Most historians of the UFO subject would recognize its beginning in 1947 with Kenneth Arnold’s sighting of mysterious flying “saucers” over Mount Ranier, Washington. However, similar descriptions of unusual aerial phenomena have persisted throughout history. Many–if not most–of these incidents represent natural phenomena observed by people in prescientific times, although their study today may be helpful in understanding the broader idea of UFOs and human attitudes toward them.

This week on The Micah Hanks Program, after a look at the news we turn our attention toward what scientists over the years have had to say about aerial phenomena from classical antiquity that some compare to modern UFO reports, as well as extraterrestrial life, and even whether space explorers might have ever visited Earth in the ancient past. “What may surprise the serious student of the subject,” wrote the late NASA scholar Richard B. Stothers in 2007, “is that, despite the numerous articles and books published by scientists on UFOs over the past six decades, almost no scholarly studies of the very early history of the phenomenon have appeared.”

While some classical reports of aerial phenomena are indeed worthy of further study, even the famed astronomer Carl Sagan had once argued the statistical likelihood that Earth might have been visited in the ancient past by interstellar explorers… an idea he became increasingly wary of with the popularization of more dubious “ancient astronaut” theories. We look at how scientists have studied the question of Earth visitation and aerial phenomena in ancient times on this edition of The Micah Hanks Program.

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Music featured on The Micah Hanks Program includes songs composed by Caleb Hanks (The Clerk Chronicles), Decepticons (Dreamland, Start the Machine) and Micah Hanks. All songs are either in the public domain, Royalty Free, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0, or are used with permission of the creators. Please note that some links to books and other items on this page may feature Amazon Associate links.

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Author: Micah Hanks

Micah Hanks is a writer, researcher, and podcaster. His interests include areas of history, science, archaeology, philosophy, and the study of anomalous phenomena in nature. He can be reached at

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