You could say that anything flying in our air space that is unidentified is strange — to say the least. Whatever we don’t understand raises a lot of speculation. That being said, there are some interesting UFO facts that are good to know about: things like the sheer number of UFO sightings and the secret panels that were formed to investigate them are fascinating, while other facts are just plain weird.
For instance, did you know that there was a mass suicide that happened because of an anticipated alien invasion? Or, that you could actually buy an insurance policy against alien abduction if you wanted to? These are facts that are almost too strange to believe.
There are many other weird UFO facts that you might find interesting. Here are 27 of the most interesting:
1. There were a total of 12,618 UFO sightings from 1948-69
The Air Force investigation of UFOs began in 1948 and was known as Project Sign. It was later renamed Project Grudge and then it became Project Blue Book in 1953.
Of all of the sightings reported, 11,917 were explained. Most of them were actually balloons, satellites and aircraft. However, there were also sightings that were caused by lightning, reflections, weather, hoaxes and astronomical objects such as the sun, moon, stars and planets. Only 701 of the 12,618 sightings remained unidentified.
2. The term ‘UFO’ was first used in 1947
The flying saucer reported by the pilot, Kenneth A. Arnold, was given the term “UFO” or “unidentified flying object.” UFO was used to describe any aerial object that was seen but not identified.
3. A secret panel was developed to investigate UFO sightings in 1953
Because of the increase in UFO sightings, the CIA prompted the government to develop a secret panel to investigate the sightings in 1953. The Robertson panel was headed by H.P. Robertson, a physicist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California, and included other physicists, an astronomer and a rocket engineer. The Robertson Panel met for three days in 1953 and was briefed on military activities and intelligence. They also reviewed films and photographs of UFOs. Their conclusions were that UFOs were not a direct threat to national security and that most UFO reports could be explained as known aerial objects.
4. UAP is another term to describe Unidentified Flying Objects
On Aug. 4, 2020, the Department of Defense came up with the term “UAP,” or “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena,” as another term to describe unidentified sightings. They then put together a task force to detect and analyze UAPs that could potentially pose a threat to our national security.
5. A UFO is not the same as an extraterrestrial alien
The term UFO refers to any unexplained object or light in the sky. It is not a term to describe an alien being. Almost all of the UFO sightings are simply unidentified flying objects and not alien encounters.
6. A UFO in Los Angeles caused five deaths in 1942
Shortly after the U.S. joined World War II, there was an air attack over Los Angeles after an unidentified flying object was seen. At that time, newspapers published a number of reports and speculations of a cover-up to conceal an actual invasion by enemy airplanes. When documenting the incident, the United States Coast Artillery Association identified a weather balloon as the cause of the hysteria. They concluded that once the firing started, imagination created all kinds of targets in the sky and everyone joined in. Because of the chaos, three people died in car accidents and two died of heart attacks.
7. There was an ‘Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program’ in 2007
This top-secret mission began at the Pentagon to study UFOs or UAPs. Even though this program ended in 2012, it was suggested that the investigation of UFOs still continued.
8. Numerous scientists stationed in Antarctica have seen UFOs
Although there have been a lot of claims and strange sightings over Antarctica that seem mysterious, most of them can be explained by weather, balloons or geographical ice patterns.
9. Anticipation of a UFO sighting caused a mass suicide
The Heaven’s Gate mass suicide claimed 39 victims in 1997. Heaven’s Gate was a religious cult, led by Marshall Applewhite, whose members were convinced that an alien spacecraft was hidden behind a comet so that it would go undetected. Applewhite and 38 of his followers drank a lethal mixture and then lay down to die. They were hoping to leave their bodily containers, enter the alien spacecraft, and pass through Heaven’s Gate into a higher existence.
10. Ancient Roman scholars wrote about strange aerial sightings
The historian, Livy, wrote about Arpis shields that were seen in the sky two thousand years ago. It was described as the sun battling the moon. The round or elliptical shield used by the Roman army was the most frequently recognized form in UFOs.
11. Thousands of Americans have taken out insurance against aliens
As preposterous as it seems, there are a great number of people who have taken out insurance against being abducted by aliens. One insurance broker, Mike St. Lawrence, has been selling this insurance for 34 years. He sells the $10 million alien abduction insurance policy for just $24.95.
