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See also Directory:UFOs

For a listing of sites of UFO Documentation, see Directory:The UFO Documentation. For discussion of power sources and propulsion systems see UFO Propulsion systems.
A 1952 photo of a reported UFO over Passaic, New Jersey, from an FBI document.
A 1952 photo of a reported UFO over Passaic, New Jersey, from an FBI document.

A UFO or Unidentified Flying Object is any real or apparent flying object which cannot be identified by the observer and which remains unidentified after investigation. Sightings of unusual aerial phenomena date back to ancient times, but reports of UFO sightings only became fashionable after the first widely publicized U.S. sighting in 1947. Many thousands of such claimed observations have since been reported worldwide. In popular culture throughout the world, UFO is commonly used to refer to any hypothetical alien spacecraft but the term flying saucer is also regularly used. Once a UFO is identified as a known object (for example an fixed-wing aircraft or weather balloons), it ceases to be a UFO and becomes an identified object. In such cases it is inaccurate to continue to use the acronym UFO to describe the object.



Past accounts

Unusual aerial phenomena have been reported throughout history. Some of these strange apparitions may have been astronomical phenomena such as comets or bright meteors, or atmospheric optical phenomena such as parhelia. During the reign of the Pharaoh Thutmose III around 1450 BC, there is a description of multiple “circles of fire" brighter than the sun and about 5 meters in size that appeared over multiple days. They finally disappeared after ascending higher in the sky. The Roman author Julius Obsequens writes that in 99 BC, “in Tarquinia towards sunset, a round object, like a globe, a round or circular shield, took its path in the sky from west to east. On September 24, 1235, General Yoritsume and his army observed unidentified globes of light flying in erratic patterns in the night sky near Kyoto, Japan. The general’s advisers told him not to worry -- it was merely the wind causing the stars to sway. On April 14 1561 the skies over Nuremberg, Germany were reportedly filled with a multitude of objects seemingly engaged in an aerial battle. Small spheres and discs were said to emerge from large cylinders. These sightings were usually treated as supernatural portents, angels, and other religious omens. Some contemporary investigators believe them to be the ancient equivalent of modern UFO reports.

First modern reports

Before the terms “flying saucer" and “UFO" were coined, there were a number of reports of strange, unidentified aerial phenomena. These reports date from the mid-nineteenth to early twentieth century. On January 25, 1878, The Denison Daily News wrote that local farmer John Martin had reported seeing a large, dark, circular flying object resembling a balloon flying “at wonderful speed". On November 17, 1882, astronomer E. W. Maunder of the Greenwich Royal Observatory described in the Observatory Reports “a strange celestial visitor" that was “disc-shaped", “torpedo-shaped", or “spindle-shaped". It was said to be very different in characteristics from a meteor fireball. Years later, Maunder wrote it looked exactly like the new Zeppelin dirigibles. The strange object was also seen by several other European astronomers.

On February 28, 1904, there was a sighting by three crew members on the USS Supply 300 miles west of San Francisco, reported by Lt. Frank Schofield, later to become Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Fleet. Schofield wrote of three bright red egg-shaped and circular objects flying in echelon formation that approached beneath the cloud layer, then changed course and “soared" above the clouds, departing directly away from the earth after 2 to 3 minutes. The largest had an apparent size of about six suns. The so-called Fátima incident or “The Miracle of the Sun", witnessed by tens of thousands in Fátima, Portugal on October 13, 1917, is believed by some researchers to actually be a UFO event. In both the European and Japanese aerial theatres during World War II, “Foo-fighters" (balls of light and other shapes that followed aircraft) were reported by both Allied and Axis pilots.

On February 25, 1942, an unidentified craft was detected over the California region. The craft stayed aloft despite taking at least 20 minutes worth of flak from ground batteries. The incident later became known as the Battle of Los Angeles, or the West coast air raid. In 1946, there were over 2000 reports of unidentified aircraft in the Scandinavian nations, along with isolated reports from France, Portugal, Italy and Greece, then referred to as “Russian hail", and later as “ghost rockets", because it was thought that these mysterious objects were Russian tests of captured German V1 or V2 rockets. This was subsequently shown not to be the case, and the phenomenon remains unexplained. Over 200 were tracked on radar and deemed to be “real physical objects" by the Swedish military. A significant fraction of the remainder were thought to be misperceptions of natural phenomena, such as meteors.

