The UFO Craze Of The '60s and '70s
Written by Jacob Shelton
UFOs sightings happen fairly frequently (at least according to UFO sighting witnesses), but in the 1960s and '70s, alien crafts were spotted almost every week throughout America and the rest of the Western world. The rise of inexpensive photography equipment helped witnesses make a better case for their sightings, and often these photos were able to provide evidence that an eyewitness testimony just can’t offer. But in many cases of UFO encounters witnesses are either too awestruck to take action, or technology just doesn’t work. These are just a few of the most exciting stories of UFO sightings from the 20th century.
First Story: 1973, A Family Sees Three Glowing Objects And Stops To Investigate...
First, a report from January 1973, just outside of Coos Bay, Oregon, a military veteran and his family were driving along the coast when they caught sight of a collection strange objects. In total, the family saw three “yellowish” glowing objects that hovered above the ground. When the family got out of their car to inspect the spot where they saw the crafts they found a large, sparkling gem on the ground.
Let's be clear: UFOs are real. A UFO, strictly speaking, is simply an unidentified flying object. If it's in the air and you don't know what it is -- congratulations, you've seen a UFO. But are all the UFOs that have been seen over the years, and particularly in the '60s and '70s, actually signs of alien life visiting (or perhaps planning to invade) the Earth? That's a different question. There are also the stories of abduction, of medical examination by strange life forms on board space-faring craft. These tales describe phenomena that indicate extra-terrestrial life -- but are they true? The stories vary in the details, and contradict rather than confirm each other, and not all narrators are reliable, leaving many skeptics to conclude that it was all just another pop-culture hoax. In the end, we're all left with a handful of pictures that are somewhat convincing and a whole lot of first-person accounts that cannot be verified.
What's believable becomes a very personal question. To paraphrase David Duchovny's Agent Fox Mulder from The X-Files, some people "want to believe" -- and others don't. But one thing is certain: the UFO phenomenon boomed in the '60s and '70s. We were coming out of the postwar era, when technology and military power were a constant source of amazement for Americans -- after all, the Manhattan Project seemed to have unlocked the very keys to the universe in splitting the atom. Science fiction was reaching its peak as a literary genre, and coming to be a familiar element in popular TV shows and movies. And in fact we had proof that space travel was possible -- our own mission to the moon (assuming it indeed happened -- but that's a story for another time). The notion of aliens visiting the earth, descending in saucers or mysterious cigar-shaped crafts, was perhaps not all that far-fetched given all the astonishing gee-whizzery Americans had witnessed in their own lifetimes.
It's hard to dismiss such a large number of accounts -- these people saw something. What it was -- whether a spacecraft, Russian spy plane, secret U.S. weaponry, or the ever-popular (and slightly insulting) "weather balloon" -- is up for debate. It's a long-running, entertaining debate, and one which we might never solve in our lifetimes. We'll kick it off with a standard tale -- weird but not outlandish, memorable but not life-altering. This first one came from the Pacific Northwest, but the rest span all over the country.
Tags: A Brief History Of... | The 1960s | The 1970s
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