What’s the general evidence for UFOs? Well, you have multi-tens of thousands of sightings, probably six figures worth by now, many multi-witness sightings, more than a few independent multi-witness sightings; sightings by people used to outdoors aerial phenomena (like pilots), films and photographs that have defied the best experts to explain them in conventional terms, radar returns, physical traces, physiological effects on biological tissues, including humans, often more than one of these categories applies. You have a global phenomena, where countries from Australia, the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom, Spain, Belgium, France, Russia, Mexico, etc. have devoted considerable resources to finding answers to what some see as a ‘silly season’ with a high ‘giggle’ factor. That makes little logical sense the ‘giggle’ factor, not the official investigations. There are neither psychological, sociological or cultural reasons to explain the origin of UFOs in general, nor specific UFO reports. It’s all evidence, and grist for the mill. The crux of the matter is not lack of evidence; it is how that evidence is interpreted. So take the bona-fide UFO residue. Now what is this residue and what happens if you apply Occam’s Razor to it? Well, maybe bona-fide UFOs are just ghosts, or angels, or the work of the devil, or some nation’s secret weapons, or craft from an advanced civilization that inhabits our hollow Earth! Or, maybe the extraterrestrial hypothesis (ETH) is the most plausible. I think Occam’s Razor would err on the side of the ETH.
There must be something suggestive within the evidence to point in the ETH direction, and nearly from the very beginning of the modern UFO phenomena (June 1947). The idea or association didn’t just pop out of the ether for no reason
The trouble with UFOs is that they won’t stand still! You can’t put them under a microscope, poke and prod them, or study and measure them at your leisure like you can most phenomena. You can’t predict in advance where and when and for how long they will appear.
Anyone who poo-poos the extraterrestrial hypothesis for UFOs, “it can’t be therefore it isn’t”, clearly hasn’t actually studied the subject, read the literature, studied official government investigations and reports, done personal field investigations and interviewed witnesses. Out of all the hundreds of thousands of sightings, worldwide, over all these decades, all it takes is one (smoking gun) case to validate the extraterrestrial hypothesis. Is there anyone out there who can say for 100% certainty that at least one case isn’t the real deal?
Now I don’t want anyone to tell me that the University of Colorado UFO investigation on behalf of the USAF, the Condon Report, closed the book on the subject not unless you have real the entire report and not just the introductory / summary first chapter. There is no similarity between the questions the actual report raises and the conclusions reached and given in that first chapter. Few people have taken the time to separate the wheat from the chaff in the Condon Report. The first chapter is the chaff; the bulk of the report contains the wheat. So, read the entire report do so, and then talk to me!
Every major country has had, or does have, either an official UFO investigations programme, or at least investigates reports of UFOs six decades after the ‘fad’ began! Australia, Canada, France, England, Belgium, the USA, etc., etc. all have or have had UFO investigation programs. So, conclusion number one is that senior officials took, and many still take, the phenomena quite seriously. FOI requests have shown serious interest in the UFO area by not only the USAF, but by the FBI and CIA as well, continuing even after the USAF supposedly got out of the UFO investigations area, as a result of the above cited Condon (University of Colorado) study. It’s not just the great unwashed, low IQ, blue-collar population who are interested.
In contrast, have you ever heard of, or are you aware of, government bodies investigating Bigfoot sightings, or ghosts, or spoon bending, or the Bermuda Triangle (in general specific incidents are of course investigated by relevant safety maritime and/or aviation and/or military authorities), or the Ouija board or astrology? You probably have not, because these concepts aren’t taken seriously, and the public would be outraged if their tax dollars were so used.
As an aside, I find it interesting that the American Congress has often voted against publicly funding SETI (legit science if there ever was). To this day SETI is mainly funded by private individuals and institutions. However, the American Congress has never voted down, cut, or denied funds to the USAF to investigate UFOs. That’s interesting. I’m not aware of any American congressman or senator ever arguing or voting against official government funding spent investigating UFOs – how very, very interesting. Are you aware of any? What’s also interesting is that Freedom of Information (FOI) requests have revealed that both the FBI and the CIA have had an intense interest in the subject, despite pre-FOI denials of any interest. So, that’s a lot of top level interest in a silly-season subject with a high ‘giggle’ factor. Read into it what you will.
Each and every UFO investigation has yielded up a reasonable percentage of cases that despite the best scientific and/or military scrutiny remain unknown as to what the ultimate cause was. That is not in dispute.
Unknown cases include not only independent multiple witness testimony, but physical evidence photographs, motion pictures, radar returns, electromagnetic effects, physiological and psychological effects and physical ground traces. That is not is dispute. You’ll find documentation in the official government investigations and reports.
There are professional scientists, senior military officials*, senior government officials, and a host of other people in responsible positions who have witnessed UFOs (airline and military pilots; astronauts, police officers, etc.) who have either spoken out as pro-UFO or a minimum state that this is a legitimate phenomenon. That is not in dispute it is on the public record. In particular, see the recent book by Leslie Kean listed below.
What we need is a/the smoking gun. Not quite THE smoking gun, but one of many, may highly unexplained UFO cases, is the events surrounding Frederick Valentich on 21 October 1978. It’s more a case of where there’s smoke, there’s smoke, but smoke there certainly is, and lots of it.
