Have you seen a UFO?

Have you ever seen a UFO?

An unidentified flying object
An unidentified flying object

UFO is an abbreviation for "unidentified flying object", so anything you see in flying through the sky that you can't identify is technically a UFO. However, from the very beginning when Project Blue Book leader Edward Ruppelt presumably coined the term, it was associated with supposed extraterrestrials being seen visiting our planet. It is sort of ironic since it was meant to replace the term "flying saucers" for being too closely associated with extraterrestrial visitations, although there is also the additional factor that not all UFOs looked like saucers.

Given both meanings of "UFO" as an abbreviation for an unidentified flying object and as a sighting of an alien spacecraft, how should one answer when asked whether one has seen a UFO? If you have never noticed anything in the sky you couldn't identify, then the answer is an easy "no". But what if you did notice something in the sky you couldn't identify? And what if you're also a skeptic who doesn't leap to the conclusion that it's an alien spacecraft or something else just as fantastical?

Do you worry about the strong associations that the term "UFO" has with supposed sightings of extraterrestrial visitations and answer "no"? You could be misleading the questioner into thinking that you have never noticed anything in the sky you couldn't identify. The questioner could be further confused when you're asked if you have never seen anything in the sky you couldn't identify and you answer that you actually have seen something like that. This could prompt the questioner to repeat the question: "So that means you actually have seen a UFO, an unidentified flying object, does it not?" Do you still insist that you have never seen a UFO and continue to confuse anyone who considers it just to mean an unidentified flying object, no more, no less? Or do you grudgingly admit that you have seen one?

Do you just consider the technical meaning of the term and answer "yes" and risk ridicule for having a fringe belief? It might not even help to clarify that it just means you just noticed something you couldn't identify. Dennis Kucinich received widespread ridicule for saying that he did see a UFO in a presidential debate despite stressing that he only meant it in the sense that he couldn't identify it. And it doesn't stop UFO nuts from piling on former president Jimmy Carter's claim that he saw a UFO, even when making clear that he didn't think it was an alien spacecraft and that he received no information that UFOs were anything other than unidentified sightings that may as well be due to mundane phenomena while he was president, although his sighting may have been Venus as seen through a rare atmospheric optical effect that could confuse someone who is otherwise familiar with what the planet looks like.

My own answer would be thus: "Yes, I have. I am pretty certain that I have never seen an alien spacecraft or something equally fantastical, but I have noticed things in the sky that I could not identify." I have seen unrecognizable lights in the night sky a few times, and although I can make a good guess of what some of them were, they remain unidentified. And now that I barely remember the details of what I saw, it's even more unlikely that anyone would be able to identify them. But I never did have the belief that any of them were alien spacecraft: they never did look like anything that would make me think they were of artificial extraterrestrial origin as opposed to any number of mundane phenomenon that I'm not aware of, which is why they didn't make a strong enough impression for me to remember the details clearly. But would this answer still get me branded as a crazy kook?

What would your answer be?

13 thoughts on “Have you seen a UFO?”

  1. My husband and I were driving out of our subdivision over a bridge covering a lake. I looked up over the lake and saw this 'funny looking thing'. It was way off and I could not tell what is was, until it shot out 3 oblong silver things out from beneath it. I yelled at my husband but it was too late. They disappeared in a blink of an eye. I KNOW what I saw.

  2. Me and my three friends were sitting in my friends room we were having a sleepover and staying up late and at about 3 a.m. in the morning we felt not only her house but the earth roar and two huge green bright lights flared through her window and we screamed. we went to look outside and saw 2 calm green lights in the sky and we had went downstairs to wake her mom up and we came back up to look again and there was now about 8 green lights in the sky. we believed right there that it was a UFO the next morning we asked neighbors and out of 24 homes we asked 16 heard and saw it too

    1. "Believe it was a UFO" sounds a bit silly to this pedant: either it's identified or it isn't. Saying it was more of a UFO or less would make more sense. I wonder what sort of flying objects usually shine in the green, though?

  3. I have seen a UFO twice...both times when I was out star watching back in 1992 & 1994. I do not have photos and it would be impossible to photograph with any normal camera. I do not need to prove to anyone what I saw as I know I saw it and that is enough for me.
    I find it so sad the American military think we are all stupid, we live in 2009 what's all the TOP SECRETS stuff all about, they are all like little boys playing with their toys. No one can take away from me what I saw, it was wonderful...

    1. No doubt people see things in the sky they can't identify all the time, but what does the American military have to do with it?

      What was it you saw that you felt the need to point out that you don't have to prove anything, anyways? Or maybe I'm misunderstanding what you said, as a UFO is by definition not something that has been identified ...

    2. No doubt people see things in the sky they can't identify all the time, but what does the American military have to do with it?

      What was it you saw that you felt the need to point out that you don't have to prove anything, anyways? Or maybe I'm misunderstanding what you said, as a UFO is by definition not something that has been identified ...

  4. I am an 11 year old boy and couple years ago I was sleeping over at my mums freinds house and a loud noise and a big light woke me up, the light looked like fire and the sounded retro like a ufo landind!!!! I couldn't see the ufo properly because of the curtains and blinds and I didn't want to peep outside because I was scared the aleans would see me. I cheked the time and the time was 3:00 am. I heard a starwars like sound of a motorized door opening and then I heard marching coming out of the ufo!

  5. Suddenly I heard...........ALEANS SPEAKING!!!
    Then after that I heard an alean bashing a bush with somthing! THere where then silent for a while then I heard them speaking again and I remember one word which was 'Cama cama" and afrer ond of the said that they strarted marching back into the ufo!!! After that the same sound as before that retro sound of a ufo blasting off!!! Now I will tell you proff that it was not a dream. I coulden't sleep the whole night from then on so thats proff it wasn't a dream and when I wen't to school lots of things where painted white so the aleins whrer probably painting when I heard silents. BOY THEY MUST BE FAST PAINTERS!!!! They might be atracted to white or somthing. Belive me?

  6. I have seen a ufo over 20 years ago. it was what some would call a close encounter, for those of you that wish to see one i have to tell you that once you gaze upon one your outlook on life is never the same. You no longer have the luxury of wondering if they are real, you are plagued with questions that no one around you ever asks. You question your belief in God and are forever wondering. I wish my story ends on the night I saw the starship above me but it was only start.

    1. This is a depressingly vague claim, so you'll have to excuse me for not believing that what you saw was a "starship" or even if you actually saw anything at all. Besides, how can it be an unidentified flying object if you think you've identified it?

  7. This post is not a solicitation for UFO encounter stories. Anyone who does so, especially when they are identifying what they claim to be an unidentified flying object, either has not read the post or is entirely missing the point. Henceforth, any comments with such stories will be summarily deleted.

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