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It remains one of the most intriguing mysteries and it began to unfold in June, 1947…
The ‘Roswell incident’ has captured imaginations the world over for the last 70 years.
The once sleepy New Mexico town became the focal point of the biggest extraterrestrial hunt in history following reports a flying saucer had crashed, complete with aliens, in the American desert.
The alleged events sparked worldwide wonder until the US military claimed the incident was nothing more than a downed surveillance balloon.
In the same year, the term “flying saucer” was coined, based on quotes by witness Kenneth Arnold describing the shape of the objects he saw as like a “saucer”, “disc”, or “pie-plate”.
UFO reports flourished in the midst of the 1950s-70s Cold War and, in the decades since, thousands of images of UFOs purported to be of extraterrestrial origin have been captured.
And in recent years, thousands of hours of video footage has been collected by individuals worldwide and much of it posted on YouTube showing strange lights, shapes and craft-like objects in our skies.
The subject has also become a favourite in Hollywood. Film blockbusters like Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, ET, and Independence Day have all imagined what might happen if aliens – both benign and malign – showed up at planet earth.
Meanwhile, outlandish theories have emerged.
Is NASA really covering up strange geometric structures and towers that were filmed and photographed on the moon during the Apollo missions?
Is there really a 13,000-year-old alien satellite called the ‘Black Knight’ orbiting the earth?
Do you believe aliens have visited the North East?
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And did a space ship carrying extraterrestrial beings crash in the US desert at Roswell 70 years ago – and were they captured and taken to a top-secret US defence instalment called Area 51?
The internet and countless books would have us believe so.
The North East has its very own list of X Files and the Chronicle has reported on dozens of UFO sightings over the years.
In 2015, for example, Craig Lowther from Tynemouth managed to film a dome-shaped object with pulsating lights hovering over the North East coast.
In 1977, a Flight Lieutenant based at RAF Boulmer reported seeing “bright objects hanging over the sea” including an object that was “luminous, round and four to five times larger than a helicopter”.
in 2004, a Gateshead vicar photographed a bright object hovering in the night sky. He said: “It was hovering from left to right, and was extremely smooth. Then the light just turned off as if it was still there, but hidden.”
And back in 1940, Robert Hall, was ‘abducted by aliens’ from a back lane in Bensham, Gateshead. He was “taken onboard the ship by a group of grey, horrible- looking creatures.”
There are many more puzzling stories in the Chronicle archive.
On the 70th anniversary of Roswell, check out our video of UFOs over Tyneside and Durham.
Do the strange lights in the sky have a logical, scientific down-to-earth explanation – or has ET been paying sneak visits to Geordieland in recent decades?
Finally, wild rumours swept the internet this week that NASA was about to make an announcement concerning the existence of alien life.
However, NASA science chief Thomas Zurbuchen said in a Twitter post on Tuesday: “Contrary to some reports, there’s no pending announcement from NASA regarding extraterrestrial life.”
Is that good or bad news? Who knows?
The truth is still out there.