April 12, 2021

A surge of UFO sightings in New York City?

With all of the craziness that has seemed to define 2020, this sort of story is slowly looking more and more milquetoast but it seemed to be worth at least checking into. Recent numbers from the National UFO Reporting Center (NUFORC) as reported in the New York Post, indicate that the Big Apple has been turning into a big UFO hotspot this year. And we’re not talking about a small bump in sightings. New York City has recorded a 283% jump in reports of strange objects being seen in the skies as compared to the same period in 2018.

That doesn’t mean that everyone and their brother is seeing flying saucers. The total this year was 46, but that’s still fairly impressive when you consider the number of people who never bother to file a report along with the fact that sightings over major metropolitan areas tend to be far less frequent than those in more remote regions. But how solid are the stories being told by these witnesses? I decided to take a closer look.

One of the dangers of taking reporting at face value when the “normies” decide to begin covering UFO news is that they aren’t always as discriminating in the the material they push forward. A quick glance at a couple of examples the Post cited suggests that might be the case in at least a few of these reports.

New York City has recorded a 283% jump in reports of strange objects being seen in the skies as compared to the same period in 2018

One of the first on the list was a July incident from Staten Island. The witness reported seeing “an ‘oval’ aircraft that looked and sounded like a helicopter.” Then, the mysterious flying machine “sent a surge of heat/radiation through my body!”

I wouldn’t rule this out entirely as a true UAP event without more information, but there’s a red flag popping up any time a UFO is described as producing sounds (particularly when it sounds like a helicopter) and emitting any sort of hot exhaust. While there have been notable reports of UFOs emitting some sort of exhaust plume, I tend to be a bit skeptical of such sightings, particularly in light of the “five observables” as described by Louis Elizondo. The most credibly cited UAP events tend to involve objects that produce no sound nor visible/audible sources of propulsion and lift. Perhaps this was an exception, but I would withhold judgement on this one.

The second report that caught my eye was from June when a resident of the Bronx reported seeing “30 objects flying in a perfect line, in perfect synchronicity, that looked like a bunch of moving stars.” The witness went on to quickly assure NUFORC that they were not drinking or doing any drugs at the time.

I felt like a bit of a Scrooge when I informed them that they had almost certainly seen Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites coursing across the sky

Most of you who follow the UFO topic closely are likely already nodding your head because this has come up so often over the past 18 months or so. Earlier this year I had a good friend and her husband call me excitedly one night (knowing that I was “the UFO guy”) to report an almost identical encounter. After asking a few questions to confirm the details, I felt like a bit of a Scrooge when I informed them that they had almost certainly seen Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites coursing across the sky.

But not all of the reports in this story looked to be duds. One report out of Brooklyn in June involved multiple orange, metallic discs hovering and “standing still over the Canarsie/Jamaica Bay area.” After turning for a moment to call his children to come to see this sight, the objects reportedly simply disappeared. That one is much harder to simply write off and may indeed have been a unique phenomenon without a convenient terrestrial explanation.

Lest you think that sightings in the New York City area seem improbable, consider that Gotham lies at the end of the Hudson Valley. And this region has a long and plentiful history of UFO encounters. In fact, between 1983 and 1986, the “Hudson Valley flap” (as it came to be known) racked up more than 5,000 reported sightings and encounters. The phenomenon was so common that the region still holds an annual celebration every July 2nd on World UFO Day. In addition to the book “Night Seige” by Dr. J. Allen Hynek, a quick search at Amazon for books and movies about UFO encounters in the Hudson Valley will unearth a trove of results.

With the burst of actual UFO reporting in the mainstream media over the past few years, perhaps more of them feel willing to hit up Google and ask where they too might go to report a sighting

So what are we to make of this? One might speculate that the COVID lockdowns – which have been particularly brutal and recurring in the Big Apple – have left the denizens of Gotham a bit stir crazy and more prone to flights of fancy. But I would argue that these same conditions have led to many people having a lot more time on their hands to stand on their balconies and roofs, walk their dogs and take part in other activities that find them outside and ready to notice something overhead that simply looks out of place. With the burst of actual UFO reporting in the mainstream media over the past few years, perhaps more of them feel willing to hit up Google and ask where they too might go to report a sighting.

Who knows? Perhaps there have always been a lot of UFOs over New York City. But until the pandemic blew into town, everyone was simply too glued to their screens and stuck in their places of employment to notice. I live several hours to the west of the city and the Hudson Valley, but my wife and I have recorded two sightings this year ourselves that were quite compelling. (And my wife has traditionally been a kind soul who “tolerated” my unique “hobby,” rather than a true believer.) Perhaps there aren’t really “more” UAP over New York now than in the past. Maybe we just have more available witnesses who are willing to come forward.