Do you believe in aliens? Many people do. In fact, so many people do that the United States Navy changed the standards for reporting UFOs in 2019 to quell the sheer volume of eyewitness accounts coming in. With so many countries possessing sophisticated aircraft, the potential for misidentifying UFOs as alien crafts is huge. That said, aliens are alive and well in American pop culture—and many people think the government may be covering up secrets about aliens.
Unlike ghosts, UFOs are usually described in similar ways over time. The National UFO Reporting Center (NUFORC) has identified the most common words used to describe UFOs. There are “egg” UFOs, “cigar” UFOs, and lots of UFOs that people just can't find the words to describe. Why do we have these patterns? Is it because we're seeing real aliens, exploring our galaxy in their different spaceship models? Or is it because once the alien shapes are described, the terminology become known and used in subsequent "viewings"?
Stacker went into NUFORC's data to try and find the stories behind these shapes. The data is from May 14, 2019. Are any types derived from how we picture aliens in fiction? Can nature explain any of these phenomena? In looking at the overlap between these shapes and popular fiction, we found plenty of ways people reference culture and everyday phenomena to describe these alleged objects from space. Our adjectives for spaceships could also describe flying animals and even sports equipment. But spaceships from art and movies fall into these shapes, as well. Maybe it's no coincidence that Stitch escaping from space police officers or Deep Purple singing about space truckers ditching a fireball ship match what UFO enthusiasts report seeing in real life.
Most common words used to describe UFOs from reported sightings
UFOs (unidentified flying objects) have been reported throughout history and people have used similar words to describe them throughout. Stacker culled the National UFO Reporting Center’s top list of UFO descriptors and famous examples of each UFO in history.