genius. But I do know one thing, we are located on a far corner of our universe. We are a small inconsequential planet in a small just barely average solar system. Our technology is meager and we only have been able to send a manned vehicle to our moon. Granted we have finally had a unmanned vehicle make it out of our solar system. It will take countless lifetimes before it reaches any other systems. If you discount the fact that we might be a tasty treat for resource starved aliens, like in the movie Independence Day, we have little to offer. Besides I am sure their would be quite a few closer solar systems they could visit to ravage. Why would aliens traveling across the Universe bother with us, maybe in a million years if we survive that long we will be advanced enough to sit at the Intergalactic Table, so to speak. While I do believe intelligent life does exist, life advanced enough to travel across the universe is extremely rare. What would be the point to visit us, except maybe as a curiosity. Like us going to the zoo to watch the Tigers pacing in their cages. So I firmly believe all the UFO “data” we have is either a whole lot of wishful thinking or a vast amount of mass hysteria. There are a lot of people out there who crave attention, and what a better way than to fabricate UFO sightings. Hell you may say I am one of those individuals, otherwise why would I be writing this blog and even considering to start a pod cast?

Resources:

en.wikipedia.com, “List of reported UFO sightings,” By, wikipedia staff; en.wikipedia.com, “UFO conspiracy theory,” By Wikipedia editors; fas.org, “CIA’s Role in the Study of UFOs, 1947-90,” By Gerald K. Haines; theguardian.com, “The real Men in Black, Hollywood and the great UFO cover-up,” By Steve Rose; nbcnews.com, “White House: There’s no sign of E.T. or UFO cover-up,” By Nancy Atkinson.

Addendum:

Second millennium BC

DateNameCity, StateCountryDescriptionSources
ca. 1440 BCFiery disksLower EgyptAncient EgyptAccording to the disputed Tulli Papyrus, the scribes of the pharaoh Thutmose III reported that “fiery disks” were encountered floating over the skies.

Classical antiquity

DateNameCity, StateCountryDescriptionSources
218 BCships in the skyRomeItaliaRoman RepublicLivy records a number of portents in the winter of this year, including vanadium speciem de caelo adfulsisse (“phantom ships had been seen gleaming in the sky”).
76 BCspark from a falling starunknownRoman RepublicAccording to Pliny the Elder, a spark fell from a star and grew as it descended until it appeared to be the size of the Moon. It then ascended back up to the heavens and was transformed into a light.
74 BCflame-like pithoi from the skyPhrygiaAsiaRoman RepublicAccording to Plutarch, a Roman army commanded by Lucullus was about to begin a battle with Mithridates VI of Pontus when “all on a sudden, the sky burst asunder, and a huge, flame-like body was seen to fall between the two armies. In shape, it was most like a wine-jar, and in colour, like molten silver.” Plutarch reports the shape of the object as like a wine-jar (pithos). The apparently silvery object was reported by both armies.
196 ADangel hairRomeRoman EmpireHistorian Cassius Dio described “A fine rain resembling silver descended from a clear sky upon the Forum of Augustus.” He used some of the material to plate some of his bronze coins, but by the fourth day afterwards the silvery coating was gone.

16th–17th centuries

DateNameCity, StateCountryDescriptionSources
1561-04-141561 celestial phenomenon over NurembergNurembergHoly Roman EmpireResidents of Nuremberg saw what they described as an aerial battle, followed by the appearance of a large black triangular object and then a large crash outside of the city. The broadsheet claims that witnesses observed hundreds of spheres, cylinders and other odd-shaped objects that moved erratically overhead.
1566-08-071566 celestial phenomenon over BaselBaselSwitzerlandA broadsheet published in 1566 depicted numerous spherical objects appearing out of the sun. This event is depicted in a 16th-century woodcut by Samuel Coccius (Samuel Koch) and Samuel Apiarius.

