Aliens of America: UFOs and Abductions Through the Years

Do aliens hold the key to saving the human race? Jim Sparks believed so.

Are we alone in the universe?

Ever since humans first looked up at the sky and began wondering about our place in the infinite void of space, we've entertained the possibility that other life could be out there. And we've always hungered for connection with intergalactic creatures, building religions around them and even labeling them as the ultimate bringers of the apocalypse.

Occasionally, though, with surprising frequency, some people have done a lot more than simply imagine aliens. Tens of thousands of people have reported interactions with aliens (and an untold number have had experiences that they've kept to themselves). Ranging from mass sightings to full-on abductions, man's encounters with aliens have inspired dozens of science fiction movies and conspiracy theories. But truth is always stranger than fiction.

Alien UFO in Los Angeles, 1942

UFO Sightings

In 1947, something crashed in the desert near Roswell, Nevada—and sparked a nationwide interest in aliens that continues to this day. According to the U.S. Air Force, the object was a balloon meant to monitor the Soviet Union, but many people today believe that story was a coverup for the government's illicit alien-related activity in the Nevada desert. The event made Area 51 famous—and either catalyzed a bunch of hallucinations in the coming decade or incensed a bunch of aliens enough to inspire them to begin abducting and investigating humans.

After the Roswell incident, UFO reports exploded. A few cases stand out from the rest, though, due to their highly public natures. On December 9, 1965, thousands of people in North America saw a fireball cross through the sky. The town of Kecksburg, Pennsylvania had an even stranger experience: According to residents, a gigantic metallic object emblazoned with odd hieroglyphs crashed in their town but was quickly taken away by the government. Years later, NASA came out and said the object was a Russian satellite—but, eerily, Russian data doesn't match up with the timing of this fallen UFO.

On March 13, 1997, thousands of Arizonians (including the state's governor) saw a huge V-shaped object floating through the sky. The object changed colors and stretched almost a mile wide, and it made its way across the state before disappearing.

These are far from isolated incidents. Reports of UFO sightings date hundreds of years into BC time and span the globe. Alien sightings decreased a bit in the 21st century, but in 2019 they suddenly began spiking. That may have had something to do with the fact that the Pentagon announced it was actively investigating UFOs in May of 2019. (Of course, the government's UFO investigation has been going on since the 1940s).

Still from Project Blue Book by the U.S. Air Force, 1952-1969

1950-McMinnville, Oregon; photo by Paul Trent

Close Encounters and Abductions

Sometimes, aliens descend from their UFOs and actually attempt to make contact. This was the experience of the Sutton family in rural Kentucky, who claimed they encountered a dozen "goblins" in 1955. The family said that first they saw a light streak across the sky, and then goblins floated down from nearby trees. The family shot at them with their guns and eventually left to get a sheriff; when they returned, the creatures were gone.

In 1952, a woman named Kathleen May took her children and some neighborhood kids to investigate an object they had just watched fall from the sky. When they arrived at the site of the crash, they saw a ten-foot tall creature with glowing red eyes; it had massive hands and was making an ominous hissing noise. They fled, and all of the witnesses fell ill after the incident.

Perhaps no direct encounter with aliens has been more influential than what happened to Betty and Barney Hill in 1961. One night, the Hills were driving through New Hampshire's labyrinthine White Mountains when they realized that a peculiar light in the sky appeared to be following them. They eventually made it home to Portsmouth, though when they arrived their watches had stopped working and their shoes were scuffed—and neither of them could remember a full two hours of the previous night.

Betty and Barney Hill Abduction Case

With the aid of a psychiatrist, the couple eventually admitted what had happened: Grey creatures with bright eyes had led them into a massive metal disc. They'd examined the Hills, wiped their memory, and released them. The couple's story led to an Air Force inquiry and inspired Project Blue Book, an investigation force that focused on alien abduction reports. It also shaped alien abduction narratives for years to come. Before the Hills, most encounters with aliens had been friendly and harmless; afterwards, speculation about abductions and probes blossomed rampantly.

