As in most scientific endeavors, there are many perspectives on how to approach any given research. In this story, the observed phenomena we are look for answers to are Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs). Sometimes referred to as Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAPs).
UFOs, UAPs, ESVs, ABC easy as 123
The term UAP is often used because of the baggage that comes along with the term UFO. Most often the term UFO is associated with extraterrestrials. In fact when someone calls something a UFO it is assumed it is extraterrestrial. If we knew that an object was extraterrestrial, it would no longer be an unknown, it would be a known object that we don’t have an acronym for yet. I guess I could coin one here, something like Extraterrestrial Space Vehicle (ESV).
The term UFO is also associated with a lot of silly movies and is the term used when making a joke of this area of study. Often this is referred to as the “giggle factor”. That is when people laugh at or make fun of UFOs. You have probably watched a newscast where the reporters make a joke and/or play the X-files theme when they cover a UFO story.
The majority of times I have been interviewed on the radio, the show starts off with the X-files theme. One guy was at least a little creative and played the music from My Favorite Martian.
There is no E in UFO
While the term UFO does serve as a catch-all for the phenomena, UFO does not and should not equal ESV. UFOs are Unidentified Flying Objects, and most often misidentified flying objects. Many reported UFO sightings have prosaic explanations, such as balloons, or flares tied to balloons as we saw in a recent hoax in New Jersey. They are also often stars, satellites, meteorites, weather anomalies, and a number of other things that are known and not paranormal.
Of course there are objects that display characteristics that cannot be explained by conventional means. However, some of these could also be man-made. The last super-secret aircraft to come to light was the stealth, and we think those were developed in the 80’s. With the exponential increase in technology over the last few decades, who knows what kind of exotic technologies the military may be testing. There is no doubt that a portion of UFO reports can be accredited to these types of sightings.
Still, many make the argument that UFOs were spotted many years ago with configurations and characteristics that exhibit advance technologies when we were nowhere near advanced enough to create them. For instance in a UFO study done by the University of Colorado in 1968, commonly referred to as the Condon Report, they studied photographs taken outside of McMinnville, Oregon in 1950. The object hovered for a moment and then flew off at an extraordinary speed. One of these photos is the picture I used for this story. You can read more about this sighting at this link.
The scientists concluded: “This is one of the few UFO reports in which all factors investigated, geometric, psychological, and physical appear to be consistent with the assertion that an extraordinary flying object, silvery, metallic, disk-shaped, tens of meters in diameter, and evidently artificial, flew within sight of two witnesses. It cannot be said that the evidence positively rules out a fabrication, although there are some physical factors such as the accuracy of certain photometric measures of the original negatives which argue against a fabrication.”
I must note that despite these and other findings, the University of Colorado concluded that there was no scientific value to the investigation of UFOs, and the US Air Force took this cue to shut down their investigations in 1969. Still, the point being, this case was an example of observed technologies that were beyond human capabilities of the time.
I should also mention that some believe this McMinnville object, and other objects that have been reported that are similar in structure, were made by the Nazis during World War II. To complicate things, some of the researchers that believe these are possibly Nazi aircraft also believe they may have been back-engineered ET craft.
Other theories are that these objects are possibly from the future, other dimensions, or from highly advanced cultures within the planet.
Could they be extraterrestrial?
Any of these are a possibility, maybe they are all true, but of course the leading theory is the extraterrestrial hypothesis. Among the groups that seek serious scientific research into this field, some believe that entertaining the extraterrestrial hypothesis damages the credibility of the pursuit for answers in this field. They also feel that scientists will not want to attach their reputations to research that includes this hypothesis.
I do agree that some will shy away from research having anything to do with extraterrestrials, especially given the attitudes many have towards this sort of idea. However, beyond classic sightings, there are other reasons that serious researchers and scientist entertain the extraterrestrial hypothesis.
Compelling witness testimony to the ETH
One compelling area of evidence is credible witness testimony. Military insiders, such as Major George Filer, astronauts Edgar Mitchell and Gordon Cooper, and many others, tell us that they have knowledge that the military also believes these devices to be created by extraterrestrials.
From the very beginning of contemporary UFO studies scientists have speculated on this theory. Dr. Herman Oberth, a famous German rocket scientist who came to work for the US after World War II, said in 1954: “It is my thesis that flying saucers are real and that they are space ships from another solar system. I think that they possibly are manned by intelligent observers who are members of a race that may have been investigating our earth for centuries. I think that they have been sent out to conduct systematic, long-range investigations, first of men, animals and vegetation, and more recently of atomic centers, armaments and centers of armament production. They obviously have not come as invaders, but I believe their present mission may be one of scientific investigation.”
Some claim to have met ETs
There is also testimony from those that may have spent time with extraterrestrials. In 1961, Betty and Barney Hill were driving through New Hampshire when they noticed a bright object in the night sky following them. They got out and took a look, but eventually raced off frightened because the object flew towards them. During the next few moments they had a harrowing experience being buzzed by a large circular craft. They felt very strange when they got home, and began having memories of meeting the occupants of the craft. Eventually they were both taken into hypnotic states to try and recover their memories. Even though they were hypnotized separately, they remembered similar experiences. You can go here to read more.
In their experiences the pilots of the craft told Betty Hill that they were from another solar system. They even showed her a star map. Years later, researchers believed they solved the mystery of what Betty’s star map revealed, and the star configuration seemed to fit that of Zeta Reticuli, a relatively nearby start system.
Now we have thousands of accounts of people who believe they have been abducted. Many of them claim that they are told by their abductors that they are from other planets. Contrary to popular belief, some of these cases do have physical evidence as well. Many come back with strange “scoop marks”. These are marks where skin is removed, but there is no bleeding or scabbing and they heal quickly. Some people have put these marks under a UV lamp (black light), and their marks fluoresce. This fluorescing can be in a configuration, such as a triangle. Scrubbing the area to try to remove any substance on the surface reveals that whatever is fluorescing is under the skin. This fluorescing usually doesn’t last long.
The ETH is a valid possibility to pursue
So there are many reasons why serious researchers take the extraterrestrial hypothesis serious, and it is certainly one to look at closely. Any good scientist should be open to the possibility that their hypothesis or theory could be proven wrong if contradictory evidence comes to light. However, just because some people may feel uncomfortable with the notion that we are being visited and experimented upon by beings from other solar systems, doesn’t mean we should not pursue this possible explanation for the UFO phenomena.
I agree that the term UFO has been abused and comes with a lot of baggage, but it really is the accepted term when it comes to this research. If you told a buddy that you are looking into UAPs, or even my new term ESVs, they would ask you what the heck you are talking about. After explaining yourself, they would probably wonder why you didn’t just say UFO. Personally, I think it is important that we tackle the public perception of UFO research, rather than use a new term.
Luckily, there are scientists interested in this research. At the MUFON Symposium this past August 6-9th in Denver, Colorado, there were 4 or 5 scientists presenting material. At least one famous theoretical physicist, Dr. Michio Kaku, write in his new book that he is ready and willing to entertain the possibility of extraterrestrial visitations.
Even the conservative radio telescope watchers, SETI, had a couple of scientists at their last conference talking about the extraterrestrial hypothesis, and the possibility that the ETs are already here.
It is an uphill battle to change the strong perceptions people have of UFOs, but I think it is a winnable battle and worth the fight. It’s quite a shift to get people to stop thinking about UFOs as silly, and to get them to see this as serious research. However, in my experience, I see that shift happening.
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