WXMI — Whether it was people spending more time looking skyward during the pandemic, the effect of its decreased pollution and visibility, or a Pentagon investigation announced this summer, more people reported UFO sightings in 2020.
According to the National UFO Reporting Center, sightings increased by 1,000 this year nationally, with 7,200 total calls about UFOs. Calls to their hotline in New York State alone doubled in 2020.
In Michigan, Bill Konkolesky, state director of the Mutual UFO Network, says their office got about 233 calls in 2020, up from about 200 the previous year. But before you get too excited, Konkolesky says he’s not really in the business of mystery.
“Even on a bad year we can identify about 85 percent of what comes into us, most years closer to 95 percent,” he said. “Our credibility is on the line. We’re in it for the truth of what may be out there.”
Konkolesky says different types of aircraft, celestial objects like bright stars and planets, weather phenomena, drones and satellites are the typical culprits.
“I don’t think the increase in sightings has anything to do with that small percentage that fall into the anomalous category,” he said. “I think it’s all explainable.”
Konkolesky says about a third of calls to their branch of MUFO last year turned out to be Space-X Star Link satellites, launched into near orbit to improve internet connection worldwide. The satellites take on eerie formations when visible:
“When you see these satellites, they travel in a chain,” said Konkolesky. “You’ll see several satellites flying in a row, and they look pretty spooky when you see them.”
The influx of calls may also have something to do with renewed interest and renewed legitimacy in the topic of UFOs in the form of a Pentagon investigation, announced last summer. The Department of Defense also recently commented on a series of declassified videos taken by Navy pilots, who were confused over an unidentified object they spotted mid-air.
Pentagon declassifies three previously leaked videos taken by U.S. Navy pilots that show ‘unidentified aerial phenomena,' which some claim are UFOs pic.twitter.com/Yb7NYulgJ0— Reuters (@Reuters) April 28, 2020
“They’re seeing things they can’t identify either,” said Konkolesky. “It takes sort of the giggle factor away from discussing the topic.”
While he waits anxiously for the Pentagon report, reportedly due out sometime next month, Konkolesky says he doesn’t want to burst anyone’s bubble--he’s still excited at the prospect of one day discovering new life in the universe.
“It’s thrilling to be on that cutting edge,” he said, “to be living in an age where we discover that there is intelligent life in outer space.”
If you want to report any sightings to MUFON, click here.
To see national reports of UFOs, check UFO Stalker here.
The National UFO Reporting Center also catalogues sightings by month here.
READ MORE: UFO sighting sparks new questions