The word paranormal can be defined as “the occurrence, or perception of, an event without scientific explanation, or other purportedly supernatural phenomena.” Paranormal activity is an encompassing term that includes not only ghosts and hauntings and demonic activity, but also other unexplainable phenomena such as unidentified flying objects (UFOs) and extrasensory perception (ESP), to name just a few. With the proliferation of movies and television shows that in one way or another sensationalize paranormal activity, it is clear that many are indeed fascinated with this realm. In fact, a 2007 low-budget movie titled Paranormal Activity went on to become one of the most profitable movies of all time. How, then, should Christians respond when we read about supposed hauntings and other paranormal occurrences?

A common misconception is that disembodied spirits can remain on earth or perhaps come back to “haunt” or otherwise interact with us. However, nothing in the Bible supports this belief. Rather, “man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). But the Bible does make it clear that there are spirit beings - angels and demons - that operate in the heavenly realm. The angels serve God. They are ministering spirits who are sent by God “to serve those who will inherit salvation” (Hebrews 1:14). Demons, on the other hand, are fallen angels under the control of Satan, and they roam the earth looking to destroy God’s children (1 Peter 5:8). They are cunning and wise and keenly aware of our weaknesses and our propensity to desire that which will satisfy our fleshly desires. Worst of all, they can masquerade as “angels of light” or as “servants of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 11:14–15). Regarding the immensity of Satan’s earthly “operation,” the apostle John reminds us that the “whole world” is under his control (1 John 5:19).

Now, some of the paranormal activity we read about today could very well be hoaxes perpetuated on a public that is all too eager to believe. In some cases, well-meaning people could be innocently mistaken as to what they think they might have seen or experienced. There is probably a logical explanation for much of what gets passed off as “paranormal activity.” However, if there is genuine evil spiritual activity occurring, it would have to be the work of demons. Either way, however, when Christians read or hear of such activity we should not be intrigued by it or drawn to it; rather, we should use it as a solid reminder of the spiritual battle that is the Christian life and the one against whom we struggle. “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood,” but, it is against the “powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12).

Many people are no doubt intrigued by tales of ghosts and hauntings. Yet, if getting angry can give the devil a “foothold” into our lives (Ephesians 4:27), how much more so would a fascination with the “dark forces” of this world that he controls? Jesus Christ came to earth to destroy the devil’s work (1 John 3:8), and it took His death to accomplish it. Our response to paranormal activity, at least as it pertains to any sort of demonic activity, is to be reminded of the evil that ultimately led to our Savior’s great sacrifice. Beyond that, Christians should avoid any and all contact with the paranormal.


What is the purpose of evil miracles? Satan and his demons perform them in order to seduce (Matthew 24:24, Revelation 19:20), or simply bring pain and suffering to, mankind. God sometimes allows evil wonders so that those who reject him may be further deceived (2 Thes 2:9-12) or to test those who obey him. How can evil miracles occur even though the devil failed miserably in his attempt to overcome God? It is because he and his demons retained the same power (albeit with less freedom) they had before they rebelled and turned themselves evil (Ephesians 6:12).

The book of Job records some of the earliest miracles carried out through the agency of evil. The devil first brought fire from heaven in order to kill all of Job's sheep and murder his servants (Job 1:16). Satan then used his evil authority over earth's weather to bring an unusually strong wind upon a house that resulted in the death of all of Job's adult children (verses 18-19).


Unbelievers casting out demons?

By Verse by Verse Ministry International

"In reading Mark 9:39, it seems as though the Lord teaches that those who cast out demons in his name are to be treated as believers, and yet in Luke 11:18, Mark 3:26, and Matthew 12:26, Jesus says that there will be those who cast out demons in His name but He does not know them. Can you help me understand this difference?

Regarding each of the passages you cited, here are some general observations. First, Luke 9:49-50 & Mark 9:39 are both speaking of those who are working by means of the Spirit of God though not publicly identified as disciples following Jesus. These men were successfully casting out demons “in Jesus name,” which means they were operating in the power and authority of the Lord, which had been granted to them by the Spirit.

The disciples objected to these men working in this way, because these other men were not a part of the group following Jesus, but Jesus rejects their assumptions. The Lord says God is capable of working through others who were unknown to the disciples, therefore they must not judge others merely by human associations. If a person works in like manner for a shared outcome to the glory of Christ, then we can assume they are working by the same Spirit as us.

Regarding Luke 11:18, Mark 3:26, and Matthew 12:26, Jesus said that Satan will never work against his own purposes. Jesus spoke these words because the Pharisees had accused Jesus of performing a miracle of casting out a demon using the power of Satan. Jesus explained that it would be illogical to expect Satan to lend his power to anyone for the purpose of increasing the Lord's glory.

On the other hand, Jesus was NOT declaring that Satan never grants a person the power to send out a demon. On the contrary, Satan is the ruler of the demons, and therefore he can send demons into our out of an unbeliever’s body at will. Satan may grant the power to one of his agents to cast out demons from another of his agents in order to gain attention and loyalty from an audience for his evil agenda. False teachers and false prophets have long demonstrated supernatural power granted by Satan, including the power to control the demonic realm. The enemy uses this deception to win an audience for his claims.

But as Jesus said, the enemy will never use his power to further the glory or goals of the Lord, which was the point Jesus was making to the Pharisees. Therefore, we cannot say that those who cast out demons must be believers, because sometimes unbelievers cast out demons to further the purposes of Satan. We can only say that those who bring glory to Jesus in their work to further the kingdom are not our enemies. 

This truth explains why in Matthew 7:22 Jesus declares that some will prophesy and cast out demons in Jesus’ name yet He will say He doesn’t know them at the judgment. These are unbelievers who were under the influence of false teaching and were working in the power of Satan to accomplish great miracles, but they didn’t have the Spirit and didn’t know the true Gospel. Present-day examples of such people include Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, and unbelievers trapped in many pentecostal movements around the world.

Furthermore, there is no example in scripture of the Lord granting an unbeliever spiritual power to perform miracles, but there are many occasions of Satan granting such power to unbelievers (including the antichrist to come). Therefore, we cannot make a determination concerning someone’s spiritual status (i.e., believer vs. unbeliever) merely on the basis of whether they can perform supernatural signs. This is why the Bible warns against seeking for such signs.

Finally, the Bible is clear that the unbeliever's prayers are not "heard" by God in the sense that the Spirit isn't working within such a person to bring their prayers into alignment with the will of God nor does Jesus intercede on their behalf.


Pharaoh's magicians were able to mimic the first manifestations of God's power Moses and Aaron performed. When Moses' staff was transformed into a serpent they were able to duplicate this feat with their own staffs (Exodus 7:10-12). The magicians also used their powers of evil to duplicate the miracles of turning water into blood and bringing frogs upon the land (Exodus 7:22, 8:6-7).

One day Jesus encountered a man who had thousands of demons in him (Mark 5:9). They gave the man the super-human ability to constantly live outside while completely naked (Mark 5:3, 5, Luke 8:27, 29). They also enabled him to break any chain, fetter or restraint used on him (Mark 5:3-4).

Soon after the New Testament church was born, a man influenced by evil named Simon Magus was able to work awesome wonders that amazed the people of Samaria. His demonically inspired black magic was so spectacular and convincing that people we awed and listened to what he taught (Acts 8:9-11).


Not all miracles come from God. God is all powerful, but not all miracles come from God. There are people that are not of God that can perform signs and wonders. Matthew 24:24 advises us that all miracles do not come from God.

Matthew 24:24, “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."
The Bible warns that, in the time just ahead of us, the forces of evil will show an unparalleled number of signs and wonders (Mark 13:22, 2Thes 2:8-9). The end time False Prophet will perform countless miracles so that the earth is deceived into accepting the mark of the Beast (Revelation 13:11-14). The plethora of lying, evil miracles, in the last days, will be so convincing that the world will worship the devil believing he is god on the earth (2Thes 2:4, 2Corinthians 11:13-14). At the end of the Great Tribulation period fallen angels will manifest their supernatural abilities in order to gather humans to fight in the battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:14)


Creation has innumerable supernatural characteristics and events which mankind may even frequently observe but cannot explain. All lifeforms exist as a result of God's supernatural superintending power, ref. Col 1:15-17)

[Compare Colossians 1:15-17]:

(Col 1:15 NASB) "He [Jesus Christ] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

(Col 1:16 NASB) For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visibleand invisible, whether thro nes or dominions or rulers or authorities - all things have been created through Him and for Him.

