The human fascination for the unexplained is eternal. Looking at the sky, human beings have been trying to explain the mysterious lights and objects for millennia.
But the modern perception of unidentified flying objects or the UFOs first came into being in 1947 in the United States after a farmer found debris in Roswell, New Mexico.
The UFO is a term widely used for claimed observations of extra-terrestrial spacecraft or alien spacecraft.
The debris that the farmer in New Mexico found was first assumed as a mysterious flying disc or UFO. But later, it was believed to be part of a secretive balloon programme made to monitor the Soviet Union.
The public assumptions of UFOs and aliens, however, mushroomed into multifaceted conspiracy theories after Area 51 in Nevada became a testing base for advanced aircraft. In popular belief – presaged by conspiracy theorists – Area 51 is a centre for UFO research where the US government deals with aliens and their advanced technologies.
Over the years, such theories have been debunked and new theories emerged until they were also debunked. This has been a long cycle of claims and debunks.
But the idea of UFOs or extra-terrestrial spacecraft, despite having a huge public interest, has been ridiculed in the mainstream media for decades – until a solid news from the Pentagon emerged in 2017.
The Pentagon in 2017 admitted that it had a long-standing programme called the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Programme for investigating UFOs, but it terminated the project.
Now, this acknowledgment from the Pentagon, however, has been a huge triumph for the proponents of UFO theories like the former Blink-182 singer Tom Delonge.
After the US Department of Defence (DOD) stopped funding for UFO investigations project, UFO-advocate DeLonge established To the Stars... Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2017 for UFO investigations.
DeLonge, for his advisory board, hired aerospace experts, physicists and former DOD officials who – just like this former rock star – have been publicly talking about the UFOs.
The musician has been into the UFOs all his life. Back in 1999, this Blink-182 rock star sang "what if people knew that these were real?" in the hit track "Aliens Exist".
Those tracks of DeLonge were what actually made UFOs go mainstream in the beginning of this century, Jan Harzan – director of the Mutual UFO Network, a group that investigates sightings – told the Washington Post.
Harzan – himself an UFOs theorist – added, "UFOs are real. And it represents advanced technology in our skies. If we want to advance as a civilisation, this is something we have to focus on."
Luis Elizondo used to be the director of DOD's the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Programme intended for investigating the UFOs. He also joined DeLonge's To the Stars team.
Elizondo, just before he resigned, said, "the phenomenon is indeed real." He claimed that there were "overwhelming evidence" that unexplained occurrences have been interfering with the US military.
The "assumptions" turning into "beliefs"
Recently, the assumptions about the existence of extra-terrestrial beings became stronger after the Pentagon released three "UFO videos" on April 28 this year for the record.
Releasing the videos of some "unexplained flying" objects, the Pentagon said, "After a thorough review, the department has determined that the authorised release of these unclassified videos does not reveal any sensitive capabilities or systems, and does not impinge on any subsequent investigations of military air space incursions by unidentified aerial phenomena.
"The DOD is releasing the videos in order to clear up any misconceptions by the public on whether or not the footage that has been circulating was real, or whether or not there is more to the videos. The aerial phenomena observed in the videos remain characterised as 'unidentified'."
Eric W Davis is an astrophysicist who worked in DOD's secretive UFO investigation project and investigated these videos. No matter how simplistic the Pentagon statement sounds, he told two years back that whatever is in the videos "is not human; it is not natural; it is under artificial control."
He deepened the mystery even further by saying that "We do not know where it comes from. But it is here, and has been here for some time."
Now, the number of sceptics or those who love to debunk these videos as, for example, larger birds from a particular position at particular speed, however, is not small.
One such sceptic official from the Defence Intelligence Agency told the Washington Post reporter Dan Zak – who made a comprehensive story about DeLonge and his new UFO investigation adventure – that "the hype over the secret Pentagon UFO programme is misleading."
"Some out there seem to be making this into more than what it really is," the official said.
But DeLonge and the other likeminded were elated at the Pentagon release.
Following the Pentagon release, DeLonge tweeted, "With today's events and articles on my and @TTSAcademy's efforts to get the US Gov to start the grand conversation, I want to thank every share holder at To The Stars for believing in us."
"Next, we plan on pursuing the technology, finding more answers and telling the stories," he added.
In a coronavirus-afflicted world where thousands of people are losing their lives every day, the release of the videos in April went almost unnoticed.
But with time, such ridiculed theories about the existence of the UFOs are spreading faster than ever before. The recent developments and findings, however, only assert the long-standing assumptions that the aliens might be coming; but that may not happen anytime soon.