(CNN) – UFOs are real! Just ask the US government.
The United States has largely ignored reports of mysterious flying objects, but recently slowly beginning to recognize UFOs, which the Pentagon refers to as unidentified aerial phenomena.
But this is not something new. In September 2019, the US Navy acknowledged that three clips of declassified military images released between 2017 and 2018 are actually “unidentified aerial phenomena” (UAP). They are his words, not ours.
UAPs are only a fraction of the incursions that Navy training grounds see, Navy spokesman Joe Gradisher told CNN. Which, of course, begs the question: are we really alone?
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The belief in alien encounters has long been a prominent feature of American life. A 1997 CNN / Time poll on the 50th anniversary of the Roswell incident found that 80% of Americans think the government is hiding knowledge of the existence of extraterrestrial life forms.
There are thousands upon thousands of reported UFO sightings, but in light of recent recognition by the US Navy’s UAPs, here’s a look at some of the closest encounters of the third type in America.
Blue Book Project
Many of the best-known alien claims come from Project Blue Book, the name of the United States government program tasked with investigating UFO reports from 1948 to 1969.
At the time, Air Force personnel observed 12,618 reported UFO sightings and said 701 remain “unidentified.”
But in the end, the project concluded: “No UFO reported, investigated and evaluated by the Air Force has given any indication of a threat to our national security.” The program also concluded that the “unidentified” sightings were not advanced technology or alien vehicles, according to the National Archives fact sheet.
The project was closed in 1969 due to cost, the National Archives said.
“Since Project Blue Book was closed, nothing has happened to indicate that the Air Force should resume the UFO investigation,” the files said.
The New Mexico city of Roswell became short for Alien Encounters in 1947 after reports that a flying object crashed into a field.
The Roswell Army Air Field initially said a “flying disc” had been recovered, but a second press release clarified that the object was from a weather balloon. Since then, several alleged witnesses have said they saw the military remove the frisbee and the bodies of the aliens.
Decades later, many Americans are skeptical of the government’s claim that it was a weather balloon. In that 1997 CNN / Time poll, nearly two-thirds of those surveyed said they believed a UFO crashed into a field in that incident.
“We had a flying saucer in our possession,” said former Army Public Affairs Officer Walter Haut in 1997.
Roswell, now home to the Roswell UFO Museum, remains a major destination for alien enthusiasts looking for more evidence of their beliefs.
Long considered the place where the United States government stores and hides alien bodies and UFOs, the mysteriously named location in Nevada has been the focus of alien conspiracies for decades.
The area has long been a focus of public interest for citizens and presidents alike. John Podesta, President Bill Clinton’s chief of staff, said his former boss “had asked for information about some of these things and, in particular, information about what was happening in Area 51.”
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Area 51 has been a prominent pop culture landmark and made a notable appearance in the alien invasion movie “Independence Day.”
In 2013, the CIA declassified documents that officially recognized for the first time that Area 51 was a secret military site located a short distance northwest of Las Vegas.
But instead of harboring flying saucers or alien life, Area 51 was used to test the U-2 and OXCART aerial surveillance programs, according to the documents. The need for secrecy was to keep information from the Soviets, rather than cover up an alien encounter, they said.
UFOs and nuclear weapons
In 2010, seven former US Air Force personnel described their personal encounters with UFO sightings at nuclear weapons facilities in incidents in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.
Three of the former Air Force officers said UFOs were hovering over nuclear missile silos around Montana Air Force Base Malmstrom in 1967, causing problems with the military base. Robert Salas, a former Air Force captain, said one of his guards told him about a bright red object about 30 feet (9.1 meters) in diameter looming over the facility’s front door.
And just when [llamé a mi comandante], our missiles began to enter what is called a no-activity condition, or could not be launched. Essentially, they were deactivated while this object was still hovering over our site, ”Salas said.
Salas said he did not personally witness the UFO. But Robert Hastings, the author and UFO researcher who organized the press conference, said the series of stories showed that aliens had a particular interest in nuclear weapons.
“I believe, these gentlemen believe, that this planet is being visited by beings from another world, who for whatever reason have become interested in the nuclear arms race that began at the end of World War II,” Hastings said.
Phoenix Lights Incident
In March 1997, several Arizona residents said they witnessed a large flying object in the sky near Phoenix. Ten years later, former Arizona Governor Fife Symington wrote on CNN about the experience leading up to an event in which various UFO sightings and incidents were discussed.
“I witnessed a huge delta-shaped ship silently sailing over Squaw Peak, a mountain range in Phoenix, Arizona. It was really impressive. I was absolutely stunned because I was turning west looking for the distant Phoenix Lights, ”Symington wrote. «To my surprise, this apparition arose; this excessively long, dramatically large and very distinctive with some huge lights was traveling across the Arizona sky ».
Symington, a former Air Force officer, said it didn’t look like a man-made object. And he dismissed the Air Force’s claim that the object was high-altitude flares.
“I was never happy with the silly explanation from the Air Force. There might well have been military flares in the sky that night, but what I and hundreds of others saw had nothing to do with it, ”he wrote.
Symington thanked those who spoke about his mysterious encounters and asked the US government to be more open about what really happened.
“We want the government to stop publishing stories that perpetuate the myth that all UFOs can be explained in conventional terms, with their feet on the ground. Investigations must be reopened, documents must be opened and the idea of an open dialogue can no longer be rejected, ”he wrote.
A version of this piece first appeared in 2017.