Nineteen former pilots and government officials … told reporters their questions can no longer be dismissed …”We want the US government to stop perpetuating the myth that all UFOs can be explained away in down-to-earth, conventional terms,” said Fife Symington, former governor of Arizona… “Instead our country needs to reopen its official investigation that it shut down in 1969,” Symington told a news conference. [source]

I saw an UFO (pronounced “ooofo,” I think) once too. It was a sight I can never forget. Let me tell you about it.


A repost, slightly revised

I was in an airplane, a 7-something-7 to be exact, departing from Boston. It was night (early, but the sun was down for the count) and it was one of those nights you often get in Boston when the fog runs all the way from the bay to the clouds. In other words, for Boston, a pretty clear night. I’d lay odds you could almost see the Citco sign from Memorial Drive as plain on the Irish on Mayor Flynn’s face.

I was on the right side of the plane in the window seat.

After takeoff, we were gaining altitude and engaged in a steady left turn. Then we switched to a steady right turn. I don’t remember where the plane was going, but I’m pretty sure it was somewhere in Europe.

I’m the kinda guy who sleeps during takeoffs and landings. I get groggy on airplanes. There’s something about the pressure changes and the pungent smell of fresh jet fuel and the constant muffled chatter of the flight attendants and passengers settling into their routine of avionic boredom that turns my reticular formation into mush. So my memory of these turns is a bit foggy. Foggy like one of those nights you so often get in Boston.

I was asleep, but I was aware, like a cold snake must be aware of its surrounding but unable to, or maybe just uninterested in, doing anything about it.

Just then the crappy little airplane pillow they give you in economy to make you feel less like the chump you are for flying on this two-bit airline slipped from where it was jammed between my noggin and the edge of the window, jolting me awake. That’s when I happened to glance out the window, and I saw it.

There was no doubt in my mind that it was an UFO. It was a cigar shaped thing hovering there among the wisps of clouds, who knows how far away. It had lights all along its side, and it was flying above us, keeping pace with us, then disappearing in the clouds, and then reappearing again. It was not an airplane, I could swear to that. That was as plain to me as the Irish on Mayor Flynn’s face.

After a moment of continued grogginess, I suddenly realized I was seeing an UFO, and that this was my Big Chance to try to get to the bottom of this UFO thing.

So I snapped awake and started taking notes. The object came back into view again, still above us and to the right. Then slowly it settled down, its lights as strong and visible as ever, to exactly our level, following along side, keeping pace. Like it was tailing us. Then, slowly, it started to sink lower and lower …. still passing in and out of visibility … until it was way down below us.

It was just then that I realized that the plane I was in was coming out of the right turn I mentioned above. The sensation that the “cigar shaped object” was above me was actually an effect of relativity. The old pre-Einsteinian relativity that still pretty much applies in real life. Not that hot-shot academic Cosmic Relativity that only seems to work when you are traveling at unthinkable speeds or if you are unthinkably massive, like a Black Hole.

Since we were in a turn, and I could not perceive the horizon or anything else that would objectively tell me where the Earth was, and since I was waking up from a sleep, I understood the earth to be somewhere directly below my keester … right where it is supposed to be, below the seat I was sitting in, because that was the direction of my perceived gravity field.

But as any freshman Physics Major, even the pimple-faced snotty kind they seem to breed at MIT could tell you, gravity and acceleration are the same thing. The Earth was exerting gravity off to my right somewhere, but that was small change gravity compared to the acceleration caused by the turn the airplane was taking. The acceleration was exerting a sensation identical to gravity from roughly the direction of the bottom of the 737 or even a little to my left. The combined effects of Mother Earth’s gravity and this airplane’s acceleration provided my senses with a hypothesis my senses could not disprove in the absence of visual cues, like the horizon, or the Islands in Boston Harbor, or a sexy blond dame in a trashed out night club in Somerville with legs that go all the way from her bad attitude down to the grimy, beer soaked floorboards. This relativistic lie caused my inner ear, my eyes, and my brain to perceive of this large cigar shaped object with lights all along its side as being above me, when it was actually below me the whole time.

