Kenneth Arnold with a rendering of one of the UFOs he encountered in 1947 that moved like “saucers skipping on water”
YouTube has become an essential resource for learning about the history and current state of the UFO/UAP phenomena. The topic is well represented on the social media platform, overflowing with believers, truth seekers, commentators, sincere researchers and numerous money driven, click bait style channels, many of which create an excessive specter of mystery around what are clearly faked sightings simply to make money. These dumping grounds have a heavy influence on popular opinion of what is an idealistic but vulnerable community. To quote Ben Rich, former head of Lockheed Skunkworks, ‘there are lots of kooks and charlatans, be cautious’.
With the click bait style channels specifically in mind, I would like this article to act as a panacea and provide a basic introduction to the UFO/UAP subject. By focusing on the more serious productions, those who are new to the subject can avoid the sensationalism peddled by the above mentioned kooks and charlatans.
Unidentified Flying Objects – The true story of flying saucers, 1956
Filmed in a semi-documentary style, this slightly hokey expose covers the development of the UFO/UAP phenomena from Kenneth Arnold’s original sighting in 1947 through Project Sign, Grudge, Bluebook and ends with the coverage of the Washington flyover of 1950. It is heavy on theatrical pomposity but if the viewer is willing to listen it is generous with detail and points to the pre-existence and history of what we now know as the AATIP program.
UFO – Friend, foe or fantasy? 1966
Anchored by the legendary American anchorman Walter Kronkite, this 1966 CBS special elucidates a number of spectacular occurrences. This is a classic piece of UFO history and has been sampled in numerous contemporary UFO/UAP documentaries. It also introduces the character of the UFO debunker – a character who is still with us today. In my opinion, this investigation is overly skeptical but still paints a fairly respectful picture of the topic.
UFOS – Past, present and future, 1974
UFOS – It has begun, 1976 and 1979
This is my personal favourite of all the documentaries mentioned here. Released on three occasions and ratified by NASA and the US Department of Defense, this is the first film to truly treat the idea of UFOs seriously, free of debunkers, using a presentation tone that borders on the grave. It is considered by a number of researchers to be stalled attempt at a type of disclosure and embraces the extreme strangeness of the phenomena, delving into cattle mutilations and alien telepathic contact. The highlight though of this film is the reenactment of the now legendary Holloman Air-force base landing of 1971. Which includes around 5 seconds of actual footage of the landing.
UFO cover-up LIVE, 1988
Of all the productions listed, UFO cover-up live is the most sensational and conspiratorial of all of them. Presented as a live call-in event, UFO Cover-up LIVE interviewed experiencers, researchers and whistle-blowers blending the skepticism and wonder of earlier productions with a little cold war paranoia. Highlights include the testimony of a whistle-blower, code named Falcon, and interviews with the researchers Budd Hopkins, William Moore and Stanton Friedman.
Billion Dollar Secret, 1999
Opening with images of a silhouetted F117 stealth fighter, Billion Dollar Secret begins its investigation of the UFO/UAP phenomena squarely within the aerospace industry. As the former editor of Jane’s Defence Weekly, the narrator and investigator Nick Cook, replaces the zeal that blinds a number of ufologists with a terrific blend of openmindedness, skepticism and curiosity; and it is his curiosity that takes Mr. Cook a good way down the fascinating rabbit hole that is ufology.
Out of the blue, 2003
I know what I saw, 2009
These two films by James Fox are overflowing with testimonial information primarily sourced from government and military witnesses. They are best watched in chronological order and are filmed in a contemporary documentary format, completely devoid of theatre. The two documentaries make an excellent case for the reality of the UFO/UAP phenomena.
Sirius Disclosure Witness Testimony
I have placed the Sirius Disclosure witness testimonials as my final recommendation because they are the least entertaining of this group. They are extremely informative however, but only begin to become relevant if one has a basic grounding in the general history of the phenomena. Steven Greer’s Disclosure project has done an amazing job of collating a huge number of testimonials into a single YouTube channel. There are hours and hours of UFO/UAP stories that illustrate the complexity and importance of the subject to the governments and militaries of the world. It is an invaluable resource.