[Author's note: Numerous hypertext links are scattered throughout this article; for maximum enjoyment I suggest you click them as you see them.]
Some Background: Terminology and Definitions
The acronym "UFO" is very misleading. "Unidentified Flying Object" is too general a term for identification purposes. This fact has been the subject of debates within the UFOlogy field for many years.
The dilemma is that a UFO can be any object seen by any observer no matter their expertise, education, knowledge base or experience. A presumed sighting can range from common meteor streaks or orbiting satellites seen in the night sky, a stone thrown by a neighbor's child over a fence that whizzes past so quickly that the observer cannot determine exactly what it was that zipped by his nose, or an otherworldly vessel the size of a battleship piloted by beings from the planet Zantu dropping in unannounced for a quick picnic.
Even a lowly insect that zooms past a camera might be a UFO. In fact, such may be the case with those 'mini-UFOs' discovered by researcher Jos Escamilla, the first person to film them on March 19, 1994. He calls them 'rods.'
A UFO generally falls into one of three main categories:
1. a rare natural phenomena or,
2. a misinterpreted astronomical object or,
3. an unidentified object remaining stationary in, or traversing about, the sky.
For the purposes of this article we shall confine the data to these three categories.
Now that we have gotten past the basics we can get on to the "good stuff."
When Did Flying Saucers and UFOs First Appear?
It is generally believed by the public and much of the major media that UFOs - or flying saucers - did not make an appearance until that famous day in 1947 when Mr. Kenneth Arnold decided to take a business flight in his private, single-engine aircraft. What he saw on that flight captured the imagination of the country and created a feeding frenzy in the nationwide press. He described the observation of strange, scimitar-shaped aircraft flying in formation and traveling faster than five thousand miles an hour over Mount Rainier, Washington, on June 24, 1947. An enthusiastic reporter dubbed the craft "flying saucers" and the name stuck even though Arnold saw craft that were not saucer-shaped.
Talk with average people (about 95% of Americans have heard of UFOs) and most of them believe that UFOs didn't make an appearance until Kenneth Arnold spotted them. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. The existence of strange objects in the sky that fit neatly into our number three category can be traced back thousands of years. In fact, some researchers would argue that strong evidence exists supporting sightings in prehistoric times.
Thousands of records over thousands of years support the facts that sightings - what many researchers call 'high strangeness' - occurred back before the pyramids project was dreamed up by an Egyptian architect that needed work.
Since corroborative evidence of category three UFOs not only making appearances, but in some cases actually interacting with and affecting history, would be pretty a strong argument in favor of their reality, why not review several intriguing, historically documented cases?
We shall do just that!
The Ancient Egyptian Document
In our quest for documented evidence that supports the reality of category three UFOs, let us first turn to an intriguing excerpt from an Egyptian papyrus. Egyptologists discovered a fascinating section. It's part of the chronological records kept of the life of Thutmose III, who held power from 1506 to 1450 B.C.:
"In the year 22, of the 3rd month of winter, sixth hour of the day... the scribes of the House of Life found it was a circle of fire that was coming in the sky.... It had no head, the breath of its mouth had a foul odor. Its body one rod long and one rod wide. It had no voice. Their hearts became confused through it; then they laid themselves on their bellies....They went to the Pharaoh... to report it. His Majesty ordered .... [an examination of] all which is written in the papyrus rolls of the House of Life. His Majesty was meditating upon what happened. Now after some days had passed, these things became more numerous in the sky than ever. They shone more in the sky than the brightness of the sun, and extended to the limits of the four supports of the heavens.... Powerful was the position of the fire circles. The army of the Pharaoh looked on with him in their midst. It was after supper. Thereupon, these fire circles ascended higher in the sky towards the south... The Pharaoh caused incense to be brought to make peace on the hearth... And what happened was ordered by the Pharaoh to be written in the annals of the House of Life... so that it be remembered forever." ~ As transcribed by Brinsley Le Poer Trench.
It's rather easy to determine that the "fire circles" shining brighter than the sun were UFOs. The sighting lasted for days and as time progressed the number of fire circles increased. This is a stunning and meticulously documented category three UFO sighting. The event as described was not promulgated by wisps of swamp gas, misinterpreted natural phenomena or natural celestial objects. Neither could the rings of fire seen by the Egyptians be some sort of secret "black" Air Force project. No air force (at least terrestrial) would exist for another 3,400 years.