Boy, was I being taken for a ride. I felt like such a chump.

This UFO was nothing more than a run of the mill cruise ship plying its way across Massachusetts Bay, playing its dubious role of playground for the not so rich and not so famous who were really nothing more than wannabe world travelers who couldn’t stand the idea of being away from their golf greens, their kidney bean shaped swimming pools and their cranberry juice cocktail martinis.

Hey, do you think the pilot saw it too?

So, the Ex Governor of Arizona believes in UFOs. Who else believes in UFOs? I have a theory that the number of people who believe they were abducted by aliens compared to the number of people who believe that they are aliens works out about right. In the cosmic scheme of it all.

Somehow, I think the following additional bits of information are relevant here:

“The subject of UFOs came up in a recent debate among presidential candidates, with Democrat Dennis Kucinich saying he saw a UFO.”

Uh oh…

Six percent of the American People believe that the Apollo Moon Landing was faked (wikipedia). So, that means that 18 million Americans think the Apollo Moon Landing was faked.

Ten percent, or three million, Canadians believe in UFOs* and and in fact claim to have seen one.*

One source indicates that about 18 percent of Americans are pretty sure that we’ll eventually find Bigfoot … alive … as well as the Loch Ness Monster.

It is said that 15% of the population has on at least one occasion experienced the “Old Hag Phenomenon,” which is where you think an Old Hag is sitting on your chest … “[this is] often accompanied by strange smells, the sound of approaching footsteps, apparitions of weird shadows or glowing eyes…”*

Since it is well known that about 4% of the population are Old Hags, this all works out if one Hag sits on an average of slightly more than three people. Or should we call them victims. I don’t know.

Seventy-one percent of Americans claim to have had a paranormal experience.* Funny. Somehow I knew that was going to happen.

About one percent of pretty much any surveyed population is full-blown schizophrenic, but closer to 30% of Americans are said to have had at least one psychotic episode.* Which, by the way, is high as industrialized nations go.

So it all pretty much works out. As plain as the Irish on Mayor Flynn’s face.

Comments

  1. #1 travc
    September 19, 2009

    Fun story… thanks for reposting (I didn’t catch it originally).

    About the funky acceleration you feel in a commercial airplane… that is skilled pilots intentionally doing clever things to make you feel like down is your butt.

    BTW: Not only commercial pilots do this. All planes (well, almost all planes) have a “turn coordinator” instrument with a side-to-side accelerometer. The rule (of thumb at least) is that it should be centered during a ‘good’ turn.

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    September 19, 2009

    so … it’s a conspiracy …

  3. #3 Jim Thomerson
    September 19, 2009

    One day as we came out of High School we saw a round silvery object moving erratically at a great height. Some one said, “Hey, look at the weather balloon.” and we went on our way.

  4. #4 SQB
    September 19, 2009

    Well, technically that was a UTTBFO (Thought To Be). Which turned into an IFO (Identified Floating). But a nice story nonetheless.

  5. #5 Martin
    September 19, 2009

    But it is still possible that it was an alien space ship that landed on the harbor.

  6. #6 Joachim
    September 19, 2009

    They fly 737s from Boston to Europe?

  7. #7 khan
    September 19, 2009

    I’ve seen 3 ‘ufos’; all then identified.

    The Goodyear blimp, floating down the Hudson Valley at night: just some lights moving with no noise.

    A flock of white birds over the Gulf of Mexico.

    4 small private planes in formation flying across OH on way to PA.
    (that one had UFO reports coming in from 4 states)

  8. #9 khan
    September 19, 2009

    We lived on a ridge above the river, too far to hear it.

  9. #10 Enoch
    September 19, 2009

    There is a correlation between uffoh sightings, belief in creationism, and snake handling/speaking in tongues behavior across the US.

  10. #11 Rex
    September 19, 2009

    “There was no doubt in my mind that it was an UFO.”

    But, isn’t that by definition a doubtful thing?

  11. #12 Nobody in particular
    September 19, 2009

    What have you got against the Irish?

