What are these strange objects? They could be objects that people have imagined seeing. Or they could be alien spaceships. Whatever these unexplained objects are, people have claimed seeing them for thousands of years.
People now use the term to describe any object which flies and lands on the Earth, and cannot be explained. Thousands of people claim to have seen UFOs, but nobody knows what they actually are.
Films about aliens were very popular at this time too. Many people thought that UFOs were spaceships carrying aliens. But nobody knows if the strange creatures and UFOs are really linked.
What Happens When UFOs are Around?
UFOs can also have a strange effect on things. Witnesses often say that electrical systems stop working when a UFO is close by. Radios stop working. Compasses and other magnetic equipment may do strange things.
Recent UFO Sightings
The recent wave of UFO sightings began in 1947. A man named Kenneth Arnold was flying a small plane in Washington State. He saw nine silver objects flying together very fast. He said they looked like flying saucers.
In 1948, air force planes investigated a UFO sighting in Kentucky. A pilot had seen a huge metal object climbing high in the sky. He chased it and crashed his plane.
Strange lights showed up on radar screens, and air force places chased them. The lights came and went low down, sped up, and then disappeared over Washington, for ten nights in 1952.
A UFO caused an air crash in Australia in 1978. Frederick Valentich flew to King Island, Australia, to collect some shellfish, but never arrived there. Valentich radioed the air base to report a large aircraft above him with four bright lights.
A few minutes later, Valentich radioed in again, "It is due east of me. It seems to be playing some sort of game. It is orbiting above me, and has some sort of metallic light on the outside." Then the object flew off and vanished.
Six minutes later, Valentich radioed once more. "The engine is coughing. The unknown aircraft is now on top of me." Then there was silence. Valentich never arrived at King Island. There was a large oil slick on the sea where he vanished.
Some people think Valentich was attacked by the UFO. Others think the UFO caused his engine to fail. A few people think Valentich went mad and saw things that were not really there, and then crashed.