Modern UFO era

The post World War II UFO phase in the United States began with a reported sighting by American businessman Kenneth Arnold on June 24, 1947 while flying his private plane near Mount Rainier, Washington. He reported seeing nine brilliantly bright objects flying across the face of Rainier towards nearby Mount Adams at “an incredible speed", which he calculated at at least 1200 miles per hour by timing their travel between Rainier and Adams. His sighting subsequently received significant media and public attention. Arnold would later say they “flew like a saucer would if you skipped it across the water" and also said they were “flat like a pie pan", “shaped like saucers", and “half-moon shaped, oval in front and convex in the rear. ...they looked like a big flat disk". (One, however, he would describe later as being almost crescent-shaped.) Arnold’s reported descriptions caught the media’s and the public’s fancy and gave rise to the terms flying saucer and flying disk.

Arnold’s sighting was followed in the next few weeks by several thousand other reported sightings, mostly in the U.S., but in other countries as well. Perhaps the most significant of these was a United Airlines crew sighting of nine more disc-like objects over Idaho on the evening of July 4. This sighting was even more widely reported than Arnold’s and lent considerable credence to Arnold’s report. For the next few days most American newspapers were filled with front-page stories of the new “flying saucers" or “flying discs". Starting with official debunkery that began the night of July 8 with the Roswell UFO incident, reports rapidly tapered off, ending the first big U.S. UFO wave.

Starting July 9, Army Air Force intelligence, in cooperation with the FBI, secretly began a formal investigation into the best sightings, which included Arnold’s and the United crew’s. The FBI was told that intelligence was using “all of its scientists" to determine whether or not “such a phenomenon could, in fact, occur". Furthermore, the research was “being conducted with the thought that the flying objects might be a celestial phenomenon", or that “they might be a foreign body mechanically devised and controlled". (Maccabee, 5) Three weeks later they concluded that, “This ‘flying saucer’ situation is not all imaginary or seeing too much in some natural phenomenon. Something is really flying around". A further review by the intelligence and technical divisions of the Air Materiel Command at Wright Field reached the same conclusion, that “the phenomenon is something real and not visionary or fictitious", that there were objects in the shape of a disc, metallic in appearance, and as big as man-made aircraft. They were characterized by “extreme rates of climb [and] maneuverability", general lack of noise, absence of trail, occasional formation flying, and “evasive" behavior “when sighted or contacted by friendly aircraft and radar", suggesting either manual, automatic, or remote control. It was thus recommended in late September 1947 that an official Air Force investigation be set up to investigate the phenomenon. This led to the creation of the Air Force’s Project Sign at the end of 1947, which became Project Grudge at the end of 1948, and then Project Blue Book in 1952. Blue Book closed down in 1970, ending the official Air Force UFO investigations.

Use of “UFO" instead of “flying saucer" was first suggested in 1952 by Capt. Edward J. Ruppelt, the first director of Project Blue Book, who felt that “flying saucer" did not reflect the diversity of the sightings. Ruppelt suggested that “UFO" should be pronounced as a word — “you-foe". However it is generally pronounced by forming each letter: “U.F.O." His term was quickly adopted by the Air Force, which also briefly used “UFOB" circa 1954. (See next paragraph.) Ruppelt recounted his experiences with Project Blue Book in his memoir, The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects (1956), also the first book to use the term.

Air Force Regulation 200-2, issued in 1954, defined an Unidentified Flying Object (UFOB) as “any airborne object which by performance, aerodynamic characteristics, or unusual features, does not conform to any presently known aircraft or missile type, or which cannot be positively identified as a familiar object". The regulation also said UFOBs were to be investigated as a “possible threat to the security of the United States" and “to determine technical aspects involved". Furthermore, Air Force personnel were directed not to discuss unexplained cases with the press.

Major UFO sightings

This is a list of UFO sighting flaps and well-known individual sightings. Included are also cases of alleged alien sightings and abductions.

Some cases are popularly known, and have become folklore. Others are more obscure, and known mainly to Ufologists and enthusiasts.