  12. #13 doug l
    September 19, 2009

    Is there a figure for the percentage of Americans that don’t believe in anything if less than 50% of the rest of the population believes it too?

  13. #14 Irene
    September 19, 2009

    UFO (pronounced “ooofo,”

    Pardon me while I ROFL….

  14. #15 IQXS
    September 19, 2009

    Thank you for this post. Fun read…

    The LINK to this post has been Twittered at http://twitter.com/IQXS and shared with 1,881+ UFO enthusiasts. We track the latest in UFO/Alien Affairs News, Views, Pix and Vids. Come join the loop and be in the know. Tin foil hats, optional! ;)

    ATT: We do not re-post videos or data, we only share the link to yours. Ciao!

  15. #16 loon cheney
    September 19, 2009

    There is a fine line between UFO and UFFDA.

  16. #17 Steve
    September 19, 2009

    Enoch: Are you sure those are snakes and not long thing aliens?

  17. #18 Roxanne
    September 19, 2009

    I have seen something very similar in foggy and cloudy conditions with boats at sea. One time I saw this from a roller coaster but the UFO consisted of the city of San Jose. It was not a convincing flying saucer.

  18. #19 Paul D.
    September 19, 2009

    Nice Dashiell Hammett take-off.

  19. #20 Greg
    September 19, 2009

    Really great article, and I have to agree with the poster about a correlation of snake handling and ooofos, considering that I came from an area with both. Would be interesting to see the data on that.

  20. #21 Enoch
    September 19, 2009

    “Sam Spade and the UFO”

  21. #22 Jeff Vachon
    September 19, 2009

    One time I allowed my ex-wife to drive us from LA to Vegas. She can’t follow a map to save her life. We found ourselves circling the Earth numerous times and everyone thought we were a UFO.

  22. #23 Leni
    September 19, 2009

    I saw something that gave me a bit of a start once. It was a bright light in the sky (a little brighter than Venus but in the wrong place) that grew bigger and brighter and then faded and just blinked out over the course of about 10 seconds or so. It really did look like that fade and blink out effect you sometimes see on tv. Had I been a less skeptical person it probably would have really frightened me.

    It was a little startling, but I assumed natural explanation and suspected it was satellite related. I went home and googled it, turns out it was probably an iridium flare.

  23. #24 Jennifer A. Burdoo
    September 19, 2009

    One night, while I was camping on a Mexican beach, I spotted a neon green light floating over my head, moving to and fro energetically.

    Everyone around me was pointing and claiming it was a flying saucer. I knew perfectly well it was my Dad, flying a kite in the dark by tying a toy glowstick to the string so he could see where it was.

  24. #25 Scott Simmons
    September 19, 2009

    Of course there are such things as UFO’s. The best explanation of why that’s so was in a recent Monk episode:

    Monk: “No, I didn’t see a UFO. I just saw … something.”
    Sheriff: “Well, OK … ” “Now, was the thing you saw flying?”
    Monk: “Yes.”
    Sheriff: “And was it an object?”
    Monk: “Yes.”
    Sheriff: “And could you identify it?”
    (Long pause.)
    Monk: “No.”

    Sometimes, UFO’s are later identified. Sometimes, there’s not enough information to, or nobody bothers. But nobody has ever uncovered actual evidence identifying any former UFO’s as spacecraft belonging to extraterrestrial intelligent beings.

    I’ll never understand the human predilection for inventing fanciful, poetic explanations, and then treating them as null hypotheses …

  25. #26 Caravelle
    September 19, 2009

    On Dennis Kucinich… from what I heard, he says he saw a UFO only in the basic sense of “object that’s flying and that I couldn’t identify”. He’s never claimed that UFO was a flying saucer or anything.

  26. #27 José
    September 19, 2009

    Jesus! I’ve never heard of or experienced the Old Hag Phenomenon before, but I’m sure it will happen to me now.

    Thanks

  27. #28 MadScientist
    September 19, 2009

    I just have to roll my eyes at the ex-gov of Az. I see he’s keeping up the informal tradition of Az govs being stark raving mad and deep into woowoo. “I was in the air force and I know what flares are like, and these aren’t flares!” Yeah, suuuure. Now if everyone will excuse me I’ve got to get back to my work in the Global UFO Conspiracy; the head honchos want me to address another UFO sighting and assure the public that aliens aren’t visiting us.

