Top 10 UFO Sightings

It’s been over 70 years since UFOs and the idea of invading aliens became a widespread phenomenon in popular culture, but during that time it went from a joke to something far more sinister. At first, the thought of green Martians stopping by Earth seemed like a fun idea; but once skilled airman Thomas J. Mantell was killed while chasing a UFO in 1948, that perception changed. Today, the official word is that all UFO sightings can be easily explained as something less alien, but conspiracy theorists continue to hypothesize. In honor of the Battle of Los Angeles, which took place between February 24th-25th, 1942, counts down our picks for the top 10 most well-documented UFO sightings.

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Top 10 UFO Sightings

They’ve been where no man has gone before. Welcome to, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 most well-documented UFO sightings.

#10 – Baltic Sea anomaly (June 19, 2011)

Found 300-feet below the Baltic Sea’s surface, this isn’t an unidentified flying object; but when Swedish treasure hunters located this 200-foot round, 12-feet thick irregularity, it was definitely unidentified. Most experts suggest it’s either rocks, a Nazi-era piece of equipment or something equally manmade. Okay, it may not be alien, but you have to admit it looks like the Millennium Falcon…

#9 – Belgian UFO Wave (November 1989-April 1990)

Can over 13 thousand people be wrong? That’s how many Belgians reported seeing a series of triangle-shaped lights in the sky on March 30th, 1990, after six months of similar, smaller-scale activity. F16s chased whatever it was, but the UFOs were so fast and so unpredictable that it was impossible. Photos associated with this event were later discredited, but this remains one of the most well-documented UFO sightings ever.

#8 – Phoenix Lights (March 13, 1997)

In an eerily similar event, hundreds of Arizona, Nevada and Mexico residents, including the Arizona Governor, witnessed floating orbs of light and a “V”-shaped vehicle passing through the night sky. The resulting amateur video caused a media firestorm and fueled speculation. The military claimed the lights were simply flares they’d launched, but due to the lights’ precise formation many were skeptical.

#7 – Kecksburg UFO incident (December 9, 1965)

What causes a fireball, sonic booms, grass fires and dropping metal fragments? A meteor? A downed Soviet satellite? When whatever-it-was crash-landed in Kecksburg, Pennsylvania, residents investigated but were stopped by an Army barricade. Though officials reported that nothing was found, locals swore they witnessed the military leaving with a large, acorn-shaped object on a flatbed truck.

#6 – STS-75: The Tether Incident (February-March 1996)

For their Tethered Satellite System, NASA sends tethers into space for a variety of research-related reasons; however, this particular trial failed when the tether broke. But the event became famous with conspiracy theorists for what happened next: as seen in this video, a bunch of unidentified flying objects appeared near the tether. NASA called it space debris; however some believe alien UFOs were caught on tape.

#5 – Battle of Los Angeles (February 24-25, 1942)

It’s three months after the Pearl Harbor attack. It’s 3am, and a UFO is spotted flying near LA. The Army figures it’s a hostile Japanese aircraft. They shoot 1,400 rounds of ammo into the sky and hit… Nothing: no debris was found, but several civilians did die from shock and friendly fire. The official explanation? Maybe a blimp, a weather balloon, or fighter planes. Or maybe it never happened at all.

#4 – The Washington D.C. Flap (July 12-29, 1952)

Radars recorded strange blips. Eyewitnesses described dazzling orange light. Once the flying saucers reportedly swarmed the White House, President Truman okayed a shoot-down order, but soon backtracked by submitting that the UFOs were actually mirages caused by temperature inversions. Eventually, the government-appointed Robertson Panel suggested that more time be spent on debunking UFO reports altogether, rather than investigating them, which is why many discredit “official” government explanations even today.

#3 – Kenneth Arnold UFO sighting (June 24, 1947)

Roswell may be the hotbed of alien activity, but around the same time Washington’s Mount Rainier was in the headlines thanks to Kenneth Arnold’s experience while flying nearby. He reliably detailed what he called “flying saucers,” or bright flashes of light travelling at unheard-of speeds through the air. While the events were later corroborated by others, they were never proven – however they did usher in the modern UFO era.

#2 – The Mantell UFO Incident (January 7, 1948)

This was when public perception towards supposed alien encounters shifted from a joke to something more serious. Skilled airman Captain Thomas Mantell was pursuing an unidentified white object spotted over Kentucky when, according to official reports, he crashed after running out of oxygen. Since this was possibly the first UFO-related human casualty, unsubstantiated rumors swirled that he’d been shot down by aliens and that his body was covered in strange holes.

#1 – Roswell (June-July 1947)

Roswell, New Mexico has been synonymous with conspiracy and aliens since strange debris turned up in the desert. Dismissed as a fallen weather balloon from the top secret Project Mogul, the wreckage story re-emerged in 1978 when an eyewitness described wood-like substances that wouldn’t burn, paper-thin metal that wouldn’t dent, and unreadable symbols printed on the rubble. Conspiracy theorists took this as proof of a far-reaching government cover-up and the existence of aliens.

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