World UFO Day 2024: What it is and how UFOs became mainstream in America (2024)

July 2 is World UFO Day, a day where "the UFO community comes together to celebrate their beliefs," according to WorldUFODay.com.

The website encourages people to join in on the celebration by watching UFO movies or engaging in conversations with friends about UFOs and alien life. Additionally, the website tells readers to "open your mind, embrace a different perspective and explore the wonders of the UFO phenomenon."

In August of 2023, the Pentagon's office to investigate UFOs revealed a new website where the public can access declassified information about reported sightings. Thesitewill be operated by the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO,) a relatively new Pentagon program established to analyze reports of what the government officially refers to as unidentified anomalous (or aerial) phenomena.

The Department of Defense announced the websitein a press release, hailing it as a "one-stop shop" for photos and video of UAP approved for public release.

World UFO Day 2024: What it is and how UFOs became mainstream in America (1)

How UFOs became mainstream in America:From conspiracy theories to congressional hearings

How UFOs have recently become mainstream in America

In 2017, veteran New York Times staff reporter Ralph Blumenthal connected with investigative journalist Leslie Kean, who had come across an extraordinary tip.

Kean, who has long reported on UFOs, was able to attend a confidential meeting that October where she learned of a top-secret Pentagon program that had for years operated in the shadows. Its mission? To investigate reportedsighting of mysterious objects in the skies.

The discovery was monumental, not least because it directly undermined the government's public position of more than 50 years that unidentified flying objects were not worth studying.

Naturally, Blumenthal was intrigued.

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“The government always took the position that there’s nothing to this, that these are all hoaxes or hallucinations, but nothing real," Blumenthal previously told USA TODAY in a phone interview.“This was a pretty good story, I thought – a great story.”

Blumenthal's hunch was right.

Published two months later, the now-famous article uncovering the top secret program headlined "Glowing Auras and ‘Black Money’" marked a turning point in the ever-evolving public discourse surrounding UFOs.

Reported UFO sightings have long attracted as many skeptics as they do fanatics. But for those with doubts, there it was in black and white on the front page of one of the nation's preeminent newspapers: The Pentagon had for years thought that reports of craft flying in strange ways were so serious as to merit millions of dollars in funding to study.

What the Times' reporters exposed spread like wildfire, helping to set in motion a series of additional revelations, government hearings and evenUFO documentariesthat recently culminated in July in somejaw-dropping testimony before Congressabout a spaceship crash retrieval program.

'Long overdue':Witnesses call for increased military transparency on UFOs during hearing

Intelligence officials go public

The notion that the U.S. government not only has knowledge of extraterrestrials but has directly encountered them, long confined to the realm of conspiracy theory, is now a matter of congressional public record.

Three former military members, Ryan Graves, Rt. CommanderDavid Fravor and David Grusch, all of whom have previously spoken publicly about their firsthand knowledge of reported encounters with strange and mysterious flying objects, appeared before Congress in July 2023for a hearingon the national security threats such phenomena could pose.

Their testimony before the U.S. House came at a time of mounting bipartisan pressure on the executive branch of government and the military to release more information about so-called unidentified anomalous phenomena, more commonly referred toas unidentified flying objects.

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Across more than two hours of testimony, the three witnesses also provided accounts before the House Oversight Committee's national security subcommittee of their understanding for how the federal government has handled or suppressed reports of strange encounters documented by pilots.

For years, reports and videos have surfaced documenting sightings of craft moving in ways beyond the capabilities of any known human technology. During the hearing last July, the witnesses went so far to suggest that the phenomena observed could be indicative of technology so advanced that it would take decades for humanity to equal it.

"The American people deserve to know what is happening in our skies," Graves said in prepared remarks during the hearing. "It is long overdue."

Recommended documentaries for World UFO Day

WorldUFODay.com lists a "small collection of top rated alien and UFO documentaries" for people to watch on World UFO Day.

The list includes the James Fox-directed "Out of the Blue," as well as a BBC documentary that follows actor and presenter Danny Dyer as he investigates the possibilities of UFOs being a real phenomena.

For the full list of documentaries, you can visit WorldUFODay.com.

Eric Lagatta covers breaking and trending news for USA TODAY. Reach him at elagatta@gannett.com and follow him on Twitter @EricLagatta.

Gabe Hauari is a national trending news reporter at USA TODAY. You can follow him on X@GabeHauarior email him at Gdhauari@gannett.com.

World UFO Day 2024: What it is and how UFOs became mainstream in America (2024)
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