(Col 1:17 NASB) He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together."

All that has been created which includes all matter was created and is inexplicably held together by the power of Jesus Christ. Rainbows, electricity, matter, gravity, how matter holds together even down to subatomic particles are all inexplicable and man cannot produce such things from nothing. For example, how do electrons act as both matter and wave? Hence anything that man observes which he cannot explain is not necessarily due to another group of sentient beings that are superior to him such as extra terrestrials; albeit angelic beings have been and will be responsible for innumerable supernatural events as they have in the past and will in the future. The origin and make up of living beings from plants to animals to man is not knowable in detail especially because of its irreducible complexity .

Plane flying by a rainbow, Sydney, Australia. Given their majestic, muticoloured beauty, rainbows could be considered the calm after the storm. These incredible arcs are caused by a combination of reflection, refraction and light dispersion in water droplets, and they never cease to amaze and inspire. Here a plane is captured flying past one on its approach to Sydney airport, Australia.

Milky Way and Perseids, Black Sea, Bulgaria. Want to really feel small" The Milky Way (of which the Earth is part of) contains several hundred billion stars. It's possible to observe the Milky Way with the naked eye, given the right conditions, Here, it's captured over the Black Sea and framed by the jaw-droppiing Perseids meteor shower.

The Aurora Borealis - otherwise known as the Northern Lights - is an elusive yet beautiful natural display created by charged particles from the sun combining with the Earth's magnetic fields. This powerful combination can result in a technicolour display which can even be seen from space. Key places to spot them include Iceland, Norway and Canada.

The ocean phenomenon of green flashes occurs during sunset and sunrise. Usually seen for merely a couple of seconds, such green flashes are the result of the natural prismatic effect of the atmosphere of the earth. During sunset and during sunrise, the light cast by the sun gets diverged into multiple colours, which is seen by the emitting of the green flash.

The Baltic Sea Anomaly was accidentally discovered by a team of diving experts in the year 2011. The divers found a 60-metre thick circular entity nearly at a depth of 90 metres in the Baltic Sea.

A track seemed to lead towards the entity, which the divers measured to be around 30-metres. Though various scientists have offered innumerable suggestions about the entity's origins, the Baltic Sea anomaly still remains one of the unsolved intrigues and ocean mysteries of the world. Unearthed by a group of sub-water explorers in the year 2011, a unique entity rests deep under the freezing waters of the Gulf of Botnia, in the Baltic Sea region. Its unprecedented finding and the aura of mystery surrounding its background have popularly led to it being referred as the Baltic Sea Mystery and also as the Baltic Sea Mystery Object.

The mystery surrounding the entity though is not because of lack of knowledge of its sizing and shape but because of inability of the explorers and other scientists to categorise and pinpoint the rationality of it being in the water. Submerged at a depth of about 91 metres under the Gulf’s waters, the entity is roundish in shape with a circumference of about 18 metres.

This unique shape and its inexplicably tall height of at least about 13 metres have given way to scientific claims that the entity is an Unidentified Flying Object (UFO). Such claims led the entity and the geography to be tagged as the ‘UFO Baltic Sea.’ These claims about the Baltic Sea Mystery were further reinforced, when pavement-like platforms were found extending from the entity to a distance of about 300 metres. Another factor supporting the UFO claims in the Baltic Sea Region was on account of the lack of viability of the explorers’ hi-tech gadgetries while around close proximity of the unidentified entity. 

Underwater Crop Circle. Once regarded to be objects of high intrigue, the underwater crop circles have been explained to be a creative demonstration of pufferfishes' quests for finding their mates. These underwater circles have circumferences of over six feet and are often decorated with shells and other decorative items found at island of Anami Oshima. Some consider these ocean mysteries as the work of aliens.



But new technology under patent by the U.S. Navy could shift the odds even further into the favor of stealth aircraft: leveraging lasers to produce plasma bursts that could trick inbound missiles into thinking they’ve found a jet to chase that would actually be little more than a hologram.

This technology has already been used to create laser plasma balls that can transmit human speech. I’m going to be honest with you here, that sentence is as hard to wrap my head around as the writer as it probably is for you to grasp as a reader. Talking plasma balls?
Here’s a video from our friends at Military Times running down this cutting edge plasma 

Other applications for this laser system include use as a non-lethal weapon and even as a continuous flashbang grenade that could keep opponents in an area disoriented and unable to respond.

So, how does the Navy intend to leverage this sort of technology to make stealth aircraft even harder to hit? According to their patent, the laser system could be installed on the tail of an aircraft, and upon detection of an inbound missile, could literally project an infrared signature that would be comparable to a moving fighter jet’s exhaust out away from the fighter itself. Multiple systems could literally project multiple aircraft, leaving inbound missiles to go after the decoy plasma “fighters” instead of the actual aircraft itself.

These “laser induced plasma filaments,” as researchers call them, can be projected up to hundreds of meters, depending on the laser system employed, and (here’s the part that’ll really blow your mind) can be used to emit any wavelength of light. That means these systems could effectively display infrared to fool inbound heat seeking missiles, ultraviolet, or even visible light. Of course, it’s unlikely that the system could be used to mimic the visual cues of an actual aircraft, but it is possible to produce visible barriers between the weapon operator and the stealth aircraft emitting the laser.

Image courtesy of the US Patent Office

This system could be deployed instantly, reused throughout a mission, and can stay at a desired altitude or location in mid-air–all things flares can’t do. With enough aircraft equipped with these systems (or enough systems equipped on a single aircraft) this method could be used to do far more than just protect jets. In the future, this approach could become a part of a missile defense system employed by Navy ships, carrier strike groups, or even entire cities.

“If you have a very short pulse you can generate a filament, and in the air that can propagate for hundreds of meters, and maybe with the next generation of lasers you could produce a filament of even a mile,” Alexandru Hening, a lead researcher on the patent, told IT magazine in 2017.
It’s likely that we won’t see this technology lighting up the airspace over combat zones any time soon, as there may well be years of research and development left before it finds its way into operational use. However, some have already begun scratching their heads regarding what it appears these laser induced plasma filaments can do, and how that could explain the unusual behavior recorded in recently acknowledged Navy footage of unidentified aircraft being tracked on FLIR cameras by F/A-18 Super Hornet pilots.

It seems feasible that this technology could be used to fake just such a UFO sighting… but then, the earliest of these videos was produced in 2004, which would suggest far more advanced laser systems than the United States currently maintains.

Could lasers have been used to fake UFO sightings? It seems feasible, but for now, the military’s focus seems set squarely on defensive applications for the patent.


[Gen 1:1-2:4]:

[Genesis 1:1-2]: 

(Gen 1:1 NASB) "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 

(Gen 1:2 NASB) The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters."

The context of this passage in Gen 1:1-2:4 begins with God creating the heavens and the earth: the entire universe and then it focuses completely on the earth. There are no other planets which are focused upon, or even mentioned such that one might draw any possible conclusion that they also might have life on them.

[Compare Gen 1:31a]:

"Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, in our likeness..."

Then we have man being uniquely made in the image of God with no other lifeforms mentioned - after God had created all the planets and other heavenly bodies, equipping each one as He saw fit. Since the Bible indicates that man of all the lifeforms created was uniquely made in the image of God, then it it is not likely that God created many other lifeforms with His image from all over the universe.

The entire scenario thereafter focuses upon God's creating man in His image - uniquely - and then giving man dominion over the earth. And at the end God declared that it was very good and then God rested from His creation work. No other creatures were evidently created especially any in His image and no other planets to dwell upon either.

[Gen 2:4]:

"This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created."

Notice that Gen 1:1-2:3 are declared in Gen 2:4 as the account of the heavens and the earth when and how they were created. There is no mention of other planets or other life forms except those created on the earth, with man uniquely made in God's image; and then God rested from His creation work and Gen 2:4 then indicates that Genesis chapter one is the account of God's work of creation. Since God rested from His creation work with no stipulation of any other lifeforms except those upon the earth, we must presume that that is all there is.

