‘A stable bright light, larger than anything practical shined into my room on the second floor, not making any noise; it disappeared.’
It’s one of nearly 60,000 unsettling stories revealed in a new map of the contiguous United States, compiling UFO sightings from every state, dating back to 1995.
While these mysterious encounters may largely have slipped out of the public eye after the Cold War-era UFO craze died down, the map shows reports have steadily grown in the last two decades, hitting a mid-summer peak each year.
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The map shows these reports are concentrated in major cities and dense population hubs, making places like New York and the surrounding metropolitan area hotspots for UFO sightings, along with southern and central California. The Great Lakes region also had a high concentration of UFO sightings
The new map of reported UFO sightings in the US was created by Data Solutions Engineer Adam Crahen of the Data Duo, using data from Kaggle UFO sightings.
There’s little doubt that the internet has played a role in the growth of UFO reports in recent years, though most can be explained by natural or human-caused phenomena.
The image of UFOs in America is often associated with sparsely populated rural settings; a mysterious object hovering over a field of crops, or crashing in a remote expanse of desert land, likely fueled by the famous 1947 Roswell crash in New Mexico.
But, the map shows these reports are actually concentrated in major cities and dense population hubs, making places such as New York and the surrounding metropolitan area hotspots for UFO sightings, along with southern and central California.
One account, from Fresno, claims: ‘Brilliant flashing light giving off a star affect traveling at an incredible rate of speed, from north to south.’
Another report, from September 2, 1995, says: ‘Two males leaving a concert in Central Park witness strange moving light close to E. horizon. Moved very precisely, turned, vanished.’
The Great Lakes region also had a high concentration of UFO sightings.
In one report from Ohio, a worker even claimed he could not account for half an hour of his night after a bizarre encounter.
The map also organizes the sightings by month, year, and day, showing when the reports were most frequent.
Most sightings appear to occur in the summer months, with night-time in July being the most popular.
But, these unusual reports have occurred all over the country, and at all different times of the year.
The image of UFOs in America is often associated with sparsely populated rural settings. But the map shows they often occur in major cities. Stock image
‘I saw a large fireball pass over my house at about 1000 feet – no noise, traveling about 15 mph’,’ one person, from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, claimed on December 25.
Another, from Tillamook Oregon, said they saw ‘One mother ship with four smaller destinct [sic] satellite objects moving randomly,’ on January 18, 2009.
There are countless practical explanations for strange lights appearing in the sky or even in photos captured in space.
Weather is often to blame, or phenomena such as meteor showers and aircraft tests.
And, often, it’s just a trick of the light.
Of bizarre UFO sightings spotted around the International Space Station, for example, a NASA spokesperson explained in the past, ‘Reflections from station windows, the spacecraft structure itself or lights from Earth commonly appear as artifacts in photos and videos from the orbiting laboratory.’