19th century

DateNameCity, StateCountryDescriptionSources
1803-02-22 or 03-24Utsuro-bune at Haratono-hamaEastern shoreJapanOn February 22 (or March 24) in 1803 local fishermen reportedly saw a vessel drifting in close by waters. They say when they investigated it, “a beautiful young woman” they described as having red and white hair and dressed in strange clothes appeared. The fishermen claim she held a square box “that no one was allowed to touch” and she spoke to them in a language they never heard before. Some UFO believers think this story was a credible document of a close encounter of the third kind in Japan. Historians and Ethnologists consider it folklore.
1883-08-12José Bonilla ObservationZacatecas Observatory, ZacatecasMexicoOn August 12, 1883, the astronomer José Bonilla reported that he saw more than 300 dark, unidentified objects crossing the sun disk while observing sunspot activity at Zacatecas Observatory in Mexico. He was able to take several photographs, exposing wet plates at 1/100 second. It was subsequently determined that the objects were high-flying geese.
1896–1897Mystery airshipsUnited StatesNumerous reports of UFO sightings and attempted abductions that took place around the United States in a 2-year period.
1897-04-17Aurora, Texas, UFO incidentAurora, TexasUnited StatesA tale of a UFO crash and a burial of its alien pilot in the local cemetery was sent to newspapers in Dallas and Fort Worth in April 1897 by local correspondent S.E. Hayden.

20th century

1901–1949

DateNameCity, StateCountryDescriptionSources
1909Mystery airshipsOtagoNew ZealandStrange moving lights and some solid bodies in the sky were seen around Otago and elsewhere in New Zealand, and were reported to newspapers.
1917-08-13,
09-13,
10-13
Miracle of the SunFátimaSantarém DistrictPortugalThousands of people observed the sun gyrate and descend. This was later reinterpreted by Jacques Vallée, Joaquim Fernandes and Fina d’Armada as a possible UFO sighting, but not recognized as such due to cultural differences.
1940sFoo fightersOver World War II theatersSmall metallic spheres and colorful balls of light repeatedly spotted and occasionally photographed worldwide by bomber crews during World War II.
1941Cape Girardeau UFO crashCape GirardeauMissouriUnited StatesFirst responders and a Baptist minister allegedly view crashed spacecraft and bodies.
1942-02-24Battle of Los AngelesLos Angeles, CaliforniaUnited StatesUnidentified aerial objects trigger the firing of thousands of anti-aircraft rounds and raise the wartime alert status.
1946The Ghost RocketsMostly in Scandinavia, but also other European countriesNumerous UFO sightings were reported over Scandinavia, causing the Swedish Defense Staff to express concern.
1946-05-18UFO-Memorial ÄngelholmÄngelholmKristianstads CountySwedenGösta Karlsson reports seeing a flying saucer and its alien passengers. A model of it is now erected at the site.
1947-06-21Maury Island incidentPuget Sound near Maury IslandWashingtonUnited StatesHarold A. Dahl reported that his dog was killed and his son was injured by debris in an encounter with four to six flying doughnut-shaped objects. He also claimed that a witness was subsequently threatened by the Men in Black.
1947-06-24Kenneth Arnold UFO sightingNorth of Mount RainierWashingtonUnited StatesThe UFO sighting that sparked the name flying saucers. This sighting is considered as the start of the “Modern UFO era”.
1947-06/071947 UFO sightingsmostly WashingtonUnited StatesSeveral UFO sightings reported after the sighting of Kenneth Arnold.
1947-06Roswell UFO crashabout 30 mi north of Roswell, New MexicoUnited StatesUnited States Army Air Forces allegedly captured a crashed flying saucer and its alien occupants. The find was soon revealed to be a crashed balloon but regained attention since 1978 after investigation of S. T. Friedman.
1948The Green FireballsUnited StatesObjects were reported over several United States military bases; an official investigation followed.
1948-01-07Thomas MantellKentuckyUnited StatesUS Air Force sent a fighter pilot to investigate a UFO sighting over Fort Knox, Kentucky; his aircraft crashed and the pilot was killed while pursuing the UFO.
1948-03-25Aztec, New Mexico, UFO incidentNew MexicoUnited StatesAn alleged retrieval of a grounded UFO and its occupants from a plateau in New Mexico.
1948-07-24Chiles-Whitted UFO encounterAlabamaUnited StatesChiles and Whitted, American commercial pilots, reported that their airplane had nearly collided with a UFO.
1948-10-01Gorman dogfightNorth DakotaUnited StatesA US Air Force pilot sighted and pursued a UFO for 27 minutes over Fargo, North Dakota.

