A brief history of UFOs: Sightings, abductions and mysteries

UFO euphoria has returned
A “frequent” phenomenon
UFO sightings in other countries
Historical sightings
Kenneth Arnold: the first sighting?
Erratic, bright and fast
Flying saucers
Chilean sightings in the 19th century
A spark in the clouds
An alien in Talca
The UFOs of Copiacó
Thousands of UFO sightings
Project Blue Book
No evidence that UFOs were extraterrestrial
The Roswell Incident
A lot of people still believe it was a UFO
Reliable witnesses?
UFO tourism
Area 51
Programs against the Soviets
UFOs and nuclear weapons
Deactivated missiles
Alien interest in nuclear weapons
Ordered to take down a UFO
The UFO that the pilots chased
The Shag Harbor Incident
An abduction in Chile
No memory of the abduction
Inexplicable passing of time
The Voronezh UFO incident
Phoenix lights
Delta-shaped ship
Chilean pilot sightings
Winston Churchill kept UFO sightings hidden
Destroyed UFO evidence
Oumuamua: asteroid or alien spaceship?
Characteristics of the most controversial object
Intentionally sent by aliens?
An object never seen before
Alien visits during the pandemic
Other reported cases of sightings
Celebrities and UFOs
Are we really alone in the universe?
UFO euphoria has returned

Ever since the Pentagon admitted last May that they have registered at least 400 sightings of 'unidentified flying objects' in the United States since 2004, the public interest in this phenomenon has increased.

A “frequent” phenomenon

50 years had passed since the last time the UFO issue was taken to Congress to be discussed, but this year it was even more surprising, because the Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence in the US, Scott Bray, assured that UFO sightings are "frequent and continuing."

UFO sightings in other countries

Other countries such as France, in 2007, or the United Kingdom, in 2011, declassified national files on UFOs. Japan even announced a new action protocol for its Army in the event of sightings in 2020.

Image: Albert Antony/Unpslah

Historical sightings

If we go back in time, there are many moments surrounding the UFO phenomenon that made history. Let's take a look at the most famous ones...

Kenneth Arnold: the first sighting?

The first recorded sighting of a UFO dates back to June 24, 1947. The American pilot Kenneth Arnold (in the center of the image) contemplated what could be considered the first UFO sighting. Although there are previous references of similar cases, this one was highly publicized and commented on.

Erratic, bright and fast

According to Arnold, while looking for a missing aircraft, he watched, in the sky of Mount Rainier (Washington), no less than nine objects flying together in a line, and with abnormal movements. He described them as "extremely bright objects”, with an "erratic flight" that moved at "tremendous speed".

Flying saucers

It is from this case that the myth of the oval-shaped UFO came to be, and the term "flying saucer" started being used, since, in his own words, "they flew erratically, like a saucer thrown into the water" .

Chilean sightings in the 19th century

Others, however, go much further back in time, to Chile, in South America, where several cases are remembered. On November 19, 1822, the writer Maria Graham recounted in her book 'Diary of my residence in Chile' having seen a series of strange lights over the sea.

A spark in the clouds

On December 3, 1853, the co-founder of Puerto Montt (Chile), Commander Buenaventura Martínez Díaz, witnessed an object that he said "crossed the clouds in the form of a spark."

An alien in Talca

And on May 15, 1861, the Chilean newspaper La Esperanza recounted the days of terror that the citizens of the city of Talca experienced, not because of a UFO, but because of the presence of a being that seemed to be from another world.

Image: Stephen Leopardi/Unsplash

The UFOs of Copiacó

In those Chilean precedents, the ones that stand out the most are “three inexplicable aerial phenomena” that the newspaper El Constituente echoed in March, July and November 1868 in Copiacó, a city in which, many years later, in 2013, another sighting was reported.

Thousands of UFO sightings

Since then, there have been thousands of reported UFO sightings, whether by members of the armed forces of different countries, aircraft pilots or ordinary people. Sightings that in  many cases have a scientific explanation, but that, in others, remain disturbingly enigmatic.

Project Blue Book

From 1948 to 1969, Project Blue Book, a government initiative to investigate UFOs as a possible threat to national security, was launched in the United States. All this, at a time when the Air Force reported 12,618 sightings, of which 701 remain unidentified today.

No evidence that UFOs were extraterrestrial

Project Blue Book was closed in 1969 due to the high cost it involved. The summary of its investigations was that the UFOs didn’t pose a threat to national security and that there was no evidence indicating that they were extraterrestrial vehicles, nor technological developments beyond the range of modern science.

The Roswell Incident

In 1947, the same year that Kenneth Arnold's sighting took place, one of the most mythologized events within the UFO phenomenon also happened: the Roswell Incident. An unidentified flying object crashed in a field in this New Mexico city, and immediately followed by an encounter with aliens.

A lot of people still believe it was a UFO

The US government tried to settle the Roswell incident by claiming that it was a weather balloon and not a flying saucer, as many initially claimed. However, according to a CNN poll published in 1997, almost two-thirds of Americans still think that it was a UFO that crashed there.

Reliable witnesses?

There were alleged witnesses who stated then that they had seen how the military had removed the unidentified object and the bodies of the extraterrestrials from the area of the incident. Nevertheless, there was no real evidence.

UFO tourism

Currently, Roswell lives off of tourism from UFO and alien lovers of the world who continue to search for answers. They even have a very visited 'UFO Museum'.

Area 51

And if Roswell has some myth within the UFO phenomenon, what about Area 51, that space of land in the middle of the Nevada desert, in which many believe the US government is hiding both UFOs and alien bodies.

Programs against the Soviets

In 2013, the CIA declassified documents in which it was officially recognized that Area 51 was a secret military base where nothing alien was hidden, but rather it was used to test the U-2 and OXCART aerial surveillance programs against the Soviets during the Cold War.

