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UFO Events Since 1938
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          1966 March 14 - 21: Glowing UFOs — witnessed by hundreds — do confounding things in the skies above Michigan. The Air Force attempts to discredit widespread reports of sightings.

          On March 25, Gerald R. Ford (at this time the U.S. House Minority Leader) calls for Congress to hold hearings on UFOs. 

1966 Michigan Paper Headline

          1966 April 6: Melbourne, Australia. Multiple students and one teacher at Westall High School see a saucer shoot above their school and down into a grove of trees on the far side of the building. Several run to the grove in time to see the UFO, resting flat on the ground. After some time,

it rises up, flips sideways like a coin, and zooms off and away at great speed.

          1966 October 7: The Air Force announces that an official UFO study project will be housed at the University of Colorado, and headed up by physicist Edward Condon. However, Condon’s mind is made up before he ever begins his work: “It is my inclination to recommend that the government get out of the UFO business. My attitude right now is that there’s nothing to it, but I’m not supposed to reach that conclusion for another year.”

          1967 March 16: A UFO appears at Malmstrom Air Force Base, in Montana, and disables the “operational status” of onsite nuclear missiles.  A similar event occurs on March 24.

          1967 September 7: In rural Colorado, a mysterious trend of farm-animal mutilation begins when a horse’s carcass is discovered, severed in clean slices, totally drained of blood, skinned, with no traces anywhere of the slaughterer’s presence or retreat. A pattern of such cruel and unexplained acts will haunt the rural Midwest well into the seventies. From the start, UFOs (or their denizens) are suspected to be the culprits. 

(See also 1954 September 10 and 2023 April 22).

          1968 April 6: 2001: A Space Odyssey opens. With Erich von Däniken’s book Chariots of the Gods? – released the same year (and dismissed ever since) – Kubrick’s film (co-written by Arthur C. Clarke) introduces to mass consciousness the idea that an alien species might have influenced human evolution.


1968 July 29: At a Congressional Symposium on UFOs, J. Allen Hynek of Northwestern University and James E. MacDonald of the University of Arizona speak on behalf of the objects’ reality, while Donald H. Menzel and Carl Sagan of Harvard declare that belief a superstition. All four men are highly qualified astrophysicists.

          1968 October 24: Sometime after midnight, at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota, a UFO is spotted in the vicinity of a missile silo; observers say it resembles a small sun. The object vanishes behind trees and then reappears, darting here and there about the base. Some report seeing it split into two parts, which fly in different directions and then recombine. A B-52 returning to the base encounters and is paced by the UFO, which maintains a constant distance of three miles from the plane. The object’s presence is confirmed on multiple radars.

          1969: Jacque Vallée’s Passport to Magonia is published, and changes the terms of the UFO debate by placing sightings and abductions in the context of claimed contact with supernatural beings across cultures, regions and centuries.


          1969 September 1: Hundreds in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, report seeing a UFO. Multiple families say they have been brought aboard a ship, with a cavernous and hangar-like interior. Afterward, classrooms of children begin drawing UFOs.

          1969 November: The Condon Committee, housed at the University of Colorado, submits its final report on UFOs to the Air Force. In his introduction, Edward Condon writes, “Our general conclusion is that nothing has come from the study of UFOs in the past 21 years that has added to scientific knowledge. Careful consideration of the record as it is available to us leads us to conclude that further extensive study of UFOs probably cannot be justified in the expectation that science will be advanced thereby.”

          The introduction does not mention that the Committee has been unable to posit any conventional explanation for 30% of the cases it has     examined (a fact brought up only later in the Report).

          Science calls the Report “unquestionably the most thorough and sophisticated investigation of the nebulous UFO phenomenon ever conducted.”

          1969 December 17: In the aftermath of the Condon Committee’s dismissal of UFOs’ reality, Project Blue Book ends. With this, the Air Force ceases to adjudicate the phenomenon. 

          1971 November 2: Near Delphos, Kansas, a farm boy is doing his chores when he becomes aware of a UFO approximately 75 feet away from him, hovering near the ground, with the space between the object and the soil glowing. The lightbulb-shaped object changes colors and becomes intensely bright, temporarily blinding the boy. When his sight returns, he runs inside and gets his parents, who do not believe what he tells them until they follow him outside and see the craft departing. Below where it had been hovering, a ring of soil is glowing; the boy’s mother captures the effect in a photograph. A chemist who analyzes traces of this soil is unfamiliar with its evidently altered composition.


          1973: J. Allen Hynek, chair of the Department of Astronomy at Northwestern University, had been on the staff of Project Blue Book, and there tasked with explaining and debunking claimed UFO sightings. After years of moving away from the position that all sightings are really of misidentified phenomena, Hynek in 1973 founds the Center for UFO Studies in Evanston, Illinois. 

