From Flying Boats to Secret Soviet Weapons to Alien Visitors – a Brief Cultural History of Ufos

By Greg Eghigian, Penn State On June 25, 2021, the U.S. government released a nine–page preliminary report on UFOs, or, as it is now calling them, Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, or UAPs. The report is the latest notable event in what has been a renaissance for UFOs in recent years. Greg Eghigian is a historian of science at Penn State who has published research and is writing a book on the history of UFOs in the U.S. We spoke with him for The Conversation Weekly podcast the day before the new report came out to better understand the cultural history of UFOs in the U.S. Below are excerpts from our conversation that have been edited for length and clarity. When did the idea of UFOs first emerge? The idea of aliens and that other worlds might be inhabited actually goes back to ancient times. The question was a matter of real debate among philosophers, scientists and theologians in the Western world by the 18th century and it was widely accepted that alien civilizations existed. But something changed in the 19th century. That’s when you first start to see these reports of people seeing what they say were flying ships overhead. The things…

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From Flying Boats to Secret Soviet Weapons to Alien Visitors – a Brief Cultural History of Ufos

Updated: July 29, 2021 — 10:28 pm