Deep History


95% percent of UFOs sighted are eventually identified as known aircraft or natural phenomena. A few major possibilities exist regarding the remaining 5%. The official line is that all sightings could be explained if only adequate information was available. This explanation falls short in light of the detailed descriptions given by hundreds of expert witnesses such as airline or fighter jet pilots, radar operators, and even astronauts. Richard Dolan's UFOs and the National Security State and Leslie Kean's UFOs - Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go on the Record detail these accounts extensively. The most obvious alternative explanation is that they are the product of some non-human intelligence. They may also be the result of some natural phenomenon that is as yet not understood by us. Thirdly, they may be clandestinely engineered projects of human origin.

This last possibility deserves to be unpacked a bit. America and the Soviet Union were the only two countries known to have any sort of space program in the early years of the modern UFO phenomenon. Presumably one or both would be responsible for any sophisticated clandestine craft. Both countries rabidly recruited Nazi scientists who had been doing research into advanced rocketry and propulsion systems, and it is also possible that some breakaway group of Nazi loyalists survived the war and continued developing such projects on their own. Likewise, a transnational corporation, wealthy family, or powerful private interest group could conceivably have developed such technology on its own. But if UFOs are of purely human origin, what are we to make of some of the early government documents which regard them as an unknown, and possibly of alien origin? It is possible that these reports came from personnel in the military or intelligence communities who were simply not aware of the existence of the compartmentalized, black projects working on exotic craft. Or such documents could have been disinformation aimed at either the general public or the Soviets. And what of alien abduction accounts? Supposing that we grant credibility to witnesses' accounts, it is conceivable that these bizarre experiences could be explained by covert MKULTRA testing of drugs, hypnotism, and the creation of false memories. One last thing to consider about the possible human origin of UFOs, however, is the fact that craft described during the 1940's still vastly outclass anything the military has publicly unveiled even today. Then again, if the craft are powered by a technology that makes oil an obsolete resource, motivation would still exist to keep it secret.

1942 - A UFO appears off the coast of Los Angeles, triggering widespread alarm of another Japanese air attack. Spotlights highlight the craft and over 1,400 anti-aircraft shells are fired at it to no apparent effect. By early morning the craft has vanished.

1944Allied pilots make the first formal reports of "foo fighters" - unidentified craft or fireballs which seem to track of fly in formation with their fighter squadrons. The objects often display incredible speed and manueverability. It is initially believed that they are some sort of secret Axis weapon until German and Japanese pilots make similar reports.

1947 - Pilot Kenneth Arnold describes seeing nine unidentified flying objects travelling at the (then unheard of) speed of 1,200 mph near Mount Rainier in Washington state. It is the first widely reported post-war UFO sighting, and numerous other sightings are reported over the next two to three weeks.

1947 - An aerial object crashes at a ranch near Roswell, New Mexico. Initially described as a "flying disk," the military later claimed that the debris was from a weather balloon, and then later claimed that it was actually from a Project Mogul balloon which was meant to detect Soviet nuclear tests.

1947 - General George Schulgen sends a memo to General Nathan Twining inquiring about the UFO situation. Twining, then-head of Air Material Command's intelligence and engineering divisions at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, sends a reply now known as the Twining Memo. It states, in part, that "The phenomenon reported is something real and not visionary or fictitious. [...] There are objects probably approximately the shape of a disc, of such appreciable size as to appear to be as large as a man-made aircraft. [...] The reported operating characteristics such as extreme rates of climb, maneuverability (particularly in roll), and action which must be considered evasive when sighted or contacted by friendly aircraft and radar, lend belief to the possibility that some of the objects are controlled either manually, automatically or remotely."

1948Civilians from three towns in Kentucky call local police to report a UFO seen in the early afternoon. Military observers at the nearby Godman Airfoce Base soon spot the object and request that a nearby patrol of the Kentucky Air National Guard investigate. Four fighter planes approach the object, but only Captain Thomas Mantell has enough fuel to close in. The object speeds up and away and Mantell pursues it to 30,000 where it is presumed that Mantell passes out from lack of oxygen, and his plane plummets to the earth soon after. The Air Force variously tries to explain the object away as the planet Venus or a Skyhook balloon, even though Venus was not visible in the sky at the time and there were no Skyhook balloons deployed in the area.