Close Encounters of the First Kind

  • 6 B.C.: The Star of Bethlehem has long thought to be more than just a star by Ufologists. Analysis of the biblical report suggests that the "star" was a controlled object able to move to the spot of the nativity scene to indicate its exact location to the three magi (as opposed to the "zenith" theory, where the star's declination and ascension was at zenith at Bethlehem, causing it to "move" as the magi approached it).
  • 1235: Kyoto, Japan September 24 General Yoritsume and his army watched many unusual lights in the sky for several hours.
  • 1271: Kamakura, Japan September 12 - Buddhist priest Nichiren was to be beheaded, when an object appeared in the sky and the beheading was called off.
  • 1561: Nuremberg, Germany April 4 UFO's "swarm" over the city of Nuremberg
  • 1566: Basel, Switzerland August 7 Black globes flooded the sky above the town of Basel. Theories today say it most likely was an atmospheric occurrence but some still doubt.
  • 1800: March 29, Prediger Fritsch saw in Quedlinburg a tiny spot crossing the sun in 6 hours [1]. (DE)
  • 1802: February 27, Prediger Fritsch saw in Quedlinburg a tiny spot crossing the sun in nortwestern-direction and accelerated thereby[2]. (DE)
  • 1839: October 2, Cupper saw transit of unidentified object in front of the sun.
  • 1849: March 12, Sidebotham saw transit of tiny spot on the sun.
  • 1859: March 26, Lescarbault saw transit of unknown body in front of the sun. Liais in Brasilia saw no such thing.
  • 1862: March 20, Lummis, ingenieur of Manchester, saw transit of unknown object in front of the sun.
  • 1913 and later: The Brown Mountain Lights, made famous via a bluegrass song.
  • 1919: June 19: UFO sighting at Docking, Norfolk in England.
  • 1926: Nicholas Riley, Russian explorer/artist, reported in his travel diary spotting a bright, shiny object flying above the mountains in northern China.
  • 1942-45: World War II UFO Sightings, UFO's and other unexplained aerial phenomena were sighted during World War II.
  • 1942: February 24 and February 25, the West coast air raid; unidentified aerial objects trigger the military to fire thousands of anti-aircraft rounds into the sky and raised the wartime alert status.
  • 1944: Foo fighters, colorful spheres recurringly spotted by military air crews around the world.
  • 1946 and later: Ghost rockets, objects with characteristics of cruise missiles sighted repeatedly all over Scandinavia—Swedish Defense Staff expressed concern.
  • 1948: So-called Green Fireballs were reported over several United States military bases; an official investigation followed.
  • 1949: Astronomer Clyde Tombaugh reported a strange sighting.
  • 1953 Ellsworth UFO Case UFO seen as a red glowing light and is witnessed by forty-five people in Bismarck, North Dakota. The sighting takes place over a two night period on August 5 & August 6.
  • 1954: French flap, Hundreds of sightings. [3]
  • 1954: Unknown orbiting satellites reported, astronomer Clyde Tombaugh involved.
  • 1952: Carson Sink Case over western Nevada, USA.
  • 1952: Washington flap, a series of sightings with radar contacts in Washington, DC, USA. This resulted in the implementation of the Robertson Panel by the CIA.
  • 1966: Portage County UFO Chase several Ohio police officers chased a UFO for 30 minutes.
  • 1972: Salt Lake City, Utah Daytime UFO appears on tourist photograph as he took pictures of the city skyline, when he find a bright round object travels over him in the sky.
  • 1976: 1976 Canary Island UFO Sighting
  • 2005: April 27, White House evacuated as UFO enters restricted air space, then disappears. It was explained as "probably a cloud or several birds." [4]
  • 2005:Rockaway Beach, Queens A UFO was sighted over the water near what looked like aircraft carriers. It disappeared as quickly as it came.
  • 2005: Woodside, Queens Five Flying Saucers appeared over Woodside, Queens in November 2005. They were seen throughout the whole Queens and Manhattan area. They disappeared one at a time.
  • 2006:Kent, England on May 25, Oval orb observed hovering above a location in Kent at some distance. Then moved off in a westerly direction" [5][6][7]