Next, let us turn our attention to Alexander of Macedonia. That's right, Alexander the Great.
Alexander the Great's Siege of Tyre and UFO Intervention
During the Siege of Tyre in the year 332 B.C. by Alexander and his army, Alexander's personal historian recorded an event more astounding than that experienced by Thutmose III. The Italian Alberto Fenoglio, quoting from Giovanni Gustavo Droysens Storia di Alessandro il Grande, wrote in CLYPEUS Anno 111, No. 2, quote:
'The fortress would not yield, its walls were fifty feet high and constructed so solidly that no siege-engine was able to damage it. The Tyrians disposed of the greatest technicians and builders of war-machines of the time and they intercepted in the air the incendiary arrows and projectiles hurled by the catapults on the city.
"One day suddenly there appeared over the Macedonian camp these 'flying shields,' as they had been called, which flew in triangular formation led by an exceedingly large one, the others were smaller by almost a half. In all there were five. The chronicler narrates that they circled slowly over Tyre while thousands of warriors on both sides stood and watched them in astonishment. Suddenly from the largest 'shield' came a lightning-flash that struck the walls, these crumbled, other flashes followed and walls and towers dissolved, as if they had been built of mud, leaving the way open for the besiegers who poured like an avalanche through the breeches. The 'flying shields' hovered over the city until it was completely stormed then they very swiftly disappeared aloft, soon melting into the blue sky."
So, here we have a detailed description of five UFOs interceding in the midst of an ongoing siege and serendipitously helping Alexander conquer Tyre more than 2,300 years ago. Remarkable.
But no more remarkable, perhaps, than those observations made and duly recorded by Roman scribes. The Romans were, perhaps, the greatest record keepers of the ancient world. They wrote down just about everything in excruciating detail. Historians have even found archives of their old grocery lists.
Some Roman Records
Julius Obsequens, a Roman scribe from the Fourth Century, compiled a monogram titled "Liber Prodigiorum" ("Unrestrained Wonders"), which documents scores of strange phenomena, some are category three UFO sightings. Several examples:
"216 B.C. Things like ships were seen in the sky over Italy... At Arpi (180 Roman miles, east of Rome, in Apulia) a round shield was seen [flying] in the sky.
"99 B.C. When C. Murius and L. Valerius were consuls, in Tarquinia, there fell in different places.... a thing like a flaming torch, and it came suddenly from the sky. Towards sunset, a round object like a globe, or round or circular shield took its path in the sky, from west to east.
"90 B.C. In the territory of Spoletium (65 Roman miles north of Rome, in Umbria) a globe of fire of golden color fell to the earth, gyrating. It then seemed to increase in size, rose from the earth, and ascended into the sky, where it obscured the disc of the sun, with its brilliance. It revolved towards the eastern quadrant of the sky." [These three reports were translated from Obsequens' work by Mr. Harold T. Wilkins.]
Europe and Asia
Famed researcher Jacques Vallee investigated a rare typeset book from 1493:
". . . now preserved in a museum at Verdun, France, [the book] contains what may be the earliest pictorial representation of a UFO in Europe. Hartmann Schedel, author of the book 'Liber Chronicarum,' describes a strange fiery sphere - seen in 1034 - soaring through the sky in a straight course from south to east and then veering toward the setting sun. The illustration accompanying the account shows a cigar-shaped form haloed by flames, sailing through a blue sky over a green, rolling countryside."
Many category three UFO cases occurred in Europe throughout the Middle Ages. Here is one of the most stunning cases. A woodcut was actually made to document the event:
"At dawn of April 4 , in the sky of Nuremberg [Germany], a lot of men and women saw a very alarming spectacle where various objects were involved, including balls approximately three in the length, from time to time, four in a square, much remained insulated, and between these balls, one saw a number of crosses with the color of blood. Then one saw two large pipes, in which small and large pipes, were three balls, also four or more. All these elements started to fight one against the other." ~ The Gazette [a newspaper] of the town of Nuremberg.
