There was a time when UFOs were a non-issue. Strangely, the subject has become quite popular in the modern era, post-1950 or so. The trend is largely due perhaps to the large amount of sightings the public has recorded in this new era of rapid technological progress. What we see in the skies may be some reflection of our concern and fascination with technology, but at the same time, the wealth of eye-witness accounts, often detailing exotic saucer-shaped and cigar-shaped crafts performing intriguing maneuvers in the sky, is enough to make you scratch your head and wonder.
But personal eye-witness accounts by people on the street don’t cover the whole story, and probably the major thing that lends the subject of ufology any sort of credible aura is its network of top-ranking ex-government and -military officials’ testimony from across the globe. With these sources at its foundation, the subject, as incredible as it first sounds, becomes harder to dismiss as mere wishful thinking.
While many scientists still scoff at the notion that we are being visited all the time, others are becoming increasingly convinced that we are not alone in the universe. Nevertheless, their views are still a far cry from a large segment of the world who believes this search for life on other planets is already on our doorstep.
While some skeptics might claim some of these former officials are seeking notoriety for their claims, one might also argue the other way. Sometimes, the subject is met with so much ridicule and criticism that it actually might make their cases stronger. After all, it’s a little odd that so many people with such credibility vouch for the appearance of UFOs. But as Carl Sagan once said, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” You be the judge.
15. Jesse Marcel – The Roswell Incident
An interesting thing about the cult phenomenon known as the Roswell UFO incident is that it wasn’t really that big a deal immediately after it took place. Initially, Major Jesse Marcel Sr. announced to the press that the debris scattered in the desert outside Roswell, New Mexico was a flying disc from another world. That story didn’t last long. Higher ups in the government intervened and contradicted the initial press release, stating publicly that the object was nothing more than a simple weather balloon. In the 1950s, it seems, suspicion of the government was low, and patriotism was high. No one questioned the official statement until 1978 when Marcel told Stanton Friedman, a UFO researcher, that the original rap he gave was the truth and that he was forced to cover up the real story—that the original press release was right. Marcel recounted that he had found scattered metal outside Roswell with strange markings on it, like hieroglyphs. There were also reports of alien bodies being recovered from the scene.
14. Gordon Cooper – Edwards Air Force Base
When someone sees a strange light in the sky, skeptics generally have an easy time explaining them away. They will often tell you it was a star or an airplane or perhaps some sort of experimental military flyover. This last explanation is difficult to surmount if you are a believer as we don’t often know what the military has in store and is keeping secret from the public. But when a NASA astronaut who’s privy to all sorts of insider information tells you he or she saw a UFO, then this naturally presents a problem for even the most avid skeptic in the audience. For example, take Gordon Cooper, an American astronaut who flew around the earth for 34 hours in 1963. In an interview some time later, Cooper recounted seeing a strange saucer-like ship with tripods land on a dry lake bed near Edwards Air Force Base. He and his crew took pictures of the craft, but he was convinced that there was a government cover-up after his superiors later silenced the event.
13. Edgar Mitchell – The Sixth Man On The Moon
Edgar Mitchell, another NASA astronaut, was an MIT grad and the sixth man to walk on the moon. Unlike Cooper, he never claimed to witness UFOs personally, but the origins of his belief in the phenomenon stem from his encounters with higher ups in NASA, who allegedly told him the whole ET thing was real but under tight wraps. To this day, NASA has never officially backed Mitchell up on these statements. In addition to confirming that UFOs were extra-terrestrial entities, Mitchell also said that the Roswell crash was no weather balloon but a downed flying saucer. Mitchell told the media he based his beliefs in the Roswell crash not only on the testimony of 500+ witnesses to the event but also on his access to top secret intel in NASA, which indicated that the wreckage was not from this world. Mitchell has called the government a “cabal of insiders,” who seek to suppress this knowledge.
12. Nick Pope – Open Skies, Closed Minds
Sometimes called “Britain’s Fox Mulder,” Nick Pope doesn’t flash a government badge anymore, nor does he try to throw down potential opponents to his obsessive quest for the truth. But like Mulder in the hit-drama The X-Files, Pope has become addicted to telling people the merits of UFO research, despite the chorus of skeptics who tell you the contrary. Pope worked for Britain’s Ministry of Defense between 1985 and 2006, where, in the early 90s, he was actually working on Britain’s variation of x-files. During this time, Pope worked on “the Secretariat,” a branch of the Ministry of Defense devoted to studying UFO reports. Pope was billed with the task of determining whether any UFOs were of significant interest to Britain’s national defense. Pope’s research led him to write a book on the subject, called Open Skies, Closed Minds.
