Extraterrestrials and UFOs have been hot topics since time immemorial, with nearly every culture throughout history laying claim to seeing something otherworldly.
This year, The US government piqued the interest of UFO enthusiasts worldwide when it declassified a number of files purporting to contain information about alleged sightings over the years.
Among the biggest file drops in history, the UK has also had its fair share of declassified files on UFOs.
Over the last 20 years, the Government has drip-fed what is known as the ‘X-files’ into public discourse, with one batch previously revealing how Winston Churchill had worked to cover up an alleged UFO sighting.
It all came in the UK’s 2010 ‘X-files’ release, filled with secret files that had until that point been kept from public eyes.
Churchill, who led Britain through World War 2, allegedly banned any reporting of the “bizarre” UFO incident off the east coast of England for fear that it would create public hysteria.
The files suggested he gave the orders during a secret war meeting with US General Dwight Eisenhower, the then commander of the Allied Forces who went on to become US President, at an undisclosed location in the US.
Thousands of further claims were contained in the 2010 release of files, published by the National Archives.
Some 18 files, which covered the time period from 1995 to 2003, were made up of more than 5,000 pages of reports, letters, and drawings from the public who claimed to have spotted UFOs.
Many, if not all of the correspondences were at one point brought up in Parliament.
The allegations involving Churchill were made by a grandson of one of his personal bodyguards, who says his grandfather, an RAF officer, reported the sighting.
The grandson later wrote to the Ministry of Defence in 1999 to ask about the incident after his grandfather disclosed details to his family.
Churchill is said to have been so concerned about the incident that he ordered it be kept secret for at least 50 years to prevent “mass panic”.
Nick Pope, who used to investigate UFO sightings for the MoD, told the BBC: “The interesting thing is that most of the UFO files from that period have been destroyed.
“But what happened is that a scientist whose grandfather was one of his [Churchill’s] bodyguards, said look, Churchill and Eisenhower got together to cover up this phenomenal UFO sighting, that was witnessed by an RAF crew on their way back from a bombing raid.
“The reason apparently was because Churchill believed it would cause mass panic and it would shatter people’s religious views.”
The series of letters which contain the allegation, and which were written by the guard’s grandson who is now a physicist from Leicester, set out the sighting during a reconnaissance mission returning from occupied Europe.
During the flight over part of the English coast, the aircraft was approached by a metallic UFO which shadowed them.
Crew took photographs of the aircraft which they said “hovered noiselessly” near their plane.
During the meeting, a weapons expert shrugged off suggestions that the object was a missile because it would have been “totally beyond any imagined capabilities of the time”.
A scientist, whose details in the declassified files are redacted, wrote: “There was a general inability for either side to match a plausible account to these observations, and this caused a high degree of concern.
“Mr Churchill is reported to have made a declaration to the effect of the following: ‘This event should be immediately classified since it would create mass panic among the general population and destroy one’s belief in the Church’.”
Hundreds of UFO sightings are made in the UK each year, all tallied and recorded by UFO Identified, a website which collates data. Expres.co.uk previously created a widget where you can find reported UFO sightings in your area.
Between January 2021 and May this year, their database shows a total of 957 potential UFO observations.
It includes 410 in 2021, 494 in 2022, and 53 as of May 20 this year. Of all UK counties, more UFOs were spotted in the skies of Greater Manchester than anywhere else, with a total of 54 documented sightings, followed by Greater London (52), Cheshire (37), and West Sussex (34).