UFOs and nuclear weapons

Seven former members of the United States Air Force made claims in 2010 in which they affirmed that they spotted UFO sightings near nuclear weapons facilities between the 1960s and 1980s.

Deactivated missiles

In reference to one of the UFOs that were sighted, Robert Salas, a former Air Force captain said: “Our missiles began to enter what is called a no-activity condition; they could not be launched. Basically, they deactivated while this object was around us."

Alien interest in nuclear weapons

Ufologist Robert Hastings, who was in charge of organizing the press conference where those sightings were reported, said: "These gentlemen believe that the planet is being visited by beings from another world, who are interested the history of nuclear weapons that began at the end of World War II.”

Ordered to take down a UFO

On May 20, 1957, according to The Times newspaper, two American pilots were ordered to take down a UFO that was hovering over the English countryside. Army veterans, like the ones in the image, told the story publicly.

The UFO that the pilots chased

According to Milton Torres (one of the pilots involved), the object was “moving erratically." In addition, it had a size like that of "a flying aircraft carrier" and "was suspended in the air for several moments before disappearing at an estimated speed of 12,000 kilometers per hour."

The Shag Harbor Incident

Its name is that of a small village on the Nova Scotia peninsula in Canada, where on October 4, 1967, a group of fishermen saw a luminous object that ended up crashing in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. At first it was thought that it was a plane, but they never found any remains.

An abduction in Chile

Corporal Armando Valdés’ case made the Chilean Ufology noticed at the global level. The UFO encounter was witnessed by Armando along with seven other soldiers in 1977. They saw strange lights in the sky and then Armando vanished for 15 minutes.

No memory of the abduction

In an interview with Agence France Presse in November 1978, Armando said that he took six or seven steps away from the group, heading towards the light, and he had no idea what happened after that. He said: “Something was attracting me. It was like an internal communication with the light.”

Inexplicable passing of time

Corporal Armando, who had shaved the day before, had beards of five to six days. Besides, his wristwatch calendar showed April 30 instead of 26, and the clock was 15 minutes behind.

Image: age barros/Unsplash

The Voronezh UFO incident

On September 27, 1989, TASS news agency reported that boys playing football in a city park in Voronezh, Russia, saw a pink glow in the sky, a deep red ball that hovered, and a three-eyed alien. Although kids were the only witnesses, a police officer reported seeing “a body flying in the sky."

Phoenix lights

The Phoenix Lights (sometimes called the were a series of widely sighted UFOs observed in the skies over Arizona, Nevada and the Mexican state of Sonora on March 13, 1997. Lights of varying descriptions were seen by thousands of people.

Delta-shaped ship

Fife Symington, former governor of Arizona and Air Force officer stated on CNN: "I witnessed a huge delta-shaped ship silently sailing over Squaw Peak, a mountain range in Phoenix. It was really impressive. I was absolutely stunned because I was turning west looking for the distant Phoenix Lights."

Chilean pilot sightings

In 2007, the Chilean Army revealed at a meeting of ufologists held in Viña del Mar, that some of its pilots had made UFO sightings, which Captain Rodrigo Bravo described, according to the news agency EFE, as "spectacular experiences in different places."

Winston Churchill kept UFO sightings hidden

In 2010, through the BBC and echoing some reports made public by the Ministry of Defense, it was revealed that British Prime Minister Winston Churchill ordered to keep alleged UFO sightings by the Air Force hidden for fifty years so as not to cause panic among the population.

Destroyed UFO evidence

Scientist Nick Pope told the BBC that "Churchill and Eisenhower decided to hide the extraordinary sightings UFOs” and noted that "most of the archival material from the 1950s was destroyed."

Oumuamua: asteroid or alien spaceship?

Oumuamua was a mysterious object that passed through the Solar System in 2017 and was discovered and followed by several telescopes for three days until it disappeared. It provoked a great debate among the scientific community. Most assured that it was a rare asteroid or comet, but there were those who claimed that it was perhaps a huge alien ship.

Characteristics of the most controversial object

According to the calculations made, Oumuamua had a length of about 400 meters by 40 meters wide and had a reddish surface, but what was most surprising was that its trajectory was not linear, but rather chaotic, rotating very quickly and with very pronounced changes of direction.

Intentionally sent by aliens?

Astronomers Shmuel Bialy and Abraham Loeb (in the image), state that they believe Oumuamua may be a fully operational probe intentionally sent into the vicinity of Earth by an alien civilization.

An object never seen before

In fact, Loeb is a great defender that Oumuamua is the first object discovered in the Solar System that originated outside the same, and recalled in an interview with the BBC that it has unusual characteristics that make it a rare object never before seen.

Alien visits during the pandemic

The latest alleged sightings occurred and grew exponentially during the months of confinement due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Suddenly, according to the testimonies that spread through social networks with photos and videos, the skies were filled with UFOs.

Other reported cases of sightings

To name a few historic sightings around the world, there’s the Antarctica sighting in 1965; the Tehran UFO incident of 1976; those of Manises in 1979, Canarias (1976-1979) and Ochate (1981), in Spain; the Colares incident in Brazil, in 1977, among others.

Celebrities and UFOs

The Republican candidate for Congress in Miami, Bettina Rodríguez, said she was abducted by aliens in 2009. The Argentinean artist Andrés Calamaro, also assured that he saw a UFO in the 80s, when he was in the middle of a music tour with his group Los Plateros.

Are we really alone in the universe?

The UFO phenomenon is still very attractive and contains, as all governments admit, mysteries. A lot of these incidents don’t have a scientific explanation, although this may be due to not having all the data. Be that as it may, flying saucers are an iconic, literary and cinematographic element.

Image: Unintended Concept / Unsplash

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