Nearly everyone has heard of the 1947 Roswell, New Mexico, incident. You know, the one where the government allegedly covered up the crash of an alien spacecraft. Now, official reports claim that the US government attempted to cover up a crashed surveillance balloon meant to spy on Soviet nuclear tests. That hasn't stopped people from theorizing, however, that something more—something otherworldly—occurred on that fateful day in 1947.
In fact, it's hard to deny that there could be something out there when there are countless reports of unidentified flying objects from all over the world throughout history. Could every sighting really be something as simple as a weather balloon when people from all sorts of backgrounds firmly believe that they saw something out of this world?
The most inexplicable UFO sightings?
If you don't believe in UFOs, you just might change your mind after reading about the following UFO sightings that have no plausible explanation. It all starts in 1947, but it isn't Roswell. Instead, it all takes place around a mountain in Oregon...
10. Kenneth Arnold's Famous 1947 Sightings of Flying Saucers
The modern UFO craze in the United States can largely be traced back to the late Kenneth Arnold, a pilot who claimed to have seen 9 unusual flying objects on June 24, 1947. In fact, this famous sighting led to the widespread use of the term "flying saucer."
So, what exactly happened on this summer day in '47?
Arnold was flying through Oregon when he saw bright flashes to his side. After deciding they weren't merely reflections, Arnold noticed that the disc-shaped lights were approaching; eventually they passed in front of him, moving like "saucer[s]" skipping on water. After landing, the pilot assumed he had just seen some new untested US military aircraft.
Running some calculations to estimate the saucers' speed, though, quickly disproved that hypothesis. Why? Because even his conservative estimates put these aircraft traveling at nearly 1,200 miles an hour! Remember, this was 1947, and no manned aircraft at the time had ever reached those speeds.
Arnold wasn't the only one to spot these "flying saucers."
This sighting wasn't exclusive to Arnold. In fact, a few other people also reported seeing strange flying objects with roughly the same shape at around the same location as Arnold on June 24.
Later, on July 7 of that year, a Mr. William Rhodes snapped some photographs of peculiar lights in the sky in Arizona. After being published in the newspaper, the FBI and US military confiscated Rhodes' photographs, which can be found in some official Air Force intelligence reports. Other shots were taken just a few days later in Oklahoma on July 12 (seen above).
With several first-hand accounts from reputable people and photographic evidence, there's no doubt that something eerie happened that fateful summer.
UFO sightings far predate the modern era.
Now, Arnold may have kicked off the modern US fascination with flying saucers, but he certainly wasn't the first to notice peculiar objects in the sky. In fact, based on classical recordings, Earth may have received her first extraterrestrial visitors nearly 2,240 years ago!...
9. Ships in the Sky in 218 BC
About 2,000 years ago, the classical Roman historian Titus Livius, or Livy, crafted an epic history of Rome entitled Books from the Foundation of the City (Ab Urbe Condita Libri). In it, you'll find accounts of everything from the fall of Troy to the founding of Rome itself.
You'll also find what is one of the oldest surviving accounts of what are quite possibly otherworldly visits.
Specifically, in Book 21, Livy claims that around the year 218 BC there were some odd winter phenomena in and around Rome. Among them, "phantom ships [that] had been seen gleaming in the sky" and "in the district of Amiternum, in many places, apparitions of men in shining raiment had appeared in the distance, but had not drawn near to anyone."
Now, plenty of government entities have tried to blame modern UFO sightings on mundane things, like weather balloons. That explanation won't exactly fly here, though. Phantom ships and glowing men? Can't exactly blame those sightings on weather balloons and special suits when these events all happened nearly 2,240 years ago.
Of course, even when governments have tried to explain away eerie encounters, they don't always stick to their original story, which makes them a little hard to believe. That's the case with the following incident that occurred just 10 years back in an isolated Canadian fishing village...
8. The Unexplained Harbour Mille Incident, 2010
Harbour Mille is a tiny little fishing village in Newfoundland with a population of just 84, according to a 2019 count. All in all, Harbour Mille is a sleepy little town. However, this Canadian village would see the sight of a lifetime one chilly January night...
On January 25, 2010, several people in this Newfoundland community spotted several objects in the sky that looked like "huge, oversized bullets." One resident, Darlene Stewart, even managed to snap a few grainy pictures of the objects in question. Boys in a nearby area corroborated her claims by saying they too saw something that night, although they likened the objects to Transformers.
Giant racing bullets and Transformers? Definitely not a weather balloon.
According to the official report, it's definitely not a government-sanctioned missile launch, either.
The government couldn't keep their story straight.
The first official reports stated clearly that these sightings were test missiles and there was no cause for alarm. A short while later, though, officials took the statement back and have yet to give a satisfying answer to the incident in the decade since.
As bizarre as this case is, this next UFO sighting is more than shocking...
7. Lights Out for Levelland in 1957
Texas is known for a lot of things, from its BBQ to its hot weather. One little Texas town, Levelland, is also known for being the location of one of the most inexplicable, widely witnessed UFO sightings in modern US history.
It all occurred between November 2-3, 1957. Several people in the area described a giant ball of light speeding past their cars, causing temporary mechanical malfunctions. When enough people called the sheriff, local police went outside to investigate. Initially skeptic, they too saw the UFOs put cars and streetlamps out of commission briefly as the lights raced around.
The official explanation? Ball lightning caused by an electrical storm.
What's ball lightning?
Ball lightning is a rare occurrence where a great ball of light (of varying size) races around as the result of an electrical storm, according to several scientific theories. The true nature of this occurrence—as well as if it even truly exists—is up for debate, though.
Electrical storms cannot explain what happened.