1948 - The Air Force undertakes Project Sign to study UFOs.  The report concludes that while many UFO sightings have mundane explanations, some are likely of extraterrestrial origin. When the study reaches the desk of General Hoyt Vandenberg, he orders all copies of it destroyed and disbands the project.

1949 - The Air Force replaces Project Sign with Project Grudge and beings a PR campaign to let the American people know that UFOs can all be explained as mundane phenomena.

1949 - The FBI issues a classified memo entitled "Protection of Vital Installations". The document notes that “Army intelligence has recently said that the matter of ‘Unidentified Aircraft’ or ‘Unidentified Aerial Phenomena,’ otherwise known as ‘Flying Discs,’ ‘Flying Saucers,’ and ‘Balls of Fire,’ is considered top secret by intelligence officers of both the Army and the Air Forces". The memo expresses concern over the violation of airspace over Los Alamos and other sensitive facilities by unknown craft displaying exceptional maneuverability and travelling at up to 27,000 mph.

1952 - The U.S. Air Force begins a process of systematically debunking all UFO sightings called Project Bluebook.

1952 - H. Marshall Chadwell, the CIA's director of scientific intelligence, sends a memo to CIA Director Walter Smith stating, "At this time, the reports of incidents convince us that there is something going on that must have immediate attention.... Sightings of unexplained objects at great altitudes and travelling at high speeds in the vicinity of major U.S. defense installations are of such nature that they are not attributable to natural phenomena or known types of aerial vehicles.”

1952 - Multiple UFO sightings and anomalous radar readings over Washington, D.C. prompt the Air Force to issue a shoot-down order. Jets are scrambled but none are able to catch up with the objects.

1953 - The U.S. government in conjunction with Canadian company Avro undertake Project Silverbug to create an experimental saucer-shaped aircraft. It is a dismal failure.

1954 - Maxwell Air Force Base sends an emergency memo to the CIA, NSA, and Joint Chiefs of Staff stating that a saucer-like flying object rapidly entered their airspace, hovered for some time, and then just as rapidly vanished.

1957 - Air Force technicians photograph a saucer-shaped UFO landing and then taking off near Edwards Airforce Base in California. The photos are examined by test pilot and future astronaut Gordon Cooper before they are sent to the Pentagon and never seen in public again.

1961 - A New Hampshire couple named Betty and Barney Hill claim to have been abducted by aliens. It is the first widely-reported alien-abduction account, and subsequent accounts share a number of similarities with it.

1964 - Police officer Lonnie Zamora and others witness an egg-shaped UFO descend in flames into the desert near Socorro, New Mexico. Zamora soon after sees the (no longer flaming) craft take off. An area of fused sand and depressions from landing gear remain as evidence for Air Force investigators.

1966 - A pair of UFOs visits Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota. They disrupt radio communications, but are tracked on radar and witnessed by a strike team sent to investigate them along with numerous other personnel. Three different missile sites confirm their presence.

1967 - Nuclear missiles stored at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana inexplicably go offline after UFOs are sighted above the base.

1967 - The first recorded cattle mutilation incident occurs. Hundreds more will follow. Animals are found with organs removed with surgical precision, cauterized by high heat, completely exsanguinated, and left in areas with no tracks even when the ground is muddy. Unexplained lights are sometimes observed in the sky the night before the animals are discovered, and elevated background radiation levels are sometimes detected. Despite two federal investigations, no culprits are ever found.

1968The Air Force-funded Condon Committee releases their study of UFOs. The study concludes that all UFOs sightings have prosaic explanations despite the numerous reports actually appearing in their study for which they had no explanation. Internal memos among members of the committee show that the intent was to write off the phenomenon from the start while creating the illusion of earnest objectivity.

1973Two men claim to have been abducted by aliens while fishing near Pascagoula, Mississippi. They are interviewed by a local sheriff who afterwards leaves them alone but secretly records their conversation. He suspects that their private conversation will reveal a hoax, but the men continue to discuss the event between themselves as if they are terrified and shaken. 


