Some of the witnesses are very credible observers, such as Air Force pilots (2) and police officers (3), trained to identify and evaluate things and not given to deception. Some have even had the presence of mind of record what they see, making very interesting YouTube videos. UFO stands for “unidentified flying object.”
However, the question is usually asked in the vein of, “Are alien spacecraft visiting the Earth and being spotted as UFOs?” Then, the answer gets a little complicated.
Most Are Natural Phenomena
The vast majority of UFO sightings can be explained(4) by natural phenomena, astronomical objects, such as comets and even the planet Venus, misidentified aircraft (including drones and balloons), and, of occasion, hoaxes.
A few sightings have been classified as unexplained. However, those few UFO incidents are not necessarily aliens. They are just unexplained according to the data that is available.
One issue interfering with the belief that UFO sightings are of alien spacecraft is that eyewitness accounts tend to be the most unreliable pieces of evidence that exist. Police detectives know this fact from their training and their experience. The unreliability of eyewitness accounts is one reason why law enforcement officers collect evidence, especially of the forensic type, to identify and capture someone who has committed a crime.
The same principle applies to UFO sightings. There has to be solid evidence that a UFO is, in fact, an alien spacecraft before it can be identified as such.
The reason why many people gravitate toward the explanation that UFOs are aliens is that it is a media-driven meme. Moreover, alien spacecraft sightings tend to go in cycles depending on media attention to them.
Media-driven memes can be derived from reports of sightings to popular television and movie dramas such as “The X-Files” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.”
The Effects of Camera Technology
One interesting phenomenon(5), according to Jack Womack, a debunker of UFO phenomena, is that the last wave of UFO sightings lasted through the 1980s and 1990s.
Then, a serious drop-off occurred in the early years of the 21st century. Womack ascribes this development to the proliferation of camera phones.
One would think that, with everyone carrying a camera in their pocket, UFO sightings would have increased exponentially. However, the opposite seems to have occurred.
When asking the question whether aliens are buzzing the Earth in spacecraft, the question that you have to ask is, for what purpose?
Put yourself in the shoes (or whatever they wear) of the aliens. You have discovered this interesting planet with a less advanced civilization populated with a potentially dangerous and paranoid species. Would you let the Earthlings know that they are being studied by a more advanced species?
Remember, the meme of alien invasion is just as powerful as ET sneaking in and abducting people for experiments.
No, you as an alien astronaut would leave on your cloaking devices, to use a bit of “Star Trek” technology, and observe unobtrusively. Most modern militaries use aerial drones to keep tabs on potential enemies without their knowledge.
Drones used by aliens to observe Earthlings would likely be undetectable by any human technology.
Alien Civilizations Most Likely Exist
Ascribing UFOs to more mundane causes than visiting aliens may not be as interesting as thinking that ET has taken an interest in us.
However, we can comfort ourselves that alien civilizations do exist, just from the vastness of the universe and the law of averages.
If ET has not come to visit us, maybe we will have to go out there and pay them a call. That would be very exciting.
References & Image Credits:
(1) History of UFOs
(2) Fighter Pilot Torres Ordered to Shoot UFO
(3) The 199 Trumbull County UFO Incident
(4) 7 Ways to Generate a Great Space Hoax
(5) Roswell Incident Debunked