When aliens finally make contact with humankind, our leaders are going to be all "You totally dropped the ball in 1947 in Roswell, huh, aliens?" To which the aliens will laugh and nod, while collecting a large amount of whatever it is they came here for (most likely German beer).
Since tonight's Paranormal Witness on Syfy at 10/9C is about a UFO encounter, we found 8 lesser-known sightings that are just as remarkable as four joyriding aliens crash-landing in New Mexico because they lost control for some reason (most likely German beer).
Chinese Genius Documents World's Largest Spotlight
Shen Kuo was a hugely influential scholar and scientist. He theorized about and then discovered true north, wrote first-person descriptions of tornadoes and was a general brainy badass. Devoted to unraveling the mysteries of life, he would frequently record eyewitness accounts of unexplainable situations.
One such situation involved a large, bright object that repeatedly floated over Yangzhou at night. One witness that Shen Long recorded said the object "opened its door and a flood of intense light like sunbeams darted out of it. Then the outer shell opened up, appearing as large as a bed, with a big pearl the size of a fist illuminating the interior in silvery white. The intense silver-white light shot from the interior, was too strong for human eyes to behold; it cast shadows of every tree within a radius of 10 miles. The spectacle was like the rising sun, lighting up the distant sky and woods in red. Then, all of a sudden, the object took off at a tremendous speed and descended upon the lake like the sun setting."
While we have no idea what "descended upon the lake like the sun setting" means—did it crash into the lake? does their sun set in the lake?—we have some theories about the other stuff. Giant shell opening ... bright light illuminating everything for a few moments ... it's obvious that giant aliens were taking flash photographs.
Remote Explorer Sees Giant Shiny Egg
Nikolai Rerikh was a highly accomplished Russian whose paintings and travels shaped the nation. While hiking in the mountains of Tibet his party saw "something big and shiny reflecting the sun, like a huge oval moving at great speed. Crossing our camp, the thing changed in its direction from south to southwest. And we saw how it disappeared in the intense blue sky. We even had time to take our field glasses and saw quite distinctly an oval form with shiny surface, one side of which was brilliant from the sun."
What makes this a bit weirder is that Rerikh disappeared off the face of the Earth in 1947. Some think he was picked up and taken back to his mother planet, while some crazy conspiracists claim he "died."
The Kenneth Arnold Sightings
In 1947, a Marine Corps transport airplane crashed near Mt. Rainier in Washington state. Unable to locate it, the U.S. military put up a reward. Kenneth Arnold was flying near the area, so he decided to take a look. He didn't find the transport plane, but he did see a bunch of weird dots near the mountain.
The fast-moving, shiny dots moved in front of Arnold, who was trying desperately not to see them. They skipped around erratically before flying off. His credibility and calm demeanor caused a media sensation when Arnold reported the sightings. Ten days later, a United Airlines crew reported seeing something similar over Idaho. Then somebody took a picture of it over Tulsa, Okla.:
Because of the reported descriptions of the object, the media started using the term "flying saucer." This was patient zero in terms of the flying saucer fascination that soon gripped the nation. By the end of the year, hundreds of UFO reports had been phoned in to police and military stations. Sure, it could be a wave of false sightings due to hype, but remember: aliens dropped the ball in 1947.
The Maracaibo Incident
Scientific American published an interesting letter in its 1886 issue. At the time, we imagine the publication was aimed toward hip teens, supporting the rebellious new concepts of both "science" and "America." In the letter, an unusual thunderstorm in Maracaibo, Venezuela, is described. A bright UFO appeared over a hut in the village. Witnesses report the object was humming. Then all of the people in the hut got symptoms of radiation poisoning. Then the trees surrounding the hut withered and died.
We can't help but imagine Scientific American was really just an old-timey version of Weird Tales. It presents the story as an exhibit in the mysterious world of "electrical effects." Nine people who lived in the hut were stricken violently ill in this incident, which remains unexplained to this day.
The Flatwoods Monster
In 1952, three boys saw a bright object fly through the sky and land at a nearby farm. Any normal kids would chase it and throw rocks, but since it was the wholesome 1950s, these boys went and told their mother. She, along with a National Guardsman, went to investigate. They reported seeing a pulsating ball of fire. Nearby stood a 10-foot-tall, red-faced, bug-eyed monster, from whom everybody fled in panic. As we now know, this violates intergalactic traffic laws: They should've stayed at the scene and provided the alien with a copy of Earth's vehicular insurance.
Kecksburg UFO Incident
A fireball streaked across the Midwest U.S. sky on Dec. 9, 1965, before crashing in some Pennsylvania woods. Witness report seeing a car-sized object with Egyptian hieroglyphs on it. Witnesses further report that the Army was quick to swoop in and remove the object, while the Army denies ever having found anything.
Adding to the freakiness of the story, a local broadcaster made a report of his experiences in the Virginia woods that night. Two men in black suits approached the reporter the day before the story was to air and allegedly made him change the whole thing, not even mentioning the object. Syfy did an investigation of the situation in 2003 that led to tightening up of NASA's document security policy (mainly because NASA kept losing documents related to the investigation).
In 1973, two co-workers were fishing on a pier in Mississippi. A long, skinny, cylindrical aircraft hovered near them. Then three creatures emerged from the craft and pulled them in. The lobster-clawed creatures then scanned the men with mechanical instruments before dropping them back on the pier.
The men alerted police, who interrogated them thoroughly. Their stories held up under extensive questioning; even when left alone the men seemed genuinely convinced of their experience. No official explanation for these events has ever been given. We have to admit, the signs here don't point toward aliens: they point toward giant lobsters with a submarine.
Colares UFO Flap
The Brazilian island of Colares was abuzz with reports of UFOs in 1977. Citizens even claimed that UFOs fired beams at them, causing extensive injuries. Two citizens even died from being hit with radioactive beams of light from the sky. The Brazilian government launched an investigation into the situation, but then sealed off the files. However, in 2004, top-ranking Brazil air force officials met with UFO scientists and gave them documents from the investigation. We can only imagine this was some failed alien attack, due for disaster after aliens mistook a fishing village for an international hot spot.
If aliens do decide to finally make contact in a way that isn't extraordinarily weird, we can only hope they bring gifts to exchange for whatever it is they want. And no, sharing the secrets of probe technology doesn't count.