1975 - A group of Arizona loggers encounter a UFO in the woods. One of them, named Travis Walton, approaches and is struck by a beam of light, knocking him to the ground. Believing he had been killed, his friends flee. When they return later to search for him, he is missing. A major police search begins, and the loggers are polygraphed about the event. All who completed the test pass. Several days later Walton reappears in a nearby town, dazed and bedraggled, mumbling about beings with terrifying eyes.

1975 - Air Force security personnel spot an unidentified craft in the secured airspace over the nuclear weapons depot at Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Michigan. An incoming tanker plane is ordered to pursue the vehicle, but it vanishes.

1976 - Multiple independent witnesses report a UFO over Tehran, Iran. Two F-4 Phantom II jets are scrambled to intercept the object after it is picked up on ground radar. Their instruments begin to malfunction as they approach. The object keeps pace ahead of them and they are unable to close. A smaller object detaches from the UFO and races towards one of the jets. Thinking he is under attack, the pilot attempts to fire a missile at it, but none of his weapons work. He attempts to eject but is unable. He finally takes evasive maneuvers and the smaller object follows him for some time before rejoining the UFO. The pilots regain use of their instrumentation as they turn away from the UFO, which then races off at extraordinary speed. It remains one of the best documented UFO encounters in history, and many of those involved, from pilots to generals, have stated that they believe the craft was of alien origin.

1976 - Four men claim to have been abducted and given medical examinations by aliens while camping in Allagash, Maine. All four pass lie detector tests when questioned about their experiences.

1980Dozens of U.S. Air Force personnel witness lights and a landed craft of unexplained origin in Rendlesham Forest, just outside of a British air base which is being used at the time by the United States. Deputy base commander Lt. Col. Charles Halt describes the incident in a memo to the Ministry of Defense.

1981Massive, lighted boomerang-shaped craft are witnessed by thousands of people in the Hudson Valley region of New York and surrounding areas. Sightings are reported from 1981 through 1995, with the heaviest concentration between 1982 and 1986.

1986The captain and crew of Japan Air Lines flight 1628 witness three UFOs pacing their craft for 50 minutes before racing off.

1990In Belgium, two F-16 fighter jets are scrambled to chase down triangular UFOs. The UFOs are confirmed by radar from both the ground and the jets and are witnessed by over 13,500 people. The jets are unable to catch up with the UFOs.

199462 school children in Zimbabwe describe seeing two UFOs land near their school. According to the children, two occupants emerged and telepathically communicated them a warning about the environmental hazards faced by the planet. 15 years later, a documentarian will track down the children, and every one of them sticks to their story. Many of them are pursuing careers related to environmental conservation.

1996Alien abduction and mind control researcher Karla Turner dies at age 48 of a sudden, fast-acting cancer.

1997Thousands of people witness formations of lights and massive, chevron-shaped craft soaring silently over parts of Arizona and New Mexico. Shortly afterwards, Arizona Governor Fife Symington holds a press conference in which he announced that they have found the culprit and brings one of his staff on stage wearing an alien costume. Later Symington will admit to having seen "otherworldly" craft himself and explain that he held the tongue-in-cheek press event merely to diffuse public tensions.

1999A group of high-ranking French military officers and aerospace officials issue the COMETA Report, which states that approximately 5% of UFO sightings are conventionally inexplicable and that the best hypothesis to explain them is that they are of extraterrestrial origin.

2000Multiple police officers and other witnesses observe a large triangular craft flying low over Illinois for half an hour or more.

2006Several employees at the Chicago O'Hare airport witness a saucer-shaped UFO hovering over one of the boarding gates. After a few minutes, the craft is seen making a rapid vertical ascent, punching a hole in the cloud layer above. The FAA states the the event was caused by a weather phenomenon and declines to investigate further.

2008Dozens of people in Stephenville and Dublin, Texas, witness several massive UFOs flying over. Military jets are seen in the area shortly afterwards. Local radar confirms the presence of both the unknown craft and the military jets.