Every Documented UFO Sighting Over The Past Century
The term “UFO” was originally coined in 1953 by the United States Air Force as an all-encompassing word for any unidentified flying object within and outside military flyover zones. However, the first official UFO sighting dates back much further than that, all the way to 1639.
The National UFO Reporting Center, founded in 1974, has processed more than 150,000 reports of UFO sightings across every state, but some have really stood out more than others. You’ll want to be seated before reading ahead, as you could potentially discover that a substantial UFO sighting has occurred closer to your own backyard than you’re comfortable with…
Mississippi, 1975: A Blue Light From Above
In 1975, two fishermen on the Pascagoula River claimed to have been abducted by aliens. Despite Hickson and Parker’s story being dismissed at the time, three people bore witness to the claims in 2019. The original story was met with skepticism, but the new witnesses gave credence to their story.
Parker died in 2011, but he claimed that before his death, he saw three aliens without legs inject sedatives into two other men and abduct them. He said the whole ordeal happened after the men realized the blue light they thought was from cops was actually coming from above.
North Dakota, 1948: A 30-Minute Dogfight
On October 1, 1948, a 27-minute battle in the sky between George Gorman, a World War II B-25 fighter pilot, and a white sphere of light over Fargo, North Dakota, occurred, where Gorman pursued what he believed was a flying disk with distinct edges and many brilliant lights for almost half an hour.
Gorman tried to reach the aircraft, which moved away at speeds of more than 600 miles per hour. Two air traffic controllers verified this story, and another pilot flying near Fargo that night also confirmed it. This incident is one of the most famous and well-documented cases of a UFO encounter.
Washington D.C., 1952: Unexplained Events
In July 1952, a series of sightings known as the “Big Flap” sent Washington, D.C. residents into a frenzy. The “Big Flap” sightings were a series of unidentified flying object reports from July 12–29, 1952. On July 19, the U.S Air Force (USAF) was moved to investigate the situation.
The USAF explained the sightings as a temperature inversion over the city, causing mirages of distant objects, but many people believed the sightings were extraterrestrial. The Washington Post ran a front-page story including interviews with military officials who could not explain the sightings.
New Hampshire, 1961: Abducted And Released
In September 1961, Betty and Barney Hill were returning from Canada when they witnessed a strange light in the sky. They quickly came to the conclusion that they were being trailed by a UFO, and Betty alleged to have seen aliens staring at them from the craft.
During hypnosis, the Hills recalled being taken aboard the UFO, examined by aliens, and then released. Their tale was reported everywhere in the world. A psychiatrist was called in to assess their case and suggested that they had been abducted by aliens, who then performed medical procedures on them.
Washington, 1947: Flying Saucers
Many people believe that the first recorded footage of a UFO was in Washington. In 1947, Harold A. Dahl reported to authorities that his son had been injured by flying debris from circular objects. This event became known as the Maury Island Incident.
That same year, private pilot Kenneth Arnold claimed to see nine strange, flying objects near Mount Rainier in Washington. His description of their erratic movements led to the popular term “flying saucer.” In the years that followed, there were hundreds of reports of UFO sightings worldwide.
Kansas, 1957: A Bright Blue Light
The Boeing B-47 Stratojet was a powerful, long-range bomber that could fly at high altitudes and subsonic speeds to avoid enemy aircraft. So, it was strange when it was followed for 700 miles by an unidentified craft over Kansas in 1957. The mystery object also flew through Missouri and Texas.
Six years later, the radar of another RB-47 captured a radar blip followed by a bright blue light that was corroborated by the pilot and crew. This incident is known as the ” RB-47 UFO Encounter.” The United States Air Force has never been able to explain these sightings.
Maryland, 1958: Car Failure
The most well-known UFO incident in Maryland involves Alvin Cohen and Phillip Small, who reported seeing a huge, iridescent object flying over a bridge as they drove past the Loch Raven Reservoir in Towson at midnight on October 26, 1958.
As the men drove forward, the car’s electrical system suddenly failed. The oval-shaped craft slowly floated before emitting a bright flash of light, heat, and noise. The object was so bright that it illuminated the entire bridge. Then it quickly shot up into the sky and disappeared.