11. Paul Hellyer – We’re Not Ready For ET
A former defense minister for Canada in the 60s, Hellyer is outspoken in his statements that aliens are here on a regular basis and that some of them are convinced that humanity is not ready yet to cope with the technology they possess. Often a mantra of New Age channels discussing the issue, the non-violent, clean-up-your act message Hellyer espouses is a surprising admission for a former government leader so high on the ladder, and it is perhaps one hopeful sign for UFO believers that they have someone in higher offices who is actually willing to confront the humiliation, ridicule, and fear surrounding the topic of ufology. Hellyer has stated that he has heard reported in the government of Canada that there are as many as 80 species of ETs out there.
10. Andrew Danziger – The Fireball
Another interesting realm of research on UFOS involves experienced veteran pilots who report strange objects in the sky and who know just about everything there is to know about abnormal sights in the sky. Even more interesting is when said pilots captain flights for the President of the United States. Such is the case with Andrew Danziger, a veteran airline pilot and flight captain for President Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign. Danziger has gone public in recent years, stating that he and his co-pilot saw a dramatic UFO sighting earlier in his career. The event took place on April 10, 1989 when Danziger was flying out of Waterloo. What he saw mesmerized him, and years later when he talks about the incident, he becomes extremely passionate. As he was flying at around 15,000 feet, a regular cruise altitude, the two pilots saw a large white disc a distance away from them, hovering in the air. Twenty minutes later, the event got even weirder as the plane passed through some clouds, the disc went out of sight, and when they had passed beyond the clouds, there was a giant burning ‘fireball’ in the spot where the disc had been. To this day, Danziger believes the disc was probably alien in origin. “You gotta believe, and almost all of us [pilots] do,” Danziger once stated.
9. Buzz Aldrin – Apollo 11
The thing that separates Buzz Aldrin’s account of a UFO sighting from others is that his actually occurred in space. Which makes it all the more difficult to discount, mainly for the obvious reason that there’s very few intelligently controlled vehicles out there. En route to the moon on Apollo 11 in 1969, Aldrin states that he saw a luminous object moving in relation to the atmosphere of space. “It was this illumination that was moving with respect to the stars,” said Aldrin on Entertainment Tonight. Some skeptics have cast doubt on this sighting, noting that Aldrin was not clear on whether the object might have been (among other more mundane explanations) one of Apollo 11’s four lander panels trailing off the stern. But Aldrin has been quoted as saying the object was technically “unidentified.”
8. Jimmy Carter – Red, White, And Blue UFOs
In America, former president Jimmy Carter is probably the highest-ranking source for UFO support. Like many believers in the phenomenon, Carter’s belief is predicated on first-hand experience. One evening in 1969, Carter was getting ready to give a speech to the Lions Club when a guest alerted him to a strange, white object, hovering above some trees outside. With much air traffic, this might not seem like an unusual event, except that when Carter and twenty others stared at the object for a while, it began to change color. First, it turned blue, then red, and from there, back to white. When elected president years later, Carter committed himself to finding the government’s full deal on UFOs. He eventually said that he had to give up the inquiry over “defense implications.”
7. Dennis Kucinich – Strange Light In The Sky
When Dennis Kucinich visited actress Shirley MacLaine’s home in Washington thirty-two years ago, he saw a strange light in the night sky. There were several guests hanging around for the night, and Kucinich took turns with them, looking into a telescope to see what it was. As the object drew closer, they realized that the object was highly unusual; it was triangular in shape and had red and green lights running down each of its sides. Fast forward to the 2008 election: Tim Russert during a televised debate asked Kucinich, then a contender for the Democratic nomination, what he saw that night twenty-five years prior. “You have to keep in mind…that more people have seen UFOs than I think approve of George Bush’s presidency,” Kucinich told Russert.
6. Donna Hare – This Could Cause Panic…
Donna Hare was a freelance technical publication illustrator at the NASA Manned Space Center in 1970 and 1971, where she was granted access to restricted areas within the agency. While in these areas, Hare noticed one of the employees staring at a photograph from an Apollo 10 mission, showing an unusual object on the moon’s surface. The employee was painting a picture of the object in the photograph. Hare reports that incident sparked off a bunch of debate between her and other NASA employees, mainly off-site. “People in the know all told me — off-site especially — there’s a cover-up,” Hare said, later. “They’d tell me, ‘We can’t talk about it.’ There are so many things. Like they are told they can’t get their retirement, or they can’t do this, or they can’t do that, or they are not patriotic, or they signed papers for nondisclosure, or this could cause panic. There are so many reasons that they give these people not to talk.”
