I approach UFOs in the same way that I approach professional wrestling: on an intellectual level, I know that it’s not real, but it’s so, so much more fun if you pretend that it is. Except I also maybe believe that aliens are real. All I know is that if I see a news story about mysterious orbs or secret government organisations, I am going to click on it so hard that my keyboard shatters into a million pieces, permanently blinding me.

For me, news about UFOs works kinda the same way as stuff on the TrumpRussia investigation works. There’s so much noise from people who are maybe a tiny bit insane that it’s hard to tell what the real stuff is – insofar as stuff about aliens can be real. There have been some pearlers in the last few years, though, enough to almost make you start writing randomly capitalised hand-written letters to the Pentagon about how you know they’re “CoVERiNg UP SOEMThInG bIG!!!!“.

The biggest and most important one is from this year and one that I have to remind myself happened constantly because it is so crazy: the NYT report on the US government’s extremely real UFO research project that ran from 2007 – 2012. One of the biggest takeaways from this was the construction of a facility in Vegas for storing weird alien metals (our words):

Under Mr. Bigelow’s direction, the company modified buildings in Las Vegas for the storage of metal alloys and other materials that [Luis] Elizondo and program contractors said had been recovered from unidentified aerial phenomena. Researchers also studied people who said they had experienced physical effects from encounters with the objects and examined them for any physiological changes. In addition, researchers spoke to military service members who had reported sightings of strange aircraft.

Elizondo, the military official who headed up the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program (read: UFO Squad) is now working for the To the Stars Academy of Arts and Science, which, as we all know, is the UFO research centre headed up by former Blink-182 frontman Tom DeLonge. What a sentence.

Included in that article from the Times was another incredible tidbit: footage captured by the pilot of a US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet supposedly showing a UFO.

In another NYT piece, one of the two pilots involved in the incident described seeing something “whitish” and “around 40 feet long and oval in shape“:

The craft was jumping around erratically, staying over the wave disturbance but not moving in any specific direction, Commander Fravor said. The disturbance looked like frothy waves and foam, as if the water were boiling.

Commander Fravor began a circular descent to get a closer look, but as he got nearer the object began ascending toward him. It was almost as if it were coming to meet him halfway, he said.

Commander Fravor abandoned his slow circular descent and headed straight for the object.

But then the object peeled away. “It accelerated like nothing I’ve ever seen,” he said in the interview. He was, he said, “pretty weirded out.”

The flying object is yet to be identified (which is why it’s a UFO, I guess).

Another video of an F/A-18 Super Hornet’s encounter with a similar object from 2015 was released to the To the Stars Academy of Arts and Science:

Slightly less authoritative is, of course, that former Canadian Minister of National Defence who did the interview with RT in 2013 in which he categorically stated that aliens are real. In an ideal world, a high-ranking defence official outlining the secrets of the contact with aliens that governments regularly have would blow the whole issue wide open but, unfortunately, Paul Hellyer comes across as about as informed as your average person that runs a Geocities website about how Pleiadians built Atlantis.

What Hellyer detailed is all stuff pretty common in the UFO community: there are a bunch of different alien species, like the Nordics and the Greys and what have you, and some of them are working with the US government. From the interview:

They are what we call “Nordic blondes” and also the Tall Whites who were actually working with the US air force in Nevada. They’re able to get away with that, they had a couple of their ladies dressed as nuns go into Las Vegas to shop and they weren’t detected.

Not really sure why hyper-advanced aliens need to shop, but sure. Hellyer believes that a lot of our technology comes from our communication with the aliens, offering “led lights and microchips and Kevlar vests” as examples.

One of the more interesting ones to happen recently is an encounter that the pilot of a Piper PA-32R Saratoga (a small six-seater plane) had with a ~mysterious~ object over Long Island, New York in May of this year.

In a recording of the conversation with air traffic control (you can listen to it right here), the pilot describes seeing an object he can’t identify and which air traffic control says isn’t showing up on radar. ATC suggests that the object might be a drone, but the pilot seems dubious about this characterisation:

Pilot: I have an object in front of me, I don’t know what it is

ATC: You mean like a drone or something?

Pilot: I don’t know if it’s a drone… It’s bigger than a drone.

ATC: Ummmm, I don’t show anything on radar. . . We’ll have to assume that it was a drone, that’s the only, I mean I don’t know if that’s the shape assumption or not but I guess that’s what we will go by.

Pilot: Actually, it looked, uh, like it had lights on it.

ATC: That’s uh, really interesting, uh again, I show nothing on radar so I don’t know what to say.

Pilot: Ok and I know I’m not delusional.

In a statement released to The Drive after they submitted a Freedom Of Information Act request, the Federal Aviation Administration acknowledged that “The pilot of a Piper PA32 reported to the FAA that he saw a “drone-like object” approximately 14 miles northeast of John F. Kennedy International Airport on May 26, 2018 at 12:59 p.m.” and concluded by saying that they will investigate.

In a later article, The Drive claimed to have interviewed one of the crew members of the flight and described the object as something of a glowing orb:

In my interview with one of the Piper’s crew, the object was described as a very bright orange to magenta colored round object that appeared in front of the aircraft. There was no discernable structure or any other colored lights on it. The illumination was steady. The range was hard to tell for the crew because of the strange nature of the glowing object, but it didn’t seem that far directly ahead of the Piper’s path and was in front of a cloud. The encounter lasted a couple of minutes and after a course change was requested the orb of light seemed to dim and then disappear inside a cloud.

The FAA hasn’t commented any further on the incident, presumably because they’ve been hushed up by damn spooks at Area 51!111!!!1!!!1!

The very boring post-script to add to this is that a UFO is simply an aerial phenomenon we can’t identify, and that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s extraterrestrial in origin. It could be weird secret defence technology, it could be the Russians, it could be some natural thing we don’t understand, bla bla bla. Between you and me? It’s aliens.