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12 Unexplained Sightings That Could Be UFOs

Are We Not Alone?

Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA's longest-serving associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, and the former head of NASA's UFO inquiry says he is sure there is unexmplained phenomena out there in space, in a new report. "Not only did I talk to pilots, I talked to individuals who had sightings and they were really convinced. I really felt they told me the subjective truth. They were not lying, they were not making things up. I think they were telling me what they saw," he said. "The fact that there are unexplained phenomena is not a question for me. What they are and what they mean, and how we prove they exist is something that needs more work."

He went on: "There could be multiple explanations. If we are looking at technology then it may not be friendly and that is something we should know. It could be technology from other places on Earth and that would be pretty scary. It could be a natural phenomenon like luminescent clouds, or something we've never seen before, and that would be pretty interesting, or it could be some kind of camera problem that occurs."

Meanwhile, "The Pentagon's official office for addressing UFOs has a new website where U.S. government and military personnel can report their own sightings," reports The sudden interest in UFO sightings isn't as sudden as it seems, as they have been reported for decades. Here are some experts find to be the most notable, if not the most convincing.

Roswell Sighting


In one of the most infamous UFO incidents in modern history, the word "Roswell" is synonymous with aliens/coverup. In 1947, rancher W. W. "Mac" Brazel found parts of an unidentified flying object on his property. Authorities told him it was a weather balloon; it wasn't until years later that declassified government documents showed the object was part of Project Mogul, balloons meant to identify Soviet nuclear weapons. Conspiracy theories still abound!

Rendlesham Forest


The Rendlesham Forest incident is known as "Britain's Roswell." In December 1980, strange lights were spotted over Rendlesham Forest, near RAF Woodbridge, which was then occupied by the United States Air Force. USAF personnel saw lights over the forest and claimed to have seen a bright object flying away. The same thing happened two days later, but nothing has ever been confirmed. 

Aurora, Texas Incident


Did an alien aircraft crash into a windmill in the small town of Aurora, Texas, in 1897? The aircraft was allegedly flown by an alien form (later known as "Ned") and buried in the town cemetery. "Townspeople heard a big crash and several went to investigate and they found a wreckage of material they'd never seen before," says Aurora City Councilman Jason Priakos. "They found a being which they called, 'Not of this world.'"


Flying Saucers

US Navy

Private pilot Kenneth Arnold claims to have seen nine shiny objects flying over Mt. Rainier in June 1947, what became popularly known as "flying saucers." He had no explanation for what he saw and spent the rest of his life trying to work it out. "It startled me. I just assumed it was some military lieutenant out with a shiny P-51, and I had [caught] the reflection of the sun hitting the wings of his plane," Arnold said.

Lubbock Lights


Hundreds of people—including a group of scientists—witnessed strange lights above the town of Lubbock, Texas, in 1951. The 15-30 lights were in a V formation and blue/green in color. "If a group had been hand-picked to observe a UFO, we couldn't have picked a more technically qualified group of people," wrote U.S. Air Force Captain Edward J. Ruppelt in The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects. The lights were even captured on camera, but no explanation has ever been given for the incident.

Westall Encounter


A teacher and students from Westall High School in Melbourne, Australia, claim to have seen a flying saucer in April 1966. Local media said it was a weather balloon, but teacher Andrew Greenwood said the military came to the school soon after the incident. He also claims government officials tried to silence him about the alleged UFO. "I saw a craft. A mechanical object intelligently controlled hovering above me," Greenwood said.

Belgian Wave


Hundreds of people claimed to see triangular UFOs flying above Belgium from 29 November 1989 to April 1990. At one point, military planes were deployed to investigate, but they found nothing concrete, although they confirmed seeing four lights flying away. Despite endless discussions and theories shared over the years, no one is any closer to solving the mystery.

Tehran Incident

History Channel

A UFO was spotted flying over Tehran, Iran, in 1976. Eyewitnesses described the object as helicopter-shaped with a light. When Iranian Air Force jets tried to catch up with the object, they couldn't get close, and then their instrument panels stopped working. The object eventually fell from the sky into a dry lake but was never found.

Fargo Incident

PBS News Hour

World War veteran fighter pilot II George F. Gorman got into a 27-minute long dogfight with a UFO in Fargo, North Dakota, in 1948. "It was about six to eight inches in diameter, clear white, and completely without fuzz at the edges," he said of the object in his report. "It was blinking on and off. As I approached, however, the light suddenly became steady and pulled into a sharp left bank. I thought it was making a pass at the tower." Despite flying at speeds of 400 mph, Gorman couldn't catch up with the object. The UFO was also seen by air traffic control personnel.

Levelland Case


Eyewitnesses in the town of Levelland, Texas, claim to have seen a large bright object glowing and making a thundering noise on November 2, 1957. The object reportedly caused cars to lose power. "I hit the ground, man," said eyewitness Pedro Saucedo. "I start saying something's going on here. So, I hit the ground. It got almost to the top of the truck. That's when the truck started shaking."  

Betty and Barney Hill


Betty and Barney Hill were a married couple who claimed to have been abducted by aliens in September 1961. The couple from New Hampshire say they were held and experimented on by "gray beings with large eyes". Despite years of skeptics questioning their story, the Hills stuck by their account.

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Manises UFO Incident


A commercial flight was forced to make an emergency landing in November 1979 after spotting a UFO at Manises Airport near Valencia, Spain. The pilot was alarmed to see red lights approaching and landed the plane to avoid what he thought would be a collision. A Spanish air force captain described an object as looking like a cone that changed colors, and a third flying object accelerated away before disappearing. No explanation for the sightings has been agreed on.

Ferozan Mast
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more
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