Do UFOs have anything to do with crop circles?

This crop circle appeared May 31, 1996, near Silbury Hill, Wiltshire, UK. Photo by Steve AlexanderAfter more than three decades of close observation, there is still no concrete evidence that crop circles are related to UFO sightings. The crop circle phenomenon has many intriguing facets that some people would like to attribute to nonhuman intelligence—including discoveries of cellular changes in the plants, possible radiation fluctuations in soil samples, and unusual geometric relationships. These effects are exciting, but they do not constitute proof of UFO activity. Nor do they constitute proof that crop circles themselves are anomalous.

Current theories on what causes the circles include unusual whirlwinds, electromagnetic fields, microwave energy, earth energies connected with Stonehenge, and hoaxes. And it is certainly true that the great majority of circles are done by hoaxers, who have become more sophisticated over time.

Are UFOs responsible for cattle mutilations?

Cover of Mute Evidence (1984)Controversy continues regarding the alleged connection between UFOs and the apparent mutilation of cattle. Some researchers argue that unusual circumstances surrounding the death of some cattle indicate UFO involvement. They cite reports that tell of strange lights or aircraft near fields where mutilated cattle are later found. Physical evidence found on the dead cattle, such as puncture wounds, missing body parts, and the lack of blood, suggests to them that someone has deliberately and skillfully killed these animals for some unknown purpose. The purpose could be genetic testing or experimentation. Other researchers, including ufologists, are skeptical about the UFO/cattle mutilation theory, citing evidence that indicates natural causes, such as a combination of disease and animal predation, can explain these seemingly mysterious cattle deaths. Here again, a more systematic study and more credible evidence is necessary before a connection between UFOs and cattle mutilations can be made.

To learn more, we recommend Stalking the Herd: Unraveling the Cattle Mutilation Mystery, by Christopher O’Brien (Adventures Unlimited Press, 2014), and (if you can find it) Mute Evidence: The Cattle Mutilations Mystery—Solved, by Daniel Kagan and Ian Summers (Bantam Books, 1984).

Who are the Men in Black? What are the mysterious black helicopters?

Cover of They Knew Too Much about Flying Saucers, by Gray Barker (1956)The Men in Black are said to be humanlike creatures who threaten and intimidate UFO witnesses or researchers. Their physical features and behavior are described as odd. Their mannerisms and speech tend to be stiff and formal –somewhat robotic and comical but nevertheless menacing. Theories about who the Men in Black are include government agents or alien androids. Another popular theory is that they are hallucinations experienced by people who may have had a traumatic UFO experience. Others say they are outright hoaxes.

The mysterious black helicopters, like the Men in Black, are said to intimidate UFO witnesses. They are seen flying low over witnesses’ homes or cars, but never as landing. Some think they are military surveillance helicopters, while others believe they are UFOs disguised as helicopters. It might be that a witness upset by a UFO experience conflates normal helicopter traffic with something more mysterious.

Do UFOs cause the mysterious disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle?

Five USResearch into the so-called Bermuda Triangle shows there have been no more disappearances there (taking into account the large amount of air and sea traffic in the area) than in any other part of the world’s oceans. In general, most disappearances have conventional explanations unrelated to UFOs or other paranormal phenomena. Although there are some disappearances of aircraft that some researchers believe may be connected to UFOs, such as the disappearance in 1945 of five Avenger bombers (Flight 19) off the east coast of Florida while on a routine training mission, no UFO connection has ever been proven. The Bermuda Triangle theory is based more on imagination than on concrete evidence.

There is at least one case, however, involving the disappearance of a pilot and his airplane, that does involve a UFO. In 1978, off the coast of Australia half a world away from the Bermuda Triangle, a young pilot, Fred Valentich, reported that a UFO was following his small plane. Suddenly, radio contact with Valentich ceased, and the young pilot was never heard from again. Neither Valentich nor his plane were ever found, despite an intensive air and sea search. Although there is no positive evidence to prove that a UFO caused Valentich’s disappearance, the theory persists.

Are movies about UFOs and aliens like Close Encounters of the Third Kind true?

Close Encounters of the Third Kind postcard bookMovies about UFOs and aliens, like most other movies are fictional—the product of the fertile imaginations of writers, directors, and special effects artists and technicians. However, some situations and elements found in these films have some basis in genuine UFO experiences. (The Center for UFO Studies served as a consultant to Steven Spielberg on Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), so many of the UFO events in that movie are based on real cases.) Although these movies show what an actual UFO experience may be like, never forget that many parts of these films are pure imagination and do not represent actual events.

Besides Close Encounters, our favorite UFO and alien movies include The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), The Thing from Another World (1951), Invaders from Mars (1953), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956 and 1978), Alien (1979), The Thing (1982), Aliens (1986), Mars Attacks! (1996), War of the Worlds (2005), and Nope (2022). The X-Files (1993–2002), People of Earth (2016–2017), and Resident Alien (2021–2024) are our favorite UFO-related TV series.