The couple's story also became the blueprint for a certain type of alien. Known as "greys" in UFO circles, the Hills' distinct aliens were spotted again and again over the years. This means that either dozens of people have experienced the same delusion, perhaps drawing subconscious inspiration from the Hills' story—or it means that a race of big-headed, bright-eyed, grey aliens are really descending down to Earth, investigating humans and floating back to wherever they came from, data in tow.

These aliens were spotted in another one of the most notorious cases of alien abduction ever to shake America—the story of Travis Walton. In 1971, Walton and five other forestry workers were making their way through the woods when they saw a bright light in the distance. Walton strode towards it, only to be shocked brutally by the glow. The five others ran off and reported their coworker missing. When Walton was discovered five days later, he reported that he'd been taken onto a ship and investigated by grey aliens who used some kind of gas to render him unconscious. Walton also said he met several other strangely good-looking humans, clad in blue uniforms, who conducted experiments on him in a large warehouse that appeared to be full of other flying saucers.

A UFO in Palomar Gardens, California, taken by George Adamski. Mary Evans Picture Library/

Alien Saviors?

Not all aliens are unfriendly and invasive mad scientists. (Perhaps, just like humans, some of them believe in harsher methods of investigation than others?) In fact, many people across time have said they've received important advice from aliens.

For example, alien abductee Jim Sparks says that he has had a long-term relationship with extraterrestrials known as the Keepers, who first appeared to him in 1988 and have since outlined steps humanity must take in order to save ourselves from self-destruction.

At first, Sparks said, the encounters were invasive, and he felt that his visitors (who appeared several times a month) were "probing through to the deepest fiber of my mind." Eventually, he decided to try and listen to what the aliens had to say.

The aliens told him that humans are "isolated" in the universe "by ignorance" and are "not ready to join the intelligent life that exists in other realms" because we're "too dangerous to be set free in the universe to do as we please." They showed Sparks video footage of beautiful scenery on Earth, then followed it with clips that showed humans destroying the natural environment. After one of these viewing sessions, a telepathic voice said, ""YOU ARE KILLING YOUR PLANET. YOUR PLANET IS DYING."

"There are better ways," Sparks was told, of "deriving your energy and food needs, without causing your planet any damage." Sparks later founded an organization dedicated to conserving forests.

Why We See Aliens

So, why do we see aliens? That's a huge question, and it's one that many psychologists and Internet conspiracy theorists have tried to figure out.

In general, psychologists conclude that the 2.5% of the American population who claim they've encountered aliens aren't actually making up what happened to them. Most people really think their stories are true, meaning that a lot of people are hallucinating or experiencing sleep paralysis…or that the aliens are actually making contact.

Some scientists blame alien abductions on humans' desire to feel special and not alone in the universe; others connect it to American exceptionalism. Still others insist it's the consequence of pareidolia, a modern incarnation of man's tendency to follow glowing blue lights in dark woods. If those old superstitions were fundamental in shaping our view of the world, then modern interactions with aliens might be a new myth, a new religion for modern times. Alien invasion "provides a language of longing for something — an angelic visitor, the complete fulfillment of our own technological potential, revelation about the nature of the universe — which remains elusive," writes Claire Coffey for The Outline. "Still, there are signs that alien belief is poised to become one of the world's ethical religions. Alien beliefs often implicate the world in wickedness and call for repentance — many accounts of alien contacts include calls for an end to war and an increase in peaceful human cooperation."

Some people choose to believe, looking beyond earthly logic and science. According to one report, one in five Americans believe that at one point or another, aliens have visited Earth. Do you?

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How Prima Helped Me Improve My Daily Routine

Primas hemp products helped my create new habits

The last few months of working from home and barely leaving my apartment have been tough. Everyone seems to be improving themselves during quarantine but I was just trying to adjust to the new isolated way of living.

Now that the hardest part is hopefully behind us, I'm ready for some self-improvement. After months of WFH followed by binge-watching Netflix and binge-eating junk till 2 am, I've got to make a few changes. I took some advice from my sister who told me to pick three areas I'd like to makeover and then form new habits to help me achieve my goals.

She also suggested that I try hemp. She's been in love with all of Primas products for the last month and claims they've made a huge difference in how balanced she feels throughout the day. She said that Prima's hemp stands out from other brands because it's the highest quality hemp and rigorously tested to ensure potency and purity. But I was all about the new habits, so I ignored that advice.

