No one country has a monopoly on UFO reports. Sometime between the Roswell incident of 1947 and Canada’s Falcon Lake sighting in 1967, the United Kingdom’s government started collecting official “X-files” of its own. Now, Live Science reports, the country’s Ministry of Defence will share those formerly classified documents with the public for the first time.
UFO-mania had invaded the UK by the early 1950s. The British media began covering supposed extraterrestrial phenomenon with a more serious tone, and books with titles like The Riddle of the Flying Saucers and The Flying Saucers are Real were excerpted in major newspapers. Even Winston Churchill was intrigued, writing to his air minister in 1952, “What does all this stuff about flying saucers amount to? What can it mean? What is the truth?”
The Ministry of Defence formed the “Flying Saucer Working Party” to process the flood of new reports coming in around this time. Though the original group concluded that none of the sightings were credible, various departments of the Ministry continued investigating reports of strange objects seen in the sky through 2009, when a policy change ended the program officially.
All the files from that near-60-year period will be released on their own gov.uk webpage some time in 2020. The announcement was made after a British news agency made a request for the documents under the Freedom of Information Act. Select files from this period had previously been made available through the U.K. National Archives website. Now, instead of choosing certain items to share, the UK government has decided to publish all the documents at once.
Reports that have already been made public include sightings of “a diamond-shaped red light,” “15 fireballs in the sky,” and “three blazing gold orbs.” [PDF]
The Ministry of Defence stated it “has no opinion on the existence or otherwise of extraterrestrial life,” but the public will be able to decide for themselves when more documents are shared later this year.