On June 25, 2021, the U.S. government released a nine-page preliminary report on UFOs, or, as they now calls them, the Unknown Aerial Phenomena, or UAP. The report is one of the latest notable developments for UFOs in recent years.
Greg Aegean, a science historian from Penn State who has published research and is writing a book on the history of UFOs in the United States, spoke to him for a weekly podcast the day before the new report came out to better understand cultural history. Of UFOs in the United States, below are parts of our conversation that have been edited for length and clarity.
The idea of living in aliens and other worlds probably goes back to ancient times. The question was the subject of real debate among philosophers, scientists, and theologians in the Western world until the 18th century, and it was widely accepted that foreign civilizations existed. But something changed in the 19th century. When you first start seeing these reports the ships were overhead by verifying what they said. What people describe then sounds a lot like what they know – they literally saw ships and ships that usually floated on the sea.
Some people will see steam-powered ships. But it wasn’t until the summer of 1947 that people started talking about regularly seeing flying objects that are responsible for some aliens.
After Arnold landed, he reported his visit to authorities at a nearby airport and finally spoke to some reporters. When a reporter asked Arnold to describe how things were moved, he said, “If you avoid them over the water, they will fly away like a saucer.” Some very clever entrepreneurial journalists came up with the headline “Flying Saucer” and in that sense, they were flying Saucer – although Arnold himself never uttered the word.
A pilot named Kenneth Arnold was flying his small plane near Mount Rainier in Washington State. As he was flying, he said that he saw a kind of glitter or glitter that caught his eye and was worried that it might collide with another plane. When he looked up, he saw that he was flying nine very strangely shaped ships.