How UFOs Conquered the World – without firing a shot

BBC History Magazine/History Extra published my article that explains how the idea of visitors in mysterious flying objects grew from its origins in the Cold War into the most enduring modern myth.

You can read the main feature here (password access required). There are links to a UFO timeline (1946-2021) and my list of the Top Ten UFO sightings from Kenneth Arnold to the USS Nimitz here.

History Xtra‘s Rachel Dinning also recorded an interview with me that can be downloaded as a podcast. The History and Mystery of UFOs, here.

History Xtra Podcast: download here

International media interest in UAPs (unidentified aerial phenomena) has intensified following the release of the Pentagon’s intelligence report on UAPs (unidentified aerial phenomena) on 25 June, almost 74 years since the first modern report of ‘flying saucers’ by pilot Kenneth Arnold in 1947.

Pressure has grown after three years of news coverage that began with a story published by the New York Times in December 2017 that revealed the existence of a semi-secret Department of Defense programme that investigated UAPs.

A series of close encounters reported by US Navy pilots led the Office of Naval Intelligence to establish a UAP Task Force in August last year.

The last time the CIA convened a panel to review the best evidence for UFOs (or ‘flying saucers’) was in 1953 at the height of the Cold War.

The recommendation of the Robertson Panel was that federal agencies ‘take immediate steps to strip the Unidentified Flying Objects of the special status they have been given and the aura of mystery they have unfortunately acquired’.

And here we are 68 years later awaiting a new US intelligence report on a subject that refuses to die. Commenting upon the enduring mystery, in History Xtra I say:

‘Today, as tensions grow between the USA and its main adversaries Russian and China, how fitting that unidentified flying objects should once again become a factor in what some historians have called the Second Cold War.’

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