Now, the Lone Star State is prone to thunderstorms, particularly the northern part of the state where Levelland resides. So, these initial explanations of ball lightning or a simple electrical storm seem possible... if there was even a thunderstorm in the first place.
Which there wasn't.
That's right. There was no electrical storm in the area during this time, which means these theories cannot explain what happened with Levelland, no matter how much the US government tries to claim otherwise.
Of course, some UFO sightings are so bizarre that even the government can't come up with any plausible excuse...
6. The '90s Belgian Case for Triangular UFOs
A wave of 1989-1990 reports of UFOs in Belgium suggest that not all extraterrestrials prefer disc-shaped aircraft. Considering that thousands of people claimed to have seen these ships, it's a strong case for variance in alien spaceships.
Between November 1989 to April 1990, an estimated 13,500 people claimed to have seen triangular UFOs above Belgium. In fact, there were so many reports of bizarre aircraft that the Belgian Air Force decided to send out a few pilots to investigate.
They weren't able to determine what exactly everyone was seeing.
To this day, the Belgian Air Force still has no official explanation for what happened during that time, although they do acknowledge that something occurred.
UFOs crop up all over the world.
UFO sightings aren't just relegated to Europe and North America, though; people have been sighting the bizarre throughout the entire world, including Japan...
5. An 1803 Mystery that Washed Up on the Coast of Japan
Sometimes an extraterrestrial encounter doesn't have to come from the air. According to one 1803 Utsuro-bune incident, some Japanese fishermen had a possibly alien encounter right along the shore.
Utsuro-bune translates roughly to "hollow ship," and it refers to an 1803 incident when an unknown, hollow, boat-like object washed ashore on Japan. However, that "boat" didn't arrive alone.
Accompanying the ship was a beautiful young woman who carried a box that no one was allowed to touch, let alone open. Even more bizarre was the fact that the small woman couldn't speak any Japanese. Eventually, she departed from Japan in her bizarre ship, never to be seen or heard from again.
Some claim that this 1803 incident is a bit of Japanese folklore. The shape of the woman's vessel along with its bizarre markings, though, lead many others to believe that this tale is more extraterrestrial in origin.
Not all encounters are peaceful.
While this encounter was a peaceful one, that can't be said for the following UFO sightings that took place hundreds of years ago...
4. 16th-Century Alien Battles Over Europe
1561 was a big year: Madrid became the capital of Spain, Saint Basil's Cathedral was finally completed, and the citizens of Nuremberg witnessed an aerial alien battle.
Yes, you read that correctly.
In April 1561, citizens of the German town Nuremberg witnessed various colored orbs and other oddly shaped objects racing across the sky and fighting each other. If that weren't odd enough, eventually a large black triangle appeared in the skies before a large crash was heard outside the town. In fact, it was so bizarre that it was immediately recorded (see leaflet above).
That wasn't the only aerial battle to occur over Europe that decade, either.
Call of Duty: 16th-Century Europe?
In 1566, a similar battle was sighted over Basel, Switzerland (minus the black triangle and crash). Like the 1561 incident, there too exists a genuine leaflet from the era describing the incident.
The following unexplained incident occurred much more recently, just back in the late 1970s...
3. '77 Broad Haven Triangle Sightings
When parents ask their children what they did at school that day, they probably don't expect to hear, "Oh, I saw some aliens." Yet that scenerio plausibly played out in several British homes in 1977.
On February 4, 1977, a group of children were playing outside of their school in Broad Haven, Wales, when they saw a "cigar-shaped" spacecraft. When their teachers didn't believe them, their headmaster separated all 14 kids and had them draw what they saw. When all of the drawings ended up eerily similar, the skepticism started waning.
Just a few weeks later, on February 17, some teachers allegedly saw the same spacecraft and a silver creature board the ship. It wasn't just people associated with this school that witnessed the UFO and its passengers, either.
In April of that same year, a hotel owner described seeing an object shaped like an "upside-down saucer" as well as two "faceless humanoid" passengers. But she also felt the ship, claiming that it radiated enough heat to make her face feel burned. In fact, she claimed that a nearby field was burned.
Britain has its share of UFO sightings.
Of course, that isn't the only time UFOs have been spotted in Wales. The following incident took place fairly recently, just back in 2008. This time, though, the police were involved...
2. A UFO Almost Crashed a Police Helicopter
Perhaps no episode of Cops can match what one Welsh police helicopter crew had to handle one summer day in 2008.
On June 8, 2008, a police helicopter was minding its own business, hovering over Wales. Suddenly, it was almost hit by a fast-moving object. The 'copter crew considered giving chase before deciding against it and landing.
They weren't the only ones in the area to see something bizarre during that time. In fact, in the days leading up to that fateful almost-crash, plenty of other people in Wales noticed odds saucer-like shapes buzzing about the sky. On that same day, one retired Royal Air Force pilot even said he saw something "peculiar with lots of flashing lights."
Despite the incidents getting extensive media coverage, there has been no official explanation for what almost crashed that police helicopter that day.
The most bizarre encounter of them all?
Unfortunately, no images were taken of the incident. That can't be said of the next UFO encounter, which is documented with lots of video...
1. UFOs Following US Navy Pilots
It's hard to dance circles around an F/A-18 Super Hornet, as these aircraft have a top speed of 1,190 miles per hour. However, something did just that a few years ago.
This 2015 video was leaked in 2017. It shows a US pilot encountering a UFO during a training session along the East Coast at 25,000 feet above sea level. What's particularly bizarre about this oval vehicle is that not only was it fast-moving, but it also seemingly lacked wings, a tail, and an exhaust. Before the pilot could get a better look, the saucer rotated axially and flew away.
Currently, there is no official explanation for what this pilot saw, although it has been creatively dubbed "Go Fast."