UFOs are usually a thing of science fiction, but many people have recorded several UFO sightings of extraterrestrial activity over the years. Movies, novels, and television shows have used UFO sightings as the origin for their plots, and several skeptics have transitioned to being believers after seeing UFOs with their own eyes.
One of the earliest
One of the earliest UFO sightings dates back to the 6th century, when the Hebrew prophet Ezekiel described winged creatures appearing in the middle of a large storm cloud. As recorded in the Bible, Ezekiel believed that they were winged angels sent to him by God, but, based on the appearance the creatures he saw, modern UFOologists believe that he may have seen extraterrestrials.
In Germany in 1561, two broadcasters were believed to have seen a variety of enormous objects, like globes and airplane-like flying crosses, battle in midair. Along with the two broadcasters, many women and men were believed to have seen the bizarre incident as well. Many UFOologists believe that the aerial combat was actually a conflict between different groups of space aliens.
Sometime in 1639, Massachusetts colonial governor John Winthrop recorded what may be the first UFO sighting in the United States. In his journal, he recorded that a glowing object ran up and down the length of the Charles River for a few hours before disappearing. Also, Winthrop noted that the object had the shape of a pig. Winthrop believed that he may have seen some form of the devil, but many UFO enthusiasts today see it as an extraterrestrial visit.
Weird incidents usually occur on Friday the 13th, but the people of Wilmington, Delaware were in for a frightening sight. In July of 1860, the entire city was illuminated by a pale blue light and residents saw what appeared to be a large object flying about 100 feet above them. The Wilmington Tribune reported that the object only moved in a straight line and gave off sparkles, as if powered by a rocket or other engine. The UFO was preceded by a large, dark cloud and followed by three glowing balls. Minutes later, a fourth glowing ball appeared. Eight minutes later, the object disappeared.
Los Angeles, 1942
In the early days of World War II, a Japanese submarine surfaced near Santa Barbara and fired at an oil facility. This set the entire state on edge. When a radar picked up an unidentified object west of Los Angeles, operators suddenly sat on edge. They prepared for a Japanese air strike, but the radar went blank shortly after. Sometime after that, an officer on the coast reported seeing a handful of aircraft flying towards Los Angeles. Residents claim seeing rounds of ammunition fire from the aircraft, but apparently, none of the fire hit anything because there was no wreckage found. P-38 fighters who arrived to battle found no enemy aircraft to fight. While some believe it was a trick of the light, others believe that aliens had some part in this.
In 1947, aviator and businessman Kenneth Arnold reportedly saw nine objects flying in formation while piloting his two-seater plane near Mt. Rainer in Washington. He describe the objects as flat and shaped like pie plates, and that they moved erratically. Newspapers modified his description to “flying saucer”, which took off in pop culture. The U.S. Air Force dismissed this event as an optical illusion, but Arnold went on to speak about this sighting at an international UFO conference in Chicago.
Thousands of tourists visit the U.S. Capitol each year, but no one ever expected for extraterrestrial tourists to make a stop, too. In 1952, an air traffic controller at Washington National Airport spotted seven objects on the radar screen near the nation’s capitol. A second controller reportedly saw an orange light through the window his control tower, and radars showed the objects moving towards the White House. When jet fighters arrived to confront the glowing objects, they found nothing, but the objects reappeared when the jet fighters ran low on fuel. They finally left before sunrise. Many notable sources explained the incident as an imbalance in temperature in the atmosphere, but witnesses know what they saw. The White House was convinced that nothing had happened, but secretly gave a shoot-down order if the objects ever returned.
Georgia, 1969 and Bakersfield, 1974
U.S. presidents are usually trusted sources, but when both Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan admitted that they had seen UFOs, they were both the subjects of widespread mockery. Carter reportedly saw an unidentified object in 1969. Carter described the object as being bright white, like the moon. It is said to have changed color from white to blue, then to red, then back to white before disappearing. Carter was later asked to file a report of the sighting by the International UFO Bureau. Reagan’s encounter occurred in 1974 when he was being flown over Bakersfield, and he glimpsed a glowing white light off in the distance. The light came from an object, which changed shape in midair, then picked up speed and disappeared.
Arizona is known for its air force training bases, but Phoenix resident Tim Ley and his family weren’t convinced that what they saw was a normal U.S. aircraft. In 1997, they reported an unusual set of lights moving in their direction. The lights flew straight over them and they glimpsed a large V-shaped craft that spanned several city blocks. The U.S. Air Force later came up with the explanation that the lights were flares dropped at a nearby training base, but that failed to satisfy the eyewitnesses, including then-Arizona governor, Fife Symington, who had seen the sight himself. Symington claimed that, as a pilot, he had seen just about every aircraft invented, but the V-shaped craft was unlike anything he had ever seen before.
During Lunar Eclipse in 2008
During the lunar eclipse in 2008, a former U.S. Army helicopter pilot glimpsed a round object traveling in a straight line from the left side to the back side of the moon. The object then made a 90-degree turn, in front of the face of the fully-eclipsed moon. After that, it disappeared and the entire event last less than five seconds. The pilot later reported the incident.
Some are hardcore believers of UFOs, while others think of them only as an aspect of science fiction. Skeptics believe all the lights witnesses see are imbalances in the atmosphere, but others believe that extraterrestrials could be out there somewhere and have chosen to make themselves known.