Is the Earth the only planet with life on it? Many people believe that our planet has been frequently visited by extra-terrestrials in crafts popularly known as UFOs. However, just because lots of people believe in one thing does not make that thing true. Thousands of people used to believe the Earth as flat, too (and some people still do.)
What about All Those Testimonies?
There have been some absolutely fascinating testimonies from individuals of all walks of life about meeting or being abducted by aliens in UFOs. There have also been many collaborative testimonies from different people about seeing the same set of lights or other phenomena in the sky. Most of the testimonies share certain features.
However, all of them can be discounted. Just because thousands of people tell the same story doesn’t make something true. How many readers out there believe in the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus or God? You’ll find about a million other people with the same beliefs and similar personal; testimonies about all three of these figures. But somehow, the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus and God remain unmanifested into a physical reality.
People make the worst witnesses to anything. They can lie. They can be under the influence of chemicals, strong emotions or extreme fatigue. Even common ailments like migraines often are preceded with migraines of very real hallucinatory images called auras. Since the human brain struggles to quickly make sense of confusing sounds and images, the brain will often make very wrong conclusions.
What about Films, Photos and Radar Detection?
Any film – video, still or digital – can be faked or show distortions. And a vast majority of that evidence is blurry and distorted, so you have no idea what is going on. Film is not an entirely reliable recording device, even if the person behind the camera is of impeccable character. One such hoax was the infamous Oliver’s Castle crop circle video, where strange lights appear to create a crop circle.
Ever see a double exposed picture? They often look extremely convincing. Double exposed photos once were called spirit photographs. Modern photographers can use props and Photoshop to create “convincing” photos of UFOs.
Unfortunately, this unreliability also extends to the various radar systems that have detected UFOs. Radars have been known to malfunction, to record things moving in the air that turn out to be flocks of birds or balloons, and those reading the radars can also make mistakes.
So, What’s Happening, Then?
Once upon a time, strange sights and experiences were attributed to Deities, fairies or ghosts. And, in some cases, they still are -only now they are called aliens. UFOs have joined this merry band of our modern mythology. Something happens to us that we can’t quite explain and we help use myths to make sense of it.
People want to feel special and somehow singled out. It used to be that people thought they were visited by demons or angels. Now, they are visited by aliens.
There usually is a kernel of truth in just about all myths. Something strange is happening during a close encounter, but the something is not aliens. In the future, there may yet be truth to the UFO myth. However, any conclusive proof of existence has yet to appear. Until that time, there is no convincing evidence that E.T has ever visited Earth.
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark. Carl Sagan. Random House; 1995.
UnexplainedMysteries.com. Michael Shermer. “How to Fake UFO Photos.” http://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/viewvideo.php?id=o7Tu-28hyow&tid=241539
HowStuffWorks.com. “UFO Hoaxes.”