In a nutshell, on the evening of that date, Mr. Valentich piloted a private plane from Melbourne, intended destination, King Island in Bass Strait. He took off only to shortly thereafter radio in that there was this UFO hovering over him. The UFO was spotted by several independent witnesses. While radioing his observations, all contact ceased; all communications abruptly ended. Mr. Valentich, plane and all, vanished without trace. An extensive air and sea search failed to find any sign of Mr. Valentich, or his plane. No oil slick, no floating wreckage, no body nothing, zip, bugger-all. No trace has ever been found of pilot or plane not then, not since, not ever. The weather had been perfect for night flying.
One obvious explanation was that Mr. Valentich staged his own disappearance, although friends and family could offer no reason why he would do so. Of course many people voluntarily disappear themselves for various reasons; many eventually are found, are caught or reappear voluntarily. But keep in mind; it wasn’t just Mr. Valentich who disappeared. One entire aircraft vanished as well, never to be seen again. Surely if Mr. Valentich wanted to ‘drop out’, there were easier and less conspicuous ways of doing so. If he had deliberately gone walkabout, in these decades since of security cameras and computer facial software recognition technology, it would be hard to remain an unknown walkabout in any populated area.
Was suicide a motive? Again, no wreckage or body was ever found, and who would go to all the bother of reporting a non-existent UFO overhead a non-existent UFO that happened to be independently reported by others.
And what of the plane since no wreckage was ever found floating on the surface of Bass Strait; washed up on beaches, or found on the ocean bottom Bass Strait isn’t that deep.
It’s a mystery, and while it doesn’t prove aliens nicked off with Mr. Valentich and plane, there’s not that much wriggle room. Now multiply this sort of unexplained case by the thousands worldwide, and you do have the ETH as a plausible hypothesis.
Interestingly, despite my asking for a copy of the Valentich ‘accident’ case report in an official capacity related to my employment at the time, the Department of Transport (Air Safety Investigations Branch) refused. To this day, to the best of my knowledge, that report has never been publicly released.
[Further reading: Haines, Richard F.; Melbourne Episode: Case Study of A Missing Pilot; L.D.A. Press, Los Altos, California; 1987: Dr. Haines was at the time a research scientist for NASA and an accredited air safety investigations officer.]
Those who have investigated UFOs with maximum time, energy and resources are of course those from government agencies, representing the government. Therein lays a problem. No government is ever going to admit assuming an extraterrestrial intelligence behind UFOs that is doesn’t have full control over its airspace. No government is ever going to admit it is near powerless against possible invaders, including a hypothetical extraterrestrial one. Any government that has insights into the artificial (extraterrestrial) nature of UFOs technology is certainly not going to share that information with other governments, however allied, far less their great unwashed Joe Doe public.
Now sceptics will argue that some countries with official UFO investigations programs have shut them down (or at last that’s the official line). There are two possible reasons for that, assuming everything is on the up and up. The obvious one, to sceptics, is that there’s nothing to the subject time, money, manpower, resources have been wasted and it’s time to bail out and cut the losses. The quite less obvious one is that we now know what we needed to know and therefore there’s no point in carrying on. That means either a secret admission that we’re helpless no matter what, so no point, or there’s been a conclusion that UFOs pose no threat, so again no particular point in carrying out more studies. In fact, if you example the reasons governments (American and British immediately come to mind) have given for getting out of the UFO business is that phrase ‘no threat’ – UFOs, whatever they are, or aren’t, pose no threat’ Note that there’s never a definitive statement that absolutely no UFO has represent extraterrestrial intelligence technology, that aliens aren’t here, it’s always that UFOs pose ‘no threat’ and therefore we’ve got better things to do like dealing with things that are threatening! That ‘no threat’ phrase might represent a possibility that the powers-that-be know more than they’re telling ‘no threat’ means different things to those in the know vis-a-vis the great unwashed who might not be quite as convinced if they knew what the powers-that-be knew. That’s a good reason for not confiding in the great unwashed!
UFOs pose ‘no threat’. That’s the real justification for bailing out. And while such statements usually have an additional proviso that no evidence of extraterrestrial activity has been uncovered, the government can not claim there’s no aliens about absence of evidence is not the same as evidence of absence. Specifically, it’s difficult to draw the conclusion that no UFO sightings can be attributed to extraterrestrial activity with all investigations leave behind a statistically significant residue of unknowns; unsolved UFO sightings. I’m not talking here about cases ‘solved’ within categories of possible this, or probable that, or even insufficient data, but totally unknown, as in we haven’t a bloody clue in (or out) of this world as to what the sighting actually was even though we had apparently sufficient data to suss it all out. It’s a case of your guess is as good as mine. Now if the sum total of all unknowns were countable on the fingers of one hand that result might be dismissible. However, the unknowns usually account for about 7% or thereabouts of officially investigated cases; cases investigated by government officials, usually the military, aided with civilian scientific expertise as required. In the case of the Condon Committee University of Colorado UFO study, if memory serves, reading the entire text reveals an unknowns rate of about 30%, but then they did select the best of the best of the previous unsolved cases to try their luck against.
The unknown cases residue provides an interesting challenge to science and scientists those with an open mind anyway. There’s a scientific wealth of gold in them thar hills to be research and mined. There’s nothing less than the possible proof of the existence of extraterrestrial intelligent life at stake.