A recent article on the Inverse site has made the claim that the overall number of UFO sightings and alien abductions are down and it is all due to the prevalence of camera phones. In fact, the title of the article claims that the “age of the camera phone” has “killed” the reporting of UFOs (Unidentified Flying Objects) and the claims of being abducted by aliens. But whereas the number of abductee cases may or may not have fallen in recent years (there is no hard supportive or conflicting data presented), sightings of UFOs have actually been on the increase, at least according to data gathered from the world’s two largest UFO reporting agencies.
Writing with a nod toward the 70th anniversary of the Roswell UFO Incident (July 7, 1947), Ryan Britt asked in his Inverse article why “there have been fewer reports of flying saucers and alien abductions in the age of the camera phone?” He backs up the assertion of the decline by noting that such sightings reports and abduction stories are now “viewed more soberly as sociological human quirks rather than fuzzy science fake news.” Britt also relies on the conclusion of author Jack Womack, who wrote in his 2016 book on the UFO subculture, Flying Saucers Are Real!, that UFO reports had “dropped off significantly in the early 21st century.” Womack attributed the decline to the ubiquity of the camera phone.
Britt also pointed out, by acknowledging “The Roswell Syndrome” (the ebb and flow of popularity in mainstream culture surrounding UFOs), that sighting and abduction accounts, not to mention the public’s desire to embrace them, would make a resurgence. He cites the 2012 work of Joe Nickell and James McGaha, where the authors predict that, after the fading of pop culture attractiveness since its heyday in the 1980s, UFOlogy and its associated phenomena would return after a “mythologizing” period, rising again in popularity, perhaps stronger than before.
Apparently, that popularity bounce-back has happened, at least to some extent.
January saw the release of the UFO Sightings Desk Reference, written by Cheryl and Linda Miller Costa, the Daily Express reported. In the book, the authors used 121,036 eyewitness accounts of UFO sightings across the United States recorded separately by the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) and the National UFO Reporting Center (NUFORC) between 2001 and 2015. In their analysis of the data, the Costas found that the number of UFO sightings tripled in 2015 from what they were after the turn of the millennium in 2001.
A month later, Fox News reported that Paul Monfort, a doctoral student in Human Factors and Applied Cognition at George Mason University, had compiled a comprehensive count of UFO reports from NUFORC case files. His conclusion: UFO sightings were at an all-time high, with the number of reports peaking in 2014 with over 8,600 sightings worldwide, most occurring in the United States. Monfort surmised that the increase in reporting was related to the rise in internet connectivity, considering that to report a UFO sighting one needed access to the internet.
Given that the percentage of American adults with cell phones, most of which are now equipped with cameras, have gone from 62 percent in 2002 (per the Pew Research Center) to 96 percent in 2016, the idea that cell phones have killed UFO reporting does not jibe with the numbers. Quite the opposite has occurred, it would seem…
Now, alien abductions might be a different matter altogether. Britt wrote that he wished those “abducted by aliens would remember to get a clear image of saucer men captured on their iPhones.” And in the age of the cell phone (or camera phone, if you prefer), that has become a sticking point for proof of UFOs — but especially for “experiencers,” or alien abductees — as well. Even famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, who has no problem believing in the possibility of alien life existing somewhere in the universe, has a difficult time believing in UFOs (or, rather, believing the reports of UFO sightings) but, even if objects piloted by aliens were visiting Earth, he, too, has insisted, as the Inquisitr reported earlier this month, that abductees need to “get some video footage” of the inside of the alien ship for credibility.
[Featured Image by Ana Aguirre Perez/Shutterstock]