From the "little green men" of rural Kentucky to the string of lights over Arizona spotted by thousands of people, these real UFO sightings suggest we may not be alone in the universe.
Ever since something crashed in the desert near Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947, the craze surrounding unidentified flying objects (UFOs) — or unidentified anomalous phenomena (UAPs), as the government officially classifies them — has seemingly never ended.
In fact, now more than ever, UFO sightings are being discussed in a truly academic manner, with government officials and military personnel coming forward and confirming there are indeed objects of unknown origin flying about in the sky.
What was once considered a fringe, conspiratorial belief has now become the focus of mainstream media attention and governmental consideration. With this newfound resurgence of interest in UFOs, it’s worth looking back at some real UFO sightings throughout history that might actually hold some weight.
The Phoenix Lights That Hovered Over Arizona For Three Hours
On March 13, 1997, thousands of people across Nevada, Arizona, and northern Mexico spotted a series of UFOs hovering in the night sky above. Witnesses reported several smaller objects that looked like floating orbs and a larger, V-shaped aircraft the size of several football fields over Phoenix, Arizona.
This incident is known as the Phoenix Lights, and it is one of the most hotly debated UFO sightings of all time.
The UFOs remained in the air for about three hours, from roughly 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., with thousands of civilians staring up at them in awe. Pilots in the region also reported what they were seeing to air traffic controllers — but none of them saw anything out of the ordinary on their radars.
Some estimates claimed the larger UFO was roughly the size of three football fields, but others believed it was more than a mile long.
A 31-year-old man named Dana Valentine saw the Phoenix Lights from his backyard and called his father, an aeronautics engineer, outside to see them. The two watched as the V-shaped craft passed them by, hovering just 500 feet above.
“We could see the outline of a mass behind the lights, but you couldn’t actually see the mass,” Valentine later said. “It was more like a gray distortion of the night sky, wavy. I don’t know exactly what it was, but I know it’s not a technology the public has heard of before.”
Another witness, 54-year-old Tim Ley, claimed he also saw the lights. Like Valentine, Ley said, “You couldn’t actually see the object. All you could see was the outline, as though something was blotting out the stars.”
Despite the high number of witnesses, the U.S. government was quick to try and discredit their testimonies. Officials claimed the orbs were nothing more than flares deployed as part of a military exercise, and then-Arizona governor Fife Symington III initially mocked the public’s concerns, unveiling someone dressed as an alien at a press conference.
However, Symington would later say that he, too, had seen the objects — and believed they were not of this world.