J. Antonio Huneeus reports on a very well documented event occurring in northern China during 1942. The object was even photographed and looks exactly like genuine photographs taken in the United States, Europe and South America during the 1950s and 1960s. Click here for a close-up of the UFO.
I share these historical sightings with you because UFOs are nothing new. They've been interacting with the human race since time immemorial.
What of all the contemporary sightings over the past sixty years? How can we determine if any of those sightings lends credence to the assertion that category three UFOs indeed exist? It can be done simply by analyzing these three things:
1. the nature of the observers and,
2. the quality and length of the sighting and,
3. ground or airborne radar echoes corroborating visual sightings, and/or physical evidence.
The best observers are scientists (astronomers and physicists), flight engineers, and commercial and military pilots. These men and women do not "see things," especially professional pilots. If their superiors for one moment believed pilots' reports were based on errors of judgment - or worse, hallucinations - those commercial pilots would not be entrusted with passenger's lives; likewise, those military pilots flying billion dollar aircraft would be summarily grounded.
The Japan Airlines Flight 1628 over Alaska
The following relates a harrowing incident that occurred over Alaska. It is a very well-known, publicized and researched case. The gist of it a appears on the UFOEvidence.org website:
"In November, 1986, a Japanese crew of a jumbo freighter aircraft witnessed three unidentified objects while flying over Alaska, USA. This sighting gained international attention when the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that it was going to officially investigate this sighting because the Air Route Traffic Control Center in Anchorage, Alaska, had reported that the UFO had been detected on radar. Captain Terauchi was featured on numerous radio and TV programs and in People Magazine. Within a few months of these events he was grounded, apparently for his indiscretion of reporting a UFO, even though he was a senior captain with an excellent flying record. Several years later he was reinstated. The UFOs in this case were tracked on both ground and airborne radar, witnessed by experienced airline pilots, and confirmed by a FAA Division Chief."
The 1950s USAF UFO Directive
Thanks to the FOIA [Freedom of Information Act], researchers have been able to cobble together a mosaic of evidence that shows that the Air Force's Project Grudge (later Project Blue Book) was created strictly for public dissemination. Cases with strong national security issues were all classified and for the most part still remain classified to this day.
Some information has, however, leaked out over the years. One of the most disturbing pieces of information is that of the USAF issuing a directive to their base commanders and fighter pilots to intercept, challenge, and if necessary fire upon the flying discs. This directive was issued shortly after the famous Washington, D.C. saucer flap that occurred over two consecutive weekends during July of 1952. During that episode (embarrassing to Pentagon officials who had, just weeks earlier, claimed that all supposed saucer sightings were either weather balloons or sunspots), the Capitol building itself was flown over by a veritable fleet of unknowns. Fighter jets were scrambled on both occasions but were unable to intercept any of the strange craft.
Nuclear physicist Stan Friedman recently noted that "There were many pilot deaths and mysterious military plane incidents during the early to mid 1950s. In fact, the New York Times, described jets as 'disintegrated and disappeared' in their coverage."
All the pertinent UFO/military aircraft encounters during 1952 have been thoroughly researched and meticulously documented in Frank C. Freschino, Jr.'s book, "Shoot Them Down! The Flying Saucer Airwars of 1952."
Air Force Academy Instructions Concerning UFO Encounters
Until it was leaked and confirmed by the press, the USAF Academy had among its textbooks a pilot flight manual with a chapter covering UFOs. The instructions included how to handle encounters with them, how to report them, what characteristics to look for and what to expect afterward during a military intelligence debriefing.
Once the press learned of it the chapter was hurriedly deleted from later editions.
The National Security State
If unknown craft with unknown capabilities piloted or remotely controlled by unknown intelligence can blithely travel at will through any part of our airspace, including sensitive military installations and bases that store nuclear weapons, do you think our government is concerned? Of course it is; it has been concerned about the national security implications since the appearance of the mysterious "Foo Fighters" over Axis territories during World War II.
The FBI Connection
Again, thanks to the FOIA, and a few slip-ups by government bureaucrats, it has been revealed that federal law enforcement, intelligence organizations and branches of the military do monitor, analyze and record UFO cases. The government's interest did not end with the infamous Condon Report in 1969.
