I would say I think about the UFO articles published by the New York Times at the end of 2017 a perfectly appropriate amount, in that I think about them all the goddamn time. These articles, documenting the Pentagon’s now-defunct UFO-monitoring project (the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program) and historical sightings of mysterious, still-unidentified aircraft by Navy pilots, did something that is not ever really done with reporting on UFOs: they took them somewhat seriously.
With these reports came the release of three pieces of footage, all taken by Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets, each showing a blob with no discernible means of propulsion manoeuvring in ways inconsistent with how aircraft normally move, with accompanying voice-over from very confused pilots.
Despite the scrutiny applied to these videos, we still have no fucking idea what was captured on film. Only just last month, the Navy confirmed that the videos are authentic, and reiterated that the “phenomena contained/depicted” in them remains, to this day, “unidentified”. The first of the three videos above (‘FLIR1’) was, according to the Navy, captured on November 14, 2004, by a patrol that was sent out to investigate a sighting made earlier that day off the coast of San Diego.
The pilot of the F/A-18 that made that first sighting, Commander David Fravor, described seeing something big and weird to the New York Times in 2017:
Hovering 50 feet above the churn was an aircraft of some kind — whitish — that was 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.”
If that tantalising snippet wasn’t enough for you, I have just tremendous news: You can watch him talk about it for a good two hours courtesy of Joe Rogan and his podcast:
Fravor appeared alongside documentary filmmaker Jeremy Corbell, who directed Bob Lazar: Area 51 & Flying Saucers, the somewhat-less-authoritative documentary on supposed UFO ‘whistleblower’ Bob Lazar.
For the most part, Fravor reiterates the (admittedly quite good) story of his encounter, but there are a few juicy extra tidbits in there. In this interview, Fravor describes the ‘boiling water’ beneath the object as indicating something subsurface about the size and shape of a Boeing 737, and suggests as a theory that whatever it was underwater might have been communicating with whatever the UFO was.
Fravor also seemingly agrees (or, at least, doesn’t noticeably disagree) with Corbell’s categorisation of the UFOs captured in the three videos possessing some sort of “non-reactionary field propulsion system”, which would explain the strange movement and the lack of visible exhaust.
According to Fravor, the craft in the Gimbal video wasn’t alone, with radar picking up a v-formation of other, similar objects. Corbell described this particular bit of information as having never been released to the public before.
As far as UFO people go, Fravor sounds like a pretty credible person, even if there are some who dispute his interpretation of what he saw.
(I cannot repeat enough times that all of this is happening because of Tom DeLonge.)