          1973 October 11: In the sleepy little town of Pascagoula, Mississippi, two men go fishing and see – they claim, after – a UFO. From two miles off, it flies at them at tremendous speed and then stops, hovering above the water, just in front of their fishing boat. Three beings emerge from the craft, floating; the younger man faints in shock, and the older is paralyzed and carried aboard, where he is examined while being made to float weightlessly in the air, before being returned to his boat. Later that day, the men, clearly shaken, go to the police and make a report. Left alone in a room at the station, they are recorded without their knowledge. On tape, the older man is heard to say, “They won’t believe it. They gonna believe it one of these days. Might be too late. I knew all along they was people from other worlds up there. I knew all along. I never thought it would happen to me.”

          1973 October 18: Four army reservists – a Captain, First Lieutenant and two Sergeants – are flying above Mansfield, Ohio, in a UH-1H helicopter, when a red light in the sky comes hurtling toward them, on course to collide. Panicking, the Captain undertakes evasive maneuvers; the UFO stops dead, hovering above the helicopter, and emits a green spotlight on it and its occupants. From within the helicopter, the craft is seen to be gray, cigar-shaped, with a slight dome – but otherwise smooth and featureless. The UFO zips up and away. The event is witnessed separately by a family driving on a country road below. The reservists sign a sworn account of their experience the next day; eventually, the helicopter’s Captain testifies before the Special Political Committee of the United Nations, stating, “I am convinced this object was real.”

Mansfield Incident Signed Report

          1975 January 1: David M. Jacobs’ The UFO Controversy in America is published. The Temple University history professor is among the best-qualified American academics to argue for the reality of UFOs to this point. Controversy holds the Air Force, and the government more widely, accountable for suppressing interest in and knowledge of UFOs, alleging a deliberate policy of denial.


          1975 March 25: John Keel’s The Mothman Prophecies is published. The book claims to factually chronicle an outbreak of UFO sightings occurring alongside other bizarre events in rural West Virginia, and helps to establish the purported connection between UFOs and Bigfoot-like creatures. Keel argues that paranormal phenomena, including UFOs, spring from a governing, God-like consciousness – that UFOs are more supernatural than extraterrestrial.

          1975 October 27-28: At Loring Air Force Base, in Maine, a UFO hovers above weapons-storage bunkers.

          1975 October 30-31: At Wurtsmith Air Force Base, in Michigan, a UFO hovers above weapons-storage bunkers.

          1975 November 7: At Malmstrom Air Force Base, in Montana, a Captain and his deputy see “the silhouette of a large aircraft hovering about 10 to 15 feet above the ground,” behind the fence around a launch area.

          1975 November 11: “[A] directive from the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force [instructs] public information staffers to avoid linking the scattered [air base] sightings unless specifically asked.” (Washington Post, “What Were Those Mysterious Craft?,” 1/19/79).

          1976 September 19: In Tehran, civilians report a bright, mysterious object in the sky, and a Lieutenant of the Imperial Iranian Air Force is dispatched to investigate. According to his later report, in the sky he encounters a “diamond-shaped” craft. His jet loses its communications capabilities. He tries to fire on the UFO, but the plane’s systems have shut down. He sees an object emerge from the UFO and fall to the ground; he expects the object to explode, but it does not.


          1977 May 25: Star Wars opens.


          1977 October 16: UFO sightings erupt in Colares, Brazil. Claims of encounters with aliens are legion; radiation blasts from UFOs leave residents hospitalized; the events are reported on nationally. The Brazilian Air Force goes on to investigate what has taken place, with Operação Prato.

UFOs photographed in Brazil in 1977

          1977 November 16: Close Encounters of the Third Kind opens.

          1977 December 17: In Council Bluffs, Iowa, a couple sees “a big round thing hovering in the sky,and others see a bright red metal fireball plummet into Big Lake Park. The recovered object is six feet by four and made of industrial steel; how it came to fall from the sky at such a temperature is never explained.

          1978 October: In Virginia, four men go to a lakeside cabin for a weekend fishing trip. At the end of the day, one man stands outside on a balcony and, staring up, becomes fixated on a red dot in the sky. A UFO throttles out of deep space, to hover within hundreds of feet of the balcony where he is standing. The craft stays there for some minutes, leaves, returns briefly, and leaves again. All four men at the cabin see it.

         See Interview IV: The Experiencer.

          1978 October 21: Frederick Valentich, a young Australian aviator, vanishes while flying over the Bass Strait (between Tasmania and mainland Australia). In the minutes before his disappearance, he frantically reports to air traffic that he is being followed — and is told that no other craft is near him. He reports that the craft has passed above him; his last recorded words are, “It is hovering and it’s not an aircraft.”  No trace of him or his plane is ever recovered.

