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Details of what witnesses claim to have seen have also changed over time.
“One of the first recorded UFO sightings comes from Portland in 1905, where a ‘buzzing’, sphere-shaped UFO descended from the clouds.
“Other shapes began cropping up later, with saucers dominating the scene until the 1990s, when mysterious lights became the most popular,” Mr Monfort, a doctoral student of human factors and applied cognition at George Mason University in Virginia, writes.
He talks about a “July 4th effect” where sightings spike after 2008 on the US Independence Day, which could be the result of fireworks lighting up the sky.
Mr Monfort also produced a map of the globe with UFO sightings per 10 million people. North America, the United Kingdom, parts of Europe, Australia and New Zealand are a deep shade of red meaning more than 25 sightings per 10 million people.