Close Encounters of the Second Kind

  • mid 1800s-onwards: Jersey Devil, sightings and encounters of a flying horse-like creature.
  • 1886: October 18, the US consul of Venezuela in Maracaibo reports to Scientific American that a bright object, accompanied with a humming noise, appeared over a hut near Maracaibo. The people in the hut showed afterward symptoms of a sickness, which one would today interpret as radiation disease. The trees surrounding the hut withered after nine days [8].
  • 1947: June 23, Maury Island incident, a highly controversial story, where a dog was killed, a boy injured by UFOs, and the witness threatened by Men in Black.
  • 1947: June 24, Kenneth Arnold's sighting, the incident that sparked the name flying saucers. (Original Radio Interview)
  • 1947: June 14 or July 4, Roswell UFO incident, US Air Force on July 8: captured flying saucer; on July 9: weatherballoon; in 1994 and 1997, respectively: Project Mogul balloon train. Witnesses and UFO researcher: crashed UFO and alien crew.
  • 1948: Mantell Incident, US Air Force sent a fighter pilot to check a UFO sighting—the pilot crashed. Some have claimed he was shot down with a laser - like weapon.
  • 1948: Kapustin Yar Incident, where supposedly a "cigar" shaped UFO was shot down by a Russian MiG.
  • 1950: August 15, The Mariana UFO Incident in Great Falls, Montana.
  • 1953: U.S Air Force Pilot Felix Moncla disappears while pursuing a UFO.
  • 1957: November 2, Levelland UFO Case, numerous motorists around the town of Levelland, Texas report seeing a strange egg-shaped object which caused their engines to shut off. When the object flew away, their vehicles would restart and work normally. Other UFO car stallings occurred in the next few days.
  • 1965: Northeast Blackout of 1965 UFOs were allegedly sighted and was theorized as the cause of the blackout.
  • 1971: Delphos ground trace, UFO left an obscure impression.
  • 1976: September 19, 1976 Tehran UFO Incident, UFO over Tehran, Iran knocked out two F-4 interceptor and ground controller electronics. Well-documented in U.S. DIA report and other documents. Iranian generals involved went on public record that object was extraterrestrial.
  • 1980: Rendlesham Forest Incident, a sighting in United Kingdom taken at first as a downed aircraft.
  • 1980: December 29, The Cash-Landrum Incident, a huge diamond-shaped UFO irradiates three witnesses near Dayton, Texas. They had to be treated for radiation poisoning and have since sued the US government, as military helicopters were seen with the UFO.
  • 1986 : Brazil, Noite oficial dos OVNIs(UFO´s Official Night), more than 20 UFOs are seen and captured in radar in various parts of the country. Colonel Ozires Silva, former Embraer and at the time Petrobras President, flying a Xingu PT-MBZ aircraft near the place, is informed and tries to pursue the UFOs, later declaring “The lights were primary targets in the radar, positive targets, a concrete thing��?. Two F-5 Tiger II and three Mirage III are ultimately sent to intercept the UFOs. After radar and visual sightings, the objects disappeared. In the aftermath, Brigadier Otávio Júlio Moreira Lima, at the time the Ministry of Aeronautics, public declared: "Between 20:00 (19/05) and 01:00 (20/05) at least 21 objects have been detected by Brazilian radars.[...]We can only give technical explanations and we do not have them.[...]It’s fantastic, the radar signals were very clear." [9](in Portuguese)
  • 1993: Carp, Ontario, Canada An anonymous video of a UFO landing in a wheat field, followed by black and white photographs of an alleged alien from the spacecraft. Had official Canadian investigation, claimed to be a hoax, but many believers not convinced.
  • 2001: Kirkby Liverpool, UK Several crowds of people across the small town of Kirkby spot an illuminous yellow ring moving quickly across the daytime sky.
  • 2003: North America Blackout UFOs allegedly sighted before the blackout.
  • 2004: Mexican air patrol sighting, a drug-smuggling air patrol recorded UFOs on infrared camera, footage released by Jaime Maussan. Case debunked in July 2004 by Captain Alejandro Franz [10]
  • Date unknown: Shades Of Death Road a white orb was said to chase motorists back out to Shades of Death Road and then turn red in the process.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Ideas of abduction appeared in the movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind

See UFO Casebook and go to Malevolent Abduction Research's Homepage, Paranormalnews' Homepage.