Tennessee, 2019: A Ten-Second Fireball
On March 29, 2019, five witnesses from different parts of Tennessee reported a fireball and various lights passing through the sky to the National UFO Reporting Center. According to accounts, the event is said to have lasted around 10 seconds. It is not clear what caused the event.
In 2018, Tennessee was rated among the top six states for UFO sightings. Some believe that the state’s geography may play a role in its high ranking, as Tennessee is home to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which attracts many sky-gazing visitors every year.
Vermont, 1968: Camp Counselors Go Missing
The Buff Ledge Abduction is one of Vermont’s most famous UFO sightings, in which four UFOs appeared over Lake Champlain on August 7, 1968, and allegedly abducted two camp counselors. Multiple individuals have since come forward to corroborate the story.
There have been numerous reports of UFO sightings in Vermont, including a mass sighting in Rutland in 1950 and more recent reports of strange lights in the sky. Some people have even claimed that there is evidence of government cover-ups and secret facilities related to UFOs.
Utah, 1989: Aboard A Ship
There are multiple accounts from Utah in the ’80s and ’90s of people who say they were abducted by aliens. One man, who wishes to remain anonymous, says that he was abducted by aliens in 1989. He says that he was taken aboard a ship and subjected to a series of medical tests.
Similar to the preceding scenario, organizations such as the Utah UFO Hunters, a group of individuals based in Salt Lake City dedicated to discovering evidence of alien life and other paranormal phenomena, have continued to look into recent incidents at Area 51 and “New Area 51.”
Alaska, 2019: A Meteor Or A UFO?
On March 19, 2019, 18-year-old Adonus Baugh recorded an unidentified glowing object apparently falling from the Anchorage sky on video. The footage, which has subsequently been widely circulated on social media, seems to show an illuminated object streaking downward before disappearing in the distance.
Some viewers have speculated that the object could be everything from a meteor to a UFO, but so far there is no definitive answer. Another resident of Anchorage captured photographs of the same oddity, which a spokeswoman from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson said resembled no aircraft from the base.
New Jersey, 2001: A Flying V
On July 14, 2001, a giant flying V was sighted over the New Jersey Turnpike for roughly 15 minutes between Staten Island and Carteret in plain view of hundreds of drivers and other witnesses. A Carteret police lieutenant observed a display of orange and yellow lights over the Arthur Kill Waterway.
The Garden State is home to the Jersey Devil and many other urban-myth celebrities, making it an unlikely location to avoid stories about extraterrestrial encounters. In recent years, there have been more reports of UFO sightings in New Jersey than in any other state, including California.
Connecticut, 2012: Law Enforcement Gets Involved
The 2012 Connecticut UFO Incident is one of the few instances where law enforcement has taken an active interest in UFO activity, making it unique. Each month, the Connecticut chapter of the Mutual UFO Network meets to discuss strange sightings and otherworldly encounters.
However, the 2012 UFO Incident reports are still unsolved, and the internet is abuzz with theories. In total, 13,000 UFO documents were released on The Black Vault website, which detailed dozens of eyewitness accounts from across Connecticut stretching back to the 1940s.
Pennsylvania, 1965: Sonic Booms
In 1965, a fireball seen by thousands of spectators across six states, producing sonic booms throughout Pittsburgh, crashed into Kecksburg, Pennsylvania, before being allegedly recovered—or covered up—by the United States military. The incident remains shrouded in mystery.
In 2007, NASA finally gave the Kecksburg files to the National Archives. However, the Archives sent the files back two years later to NASA because, according to government officials, the Kecksburg files “have no value” and are not “worth preserving.”
Texas, 2008: Being Followed
In January 2008, many people in Stephenville, Texas, saw unidentified flying lights in the sky. The Air Force said that F-16s were flying close by at that time, but witnesses disagreed because they thought the lights looked too sophisticated to be from a fighter jet.
Many of Texas’ most famous UFO sightings had multiple witnesses, giving them more credibility than other one-off evidence, and raising new doubts. In the early 1980s, two state troopers in different patrol cars reported seeing a large, silent object following their vehicles near the town of Marfa.
