Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T., aliens… these words bring up images of flying saucers, UFO encounters, and little green men with big ears. For years, we have been hearing of other life forms in our universe which visit our planet from time to time.
Hundreds of people claim to have experienced this first-hand and relate stories of their encounters. Many people dismiss the notion of alien visits, but one thing is for sure – any talk about UFOs and aliens draws a huge amount of interest from everyone.
There are thousands of such encounters and we picked a few that made news.
Kenneth Arnold Sighting (1947) – Washington, United States
Just before 3 o’clock in the afternoon, Kenneth Arnold, a private pilot and fire control equipment salesman from Boise, Idaho, took a flight over the Cascade Mountains. Learning of a $5,000 reward, he set out looking for the remains of a lost C-46 transport plane.
Arnold did not find the missing aircraft but he saw a bright flash of light and spotted nine brilliant objects, with the lead object a little higher than the rest, moving south toward Mount Rainer. He calculated their speed at 1,700 miles per hour – a flatly impossible speed.
The main object looked like a dark crescent; the other eight objects were flat and disc-shaped. Arnold estimated the chain to be five miles long. They disappeared soon after. A new era of unidentified flying objects began in the United States after this widely publicized sighting. In fact, it was his descriptions that gave us the now common terms “flying disk” and “flying saucer.”
Roswell UFO Crash Cover-Up (1947) – New Mexico, United States
No discussion on UFO encounters is complete without mentioning Roswell. It is part of the bread and butter of Ufology, and has long formed the heart of UFO studies. The news spread worldwide about the first alien craft crash. It looked like the long awaited proof of extraterrestrial intelligence. The Air Force announced being in possession of the flying saucer, but later denied it, saying it was a weather balloon.
Years later, there was talk of a military cover-up of an actual UFO crash. Debris from wreckage filled a large area. The material found had unfamiliar and metallic characteristics, unlike anything seen before.
Although theories conflict in their accounts, there were some clear facts. Something huge had crashed near Corona. There were rumors of threats to witnesses if they revealed what they saw. A number of witnesses claimed to have seen alien bodies. There is also enough evidence of autopsies on an alien body.
The Hill Abduction (1961) – New Hampshire, United States
One of the most interesting and convincing cases is the abduction of Betty and Barney Hill. The couple was driving home at night on Interstate Route 3 in New Hampshire after a short vacation in Canada, when they noticed a white light in the sky.
Barney got out of the car to look at the object through his binoculars. The light got closer and turned out to be a pancake shaped object with windows revealing occupants. They got scared and went back home – then realized they had lost a couple of hours without them noticing it.
Betty started having nightmares about aliens and Barney had severe back aches. A respected psychiatrist in Boston, Massachusetts, felt they were suffering from anxiety syndrome and put them both under hypnosis. They convinced him that extraterrestrial beings had abducted them.
During the hypnosis sessions, both revealed separately that they had encountered a UFO and met bald aliens about five feet tall, with green skin and large heads. They described how the aliens took skin, nail and hair samples from them. Betty said they inserted a long needle into her navel as a pregnancy test, and Barney had to provide a semen specimen.
One aspect of this investigation that is difficult to explain to this day is that in 1963, Betty Hill drew a very detailed map of a star system that scientists only discovered six years later, in 1969. She said the aliens had shown her this map. Astronomers at Ohio State University compared their computer generated map with Betty’s, and both were completely alike.
Skeptics point out the inconsistencies, including the aliens speaking English with Betty, while Barney said they used some sort of telepathy.
Now, more than forty years later, whether it was a hoax is still an open question.
The Gulf Breeze UFO (1987) – Florida, United States
This wave of UFO spottings attracted the attention of the whole world as there were many sighting reports along with photographs and videos by different people. However, the main focus was on Ed Walters, a contractor, who had taken clear pictures of the UFOs he encountered.
When working late at night, Ed saw a light shining through his window and spotted a glowing, top-shaped object hovering just above the road. It had a ring around the bottom that glowed. He took his Polaroid camera and took many pictures. Then he moved closer and ended up almost underneath the UFO to get better pictures. A beam suddenly lifted him off the ground, while a voice told him that they would not harm him. All he remembers next was waking up.