12. Astrobiology is the official science of extraterrestrial life
With the interest in the search for life outside of Earth, an official study of it became necessary. Astrobiology combines techniques from many fields like astronomy, biology, chemistry and geology to provide an understanding of potential life forms.
13. The earliest recorded UFO sighting in America was in 1639
Puritan John Winthrop, governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, wrote about a strange sighting in the sky in 1639. He wrote that James Everell, a sober man, witnessed a flaming light in the sky that was about 3 yards square while in a boat with a couple of friends. When the light moved, it looked like a large swine. Then, when the light finally faded away, the three men in the boat were stunned to find themselves 1 mile upstream — as if the light had transported them there.
14. Many astronomers report UAPs
Although there have been many unusual UAP sightings, most astronomers agree that the majority of them can be explained and should be studied from a professional, rational and scientific angle.
15. Alien sightings have been reported in nuclear power plants
Our U.S. military and intelligence personnel have been reporting a large number of UAPs over the last 75 years near nuclear sites. They can only speculate about the origin of these unexplained phenomena. However, the repeated sightings raise the question of whether they might originate from adversaries — known or unknown.
16. Scientists tried to communicate with aliens in 1960
Beginning in 1960 with Project Ozma, scientists have been trying to communicate with alien life.
17. Scientists have sent aliens a mixtape
In 1977, NASA created a mixtape to send to aliens. It consisted of two LP records with tracks of global music, greetings in different languages and sounds of the planet. The LPs were attached to two robotic probes that were launched that year to send a sign to extraterrestrial civilizations that we exist.
18. A mysterious roar from space has been detected by scientists
In 2006, when scientists began to look for sound signals in space, they were surprised to hear a mysterious roar. They used an instrument that was able to pick up radio waves from the heat of distant stars.
19. The Pentagon got hundreds of new reports of UFOs in 2022
Officials say they believe the rise in UAP reports is due to the U.S. government trying to destigmatize the topic of UAP. Instead, they want to recognize the potential risks as both an aviation hazard and potential foreign surveillance efforts.
20. Many people believe they’ve been abducted by aliens
According to ABC News, whether we believe it or not, a growing number of people are convinced that they have been abducted by aliens. However, psychologists say the media-generated images of alien kidnappings can become easily ingrained in our subconscious and then vividly re-enacted in our dreams.
21. There have been more UFO sightings in Northern states than in Southern states
You are more likely to see a strange sighting in the sky if you live in states like Washington, Montana, Vermont, Alaska and Maine. All of those states have the most recorded sightings. Whereas southern states like Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, Mississippi and Alabama have the least.
22. The Air Force destroyed a report of two UFO sightings by pilots
On July 24, 1948, two domestic pilots witnessed a cigar-shaped craft UFO with windows. The Air Force ultimately destroyed the report of the incident and many believe that it was a secret Soviet spy craft in American air space.
23. Many black triangle UFOs have been spotted
Along with the typical saucer or cigar shape UFOs that have been spotted, mysterious black triangles have also been repeatedly spotted. Because they are found consistently hovering, they are thought to be doing surveillance of some kind.
24. World UFO Day is on July 2
If you are a UFO enthusiast, you may want to celebrate World UFO Day. The day is meant to raise awareness of UFO matters and to encourage the government to disclose its findings. People gather in groups to go skywatching in hopes of seeing strange phenomena.
25. There was a mysterious wreckage in the desert in 1947
Although the wreckage remains that were found in the desert in New Mexico looked alien, they ended up being identified as belonging to a high-altitude balloon surveillance device for a program called Project Mogul.
26. Unidentified green fireball sightings have been recorded
In 1948, glowing green fireballs had been spotted in New Mexican military areas several times. In more recent years, there have been reports of green-fireball sightings around the world.
27. ‘Ghost Rockets’ appeared in and around Sweden
During the summer of 1946, thousands of people in Sweden spotted strange objects. The U.S. military helped with investigations, and a document declassified in 1997 stated, “we are inclined not to discredit entirely this somewhat spectacular theory [extraterrestrial origins], meantime keeping an open mind on the subject.”