  • 1946 May 18: Ängelholm UFO-landing - Gösta Karlsson claimed observing a UFO landing near Ängelholm in Sweden. On the site, a model of a flying saucer was erected [11].
  • 1952 July 9: Gleimershausen UFO-landing, Oskar Linde, the former mayor of Gleimarshausen (Germany), saw a disc-shaped object on a forest clearing near Hasselbach, Thuringia with two strange looking men, who worked around it. He took them for Russian military staff. The object, which was seen by several witnesses, left a trace on the ground. [12], [13]
  • 1955: Kelly-Hopkinsville encounter, a group of strange, playful creatures bullied a family, while the family shot at them.
  • 1961: Hill Abduction, the first widely publicized alien abduction experience.
  • 1975: Travis Walton abduction, an Arizona lumberjack alleged to have been abducted by a UFO from the side of a road. There were 4 eyewitnesses who watched the encounter and tried to report the event to the local sheriff department. The sheriff arrested the four men and held them in custody as prime suspects of Walton's disappearance. After the four men were given Lie detector tests, all were shown to be telling the truth. Travis Walton reappeared after being listed as missing for 7 days, but he thought it was 5 hours, and testified that it was a legitimate experience. The story was written into a 1993 movie Fire in the sky.
  • 1978 May 10: Emilcin abduction - a man at Emilcin in Poland is said to be abducted by grays. On the site, where this should have taken place, there is now a memorial.
  • 1981 January 8: Trans-en-Provence Case, a mutual UFO-landing, which left interesting traces.
  • 1985: Whitley Strieber, Alleged abductee and paranormal writer, Strieber wrote on his experiences in his national best-seller novel Communion. In a 1996 Larry King interview, Strieber denied the event and stated that it never happened. He currently hosts a nighttime radio show Dreamland which is similar to the Coast To Coast AM radio show in its format.

Dated events

  • 1957: 1957 flap, multiple car stallings by large UFOs in Levelland Texas and New Mexico, sightings over New Mexico military areas
  • 1964: Lonnie Zamora, a police officer in Socorro, New Mexico, US, reports a close encounter.
  • 1965: December 9, Kecksburg incident, mass sighting of a falling UFO followed by an alleged isolation of the crash site.
  • 1965: Frank Borman's photo, a UFO picture by an astronaut. The UFO followed the Gemini 7 flight.
  • 1966: April 6, A sighting by hundreds of people in the Melbourne suburb of Westall. [14]
  • 1967: Falcon Lake Incident, according to the story, a UFO's exhausts burnt a man.
  • 1967: October 4, Shag Harbor Nova Scotia UFO crash, object seen crashing into Shag Harbor followed by Canadian naval search; officially referred to as a UFO crash.
  • 1969: Jimmy Carter's sighting, a UFO officially reported by a President.
  • 1969: Neil Armstrong's sighting, a UFO reported by an astronaut, he saw two UFOs after the Apollo 11 landed on the moon.
  • 1973: Pascagoula Abduction, a well-publicized alien abduction experience.
  • 1974: Berwyn Mountain Incident, a sighting in United Kingdom taken at first as a downed aircraft.
  • 1975: Travis Walton abduction, a man went missing for days—came back with a story of an abduction, wrote a book which was adapted into a film.
  • 1977: Colares flap, a bewildering account of a Brazilian island swamped by harmful UFOs—35 injured, island evacuated. [15]
  • 1978: Valentich Disappearance, an Australian pilot reported a UFO to air traffic control before vanishing without a trace.
  • 1978: Kaikoura Lights, a series of sightings by a Safe Air freight plane flying off the coast of Kaikoura, New Zealand is escorted by strange lights of changing color and size.
  • 1979: Marshall County incident, a sheriff spotted a weird bright light which seems to have collided with his vehicle.
  • 1980: Cash-Landrum incident, a peculiar sighting accompanied by injuries to three witnesses.
  • 1982: Baikonur Cosmodrome Raid, the launching site was temporarily shut down after having been supposedly raided and sabotaged by UFOs in June. [16]
  • 1985: Tbilisi-sighting, Soviet commercial airliners crew and passengers observed a strange light during a flight from Tbilisi in Georgia to Tallinn in Estonia in January 1985.
  • 1986: January 29, Height 611 UFO Incident, a UFO crash claim in Dalnegorsk, USSR, followed by a UFO landing claim in 1989.
  • 1986: November 16, Japan Air Lines Flight 1628, a group of UFOs flew with Japan Air Lines Flight 1628 in northeastern Alaska for 50 minutes.
  • 1990: Belgian flap, several mass sightings of triangular UFOs—Belgian Air Force intercepted a radar-visual contact and released footage see Black triangles.
  • 1990: Montréal, Québec, Canada UFO - November 7, 1990, More than 40 people, including policemen, observe a UFO for more than 3 hours above a hotel in downtown Montréal [17]
  • 1996: Varginha incident, multiple sightings of strange creatures in Minas Gerais, Brazil.
  • 1997: Mexico City footage, see External links.
  • 1997: Phoenix, Arizona UFO incident, multiple slow moving lights in formation over the Phoenix metro area.