Here are the three new habits I've added to my daily routine:

  1. Make time for me!

This one may seem silly after nearly three months stuck in the house alone, but what I mean is quality time for me. I needed to integrate activities that are mentally and physically constructive. I heard yoga was great for your mind and body and with so many tutorials on youtube, I added 20 minutes of yoga before breakfast to my morning routine.

2. Exercise

I don't like gyms and that's never going to change. So I needed to refresh my exercise options. I love being outdoors so I added an evening walk weeknights and long hikes on the weekends. The fresh air clears my head after a long day and I can start hitting those 10K steps we're meant to do every day!

3. Less Screentime

This isn't just for kids! I realized I was on my work laptop all day, and when I wasn't looking at that screen I was watching TV on my phone. My eyes were never getting a break and neither was my head. I had to limit the crazy amount of time I was spending on my phone. I got a free app that alerts me when I'm on it too long, like an alarm that kicks me off. Then I ordered some novels to read instead of scrolling through Instagram and Twitter in bed. Now I read a few chapters and nod off.

My new habits took a while to get used to, but after two weeks of constantly reminding myself, they're part of my routine that I'm just loving. I'm definitely sleeping better and feel more motivated in the morning. However, I still felt like there was something missing. And my aching neck started to get worse. I thought the yoga would help but once the afternoon hit, my namaste had completely vanish-tayed and my neck was in bits by bedtime! I even sorted out my home office with a new chair and keyboards so I wouldn't be bending it so much all day but I think the damage was done.

That's when my sister jumped in and reminded me that I should try Prima's hemp products. For my neck? I still doubted that was the solution. But when she promised me Primas R+R recovery cream would help my neck, with her husband also vouching for it I gave it a go.

Once it arrived at my door I tried it every night a week for bed. The first night I felt a little difference but I just put that down to the cooling effect of the menthol. I was surprised hemp was just one ingredient among so many really amazing ones such as menthol, eucalyptus, and marula oil. Along with the botanicals tea tree, lavender, rosemary, and peppermint which are great to encourage total relaxation. While on their site, I couldn't believe the variety of hemp products they have.

By the end of the week, I really felt the magic of Primas R+R cream and it has become the most important part of my nighttime routine. I forget what it was like to have neck discomfort thanks to Prima.

I loved it so much that I couldn't help treating myself to their award-winning Night Magic Serum. I can't wait for my glowy skin!!

I never imagined I'd become a hemp fan, but Prima is the perfect piece to complete my revamped wellness routine that makes me more mindful and balanced. I'm so glad my sister introduced me to Prima, it's my new favorite habit that I will be keeping!

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What's Up with All These Fireworks?

New Yorkers have been hearing constant explosions throughout the night. Is it a conspiracy?

If you live in a large metropolitan area like New York City, Black Lives Matter protests likely aren't the only things you hear making noise in the streets.

In the past couple of weeks, as Black Lives Matter supporters march in memory of George Floyd and countless other Black people killed by police, the sounds of fireworks can be heard virtually every weekend. More than just your average Fourth of July shindig, these explosions often trail into the wee hours of the morning.

According to Gothamist, there were 6,385 total "311" complaints about fireworks in New York City from June 1 to June 19—up from 27 during the same time period last year. "This is not the simple firecrackers and little small toy-type rockets, but it was very elaborate," Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams told Gothamist. "That in itself is raising a high level of concern with me... When you see the large displays along Brooklyn and in Manhattan, Upper Manhattan, you're seeing extremely sophisticated type fireworks displays that can be extremely dangerous in the hands of the wrong people."

Anything more powerful than a sparkler is illegal in New York, but that hasn't stopped regular folks from buying the type of fireworks you'd see in a professional display. But who is buying these fireworks, and what are they trying to accomplish? There are some wild theories.

NYPD, FDNY appear to let illegal fireworks show play out, video shows

NYPD, FDNY appear to let illegal fireworks show play out, video shows

As author Robert Jones, Jr. pointed out in a lengthy Twitter thread, antics by "bored Black and brown kids" tends to be the general assumption made by most mainstream media. "My neighbors and I believe that this is part of a coordinated attack on Black and Brown communities by government forces; an attack meant to disorient and destabilize the #BlackLivesMatter movement," Jones wrote.