Then at the end of the ages there will be a new heaven and a new earth, with no mention of other planets and beings which might have lifeforms on them:

[Rev 21:1]:

"Then I say a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea."

[Compare 2 Peter 3:10-13]:

(v. 10) "But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.

(v. 11) Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to love holy and godly lives

(v. 12) as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.

(v. 13) But in keeping with His promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness."

[Notice that the heavens and earth are destroyed and a new heavens and earth created.  - that includes all of the universe! There is no mention of extraterrestrial life]

[The Revised & Expanded ANSWERS Book, Don Batten, (editor), 2000, Creation Science Foundation, Ltd., Master Books, pp. 142-144]:

"For decades, speculation about extraterrestrial life has been boosted by tales of flying saucers and encounters with aliens. Some have even claimed that the "sons of God" and/or the nephilim of Genesis 6:4 were aliens, but they were clearly demonic angels. []

In 1996 this was fueled from another source. NASA researchers claimed to have found evidence for simple life forms in a meteorites, allegedly from Mars, found in Antarctica.

Since then, this "proof" of life in the "Mars rock" has very much lost favor among the scientific community. The supposed "nanofossils" were probably no more than magnetite whiskers [] plus artifacts of the experimental process.

The Bible, the revealed written Word of God, teaches that life is only possible through a process of creation. Even if there were other galaxies with planets very similar to earth, life could only be there if the Creator had fashioned it. If God had done that, and if these beings were going to visit us one day, then He would surely not have left us unenlightened about this.

God has given us rather specific details of the future - for example, the return of Jesus, and some details about the end of the world. The universe will, at some future point, be rolled up like a scroll (Isa 34:4; Rev 6:14). If God had created living beings elsewhere, this would automatically destroy them and their dwelling place as well. Adam's sin caused all of creation to be affected by the Curse, so why would a race of beings, not of Adam's (sinful) seed, have their part of creation affected by the Curse, and then be part of the restoration brought about by Christ, the last Adam? All of this would seem exceedingly strange.

[Footnote: Furthermore, Jesus dying for alien beings makes no sense, since Jesus took on human (not alien) nature, and remains the God-Man forever as our Savior. If he were to atone for Vulcans, say, He would need to become a Vulcan. The whole purpose of creation is focused on the race on earth, of which some will be Christ's "bride" throughout eternity. Christ will not have multiple "brides."] 


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

An unidentified flying object (UFO) is any aerial phenomenon that cannot immediately be identified or explained. Most UFOs are identified on investigation as conventional objects or phenomena. The term is widely used for claimed observations of extraterrestrial spacecraft.


The term "UFO" (or "UFOB") was coined in 1953 by the United States Air Force (USAF) to serve as a catch-all for all such reports. In its initial definition, the USAF stated that a "UFOB" was "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". Accordingly, the term was initially restricted to that fraction of cases which remained unidentified after investigation, as the USAF was interested in potential national security reasons and "technical aspects" (see Air Force Regulation 200-2).

During the late 1940s and through the 1950s, UFOs were often referred to popularly as "flying saucers" or "flying discs". The term UFO became more widespread during the 1950s, at first in technical literature, but later in popular use. UFOs garnered considerable interest during the Cold War, an era associated with a heightened concern for national security, and, more recently, in the 2010s, for unexplained reasons.[1][2] Nevertheless, various studies have concluded that the phenomenon does not represent a threat to national security, nor does it contain anything worthy of scientific pursuit (e.g., 1951 Flying Saucer Working Party, 1953 CIA Robertson Panel, USAF Project Blue Book, Condon Committee).

The Oxford English Dictionary defines a UFO as "An unidentified flying object; a 'flying saucer'". The first published book to use the word was authored by Donald E. Keyhoe.[3]

As an acronym, "UFO" was coined by Captain Edward J. Ruppelt, who headed Project Blue Book, then the USAF's official investigation of UFOs. He wrote, "Obviously the term 'flying saucer' is misleading when applied to objects of every conceivable shape and performance. For this reason the military prefers the more general, if less colorful, name: unidentified flying objects. UFO (pronounced Yoo-foe) for short."[4] Other phrases that were used officially and that predate the UFO acronym include "flying flapjack", "flying disc", "unexplained flying discs", and "unidentifiable object".[5][6][7]

The phrase "flying saucer" had gained widespread attention after the summer of 1947. On June 24, a civilian pilot named Kenneth Arnold reported seeing nine objects flying in formation near Mount Rainier. Arnold timed the sighting and estimated the speed of discs to be over 1,200 mph (1,931 km/h). At the time, he claimed he described the objects flying in a saucer-like fashion, leading to newspaper accounts of "flying saucers" and "flying discs".[8][9] UFOs were commonly referred to colloquially, as a "Bogey" by military personnel and pilots during the cold war. The term "bogey" was originally used to report anomalies in radar blips, to indicate possible hostile forces that might be roaming in the area.[10]

In popular usage, the term UFO came to be used to refer to claims of alien spacecraft,[3] and because of the public and media ridicule associated with the topic, some ufologists and investigators prefer to use terms such as "unidentified aerial phenomenon" (UAP) or "anomalous phenomena", as in the title of the National Aviation Reporting Center on Anomalous Phenomena (NARCAP).[11] "Anomalous aerial vehicle" (AAV) or "unidentified aerial system" (UAS) are also sometimes used in a military aviation context to describe unidentified targets.[12]


Studies have established that the majority of UFO observations are misidentified conventional objects or natural phenomena—most commonly aircraft, balloons including sky lanterns, satellites, and astronomical objects such as meteors, bright stars and planets. A small percentage are hoaxes.[note 1] Fewer than 10% of reported sightings remain unexplained after proper investigation, and therefore can be classified as unidentified in the strictest sense. While proponents of the extraterrestrial hypothesis (ETH) suggest these unexplained reports are of alien spacecraft, the null hypothesis cannot be excluded that these reports are simply other more prosaic phenomena which cannot be identified due to lack of complete information or due to the necessary subjectivity of the reports. Instead of accepting the null hypothesis, UFO enthusiasts tend to engage in special pleading by offering outlandish, untested explanations for the validity of the ETH. These violate Occam's razor.[13]

Ufology is not generally considered credible in mainstream science.[14] There was, in the past, some debate in the scientific community about whether any scientific investigation into UFO sightings is warranted, with the general conclusion that the phenomenon was not worthy of serious investigation except as a cultural artifact.[15][16][17][18][19][20][21] UFOs have been the subject of investigations by various governments who have provided extensive records related to the subject. Many of the most involved government-sponsored investigations ended after agencies concluded that there was no benefit to continued investigation.[22][23]

The void left by the lack of institutional or scientific study has given rise to independent researchers and fringe groups, including the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP) in the mid-20th century and, more recently, the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON)[24] and the Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS).[25] The term "Ufology" is used to describe the collective efforts of those who study reports and associated evidence of unidentified flying objects.[26]

UFOs have become a prevalent theme in modern culture,[27] and the social phenomena have been the subject of academic research in sociology and psychology.[14]

Early history

Unexplained aerial observations have been reported throughout history. Some were undoubtedly astronomical in nature. These may include comets, bright meteors, one or more of the five planets that can be readily seen with the naked eye, planetary conjunctions, or atmospheric optical phenomena such as parhelia and lenticular clouds. An example is Halley's Comet, which was recorded first by Chinese astronomers in 240 BC and possibly as early as 467 BC. Such sightings throughout history often were treated as supernatural portents, angels, or other religious omens. Some current-day UFO researchers have noticed similarities between some religious symbols in medieval paintings and UFO reports[28] though the canonical and symbolic character of such images is documented by art historians placing more conventional religious interpretations on such images.[29]

•    Julius Obsequens was a Roman writer who is believed to have lived in the middle of the fourth century AD. The only work associated with his name is the Liber de prodigiis (Book of Prodigies), completely extracted from an epitome, or abridgment, written by Livy; De prodigiis was constructed as an account of the wonders and portents that occurred in Rome between 249 and 12 BCE. An aspect of Obsequens' work that has inspired much interest in some circles is that references are made to things moving through the sky. These have been interpreted as reports of UFOs, but may just as well describe meteors, and, since Obsequens, probably, writes in the 4th century, that is, some 400 years after the events he describes, they hardly qualify as eye-witness accounts.[30][31]

•    On April 14, 1561, residents of Nuremberg described the appearance of a large black triangular object. According to witnesses, there were also hundreds of spheres, cylinders and other odd-shaped objects that moved erratically overhead.[32]

•    The 1566 celestial phenomenon over Basel was a series of mass sightings of celestial phenomena above Basel, Switzerland. Celestial phenomena were said to have "fought" together in the form of numerous red and black balls in the sky. In the 15th and 16th centuries, many leaflets wrote of "miracles" and "sky spectacles".

