From military reports and radar readings to pilot accounts and eyewitness testimony, sightings of Unidentified Flying Objects have captured the public’s fascination for decades. Despite hundreds of photos and videos of purported UFOs, we still have no scientific proof we’re being visited by extraterrestrials—Do UFO sightings deserve scientific study? Or can the phenomenon be explained away as misidentified natural phenomena, or the creation of our own imaginations? Over two hours, National Geographic will analyze the most compelling evidence and hear from the experts as we explore the Secret History of UFOs.
The modern era of UFOs began with the report of saucer-like objects flying across the Cascade Mountain range. Dubbed “flying saucers” by the press, hundreds of sightings around the country stirred up a media frenzy—spanning from objects in the sky to reports of a downed alien aircraft in New Mexico and tragically, the death of a young war hero whose plane crashed in pursuit of these elusive flying saucers. In response to these disconcerting events, the US Government stepped in with an official inquiry into the UFO phenomenon.
The official Air Force investigation, Project Blue Book, as it became known, spanned two decades and examined over 12,000 UFO reports. Without any concrete proof of extraterrestrial visitation the inquiry finally shut down in 1969. Most cases were explained away as clouds, birds, or secret military experiments. But closing the doors on Project Blue Book did not keep UFOs out of our skies or the public psyche.
If anything, UFO reports continued to explode and the public fascination with the possibility of alien visitation flourished. Bursting on to the national scene in the 1980s were firsthand tales of military contact with unknown spacecraft, crashed UFOs, alien autopsies, and abduction experiences–told by those who claim to have undergone disturbing medical experiments.
To this day, reports of UFOs are not investigated by any official U.S. government body.
While the U.S. government presently ignores reports of Unidentified Flying Objects, a new generation of researchers, journalists and scholars are working hard to prove their significance and existence. Purporting theories of government cover-ups, ancient visitations and alien-human hybridization programs, believers call for political action and scientific study, while skeptics use modern science and technology to debunk these claims.
Tune in to Secret History of UFOs on Sunday, July 29th at 8P et/pt.