Congress UFO hearing legitimizes sightings in Arizona, researchers say

Congress held hearings on UFOs for the first time in 50+ years and researchers say Arizona has a big role in the history of UFO sightings.
Published: May. 17, 2022 at 8:29 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Lawmakers are trying to figure out if UFOs are real, and if they are, what threat do they pose to national security? For the first time in half a century, Congress held a hearing on “UAPs” or unidentified aerial phenomena.

The Pentagon’s new task force is investigating hundreds of possible sightings, and while there’s still no government confirmation of extraterrestrial life, there are no easy explanations. Arizona plays a significant role in UFO research and sightings. Our state has some of the most famous encounters in the United States, and local researchers said Tuesday’s hearing only legitimizes what’s happened in Arizona over the decades and what could happen going forward.

The Pentagon’s task force said right now they’re investigating about 400 reports of UAPs. Last year they said they were looking into 144 reports. “UAPs are unexplained, it’s true, but they are real,” said Rep. André Carson, a Democrat from Indiana, at the hearing.

Congressmembers discussed how important investigating sightings of UFOs or UAPs are, now considering them a potential threat to national security. “Arizona does have a big role in all of this,” said Alejandro Rojas, a researcher with the Scientific Coalition for UAP Studies here in Phoenix.

Rojas said State 48 has some of the most famous unexplained UFO sightings in American history. He said one of the earliest documented sightings was in July of 1947 when William Rhodes spotted what appeared to be a disk circling above Phoenix, just one day before the infamous Roswell situation. “It’s one of the first that was investigated in the Blue Book, in the Blue Book files, and it came with a photograph,” Rojas said.

Then in November of 1975, a case that still stumps experts. Forestry worker Travis Walton spotted an odd object with his family and friends near Snowflake when he disappeared. “The craft would have been hovering just off to our right, less than 100 feet away,” Travis Walton told Arizona’s Family years ago. “They couldn’t find his body, they told police there was a manhunt, and then he showed up five days later,” said Rojas.

Walton claimed he was abducted and woke up in some sort of aircraft surrounded by human-like figures before blacking out and waking up on the side of the road in Heber days later. He and others have passed lie detector tests about what they saw and experienced, and a movie was made about it called “Fire in the Sky.”

Then in March 1997, the one so many remember. “Finally, of course, there’s the ‘Phoenix Lights,’ which is still really one of the largest mass sightings of an object in U.S. history,” Rojas said. There were two different sets of lights. The Air Force claimed the second set were flares from an aircraft.

Rojas said the hearing in Congress Tuesday cements the fact that the U.S. government is taking research and investigations like this seriously. “Scientists really have adopted this idea that life has to be out there,” said Rojas. The feds said they want to get rid of any stigma on reporting UFOs or UAPs and want pilots to report sightings and encourage pictures and videos to be taken. Research continues here in Arizona. This weekend, the Phoenix chapter of the Mutual UFO Network has a meeting in Tempe with experts on triangular UFO cases and insights.