|Was this one of the top UFO stories of 2011"|
Ancient UFOs; scores of videos and photographs; military and government officials offering credible testimony; thousands of pages of previously classified documents; disk and dorito-shaped craft; an official state highway marker erected to commemorate the most widely publicized UFO abduction story in history; petitions sent to the White House asking the Obama administration to release all UFO information; an alleged alien spaceship hiding near the planet Mercury; an ET reportedly photographed standing in a Brazilian rainforest; and a theologian who says religious believers are ready to share a pew with aliens.
These and much more were all there for the taking. With the proliferation of so many video cameras and phone cams, it's not surprising that, according to the Mutual UFO Network -- the largest privately funded UFO research organization in the world -- there were 67 percent more reports of unidentified flying objects in 2011, compared to 2008.
As 2012 looms with the promise of a new year of UFO events -- where believers hope the government will finally acknowledge that some UFOs are extraterrestrial vehicles -- let's step into the wayback machine and re-visit the top 11 UFO stories of 2011.
Number 11: J. Edgar Hoover's FBI Took UFOs Seriously
While the U.S. government has always maintained UFOs don't warrant any serious investigation, documents from the late 1940s indicate FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover's interest in UFOs.
Pictured is a 1947 document sent by a Wisconsin agent to Hoover, concerning a small, disc-shaped object found at a fairground that contained a photoelectric cell, electric motor and a propeller.
While agents felt it was "made by some juvenile," it's noteworthy that they felt it important enough to inform Hoover about it.
Number 10: The JFK-UFO Connection
Both memos were written on Nov. 12, 1963 -- 10 days before Kennedy's assassination.
Pictured is the memo JFK sent to the CIA.
Number 9: Betty & Barney Hill Official NH Highway Marker
The marker was placed near the site of where they claimed, under hypnosis, they had been kidnapped onto a strange circular craft in the White Mountains and physically examined by gray-skinned creatures.
Theirs was the first such story in the U.S. against which all other UFO abduction tales have been measured.
Number 8: History Channel Examines Strong UFO Evidence
The program featured a Federal Aviation Administration executive who revealed how the CIA warned him not to talk about UFOs because the public might panic from the truth. And former Arizona Governor Fife Symington described his own dramatic UFO sighting and he apologized for lying to the media and the public. Pictured is a disc-shaped object photographed over Costa Rica in 1971 by a government mapping aircraft.
Number 7: UK Releases UFO Documents
One set of key documents detailed the UK's attempt in 1978 to derail the country of Grenada's plan to convince the United Nations to form a special UFO study committee.
That milestone UFO UN presentation was produced by current Huffington Post writer Lee Speigel (pictured here on the right, counter-clockwise, third person in), who organized a preliminary meeting with UN Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim and military, scientific and psychological experts on July 14, 1978.
Number 6: Ex-British UFO Chief Apologizes For 'Spin and Dirty Tricks
As more UFO documents were released by the UK in August, former Ministry of Defense UFO project chief Nick Pope revealed exclusively to The Huffington Post that he was part of an official British policy of ridiculing UFO reports and the people who reported them. Pope said he used "a combination of spin and dirty tricks" to downplay the reports, a policy that he now regrets being a part of.
Number 5: Jerusalem UFO Videos - Real Or Hoax?
At the end of January, several videos went viral on the Internet, allegedly taken by different people from different angles showing a UFO that descended from the sky to hover over the Dome of the Rock Islamic shrine in Jerusalem. After several seconds, the glowing white light shot straight up in the air, reportedly to join with other unexplained lights in the sky. At least one of the videos is considered a hoax because it used the same soundtrack as another one and it appears to have been videotaped from a still photograph on a television screen.
Number 4a: Air Force Changes UFO Reporting Rules After HuffPost Inquiry
At the beginning of September 2011, HuffPost writer Lee Speigel contacted the Pentagon to inquire why UFOs were included in a 2008 Air Force procedure manual.
Four days later, the Air Force released an updated manual with UFO references deleted. Coincidence?
The image above shows the top portions of both the 2008 and 2011 Air Force manuals. See the next image, below, to view a 1975 document, describing military jets attempting to intercept UFOs.
Number 4b: Documents Reveal Military Still Interested In UFOs
Number 3: The Alleged Soviet-Nazi UFO Connection
Did former Soviet leader Josef Stalin recruit Josef Mengele, the Nazi "Angel of Death," to surgically alter children to look like aliens in 1947 as part of a plan to crash a disc-shaped craft outside of Roswell, N.M.?
A new, explosive book in 2011 by Annie Jacobsen about the top secret Nevada military installation known as Area 51 suggested this Soviet-Nazi UFO connection to the legendary Roswell UFO crash. While it's generally known that the secret base has been used to develop spy planes and other secret hardware, the UFO lore surrounding the place still captures the imagination of the public.
Number 2: 'We The People' White House UFO Petitions