1950–1974

DateNameCity, StateCountryDescriptionSources
1950-05-11McMinnville UFO photographsa farm near McMinnville, OregonUnited StatesA farmer took pictures of a purported “flying saucer”. These were the first claimed photographs of flying saucers since the coining of the term.
1950-08-05 or 15Mariana UFO incidentGreat Falls, MontanaUnited StatesThe manager of Great Falls’ pro baseball team took color film of two UFOs flying over Great Falls. The film was extensively analyzed by the US Air Force and several independent investigators.
1951-08-25Lubbock LightsLubbock, TexasUnited StatesSeveral Lights in V-Shaped formations were repeatedly spotted flying over the city. Witnesses included professors from Texas Tech University and photographed by a Texas Tech student.
1952-07-12 to 291952 Washington, D.C. UFO incidentWashington, D.C.United StatesA series of sightings in July 1952 accompanied radar contacts at three separate airports in the Washington area. The sightings made front-page headlines around the nation, and ultimately lead to the formation of the Robertson Panel by the CIA.
1952-07-14Nash-Fortenberry UFO sightingNorfolk, VirginiaUnited StatesW. Nash and W. Fortenberry, pilots of a DC-4 airliner of Pan American Airways, sighted eight large, round, glowing red objects.
1952-07-24Carson Sink UFO incidentnear Carson SinkNevadaUnited StatesTwo pilots saw three unusual Delta wing aircraft flying in a V-formation over Carson Sink.
1952-08-05Haneda Air Force BaseTokyoJapanUSAF tower operators at Haneda AFB observed an unusually bright bluish-white light to their NE, alerted the GCI radar unit at Shiroi, which then called for a scramble of an F94 interceptor after getting radar returns in same general area. GCI ground radar vectored the F94 to an orbiting unknown target, which the F94 picked up on its airborne radar. The target then accelerated out of the F94’s radar range after 90 seconds of pursuit that was followed also on the Shiroi GCI radar.
1952-09-12The Flatwoods MonsterFlatwoods, West VirginiaUnited StatesSix local boys and a woman report seeing a UFO land, and saw a spade-headed creature near the landing site.
1953-08-05/06Ellsworth UFO sightingRapid City, South Dakota and Bismarck, North DakotaUnited StatesOver two nights, a red glowing light is witnessed by 45 people.
1953-11-23The disappearance of Felix Moncla and Robert Wilsonnear the Soo Locks over Lake SuperiorUnited States/CanadaU.S. Air Force pilot and radar operator and their F-89C disappeared while pursuing an unidentified radar return.
1954-10-27Fiorentina Stadium Massive SightingStadio Artemio Franchi in FlorenceItalyA football game between Fiorentina and Pistoiese was under way at the Stadio Artemio Franchi when a group of UFOs traveling at high speed abruptly stopped over the stadium. The stadium became silent as the crowd of around 10,000 spectators witnessed the event and described the UFOs as cigar shaped.
1955-08-21/22Kelly–Hopkinsville encounterA farmhouse near Hopkinsville, KentuckyUnited StatesAfter the sighting of a disc-shaped aircraft a group of strange, goblin-like creatures are reported to have repeatedly approached a farm house and looked inside through the windows. Members of the two families present shot at them several times with little or no effect. The encounter lasted from evening to dawn.
1956-07-24Drakensberg ContacteeDrakensbergSouth AfricaA well-known photo series depicting a supposed UFO, was taken on 24 July near Rosetta in the Drakensberg region. The photographer, meteorologist Elizabeth Klarer, claimed detailed adventures with an alien race, besides having had an alien lover, Akon, who would have fathered her son Ayling.
1957-05-20Milton Torres 1957 UFO EncounterEast AngliaUnited KingdomU.S. Air Force fighter pilot Milton Torres reports that he was ordered to intercept and fire on a UFO displaying “very unusual flight patterns” over East Anglia. Ground radar operators tracked what was believed to be an unidentified aircraft for some time before Torres’ plane was scrambled to intercept.
