UFO History & Folklore
(Dedicated to Annie)
Unidentified flying objects, or UFOs, have long occupied the imaginations of men, women, and children. UFOs are generally associated with extraterrestrial aliens, though the term "UFO" itself does not necessitate alien involvement. It simply refers to something flying through the air that cannot be identified as any known object. The alien association with UFOs is largely due to the fact that many people who have seen UFOs also claim to have seen aliens or even to have been abducted by aliens. Thus, UFOs are often believed to be evidence for creatures that appear in works of science fiction and have inspired Halloween costumes. Science fiction, however, is not the only literary realm in which UFOs appear, for some modern UFO enthusiasts believe that evidence for UFOs and aliens exists in ancient documents such as the Bible's Book of Ezekiel. Beginning in the middle of the 20th century, an increasing number of alien sightings led many people to rethink whether human beings are the only life in the universe. The debate continues, with many people on each side of the issue.
For someone to profess that they have seen a UFO is not necessarily convincing evidence for the existence of aliens. After all, those who report such sightings might be hallucinating or lying, or they might be misled. Actual pictures of UFOs, on the other hand, make these stories more convincing. Many pictures of unidentified flying objects exist. Some of these photos have explanations that surfaced months or years after they were taken. Others remain unexplained.
Almost as common as reports of UFOs are reports of alien abductions. Several individuals have told stories of the harrowing encounters they have had with alien beings. During these encounters, they speak of being interviewed and/or experimented upon. Some researchers associate these stories with false memories. Others are convinced that something strange and otherworldly actually happens to many of those who make such claims.
Many of those who report being abducted by aliens also say that the creatures have placed implants in their bodies. Some people who have been abducted have even tried to prove that they have had a tracking device or other such thing placed in their bodies. Evidence for such implants remains scant, but that has not stopped people from making the claims.
One of the most well-known accounts of alien sightings is associated with Roswell, New Mexico. Several individuals have alleged that an alien spacecraft crashed near Roswell in 1947 and that the U.S. Air Force has covered it up. The U.S. Air Force has reported that no aliens ever crashed there, but that has not stopped people from making the claim. Descriptions of the Roswell "aliens" continue to serve as the basis for many alien Halloween costumes.
The Roswell incident is perhaps the most well-known story of military UFO cover-ups, but it is by no means the only account. Conspiracy theories regarding the government's hiding of evidence for aliens and UFOs abound. Even astronauts have alleged that organizations such as NASA are hiding something when it comes to UFOs. That the government is known to have hidden information about other things from the public serves to give life to these allegations, even if the government has never encountered UFOs or extraterrestrial lifeforms.
Even those who are the most skeptical about UFO and alien encounters do not necessarily discount the possibility of extraterrestrial life. In fact, there are many scientific searches already being conducted with the hopes of finding alien lifeforms. These searches may not return the "little green men" that have served as the models for many Halloween costumes, but they are intriguing nonetheless. Moreover, interest in UFOs continues, with the number of resources devoted to studying UFOs continually increasing.