Belief  /  Comment

More UFOs Than Ever Before

What explains the apparently sudden spike in intergalactic traffic after WWII? If Cold War anxieties are to blame, why have sightings persisted?

Project Blue Book was discontinued in 1970, at which point, assumedly, the U.S. government exited the UFO game. But according to the New York Times, which broke the news on its front page, the Feds had in fact carried on the work under new leadership and new names. The Pentagon’s Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, funded at the urging of then Nevada Senator Harry Reid, looked into a handful of sightings, with special attention paid to a series of encounters between Navy fighter jets and UFOs. “The strange objects, one of them like a spinning top moving against the wind, appeared almost daily from the summer of 2014 to March 2015, high in the skies over the East Coast,” the Times reported on May 26, 2019. “Navy pilots reported to their superiors that the objects had no visible engine or infrared exhaust plumes, but that they could reach 30,000 feet and hypersonic speeds.”

The craft, as described by Navy pilots and captured in gunsight videos, moved in just the way Bob Lazar had described: great speed with seemingly little effort. On a transcript, one pilot, sounding more than a little like Elvis, says to another, “Wow, what is that, man? Look at it fly!”

Fighter pilots do not tend to be of the muddle-headed variety. They are cynical, cool, and realistic. In other words, such reports are hard to dismiss. And yet, for whatever reason, I do. My relationship to UFOs is like my relationship to God. I want to believe, but find it hard. I don’t know why. Belief in UFOs is really no stranger than any other sort of belief, no stranger than a belief in prophets or ancient codes. But I just don’t feel it. I wish I could see one for myself, as I wish I could see the Virgin Mary floating above the yellow roses in my backyard. When I said this to my neighbor, who runs a blog called I Saw One Too, he shook his head sadly and said, “No you don’t. You really don’t.”

The experience undermined him in some way, made him feel cast out and disbelieved; people glaze over when he talks about it, yet he feels the need to talk about it. He’d been in the military when he saw the UFO. When I asked if it was possible that he’d seem a secret new military weapon, he said, “I’m as sure that what I saw was from another planet as I am sure that that is a bench.” (We were standing next to a bench.)

My answer?

If we were being visited, I think we’d know, that’s all. I don’t think there’d be any doubt. Hiding it would be like Columbus hiding his “discovery” of the New World.


So what’s happening?

The answer can be found in our political history.

The spike in UFO sightings began after the Second World War and continued through the Cold War, when people were scared—scared of external invasion, scared of internal subversion. It’s natural that this fear would be objectified, turned into visions of otherworldly menace, turned into aliens, turned into silver ships, a blue light in the woods.

What about all the sightings near military installations?