  28. #29 Greg Laden
    September 20, 2009

    Joachim: The answer to your question is yes, but rarely. And this was some time ago, and the transatlantic flights have increased in rates since then, so there is a pretty good chance that it was a plane like a 737 (about that size, that is) but something different. Some pretty small planes fly from Boston to northern/western europe. I once took what I think was a 727 from dc to ny, and it was heading to iceland. So go figure.

    The key is how man hours a plane is from the nearest airport, and 737′s are mmore restricted than some other aircraft. But they can certainly go far enough.

  29. #30 natural cynic
    September 20, 2009

    Flying to Europe on a commercial 737? Not likely, unless it was a very recent model. A quick search shows the first transatlantic 737 flights were in 2007. Unless, maybe, your flight was captained by another Irishman with the name of Corrigan.

  30. #31 John S. Wilkins
    September 20, 2009

    I have seen a UFO that was not only unidentified, but nothing then known could explain it.

    It was during a thunderstorm. I used to get up on the roof to watch the lightning (I know, odd child). I saw this glowing ball, about 2m across, moving slowly and erratically at about 100m high (it passed between trees), before it suddenly disappeared.

    This would be about 1967 or 68. Nowadays we do have an explanation: ball lightning, but then it was not accepted as a phenomenon, so I feel fully justified in saying I have seen a UFO.

    I once also saw something reenter the atmosphere and light up the whole sky at about 4am, but that was a bit easier to explain.

  31. #32 Eric
    September 20, 2009

    *
    I’m not sure what the point of this story was (?)

    So, in your bleary-eyed, fogged in state on an moving airplane you thought you saw a UFO but you didn’t??… Big deal!

    That proves absolutely nothing. Useless information.

    It is common knowledge that roughly 90% of sightings (like yours) can be explained away.It is the OTHER 10% that is the interesting part. Duh! Write again when you have one of those, please.

  32. #33 Eric (again)
    September 20, 2009

    I know many people here feel very comfortable in their skepticism, but take off your skeptical helmets (with lots of down-to-earth padding for safety) for a moment and consider this.

    You are dismissing reports from a myriad of commercial pilots, high ranking military personnel, astronauts (both AMerican and Russian) and a handful of US Presidents, doctors, teachers etc. etc…

    Are you that special?

    Now imagine for a moment what theoretical physicist Michio Kaku said; (I am paraphrasing here) but, if even ONE sighting (out of millions) were indeed of ET origin, then that is the potentially the biggest event in human history.

  33. #34 Erin
    September 20, 2009

    It’s not that he’s assuming they didn’t see anything, Eric. It’s the question why is the default “explanation” aliens?

  34. #35 cthulhu's minion
    September 20, 2009

    I had thought the old hag/shadowman phenomenon had been explained as cases of sleep paralysis.

  35. #36 Barrett
    September 20, 2009

    You (skeptics) are denying the most valued form of evidence: Eye witness accounts from multiple eye witnesses sowrn in testimony. I am not saying that there are, for cure, aliens watching us, but you can not say with for sure that they are not.

  36. #37 Denise
    September 20, 2009

    Barrett, I also can’t say that that there is a Unicorn in my garage. But I’ll bet there isn’t

  37. #38 Irene
    September 20, 2009

    I remember that transformation from it not being OK to think ball lightning was real to it being OK to think it was real.

    Someday, perhaps, flying saucers will reach the same status.

    Probably not, though.

  38. #39 Alexander
    September 20, 2009

    It was probably a 757, to be more exact.

  39. #40 Greg Laden
    September 20, 2009

    The frequency and type of UFO and alien sightings can be nicely tracked by reference to external cultural conditions, such as what movies have been out or what other sightings have been widely reported. The first flying saucers most people who have seen them “in the wild” were seen in movies. The way the aliens that abduct you look is different depending on if you live in the Anglo-speaking world or the Spanish speaking world, where different iconographic representations of aliens exist for purely cultural and pop-art production related reasons.

