People have spotted strange things in the sky for centuries. In the 1950s, these aerial puzzles were given an official label courtesy of the Air Force: UFOs. The United States had a vested interest in tracking unidentified flying objects during the height of the Cold War in the 1950s and 1960s. It took them so seriously that it invited average citizens to report their sightings. But while the government was searching for secret Soviet planes, most UFO witnesses had aliens in mind.

According Story, Project Blue Book ran from 1952 to 1969, making it the nation’s longest-running official investigation of UFOs. If you saw anything in the sky that you didn’t recognize during this time, the Air Force wanted to know about it. They provided questionnaires witnesses to detail their experiences. There were sections to record where you saw the UFO, when you saw it, and what it was doing when you spotted it.

Project Blue Book Number Eight Status Report UFO Sighting Questionnaire

Project Blue Book Number Eight Status Report UFO Sighting Questionnaire / US Air Force Headquarters Records via DocsTeach // Public Domain

After describing the sighting in words, you were expected to draw a picture of it. The form said, “Draw a picture that will show the shape of the object or objects. Label and include in your sketch any details of the object you saw, such as wings, protrusions, etc., and especially any exhaust trails or vapor trails. Place an arrow next to the drawing to indicate the direction the object was moving. »

Project Blue Book Number Eight Status Report UFO Sighting Questionnaire

Project Blue Book Number Eight Status Report UFO Sighting Questionnaire / US Air Force Headquarters Records via DocsTeach // Public Domain

Project Blue Book hadn’t made much progress after collecting years of data, and people were starting to take notice. The University of Colorado UFO Project published a report in 1968 claiming that the Air Force’s UFO investigation was a waste of time and resources. The Air Force officially closed the project in 1970.

Civilians can no longer file UFO reports with the government, and that’s probably for the best. So-called UFO sightings are more common than ever in the age of drones and SpaceX launches. Here are other objects that have been mistaken for UFOs.

[h/t History]

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