•    On January 25, 1878, the Denison Daily News printed an article in which John Martin, a local farmer, had reported seeing a large, dark, circular object resembling a balloon flying "at wonderful speed". Martin, according to the newspaper account, said it appeared to be about the size of a saucer, one of the first uses of the word "saucer" in association with a UFO.[33]

•    In April 1897, thousands of people reported seeing "airships" in various parts of the United States. Many signed affidavits. Scores of people even reported talking to the pilots. Thomas Edison was asked his opinion, and said, "You can take it from me that it is a pure fake."[34][35]

•    On February 28, 1904, there was a sighting by three crew members on the USS Supply 300 miles (483 km) west of San Francisco, reported by Lieutenant Frank Schofield, later to become Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Battle Fleet. Schofield wrote of three bright red meteors—one egg shaped and the other two round—that approached beneath the cloud layer, then "soared" above the clouds, departing after two to three minutes. The largest had an apparent size of about six Suns, he said.[36][37]

•    The three earliest known pilot UFO sightings, of 1,305 similar sightings catalogued by NARCAP, took place in 1916 and 1926. On January 31, 1916, a UK pilot near Rochford reported a row of lights, resembling lighted windows on a railway carriage, that rose and disappeared. In January 1926 a pilot reported six "flying manhole covers" between Wichita, Kansas, and Colorado Springs, Colorado. In late September 1926 an airmail pilot over Nevada said he had been forced to land by a huge, wingless, cylindrical object.[38]

•    On August 5, 1926, while traveling in the Humboldt Mountains of Tibet's Kokonor region, Russian explorer Nicholas Roerich reported that members of his expedition saw "something big and shiny reflecting the sun, like a huge oval moving at great speed. Crossing our camp the thing changed in its direction from south to southwest. And we saw how it disappeared in the intense blue sky. We even had time to take our field glasses and saw quite distinctly an oval form with shiny surface, one side of which was brilliant from the sun."[39] Another description by Roerich was of a "shiny body flying from north to south. Field glasses are at hand. It is a huge body. One side glows in the sun. It is oval in shape. Then it somehow turns in another direction and disappears in the southwest."[40]

•    In the Pacific and European theatres during World War II, "foo fighters" (metallic spheres, balls of light and other shapes that followed aircraft) were reported and on occasion photographed by Allied and Axis pilots. Some proposed Allied explanations at the time included St. Elmo's fire, the planet Venus, hallucinations from oxygen deprivation, or German secret weapons.[41][42]

•    In 1946, more than 2,000 reports were collected, primarily by the Swedish military, of unidentified aerial objects over the Scandinavian nations, along with isolated reports from France, Portugal, Italy and Greece. The objects were referred to as "Russian hail" (and later as "ghost rockets") because it was thought the mysterious objects were possibly Russian tests of captured German V1 or V2 rockets. Although most were thought to be such natural phenomena as meteors, more than 200 were tracked on radar by the Swedish military and deemed to be "real physical objects". In a 1948 top secret document, Swedish authorities advised the USAF Europe that some of their investigators believed these craft to be extraterrestrial in origin.[43]

•    In March 2021, news media announced a comprehensive report is to be compiled of UFO events accumulated by the United States over the years.[44]

UFOs have been subject to investigations over the years that varied widely in scope and scientific rigor. Governments or independent academics in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, Peru, France, Belgium, Sweden, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Mexico, Spain, and the Soviet Union are known to have investigated UFO reports at various times.

Among the best known government studies are the ghost rockets investigation by the Swedish military (1946–1947), Project Blue Book, previously Project Sign and Project Grudge, conducted by the USAF from 1947 until 1969, the secret U.S. Army/Air Force Project Twinkle investigation into green fireballs (1948–1951), the secret USAF Project Blue Book Special Report No. 14[45] by the Battelle Memorial Institute, and the Brazilian Air Force's 1977 Operação Prato (Operation Saucer). France has had an ongoing investigation (GEPAN/SEPRA/GEIPAN) within its space agency Centre national d'études spatiales (CNES) since 1977; the government of Uruguay has had a similar investigation since 1989.

Project Sign

Main article: Project Sign

Project Sign in 1948 produced a highly classified finding (see Estimate of the Situation) that some UFO reports probably had an extraterrestrial explanation.[citation needed]
Project Sign's final report, published in early 1949, stated that while some UFOs appeared to represent actual aircraft, there was not enough data to determine their origin.[46]
Project Grudge

Main article: Project Grudge

Project Sign was dismantled and became Project Grudge at the end of 1948. Angered by the low quality of investigations by Grudge, the Air Force Director of Intelligence reorganized it as Project Blue Book in late 1951, placing Ruppelt in charge. Blue Book closed down in 1970, using the Condon Committee's negative conclusion as a rationale, thus ending official Air Force UFO investigations. However, a 1969 USAF document, known as the Bolender memo, along with later government documents, revealed that non-public U.S. government UFO investigations continued after 1970. The Bolender memo first stated that "reports of unidentified flying objects that could affect national security ... are not part of the Blue Book system," indicating that more serious UFO incidents already were handled outside the public Blue Book investigation. The memo then added, "reports of UFOs which could affect national security would continue to be handled through the standard Air Force procedures designed for this purpose."[note 2] In addition, in the late 1960s a chapter on UFOs in the Space Sciences course at the U.S. Air Force Academy gave serious consideration to possible extraterrestrial origins. When word of the curriculum became public, the Air Force in 1970 issued a statement to the effect that the book was outdated and cadets instead were being informed of the Condon Report's negative conclusion.[47]

USAF Regulation 200-2

Air Force Regulation 200-2,[48] issued in 1953 and 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". The regulation went on to say that "it is permissible to inform news media representatives on UFOB's when the object is positively identified as a familiar object," but added: "For those objects which are not explainable, only the fact that ATIC [Air Technical Intelligence Center] will analyze the data is worthy of release, due to many unknowns involved."[48]

Project Blue Book

Main article: Project Blue Book

J. Allen Hynek, a trained astronomer who served as a scientific advisor for Project Blue Book, was initially skeptical of UFO reports, but eventually came to the conclusion that many of them could not be satisfactorily explained and was highly critical of what he described as "the cavalier disregard by Project Blue Book of the principles of scientific investigation".[49] Leaving government work, he founded the privately funded CUFOS, to whose work he devoted the rest of his life. Other private groups studying the phenomenon include the MUFON, a grass roots organization whose investigator's handbooks go into great detail on the documentation of alleged UFO sightings.

Like Hynek, Jacques Vallée, a scientist and prominent UFO researcher, has pointed to what he believes is the scientific deficiency of most UFO research, including government studies. He complains of the mythology and cultism often associated with the phenomenon, but alleges that several hundred professional scientists—a group both he and Hynek have termed "the invisible college"—continue to study UFOs in private.[27]

Scientific studies

The study of UFOs has received little support in mainstream scientific literature. Official studies ended in the U.S. in December 1969, following the statement by the government scientist Edward Condon that further study of UFOs could not be justified on grounds of scientific advancement.[17][50] The Condon Report and its conclusions were endorsed by the National Academy of Scientists, of which Condon was a member. On the other hand, a scientific review by the UFO subcommittee of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) disagreed with Condon's conclusion, noting that at least thirty percent of the cases studied remained unexplained, and that scientific benefit might be gained by continued study.

