Zoom! You see something fly before your eyes. It hovers for a moment then flies off again. It had bright lights and went at a speed faster than any airplane you have ever seen before. What you may have seen was an unidentified flying object, or a UFO. These are some of the characteristics people have applied to UFO sightings. Other typical descriptions include shapes in a fog, haze, or a strange illumination with no apparent explanation. This is the “Night of the UFO.”
The story begins with the first well-known sighting in 1947. Kenneth Arnold said he saw nine high-speed objects near Mount Rainier in Washington. The sighting occurred while he was flying his plane in that area. Kenneth Arnold said, “They were crescent-shaped objects that traveled several thousand miles per hour, and they moved like saucers skipping on water” (Encyclopedia Brittanica 2). When people heard “saucers skipping on water” they called the objects flying saucers. This term is still used today.
UFO sightings had been occurring before that incident. Between November 1896 and May 1897, thousands of Americans had reported sightings of flying ships. The shape was said to be similar to a cigar. The Wright Brothers made their first successful flight in 1903, so it was not likely that they were airplanes. However, during this time (1896-97) many people were working on their own ideas to create some type of aircraft. These people wanted to keep their design a secret from their neighbors, so they would fly them at night. This was probably the case in many sightings.
Sightings increased in 1948. The United States Air Force created the investigation called Project Sign. It was later renamed Project Grudge, then, the most popular name, Project Bluebook. Between 19...
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