Colorado, 2009: Cattle Go Down
The Hooper, Colorado watchtower has been the site of various UFO sightings near where two cattle were found deceased with precision mutilations in 2009. According to rancher Manuel Sanchez from San Luis, there was no sign of a struggle or blood pooling– just specific removal of organs from the carcasses.
News reports drew connections between Sanchez’s case and a 1967 mutilation incident on the King ranch, which is only a few miles away from Alamosa. Back then, Robert King (the ranch owner) discovered eight of his cows dead with their organs removed clean and precise.
Wisconsin, 1987: All Are Welcome
The small town of Belleville, Wisconsin, hosts an annual UFO Day to remember the multiple sightings of strange lights in the sky that occurred just outside the town in January 1987. These sightings were documented by local police officers at the time and have since become part of community lore.
In 1994, Bob Tohak constructed a self-defined “UFO Landing Port.” According to Tohak, he designed the port “as a means of demonstrating that we’re not afraid of these things and that they are welcome here.” He subsequently opened his house to interested UFO enthusiasts for tours.
Illinois, 2006: It Wasn’t An Airplane
On November 7, 2006, several bystanders were inside the O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, watching a dark gray aircraft float above gate C17 as Flight 446 was preparing to take off. They watched in horror as the aircraft struggled to gain altitude and crashed into a nearby field.
The object vanished into the sky, displaying a blue sky before diving below the earth’s surface. The FAA chalked it up to a weather event because no radar detected it. The airport workers said they were certain it was not any aircraft. “I can’t say what I saw, but it wasn’t an airplane,” one worker said.
Florida, 2009: A Soft Blue Light
One of Florida’s more famous UFO sightings is the Canaveral National Seashore Incident: In February 2009, people at the park saw “a large object flying low silently,” which gave off “a soft blue light.” This went on for an hour, with several people seeing it. There is video footage of the event.
In Florida, there are a lot of believers; and hundreds of people have come forward with stories of holograms, abductions, unusual spacecraft, and everything in between over the years. However, many UFO sightings have been debunked, including a 2018 incident of a butterfly mistaken for an alien craft.
Alabama, 1989: A Hoax?
In Fyffe, Alabama, in 1989, a woman witnessed an odd light in the sky; her sighting was followed up by local cops who stated they had seen a giant UFO flying overhead. The resulting frenzy drew more than 4,000 people to the small town, but the crowd reported no sightings.
Some believe that the Fyffe UFO sighting was actually a hoax, perpetuated by local residents in an attempt to generate excitement and tourism dollars for their small town. Others maintain that something truly unexplained occurred that fateful night, despite the lack of definitive evidence.
Delaware, 2019: A Sight To See
Strange light formations and shapes in the sky are typically associated with UFO sightings in Delaware. In February 2019, a possible spacecraft with multicolored lights being pushed out of the air by five (presumably terrestrial) planes was reported in Delaware.
Delaware may not have the most UFO sightings, but it certainly has some of the most imaginative ones. From prefab UFO houses to strange lights in the sky, the state has a little bit of everything regarding alien activities. UFOs have been reported in Delaware since at least the 1980s.
North Carolina, 2019: Was It A Balloon?
On January 25, 2019, Bret Jones was photographing birds in Greensboro when he noticed a bright flash in the sky near an aircraft flying above. In his opinion, the strange form appeared like a balloon. He thought it might be one. He started recording it again until it vanished.
Although the likelihood of seeing a UFO in North Carolina is slim, stories dating back to 1940 have given rise to numerous theories about government cover-ups and experiments. One of the most famous stories is that of the Flatwoods Monster, which was said to have been seen in Braxton County.
New York, 2018: A Silent Night
When an electrical explosion at a Con Ed substation in Queens lit up the sky in December 2018, many thought the blue haze was a sign of aliens. One theory is that the aliens were trying to communicate with humanity. The aliens, however, were actually just a figment of people’s imaginations.
However, another event is less debunked than this one: New York’s Hudson Valley UFO sighting on December 31, 1982. Hundreds of onlookers saw a V-shaped formation of lights connected by a triangular fuselage moving across the night sky without making any noise that night.
Minnesota, 1979: An Accident At Midnight
On August 27, 1979, Deputy Sheriff Val Johnson’s squad car was swallowed in a ball of light at around midnight. He woke up 40 minutes later to find that his wristwatch and the car clock had stopped for 14 minutes. Additionally, he was 1,000 feet from where the incident occurred.
