By Deb Belt
UFOs and the notion that aliens from another galaxy could be sending emissaries to check things out on planet Earth have captivated Americans for decades. Navy pilots recently spoke of seeing mysterious objects — with no discernible engine or exhaust fumes — flying at hypersonic speeds, which brought the phenomenon back into the headlines.
There are several dozen reports of UFOs filed every year in Maryland.
So far, there have been 20 reports of unexplained things in the night sky, according to the National UFO Reporting Center.
The most recent report was made June 13 in Catonsville by a couple who “both noticed a large triangular craft with several bright lights lining the wings flying over the tree line. The craft flew silently and was around 2 football fields in length from wing to wing.”
President Trump recently said he was briefed on UFOs. A group of U.S. Senate lawmakers received a classified briefing June 19 about such objects.
U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) wants answers on UFOs, whether it’s “weather balloons, little green men, or something else entirely,” Rachel Cohen, his spokeswoman, told CNN. And the Navy has drafted guidelines to allow pilots to report UFOs, and so that the military can track them, though the military branch prefers not to use the term “UFO.”
“So, we don’t actually use that term,” Joseph Gradisher, a spokesman for the deputy chief of naval operations for information warfare, told Patch. “We use ‘unmanned aerial system.'”
The term, shortened to UAS, refers to things like recreational flying drones people can buy at a store. For the “other” things, the Navy uses the term UAP, meaning “unidentified aerial phenomenon.”
“We constitute anything unknown or unidentified in the airspace as an ‘unidentified aerial phenomenon,’ no matter what it is,” he said.
In that spirit, Patch took a peek at the most recent UFO sightings in Maryland — or UAP, if you prefer — using a database compiled by the National UFO Reporting Center. Spoiler alert: So far, no little green men have been seen running around.
Here are some other recent UFO sightings logged in Maryland:
Lothian, June 1
Summary: “Driving with four people in the car on route four, saw large triangle object flying low with lights on each corner trees where in the way for about 10 seconds and then it disappeared. The sky wasn’t quiet dark all the way, and the object was very obvious. After the object disappeared we seen numerous airplanes flying in a grid pattern as if they were looking for it. Happened to fast to be able to capture an image or video. We honestly were all in shock.”
Duration: 2 minutes
Hebron, April 27
Summary: “Four of us adults observed 5 unidentified crafts in the sky. …The crafts appeared to be oval in shape, they were balls of light, they were opaque in color, they appeared fuzzy and not bright yet they were lit up. They started out as three crafts that were doing maneuvers in a synced motion in the sky. … These crafts appeared to be zooming back-and-forth very high speed in the sky. They were going from a south to north direction and then from north to south. Then they would go from west to east and then east to west, and then they would circle amidst each other. … These crafts and lights made no noise. …These lights circled each other. They were making criss-cross patterns. Then they’d fly directly above our heads making maneuvers.”
Duration: 15 minutes
Forest Hill, March 11
Summary: “Around 23:00, my boyfriend and I noticed a very bright “star” appearing object out my window. This object was significantly bigger and brighter than all of the stars around it. It was also emitting a spectrum of colors and was changing. It appeared similar in shape to an asterisk with clear lines of light being emitted from all points. As this report sounds similar to a star, we used two different sky map apps to determine which star. Although Sirius is close in sky to where this object was, you could see Sirius to the left. …Of note, I am in the medical field and am very scientific minded. My boyfriend has a background in electronic media and math. This being said, we are both objective people who rule out common things prior to jumping to the conclusion of UFO.”
Duration: 1 hour
According to data compiled by the center, there were nearly 500 sightings across the country in May and more than 300 in January, March and April.
The Navy seems convinced of the existence of UFOs, telling Politico in a statement there were reports of unauthorized and/or unidentified aircraft “entering various military-controlled ranges and designated air space in recent years.”
“For safety and security concerns, the Navy and the [U.S. Air Force] takes these reports very seriously and investigates each and every report,” the statement said.
And Ryan Graves, an F/A-18 Super Hornet pilot who reported his sightings to the Pentagon and Congress, told The New York Times recently he was one of multiple pilots who saw UFOs. The pilots began seeing the objects in 2014 and 2015 after receiving upgraded equipment.
Initially they believed they were getting bad readings. But the sightings kept happening, showing up at 30,000 feet, 20,000 feet and even at sea level. The objects could speed up, slow down and then reach hypersonic speeds.
“These things would be out there all day,” he said. “Keeping an aircraft in the air requires a significant amount of energy. With the speeds we observed, 12 hours in the air is 11 hours longer than we’d expect.”
Patch national staffer Dan Hampton contributed to this report.
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