The 10 Most Legitimate Cases of U.F.O. Sightings

By: Kevin Saltarelli  | 

History doesn’t believe or disbelieve in UFOs. There are a handful of UFO sightings documented by Roman historians from around 2,000 years ago, but they seem about as credible as the existence of Zeus. More than 95 percent of all UFO sightings can be easily dismissed as military aircraft, stars, planets, meteors, flares, weather balloons and manmade hoaxes. The remaining five percent make governors, pilots, military officials and other sane and credible people rub their eyes and scratch their heads in disbelief. Despite all attempts to be rational, some flying objects haven’t been properly identified. Here is our list of the 10 most legitimate UFO sightings.


10. Hudson Valley UFO Wave

Between 1982 and 1986, around 5,000 eyewitnesses reported seeing V-shaped UFOs with multicolored lights flying near the Hudson Valley, just one hour north of New York City. The first sighting was made on New Year’s Eve 1982, by a retired police officer in Kent, New York. The former officer initially thought that he was observing an airplane. When the craft passed above his home, he realized that it was moving far too slowly and quietly to be an airplane.

While most of the eyewitnesses described a slow-moving V-shaped UFO, other reports said the object appeared to be circular and capable of moving at fantastic speeds or disappearing altogether. During one sighting, the UFO hovered about 30 feet above the Indian Point Nuclear Plant. The security supervisor was considering shooting the craft down before it disappeared from sight. Despite eyewitness reports and photographic evidence, the phenomenon was never properly explained.


9. Shag Harbour UFO incident

The Shag Harbour UFO is Canada’s equivalent of the Roswell UFO in the United States. On October 4, 1967, an unknown object crashed into the water near the tiny fishing village of Shag Harbour, Nova Scotia. At least 11 people watched the object as it headed towards the harbor. Multiple witnesses heard a whistling sound and a loud bang as it crashed into the water. Shortly afterwards, Laurie Wickens and four of his friends contacted the Royal Canadian Mounted Police after they spotted a large object floating in the Atlantic Ocean about a 1,000 feet from shore.

The RCMP, the Royal Canadian Navy and the Royal Canadian Air Force became involved in an unsuccessful recovery effort. The investigation revealed that all commercial, private and military aircraft along the eastern seaboard were accounted for. The Navy combed the seafloor of the Gulf of Maine, but found no trace of the object.


8. Westall UFO

Around 11:00 am on April 6, 1966, an unexplained flying object flew around Westall High School in Melbourne, Australia. More than 200 students and several teachers watched the UFO as it descended into a nearby field. Eyewitnesses watched the craft hovering around the school for approximately 20 minutes. The object was described as being a grey saucer-shaped object that was about twice the size of a family car.

There were no commercial, private or Royal Australian Air Force planes in the area at the time. It was suggested that a weather balloon may have been responsible for the confusion, but eyewitnesses quickly dismissed the explanation. The Australian Skeptics suggested that the object was an experimental military craft similar to the nylon target drogues that were towed by RAAF planes at the time, but the Air Force reported that they were not in the airspace at the time of the incident.


7. Anchorage, Alaska

On November 18, 1986, a Japanese Boeing 747 cargo aircraft was followed for nearly an hour by an unidentified flying object. The crew witnessed two objects while flying over eastern Alaska. As the objects got closer to the plane, the cabin was lit up and filled with a strange heat. As these two objects flew away, a much larger disc-shaped craft emerged from the darkness and started to follow the 747. Captain Terauchi contacted Anchorage Air Traffic Control and requested a change of course. The UFO followed the plane despite any of the captain’s maneuvers.

All of the data, including ground radar that captured the unidentified craft, was collected and presented at a meeting with the FBI and the CIA. After reviewing all of the material, the government officials decided that this was the first radar recording of a UFO; however, they insist that their meeting never took place.


6. Chicago O’Hare International Airport

On November 7, 2006, a metallic saucer-shaped craft was seen hovering over the O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. Jon Hilkevitch from the Chicago Tribune reportedly said, “The disc was visible for approximately two minutes and was seen by close to a dozen United Airlines employees, ranging from pilots to supervisors.” The object apparently shot straight up and carved a visible circular hole through the clouds.

The Federal Aviation Administration initially claimed that they didn’t have any information about the sighting. The Chicago Tribune then filed a Freedom of Information Act request, which uncovered recorded conversations concerning the UFO. The FAA suggested that the sighting was the result of a weather phenomenon called a hole punch cloud, but the temperatures that day make this explanation impossible. Then the FAA said that airport lights were responsible for the sighting, but the lights hadn’t been turned on yet. A proper investigation was never conducted.