          1978 December 21-30: A cargo plane flying above the Kaikoura Mountains of New Zealand is tracked by lighted objects that appear and vanish. Nine days later, an Australian TV crew flies the same path, to get background footage for a report on the recent event, and encounters more mysterious lights. These are captured on film: glowing and pulsating orbs, red, orange and white, one shining a beam of white light that turns on and off. In both cases, the objects’ presences are confirmed on radar.

          1980: Charles Berlitz and Bill Moore’s The Roswell Incident is published, purporting to confirm that in 1947 a military team recovered the wreckage of a crashed saucer from a ranch in Roswell, New Mexico. That team’s leader, retired Lieutenant Colonel Jesse Marcel, goes on record with his belief that the material he and his men handled was extraterrestrial. The authors’ research is criticized widely, but the book shapes the modern Roswell narrative.

          1980 April 11: At La Joya Air Force Base, in Peru, Air Force pilot Oscar Santa María Huerta is ordered to intercept and shell a UFO. (His superiors fear foreign espionage). The pilot chases and fires upon the object, which is unaffected by the assault and appears to absorb the bullets. Huerta describes the object as looking like a lightbulb cut

in half, with a large metallic base. Again and again, the UFO flies

away from him instantaneously — almost tauntingly evasive.

Says Huerta: “It lacked all the typical components of aircraft… It had no visible propulsion system.”

          1981: Budd Hopkins’ book Missing Time is published. Hopkins, a researcher who uses hypnosis to work with alleged abductees, argues

that aliens really are using advanced technologies to capture humans,

and that after abductees are returned home, they cannot recall the

time just elapsed.


          1981 January 8: In Trans-en-Provence, France, a retired man, working on his terrace, sees a craft that he describes as resembling two inverted bowls, fall from the sky, float above the ground for thirty seconds, and fly away. Later, a depression in the form of two overlapping circles is discovered in the ground, beneath where the object had been; investigators from GEPAN — a unit from France’s equivalent of NASA — analyze traces of the soil, and are unable to explain its altered

chemical composition.

          1982 June 11: E.T. opens.

          1982 December 31: New Year’s Eve 1982 marks the beginning of a wave of Hudson Valley UFO sightings that will go on for years. The craft are seen widely, often, and by many. Most frequently reported are gigantic black triangles, which reportedly can either light up all over, in many colors, or be outlined by just three glowing lights. As with many triangle sightings, doubt as to whether these three lights are in fact connected by a solid structure cannot be retroactively dispelled. Hoaxes by pilots of light aircraft take advantage of this possible visual ambiguity, but witnesses to both hoaxes and alleged authentic UFOs are adamant that the former look nothing like the latter.

          1983 March 23: The local paper in Port Chester, New York, runs a front-page article with the headline, “Hundreds claim to have seen UFO.” The object is “a large triangular flying craft.A police officer is quoted, “At first I thought it was a dirigible because it seemed to be floating, but a       dirigible couldn’t have moved like that.”

          1984 August 25: The New York Times runs a piece in its Metropolitan section, with the headline, “Strange Sights Brighten the Night Skies Upstate.Dismissive officials are quoted, alongside locals. One woman describes a sighting of an object that was “high enough to just clear the trees,while driving home from the grocery store: “It wasn’t an airplane, it wasn’t a helicopter, it wasn’t a hang glider. There was no sound at all, you could hear the crickets.”

          1986 January 29: Residents of the Soviet town of Dalnegorsk see a glowing sphere flying erratically in the sky. The object reportedly crashes into the side of Mount Izvestkovaya, and it is alleged that a team of scientists finds the crash site within days and recovers metals for analysis. This event comes to be called the Soviet Roswell.


          1986 November 17: Japan Air Lines Flight No. 1628, a Boeing 747, leaves Iceland bound for Anchorage, and is stalked overnight by two enormous UFOs.

          1986 December 26, 28: In Rendlesham Forest, just outside of the UK’s Royal Air Force Woodbridge base, U.S. Air Force personnel chase unidentified lights and see a glowing metallic object whose presence drives farm animals “into a frenzy.The event comes to be called Britain’s Roswell.


          1987 February 25: Whitley Strieber’s Communion is published. Strieber is known as a science-fiction and horror novelist, but his new work is presented as the true tale of his own alleged alien-abduction experiences. It becomes a bestseller.

          1988 September 8: Strieber’s sequel Transformation is published, continuing the author’s claims of frequent and ongoing alien contact that began with Communion

          Fellow science-fiction novelist Thomas M. Disch publishes multiple critical pieces calling Strieber a bald-faced fraud.

          1989 September 18: Time publishes an article on crop circles, which some think are actual artifacts of UFOs’ nearness to the earth, and most hold to be hoaxes.

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UFO Events Since 1938

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1967 Sepember 7
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