One goal Jones proposed was that white people were the ones setting off the constant fireworks in an attempt to "stoke tensions between Black and Brown peoples." Many have voiced their frustrations online about the sheer volume of the fireworks they hear, and a shared annoyance is growing.

Another motive Jones proposed was that the fireworks are being used as a desensitization method to acclimate citizens to the sounds of the blasts—which often sound like gunshots. "When they start using their real artillery on us we won't know the difference," Jones wrote. "It's meant to sound like a war zone because a war zone is what it's about to become."

Police don't seem too concerned. The New York Post shared a video this week of fireworks being set off behind an NYPD precinct in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. No officers appear to deter them. A similar video in Harlem, Manhattan also shows a flock of police cars—none of which seem to mind the explosions.

Another video shows what appears to be Brooklyn firefighters setting off fireworks:

Video shows FDNY firefighters light off illegal fireworks in Brooklyn

Video shows FDNY firefighters light off illegal fireworks in Brooklyn

Today, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced he was forming a task force to combat the illegal fireworks. "Illegal fireworks are both dangerous and a public nuisance," he said. "We're cracking down on this activity at the source to ensure the safety of all New Yorkers and the ability of our neighbors to get some sleep."

But if over 6,000 complaints have been made about fireworks to seemingly no avail, it seems a task force won't merit much of an improvement.

Many seem to agree with the theory that inconspicuous government officials have been offering fireworks to Black children, newly on summer vacation and hungry for ways to ease their quarantine boredom. As with many issues going on in America, these constant fireworks will probably be just another way for the government to further discriminate against marginalized groups.

At least we can always rely on memes to spread the good word.

I don't know about you guys, but working from home has taken a serious toll on me. It started off really well. I was sticking to my usual routine as much as possible, but I've been slowly becoming less and less productive.

I noticed my sleep schedule had completely changed. I was rolling out of bed a few minutes before I was due to start work, and sometimes even working from my bed. I ate lunch at the desk and worked straight through my scheduled breaks. I was sleepier throughout the day, unable to focus as much, and just feeling less motivated overall.

So I looked into what I could do that would help me out of my slump. I tried a few things. Some were so simple I never thought they'd make much of a difference, and some I wouldn't have thought of at all, but now I'm back feeling more productive than ever.

Here are my three tips for working from home:

1. Get up early

Yes, it seems so simple. But it's super important to stick to a normal routine if you can. Not only do I get up early, but I shower every morning and cook myself a nutritious breakfast before I start work. This definitely helped me feel more energized and motivated throughout the day.

2. Have a designated workspace

This is important because it separates your work from your home. Our homes are associated with relaxing, so designating a space that will be used only for work will help you concentrate on work while you're in that space. I also found that doing this helped me actually take appropriate breaks. When I left the space I was in relax mode, and once I came back, I was ready to work again.

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3. CBD supplements

When looking into ways to improve my focus and sleeping patterns, I came across an article about CBD supplements, specifically a brand called Prima. I'd never bought into the whole CBD craze, but when I read that you can try Prima's Rest Easy, Go-To, and Brain Fuel elixirs by purchasing their Trifecta for just $26 with shipping, I thought why not?

The elixirs are powders that you can mix into any beverage. The Prima Trifecta has a few samples of all three. The Brain Fuel elixir is to be taken in the morning, so I mixed it into my coffee, and I was awake and alert and able to throw myself into my working day.

Their Go-To elixir should be taken around noon. My daily midday productivity crash had gotten so much worse while working at home, but taking this elixir helped keep me sharp through the remainder of my work day.

The Rest Easy elixir is taken at night to help you get a good sleep. Since I started taking this my sleep schedule has greatly improved. It was so much easier to get up early again. It left me feeling well rested and ready to start my day.

I never realized how much simple things, like setting out a specific workspace, and getting up early would help me escape my unproductive rut. I wasn't expecting Prima's CBD supplements to help as much as they did, but they definitely had the biggest impact for me.

After trying the Prima Trifecta, I ended up buying the full size of all three elixirs. If you're having problems with sleep, focus, and productivity like I was, I'd recommend ordering the Prima Trifecta.

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