  • 2001: September 11, a UFO is allegedly filmed during the 9/11 attacks in New York City. A small object can be seen in the sky as the second plane hits the World Trade Center. It appears to be just debris or a shadow from debris, from the plane or building during the second plane crash.
  • 2003: UFO sightings in Iraq - reports of UFOs during the Iraq War. Most likely unidentified military aircrafts, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or artillery/missles/bombs.
  • 2004: June 10, Guadalajara, Mexico footage, hundreds of globular flying objects are seen and filmed in the sky over Guadalajara. The sky was clear and the objects were moving below the cloud level.

UFOs in popular culture

Beginning in the 1950s, UFO-related spiritual sects, sometimes referred to as contactee cults, began to appear. Most often the members of these sects rallied around a central individual, who claimed to either have made personal contact with space-beings, or claimed to be in telepathic contact with them. Prominent among such individuals was George Adamski, who claimed to have met a tall, blond-haired Venusian named “Orthon", who came to warn us about the dangers of nuclear proliferation. Adamski was widely dismissed, but an Adamski Foundation still exists, publishing and selling Adamski’s writings. At least two of these sects developed a substantial number of adherents, most notably The Aetherius Society, founded by British mystic George King in 1956, and the Unarius Foundation, established by “Ernest L." and Ruth Norman in 1954. A standard theme of the alleged messages from outer-space beings to these cults was a warning about the dangers of nuclear proliferation. More recent groups organized around an extraterrestrial theme include Ummo, Heaven’s Gate, Raël, and the Ashtar Galactic Command. Many of the early UFO sects, as well as later ones, share a tendency to incorporate ideas from both Christianity and various eastern religions, “hybridizing" these with ideas pertaining to extraterrestrials and their benevolent concern with the people of Earth.

The notion of contactee cults gained a new twist during the 1980s, primarily in the USA, with the publication of books by Whitley Strieber (beginning with Communion) and Jacques Vallee (Passport to Magonia). Strieber, a horror writer, felt that aliens were harassing him and were responsible for “missing time" during which he was subjected to strange experiments by “grey aliens". This newer, darker model can be seen in the subsequent wave of “alien abduction" literature, and in the background mythos of The X Files and many other TV series.

However, even in the alien abduction literature, motives of the aliens run the gamut from hostile to benevolent. For example, researcher David Jacobs believes we are undergoing a form of stealth invasion through genetic assimilation. The theme of genetic manipulation (though not necessarily an invasion) is also strongly reflected in the writings of Budd Hopkins. The late Harvard psychiatrist John Mack (1929-2004) believed that the aliens’ ethical bearing was to take a role as “tough love" gurus trying to impart wisdom. James Harder says abductees predominantly report positive interactions with aliens, most of whom have benevolent intentions and express concern about human survival.

An interesting 1970s-era development was a renewal and broadening of ideas associating UFOs with supernatural or preternatural subjects such as occultism, cryptozoology, and parapsychology. Some 1950s contactee cultists had incorporated various religious and occult ideas into their beliefs about UFOs, but in the 1970s this was repeated on a considerably larger scale. Many participants in the New Age movement came to believe in alien contact, both through mediumistic channeling and through literal, physical contact. A prominent spokesperson for this trend was actress Shirley MacLaine, especially in her book and miniseries, Out On a Limb. The 1970s saw the publication of many New Age books in which ideas about UFOs and extraterrestrials figured prominently.

Another key development in 1970s UFO folklore came with the publication of Erich von Däniken’s book Chariots of the Gods. The book argued that aliens have been visiting Earth for thousands of years, which he used to explain UFO-like images from various archaeological sources as well as unsolved mysteries. Such ideas were not exactly new. For example, earlier in his career, astronomer Carl Sagan in Intelligent Life in the Universe (1966) had similarly argued that aliens could have been visiting the Earth sporadically for millions of years. “Ancient astronauts" proposals inspired numerous imitators, sequels, and fictional adaptations, including one book (Barry Downing's The Bible and Flying Saucers) which interprets miraculous aerial phenomena in the Bible as records of alien contact. Many of these interpretations posit that aliens have been guiding human evolution, an idea taken up earlier by the novel and film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