Johnson also had welder burns and scorched retinas upon medical inspection. A metal expert brought in to examine the car found bent antennas he could only explain as having been deformed by powerful bursts of air. The car can still be viewed at the Settler’s Square Historical Museum in Warren.
Maine, 1976: Four Men Go Missing
The Allagash Abduction is one of Maine’s most well-known alien encounters. On August 20, 1976, four men on a camping trip claimed to have been abducted by aliens. Years after the event, all four men were hypnotized and questioned about the abduction. Their stories were identical in every detail.
The Allagash Abduction is one of the most notorious and well-documented alien abduction cases in the United States. It has been the topic of books, articles, and a television mini-series. The men involved have all passed polygraph examinations and have been deemed credible.
Indiana, 1973: Blinking Lights
On October 9, 1973, first-responder switchboards were so jammed with nearly 700 UFO sighting reports that it was difficult to get through. People reported blinking lights near the ground, and even radar operators at a Fort Wayne airfield had irregular activity on their screens.
According to the Mutual UFO Network of Indiana, today in the Hoosier State, the most reported traits of UFO sightings are multicolored and white lights, orange fireballs or balls of light, disks spotted during daylight hours, and triangular shapes documented after dark.
Georgia, 1969: A Strange Sight
In 1973, Jimmy Carter, governor of Georgia at the time, filed a report with Oklahoma’s UFO Bureau regarding a strange object he had observed in 1969. The object was described as being a “massive, unexplained moving object close to the ground.” He claimed to have seen the object zoom into the distance.
Although no one knows what really happened on that farm in Georgia, there are many who believe that Carter saw a UFO. Some say that the U.S. government’s decision to build Area 51 was in response to this event and that the government is using the facility to study alien technology.
Nebraska, 1967: It Was Not A Tractor-Trailor
In 2019, a comic book inspired by one of Nebraska’s most famous UFO sightings was released. The narrative is based on a 1967 police report from Nebraskan State Patrolman Herbert Schirmer, who witnessed what he believed to be a tractor-trailer but turned out to be a UFO.
The story was turned into a graphic novel by Omaha-based author David Pescovitz and illustrated by Aaron Feinstein. It’s been many decades since the event occurred, but Schirmer’s testimony is still one of the most credible UFO sightings on record.
Ohio, 1966: Close Encounters
In 1966, Hynek published The UFO Experience: A Scientific Inquiry. In the book, he coined the term “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” This referred to UFO sightings in which witnesses reported seeing or experiencing contact with aliens.
The Center for UFO Studies was created by Dr. J. Allen Hynek- a professor of astronomy at Ohio State University. Dr. Hynek served as a scientific adviser to Project Blue Book- the Air Force’s official investigation into the UFO phenomenon from 1952-1969.
Kentucky, 1955: Green Pie
The Kelly Little Green Men Days Festival is an annual event celebrating the invasion of farmer Elmer Sutton’s property on August 21, 1955. The attack reportedly involved a group of small aliens who descended from their spaceship and horrified Sutton’s family of five adults and seven children.
The aliens were said to have been wearing green suits and had a strong odor. They reportedly left behind a green substance Sutton’s wife used to make pies. The festival is held every third Saturday in August, featuring a parade, live music, and food vendors.
Michigan, 1953: An Unsolved Disappearance
In 1953, Lt. Felix Moncla was flying an air defense interception over Lake Superior near the Soo Locks in Michigan when he—and his aircraft—vanished without a trace. No wreckage, no bodies, and no clues were ever found. The case remains unsolved to this day.
The Kinross Incident, as it is now called, happened when Air Defense Command radar located a UFO flying 500 miles per hour in the airspace. Moncla took off after it, but once his radar blip connected with the UFOs, communication was lost – presumably because of a crash.
South Dakota, 1953: Painting The Sky Red
Forty-nine civilians and many Military Air Defense personnel reported a red, glowing light across the sky on Aug. 5 and 6, 1953. The radar of the Air Defense System also picked up the mysterious light. However, the object was never satisfactorily explained.
