Myths and urban legends get people excited. The idea that there could be mermaids swimming in the absolute deepest parts of the ocean, or sasquatches lurking in the thick of North American forests, allows the imagination to go wild. The enigma of the yet-to-be-proven also creates controversy and conspiracy theories.
One popular topic like this that has fascinated the world pretty much forever is… aliens. People love ’em, and so does Hollywood. In fact, the infatuation with extraterrestrials has led to government speculation and thousands of stories about sightings and abductions. Disturbingly, that number keeps going up.
Have you ever seen something in the night sky that seemed a little too oddly shaped to be a plane? Well, a lot of people claim those are UFOs, otherwise known as unidentified flying objects, a phrase that was coined in the 1940s.
With a potentially infinite universe, space is kinda big. That makes it really hard for science to factually determine what other life is out there, which makes it really easy for people to claim sightings and create bogus recordings. But UFO sightings aren’t a new phenomenon.
The first sighting dates back to 1639, when English Puritan lawyer John Winthrop recorded in his diary that he’d seen “a great light in the night sky,” which “ran as swift as an arrow” and traveled back and forth. But lights aren’t the only things people report today.
The public loves to claim they’ve witnessed flying saucers and/or UFOs; and although a UFO could technically even be a mylar balloon fuzzily floating in the distance, the term is customarily associated with aliens, which is creepy considering the number of sightings is increasing by the minute. This caught one man’s attention in particular.
Sam Monfort was pretty interested in this acceleration in UFO sightings. Monfort, a statistician and PhD candidate, amassed all of the data from the National UFO Reporting Centre to find pretty interesting statistics in the United States about UFO sightings…
Monfort’s compiled data showed that America has the most sightings recorded by a landslide, at almost 300 times more than the international median. Does this mean that the aliens are targeting America specifically, or could something else be going on?
Well, when the number of UFO sightings started increasing in the early 1980s, something else was on the rise, too: drone technology. Just think about how many companies (and individuals) have started flying these little guys! And pop culture played a role, too.
Ridley Scott’s critically acclaimed Alien franchise was hatched in 1979 and continued to dominate the sci-fi arena for more than two decades. Its success and the rise in sightings seems like less than a coincidence — if you catch our drift.
It turns out that the number of sightings hit an all-time high in 2010, reaching approximately 45,000 annually. Logically, if there were that many aliens visiting Earth each year, certainly we would be hearing about it, no? And at least a few of these sightings can be explained…