Critics argue that all UFO evidence is anecdotal[51] and can be explained as prosaic natural phenomena. Defenders of UFO research counter that knowledge of observational data, other than what is reported in the popular media, is limited in the scientific community and further study is needed.[27][52]

No official government investigation has ever publicly concluded that UFOs are indisputably real, physical objects, extraterrestrial in origin, or of concern to national defense. These same negative conclusions also have been found in studies that were highly classified for many years, such as the UK's Flying Saucer Working Party, Project Condign, the U.S. CIA-sponsored Robertson Panel, the U.S. military investigation into the green fireballs from 1948 to 1951, and the Battelle Memorial Institute study for the USAF from 1952 to 1955 (Project Blue Book Special Report No. 14).

Some public government reports have acknowledged the possibility of physical reality of UFOs, but have stopped short of proposing extraterrestrial origins, though not dismissing the possibility entirely. Examples are the Belgian military investigation into large triangles over their airspace in 1989–1991 and the 2009 Uruguayan Air Force study conclusion (see below).

Some private studies have been neutral in their conclusions, but argued that the inexplicable core cases call for continued scientific study. Examples are the Sturrock panel study of 1998 and the 1970 AIAA review of the Condon Report.

United States

U.S. investigations into UFOs include:

•    According to UFO researcher Timothy Good, he received a letter from the Army's director of counter-intelligence confirming the existence of the Interplanetary Phenomenon Unit. Good claims the letter shows that the IPU was established by the U.S. Army sometime in the 1940s and disestablished sometime during the late 1950s.[53]

•    Project Blue Book, previously Project Sign and Project Grudge, conducted by the USAF from 1947 until 1969  

•    The secret U.S. Army/Air Force Project Twinkle investigation into green fireballs (1948–1951)

•    Ghost rockets investigations by the Swedish, UK, U.S., and Greek militaries (1946–1947)

•    The secret CIA Office of Scientific Investigation (OS/I) study (1952–53)

•    The secret CIA Robertson Panel (1953)

•    The secret USAF Project Blue Book Special Report No. 14 by the Battelle Memorial Institute (1951–1954)

•    The Brookings Report (1960), commissioned by NASA

•    The public Condon Committee (1966–1968)

•    The private, internal RAND Corporation study (1968)[54]

•    The private Sturrock panel (1998)

•    The secret Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program which was funded from 2007 to 2012.[55][56]

•    An Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force, a continuing program within the United States Office of Naval Intelligence which was acknowledged in 2017.

Thousands of documents released under FOIA also indicate that many U.S. intelligence agencies collected (and still collect) information on UFOs. These agencies include the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), FBI,[7] CIA, National Security Agency (NSA), as well as military intelligence agencies of the Army and U.S. Navy, in addition to the Air Force.[note 3]

The investigation of UFOs has also attracted many civilians, who in the U.S formed research groups such as NICAP (active 1956–1980), Aerial Phenomena Research Organization (APRO) (active 1952–1988), MUFON (active 1969–), and CUFOS (active 1973–).

In November 2011, the White House released an official response to two petitions asking the U.S. government to acknowledge formally that aliens have visited this planet and to disclose any intentional withholding of government interactions with extraterrestrial beings. According to the response, "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."[57][58] Also, according to the response, there is "no credible information to suggest that any evidence is being hidden from the public's eye".[57][58] The response further noted that efforts, like SETI and NASA's Kepler space telescope and Mars Science Laboratory, continue looking for signs of life. The response noted "odds are pretty high" that there may be life on other planets but "the odds of us making contact with any of them—especially any intelligent ones—are extremely small, given the distances involved."[57][58]

Post-1947 sightings

Following the large U.S. surge in sightings in June and early July 1947, on July 9, 1947, United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) intelligence, in cooperation with the FBI,[7] began a formal investigation into selected sightings with characteristics that could not be immediately rationalized, such as Kenneth Arnold's. The USAAF used "all of its top scientists" to determine whether "such a phenomenon could, in fact, occur". 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."[59] Three weeks later in a preliminary defense estimate, the air force investigation decided that, "This 'flying saucer' situation is not all imaginary or seeing too much in some natural phenomenon. Something is really flying around."[60]

A further review by the intelligence and technical divisions of the Air Materiel Command at Wright Field reached the same conclusion. It reported that "the phenomenon is something real and not visionary or fictitious," and there were disc-shaped objects, metallic in appearance, as big as man-made aircraft. They were characterized by "extreme rates of climb [and] maneuverability", general lack of noise, absence of a trail, occasional formation flying, and "evasive" behavior "when sighted or contacted by friendly aircraft and radar", suggesting a controlled craft. It was therefore recommended in late September 1947 that an official Air Force investigation be set up. It was also recommended that other government agencies should assist in the investigation.[note 4]

Project Sign

This led to the creation of the Air Force's Project Sign at the end of 1947, one of the earliest government studies to come to a secret extraterrestrial conclusion. In August 1948, Sign investigators wrote a top-secret intelligence estimate to that effect, but the Air Force Chief of Staff Hoyt Vandenberg ordered it destroyed. The existence of this suppressed report was revealed by several insiders who had read it, such as astronomer and USAF consultant J. Allen Hynek and Capt. Edward J. Ruppelt, the first head of the USAF's Project Blue Book.[61]

Another highly classified U.S. study was conducted by the CIA's Office of Scientific Investigation (OS/I) in the latter half of 1952 in response to orders from the National Security Council (NSC). This study concluded UFOs were real physical objects of potential threat to national security. One OS/I memo to the CIA Director (DCI) in December read: the reports of incidents convince us that there is something going on that must have immediate attention ... Sightings of unexplained objects at great altitudes and traveling at high speeds in the vicinity of major U.S. defense installations are of such a nature that they are not attributable to natural phenomena or any known types of aerial vehicles.

The matter was considered so urgent that OS/I drafted a memorandum from the DCI to the NSC proposing that the NSC establish an investigation of UFOs as a priority project throughout the intelligence and the defense research and development community. It also urged the DCI to establish an external research project of top-level scientists, now known as the Robertson Panel to analyze the problem of UFOs. The OS/I investigation was called off after the Robertson Panel's negative conclusions in January 1953.[62]

Condon Committee

Main article: Condon Committee

A public research effort conducted by the Condon Committee for the USAF and published as the Condon Report arrived at a negative conclusion in 1968. Controversy surrounded the report, both before and after its release. It has been observed that the report was "harshly criticized by numerous scientists, particularly at the powerful AIAA ... [which] recommended moderate, but continuous scientific work on UFOs."[17] In an address to the AAAS, James E. McDonald said he believed science had failed to mount adequate studies of the problem and criticized the Condon Report and earlier studies by the USAF as scientifically deficient. He also questioned the basis for Condon's conclusions[63] and argued that the reports of UFOs have been "laughed out of scientific court".[16] J. Allen Hynek, an astronomer who worked as a USAF consultant from 1948, sharply criticized the Condon Committee Report and later wrote two nontechnical books that set forth the case for continuing to investigate UFO reports.

Ruppelt recounted his experiences with Project Blue Book, a USAF investigation that preceded Condon's.[64]

Notable US cases

•    The Roswell UFO incident (1947) involved New Mexico civilians, local law enforcement officers, and the U.S. military, the latter of whom allegedly collected physical evidence from the UFO crash site.

•    The Mantell UFO incident January 7, 1948

•    The Betty and Barney Hill abduction (1961) was the first reported abduction incident.

•    In the Kecksburg UFO incident, Pennsylvania (1965), residents reported seeing a bell shaped object crash in the area. Police officers, and possibly military personnel, were sent to investigate.

•    The Travis Walton abduction case (1975): The movie Fire in the Sky (1993) was based on this event, but greatly embellished the original account.

•    The "Phoenix Lights" March 13, 1997

•    2006 O'Hare International Airport UFO sighting

•    The 2004 USS Nimitz UFO incident and 2014 USS Theodore Roosevelt UFO incidents


Document on sighting of a UFO occurred on December 16, 1977, in the state of Bahia, Brazil
On October 31, 2008, the National Archives of Brazil began receiving from the Aeronautical Documentation and History Center part of the documentation of the Brazilian Air Force regarding the investigation of the appearance of UFOs in Brazil. Currently this collection gathers cases between 1952 and 2016.[65]


In Canada, the Department of National Defence has dealt with reports, sightings and investigations of UFOs across Canada. In addition to conducting investigations into crop circles in Duhamel, Alberta, it still considers "unsolved" the Falcon Lake incident in Manitoba and the Shag Harbour UFO incident in Nova Scotia.[66]

Early Canadian studies included Project Magnet (1950–1954) and Project Second Storey (1952–1954), supported by the Defence Research Board.