UFOs constitute a widespread international cultural phenomenon of the last half-century. Folklorist Thomas E. Bullard writes, “UFOs have invaded modern consciousness in overwhelming force, and endless streams of books, magazine articles, tabloid covers, movies, TV shows, cartoons, advertisements, greeting cards, toys, T-shirts, even alien-head salt and pepper shakers, attest to the popularity of this phenomenon". Gallup polls rank UFOs near the top of lists for subjects of widespread recognition. In 1973, a survey found that 95 percent of the public reported having heard of UFOs, whereas only 92 percent had heard of US President Gerald Ford in a 1977 poll taken just nine months after he left the White House. (Bullard, 141) A 1996 Gallup poll reported that 71 percent of the United States population believed that the government was covering up information regarding UFOs. A 2002 Roper poll for the Sci Fi channel found similar results, but with more people believing UFOs were extraterrestrial craft. In that latest poll, 56 percent thought UFOs were real craft and 48 percent that aliens had visited the Earth. Again, about 70 percent felt the government was not sharing everything it knew about UFOs or extraterrestrial life.

Ufology - people and organizations

United States


  • Anderson, John.M.(AMPR)(AFSIC)(APRV)(PRV)(PRA)
  • Auchettl, John W. (VUFORS)(PRA)
  • Basterfield, Keith (UFORA)
  • Biddington, Group Captain Brett,(RAAF)
  • Boyle, Brian (AMPR)(AFSIC)(APRV)(PRV)(PRA)
  • Clifford, Dr. W.P. (UFOIC)
  • Douglass, Keith (UFORAS) (AUFORN)
  • Deller, Gordon (AFSIC) (APRV) (PRV)
  • Griesberg, Harry (ACUFOS)
  • Godic, Vladimir & Pony (UFORA)
  • Gottschall, Dr Martin & Sheryl (ACUFOS)(UFORQld)
  • Jarrold, Edger. R. (AFSB)
  • Jones, Air Marshal Sir George (RAAF)(CAPIO)
  • Lindtner, Dr. Miran (UFOIC)(CSIRO)
  • Magee, Judith (VUFORS)
  • Mackay, Glennys (MUFON)(UFOR NetworkQld)
  • McGhee, Moira (INUFOR)(UFORNSW)
  • Middleborough, Charles (QFSRB)
  • Moravec, Mark L. (ACUFOS)(ARC)
  • Moser, William (UFOIC)
  • Paul Norman (VUFORS)(MUFON)
  • Norris, Colin O. (AIUFOFSR)
  • Norris, Peter E. (AFSRS Vic)(VFSRS)(CAPIO)(VUFORS)
  • Pinkney, John (AFSRS Vic)(VFSRS)
  • Roberts, Keith (TUFOIC)
  • Rodwell, Mary (ACERN)
  • Russell, Roy & Pearl (QFSRB)
  • Seargent, David (ACUFOS)
  • Seers, Jack (AMPR)(AFSIC)(APRV)(PRV)(PRA)
  • Seers, Stanley (Stan)(QFSRB)
  • Sloane, W. Howard (Ballarat Astronomical Society)
  • Stone, Fred (AFSRS)
  • Sutton, Sylvia (AFSRS Vic)(VFSRS)(CAPIO)
  • Tomas, Andrew P. (AFSB)(AFSRS NSW)(UFOIC)
  • Yates, Clive (AFSRS Vic)(VFSRS)(VUFORS)(MUFON)



  • Errol Bruce-Knapp



  • Dr. Claude Poher (Astronomer, founder and first director of GEPAN, 1974-1978, the first official French UFO investigation under French space agency CNES)
  • Yves Sillard[18] (Engineer, former director of CNES, 1976-1982, head of new French government UFO investigation GEIPAN)
  • Dr. Jean-Jacques Velasco (Engineer, former head, 1983-2004, of the official French UFO investigation GEPAN/SEPRA)



New Zealand


Member of NASA [19]
CEO, iNFOtek [20]
A Pakistani scientist is involved in research of the Crop circles and UFOs in Pakistan for last 10 years. [21]



Organizations: U.S.

There have been a number of civilian groups formed to study UFO’s and/or to promulgate their opinions on the subject. Some have achieved fair degrees of mainstream visibility while others remain obscure. The groups listed below have embraced a broad variety of approaches, and have seen a correspondingly wide variety of responses from mainstream critics or supporters.

Political Action Committee (X-PPAC)* (1996- ): Small, Washington D.C. group pushing for government UFO disclosure. home page

Use in film and television

Documentary channels, such as the Discovery Channel and the History Channel airs UFO, alien related material from time to time.

