World UFO Day 2024

On the evening of 02 July 1947, several eyewitnesses near Roswell, New Mexico allegedly spotted a disc-shaped object flying through the sky shortly before the infamous incident that supposedly occurred later on or around that evening at W.W. “Mac” Brazel’s ranch. Fifty-four years later, Turkish UFO researcher Haktan Akdogan celebrated this peculiar anniversary as the very first World UFO Day observance.

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Every year since then on the second of July,1 UFO researchers, sky watchers, flying saucer nerds, space-minded conspiracy theorists, and Mulder-esque “true believers” gather together to watch the skies for signs of life beyond our terrestrial realm.2 Amateur and professional ufologists — the semi-scientific study of all things UFO3 — flock to the Roswell UFO Festival and admission at Roswell’s International UFO Museum skyrockets around this date. Some folk even go totally nuts and renew their lapsed MUFON memberships. It’s out-of-this-world lunacy, is what I’m sayin’.

The U.K.'s official government investigation of UFOs can be traced to a group formed in 1950: the Flying Saucer Working Party.Well, that’s been the general conception of ufology ever since ufology has been a thing,4 anyway: it’s all fun, games, and (occasionally) conspiracy-flavored craziness, a flighty field of study pioneered by armchair astronomers and harmless kooks who’ve been eyeballin’ the night skies a bit too much. Over the past few years, however, public and political opinion has cast a new eye on this interesting field of inquiry.

  • In 2020, the United States Department of Defense (via the Office of Naval Intelligence) formed the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force (UAPTF) to verify the authenticity of various civilian and military UFO reports; this organization later evolved into the All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO) in July 2022, the United States government’s first serious effort at investigating UFOs since Project Blue Book closed in 1969.
  • That same year (2022), NASA conducted their own nine-month independent study of UFOs; their team recommended the creation of a new office at NASA, the Director of UAP Research, to continue studying unidentified aerial phenomena in their report published on 14 September 2023.
  • On 25 June 2021, the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence released the Preliminary Assessment: Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, commonly known as the “UAP Report”. Though this report was largely inconclusive, Vice Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Marco Rubio referred to the report as “an important first step in cataloging these incidents”.
  • In July 2023, researchers with the RAND Corporation — an American global policy think tank — published a report titled Not the X-Files: Mapping Public Reports of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Across America, which reviewed a staggering 101,151 public UFO sightings throughout the United States from 1998 to 2022. The report concluded that an “evaluation should be conducted to inform the design of a detailed and robust system for public reporting of UAP sightings.”
  • In 2022, retired US Air Force intelligence officer — the National Reconnaissance Office’s former representative to the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force from 2019 to 2021 — Major David Grusch made a whistleblower complaint to the Inspector General of the US Intelligence Committee that the United States government has had proof about the extraterrestrial origin of UFOs since the 1930s or 1940s. He repeated these claims under oath before a US House Committee on Oversight and Accountability testimony given around the time the RAND Corporation released Not the X-Files. Naturally, the Pentagon has refuted Major Grusch’s statements.

A cynical mind might say that Americans probably went a little stir-crazy during the COVID-19 lockdowns and started hallucinating UFOs everywhere, especially after a 2021 Gallup poll determined that belief in UFOs being piloted by extraterrestrial entities rose from 33% to 41% among Americans between 2019 and 2021 — the years when most of the COVID-19 lockdowns occurred, leaving Americans trapped at home with nothing to do but watch UFO documentaries on Netflix.

Moment UFO spotted by US Navy jet - CNN VideoThe problem with that logic is that belief in the extraterrestrial UFO hypothesis, the idea that UFOs are piloted by extraterrestrial entities, has been on the rise long before COVID-19 hit America’s shores, though exact numbers are hazy depending on what organization is conducting the poll. An admittedly tongue-in-cheek 2012 National Geographic poll pegged the amount of Americans who believed in the extraterrestrial UFO hypothesis at 36%, and a 2022 poll by YouGov found that belief in the alien origin of UFOs has risen 14% overall since the 1990s. In June 2019 — conducted six months before the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic5a Gallup poll found that a whopping two thirds of the American population believed that their own government knew more about the UFO issue than they were telling the populace.6 Finally, in July 2023, Ipsos reported that 42% of Americans believe that extraterrestrial beings are behind UFO phenomena, and that number doesn’t seem to be decreasing anytime soon.7

Moreover, in 2010, data collection service Ipsos reported that one in five people across the globe believed that extraterrestrials have visited the planet Earth in human form. As kooky as that idea might seem, a couple of Harvard University researchers gave this theory academic credence just last month, though they pointed to futurist Mac Tonnies’ controversial cryptoterrestrial hypothesis — the idea that the entities behind UFOs might have arisen on Earth or from some interdimensional sphere adjacent to Earth — as one of several possible explanations.

In this increasing climate of belief in the extraterrestrial origins of the UFO phenomenon, why not celebrate World UFO Day? Of course, World UFO Day 2024 is almost over now,8 but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate next year! Watch your favorite UFO documentary or UFO-themed science fiction series or movies with friends and loved ones, go outside with a camera or a telescope and scan the night skies for unexplained aerial activity,9 or just have a UFO-themed barbecue! The Truth is out there, true believers!

  1. Well, some UFO nerds celebrate World UFO Day on 24 June, commemorating the date that pilot Kenneth Arnold witnessed nine half-moon-shaped objects flying through the sky near Mount Rainier, Washington, in 1947.[]
  2. That, or some of us just watch The X-Files with loved ones. Whatever your pleasure.[]
  3. Also called unidentified anomalous phenomena or unidentified aerial phenomena (UAPs), if you’re a hoity-toity intellectual type.[]
  4. The United States military and various serious civilian efforts have been taking UFOs pretty seriously since 1948, though, so who cares what the mainstream public thinks.[]
  5. The poll was released in September 2019, still a good three or four months prior to the pandemic’s onset.[]
  6. The results of this poll may be one of the major reasons the United States government kicked their UFO investigations into high gear after 2019. Major David []
  7. And I’m not even taking the recent dramatic increase in UFO sightings, including the Pentagon UFO videos, into account. Wikipedia has a fairly extensive list of historic sightings, but the most recent can be found anywhere online, from MUFON’s website, the archives of Coast to Coast AM, and even the vaunted annals of YouTube.[]
  8. World UFO Day 2024 is already over if you live anywhere east of the US Central Time Zone.[]
  9. Denizens of western states will likely have the best results according to this map, []

About Dunebat

Sole specimen: Desmodus desertus. Judeo-Christian anchorite/scribe/scribbler. Lover of nerds, Goths, creatives, & outcasts.

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