On March 2007, the French space agency CNES published an archive of UFO sightings and other phenomena online.[67]

French studies include GEPAN/SEPRA/GEIPAN (1977–), within CNES (French space agency), the longest ongoing government-sponsored investigation. About 22% of 6000 cases studied remain unexplained.[68] The official opinion of GEPAN/SEPRA/GEIPAN has been neutral, stating on their FAQ page that their mission is fact-finding for the scientific community, not rendering an opinion. They add they can neither prove nor disprove the Exterrestrial Hypothesis (ETH), but their Steering Committee's clear position is that they cannot discard the possibility that some fraction of the very strange 22% of unexplained cases might be due to distant and advanced civilizations.[69] Possibly their bias may be indicated by their use of the terms "PAN" (French) or "UAP" (English equivalent) for "Unidentified Aerospace Phenomenon" (whereas "UAP" as normally used by English organizations stands for "Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon", a more neutral term). In addition, the three heads of the studies have gone on record in stating that UFOs were real physical flying machines beyond our knowledge or that the best explanation for the most inexplicable cases was an extraterrestrial one.[70][71][72]

In 2008, Michel Scheller, president of the Association Aéronautique et Astronautique de France (3AF), created the Sigma Commission. Its purpose was to investigate UFO phenomenon worldwide.[73] A progress report published in May 2010 stated that the central hypothesis proposed by the COMETA report is perfectly credible.[74] In December 2012, the final report of the Sigma Commission was submitted to Scheller. Following the submission of the final report, the Sigma2 Commission is to be formed with a mandate to continue the scientific investigation of UFO phenomenon.[75][76]

The most notable cases of UFO sightings in France include the Valensole UFO incident in 1965, and the Trans-en-Provence Case in 1981.


According to some Italian ufologists, the first documented case of a UFO sighting in Italy dates back to April 11, 1933, to Varese. Documents of the time show that an alleged UFO crashed or landed near Vergiate. Following this, Benito Mussolini created a secret group to look at it, called Cabinet RS/33.[77][78]

Alleged UFO sightings gradually increased since the war, peaking in 1978 and 2005. The total number of sightings since 1947 are 18,500, of which 90% are identifiable.[79]

In 2000, Italian ufologist Roberto Pinotti published material regarding the so-called "Fascist UFO Files", which dealt with a flying saucer that had crashed near Milan in 1933 (some 14 years before the Roswell, New Mexico, crash), and of the subsequent investigation by a never mentioned before Cabinet RS/33, that allegedly was authorized by Benito Mussolini, and headed by the Nobel scientist Guglielmo Marconi. A spaceship was allegedly stored in the hangars of the SIAI Marchetti in Vergiate near Milan.[80]

Notable cases

•    A UFO sighting in Florence, October 28, 1954, followed by a fall of angel hair.[81]

•    In 1973, an Alitalia airplane left Rome for Naples sighted a mysterious round object. Two Italian Air Force planes from Ciampino confirmed the sighting.[82] In the same year there was another sighting at Caselle airport near Turin.[83]

•    In 1978, two young hikers, while walking on Monte Musinè near Turin, saw a bright light; one of them temporarily disappeared and, after a while, was found in a state of shock and with a noticeable scald on one leg. After regaining consciousness, he reported having seen an elongated vehicle and that some strangely shaped beings descended from it. Both the young hikers suffered from conjunctivitis for some time.[84]

•    A close encounter reported in September 1978 in Torrita di Siena in the Province of Siena. A young motorist saw in front of him a bright object, two beings of small stature who wore suits and helmets, the two approached the car, and after watching it carefully went back and rose again to the UFO. A boy who lived with his family in a country house not far from there said he had seen at the same time "a kind of small reddish sun".[85]

•    Yet in 1978, there has been also the story of Pier Fortunato Zanfretta, the best known and most controversial case of an Italian alleged alien abduction. Zanfretta said (also with truth serum injected) to have been kidnapped by reptilian-like creatures on the night of 6 December and 7 December while he was performing his job at Marzano, in the municipality of Torriglia in the Province of Genoa;[86] 52 testimonies of the case from other people were collected.[86]

On 25 January 2021, A woman living in Capolona, a small town in the province of Arezzo, claims to have seen in the sky, on the night of January 25, a strange light object. In addition to his own story he provides proof, a video he made with his smartphone.[87] Aria – Italian Alien Research Association is investigating the case.

United Kingdom

Flying Saucer Working Party published its final report in June 1951, which remained secret for over fifty years. The Working Party concluded that all UFO sightings could be explained as misidentifications of ordinary objects or phenomena, optical illusions, psychological misperceptions/aberrations, or hoaxes. The report stated: "We accordingly recommend very strongly that no further investigation of reported mysterious aerial phenomena be undertaken, unless and until some material evidence becomes available."[88]

Eight file collections on UFO sightings, dating from 1978 to 1987, were first released on May 14, 2008, to The National Archives by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).[89] Although kept secret from the public for many years, most of the files have low levels of classification and none are classified Top Secret. 200 files are set to be made public by 2012. The files are correspondence from the public sent to the British government and officials, such as the MoD and Margaret Thatcher. The MoD released the files under the Freedom of Information Act due to requests from researchers.[90] These files include, but are not limited to, UFOs over Liverpool and Waterloo Bridge in London.[91]

On October 20, 2008, more UFO files were released. One case released detailed that in 1991 an Alitalia passenger aircraft was approaching London Heathrow Airport when the pilots saw what they described as a "cruise missile" fly extremely close to the cockpit. The pilots believed a collision was imminent. UFO expert David Clarke says this is one of the most convincing cases for a UFO he has come across.[92]

A secret study of UFOs was undertaken for the Ministry of Defence between 1996 and 2000 and was code-named Project Condign. The resulting report, titled "Unidentified Aerial Phenomena in the UK Defence Region", was publicly released in 2006, but the identity and credentials of whomever constituted Project Condign remains classified. The report confirmed earlier findings that the main causes of UFO sightings are misidentification of man-made and natural objects. The report noted: "No artefacts of unknown or unexplained origin have been reported or handed to the UK authorities, despite thousands of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena reports. There are no SIGINT, ELINT or radiation measurements and little useful video or still IMINT." It concluded: "There is no evidence that any UAP, seen in the UKADR [UK Air Defence Region], are incursions by air-objects of any intelligent (extraterrestrial or foreign) origin, or that they represent any hostile intent." A little-discussed conclusion of the report was that novel meteorological plasma phenomenon akin to ball lightning are responsible for "the majority, if not all" of otherwise inexplicable sightings, especially reports of black triangle UFOs.[93]
On December 1, 2009, the Ministry of Defence quietly closed down its UFO investigations unit. The unit's hotline and email address were suspended by the MoD on that date. The MoD said there was no value in continuing to receive and investigate sightings in a release, stating in over fifty years, no UFO report has revealed any evidence of a potential threat to the United Kingdom. The MoD has no specific capability for identifying the nature of such sightings. There is no Defence benefit in such investigation and it would be an inappropriate use of defence resources. Furthermore, responding to reported UFO sightings diverts MoD resources from tasks that are relevant to Defence."

