by Gideon Lewis-Kraus published in The New Yorker
Read original on The New Yorker's website
The Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force was f...Show description
Posted 724 days ago
I won't lie, at first, I was like what on earth is The New Yorker doing reporting on something so ridiculous. Had they fallen into silly pop-culture articles to get internet clicks? Even though almost everything about U.F.O.s are clouded in conspiracy theories and crazy internet junkies, Lewis-Kraus makes the case that there is some evidence out there for bizarre occurrances and we should keep more of an open mind than we do. She writes:
For the most part, people who do not feel that U.F.O.s represent a meaningful category of study regard the opposing view as a harmless curiosity. The world is full of weird, unaccountable convictions: some people believe that leaving your neck exposed in winter makes you ill, and others believe in U.F.O.s.
I fall in the first category, that it's harmless to think about but we shouldn't be dedicating too much time and resources to it. It is a publicity enterprise, but people do actually love it. She writes:
On November 7, 2006, at about 4 p.m., a revolving, metallic-looking disk was seen suspended approximately nineteen hundred feet above Gate C17 at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. The object hovered for several minutes before accelerating at a severe incline and leaving “an almost perfect circle in the cloud layer where the craft had been,” as one anonymous witness subsequently put it. When the Chicago Tribune published an account of the sighting—not a single witness was willing to go on the record—it became the most-read article on the newspaper’s Web site up to that time.
There is a lot of money to be made in this, from news to books to TV shows, etc. it stays in the public consciousness because it's valuable to so many content producers. The simple fact is, whether you believe in them or not, that people love to discuss it.
That being said, there are some "encounters" that seem all to real to discard. I'm not saying they are aliens, but it's hard to just discard them entirely for being a fluke or imagination. The Nimitz Encounter is the one that comes best to mind from Lewis-Kraus's reporting.
But on the flip side, it's also so shrouded in obscurity and ridiculout people (the Blink-182 singer is one of the biggest believers - don't get me wrong, I love Blink-182, but punk music is where their authority ends). Lewis-Kraus writes:
I would begin interviews with sources who seemed lucid and prudent and who insisted, like Kean, that they were interested only in vetted data, and that they used the term “U.F.O.” in the strictly literal sense—whether the objects were spaceships or drones or clouds, we just didn’t know. An hour later, they would reveal to me that the aliens had been living in secret bases under the ocean for millions of years, had genetically altered primates to become our ancestors, and had taught accounting to the Sumerians.
That's a bit hard to swallow.