Inside the World of UFOs, Extraterrestrial Life
Article by Josh Martinez June 5, 2020 (yourvalley.net)
• In 1974, Robert J. Gribble founded the National UFO Reporting Center (NUFORC) to record UFO sightings via people’s submissions by phone or by mail. Gribble reached out to sheriff’s offices to provide them with an outlet for anyone wanting to report a UFO sighting. In fact, in its bylaws the Federal Aviation Administration is directed to refer such encounters to the NUFORC. Submissions published in NUFORC’s public database are anonymous, although witnesses may submit short statements detailing their experience.
• In 1994, Peter Davenport took over as NUFORC’s director. Davenport says the organization’s mission is to record – not investigate UFOs, and to curate its online submissions through a 24-hour UFO hotline. NUFORC may include a note with a submission as to a possible explanation, such as a planet of satellite. But for the most part, they leave their submissions ‘as is’ for the database. The NUFORC website holds a trove of reports from across the country. But Davenport believes the amount of UFO reports are grossly undercounted. By his estimate, he believes for every 10,000-20,000 people who see a UFO, only one will report it.
• On March 13, 1997, Arizonans watched a series of strange lights on two distinct occasions. The first was triangular formation that flew across the state, while the second was a series of stationary lights that hovered over Phoenix. The first event – a series of lights in a V-formation that traveled from Nevada, across Arizona to Sonora, Mexico, was “explained” as wind-driven flares from an A-10 Warthog military aircraft. The second incident has no explanation at all. “I’ll never be the same,” said Bill Greiner, a cement truck driver who saw the lights. “I may be just a dumb truck driver, but I’ve seen something that don’t belong here.”
• Seeing unexplained phenomenon in the sky tugs at the question: are we alone in the universe? Davenport believes that as people’s curiosity grows the more they understand the vastness of what is out there past Earth’s atmosphere. “Once a person develops a better grasp of its immensity, I feel it is a natural extrapolation for that person to ask what might be going on out there,” wrote Davenport. “And that leads a person to at least wonder whether we might have neighbors and even visitors to our planet.”
• Davenport notes that there was minimal media coverage of the Phoenix Lights event. This media trend has continued along with academia being too skeptical and the government not letting on what it knows. Still, an increase of the subject of UFOs in news reports and entertainment is drawing attention. People have become more comfortable with the UFO topic. But there is more work to be done, says Davenport. “[I]f we are going to progress beyond the amateur stage of investigation, we will have to improve the means by which we collect, and analyze data about the UFO phenomenon.”
• According to a 2018 survey at Chapman University, 41.4% of American respondents believe alien intelligent life has visited the earth in the ancient past, up from 27% in 2016. “People like to imagine there might be intelligent life out there, which is harmless,” says Dr. Chris Impey, the associate dean of the University of Arizona’s College of Science. “[B]ut the conspiracy theories that have the government covering up evidence of aliens is hard to defend. UFOs are not of interest to professional scientists because they know the hard evidence of alien visitation is lacking.”
• Dr Impey focuses his research is in looking for microbial life on the projected 10 billion habitable Earth-like worlds in the Milky Way Galaxy, noting that for 3 billion years, microbes were the planet’s only inhabitants. Targeting exoplanets to see if their atmospheres contain molecules like oxygen or methane will provide the “telltale signs of life”. As for intelligent extraterrestrial life, Dr. Impey points out that scientists have listened for artificial radio or optical signals from other planets over the past 60 years, and have failed to find anything.
• Long odds, however, haven’t stopped many from believing in past or future encounters with extraterrestrial life. Arizona State University Associate Professor Dr. Michael Varnum published a study in 2018 suggesting humans would have largely positive reactions extra-terrestrial life visiting the Earth. The study found those wanting to avoid disease were more likely to have a negative reaction, while less religious people tended to have more positive responses to an ET visitation. It concluded that people who are less sensitive to external threats are more open to things that challenge their belief systems.
• Although it’s been over 23 years since the mysterious lights above Phoenix, but time hasn’t slowed the reports to the NUFORC of continued sightings. On January 9th, a Phoenix pilot claimed to see a rectangular object with lights that changed colors hovering in the evening sky. “I’ll never forget this sighting. This had to be a UFO.”
Phoenix has a deep connection to the unexplained.
On March 13, 1997, many Arizonans from across the state allegedly saw a series of strange lights on two distinct occasions. The first was triangular formation that reportedly flew across the state while the second was a series of stationary lights hovering over Phoenix.
While the U.S. Air Force has explained the hovering stationary lights — flares from an A-10 Warthog aircraft as part of training at the Barry Goldwater Range, according to the Mutual UFO Network — the second one doesn’t have an explanation.
The first event was a series of lights in a V-formation that traveled across the state from as far north as Henderson, Nevada to as far south as the State of Sonora, Mexico.
One possible explanation is the wind direction from the night in question appears consistent with the reported movements of the lights, according to MUFON’s website. This could, the website claims, explain the event as merely wind-driven objects such as flares or balloons.
But to others, the event was not of this world.
“I’ll never be the same,” Bill Greiner, a cement truck driver who reportedly saw the lights, said via a statement on MUFON’s website. “Before this, if anybody had told me they saw a UFO, I would’ve said, ‘Yeah and I believe in the Tooth Fairy.’ Now I’ve got a whole new view and I may be just a dumb truck driver, but I’ve seen something that don’t belong here.”
In the years since, there have been reportedly other large-scale incidents in 2007 and 2008, but explanations have come with those events. Still, the fascination with UFOs, or unidentified flying objects, has permeated in the state.
In 2019, there were 229 reports of UFOs in Arizona, according to the National UFO Reporting Center. That is a stark jump from 91 in 2018, but is the first increase from year-to-year since 2014, which saw a peak of 304 for the past decade.
While some of these sightings have explanations, others do not, allowing for some imaginations to run wild.
By definition, a UFO doesn’t necessarily mean aliens, it can be as simple as a flying drone that people don’t know exactly its origins.
Bryan Martyn flew helicopters in both the Army and the Air Force for many years before transitioning to medical evacuation helicopters. He’s never had an experience where he didn’t know what object he was seeing in the sky, except for a recent sighting of Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites.
This experience exemplifies to him the unidentified lights must be a technology people are not aware of, similar to the satellites.
“When I see objects in the sky that I can see, that kind of tells me they’re probably military because it’d be too easy,” Mr. Martyn said. “If we were being observed by something from outside, like an unidentified thing, they’d probably turn their lights off.”
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