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The History of UFOs and Aliens

By Kate Maloney

A 2015 poll revealed that 45 percent of Americans believe in UFOs and 79 percent believe that life exists on other planets. UFO stands for "unidentified flying object." The first highly publicized UFO sighting happened in 1947 in Washington. The U.S. Air Force coined the term "UFO" in 1953 to enable them to create an official report on these sightings. Cultural awareness of UFOs became high during the 1950s, amid elevated worries over national security in the height of the Cold War.

As many as 20 percent of the UFO sightings each year are unexplained. The public has a fascination with aliens and UFOs, and imaginations run wild at times as people tell stories of extraterrestrial beings and alien abductions. While some of these stories may involve just pranksters in Halloween costumes, the fact remains that there have been many sightings of unidentified aerial objects.

UFO Pictures

When people have seen UFOs in the sky, they immediately search for a way to document and prove what they have seen. Thus, photos of these objects have been taken and shared by people who believe they have seen UFOs. With the invention of cell phones with cameras, people have the technology they need at their fingertips to capture images of UFOs at a second's notice. However, using a modern DSLR camera may produce better photographic results. Using the infinity focus point on a camera widens the shot to collect as much light as possible while focusing on the object in the expanse of the sky.


Betty and Barney Hill were a middle-class couple who claimed to have experienced an alien abduction in September 1961. The Hills told a tale of driving through the White Mountains when Betty saw a UFO trailing them. After seeing the UFO through binoculars, they attempted to escape in their car. Both Betty and Barney had no memory of the following two hours, and when their memories resumed, they were 35 miles away. Both Betty and Barney submitted to hypnotherapy following their abduction claim and gave accounts of being taken on board the UFO. Following the Hills' abduction claim, many other people claimed to have experienced similar episodes. Although many people are skeptical of alien abduction, a small percentage of the abduction stories seem to defy explanation.


People who claim to have been abducted by aliens may also claim to have had tiny devices implanted into their bodies. Typical physical locations for these implants may be behind the eyes, at the back of the neck, in the nasal cavities, and in the jaw. These implants are thought to be placed in the body to monitor human activities and physical conditions. In some cases, doctors have removed the implants with the intent of studying them.


The U.S. government claims that an Air Force weather balloon crashed near Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947. During the 1970s, interest renewed in this event, with people sharing conspiracy theories about a UFO event that the federal government hid from Americans. The theory states that a UFO crashed at Roswell and the government recovered alien bodies that were aboard the craft, then hid the incident from public knowledge. The Roswell UFO incident has become mythological within the world of those who believe in an alien presence.

Military/NASA Coverup

Since the incident in Roswell, many people have believed that the federal government has been actively covering up the existence of aliens. Purportedly, the government decided that hiding this information would be best because it wasn't known whether the aliens were hostile. Fears were also present about what could happen if the Soviet Union became aware of this information. Over time, a few members of the military and the federal government have come forward with stories that support conspiracy theories of government coverups.

UFO and Alien Investigations

The Air Force pursued an active investigation of UFO sightings under Project Sign during the late 1940s, which was then replaced with Project Grudge and finally Project Blue Book. Under Project Blue Book, more than 12,000 reports of unidentified sightings were filed. Even the CIA became involved, directing the federal government to assemble a panel of experts to investigate the reports. Project Blue Book was discontinued in 1969, but since this time, some experts have maintained investigations into ongoing reports of unexplained activity including UFO sightings and alien contact.