The Most Legit UFO Sightings

The truth is out there, but it's so far away that we may never know it in our lifetimes. We know less about space than we know about the ocean, and we swim in that thing like every day. While people have been talking about seeing unidentified flying objects in the sky since ancient times, it's only the advent of videotape recordings and modern reporting that we can really corroborate and look at some of the more serious sightings mankind has witnessed. Let's hope the Men in Black don't arrive as we start going through some of the most convincing UFO sightings we could find.

Los Angeles, CA - February 24, 1942

Five years before Roswell was a thing, the United States was gripped by the fear of Japanese invasion. Enemy submarines were spotted off the coast of California, and Pearl Harbor had been bombed only months before, so all eyes were trained on the skies of Los Angeles for a potential overseas invasion. When a "lozenge-shaped" object appeared over LA, the military lit the searchlights and opened fire without hesitation, launching thousands of anti-aircraft shells towards the object, but hitting nothing. Over the course of a few hours, over 25 more unexplained objects were seen by military and civilian onlookers alike. Unfortunately, three LA residents were killed when some of the unexploded, twelve pound anti-aircraft shells came plummeting to the ground in the unreciprocated firefight.

Kecksburg, PA - December 9, 1956

There were thousands of witnesses between Ontario, Canada and Northern Pennsylvania who reported seeing an enormous fireball pass overhead on the night of December 9, 1956. Accompanied by reports of strange metal debris falling from the sky, the unidentified flaming object eventually came to a stop in the forests of Kecksburg, PA. Countless people saw something that they couldn't identify. It showed up on seismographs, and the military quickly showed up in Kecksburg to cordon off the area. While the military claims to have found nothing, personal accounts from the area allegedly spotted a craft with hieroglyphics-like writing around the edges, which was removed on a truck by the military. A model of the object sits outside of the Kecksburg fire department today, and the town holds an annual festival to commemorate the event.

Spencer, TN - June 1, 1853

It's easy to discredit UFO sightings over college campuses as the products of inebriated mass delusions—people actually went to school to learn and better themselves back in 1853, not just escape parental supervision into a sweat-soaked miasma of debauchery and regretful mornings. On one fateful day over Spencer, Tennessee, students at Burritt College experienced a rare morning UFO sighting, seeing two glowing orbs that changed shape and size, prompting resident professor A.C. Carnes to pen a letter to Scientific American to describe the phenomenon, speculating that maybe the orbs had something to do with electricity. The magazine was unwilling to draw an conclusions from the report.

Florence, Italy - October 27, 1954

If you're a UFO taking the day off from probing backwoods farmers' backsides and want to be noticed, show up at a huge sporting event. That's exactly what some flying orbs did in 1954 at Florence, Italy, over the Stadio Artemi Franchi, while 10,000 soccer—ahem, football fans were assembled for a match. The normally rambunctious audience reportedly fell silent, play came to a dead stop, and everyone focused on the silver shapes floating over the stadium. The crafts allegedly dropped cobweb-like strands of an unknown material as they passed, which was later tested and said to include an unusual combination of basic elements, both organic and inorganic. It's tough to argue against 10,000 eyewitnesses.

New Jersey Turnpike - July 14, 2001

V-shaped formations of unusual lights are not an uncommon sight in the areas of New York and New Jersey, but even jaded commuters were convinced to pull their cars off of the New Jersey Turnpike in 2001 when an especially visible fleet of golden lights were seen hovering around the area. Hundreds of viewers in backyards and cars bore witness to the lights, and local law enforcement was unable to confirm the source of the disturbance. McGuire Air Force Base, local to the sightings, confirmed that they had no practice flights scheduled that night, so what the orbs were remains a mystery, or at the very least, completely top secret.

Colares, Brazil - 1977

While most UFO encounters are of the First kind, where the encountered simply sees an unusual object in the sky, the Second kind is where things start to get scary. For a period in 1977, the city of Colares, Para, Brazil experienced a series of incidents involving small, flying lights which would fire intense beams into people and leave burned lesions behind. The events were frequent enough to terrorize the town, which launched "Operation Plate," a combination of a night watch by the Air Force and fireworks by the townsfolk to scare away anything invading the skies. The phenomenon stopped after a few months. 20 years later, the operation's commander, Captain Uyrange, gave an interview about the events to MUFON, a significant UFO-investigating organization. A few months later, he was found dead, apparently by his own hand.

Phoenix, AZ - March 13, 1997

Generally, lines of unusual lights appearing over city skies are dismissed as flares or weather balloons, but a V-shaped formation of lights seen over Phoenix, AZ in 1997 was just a little different. Because of the number of observers, the information gathered is subject to a lot of controversy and disagreement, but most of the witnesses agree that they saw a V-shaped craft with five lights, blocking out the stars behind it. Even the governor reported seeing the lights, but held a press conference shortly after saying that they had "found those responsible" for the objects. Later, after leaving his post (and being indicted of extortion and bank fraud), Governor John Fife Symington III admitted to the lights being of unknown origin after all.

Madisonville, KY - January 7, 1948

Known as the "Mantell UFO Incident," this sighting actually resulted in the unfortunate death of WWII Air Force pilot, Thomas Mantell. Military personnel at Fort Knox reported seeing an unusual, white object at 1:45 PM on January 7, 1948, which remained still for around 90 minutes before displaying some high-speed maneuvers in the sky. Four planes already airborne were instructed to investigate the object, but technical problems caused all but Mantell to break away from pursuit. A rapid ascent caused Mantell to black out, and his plane crashed in Franklin, KY, without positive identification of the UFO. Some reports claim that Mantell described an enormous, silver craft, but those have been disputed.