The Strangest Real-Life UFO Cases in America
The first-ever recorded UFO sighting in America was written down by John Winthrop in 1639. He noted that James Everell and two others were in a boat on the Muddy River when they saw a large light in the sky that " … stood still … flamed up … [and] ran." The figure was shaped like a pig, and when it disappeared, the men were surprised to find that they had mysteriously been transported one mile against the current.
Since then, Americans have only seen more UFOs. Read on to learn about some of the strangest cases in recent U.S. history.
Project Blue Book
Project Blue Book was a research group set up by the U.S. Air Force to investigate UFOs. During the project’s existence between 1948 and 1969, the United States Air Force investigated a whopping 12,618 reported sightings. 701 of those remained unidentified.
Kenneth Arnold, 1947
Kenneth Arnold was a civilian pilot who was flying his small plane near Mount Rainier in Washington on June 24, 1947. Suddenly, he spotted nine blue, glowing objects in a "V" formation flying at an estimated 1,700 mph. Arnold thought the crafts might belong to the military, but the military said they did not.
Roswell has been referred to as the mother of all UFO sightings. In the summer of 1947, a rancher named William "Mac" Brazel found some suspicious debris, including metallic rods, unusual paper-like pieces and chunks of plastic.
In 1957, dozens of people in Levelland, Texas separately reported witnessing a combination of strange lights and a rocket that messed with their cars to the point that they didn’t work. The police first thought the accounts were an elaborate hoax until they, too, saw the lights.
Lubbock Lights, 1951
Three science professors from Texas Tech were enjoying themselves on the night of August 25, 1951, when they saw lights flying above them in a semicircle. In the next few days, many other people reported the same thing, and one student, Carl Hart Jr., even snapped a picture of what was deemed the Lubbock Lights.
The Battle of Los Angeles/The Great Los Angeles Air Raid, 1942
The Battle of Los Angeles and The Great Los Angeles Air Raid are the modern names given to an artillery barrage fired in response to strange lights in the sky from February 24 to 25 in 1942. The U.S. military thought that the Japanese military was attacking, but they later dubbed the incident a false alarm caused by "war nerves."
Vernon Baird, 1947
Vernon Baird, the pilot of a commercial photographic plane, was mapping the area between Helena and Yellowstone Park at 32,000 feet on July 7, 1947. He reported seeing a flying disc. Startled, he then took evasive action to avoid it.
Mantell UFO Incident, 1948
25-year-old Captain Thomas F. Mantell of the Kentucky Air National Guard died January 7, 1948 after his P-51 Mustang fighter crashed while in pursuit of a UFO described by onlookers as a "very white" object with "a flaming red cone trailing a gaseous green mist."
Chiles-Whitted UFO Encounter, 1948
On July 24, 1948, near Montgomery, Alabama, commercial pilots Clarence S. Chiles and John B. Whitted observed a glowing object that passed by their plane and then disappeared into a cloud with a burst of flames out of its rear.
Gorman Dogfight, 1948
In 1948 over Fargo, North Dakota, George F. Gorman saw a wingless flying object with a blinking light while piloting a North Dakota Air National Guard plane. At 9:07 pm, Gorman contacted the control tower to ask if there was any other air traffic in the area beside a nearby Piper Cub. There was not.
McMinnville UFO Photographs, 1950
The most famous photographs ever taken of a UFO were from McMinnville, Oregon in 1950. Life magazine and many newspapers printed the photos, but many people believed they were a hoax.
Mariana UFO Incident, 1950
On August 15, 1950 in Great Falls, Montana, Nick Mariana and Virginia Raunig of the Great Falls Electrics, a baseball team, were inspecting Legion Stadium’s field before a game. They ended up taking the first film footage ever of a UFO.
Carson Sink UFO Incident, 1952
On July 24, 1952, two United States Air Force Colonels, John L. McGinn and John R. Barton, were flying in a B-25 near Carson Sink, Nevada. Both colonels worked for the Pentagon and were familiar with military aircraft of the time.
Orfeo Angelucci, 1952
Orfeo Angelucci was a strange man who suffered from poor health and extreme nervousness. He also claimed to be in contact with extraterrestrials. In 1952, Angelucci said that he started seeing flying saucers on his way home from his work in Burbank California.
The Washington, D.C. UFO Incident, 1952
There was a series of UFO sightings over Washington, D.C. from July 19 to 27 in 1952 reported by several people. According to historian Curtis Peebles, the event marked the zenith of a spate of UFO sightings that year.