The Guardian reported that the MoD claimed the closure would save the Ministry around £50,000 a year. The MoD said it would continue to release UFO files to the public through The National Archives.[94]

Notable cases

According to records released on August 5, 2010, British wartime prime minister Winston Churchill banned the reporting for 50 years of an alleged UFO incident because of fears it could create mass panic. Reports given to Churchill asserted that the incident involved a Royal Air Force (RAF) reconnaissance aircraft returning from a mission in France or Germany toward the end of World War II. It was over or near the English coastline when it was allegedly intercepted by a strange metallic object which matched the aircraft's course and speed for a time before accelerating away and disappearing. The aircraft's crew were reported to have photographed the object, which they said had "hovered noiselessly" near the aircraft, before moving off.[95] According to the documents, details of the coverup emerged when a man wrote to the government in 1999 seeking to find out more about the incident and described how his grandfather, who had served with the RAF in the war, was present when Churchill and U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower discussed how to deal with the UFO encounter.[96][97] The files come from more than 5,000 pages of UFO reports, letters and drawings from members of the public, as well as questions raised in Parliament. They are available to download from The National Archives website.[89]

In the April 1957 West Freugh incident in Scotland, named after the principal military base involved, two unidentified objects flying high over the UK were tracked by radar operators. The objects were reported to operate at speeds and perform maneuvers beyond the capability of any known craft. Also significant is their alleged size, which—based on the radar returns—was closer to that of a ship than an aircraft.

In the Rendlesham Forest incident of December 1980, U.S. military personnel witnessed UFOs near the air base at Woodbridge, Suffolk, over a period of three nights. On one night the deputy base commander, Colonel Charles I. Halt, and other personnel followed one or more UFOs that were moving in and above the forest for several hours. Col. Halt made an audio recording while this was happening and subsequently wrote an official memorandum summarizing the incident. After retirement from the military, he said he had deliberately downplayed the event (officially termed 'Unexplained Lights') to avoid damaging his career. Other base personnel are said to have observed one of the UFOs, which had landed in the forest, and even gone up to and touched it.


The Uruguayan Air Force has conducted UFO investigations since 1989 and reportedly analyzed 2,100 cases of which they regard approximately 2% as lacking explanation.[98]

Astronomer reports

The USAF's Project Blue Book files indicate that approximately 1% of all unknown reports[99] came from amateur and professional astronomers or other telescope users (such as missile trackers or surveyors). In 1952, astronomer J. Allen Hynek, then a consultant to Blue Book, conducted a small survey of 45 fellow professional astronomers. Five reported UFO sightings (about 11%). In the 1970s, astrophysicist Peter A. Sturrock conducted two large surveys of the AIAA and American Astronomical Society (AAS). About 5% of the members polled indicated that they had had UFO sightings.

Astronomer Clyde Tombaugh, who admitted to six UFO sightings, including three green fireballs, supported the Extraterrestrial hypothesis for UFOs and stated he thought scientists who dismissed it without study were being "unscientific". Another astronomer was Lincoln LaPaz, who had headed the Air Force's investigation into the green fireballs and other UFO phenomena in New Mexico. LaPaz reported two personal sightings, one of a green fireball, the other of an anomalous disc-like object. (Both Tombaugh and LaPaz were part of Hynek's 1952 survey.) Hynek himself took two photos through the window of a commercial airliner of a disc-like object that seemed to pace his aircraft.[100]

In 1980, a survey of 1800 members of various amateur astronomer associations by Gert Helb and Hynek for CUFOS found that 24% responded "yes" to the question "Have you ever observed an object which resisted your most exhaustive efforts at identification?"[101]


Fata Morgana, a type of mirage in which objects located below the astronomical horizon appear to be hovering in the sky just above the horizon, may be responsible for some UFO sightings. (Here, the shape floating above the horizon is the reflected image of a boat.) Fata Morgana can also distort the appearance of distant objects, sometimes making them unrecognizable.[102]

Lenticular clouds have in some cases been reported as UFOs due to their peculiar shape.
Studies show that after careful investigation, the majority of UFOs can be identified as ordinary objects or phenomena.

While these spherical floating shapes could be mistaken for UFO's, they're actually lenticular clouds which are created when winds blow across and over hills and mountains. If there's enough moisture in the air, the clouds will form as the wind rises. Here, they float above the mountain ranges of Russia's Far East.

The most commonly found identified sources of UFO reports are:

•    Astronomical objects (bright stars, planets, meteors, re-entering man-made spacecraft, artificial satellites, and the Moon)
•    Aircraft (aerial advertising and other aircraft, missile launches)
•    Balloons (toy balloons, weather balloons, large research balloons)
•    Other atmospheric objects and phenomena (birds, unusual clouds, kites, flares)
•    Light phenomena mirages, Fata Morgana, ball lightning, moon dogs, searchlights and other ground lights, etc.
•    Hoaxes

A 1952–1955 study by the Battelle Memorial Institute for the USAF included these categories as well as a "psychological" one.

An individual 1979 study by CUFOS researcher Allan Hendry found, as did other investigations, that less than one percent of cases he investigated were hoaxes and most sightings were actually honest misidentifications of prosaic phenomena. Hendry attributed most of these to inexperience or misperception.[103]


Since 2001 there have been calls for greater openness on the part of the government by various persons. In May 2001, a press conference was held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., by an organization called the Disclosure Project, featuring twenty persons including retired Air Force and FAA personnel, intelligence officers and an air traffic controller.[104][105][106][107][108][109][110] They all gave a brief account of what they knew or had witnessed, and said they would be willing to testify under oath to a Congressional committee. According to a 2002 report in the Oregon Daily Emerald, Disclosure Project founder Steven M. Greer has gathered 120 hours of testimony from various government officials on the topic of UFOs, including astronaut Gordon Cooper and a Brigadier General.[111]
In 2007, former Arizona governor Fife Symington came forward and belatedly claimed he had seen "a massive, delta-shaped craft silently navigate over Squaw Peak, a mountain range in Phoenix, Arizona" in 1997.[112]

On September 27, 2010, a group of six former USAF officers and one former enlisted Air Force man held a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on the theme "U.S. Nuclear Weapons Have Been Compromised by Unidentified Aerial Objects."[113] They told how they had witnessed UFOs hovering near missile sites and even disarming the missiles.
From April 29 to May 3, 2013, the Paradigm Research Group held the "Citizen Hearing on Disclosure" at the National Press Club. The group paid former U.S. Senator Mike Gravel and former Representatives Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, Roscoe Bartlett, Merrill Cook, Darlene Hooley, and Lynn Woolsey $20,000 each to hear testimony from a panel of researchers which included witnesses from military, agency, and political backgrounds.[114][115]

Apollo 14 astronaut Dr. Edgar Mitchell claimed he knew of senior government employees who had been involved in "close encounters", and because of this he has no doubt that aliens have visited Earth.[116]

In May 2019, The New York Times reported that American Navy fighter jets had several encounters with unexplained objects while conducting exercises off the eastern seaboard of the United States from the summer of 2014 to March 2015. The Times published a cockpit instrument video of an object moving at high speed near the ocean surface as it appeared to rotate. Pilots observed that the objects were capable of high acceleration, deceleration and maneuverability. In two separate incidents, a pilot reported his cockpit instruments locked onto and tracked objects but he was unable to see them through his helmet camera. In another encounter, an object described as a sphere encasing a cube passed between two jets as they flew about 100 feet apart.[117] The Pentagon officially released these videos on April 27, 2020.[118]

Extraterrestrial hypothesis

Main article: Extraterrestrial hypothesis

While technically a UFO refers to any unidentified flying object, in modern popular culture the term UFO has generally become synonymous with alien spacecraft;[119] however, the term ETV (ExtraTerrestrial Vehicle) is sometimes used to separate this explanation of UFOs from totally earthbound explanations.[120]

Associated claims

Besides anecdotal visual sightings, reports sometimes include claims of other kinds of evidence, including cases studied by the military and various government agencies of different countries (such as Project Blue Book, the Condon Committee, the French GEPAN/SEPRA, and Uruguay's current Air Force study).

A comprehensive scientific review of cases where physical evidence was available was carried out by the 1998 Sturrock panel, with specific examples of many of the categories listed below.[121][122][123]

•    Radar contact and tracking, sometimes from multiple sites. These have included military personnel and control tower operators, simultaneous visual sightings, and aircraft intercepts. 

One such example were the mass sightings of large, silent, low-flying black triangles in 1989 and 1990 over Belgium, tracked by NATO radar and jet interceptors, and investigated by Belgium's military (included photographic evidence).[124] Another famous case from 1986 was the Japan Air Lines flight 1628 incident over Alaska investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

•    Photographic evidence, including still photos, movie film, and video.

