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Entries in UFOs (2)

Wednesday
Jun272012

UFOs Exist, Say 36 Percent in National Geographic Survey

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- If you believe in UFOs, you may be in better company than you think.

Thirty-six percent of Americans -- about 80 million people if the survey applied to the whole country -- believe UFOs exist, and a tenth believe they have spotted one, a new National Geographic poll shows.

Seventeen percent said they did not believe in UFOs, or Unidentified Flying Objects, and nearly half of those surveyed said they were unsure. Perhaps reflective of today's political climate, there appears to be near-universal skepticism of government -- nearly four-fifths of respondents said they believe the government has concealed information about UFOs from the public.

The study, commissioned in anticipation of National Geographic Channel's Chasing UFOs series premiering Friday night, was not all serious, said Brad Dancer, National Geographic's senior vice president for audience and business development. Respondents were asked whether President Barack Obama or Republican challenger Mitt Romney would handle an alien invasion better (Obama won 65 percent in that contest) and which superhero they would call in to fight off the attack (the Hulk beat out Batman and Spider-Man).

"We were trying to have a little fun and see if pop culture references have had an impact on people's beliefs," Dancer said. "It's intended as a fun survey of public opinion."

Hollywood, he added, may have contributed to the belief -- held by 55 percent of Americans, according to the study -- that Men in Black-style agents threaten people who report UFO sightings. As movies portraying aliens become increasingly convincing, they may subconsciously affect people's attitudes, he said.

A growing number of Americans have come to believe that Earth is not the only planet in the universe hosting life, he said. The study showed that 77 percent of Americans believe there are signs that aliens have visited Earth.

While the study may be used as ammunition by the vocal minority of UFO enthusiasts, Dancer said that it leaves open the precise definition of the term UFO.

"UFO doesn't necessarily mean alien spacecraft," he said. "There are things that are unexplained. They're interesting because they're unknown. People love a mystery."

The study, conducted by the polling firm Kelton Research, found that more Americans believe The X-Files best represented what would happen if aliens invaded Earth than any other movie.

The study, in which a random sample of 1,114 Americans 18 and over was surveyed, also asked what respondents would do if aliens visited Earth. Nearly a quarter said they would try to befriend the extraterrestrials, 13 percent said they would lock themselves indoors, and just one in 20 said they would, "try to inflict bodily harm."

Those numbers did not surprise longtime UFO investigator David MacDonald, director of the non-profit Mutual UFO Network, who said the idea of contact with extraterrestrials has become commonplace in the last few decades.

"We have grown up with Star Trek, Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica," MacDonald said. "We're at the point where we'd say 'What planet are you from? Oh well, let's have a beer.'"

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Apr112011

Real-Life X-Files Reference 'Flying Saucers' in New Mexico

Thinkstock/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Flying saucer sightings? Reports of three-foot-tall aliens? Secret memos about suspicious objects recovered near Roswell, N.M.? They're all included in the thousands of declassified government documents posted to the FBI's new online "Vault."

Earlier this month, the FBI announced its revamped online reading room that contains more than 2,000 government files. While the documents had been previously available to the public, not all had been digitized and easily searchable online.

Among the so-called "X-files" are once-classified reports dating back to the 1940s and 1950s detailing Air Force investigations into "flying discs" and the "bodies of human shape" discovered inside them.

In one report from March 1950, Guy Hottel, a special agent with the FBI, said he received information from an Air Force investigator about flying saucers found in New Mexico.

"They were described as being circular in shape with raised centers, approximately 50-feet in diameter," he wrote. "Each one was occupied by three bodies of human shape but only 3 feet tall, dressed in a metallic cloth of a very fine texture. Each body was bandaged in a manner very similar to the blackout suits used by speed flyers and test pilots."

The informant, whose name is redacted in the file, said he thought the saucer was spotted in New Mexico because a high-powered government radar in the area interfered with the saucer's controlling mechanism.

At least one document will disappoint those who believe a spaceship landed at Roswell, N.M., probably the most famous UFO conspiracy theory. The document from 1947, with the word "Roswell" handwritten across the top, says that a "flying disc" was recovered near Roswell, N.M.

"The disc is hexagonal in shape and was suspended from a balloon by cable," the document said. "The object found resembles a high-altitude weather balloon with a radar reflector."

Other reports once marked "restricted" and "confidential" detail sightings of mysterious flashing lights and other "unidentified aerial objects."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio