In all of American folklore and legend, UFO sightings hold a special place in the American heart. Accounts of flying saucers and even extraterrestrial beings are legion, and they have populated many an Internet forum and casual conversation since at least the 1950s.
But recently, the Pentagon has gotten in on the UFO game. A recent report from the Pentagon details a reported sighting of a flying “40-foot-long Tic Tac,” which was spotted by no less than retired Commander David Fravor. Fravor’s sighting was one of many that made up the Pentagon’s recent “Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program.”
The Pentagon is not alone in believing, as former Pentagon official Luis Elizondo put it, that “we may not be alone.” A 1997 poll on the 50th anniversary of the Roswell incident (in which U.S. Army Air Force balloons crashed at a ranch near Roswell, New Mexico) found that an incredible 80% of Americans believe that the American government is covering up its knowledge of alien life forms.
This number goes a long way in explaining the thousands and thousands of UFO sightings and alien abductions that have been reported to the U.S. Government over the years.
The government has taken this more or less seriously in the time since Roswell. From 1947 through 1969, the U.S. Government investigated 12,618 reported UFO sightings as part of its so-called “Project Blue Book,” which found that 701 of these were “unidentified,” with no further explanation given. However, citing a lack of evidence that these sightings were a potential danger to national security, the program was shut down in 1969 as too costly to be justifiable.
The “Blue Book” was launched because of Roswell itself and the widespread skepticism of the government’s claim that a weather balloon was what had been spotted over the site.
And then, of course, there is Area 51, a mysterious location in Nevada which alien conspiracy theorists believe is a site where the U.S. Government hides alien bodies and UFOs. In 2013, declassified documents revealed that Area 51 was actually a secret military site used to test aerial surveillance and needed to be classified to be kept hidden from the Soviets, rather than due to any alien presence.
Another fascinating encounter occurred in 1967 when numerous Air Force pilots reported seeing UFOs hovering over nuclear missile sites in Montana. “These gentlemen believe that this planet is being visited by beings from another world, who for whatever reason have taken an interest in the nuclear arms race which began at the end of World War II,” a UFO researcher elaborated.