Flatwoods Monster, 1952
The Flatwoods Monster is also known as the Phantom of Flatwoods and the Braxton County Monster by West Virginians. On September 12, 1952, a bright object was sighted in the night sky, and then a humanoid entity was seen in the town of Flatwoods.
Felix Moncla, 1953
A United States Air Force pilot, First Lieutenant Felix Eugene Moncla Jr., disappeared over Lake Superior while performing an air defense intercept on November 23, 1953. The Air Force reported that Moncla crashed, but search and rescue found nothing.
Barney and Betty Hill Abduction, 1961
On September 19, 1961 in New Hampshire, Betty and Barney Hill were purportedly abducted by aliens while driving. It was the first report of an alien abduction that was widely publicized by the media, and the incident became known as The Hill Abduction or the Zeta Reticuli Incident.
Lonnie Zamora Incident, 1964
On April 24, 1964 in Socorro, New Mexico, several witnesses said that they saw a UFO. A police officer named Sergeant Lonni Zamora had gotten the closest to it. He heard "a roar and saw a [bluish orange] flame in the sky" while chasing a speeding car.
Exeter Incident, 1965
On September 3rd, 1965 near Exeter, New Hampshire, 18-year-old Norman Muscarello was hitchhiking to his parents’ home around 2 am. He saw five flashing lights in the woods moving toward him. Terrified, he flagged an oncoming car, and he was driven to the Exeter police station.
Kecksburg UFO Incident, 1965
On December 9, 1965, a fireball was reported by thousands of people from Pennsylvania to Canada. When the fireball streaked over several states, reports of hot metal debris that started grass fires, sonic booms, blue smoke and vibrations came in. The object crashed in Kecksburg, PA, and the area was immediately sealed off by the military, although they reported that they had found "absolutely nothing."
The Portage County, Ohio, UFO Chase, 1966
In the early morning of April 17, 1966, several police officers from Portage County, Ohio, saw an object rise up from the ground, and it bathed them in light. They chased the UFO into Pennsylvania, and other officers were alerted and also began chasing it.
Maury Island, 1947
On June 21, 1947, two patrolmen on Maury Island in Puget Sound, Fred Crisman and Harold Dahl, said that they saw six "doughnut-shaped" discs in the sky. According to both men, one of the discs released a substance resembling "white metal" onto their patrol boat, which broke an employee’s arm and killed a dog.
Pascagoula Abduction, 1973
On October 11, 1973, co-workers Charles Hickson and Calvin Parker were fishing off of a pier on Mississippi’s Pascagoula River when they heard a whirring noise and saw two flashing blue lights and a large, oval UFO.
Illinois Black Triangle UFO, 2000
There were many eyewitnesses to what became known as the Southern Illinois UFO or Highland, Illinois UFO, including five on-duty police officers. People all over the towns of Highland, Dupo, Lebanon, Shiloh, Summerfield, Millstadt and O’Fallon reported a massive but silent triangular craft in the sky at treetop level.
Morristown UFO Hoax, 2009
The Morristown UFO hoax was a series of events in the sky involving floating red lights near Morristown, New Jersey, that happened between January 5, 2009, and February 17, 2009. The people putting on the hoax were Joe Rudy and Chris Russo, who said they were doing a social experiment.
Charlotte, North Carolina, 2007
On January 26, 2007, in Charlotte, North Carolina, a UFO was reported that looked like a "bright blue-green ball with a white tail," according to eyewitness Jim Neal. Another witness, Julie Bigham, said that the UFO was a " greenish-like light low in the sky. We thought a small plane or helicopter was going to crash."
Tinley Park Lights, 2004-2005
Hundreds of people near Chicago, Illinois witnessed a triangular formation of red lights flying at low altitude between late 2004 and early 2005. Three separate incidents produced many videos and pictures of the phenomenon.
Arizona Pilot UFO Sighting, 2018
The pilots an American Airlines Airbus A321 and a Phoenix Air Learjet 36 both radioed in odd sightings of a UFO. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, Albuquerque Air Traffic received the reports from the two eastbound aircraft just minutes apart that something had passed over them.
Unidentified Aerial Phenomena
The United States government has never concluded that UFO was an alien spacecraft. Sightings are usually explained as weather balloons or something similar. However, the US Navy did admit that three military video clips released between 2017-2018 are in fact "unidentified aerial phenomena."