Neil Nixon takes us on an entertaining journey through the history and evolution of UFO reporting and investigation.
After a brief look at ancient alien theories, he notes the prevalence of UFO-type events before Kenneth Arnold spotted ‘flying saucers’ in 1947. Like today, many earlier sightings were misidentifications or outright hoaxes. He does, however, note that the Tunguska explosion over Siberia on June 30th, 1908 still remains a mystery, and controversy still rages over whether it was an exploding nuclear-powered spaceship or a more scientifically acceptable visitation of an asteroid, comet, or meteor.
In our own era, he looks at the hard evidence and cases that have been promoted as the foundation for a belief in UFOs as alien visitors from outer space. As with the Tunguska incident, there is a constant tug-of-war between the believers in extraterrestrial visitations and the sceptics.
Neil shows that even with the best cases there is room for doubt and no one has yet produced the ultimate evidence. As he guides us through the complex and often bizarre aspects of the subject he highlights the power of the social and psychological context both on witnesses and investigators. Further research might well discover new aspects of human psychology and exotic atmospheric phenomena and, as Neil puts it, the subject offers ‘a lifetime of lateral thinking’.