Behold the Sky: Full of Such Mischief, British U.F.O. Files Say

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LONDON — The year was 1977. Above the tiny island nation of Grenada, big things were happening in the sky. Sir Eric Gairy, the country’s prime minister, was convinced that the objects he thought he was seeing were hostile alien aircraft from outer space.

The British government did not share Sir Eric’s conviction that, as he put it, “persons from outer space are studying us, or perhaps living among us as earthlings.” A “ridiculous proposal that will only bring the United Nations into disrepute,” was what one British official called the prime minister’s campaign to persuade the United Nations to form an agency to investigate U.F.O.’s.

This historical tidbit was revealed by the British National Archives on Thursday, when it released thousands of pages of government files related to the subject of U.F.O.’s over the years. Sadly, nothing in the material appears to prove without a doubt that we are not alone.

But one can always hope. The files contain a trove of observations from British citizens about unexplained phenomena they observed in the sky and reported to the Ministry of Defense, including peculiarly flashing lights, oddly shaped or strangely behaving aircraft or things that just looked as if they did not belong there....

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