Confirmation television special
A Brief Chronology of UFO and Alien Encounters
By Whitley Strieber

DATE ( M/D/Y )

8/12/1888 Astronomer Prof. Bonilla of Zacatecas Observatory in Mexico takes the first UFO photo.
1944-45 “Foo fighters” appear alongside planes during World War II, leading both sides to conclude that the other has a new secret weapon.
4/1945 General McArthur establishes “Interplanetary Phenomenon Unit”
1/7/47 The Mantell Incident. Captain Edward Mantell's plane crashes while he is attempting to intercept a UFO.
6/24/47 Kenneth Arnold observes “flying disks” over Mt. Ranier in Washington State.
7/4/47 A UFO crashes near Roswell, New Mexico. It is briefly called a “crashed disk” by the Army, then the story is denied.
5/11/50 McMinville, Oregon: The Trent family takes UFO photos that have never been debunked despite hundreds of hours spent trying to prove them false. (view)
8/25/51 The Lubbock Lights. A formation of strange lights flies over Lubbock, Texas.
7/2/52 A Navy photoreconnaissance specialist films UFOs maneuvering over Tremonton, Utah.
7/19-20/52  A massive wave of UFOs is observed and tracked by radar for two days and nights over Washington, D.C. (see Washing Post headline below)
7/24/52 President Truman orders that all unknown aircraft entering United States airspace will be shot down.
9/19/61 The first reported abduction case: The Betty and Barney Hill Abduction.
2/24/64 Patrolman Lonnie Zamora observes a UFO landing near Socorro, New Mexico, a case that has never been debunked.
10/20/69 The Air Force's Project Blue Book declares its finding: despite the fact that 10 percent of cases are unknown, no further Air Force interest is warranted.
11/5/75 Travis Walton is abducted in Arizona. Six witnesses find him missing.
7/19/76 Jet fighters pursue a UFO on radar over Tehran.
10/21/78 Australian pilot Frederick Valentich vanishes with his plane as he is reporting a UFO encounter over the radio.
12/27-29/80 UFO landings in Rendlesham Forest, England appear to be confirmed by eyewitness statements of United States Air Force officers.
12/29/80 Betty Cash and Vickie Landrum are irradiated by a UFO near Houston. Both suffer serious health problems. One dies of cancer.
12/26/85 Whitley Strieber experiences the abduction that is reported in Communion.
11/17/86 JAL Flight 1628 reports a gigantic walnut-shaped UFO over Alaska.
3/30/90 Massive wave of UFO sightings begins over Belgium. Radar returns are never explained by Belgian Air Force.
9/15/91 NASA Shuttle Mission STS-48 appears to videotape a UFO in earth's orbit being fired at from the ground with an unknown weapon.
6/13-17/92 A conference studying the abduction phenomenon is convened at MIT.
7/28-8/8/94 A series of near collisions between aircraft and UFOs reported over Mexico City.
7/29/95 The General Accounting Office announces that it cannot investigate the Roswell Incident because all the records from the Roswell Army Air Field for the pertinent era have been illegally destroyed.
9/17/96 Thousands witness a UFO display over Tel Aviv.
10/16-18/96 Thousands witness a UFO display over Paraiba, Brazil.
12/1/96 Shuttle Mission STS-80 tapes UFO maneuvers in earth's orbit.
3/13/97 Thousands witness a UFO display over Phoenix, Arizona.
6/24/97 USAF declares the “Roswell Incident” a false belief, based on confusion about crash test dummies being thrown out of aircraft seven years earlier. This is derided in the press. [TYPO - SEE FOOTNOTE]
12/1/98 A mass of government documents from the 1940s and 1950s about UFOs are released. They describe the Roswell Incident in detail.

FOOTNOTE - TYPO: According to Newsweek, the Air Force dropped crash test dummies several years after the Roswell incident, not before as indicated in the chronology above. The Newsweek article (7 July 97) which derided this explanation for the 1947 Roswell event reads “Never mind that the dummy drops didn't occur until the 1950s.” So the sentence ending “seven years earlier” may have been intended to read “several year later,” specifically, in 1952. Strieber later wrote, “[The New York Times] reportage, such as their open-arms espousal of the Air Force's contention that the Roswell incident can be explained away by the dropping of crash test dummies over the New Mexico desert in 1952, is little more than an expression of what I would call a sort of journalistic psychosis.”[The New York Times article that embraced the Air Force's newest explanation ran across several pages in the 25 June 1997 edition]. The New York Daily News on June 16, 1997 seems to have come down on the side as Newsweek, adding dryly that “...most UFOlogists easily dismissed the report as a new, improved whitewash. It didn't help when the General Accounting Office said the Roswell base records from 1946 to 1950 were missing.”

A Brief Chronology of UFO and Alien Encounters
by Whitley Strieber
© 1999 National Broadcasting Company, Inc.
This chronology was prepared for and presented in the press kit for the television special, Confirmation: the Hard Evidence of Aliens Among Us?

7/19-20/52: A massive wave of UFOs is observed and tracked by radar for two days and nights over Washington, D.C.


Addendum to Chronology :
Deep History


Ancient Greece Democritus, Metrodorus, Anaxagoras and other natural philosophers assert that intelligent life exists beyond Earth in a plurality of worlds. At this time, Aristarchus proposed that the Earth moves around the sun, in other words, the heliocentric theory.
The Roman Empire Many observers reported “flying sheilds” in the skies, often at or near human battles; Pliny the Elder, a Roman scientist, described a “spark” falling toward the earth which became as large as the moon as it ascended back into the sky. In his book On the Nature of the Universe, the great philosopher Epicurus asserts that intelligent life exists elsewhere beyond Earth.
The Middle Ages

In 840 AD, during the rein of Charlemagne, Agobard, the Archbishop of Lyons, reported that he came upon a mob holding “four persons in bonds — three men and a woman, who said they had fallen from these same ships” returning from “a certain region, known as Magonia, whence ships sail in the clouds.” (Agobard did not believe their story and ends his report with “But truth prevailed,” implying that they recanted and he succeeded in releasing them from captivity).

In 1300, friars in an abbey in Yorkshire saw a “flat, round, shiny silver object” that flew over them.

1300 In China, philosopher Teng Mu asserted that the universe is populated by intelligent life.
1584 Giordano Bruno's On the Infinite, the Universe and Worlds states the stars are suns with planets and that an infinite number of planets have intelligent life. Bruno was burned alive at the stake by the Catholic Church in February 1600.

For a more information on deep history, see appendix 6 of the French COMETA report (1999), and the UFO Briefing Document in Whitley Strieber's Hidden Agendas paperback series.