Related articles

UFO sightings

References and external articles

  • Thomas E. Bullard, “UFOs: Lost in the Myths", pages 141-191 in “UFOs, the Military, and the Early Cold War Era", pages 82-121 in “UFOs and Abductions: Challenging the Borders of Knowledge" David M. Jacobs, editor; 2000, University Press of Kansas, ISBN 0-7006-1032-4
  • Jerome Clark, The UFO Book: Encyclopedia of the Extraterrestrial, 1998, Visible Ink Press, ISBN 1-57859-029-9. Many classic cases and UFO history provided in great detail; highly documented.
  • J. Deardorff, B. Haisch, B. Maccabee, Harold E. Puthoff, Inflation-Theory Implications for Extraterrestrial Visitation, Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, 2005 volume 58 pages 43–50 (links to pdf file)
  • Douglas Curran, In Advance of the Landing: Folk Concepts of Outer Space, 2001 (revised edition), Abbeville Press, ISBN 0-7892-0708-7. Non-sensational but fair treament of contemporary UFO legend and lore in N. America, including the so-called “contactee cults". The author traveled the United States with his camera and tape recorder and directly interviewed many individuals.
  • Richard H. Hall, editor, The UFO Evidence: Volume 1, 1964, NICAP, reissued 1997, Barnes & Noble Books, ISBN 0-7607-0627-1. Well-organized, exhaustive summary and analysis of 746 unexplained NICAP cases out of 5000 total cases — a classic.
  • Richard H. Hall, The UFO Evidence: A Thirty-Year Report, 2001, Scarecrow Press, ISBN 0-8108-3881-8. Another exhaustive case study, more recent UFO reports.
  • Alan Hendry, The UFO Handbook: A Guide to Investigating, Evaluating, and Reporting UFO Sightings, 1979, Doubleday & Co., ISBN 0-385-14348-6. Skeptical but balanced analysis of 1300 CUFOS UFO cases.
  • J. Allen Hynek, The UFO Experience: A scientific inquiry, 1972, Henry Regnery Co.
  • J. Allen Hynek, The Hynek UFO Report, 1997 (new edition), Barnes & Noble Books, ISBN 0-7607-0429-5. Analysis of 640 high-quality cases through 1969 by UFO legend Hynek.
  • Carl Sagan & Thornton Page, editors, UFO's: A Scientific Debate, 1972, Cornell University Press, 1996, Barnes & Noble Books, ISBN 0-7607-0192-2. Pro and con articles by scientists, mostly to the skeptical side.
  • Peter A. Sturrock (1999). The UFO Enigma: A New Review of the Physical Evidence. New York: Warner Books. ISBN 0-446-52565-0
  • Carl G. Jung, “Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Skies" (translated by R.F.C. Hull); 1979, Princeton University Press, ISBN 0-691-01822-7
  • Richard M. Dolan, UFOs and the National Security State: An Unclassified History, Volume One: 1941-1973, 2000, Keyhole Publishing, ISBN 0-9666885-0-3. Dolan is a professional historian.
  • Downes, Jonathan Rising of the Moon. 2nd ed. Bangor: Xiphos, 2005.
  • Lawrence Fawcett & Barry J. Greenwood, The UFO Cover-Up (Originally Clear Intent), 1992, Fireside Books (Simon & Schuster), ISBN 0-671-76555-8. Many UFO documents.
  • Timothy Good, Above Top Secret, 1988, William Morrow & Co., ISBN 0-688-09202-0. Many UFO documents.
  • Kevin Randle, Project Blue Book Exposed, 1997, Marlowe & Company, ISBN 1-56924-746-3
  • Edward J. Ruppelt, The Report On Unidentified Flying Objects, 1956, Doubleday & Co. online. A UFO classic by insider Ruppelt, the first head of the USAF Project Blue Book
  • Paul R. Hill, Unconventional Flying Objects: a scientific analysis, 1995, Hampton Roads Publishing Co., ISBN 1-57174-027-9. Analysis of UFO technology by pioneering NACA/NASA aerospace engineer.
  • James M. McCampbell, Ufology: A Major Breakthrough in the Scientific Understanding of Unidentified Flying Objects, 1973, 1976, Celestial Arts, ISBN 0-89087-144-2 online. Another analysis by former NASA and nuclear engineer.
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See also




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