5. Alderney UFO Sighting

Captain Ray Bowyer was flying a routine 45-minute flight from Southampton, England, on April 23, 2007, when he and his passengers saw two UFOs as they approached Alderney. The Jersey Airport Radar Control recorded the two large yellow cigar-shaped objects for over 55 minutes. Another pilot, flying a plane near Sark, also confirmed the presence and location of these mysterious crafts. BBC Radio Guernsey also reported that visitors in a hotel in Sark had noticed and enquired about the two bright yellow objects in the sky.

During an an address to the U.S. National Press Club on November 12, 2007, Captain Bowyer said, “The British Civil Aviation Authority knew within 20 minutes of the sighting what was seen, as described in a flight log, and faxed directly to the relevant CAA office.” Despite the pilot’s openness about the incident, the cooperation of the military, and countless eyewitness reports from passengers and people on the ground, the incident remains a complete mystery.


4. The Belgian UFO Wave

Between November of 1989 and April of 1990, thousands of people reportedly witnessed triangular UFOs flying over various parts of Belgium. On multiple occasions the Belgian officials even tracked these objects using radar.

During the evening of March 30, 1990, an estimated 13,500 people watched as the UFOs were chased by two F-16s. Over the course of an hour, the two F-16s made nine attempts to intercept the UFOs and were able to make a radar lock with their targets. During one of the radar locks, the UFO accelerated from 150 mph to over 1,100 mph while changing altitude from 9,000 feet to 5,000 feet in a matter of seconds. After his retirement, Major General Wilfried de Brouwer wrote in a statement that “The Belgian UFO wave was exceptional and the Air Force could not identify the nature, origin and intentions of the reported phenomena.” The Belgian objects have still never been explained.


3. Cash-Landrum Incident

On December 29, 1980, Betty Cash, Vickie Landrum and Colby Landrum saw 23 unidentified helicopters surrounding a huge diamond-shaped object that was hovering above the trees. The object emitted such tremendous heat that the outside of the car was painful to touch and a handprint was seared into the softened vinyl interior. A Dayton police officer, Detective Lamar Walker, and his wife also claimed to have seen helicopters near the same area.

After the incident, the group suffered from vomiting, diarrhea, and terrible burning sensations. Betty Cash developed painful blisters on her skin, lost clumps of hair and was unable to walk. A radiologist examined the group and concluded that they were all suffering from secondary damage from ionizing radiation. They sued the U.S government for $20 million, but the case was dismissed in 1986. Some people still believe that the government covered up its involvement in the incident.


2. Rendlesham Forest Incident

A UFO was observed on December 26, 1980, in England’s Rendlesham Forest near the Royal Air Force station in Woodbridge. After witnessing some unexplained lights, several Air Force personnel, including Lieutenant Colonel Charles I. Halt, decided to head into the woods to get a closer look. They were expecting to find a plane crash. Instead, according to Halt’s memo, they saw a glowing metallic object that moved at a phenomenal speed through the forest.

The next day, servicemen returned to the site and found triangular shaped impressions on the ground, broken branches on the trees and radiation readings that were ten times the normal background level. In 2010, retired Lieutenant Halt signed a notarized affidavit that summarized the incident and accused the U.S. and England of a cover up. While some believe it was a hoax or a fallen Soviet satellite, others think this was a legitimate UFO sighting.


1. The Phoenix Lights

A huge V-shaped UFO reportedly passed over Phoenix around 8:15 pm on the evening of March 13, 1997. The object was described as having five spherical lights and was large enough to block out the stars as it flew overhead. People from various locations across Arizona, including Phoenix, reported seeing the V-shaped UFO moving silently across the sky.

Around 10:00 pm that evening, the U.S. Air Force dropped slow falling military grade flares into the sky. The media captured video of the military exercise believing that it was connected to the UFO sightings. Some people think that the military deliberately filled the sky with lights to discredit the UFO sightings made earlier in the evening. Former Arizona Governor Fife Symington III later said, “I can definitively say that this craft did not resemble any man-made object I’d ever seen. And it was certainly not high-altitude flares because flares don’t fly in formation.”

Frequently Asked Questions

How are UFO sightings investigated and verified?
UFO sightings are investigated and verified through a combination of eyewitness reports, radar data, video or photographic evidence, and, in some cases, physical traces left at the sighting location. Investigations may involve government or military officials, aviation experts and ufologists. Credible sightings often undergo rigorous scrutiny to rule out conventional explanations such as aircraft, weather phenomena or celestial objects.
What common characteristics define the most credible UFO sightings?
Common characteristics of the most credible UFO sightings include multiple reliable witnesses, corroboration by radar or other technical means, visual documentation and the inability to attribute the sighting to known aircraft or natural phenomena. These sightings also typically involve unusual flight characteristics or patterns that cannot be explained by current technology or natural explanations.