When it comes to coverage by the national media, UFOs (or Unidentified Flying Objects), generally speaking at least, are not a story topping the agenda of your more credible news organizations. In fact, when it comes to such stories, the unwritten rule has always seemed to be that such reporting is best left to the supermarket tabloids.
This week however, was one where the mainstream media apparently never got that memo. Unless I’ve missed something, three stories topped the mainstream news this week:
Gerald Ford’s funeral.
Saddam Hussein’s execution.
According to the reports, several eyewitnesses (including pilots and other credible personnel) watched a classic disc-shaped UFO hover over the airport before it shot straight up into the air at a very high rate of speed and disappeared into the clouds. If you missed it, you can view an interview with the Chicago Tribune reporter who broke the story here:
So here’s a confession.
I’ve actually followed the subject of UFOs most of my life. I first got interested when, as a pre-teen boy, I saw something strange myself. Without going into all of the details, I saw what I would call a grey, football-shaped object up in the sky while peering out the back window of my parents car during an afternoon drive in the country.
In the years since, I’ve read most of the literature dealing with UFOs out there. I even briefly wrote the “Webwatch” column for UFO Magazine, recommending the best UFO websites to readers during the nineties, the UFO “boom years.”
Like the roughly one half (or better) of all Americans who believe there actually may be something to all this flying saucer stuff, I’ve come to a few conclusions. Now before you reach over to cue the X-Files music, please note my hesitance to state what that “something” may actually be.
I do believe “something” that is not birds or conventional aircraft is flying around out there and has been for sometime. I also believe that most people probably don’t give it a second thought – at least if you believe the surveys concluding that more than half of the population shares the view that UFOs are real.
This is why I find many of the circumstances surrounding the Chicago UFO sighting reported this week so inexplicable. According to the Chicago Tribune report, both the airline and the FAA initially denied anybody saw anything. When further digging by the reporter — armed with a Freedom Of Information Act request no less — revealed otherwise, the FAA admitted they had been contacted about the sighting, which they now dismiss as being due to odd weather conditions at the time.
Perhaps those “conditions” include the perfect “hole in the sky” that some witnesses described the object left after it tore through the cloud cover at O’Hare, and off into space that day.
Speaking of that day, the sighting occurred on November 7th. So why did the national news media wait until this week to report the story en masse? Incidentally, that kind of lag time is not a first when it comes to the media’s timetable in reporting a mass UFO sighting over a major American city.
As I mentioned above, the nineties were kind of a “boom time” for UFOs. Between things like the X-Files on TV, and movies like Independence Day and Men In Black, UFOs and aliens became as much a part of American Pop Culture in the nineties as Gangsta Rap and Monday Night Wrestling. The most popular national late night radio show of the time, hosted by Art Bell, was itself devoted almost entirely to the subject of UFOs. Just between you and me — from lunchboxes to TV car ads — those little grey guys seemed to be just about everywhere.
On March 13, 1997, a spectacular mass UFO sighting took place in the American Southwest. Though it has since come to be known as the “Phoenix Lights” sighting, the strange V-shaped formation of unidentified lights — which stretched across the entire night sky — was seen by hundreds of witnesses across the entire state of Arizona. It was also videotaped by dozens of them.
The videos can still be easily found with a Google search. To save you the trouble, you can check it out here:
The original “Phoenix Lights” event quickly became the buzz of UFOlogy through the Internet and shows like Art Bell’s. Still, as was the case with the Chicago sighting reported this week, it would not be covered by the mainstream media until several weeks later. The “Phoenix Lights” story eventually devolved into a media circus with city politicians donning alien costumes for the cameras, even as one (now former) councilwoman named Frances Barwood urged officials to conduct a serious investigation into the mass sighting.
The question now, as then, is simply this:
If there really isn’t anything to all of this crazy UFO stuff, just why is it that so many folks in powerful positions act so crazy when it comes to the subject? You’d almost swear they were actually hiding something. At the very least, it would seem they’d prefer you and I didn’t know about it.
Now you can go ahead and cue that X-Files music.