Are we alone in the universe? On a theoretical level, it’s highly unlikely, but we’ve never officially made contact with intelligent alien life. However, there are some stories of strange encounters that have convinced a lot of people. Here are three of the most famous:
The Phoenix Lights
In 1997, thousands of people reported seeing strange lights moving in a V-shaped pattern. A few hours later, another set of lights, this time unmoving, were reported hovering above Phoenix. The second set was most likely aircraft flares dropped during training, but the air force couldn’t explain the first set. Unfortunately, no good photos or videos exist of the first lights, so there’s nothing for experts to analyze. The event inspired films, and because so many people saw it, it’s one of the most convincing reports of UFOs.
In 1978, a pilot named Frederick Valentich called into Melbourne Air Traffic Control and reported a strange, fast aircraft. His last message is chilling: “Melbourne, that strange aircraft is hovering on top of me again…it is hovering and it’s not an aircraft….” Valentich abruptly stopped talking, and air control could only hear what sounded like scraping metal. Valentich and his plane disappeared, and search crews couldn’t find any wreckage. Since then, more information about Valentich has come out (he had a history of poor flying and believed in aliens), but many remain convinced something otherworldly took place.
Betty and Barney Hill
In 1961, the Hills saw light in the sky and got out to look at it. When they got back in their car, they realized that not only had two hours passed since they got out, but they were 35 miles from their original stop. Betty began having nightmares, so a hypnotist was called in. The couple recounted a terrifying story about being taken into a spaceship and examined by aliens. While many believed they were making everything up for attention, the Hills didn’t seek out any publicity. The Hill abduction remains one of the most famous stories of an alien encounter.