A BRIEF HISTORY
The UFO wave of the summer of 1947 and the consequent US Air Force investigation of the disks (Project Sign) and their "Estimate of the Situation".
The UFO wave of the summer of 1952 and the "display" over Washington, DC, and the consequent concern of President Truman and the CIA, which culminated in the Top Secret Robertson Panel to set national policy toward UFOs.
The UFO wave of the mid-1960s and Dr. Allen Hynek's famous "swamp gas" explanation gaff, which led to the USAF-sponsored UFO investigation at the University of Colorado (the Condon Project), which influences academic views on this subject to this day.
The 1917 Fatima Sightings
On May 13, 1917, three illiterate shepherd children, at work tending sheep outside Fatima, Portugal, were surprised by a bright flash in a nearby pasture called Cova de Ira, widely known as an old sacred place. Approaching the pasture, they were caught in a luminosity that nearly blinded them. In the center of the blaze of light, they perceived a little woman who told them she was "from heaven" and warned that world-wide suffering could be averted only if people ceased "offending God". The illuminated figure - who quickly became known as Our Lady - asked them to return to the same spot every month.
On June 13th, the children returned. This time fifty witnesses watched as the three knelt in prayer and the oldest, ten-year-old Lucia, addressed an unseen entity whose answers were unheard by anyone other than Lucia and her two young companions. One witness reported hearing a faint voice or beelike buzzing. At the end of the dialogue, witness heard an explosion and saw a small cloud rise near a tree.
Forty-Five hundred witnesses joined the three children near the same tree in the same pasture on July 13th. This day several witnesses reported "a buzzing or humming" sound, a decrease in the suns glow and heat, a small whitish cloud about the tree of the apparitions, and a loud noise at the Lady's departure.
On August 13, the crowd grew to 18,000 but the three children were not among them. They had been jailed by local officials eager to "put an end to this nonsense". Even so, those present in the field reported a clap of thunder followed by a bright flash and a cloud surrounding the same "magical" tree. One month later a crown of 30,000 watched in astonishment as a globe of light appeared in plain view, advancing through the valley floor from east to west, coming to rest on the same tree.
Two deeply sceptical priest - who arrived expecting to find evidence of mass hysteria - reported that a white cloud formed around the tree as "falling flowers" descended from the sky and disappeared as witnesses reached to touch them.
The most amazing display occurred in Fatima on the October 13th, when 70,000 gathered in pouring rain. Many came to keep faith with the prophecy of Our Lady, others to taunt what they saw as a display of medieval supernaturalism. Shortly after noon, thick gray clouds suddenly departed and rolled back like curtains on a stage, as a strange fragrance filled the air. The sun appeared against the clear blue sky as a flat silver disc revolving on its own axis and sent forth shafts of red, violet, yellow and blue light in all directions. Suddenly the disc plunged erratically downward in a zigzag fashion, causing thousands of witnesses - believers and disbelievers alike - to fall to their knees in public confession of their sins before the world ended.
The disc stopped short and began slowly rising into the sky in the same irregular way, disappearing into the sun, which stood once again fixed in its natural brilliance. The entire display lasted less than fifteen minutes. No less amazing was this fact, confirmed by the managing editor of Lisbon's largest daily newspaper: the streets and clothes of thousands of witnesses were no longer wet, even though heavy rains had fallen within the hour. Throughout the countryside, strange healings were reported.
After 13 years of investigation, the Catholic Church, offered this evaluation of the Fatima sighting:
"This phenomenon, which no astronomical observatory registered and which therefore was not natural, was witnessed by persons of all categories and of all social classes, believers and non-believers, journalists of the principal Portuguese newspapers and even by persons some miles away. Facts which annul any explanations of collective illusion".
Many modern day UFOlogists believe the last sighting to be a UFO event.
On November 17th, 1986 at 17:10, Japanese Airline Officer Kenju Terauchi, who was piloting a 747 cargo plane first saw what he at first thought were lights coming from a military aircraft.
During the next half hour he and his crew realised that things of an unearthly nature had joined them in the skies.
The pilot, first officer, and flight engineer saw two lighted structures, "about the same size as the body of a DC-8 jet", in Terauchi's words, moving about 1000ft feet in front of the cargo plane. Terauchi's radio communications to Anchorage flight control were strangely garbled, but enough got through that Anchorage urgently contacted a nearby Air Force radar station to see what they were picking up. At various times during the event the UFOs were tracked by the 747 on-board radar and by the Air Force ground radar.
As the sky darkened, the UFOs paced the 747 and were finally lost in the distant horizon. The a pale white light appeared behind the aircraft. Silhouetted against lights on the ground, it looked like an immense, Saturn-shaped object - the size, Terauchi estimated, of "two aircraft carriers." He thought it was a "mothership" that had carried the two "smaller" objects, themselves of no small size. The Anchorage radar was recording the object's presence. For the first time the crew felt fear. By now the aircraft was running low on fuel, and the captain requested permission to land.
The UFO vanished suddenly at 17:39.