Unidentified Flying Objects: 20 Facts, History & Sightings

11UFO sightings

Studies have shown that 5% to 20% of reported UFO sightings are unexplained, and remain to be unsolved mysteries.

12The Annunciation

UFOs have even managed to sneak their way into famous medieval European artwork. “The Annunciation” by Carlo Crivelli, made in 1486, has a mysterious looking flying disk with lights prominently in the painting. Another work of art, “The Madonna With Saint Giovannino,” by artist Domenico Ghirlandaio shows Mary with the baby Jesus. In the background of the painting, a man and his dog seem to look at a UFO hovering above. UFOs were “photobombing” before it was cool.

13Dr. Lincoln La Paz

Between December 1948 and April 1955, many witnessed green fireballs above the skies of New Mexico. Astronomers, military personnel, and members of the public were baffled about these UFOs. Dr. Lincoln La Paz, a meteor expert, was brought in to investigate. This was because the objects sighted didn’t behave like natural phenomena or meteors. After years of investigating the phenomenon, the results were inconclusive. Nobody knew what the UFOs were, except that they weren’t meteors.

14Edward Schlueter

During World War 2, the 415th Night Fighter Squadron had a little extra company during a mission. While flying over the Rhine Valley, there were suddenly strange lights following the airmen in the sky. On November 1944, pilot Edward Schlueter and other personnel described 8 to 10 bright lights of an orange color, flying at the side of the left wing of the plane at high velocity. Despite the sightings, the radar and ground control did not have any visible readings. The repeated reports of UFOs by allied pilots during World War 2 became known as “foo fighters.”


The term UFO, for the unidentified flying object, is not the only descriptor for sightings in the sky. UAP or unidentified aerial phenomenon is used by investigators. OVNI or Objeto volador no identificado is another acronym used by many in Europe.

16Crop circle

In Tully, Australia, in 1966, a farmer recounted seeing a UFO rising up from a swampy area and flying off. When he went toward the area of the sighting for a closer look, he saw a circular area of flattened reeds and grass. The crop circle was assumed to be made by extraterrestrials, but investigators concluded it was a waterspout.

17Heaven’s Gate Cult

The Heaven’s Gate Cult gathered a lot of attention when 38 people sadly took their own lives. They believed that there was an alien ship behind the Hale Bopp comet. The only way they could travel on the approaching UFO was to shed their mortal forms, as only their souls could make the journey.

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18Donald E. Keyhoe

The book Flying Saucers from Outer Space, written by author Donald E. Keyhoe in 1953, was the first to use the term “UFO.”

19Orson Welles

In 1938, a radio program was broadcast under the direction of Orson Welles for Halloween. The performance was so convincing that the public went into a panic, believing that there was an alien invasion of UFOs.

20Kenneth Arnold

The term “flying saucer” is widely used to describe UFOs since many are shaped like a saucer. In 1947, pilot Kenneth Arnold described his UFO sighting as a “flying saucer.” Hence, the name stuck. However, many UFOs sighted also look like balls and triangles too.


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