    What does astonish me most is when people say “I wouldn’t be surprised if there really were aliens watching us.” I want to see that person not be surprised on First Contact.

  40. #41 Z
    September 20, 2009

    there’s absolutely nothing shocking or shameful or insane about seeing a UFO. everyone has likely seen something in the sky, or elsewhere, that at the time they couldn’t explain. it’s not as if everyone knows everything there is to be known. but seeing something and later claiming that something to be of alien origin is not a reasonable thing unless you’ve got actual evidence to back up that claim. merely seeing something flying through the sky is Not evidence of aliens. if that were true then we’d all be seeing aliens on a daily basis.

  41. #42 GAC
    September 20, 2009

    I’ve never really had the “Old Hag effect” but I have woken up completely paralyzed, which I understand is related to it. The scariest bit is those occasions when I attempted to call “Help!” or make some sort of noise, but could not get the parts of my vocal tract to move properly (they weren’t completely gone, but I had very little control).

    I’ve also seen odd apparitions when half-asleep, effectively waking dreams, which I’m told is completely normal. In any case, I’m sure these are all just natural glitches in my sleep cycle and nothing to be terribly worried about. Just gets quite annoying to be wide awake and completely powerless to actually get out of bed.

  42. #43 Andrew
    September 20, 2009

    One can see how it would be easy to move from something like GAC’s experience to …. virtually any of the beliefs noted in the OP.

  43. #44 Eric
    September 20, 2009

    ***************

    “It’s not that he’s assuming they didn’t see anything, Eric. It’s the question why is the default “explanation” aliens?”

    Posted by: Erin
    ***************

    Erin, why do people use the default explanation of ET’s when seeing lights in the sky is pretty obvious, isn’t it?

    For one, there seems to be mass UFO sightings globally, which just seem to grow exponentially every year. So statistically speaking, they aren’t that rare. Like he said to himself in the story, “Here’s my chance”.

    Secondly, with all the hype that continues to build, don’t most people hope deep down that there is indeed ET visitation happening?

    And lastly, why, when seeing lights in the sky, do people default to the UFO explanation; well what else could generate flying craft with lights, if it doesn’t appear to be human technology?

    In other words, nobody is going to see stationary flashing lights thousands of feet above and first think of a flock of geese.

    Right?

    I apologize if my posts have sounded terse. But the tone of these kinds of self indulgent articles/blogs which try to make the Et phenomena look ridiculous only promote more pseudo skepticism.

    Visit projectcamelot.org if any of this sounds true to you.

  44. #45 Stephanie Z
    September 20, 2009

    I must also endorse a trip to projectcamelot.org. It’s a one-stop shop for paranoia and woo. It’s got it all: aliens, secret world governments, free energy, anti-vax, psychics and danger, danger, danger.

    Most fascinating is the saga of their most recent video, with a Dr. Somebody-or-Other. Mind you, no one says what he’s a doctor of, the web presence they find for him is–oh, no–most decidedly not him, and he strings them along for a good long time over what parts of the interview are safe to release–before they release the whole thing. I’m waiting for the book from the skeptic who pulled this one off.

    Oh, and aliens really like white people. Just sayin’.

  45. #46 Greg Laden
    September 20, 2009

    It is times like this that I wish I had the policy: “If you send me an email I might post it.”

    Don’t ask…

  46. #47 Stephanie Z
    September 20, 2009

    Oops. I forgot to mention that Project Camelot will also be happy to tell you why Einstein was wrong.

  47. #48 DuWayne
    September 20, 2009

    Eric -

    In other words, nobody is going to see stationary flashing lights thousands of feet above and first think of a flock of geese.

    Nope. In fact, unless I actually knew what it was, I would call it a UFO. Wouldn’t be the first one I’ve seen either – I have seen several things in the sky that I can’t explain and for which I haven’t found an explanation.

    The funny thing is, no matter how much I would love to see ET’s visit earth – and I most certainly would, I don’t assume the most unlikely, when I see a UFO. I certainly wouldn’t discount the possibility that it might be ET’s – I just assume that it is far more likely to have a non-ET explanation.

