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UFOs, under one name or another, have been described throughout history in ancient texts and paintings. Researchers place the beginning of the modern UFO era in the mid-1940s. Since then, strange sightings have been reported by tens of thousands of people from all parts of the world. Officials have exerted great effort to convince the public that UFOs have no validity and that they are no more than mistaken observations of natural phenomena and man-made objects.

To be sure, most sightings of UFOs can be explained as honestly mistaken responses to bright stars and planets, unusual clouds, unfamiliar airplanes, balloons and satellites. These are known in UFO literature as Identified Flying Objects or IFOs. Most cases are IFOs, but not all. A large number of credible UFO reports have been triggered by the appearance of "manufactured devices" which cannot be tied to known aircraft or spacecraft, after thorough analysis by competent investigators. Because of their appearance and/or behavior, they fall well outside the limits of known technology.

There is hardly a single country which has not experienced sightings in the past 50 years, most of which were never reported in UFO literature. The world's largest non-governmental collection of UFO sightings which have been reported (UFOCAT) includes more than 50,000 cases. This total far exceeds the 12,500 reports in the Project Blue Book files. Of the UFOCAT cases, there are approximately 14,240 from Europe, 4,160 from South America, 4,300 from Oceania, 735 from Africa and 27,450 from North America. The most active European countries include Great Britain with almost 7,000, France with 2,320, Germany with 1,260 and Spain with 1,200. Australia has had 3,220. In South America, the most active countries have been Argentina with 1,425 and Brazil with 1,125. Even Antarctica has had almost 50 reports.21

The case for UFO reality rests on the accumulation of reports which cannot be explained as "normal phenomena." Because of similar characteristics of appearance (shape, details) and/or behavior (maneuverability, speed, silence, etc.), they cannot be correlated with anything familiar, and therefore, must be placed in a separate category. These cases are represented in the Project Blue Book files by the approximately 600 officially unexplained cases. However, other investigating organizations report much higher numbers of unexplained cases.

Since the presentation of hundreds of cases would be completely impractical, a few prime examples which are particularly well-documented and which reveal particular characteristics are in order.



21. UFOCAT, a computerized catalog maintained by the Center for UFO Studies, Chicago, Illinois. By the end of 1993, it included 50,939 reports.