1957-10-16/17Antonio Vilas Boas AbductionNear São Francisco de SalesMinas GeraisBrazilOne of the first abduction claims. Farmer Antonio Vilas Boas claimed to have been abducted and examined by humanoid aliens while working in the fields at night. He also claimed to have had sex with an alien woman aboard the egg-shaped aircraft.
1957-11-02Levelland UFO caseLevelland, TexasUnited StatesNumerous people describe seeing a glowing, egg-shaped object and a cigar-shaped object which caused their vehicle’s engines to shut down.
1958-01-16Trindade UFO IncidentTrindade IslandBrazil9 Separate sightings and 7 photos of UFO’s were reported in the Trinidade Island during the meteorological and geological expeditions in the island.
1959-02-02/03Dyatlov Pass incidentKholat SyakhlSverdlovsk OblastSoviet UnionMysterious deaths of experienced cross-country skiers in the Urals are due to official investigation believed to have been caused by an unknown “compelling natural force”. Some claim relation to unidentified orange spheres.
1961-09-19Betty and Barney Hill abductionSouth of Lancaster on Route 3New HampshireUnited StatesThe first widely publicized alien abduction experience. The Hills saw a huge flying disk while driving home in their car at late evening and later claimed they were abducted and medically examined by small extraterrestrials.
1964-04-24Lonnie Zamora incidentSocorro, New MexicoUnited StatesPolice officer Zamora reports a close encounter.
1965-03-09The Incident at ExeterExeter, New HampshireUnited StatesNumerous reports of UFOs in Exeter, New Hampshire.
1965-07-01The Valensole UFO incidentValensoleProvence-Alpes-Côte d’AzurFrancePeasant Maurice Massé saw a landed spherical object and was paralyzed by two grey alien-like occupants.
1965-12-09Kecksburg UFO incidentKecksburg, PennsylvaniaUnited StatesMass sighting of a falling brilliant fireball dropping debris and causing sonic booms, followed by a cordoning-off of the probable crash site, alleged intimidation of a reporter by men in black and cover-up and the unresolved death of said witness.
1966The Mothman PropheciesPoint Pleasant, West VirginiaUnited StatesA wave of reported sightings of a winged humanoid are connected to other mysterious events including sightings of UFOs.
1966-04-06Westall UFOClayton South, VictoriaAustraliaA sighting reported by hundreds of people. Witnesses of “The Clayton Incident” still gather for reunions.
1967-08-29Close encounter of CussacOutside CussacAuvergneFranceA young brother and sister claimed to have witnessed a brilliant sphere and four small black occupants while herding cattle outside their village.
1967-10-04Shag Harbour UFO incidentGulf of Maine near Shag Harbour, Nova ScotiaCanadaA large lit object was reported to have crashed into waters near Shag Harbour. A Canadian naval search followed, and officially referred to the object as a UFO. There were other UFO sightings in the area at the time.
1969-01-06Jimmy Carter UFO incidentLeary, GeorgiaUnited StatesLater U.S. president Jimmy Carter‘s sighting of a UFO, which he didn’t believe to be of extraterrestrial origin and is, contrary to him, thought to be Venus.
1969-04-12Finnish Air Force sightingPoriFinlandSeven disc shaped objects hovering in formation around 1500–3000 meters were spotted by the airtraffic controller and two pilots. When fighter pilot Tarmo Tukeva investigated, they accelerated away.
1972-06-271972 UFO sightings in the eastern CapeFort BeaufortSouth AfricaA craft was observed near Fort Beaufort in the eastern Cape, which attracted the attention of the military.
1972-11-121972 UFO sightings in the eastern CapeRosmeadSouth AfricaA school headmaster seems to have arrived at a still smouldering UFO landing site in the town of Rosmead.
1973-10-11Pascagoula AbductionNear Pascagoula at the Pascagoula RiverMississippiUnited StatesTwo men fishing on the river claimed to be abducted by strange-looking humanoids.
1974-01-23Berwyn Mountain UFO incidentLlandrilloMerionethshireNorth WalesUnited KingdomAn alleged UFO crash involving lights in the sky moments before a large impact shock. The cause of the incident was however soon revealed as a 3.5 magnitude earthquake.

