Page 4 - The 'X' Chronicles Newspaper - October / November 2018
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4                            UFO Sightings On The Decline

               What Is Behind The                         hungry for amazement, helped by a healthy             Sharon Hill, a researcher on the
                                                          dose of conspiracy theorising.                 paranormal and pseudoscience, says: “The ideas
          Decline In UFO Sightings?                              According to the cultural historian     about UFOs and aliens continue to evolve as we
                                                          Stuart Walton, “Belief in UFOs is definitely in a  project our social and cultural ideas on them.

          This month, the two major online sites for      state of decline, along with much else that could  Since we have no single easy explanation for all
          reporting UFOs – the National UFO Reporting     be classed as paranormal. Part of the reason is  these claims regarding the decline in sightings,
                                                          that the technology for providing documentary  the future vision of ufology seems rather open-
          Center and the Mutual UFO Network – both
                                                          evidence of such matters is now widely         ended. I don't think it's dead, just changing.”
          documented steep drops in worldwide sightings.
                                                          available to everybody with a smartphone, and
          The declines started around 2014, when reports
                                                          such purported evidence as there is on YouTube        3 Charged In Powell
          were at a peak.  They have since reduced
                                                          looks extremely threadbare.”
          drastically to 55% of that year’s combined total,                                               Broadcasting Break-In Were
                                                                 He adds: “It isn't so much that belief can
          many UFO interest groups have folded, and
          numerous previously classified government       exist without proof; it's that it must emphatically  Looking For 'Paranormal
          documents have been disclosed.                  avoid proof to remain belief.  We are in the                    Activity'
                 Do these declines reveal that UFO        process, paradoxically, of proving a negative
                                                          hypothesis with UFOs: there never was any
          interest is becoming a blip on the human
                                                          such thing.”
          cultural radar? Perhaps UFO and alien lore is
                                                                 Indeed, indisputable evidence of
          seeming more like a reflection of human
                                                          intelligent life coming to Earth could be the
          culture, tied to the space age, motivated by
                                                          greatest news of all time. Yet, after thousands of
          conquering new existential frontiers.
                                                          anecdotal, photo, and video reports have
                 It might not be a coincidence that the
          term UFO (unidentified flying object) and some  accrued over decades, what are we to conclude?
          of the phenomena that surrounds it – abductions  With the greatest balance of scepticism and
                                                          “wanting to believe”, all that can confidently be
          and impossible technologies – are relatively
                                                          asserted is that some objects, appearing in the
          recent. Before the 1940s, reports of sightings of
                                                          sky on film or video, seem unidentifiable.
          objects in the sky were extremely rare.
                                                                 Furthermore, government disclosure of   SIOUX CITY -- Three men have been charged
          Centuries of recorded history give no clear
                                                          its own video footage isn’t helping to maintain  with criminal trespass following a July 31
          indication of any such activity.  Then, at the
                                                          belief. Joseph Baker, sociology professor at   incident at the Powell Broadcasting building.
          predawn of the space-age, around the time of
                                                          Tennessee State University, says: “It’s actually      According to a post on the Sioux City
          the Roswell conspiracy, UFO culture was born,
          giving rise to everything from Space Invaders to  better for UFOs when ufologists can claim that  Police Department's Facebook page, 23-year-old
          The X-Files.                                    ‘the powers that be know everything and are    Joshua Gardner, 19-year-old Jeffery Grillet and
                                                          hiding it from us’ rather than seeing that the  18-year-old Chance Packard are the three visible
                 Possible answers as to why sightings are
                                                          government appears to have basically the same  in security camera footage, holding what appear
          decreasing are varied. A key factor, however,
                                                          info about UFOs as the public: namely grainy,  to be firearms.  They were all charged with
          may be that more people simply don’t care any
                                                          inconclusive visual evidence.”                 criminal trespass Aug. 8.
          more. As we are accustomed to being inundated
                                                                 Perhaps though, the declines in reported       The weapons which they appeared to be
          with wild claims churned out by politicians,
                                                          sightings may signify only an end to current   holding were Airsoft or BB guns, according to
          media and advertisers, the next report of a UFO
                                                          trends in ufology.  After all, from the 1940s  the notice.  They reportedly went into the
          is no more believed than the long-range weather
          forecast.                                       aliens were originally characterised as saviours  building "on an expedition to find paranormal
                 Before home video, photographs were      who could help humans transcend the cold-war   activity."
                                                          paranoia of nuclear annihilation; especially          SCPD advises readers to use better
          the staple of UFO evidence.  Video evidence,
                                                          marked at the time, after two world wars. But  judgement than the men who were arrested.
          during the height of the 1990s UFO mania, was
                                                          after events like Watergate and the Vietnam war       "Please use this as a lesson to stay out of
          regarded by many as even more substantial.
                                                          fuelled distrust in government, UFOs came to   other people's property and use common sense
          Amateur footage of glowing objects in the sky,
                                                          be viewed more as a possible threat, and some  when carrying around items that look like
          as mysterious as they seemed real, made the cut
                                                          came to believe their existence was verified in  firearms. This could easily have been a tragedy,"
          for appearing on television – they were meant to
                                                          secret military documents.                     the post read. []
          be taken seriously and they fed an audience
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