The FBI even maintains a website listing FBI files on animal mutilations under the heading of UFOs. If you'd like to click on the link I've provided you're welcome to, as long as you're prepared for a very long night. The report is 1600 pages long.
A Personal Sighting
Here was my report to MUFON (the Mutual UFO Network) after I had a personal sighting of my own during the early summer of 2008:
The large, V-shaped object first appeared in the southwest bearing northeast. The sun had set at 8:31 p.m. and some ambient light remained near the northwest horizon. In addition to this light, ground light also added brightness to the night sky so that the sky was not totally dark.
The craft was completely silent and no exhaust could be perceived. It had no navigation lights. A very slight atmospheric perturbation was visible surrounding the craft - obviously a refraction of the atmosphere (similar to heat waves rising from asphalt on a hot summer day).
Shortly after the craft passed the zenith, it turned towards due north with no perceptible change in speed. Unlike a conventional aircraft that would have had to bank to affect a turn, this craft simply turned without banking and changed its vector smoothly and rapidly towards the north.
Based on my observation - which lasted no more than 12 to 15 seconds - I believe this craft is an advanced U.S. Air Force stealth platform designed for secret aerial reconnaissance missions. It uses an anti-gravity propulsion system, perhaps electro-gravitic [or something like it]. When it changed its vector it was obvious that the "wings" were not used to keep the craft airborne. The wings were not needed to provide lift or employed as an aerodynamic airfoil. This was demonstrated by the fact that it did not bank when executing its turn.
The Fallacy of the "Speed of Light" Argument
There are those that argue that no other civilization can get from "there" to here because of the great distances involved between star systems and the so-called speed limit of the universe: 186,000 miles per second. To them I say, "Nonsense!"
Let's use a little perspective here and a whole lot of common sense. We are a young race inhabiting a small planet orbiting a third generation star. That means there are uncounted billions of stars that were born, burned and died long before our star was formed. To think that our race at this point in time has reached the pinnacle of all knowledge in this universe is beyond arrogance. There are races out there that could be millions - even billions - of years older than ours.
Consider this: A relative handful of years ago, cosmically speaking, during the Eighteenth Century some scientists asserted that human beings could never travel faster than one hundred miles per hour by steam locomotive or the physical stress to the body would surely kill them.
Later, a large contingent of famous aeronautical professors during the late Nineteenth Century scoffed at the possibility of heavier-than-air machines. Even after the Wrights proved heavier-than-air flight possible at Kitty Hawk those same learned professors accused the two brothers of fraud. Most incredible of all, one well-known professor admitted that they had succeeded in their effort, but then declared that aircraft of that sort would never be practical as they would prove unable to carry many passengers.
During this same period of time the head of the U.S. Patent Office petitioned to have it closed because he believed everything worth being invented had already been invented!
Do you see the parallels between those short-sighted professors' admonitions, the head of the patent office, and the individuals today who dismiss travel between the stars as impossible? We live in the Twenty-first Century. When we look back at the people of the Eleventh Century we think them ignorant - compared to all of the knowledge we take for granted today.
How will the people of the Thirty-first Century look back upon us?
Another question to ponder is this: Why do we assume that these visitors with their mystifying technology call our time space continuum their home? They may not. They could well be from another reality altogether. Researchers such as the late Dr. J. Allen Hynek of Northwestern University and Jacques Vallee posited this hypothesis - a hypothesis which actually is a much better fit to the facts than the aliens from another planet scenario that too many researchers have embraced over the decades.
Alright, Let's Admit It . . . UFOs Exist!
No matter what you choose to call them, Unidentified Flying Objects, Flying Saucers, or Unknown Aerial Phenomenon, these things exist. They are three-dimensional solid objects capable of incredible acceleration and deceleration. They can make high-speed ninety degree turns, ascend and descend in the proverbial blink of an eye, and are absolutely silent during all of these maneuvers.
1. Do rare natural aerial phenomena exist? Yes.
2. Do myriads of man-made or natural astronomical objects exist? Most certainly.
3. Do unidentified flying objects exist that do not fit into categories one or two? Absolutely!
In conclusion, it may be well to follow the lead of character actor William Henry Mesenkop who strongly advised [at the conclusion of the 1951 film, "The Thing from Another World"]:
"Watch the skies, everywhere! Keep looking. Keep watching the skies!"