On February 4, the U.S. shot down a Chinese balloon that had been flying over North America. The White House said the object was a spy balloon, while the Chinese authorities insisted it was an airship used for meteorological purposes. The international incident made headlines, but something stranger happened a few days later. Between February 10 and 12, the U.S. shot down three more mysterious flying objects.
They were about the size of a car, much smaller than the Chinese balloon. One was described as cylindrical; another was an octagonal structure with strings hanging off of it. Nobody knew what they were. The mystery gave rise to wild speculation.
When asked if the objects were extraterrestrial, the general overseeing North American airspace answered: “I haven’t ruled out anything at this point.” Afterwards, the White House asserted that there was no proof the objects were alien. Instead, it stated that, in all probability, they were private balloons conducting scientific research. We might never know for sure because the search to recover the debris was soon called off.
What’s striking about this whole incident, is that the authorities no longer deny the presence of UFOs in our skies. On the contrary, today there is widespread acknowledgment among officials that UFOs do exist. In 2021, former president Barack Obama said: “there’s footage and records of objects in the skies, that we don’t know exactly what they are. We can’t explain how they moved, their trajectory.” One question remains to be answered: what exactly are they? To paraphrase the American general: nothing, not even aliens, can be ruled out yet.
1) Have you ever seen a UFO or experienced something unexplainable or ‘paranormal’? Write about your experience.
2) Recently, American filmmaker Steven Spielberg (who directed the classic Close Encounters of the Third Kind) speculated that UFOs could belong to future humans travelling back in time to study us. What do you think? What are UFOs according to you? Aliens? Time-travellers? Unknown weather phenomena?
3) Read and comment the following passage from a speech given by Ronald Reagan, then-president of the United States, at the UN General Assembly in 1987:
“Cannot swords be turned to plowshares? Can we and all nations not live in peace? In our obsession with antagonisms of the moment, we often forget how much unites all the members of humanity. Perhaps we need some outside, universal threat to make us recognize this common bond. I occasionally think how quickly our differences worldwide would vanish if we were facing an alien threat from outside this world. And yet, I ask you, is not an alien force already among us? What could be more alien to the universal aspirations of our peoples than war and the threat of war?”
(Image: Wikimedia Commons)