5. Philip Corso – We Used Their Tech
Probably some of the more outlandish sounding reports about the aftermath of the Roswell incident came from Col. Philip Corso in his 1997 book, The Day After Roswell. It proposed some amazing and far-reaching implications of the alleged crash, most notably the widespread dissemination of ET tech into the consumer market. According to Corso, inventions like the Kevlar vest, integrated circuitry, and super tenacity fibers were all the result of years of governmental research into ET tech derived from Roswell. It is interesting to note, however, that even ufologists like Stanton Friedman take Corso’s claims with a grain of salt and sometimes marginalize him from the debate. These skeptics claim that Corso embellished his credentials in the military to improve his standing in public opinion. Many still question whether Corso was really a staff member of President Eisenhower’s National Security Council and if he was personally responsible for disseminating ET tech to the private sector. At any rate, Corso’s claims are as compellingly interesting as they are dramatic in concept.
4. John Podesta – The UFO Files
An interesting feature of this year’s US presidential election was a fairly high profile debate over unearthing the truth about the government’s involvement with UFOs. The debate was sparked without much prompting, it appears, by Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta. UFOs are sometimes risky turf for politicians, but for some reason, probably because roughly a third or so of Americans believe in the phenomenon, Clinton wanted to address the issue. If she didn’t, she might be courting political damages, or so it seemed. Sometimes described as obsessive about UFOs, Podesta himself appeared at least to be aggravated by his own inability to get to the bottom of the UFO issue in 2014. On Twitter, in early 2015, he wrote: “Finally, my biggest failure of 2014: Once again not securing the disclosure of the UFO files.”
3. Chase Brandon – It Wasn’t A Weather Balloon
Ever since Men in Black and The X-Files, the American psyche has been infatuated with and terrified of the concept of men in black suits, black helicopters, and secret government facilities. The film scenario by now has almost become cliché, but still, the storyline remains as compelling as ever, probably because many people think it’s really happened in some cases. Chase Brandon is among a few CIA agents who have actually talked about such an alleged ‘black program’, and a few years ago he made headlines by advertising that he found confirmation in a secret CIA vault that verified the reality of the Roswell/ET connection. Brandon did not go into great detail about what he saw in the box (he mentioned some photographs and some written material), but he said what he saw confirmed his suspicion— that the debris from Roswell was extraterrestrial. The Roswell crash “was not a damn weather balloon,” Brandon told reporters. “It was clearly a craft that did not come from this planet.”
2. James Penniston – The Bentwaters UFO Incident
Sometimes dubbed “Britain’s Roswell,” the so-called Bentwaters UFO incident in Great Britain in December of 1980 marks a pivotal point in ufology, mainly because it involved a lot of trained military personnel and because a lot of them spoke out later. It is perhaps one of the creepiest UFO episodes around, and is in some ways among major UFO highlights. Penniston and another patrolman, Sergeant John Burroughs, witnessed a light in the nearby forest and went to check it out. When they got there, they saw a small ship on the ground, with luminous lights around it and hieroglyphs running up each side. The ship emitted “an explosion of light,” the officers reported, after which Penniston ran his fingers along the ship’s surface a few times. After 45 minutes, the craft lifted into the air and took off at an “impossible speed.” Unlike many UFO encounters, the case is interesting because the craft, whatever it was, left rare physical data, including some impressions and scorch marks in the ground.
1. Major George Filer III – It Was Like A Large Bridge Or Ship
Like the Bentwaters incident, Major George Filer III reports seeing some unbelievable things when he was in the Air Force. While many in the military talk quietly about seeing unexplained UFO activity, few report it, alleges Filer, because of ridicule. Filer has taken the opposite stance and chosen, in 2013, to testify to his experiences before Congress, along with 39 other witnesses. One of his experiences was alarming, and it was this one that he spoke about to Congress. When stationed in England, he claims witnessing a mile or so long UFO when he was refuelling his aircraft around 30,000 feet over the North Sea. “It was an exceptionally large radar return, reminding me of a large bridge or ship,” Filer told Congress. Initially, Filer did not get much media attention for the incident, but a few days later, he was invited to dine with Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who said he was very interested in the intercept he had received about the sighting.