He took these pictures to the Gulf Breeze Sentinel, a local newspaper. He later reported more visits and furnished photographs of flying objects. Questions about his credibility arose. However, MUFON, the world’s largest UFO organization, went to investigate. They consider it one of the most incredible encounters in modern UFO history.
Skeptics called it a hoax, in spite of the fact that Ed passed two polygraph tests. What makes this interesting is that Ed was not alone in this. More than 200 witnesses validated the sightings and some of them had photographs to show. Still, the UFO community has not come to a final verdict on this encounter.
The Ilkley Moor UFO (1987) – Ilkley Moor, UK
Philip Spencer, a policeman in London, moved to Ilkley Moor after leaving his job. While taking some photographs of the moor, he heard a humming sound and saw a small green creature, around four feet tall. That creature moved away quickly and when Spencer shouted, it turned and waved an arm dismissively, which is when Spencer said he took this photograph. It moved faster than a human. He followed it and saw a huge silver saucer disappear into the clouds. He realized the humming sound was from the saucer – he had just encountered a UFO.
Later, he realized that he lost more than two hours of his time, and that his compass had gone haywire. He showed the picture to a UFO researcher and a thorough investigation began. Wildlife photography experts and Kodak laboratories revealed that it was no animal, and that the object was indeed part of the photo and not superimposed.
Spencer started having weird dreams. Under hypnosis, he revealed a fascinating tale. An alien had abducted him, taken him aboard the craft, and given him a medical examination before releasing him again. Spencer could now remember that he took his picture after he left UFO he encountered.
One thing that makes the researchers confident that Spencer did not set the whole thing up is the fact that he never wanted publicity or money.
The Linda Napolitano Abduction (1989) – Manhattan, United States
This alien encounter that resulted in the abduction of Linda Napolitano was one of the most controversial cases the famous ufologist Budd Hopkins took an interest in.
Napolitano claimed that “greys” had taken her to their UFO above her apartment in Manhattan, by floating her from her closed bedroom window at 3 AM.
The most incredible thing was that she received correspondence from two bodyguards of a senior United Nations statesman, Javier Perez de Cueller, visiting Manhattan, saying that the three of them had witnessed a woman floating in the air along with three other entities to a massive hovering craft.
Hopkins found the behavior of these bodyguards an enigma. They would become psychotic and kidnapped Linda twice. They did this to try and pry information from her, thinking she had had a hand in the alien abduction herself.
Hopkins finally concluded that this UFO encounter was a valid alien abduction. He even confirmed it with Javier Perez de Cueller, but could not get him to go public.
The Alien Named “Aleshenka” (1996) – Kashtim, Russia
This is a compelling account of an alien body from Russia. An elderly woman in the village of Kashtim saw a small creature near the Ural Mountains, and the being was whistling to catch her attention. She took it home.
The creature had skin that was gray with dark brown spots on the head. There was no hair, small holes in place of ears, small and flat nose, long fingers with sharp claws, a tiny hole in place of a mouth and no lips. The old woman nursed it back to health. After a couple of weeks, the woman sought treatment at a hospital for a psychiatric problem and left her companion at home without food.
Later, police found the dead body of the being. After testing, doctors claimed that the creature, which measured 8 ½ inches in length, could not have been a child.
They handed the body over to Galina Semenkova, head of a UFO expert organization. Galina later said that aliens from a flying saucer demanded the body, and that she gave it to them.
However, the whereabouts of Aleshenka’s remains are a mystery to this day. Have the aliens really taken it back? Is the mummy under research in some laboratory?
The Denise Stoner Abductions (1950-2013) – United States
Denise Stoner is a multiple abductee. While most people go their entire lives without making contact with nonhuman entities, Stoner has done so dozens of times.
At only 2½ years old, an alien took her for the first time from her family home in Hartford. One night, while her mother was at the local hospital, giving birth to Stoner’s sister, an entity appeared in her bedroom.