There have been similar UFO sightings in the past reported in western North and South Dakota. However, what makes the Ellsworth Case stand out is the extensive documentation by the Air Force. This case is now considered one of the most significant UFO sighting incidents.
Missouri, 1941: A Flying Saucer Goes Down
In 1941, a local sheriff called the Rev. William Huffman to the site of a plane catastrophe in Missouri to give last rites. When he arrived, Huffman discovered that it wasn’t a terrestrial plane crash but an injured flying saucer that had caused a fire in a neighbor’s field.
The Reverend was sworn to secrecy and could never speak again about what he had seen. The army showed up and quarantined the area. This occurred six years before another famous incident involving an alleged alien crash landing in Roswell, New Mexico.
Arkansas, 1897: The UFO Capital Of The World
Arkansas’ UFO history dates back to April 20, 1897, when railroad conductor James Hooton stated he was hunting in Homan and discovered a flying saucer with a bespectacled pilot and crew. This is one of the first recorded UFO sightings in the United States.
Every newspaper country-wide published Hooton’s story the following day, making him an overnight sensation. Hooton’s story is just one of the many UFO sightings that have been reported in Arkansas. In fact, the state has earned the nickname “The UFO Capital of the World.”
California, 1955: Keep Your Eyes Open
Most UFO sightings have been reported in California, which holds the major annual Contact in the Desert event. This worldwide event draws believers from all around the world, with its numerous attendees eager to share their own experiences (some even on video).
UFOs have always been a hot topic in California, and there’s no denying that the state is rife with UFO sightings. So, if you ever need to believe in something, go out to the desert and keep your eyes open. Who knows, you might just witness something incredible.
Louisiana, 1952: A Field Of Visitors
The Abita Mystery House in Abita Springs is a must-see for supernatural fans, particularly its UFO crash site. Shreveport’s proximity to Barksdale Air Force Base has resulted in many UFO sightings due to military training and testing frequently misinterpreted by the general public.
One of the most famous UFO sightings in Shreveport occurred in Bossier. Two teenagers reported seeing a spacecraft land in a field. They described the craft as about 30 feet in diameter with bright lights. After landing, several humanoid figures emerged from the craft and began to walk around.
Virginia, 2019: A Vanishing Flash
On April 4, 2019, three UFO sightings were reported to the National UFO Reporting Center in Virginia. An eyewitness claimed to have seen a bright blue circular vehicle flying through the sky over Virginia Beach, heading east at 6:48 a.m. The second sighting was reported at 7:15 a.m. from Chesapeake.
A shooting star with a green glow that never faded and a short tail was witnessed by an eyewitness at the Norfolk Naval Station 23 miles northwest in just six minutes. The object moved without making any sound across the sky and vanished in 10 seconds.
Massachusetts, 1967: A Way To Survive
In January 1967, Betty Andreasson claimed that gray aliens with oval-shaped heads and enormous eyes abducted her at home in South Ashburnham, Massachusetts. The alien told her the meaning of life and erased her memory aboard the ship—all of which she remembered while hypnotized.
Raymond Fowler documented her experiences in the book The Andreasson Affair. He wrote that the aliens were likely looking for human DNA to help them survive. There have since been many reports of gray aliens with large eyes abducting humans. With some believing they are demons.
Oklahoma, 2017: It Was Only Skydivers
In 2017, a video of what people thought were UFOs at the Oklahoma State Fair went viral. However, upon closer inspection, they were only skydivers. If you’re hoping for an extraterrestrial encounter on your next trip to Oklahoma, check out the alien sculptures along Route 66 in Stroud.
If you’re looking for a more down-to-earth experience, check out the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. This museum is dedicated to preserving the history and culture of the American West. You’ll see everything from early frontier life to the art and culture of the cowboy.
Iowa, 1951: A Film Was Made
Robert A. Heinlein’s 1951 novel The Puppet Masters opens with government agents investigating an alien ship outside Grinnell, Iowa. However, this well-known account of alien life in Iowa is entirely fictional. There is no evidence to suggest that aliens have ever visited the state.
Hailed for his hard science fiction, Heinlein skillfully penned the novel in 1939 after being moved by a news story on a mass UFO sighting in Grover’s Mill, New Jersey. The tale was later turned into a 1994 film starring Donald Sutherland and Julie Warner.