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  • Jack McDevitt

Blog #79

The media have become crowded with claims of UFO sightings, largely by naval aviators and pilots of civilian transport planes. The initial reports came during World War II. At the time, the objects were called Foo Fighters. They were described as round, and able to move and maneuver at inordinately high speeds. Early assumptions were that they were German vehicles. But ‘foo fighters’ were also sighted in the Pacific. The term apparently derived from ‘Smoky Stover,’ a comic strip of the period.


The war ended, but the sightings continued. And continue to this day. No one has been able to provide an explanation. Neil deGrasse Tyson, a guest on the Bill Maher show last week, stated that he did not know whether they were alien visitors or something else. I haven’t heard an alternate theory yet for the vehicles. As much as the aliens seem like the most likely reason for the sightings, it’s nonetheless difficult to understand why they would have been hanging around for eighty years without making contact.


Another factor is that aliens would have to come from extremely far away. They would need decades to get here. On the other hand, it’s difficult to come up with an alternate explanation. If I could manage it, it would make a decent story.


The UFOs, like the question of whether there’s life elsewhere, is an issue for which I expected to hear an explanation by the end of the 1970’s. The reality probably is that the fact it has remained a mystery is a good thing.

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