“He looked like a monk, he had a robe, and he was carrying a light,” Stoner recalls. “I wasn’t afraid of him. He put out his other hand for me to take it, and I did.”
That night, the alien teleported Stoner to a large, dome-shaped room. She remembers being with many other children, being taught something, though she cannot recall what. The next morning, she woke up back in her bed.
Since that fateful night, Stoner says she has been taken more than 50 times. She has disappeared from her home, her car, even the middle of the street. The last time it happened was only three years ago, in the middle of the mountains in Colorado.
According to Stoner, it’s the same being every time. “He looks like your typical gray alien,” she says. “But he’s one of the tall ones. It’s just the very subtle shape of his face, his chin is a little wider. There’s no friendship. He comes to get me, and I know I’m going to be safe.” Jokingly, she sometimes calls him her escort.
Today, Stoner is 68 and lives with her husband in Florida. She works with other experiencers to conduct investigations of UFO encounters and abductions on behalf of MUFON.
The Stephenville UFO (2008) – Texas, United States
On a Tuesday night in January 2008, a strange object zoomed over Stephenville, a small town in Texas.
Residents described the unidentified object as “faster than a speeding bullet – and bigger than a Walmart”.
What is remarkable about this particular sighting are the dozens of people witnessing it at the same time, including a police officer and a pilot. Over 40 people came forward to report the sighting, a local newspaper reported.
According to eyewitnesses, the UFO hovered over the town for about five minutes, before shooting away into the night.
Steve Allen, a veteran pilot, was out that night on a hilltop. He estimated that the UFO sped off at more than 3,000 mph, trailed by fighter jets that it easily outmaneuvered. As for its appearance, the pilot described it as an enormous, silent aircraft with flashing strobe lights.
Similarly, police officer Lee Roy Gaitan spotted the UFO in the night sky. He was on his way to his car when he noticed a red glow, which he said reminded him of pictures he’d seen of an erupting volcano. Only after a moment did Gaitan realize that the glow emanated from an object, suspended over 3,000 feet in the air. Awestruck, he called his son to come and take a look as well, making him another witness.
Military officials were quick to discount the sighting at the time. They claimed residents were fooled by an optical illusion – like the setting sun reflected by two airliners. Officially, no jets from the nearby airbase were in the sky that night.
However, the sighting was strangely similar to an incident at the nearby Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport just the year before. At the time, a dozen United Airlines employees spotted an unidentified object in the sky, and accordingly filed reports.
Navy Sightings (2020) – United States
In April 2020, the world saw some of the most convincing evidence of UFO encounters yet. After a leak, the US Navy released previously classified top-secret footage of aerial phenomena.
Susan Gough, a Pentagon spokesperson, said that the three official videos were released to “clear up any misconceptions by the public on whether or not the footage that had been circulating was real or whether or not there is more to the videos. The aerial phenomena observed in the videos remain characterized as ‘unidentified.”
When the videos first surfaced in 2017, they created a buzz. The footage records data captured by the video sensors of Navy F/A-18 fighter pilots off the coast of California in 2004 and 2015. It also includes a compelling audio track of the pilots’ reactions.
At the same time, it became public that a previously unknown “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force” was operating within the Office of Naval Intelligence. Its main goal? Investigating UFO sightings.
The official release of the videos stoked massive international interest, both among UFO enthusiasts, and among officials concerned about technological advancements by foreign adversaries.
In December 2020, another leaked photograph from the Navy fed the flames of interest. Captured in 2019 by the backseat weapons systems operator of an F/A-18 fighter jet, this photo shows an unidentified, silver, cube-shaped object.
The Pentagon has refused to comment on the leaked image, “to maintain operations security and to avoid disclosing information that may be useful to potential adversaries.”
Are They Among Us?
There are several controversies surrounding UFOs and encounters with them. While proponents feel that UFOs are vehicles from other stars or dimensions, skeptics propose psychological-social hypotheses. There is even the man-made craft hypothesis by some who feel UFOs are nothing but American or Russian aircraft. Fact or Fiction?