“Is the investigation of unidentified flying objects by people who believe that they may be of extraordinary origins”
Mention the word “Paranormal” and it is more than likely going to be associated with ghosts and all things that go bump-in-the-night. The study of the paranormal goes a little bit further and deeper than this and includes the study of UFO sightings and alien encounters (including abductions). First of all let’s take a look at the UFO phenomenon.
UFO: Unidentified Flying Object
Now, let me start by saying if something flying across the sky cannot be identified, it’s not necessarily from another world!…..But it is still a UFO!
The first account of the modern era of UFO sightings is credited to Kenneth Arnold. Arnold, a private pilot, spotted what he described as “9 saucer shaped objects” flying past Mount Rainier on June 24th, 1947. This incident coined the phrase “Flying Saucer”! It was reported that the objects were travelling at a speed of no less than 1,200mph (1,932kph).
Even though the incident reported by Kenneth Arnold spawned a new era of UFO study, it wasn’t until 2 weeks later that a local newspaper, The Roswell Daily Record, captured the attention of an entire planet with it’s headline “RAAF Captures Flying Saucer On Ranch in Roswell Region”. To this very day the Roswell incident remains the most famous UFO case on record which resulted in the small New Mexico town being dubbed the “UFO capital of the world”. Just in case you are from another planet, here is a brief synopsis of what happened:
In July 1947 something shiny crash landed in the New Mexico desert near the town of Roswell. The wreckage was discovered by rancher W.W. “Mac” Brasil. The incident was dealt with by the Roswell Army Air Field (RAAF) who quickly issued a press release stating the military has recovered the remains of a “Flying Disc”. What really makes this interesting is that, less than 24hrs later, the military issued an apology stating that the initial report was erroneous and it was actually a weather balloon. While the apology and brief explanation seemed to settle the issue, the incident sprang back into life 30 years later when interviews with service men that were involved in the recovery of the debris and the 1980 publication of Charles Berlitz’s book ‘The Roswell Incident’ were released. These reports gave accounts of, not only the recovery of a crashed ‘flying saucer’, but the recovery of the 3ft tall occupants.
The continuous pressure that was put on the American government to step forward and admit to the famous ‘cover-up’ came to a head in 1994 when the first of 2 documents was released detailing what the government knew about the incident. The 2nd document was released in 1997 just days before the 50th anniversary. Both reports weighed in at just under 1,000 pages and contained declassified documents related to the incident. The main context details that the ‘Alien’ bodies that were recovered were actually dummies that were transported by high altitude balloons used for ‘scientific research’ during the cold war.
The sightings consisted of 2 separate events:
- A triangular formation seen moving across the state
- Stationary lights seen above Phoenix
The stationary lights have been reported by the military as ‘flares’ dropped from an aircraft in a training exercise. This explanation is somewhat controversial as reports have emerged from personnel stationed at the nearby air force base stating that ‘No such exercise took place at the time of the sightings’…..what do you think??
In the first case above, the sighting of the ‘triangle’ was witnessed by many including the Governor at the time, Fife Symington, who later described the incident as ‘otherworldly’.
Although many sightings in the modern time are reported by members of the public there are those reports that come from more reputable sources such as military and commercial pilots. A recent declassified video issued by the U.S government that became known as the ‘Tic Tac’ encounter shows a UFO shot from an F/A-18 Super Hornet’s camera.
The encounter is only part of a number of UFO events involving Navy pilots from the USS Nimitz and USS Roosevelt.
There were 8 reported incidents between June 27th, 2013 and Feb 13th, 2019. Documents that were released under the Freedom of Information Act reported that two happened in one day.
Before its release to the public domain, the above video (and others like it) were investigated by a little known Pentagon project called the “Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program” or AATIP for short.
The Study of UFOs
Known as ‘Ufology’, the study of UFOs has existed for many years now, including investigations within the offices of international governments.
There are countless reports of government cover-ups and unclassified documents that have more text ‘blacked out’ than readable text on their pages which leads to more questions than answers. It was these ‘cover-ups’ that lead to the establishment of organisations such as MUFON (the Mutual UFO Network) and BUFORA (the British UFO Research Association). A more extensive list can be found on Wikipedia at this link.
Ufology doesn’t just stop at the study of cover-ups and sightings, it also delves into the research of reported abduction cases and other forms of alien encounters. Many cases of abductions have been reported by members of the public but are mostly passed off as tricks of the imagination or sleep paralysis. The latter being the most common but before we have a look at abduction cases, let’s take a look at the origins of Ufology.
The study of UFOs can be traced back as far as the 1890s with reports of ‘Mystery Airships’ which predate the first flight of the Wright brothers. These airships were reported, and articles published about them, in late 1896 and early 1897 in the United States but research has shown that worldwide sightings were reported, but not published, during the 1880s. Most of these sightings were passed off as the product of inventors who wanted to keep their work secret! I guess you can say that nobody at the time was willing to think that visitors from another world could exist….which is still the belief of some people today.
The Mutual UFO Network, or MUFON, is probably the best known group that gather and study evidence of UFO sightings and abduction cases around the globe. (I’ll delve into abductions in a bit).
Established in 1969, the US based organisation claims more than 4,000 members in over 43 countries and consists entirely of volunteers.
- Has a corporate office with full-time staff serving the public and members alike
- Has a distinguished Board of Directors.
- Publishes the MUFON UFO Journal FREE to MUFON Members
- Holds an annual International UFO Symposium to educate the Public
- Has a Membership of over 4,000
- Has a computerized UFO Case Management System (CMS) with over 100,000 UFO cases
- Has a structured Field Investigator training program with more than 600 active field investigators
- Has a nationwide rapid response team for high value investigations known as the STAR Team
- Has a trained underwater dive team
- Has its own television show on the History Channel called HANGAR 1
- Has its own subscription channel MUFON TV which may be included with one’s membership