For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to believe in UFOs.
Like The X-Files‘ Fox Mulder, I figured the truth was out there. Buried beneath a government cover-up, most likely. After all, the Roswell Incident is infamous. Roswell Army Air Field in New Mexico issued a press release claiming they’d captured a “flying disk” in 1947. And then it was retracted. Nothing more than a weather balloon, they claimed. Tell me that doesn’t scream conspiracy.
Maybe there were recovered spacecraft in a hangar at Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio, where my dad was stationed in the late 1970s. That’s where (and when) my fascination in UFOs really blossomed. I read everything I could find about Project Blue Book and kept my eyes on the skies, hoping for my own close encounter of the unknown kind.
Later, as an adult, I became acquainted with a retired Airman who had been stationed at Area 51. While he never crossed paths with ET, he did tell me interesting tales concerning strawberry ice cream stockpiles in the cantina. That baffled me until I learned that strawberry ice cream is allegedly an alien guilty pleasure.
When I met Tara, she regaled me with stories of strange objects she’d seen in the sky during her many trips across remote stretches of Nevada.
My pseudo-belief was tempered with a heavy dose of skepticism. I could never quite sign off on the whole “UFOs are real” thing. I have never had much patience for conspiracy theories. In fact, I ended a friendship with somebody who refused to believe the U.S. wasn’t behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Another close friend is sure Courtney Love murdered Kurt Cobain.
I just can’t even with that.
In Washington state, one of my coworkers was very outspoken in her belief that UFOs exist. I listened to what she had to say, but personally, thought she was a little daffy. Some of the stuff she talked about seemed way too farfetched.
But you know what? I think I’ve come around now.
My feelings began shifting last year, when the Pentagon released three videos shot by Navy pilots depicting unidentified flying objects. They are moving impossibly fast and performing maneuvers that defy explanation.
Hmm. That was certainly interesting.
Then, on June 25, the Pentagon released a nine-page report detailing 144 unexplained UFO sightings, including those in the Navy videos. UFOs, by the way, are now officially being referred to as UAPs (Unexplained Aerial Phenomena) to indicate that the government is taking them seriously. Tomato, to-mah-to. They’ll always be UFOs to me.
The report didn’t clear much up. Only one of the 144 sightings could be explained, leaving the Pentagon to concede that there are at least 143 unexplained sightings since 2004. Basically, the report concludes:
- There is no evidence for aliens, but…
- There is no evidence aliens don’t exist.
Those looking for a definitive answer were probably disappointed, but the mere fact that the Pentagon won’t rule out the existence of UFOs and aliens is kind of astonishing, in my opinion. It lends credence to a subject that has long been taboo among scientists.
So, when Netflix released a six-part docuseries called Top Secret UFO Projects: Declassified a few weeks ago, I was all in.
It’s a very compelling program. Go into it with an open mind, and you might find yourself walking away a believer. For somebody like me…already teetering on the edge of belief…it’s enough to finally convince me. Of what, exactly? In a nutshell, I believe the government has known about the existence of UFOs for decades and kept it a secret from the American public. In all likelihood, they have recovered wreckage from some of these aircraft and reverse-engineered the alien technology. It’s possible that some UFO sightings aren’t even extraterrestrial in origin, but byproducts of all this secret research.
I know, this all sounds kinda nutty. I remind myself of that coworker I used to roll my eyes at. Why she went on and on about Blink-182’s Tom DeLonge was beyond me. What did he have to do with UFOs?! (Plenty, it turns out.)
And yet…I just can’t get over so many unexplained incidents, some of which have been observed by multiple eyewitnesses. Aside from Roswell (total cover-up!), here are a few particularly intriguing ones:
- Pilot Kenneth Arnold reported seeing nine “circular-type” unidentified objects flying in formation north of Mount Rainier in 1947.
- Fighter jets were scrambled over Washington, D.C. twice in July 1952 when UFOs were spotted on radar by numerous air traffic controllers. The incident, known as “The Big Flap,” involved onscreen blips that flew between 100-130 mph before zipping away at speeds approaching 7,000 mph. Headline in The Washington Post: “Saucer Outran Jet, Pilot Reveals.”
- In December 1980, three people in Dayton, Texas, were driving through the woods when they were followed by a hovering diamond-shaped craft with flames coming out of the bottom. Mesmerized, they got out of their car, only to experience health problems including burns, blisters, nausea, vomiting, and weakness. This is referred to as the Cash-Landrum Incident.
- Hundreds of eyewitnesses spotted lights from a mysterious V-shaped craft hovering over the skies of Arizona in March 1997. Dubbed the Phoenix Lights Incident, it’s one of the most well-documented mass sightings in U.S. history. Pilot Fife Symington said, “I know just about every machine that flies. It was bigger than anything that I’ve ever seen. It remains a great mystery.”
- A UFO was caught on video flying across the Rafael Hernandez Airport Runway in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, at speeds approaching 120 mph, in April 2013. At one point it splits into two parts before dropping into the ocean. A report by the Scientific Coalition for UFOology concludes, The object…is of unknown origin. There is no explanation for an object capable of traveling under water at over 90 mph with minimal impact as it enters the water, through the air at 120 mph at low altitude through a residential area without navigational lights, and finally to be capable of splitting into two separate objects. No bird, no balloon, no aircraft, and no known drones have that capability.
That calls for a mic drop.
I’m convinced the truth is being doled out in manageable bites to prevent mass hysteria. Eventually, we’ll know everything.
What do you think? Are UFOs real?