1975–2000

DateNameCity, StateCountryDescriptionSources
1975-01-12Stonehenge incidentNorth Bergen, New JerseyUnited StatesA UFO was allegedly sighted in North Hudson Park by a man, George O’Barski, while he was driving home at 2:45 AM.
1975-11-05Travis WaltonNear Turkey Springs in Apache-Sitgreaves National ForestArizonaUnited StatesLogger Travis Walton reports being abducted by aliens for five days. Walton’s six workmates claimed to have witnessed a bright hovering large silvery disk and fled the scene leaving him lying on the ground. He reappeared on 11–10 at late evening in Heber-Overgaard. Walton described the event and its aftermath in the book The Walton Experience (1978), which was dramatized in the film Fire in the Sky (1993) (with the scenes aboard the extraterrestrials’ vessel significantly changed).
1976-08-26Allagash AbductionsEagle Lake on the Allagash waterwayMaineUnited StatesFour campers claimed to have been abducted by alien beings in the Allagash wilderness.
1976-09-191976 Tehran UFO incidentNorth of and in TehranMazandaran and Tehran ProvincesIranA very bright object similar to a star was seen from Shemiran; after each approach to the UFO the electronic equipment of two F-4 interceptor aircraft of the Imperial Iranian Air Force was disabled, along with ground control equipment in Mehrabad International Airport, an event thoroughly documented in the U.S. DIA report.
1977-09-20Petrozavodsk phenomenonMultiple locations in several countriesSoviet Union/Northern EuropeA series of celestial events of a disputed nature from Copenhagen and Helsinki in the west to Vladivostok in the east. In Petrozavodsk, a glowing object was reported that showered the city with numerous rays. The phenomenon is sometimes attributed to the launch of the Soviet satellite Kosmos-955.
1977Broad HavenDyfedWalesUnited KingdomIn the 1970s, the area was the scene of alleged UFO sightings and nicknamed the Broad Haven Triangle.
1978-05-10Emilcin AbductionEmilcinLublin VoivodeshipPolandA farmer in Emilcin is said to have been abducted and medically examined by short, green-faced, humanoid entities speaking an unearthly language in a white, hovering, humming craft. There is now a memorial at the site.
1978-10-21Valentich disappearanceVictoriaAustraliaContacting air traffic control, an Australian pilot reported seeing a UFO before both he and his aircraft vanished.
1978-12-21Kaikoura lightsSouth IslandNew ZealandA series of sightings by a Safe Air freight plane over two nights. The airplane was escorted by lights that changed color and size. The lights were tracked by ground and air radar, and filmed in the air by a TV crew.
1979-08-27Val Johnson incidentMarshall County, MinnesotaUnited StatesA deputy sheriff spotted a bright light which appeared to have collided with his patrol car and damaged it. The deputy also suffered temporary retinal damage.
1979-11-09Dechmont Woods EncounterDechmont Law near Livingston, West LothianScotlandUnited KingdomForester, Bob Taylor, was pulled by two spiked globes towards a large spheroid object, which hovered on a clearing. He lost consciousness and afterwards had trouble walking and speaking. He was also constantly thirsty for several days.
1979-11-11Manises UFO incidentValenciaProvince of ValenciaSpainThree large UFOs forced a commercial flight to make an emergency landing at Manises Airport.
1980-04-11 to 28Arequipa UFO incidentArequipa RegionPeruInterception of an alleged UFO by a Sukhoi Su-22. The pilot followed the object, and aimed his weapons at the UFO, firing sixty four 30mm shells. The pilot followed the object, reporting it had an enamelled cream colour; similar to an incandescent lightbulb with a much wider circular silver base. The pilot then broke off the engagement.
1980-12-24 to 28Rendlesham-Woodbridge IncidentRendlesham ForestSuffolkEnglandUnited KingdomA sighting by USAF personnel, which at first appeared to be a downed aircraft.
1980-12-29Cash-Landrum incidentOn state highway FM 1485 in New Caney, TexasUnited StatesA huge diamond-shaped object expelling flame and emitting heat irradiated three witnesses on an isolated road in dense woods; all required treatment for radiation poisoning. The witnesses then saw military helicopters, including CH-47 Chinooks, following. The witnesses sued the United States Government, and the case was dismissed.
1981-01-08Trans-en-Provence CaseTrans-en-ProvenceProvence-Alpes-Côte d’AzurFranceRetired contractor Renato Nicolai said he saw a flying object shaped like two inverted bowls that left circular traces on the grass.
1985-12-27CommunionNew YorkUnited StatesAuthor Whitley Strieber claims he was abducted by aliens while at his cabin in upstate New York.
1986-01-29Height 611 UFO incidentDalnegorskPrimorski KraiSoviet UnionThe inhabitants of the town watched a reddish ball which crashed into a mount known as Height 611.
1986-11-17Japan Air Lines Flight 1628 incidentFrom eastern to south central AlaskaUnited StatesFirst two square-shaped, then one apparent craft witnessed by the crew reportedly flew alongside Japan Air Lines Flight 1628 for 50 minutes above Alaska. Military radar detected an object trailing the Boeing 747.
1987-11-11Gulf Breeze UFO incidentFloridaUnited StatesEd Walters, a building contractor claimed to see a UFO and take photos of it.
1989-09-27Voronezh UFO incidentVoronezhSoviet UnionA group of youths claimed to have seen a UFO and a “three eyed alien”.
1990-03-30Belgian UFO waveAnsWalloniaBelgiumReports of large, silent, low-flying black triangles, allegedly investigated by Belgium’s military.
1991-09-15STS-48 incidentSpace Shuttle Discovery while in orbitOuter spaceVideo taken during mission STS-48 shows a flash of light and several objects, apparently flying in an artificial or controlled fashion. NASA explained them as ice particles reacting to engine jets.
1994-05-21UFO sightingPlauenPlauenGermanyPhysical facts and a UFO sighting over Plauen in Germany
1996-01-20Varginha UFO incidentVarginhaBrazilBrazilian Armed Forces allegedly captured extraterrestrial being after an UFO crash. The Brazilian government has officially denied these claims. According to a military inquest, a local man with disabilities was mistaken for an alien.
1996-10-05Westendorff UFO sightingPelotasBrazilPilot observes a UFO emerge from a mother craft.
1997-03-13Phoenix LightsPhoenix, ArizonaUnited StatesLights and craft of varying descriptions, most notably a V-shaped pattern, were seen by thousands of people between 19:30 and 22:30 MST, in a space of about 300 miles, from the Nevada line, through Phoenix, to the edge of Tucson.