•    Claims of physical trace of landing UFOs, including ground impressions, burned or desiccated soil, burned and broken foliage, magnetic anomalies[specify], increased radiation levels, and metallic traces. (See, e. g. Height 611 UFO incident or the 1964 Lonnie Zamora's Socorro, New Mexico encounter of the USAF Project Blue Book cases.) A well-known example from December 1980 was the USAF Rendlesham Forest incident in England. Another occurred in January 1981 in Trans-en-Provence and was investigated by GEPAN, then France's official government UFO-investigation agency. Project Blue Book head Edward J. Ruppelt described a classic 1952 CE2 case involving a patch of charred grass roots.

•    Physiological effects on people and animals including temporary paralysis, skin burns and rashes, corneal burns, and symptoms superficially resembling radiation poisoning, such as the Cash-Landrum incident in 1980.

•    Animal/cattle mutilation cases, which some feel are also part of the UFO phenomenon.

•    Biological effects on plants such as increased or decreased growth, germination effects on seeds, and blown-out stem nodes (usually associated with physical trace cases or crop circles)

•    Electromagnetic interference (EM) effects. A famous 1976 military case over Tehran, recorded in CIA and DIA classified documents, was associated with communication losses in multiple aircraft and weapons system failure in an F-4 Phantom II jet interceptor as it was about to fire a missile on one of the UFOs.[125]

•    Apparent remote radiation detection, some noted in FBI and CIA documents occurring over government nuclear installations at Los Alamos National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory in 1950, also reported by Project Blue Book director Edward J. Ruppelt in his book.

•    Claimed artifacts of UFOs themselves, such as 1957, Ubatuba, Brazil, magnesium fragments analyzed by the Brazilian government and in the Condon Report and by others. The 1964 Lonnie Zamora incident also left metal traces, analyzed by NASA.[126][127] A more recent example involves a tear drop-shaped object recovered by Bob White and was featured in a television episode of UFO Hunters[128] but was later found to be waste metal residue from a milling machine.

•    Angel hair and angel grass, possibly explained in some cases as nests from ballooning spiders or chaff.[129]


Main article: Ufology

Photograph of "an unusual atmospheric occurrence observed over Sri Lanka", forwarded to the UK Ministry of Defence by RAF Fylingdales, 2004

Ufology is a neologism describing the collective efforts of those who study UFO reports and associated evidence.


Main article: List of ufologists


Main article: List of reported UFO sightings


Main article: List of UFO organizations


Some ufologists recommend that observations be classified according to the features of the phenomenon or object that are reported or recorded. Typical categories include:

•    Saucer, toy-top, or disk-shaped "craft" without visible or audible propulsion.

•    Large triangular "craft" or triangular light pattern, usually reported at night.

•    Cigar-shaped "craft" with lighted windows (meteor fireballs are sometimes reported this way, but are very different phenomena).

•    Other: chevrons, (equilateral) triangles, crescent, boomerangs, spheres (usually reported to be shining, glowing at night), domes, diamonds, shapeless black masses, eggs, pyramids and cylinders, classic "lights".

Popular UFO classification systems include the Hynek system, created by J. Allen Hynek, and the Vallée system, created by Jacques Vallée.[citation needed]

Hynek's system involves dividing the sighted object by appearance, subdivided further into the type of "close encounter" (a term from which the film director Steven Spielberg derived the title of his 1977 UFO movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind).

Jacques Vallée's system classifies UFOs into five broad types, each with from three to five subtypes that vary according to type.

Scientific skepticism

A scientifically skeptical group that has for many years offered critical analysis of UFO claims is the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI).

One example is the response to local beliefs that "extraterrestrial beings" in UFOs were responsible for crop circles appearing in Indonesia, which the government and the National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (LAPAN) described as "man-made". Thomas Djamaluddin, research professor of astronomy and astrophysics at LAPAN stated: "We have come to agree that this 'thing' cannot be scientifically proven. Scientists have put UFOs in the category of pseudoscience."[130]

Conspiracy theories

See also: UFO conspiracy theory, Steven M. Greer, Men in black, and Brookings Report

UFOs are sometimes an element of conspiracy theories in which governments are allegedly intentionally "covering up" the existence of aliens by removing physical evidence of their presence, or even collaborating with extraterrestrial beings. There are many versions of this story; some are exclusive, while others overlap with various other conspiracy theories.
In the U.S., an opinion poll conducted in 1997 suggested that 80% of Americans believed the U.S. government was withholding such information.[131][132] Various notables have also expressed such views. Some examples are astronauts Gordon Cooper and Edgar Mitchell, Senator Barry Goldwater, Vice Admiral Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter (the first CIA director), Lord Hill-Norton (former British Chief of Defense Staff and NATO head), the 1999 French COMETA study by various French generals and aerospace experts, and Yves Sillard (former director of CNES, new director of French UFO research organization GEIPAN).[67]

It has also been suggested by a few paranormal authors that all or most human technology and culture is based on extraterrestrial contact (see also ancient astronauts).

Famous hoaxes

Main article: List of UFO-related hoaxes

•    The Maury Island incident

•    George Adamski, over the space of two decades, made various claims about his meetings with telepathic aliens from nearby planets. He claimed photographs of the far side of the Moon taken by the Soviet lunar probe Luna 3 in 1959 were fake, and that there were cities, trees and snow-capped mountains on the far side of the Moon. Among copycats was a shadowy British figure named Cedric Allingham.

•    Ed Walters, a building contractor, in 1987 allegedly perpetrated a hoax in Gulf Breeze, Florida. Walters claimed at first having seen a small UFO flying near his home and took some photographs of the craft. Walters reported and documented a series of UFO sightings over a period of three weeks and took several photographs. These sightings became famous, and are collectively referred to as the Gulf Breeze UFO incident. Three years later, in 1990, after the Walters family had moved, the new residents discovered a model of a UFO poorly hidden in the attic that bore an undeniable resemblance to the craft in Walters' photographs. Most investigators, like the forensic photo expert William G. Hyzer,[133] now consider the sightings to be a hoax.

In popular culture

A UFO Monument at Tenjo, Colombia

UFOs have constituted a widespread international cultural phenomenon since the 1950s. 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 U.S. President Gerald Ford in a 1977 poll taken just nine months after he left the White House.[134][135] A 1996 Gallup Poll reported that 71 percent of the United States population believed the U.S. 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 are 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.[136][137]

Another effect of the flying saucer type of UFO sightings has been Earth-made flying saucer craft in space fiction, for example the United Planets Cruiser C57D in Forbidden Planet (1956), the Jupiter 2 in Lost in Space, and the saucer section of the USS Enterprise in Star Trek.

UFOs and extraterrestrials have been featured in many movies.

See also

•    Kenneth Arnold UFO sighting

•    Kosmopoisk

•    List of reported UFO sightings

•    Majestic 12

•    Mystery airship

•    Psychosocial hypothesis

•    UFO religion

•    Ufology

•    Unidentified submerged object or USO

1.    ^ For example, the USAF's Project Blue Book concluded that less than 2% of reported UFOs were "psychological" or hoaxes; Allan Hendry's study for CUFOS had less than 1%.
2.    ^ For example, current USAF general reporting procedures are in Air Force Instruction (AFI)10-206. Section 5.7.3 (p. 64) lists sightings of "unidentified flying objects" and "aircraft of unconventional design" as separate categories from potentially hostile but conventional, unidentified aircraft, missiles, surface vessels, or submarines. Additionally, "unidentified objects" detected by missile warning systems, creating a potential risk of nuclear war, are covered by Rule 5E (p.35).
3.    ^ Many of these documents are now online at the FOIA websites of these agencies such as the "FBI FOIA site". Archived from the original on May 24, 2008. Retrieved August 9, 2007., as well as private websites such as The Black Vault, which has an archive of several thousand U.S. government UFO-related documents from the USAF, Army, CIA, DIA, DOD, and NSA.
4.    ^ The so-called Twining memo of Sept. 23, 1947, by future USAF Chief of Staff, General Nathan Twining, specifically recommended intelligence cooperation with the Army, Navy, Atomic Energy Commission, the Defense Department's Joint Research and Development Board, Air Force Scientific Advisory Board, National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), Project RAND, and the Nuclear Energy for the Propulsion of Aircraft (NEPA) project.
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