The UFO era began in the summer of 1947, when pilot Kenneth Arnold flew near the Cascade Mountains. There he noticed 9 silver objects in the form of a disk, flying in the sky. This phenomenon will become especially popular in a month when a newspaper in Roswell claims that a flying saucer crashed at a US military airfield.
Historian Greg Egigian says:
“The Cold War became a kind of feeding for UFOs. By the end of the 90s. these images and fantasies went into another direction ”.
Aegigian recently released an article on history. In it, he presents a scientific view of why people of different cultural decades react differently to the idea of UFOs and what this means for the public perception of science.
Aegigian explains that although aliens continue to appear in documentaries and tabloids, but public perception of extraterrestrial life in the 1950s. was unique to the geopolitical situation of the time. The threat of nuclear war was in the air, so people lived all the time with a sense of near death.
Interestingly, in the early 50s. people began to actively assert that aliens are present on Earth. But no one blamed them for the attack. Rather, it was believed that UFOs are trying to warn us about the danger and even protect themselves from themselves.
Over time, the political situation and our views on the aliens changed. Somewhere since the 1980s. extraterrestrial guests turned into invaders rather, and films and books depicted eerie scenes of enslavement and extermination. It is difficult to say whether the number of UFO reports has decreased, because they are coming now. But by the end of the Cold War, the situation had changed. Egigian claims that before the 90s. more than 40 UFO headlines appeared in newspapers across the United States each year. Now the numbers have been reduced to 20 per year.
“One can see that vampires and zombies came to change the alien theme back in the 2000s. Now these creatures work as a metaphor for terrorism ”.
Our historical relationship with UFOs is amazing and Egigian is amazed at how few historians are interested in this research. It seems to him that scientists were scornful of ufologists and UFO researchers. Ufologists from the very beginning received ridicule, so they ceased to cooperate with official scientists and created their own organizations and journals.
Hence the stereotype that all UFO researchers are far from science. But Egigian says that this is completely at odds with reality. There are scientists who are looking for extraterrestrial life, but still are alienated from the topic of flying saucers. For example, Carl Sagan was warned that he was starting to look like a mad ufologist.
But now representatives of SETI (search for extraterrestrial life) declare that they take their work more seriously. Technological progress helps to detect many exoplanets with high habitability.