21st century

DateNameCity, StateCountryDescriptionSources
2004-03-052004 Mexican UFO incidentMexicoA drug-smuggling air-patrol recorded on infrared camera what some claimed to be UFOs. The footage was released by Jaime Maussan. The observations were however convincingly correlated with the burn-off flares of oil platforms.
2004-11-14USS Nimitz UFO incidentOff the coast of San Diego, CaliforniaUnited StatesSeveral pilots from VFA-41 squadron flying Super Hornets from the USS Nimitz, were directed by the USS Princeton to intercept one of several unidentified flying objects detected by radar. The pilots reported a visual encounter and recorded an infrared video. The Navy has verified that the video was taken by Navy personnel and has stated that it has not yet identified the nature of the sightings which they classify as unexplained aerial phenomena.
2006-11-072006 O’Hare International Airport UFO sightingChicago, IllinoisUnited StatesUnited Airlines employees and pilots claimed sightings of a saucer-shaped, unlit craft hovering over a Chicago O’Hare Airport terminal, before appearing to leave with a rapid vertical rise.
2007-04-232007 Alderney UFO sightingAlderneyBailiwick of GuernseyTwo airline pilots on separate flights spot UFOs off the coast of Alderney.
2007-11-28 to 2011-12-13Dudley DoritoWest Midlands conurbationUnited KingdomThe Dudley Dorito were multiple sightings of a black triangle over the West Midlands conurbation of the United Kingdom which began in November 2007. The phrase was coined by the local press after hearing witness descriptions of the object.
2008-01-08Stephenville, Texas UFO sightingsStephenville, TexasDublin, Texas, Crawford, TexasUnited StatesUFOs were sighted over a three county area during a four-hour period of time by some 20 witnesses. Radar data detected a reflected signal. The Air Force was doing training exercises in the Brownwood Military Operating Area during this event and their aircraft were identified on radar independent of the UFO.
2008-06-20Wales UFO sightingsdifferent cities, WalesUnited KingdomAccording to media reports, a police helicopter was almost hit by a UFO, before it tried to pursue it. Hundreds of people reported to have witnessed a UFO on the same or preceding days, from different areas of Wales.
2008-10-08Kumburgaz UFO videoIstanbulTurkeyA UFO airship captured on camera by a night watchman at Kumburgaz. Two alien heads were obvious at the video.
2009-01-05Morristown UFO hoaxMorristown, New JerseyUnited StatesIn the evening, citizens in Morristown and other town in Morris County, New Jersey saw five red lights in the sky. After three months, two men from the Morristown area announced they had organized an UFO hoax, meant as a “social experiment”.
2009-12-092009 Norwegian spiral anomalyFinnmarkNorway/SwedenA large, circular spinning white light, trailed by a long blue tail over the skies of Norway was spotted by thousands for two minutes around 8:45 am on December 9. The following day Russian authorities confirmed a failed Bulava launch, identifying the flying object.
2010-01-25Harbour Mille incidentHarbour MilleNewfoundland and LabradorCanadaAt least three UFOs that looked like missiles but emitted no noise were spotted over Harbour Mille.
2014-06-02 to 2015-03-10USS Theodore Roosevelt UFO incidentsEast Coast of the United StatesUnited StatesMultiple UFO radar-visual encounters by United States Navy pilots over a period of nine months. Videos of two of the encounters were released. The Navy has verified that the videos were taken by Navy personnel and has stated that it has not yet identified the nature of the sightings which they classify as unexplained aerial phenomena.

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