Out-of-this-world alien and UFO facts

Extraterrestrial Trivia: 13+ Out-of-This-World Alien and UFO Facts

“Alien facts” may sound like an oxymoron, but believe it or not, we know more about them than most people realize!

Well, OK, we don’t know for sure what they look like, how they behave or even where in the universe they are.

But we do know a lot about the history and theories behind aliens, UFOs and other extraterrestrial entities.

These alien and UFO facts will shock you, stun you and make you wonder if there truly are other forms of life out there in the vast depths of space.

History of Aliens and UFOs

1. The First Recorded UFO Sighting May Have Been in 1440 BC

High-tech and futuristic, UFOs seem like modern phenomena.

But as far back as 3,500 years ago, people have recorded sightings of strange lights and objects in the sky that, if seen today, would almost certainly be thought of as UFOs.

The Tulli Papyrus, an ancient Egyptian document, dates back to 1440 BC and contains a description of “fiery disks” floating across the sky.

Some doubt the veracity of the Tulli Papyrus, and it would certainly not be the first time that ancient documents containing shocking claims were actually forgeries. But if the document is legitimate, it is the oldest known record of a UFO sighting in history.

2. Belief in Aliens Dates Back to 610 BC

A UFO in the sky under a desert road

The debate surrounding cosmic pluralism — the belief in other worlds that may harbor alien life — began as early as 610 BC.

Anaximander, a Greek philosopher, was the first to theorize that we live in an infinite universe, and that there may be life out there other than us.

However, cosmic pluralism was not accepted by the more popular philosophers of the time, such as Plato and Aristotle. Their beliefs (that Earth is the only planet harboring life) were the predominant ones for the next millennium.

3. The Ancient Romans Had a Penchant for UFO Sightings

Between 218 BC and 198 AD, several UFO sightings were recorded over Rome.

Described as everything from “angel hair” to “ships in the sky” to “a spark from a shooting star,” these potential alien vessels seemed to appear over Rome every few decades.

Most notably, in 74 BC, the Roman army and the army of Pontus were about to go into battle when a “huge, silver, flame-like body” shot through the sky between the two armies. Both sides reported seeing this phenomenon, making it one of the more likely UFO sightings from this time.

4. Governor John Winthrop Spotted the First American UFO in 1639

John Winthrop, the governor of the newly-formed Massachusetts Bay Colony, produced the first record of a UFO sighting in America in 1639.

In his diary, he wrote of numerous reputable people who saw a large, strange light in the sky. The light was about three yards square when stationary, but appeared pig-shaped when it moved.

Said to move “swift as an arrow” across the sky for several hours, the light darted between the Muddy River and the village of Charlestown, a distance of around 2 miles. When it vanished, boaters reported suddenly finding themselves a mile upstream from where they were, as if the light had moved them there.

Modern Alien and UFO Sightings

A UFO sighting in the sky

5. The First Modern UFO Sighting Occurred in 1947

In 1947, private pilot Kenneth Arnold made headlines when he spotted nine shiny unidentified flying objects from his cockpit in the skies of Washington.

Using his expertise as a pilot, he estimated that the UFOs were flying at around 1,200 miles per hour. He compared their shape and movement to “saucers skipping on water,” giving rise to the term “flying saucers” that we use today.

Numerous witnesses from around Washington corroborated his story, including an entire flight crew from a United Airlines flight. The flight crew said that the UFOs kept pace with their plane for 15 minutes before vanishing.

6. The First Attempt to Contact Aliens Was Made in 1960

Astronomer Frank Drake is considered one of the most important figures in the quest to discover alien life.

In 1960, he made history by using an 85-foot radio dish to listen for signals from two neighboring stars — the world’s first attempt to contact aliens. He followed this up with the Arecibo message in 1974, which contained information about Earth and humans and was beamed towards a nearby star system.

Drake went on to found SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) and work with Carl Sagan to send the Voyager Record and Pioneer Plaque into space, where they may someday be found by aliens.

7. Over 6,000 UFO Sightings Are Reported Every Year

The Scientific Coalition for UFOlogy records and studies over 6,000 UFO reports each year.

98% of the reports are found to have other explanations, ranging from planes to military tests to distant lanterns.

But the remaining 2% include several famous incidents, including the 1950 Oregon sighting that produced the well-known “flying saucer” photos.

8. Even the US Government Claims to Have Seen UFOs

In 2020, the Pentagon declassified three videos that were recorded from Navy fighter jets in 2004, 2014 and 2015.

The videos depict high-speed, low-altitude flights performed by unidentified objects, and were stated to be “part of a larger pattern” of unidentified aerial phenomena recorded by the military.

When even the US government can’t deny that alien aircraft may have come to Earth, you know there’s more to it than mere conspiracy!

Alien and UFO Statistics

Aliens and UFOs

9. 61% of People Around the World Believe in Some Form of Alien Life

Times have changed since the ancient Greeks suppressed the belief in alien life. Today, 61% of people from around the world believe that there is some form of life on other planets.

And 47% of people believe that at least some of that extraterrestrial life is as intelligent as we are.

10. 25% of People Believe That We May Have Alien Origins Ourselves

Nobody truly knows where or how life on Earth originated, leaving open the possibility that it may have settled here after arriving from another planet.

It’s a concept that’s rapidly gaining traction: 25% of people believe that Earth’s earliest lifeforms came (or were brought) here from other worlds.

11. Russians Are the Most Likely Nationality to Believe in Intelligent Alien Life…

Belief in aliens, especially intelligent ones, appears to have strong cultural roots.

In a survey conducted by Glocalities, 68% of Russian respondents stated that they believed in intelligent alien civilizations. The next highest believers were Mexico (61%), China (60%) and Romania (58%).

12. …And the Dutch Are the Least Likely

Meanwhile, other cultures seem to harbor much more doubt regarding the existence of intelligent alien life.

Only 28% of respondents from the Netherlands said they believe in intelligent alien civilizations. Other skeptics include Indonesia (34%), Turkey (36%) and South Africa (36%).

Americans fall somewhere in the middle: 45% believe in intelligent extraterrestrial life, along with 50% of Canadians and 44% of Australians.

Country% Believe in Intelligent Alien Life
South Korea48%
South Africa36%
Source: Glocalities

13. Of Those Who Believe in Intelligent Alien Life, 60% Say We Should Make Contact

Assuming there is intelligent alien life out there, we will face a tough decision: make contact or mind our own business.

On this issue, there’s a clear majority opinion: 60% of believers in alien life think that we should attempt to make contact with any extraterrestrials we detect.

But on the flip side, 21% of people who believe in aliens think that we should leave them be — and hope that they return the favor to us.

What We know and Don’t Know About Aliens and UFOs (Video)

"We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light."
-- Plato

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