UFO files, containing thousands of pages of claimed UFO sightings, have been declassified and posted online by the National Archives.

The 18 files, from 1995 to 2003, comprise more than 5,000 pages of reports, letters, and drawings taken from correspondence with the public and questions raised in parliament.

Some of the claims made in the UFO files

  • In 1991, a spaceship “20 times the size of a football field” was spotted hovering over Britain’s Manchester airport.
  • A “cigar-shaped” object was seen over Lancashire in 1977.
  • In 1997, a black triangular object was seen in the sky over the home of the shadow Home Secretary in Kent. The MoD was alerted.
  • In 1998, a circular “space station” was seen in Gwent, South Wales.

It has also emerged that Winston Churchill ordered a cover-up of a Second World War encounter between a UFO and a RAF bomber because he feared public panic.

The former Prime Minister allegedly banned reporting of the incident, in which RAF pilots claimed they had been tailed by a UFO, for 50 years amid fears disclosures about unidentified flying objects would create mass hysteria.

What the experts say

Mark Pilkington, author of Mirage Men, argues that the American authorities encouraged members of the public to think that they had seen a UFO rather than a prototype aircraft, reports The Telegraph.

“It goes back as far as the U2 spy plane in 1956,” says Pilkington. “The early version was shiny, which meant it could be seen from a long distance. Air Force staff would visit people who’d seen it and tell them it was Venus or a weather balloon – but, if that didn’t work, they were quite happy to leave them with the impression that it was an alien spacecraft.”

People’s overactive imaginations and hype from TV shows like The X Files have also been suggested as explaining the UFO sightings.

Party poopers.

Check out the UFO files and make your own mind up here: ufos.nationalarchives.gov.uk