    And that isn’t pseudo-skepticism – it’s just plain skepticism. Starting with the most outlandish explanation as the most likely is credulous, not skeptical.

  48. #49 Dan J
    September 20, 2009

    Project Camelot’s mission statement contains this text:

    Being of sound mind, heart and spirit, we each declare the following to be true:

    That’s their “out”, I’m assuming. My guess is that none of them would actually be considered to be of “sound mind” by any legitimate authority.

  49. #50 MPL
    September 20, 2009

    Is it just me, or is “unidentified” a somewhat squishy concept? From the perspective of air traffic control, an “unidentified flying object” could be anything in their airspace without a transponder.

    On the other hand, if you say you saw a flying saucer, aren’t you actually trying to identify it? Wouldn’t it be a SBIFO (Strange But Identified Flying Object)?

  50. #51 José
    September 20, 2009

    You are dismissing reports from a myriad of commercial pilots, high ranking military personnel, astronauts (both AMerican and Russian) and a handful of US Presidents, doctors, teachers etc. etc…

    Because eyewitness testimony is demonstrably unreliable. It doesn’t matter who you are.

    For one, there seems to be mass UFO sightings globally, which just seem to grow exponentially every year.

    The number of video cameras in the world has increased exponentially over the last few decades, and with all these cameras and witnesses out there, we still don’t have any compelling video? Doesn’t that give you pause?

  51. #52 Irene
    September 20, 2009

    @50: On the other hand, if you say you saw a flying saucer, aren’t you actually trying to identify it? Wouldn’t it be a SBIFO (Strange But Identified Flying Object)?

    Or it could just be “Flying Saucer.” Really, why obfuscate the issue any more than necessary?

  52. #53 Roger R
    September 20, 2009

    My oofos have all been in broad daylight, as clear as the nose on my face, and seen by everyone else in the vicinity. I simply don’t know much about things that fly so they are all pretty much unidentified to me.

  53. #54 Carnagie
    September 20, 2009

    Well, you weren’t really almost abducted. You just almost thought you were maybe going to be abducted. But I suppose that sucks as a title.

  54. #55 Val
    September 20, 2009

    If aliens were hanging around the earth, they would intentionally create exactly this kind of confusion among the earthlings.

  55. #56 Bee
    September 20, 2009

    I’m very near old enough to identify as an Old Hag. Until now, I was kind of looking forward to retirement and hobbies and relaxation – now you tell me I’m required to travel a likely indecent amount, creep ’round at night, break into houses, and sit on the chests of at least three unsuspecting innocent strangers? I’m outraged, I tell you, outraged! This is no way to respect the elderly ladies of your communities!

  56. #57 llewelly
    September 20, 2009

    Actually, everyone has been abducted by aliens. However – the memory alternation technology usually works right. If it weren’t for persistent bugs in the memory-rewriting software, no-one would ever think they’d been abducted by aliens.
    I’ve tried to convince the aliens they should open source the software, on the grounds that more eyes would cut down the number and severity of bugs, but they always give me all this guff about trade secrets and “intellectual property”.

  57. #58 llewelly
    September 20, 2009

    I’m very near old enough to identify as an Old Hag. Until now, I was kind of looking forward to retirement and hobbies and relaxation – now you tell me I’m required to travel a likely indecent amount, creep ’round at night, break into houses, and sit on the chests of at least three unsuspecting innocent strangers? I’m outraged, I tell you, outraged! This is no way to respect the elderly ladies of your communities!

    Listen, it’s just a bunch of pervs having kinky fantasies. You can ignore them. Really.

