Over the years there have been a number of 'classic' UFO cases. These are well documented, often with multiple witnesses and additional evidence such as photographic or video footage and radar traces. These are the events which refuse to 'die' and often get quoted on TV documentaries and at conferences around the world. This page aims to give the reader a brief outline of the events and history surrounding the case.
It would be impossible to document every UFO case in history here, so I've chosen what I consider to be possibly the top ten discussed UFO events.
The information on this page is minimal, in order to briefly summarise the main events. If you would like further information on any of these cases, please click on the respective 'green heading image'.
Kenneth Arnold's original sighting of nine shining 'disc-shaped' objects as he was flying through the Cascade Mountains on June 24th 1947. This sighting led to the creation of the phrase "flying saucers" as Arnold described the objects to the news as "skimming like a saucer does on water."
Although this event is widely regarded as the start of modern ufology, there are a number of other sighting surrounding the event that are worth investigating. Perhaps the most enigmatic is the Maury Island Mystery.
A sequence of events, starting on 2nd December 1989 led to one of the most celebrated and well documented cases in UFO history. The night of 30-31st March 1990 was when everything went haywire, resulting in reports from all over Belgium and Germany. Two F-16 fighters were scrambled to intercept an unexplained object detected by radar screens. In minutes the fighters were airbourne and obtained radar lock on the object. However, each time the fighters tried to intercept, the object broke radar lock and out-accelerated the F-16s. At one point the object dropped 1300m in one second and in total the aerial chase lasted some 75 minutes.
The object certainly appeared to be intelligently controlled as it took evasive action, and Colonel (now General) W.De Brouwer, the Belgian air force cheif of operations later commented that "There was a logic in the movements of the UFO."
Bonnybridge is located approx 15 miles from Falkirk, Scotland and, along with Warminster in England, is one of the biggest UFO 'Hotspots' in the United Kingdom, with more than 8000 reports filed by local inhabitants between 1992-4 alone.
Although there is no single incident more worthy than others, the location has been a focal point of UFO activity for a number of years. Indeed, like the Warminster sightings of the 1960's, UFO sightings often occur in 'waves'.
Like Bonnybridge, Gulf Breeze is one of the UFO hotspots of the USA, with many hundreds of sightings occurring over the years. Probably the most controversial publicity for the Gulf Breeze sightings came from the spectacular photos taken by an architect called Ed Walters in 1987 and 1988. Some of Ed Walters photos are so detailed, including one showing a UFO emitting a blue beam of light that lifted him off the ground, that it's either an elaborate and brilliant hoax or conclusive proof of alien craft.
Foo Fighters started being reported a few years prior to Kenneth Arnold's 'saucer' sightings in 1947. Airmen of all sides reported seeing balls of fire, or light, whilst carrying out air raids during the Second World War. The name originated from the US Smokey Stover comic strip in the 1940's, which used the phrase "Where there's foo there's fire" and was coined by the American airmen.
These UFOs or Foo Fighters were often reported as travelling at speeds in excess of 250mph and airmen sometimes claimed that encounters with them damaged aircraft ignition systems. Ball Lightning was one explanation put forward, as well as secret technology 'the other side' were developing. Also reports of Foo Fighters ended in 1945 with the end of the war.
During the total solar eclipse of 11th July 1991, no fewer than 17 people at different locations in Mexico City independently videod a silver, metalic object in the sky above the city. This is possibly one of the biggest UFO sightings in history, yet relatively little media coverage occurred outside of Mexico itself.
Editor of the Mexican 60 Minutes television programme, Jaime Maussan even organised a division of his TV production company to the investigation of UFOs, following the multiple witness sightings in 1991.
What makes this case so special is the amount of video footage take by different people, all of which has been analysed and found to correlate the time, position and movement of the craft.
The incidents surrounding Rendlesham Forest and the Bentwaters Air Force base in Essex form what is probably the most well documented and publicised event in United Kingdom UFO history. In the early hours of December 27th 1980 Rendlesham forest was about to enter the history books, as two security patrolmen not only witnessed a UFO sighting but even encountered a metallic, triangular craft which appeared to land in the forest. What makes this event all the more important is that tape-recordings of the original radio transmission from the investigators are available to the public, along with the transcript of the report by base commander Lt-Col. Charles Halt, detailing the whole incident.
The Roswell event is arguably the most well known and documented UFO event in history. Not only has it inspired numerous TV shows and films but also a large number of books and magazines.
Roswell became international news in July 1947 when The Roswell Daily Herald announced on its front page that the RAAF had captured a flying saucer. Coming a mere eight days after Kenneth Arnold's 'saucer' story, the Roswell event centres around an alleged UFO crash in a deserted part of the New Mexico desert, some 80 miles NE of the White Sands missile testing range. On July 2nd, ranger 'Mac' Brazel heard a loud explosion during an electrical storm. On investigating the following morning he found some mysterious 'wreckage' strewn across a portion of his ranch. He reported it to the local sherriff, who in turn contacted the nearby army air force base. The ranch was visited by Major Jesse Marcel of the 509th bomber squadron.
The story got out and the papers covered it. However, only a couple of days later the government took control and back-tracked on the story, claiming that it was merely a crashed weather balloon. To this day, the arguments continue as to what really happened that week. However, there were over 200 witnesses and testimony's, including the pilot who ferried recovered 'bodies' away, the local undertaker and nurses at a nearby hospital.
Socorro is very close to Roswell and a lot of events surrounding Roswell may indeed have been mistaken for events that occurred here. However, on April 24th 1964 "one of the classics of UFO literature", to use the words of Project Blue Book consultant J.Allen Hynek, was witnessed by New Mexico highway patrol officer Lonnie Zamora. He was travelling on US Route 85 when his attention was alerted to a "descending machine, exhausting blue and orange flames, and periodically hovering."
He turned off the main road and went to investigate. Climbing a rise, he observed what appeared to be an egg-shaped metallic craft resting on legs extended from it. He immediately radioed the Sheriff's office and then as he watched, two humanoid figures emerged from the craft, dressed in what appeared to be white uniforms. Finding cover he then witnessed the craft rise vertically and then take off in a horizontal direction.
One of the most frequently asked questions by sceptics is "If UFOs exist then why don't they land on the Whitehouse lawn?" Well, in 1952 they nearly did. There was a unprecidented UFO activity in what has been termed the great "Washington flap" of 1952. At its height in July 1952, radars at both Washington National Airport and Andrews Air Force Base picked up UFOs and there were so many witness accounts that questions started to be asked at The Pentagon, culminating in a press conference being held on July 29th at which a reporter asked the Director of Air Force Intelligence, General John Samford, "Is it some very highly secret new weapon that we're working on that's causing these flying saucer reports?" to which Samford replied "We have nothing that has no mass and unlimited power!"
These are just brief descriptions of some of the most famous cases in UFO history. However, it is difficult to select a small number of cases from the hundreds recorded. There have been so many logged reports, not only by ordinary members of the public but by policemen and women, military personel, commercial pilots, members of congress & parliament and even astronauts, that the sheer weight of evidence demands that more research is carried out.
Indeed, some people might argue that Project Blue Book was never actually closed....