The History of the UFO
The truth is out there
The year 1969 was a great time for hippies, a bad year for Beatles fans and an even worse year for UFO enthusiasts. On December 17th 1969 the U.S. Air Force officially shut Project Blue Book, the agency’s third and final attempt to investigate extraterrestrial sightings and the longest official inquiry into UFOs. From 1952 until 1969, more than 12,000 reports were compiled and either classified as “identified” — explained by astronomical, atmospheric or artificial phenomenon — or “unidentified,” which made up 6% of accounts. Because of the low percentage and overall drop in sightings, officials scraped the program and ended the research.
The search for extraterrestrials began in 1948, a year after an amateur pilot named Kenneth Arnold claimed he saw nine crescent-shaped objects in the sky while flying near Mount Rainier in Washington. Arnold evoked images of “saucers skipping on water” to describe how they flew through the air, but a local newspaper misquoted him, and the term flying saucer was born. That same year, a rancher stumbled upon a 200-yard-long swathe of rubber strips, tinfoil, wood sticks and Scotch tape in Roswell, N.M., and decided to haul the wreckage to a nearby Army airfield, where an excited officer issued a press release claiming a “flying disk” had been recovered. It took less than four hours for a general in Forth Worth, Texas, to step in and claim that the wreckage was nothing more than the remnants of an ill-fated weather balloon.
UFO sightings have been officially recorded in Canada, Sweden, Denmark, Greece, Australia and the United Kingdom, but the most complete records were those of Project Blue Book. The earliest UFO sightings in recorded history can be found in 4th century Chinese texts claiming that a “moon boat” hovered above China every 12 years. A wave of sightings occurred near Rome in 218 B.C. and again in Germany in 1561. During World War II, Allied pilots coined the term foo fighters for the bizarre orbs of light that some insisted flew alongside their planes during combat.