  58. #59 Rodger the Lodger
    September 20, 2009

    Ah yes, Gov. Fife “white guy” Symington and the famous Phoenix Lights. A while ago but I still remember the basics. There was an amateur astronomer out stargazing that night, with a couple of female relatives, when one mentioned that there was a line of strange looking lights coming down from the north. He swung the scope around to look at them and discovered a flight of fighters in a v formation (hence Fife’s seeing his triangular shaped alien ship), one of the women looked at them and they went back to looking at stars. When the tv stations lit up with the ufo reports, he called a couple of local radio or tv stations, but they were more interested in the excitement. I saw a two or three sentence blurb in the local paper here in Baja Arizona the next morning about him in the big story, but “UFOs cum flying saucers” were all the rage. The Maryland? Guard a few days later confirmed that they had followed I-17 down from the Prescott area and turned west toward the Goldwater Range at about that time.

    We do have almost as interesting Governors as La., and I don’t remember how long it’s been since a Gov. has finished their term.

    As an aside, when I was young and rambunctious, I pushed F-4s around the sky for a living. I can guarantee you that I have seen hundreds of UFOs, but the vast vast majority were fairly quickly identified. No swamp gas or Venus, but one of them was a large weather balloon at about 50,000ft and some 10-12K feet almost straight above me, just at local sunset. Beautiful sight!

  59. #60 Eric
    September 21, 2009

    ******************
    Greg wrote:

    “The first flying saucers most people who have seen them “in the wild” were seen in movies.”
    ***********************

    I’m not really sure what this sentence is supposed to mean, but if I understand you correctly, you are saying that UFO sightings began with the movies.

    Wrong.

    Reports date back all through recorded history. For example, Alexander the Great, in his travels, reported seeing a metallic object (“like a flying shield”) in the sky.

    The first images date back to 1870 LONG before the scifi films of the 50′s (see link below).

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/picturegalleries/howaboutthat/3447508/UFO-sightings-140-years-of–UFO-pictures.html

    ___________________________

  60. #61 Greg Laden
    September 21, 2009

    Eric, sorry for the messy sentence, but it was indeed misunderstood. Let me try the sentence again, and I’ll elaborate a little:

    Most individuals who claim to sewe an alien spacecraft saw their own first images of an alien space craft in popular media such as a movie or TV. The vast majority of reported alien space ships look like what one would expect based on popular culture.

    Number of people who claim to have seen a flying saucer who knew, before seeing this claimed flying saucer, what a flyins saucer would look like because they saw one on TV or in some other popular culture media outlet: All of them.

    Number of people who claim to have seen a flying saucer who knew, before seeing this, only about Alexander the Great’s “Flying Sheild: Zero

    Number of people who claim to have seen wha we might interpret as an alien space craft whether or not they claimed that that is what it was and who did not have a prior source for what the objet looked like: A few, including Alexander the Great, apparently. But you do need to supply a reference for that. Not because I don’t believe you, but because it woudl be interesting to read the original.

  61. #62 donneek
    September 21, 2009

    Much the same thing could be said about “Faith”. Billions of people believe that there is a god, because hundreds of religious leaders and their written words supposedly written by those who know, say it is true so it must be so. One must just have faith, no matter that there is no measurable proof that a supreme being exists.

    Illogical yes, mass hypnosis probably but one dare not question the validity of the premise for fear of being labeled dangerous and blasphemous and worthy of death. I don’t see much difference in the evangelism of true believers in UFO’s, birthers, creationism, right to lifers etc. I don’t have problem with born again’s it’s just that they keep throwing their after birth on me.

  62. #63 Mandrake
    September 21, 2009

    I don’t understand the lights–particularly the flashing ones. These advanced civilizations need high beams to traverse the universe lest they smash into a star, a planet, or an asteroid? Flashing lights are used to attract attention. It makes little sense that the ETs would bring attention to themselves by lighting up like Vegas yet refuse to actually stop in and say hello. How rude. If they’re trying to avoid detection, they should turn off their stupid flashing lights, paint their spaceships so as not to reflect sunlight, and use stealth technology to avoid radar detection.

    I’d *love* to have the world visited by civilizations from across the universe. Hopefully, it would put a damper on the view that we human beings are the most freakin’ specialest things and that the universe was created just for us. It would also be interesting to see how religions would respond to such an incident. I suppose they’d find some way to spin it, as in “our” story of creation/God/meaning of life and afterlife still holds true for us; God is so special that he gave the aliens their own creation story, Bible, meaning of life and afterlife.