In the modern world of medicine, it is understood why certain formulas can cure specific ailments; this, thanks to the discovery of the underlying microorganisms that cause various sickness, helps form the foundation of the germ theory of disease. Like most scientific theories when first introduced, the germ theory was met with criticism and controversy early on, though the likes of Agostino Bassi, Louis Pasteur and other Victorian microbiologists would later be credited with some of field’s earliest groundbreaking discoveries.

Ironically, references to the notion that microscopic agents could cause illness were appearing in Western manuscripts by 36 BC. The Roman scholar Varro Reatinus wrote in his thesis On Agriculture that, “there are bred certain minute creatures which cannot be seen by the eyes, which float in the air and enter the body through the mouth and nose and there cause serious diseases.” In short, theories about the reality of a world largely unseen by people in their daily lives predated the scientific community’s acceptance of such notions by almost a millennium.

If we shift our attention from microorganisms over to UFOs, a picture that is striking in its historical similarity begins to emerge. On many occasions, proposed instances of historic intervention from “ancient astronauts” have been refuted by scholars as symbolic or religious interpretations of natural phenomena by ancient people. Still, we can’t discount the alternative: that ancient people did actually witness strange, tangible objects flying in the skies. UFO sightings seem to have been a regular occurrence over the course of the last century, with testimony from official bodies that include military organizations and civilian aircraft administration from all around the globe lending credence to such claims. Why, then, would this have been any different hundreds–or even thousands of years ago?

Rather than looking at Ufology as a recent phenomenon, if we observe the presence of UFOs in ancient times much the same as early societies might have viewed disease and microbiology, we begin to see that the advancement of technology enhanced people’s ability to perceive what their eyes alone could not. Technology and, more importantly, the ability to interpret and disseminate information received through its use, have been instrumental in the realization of all the major sciences. Therefore, arguably, Ufology and the observation of unidentified flying objects over the years have fared no differently. Much like microscopes eventually allowed the scientific community to see the “minute creatures” believed to inhabit the world around us, cameras, cell phones, and the internet have magnified our ability to perceive and record the presence of UFO craft which, in all likelihood, have existed alongside humans for time immemorial.

Having considered this notion that UFOs become more visible to humankind as we advance as a species, the pivotal years following World War II (traditionally accepted as a sort of dawn of the modern era of Ufology) may reveal new insights as well. Rather than perceiving this period as one during which “saucers” began to descend from the skies, perhaps the prevalence of UFO reports, beginning with Kenneth Arnold’s sighting over Mount Rainer in June of 1947, had more to do with where American society had gone technologically.

Having emerged from the Second Great War, Americans found themselves in a vastly different country than what had existed prior to entering the conflict. In order to remain afloat during the War, the United States had largely been a nation of producers, with famous iconic wartime posters commemorating wives who “left the kitchen, so to speak, to become “Women Ordinance Workers,” taking up factory jobs in engineering and production to supply for the war effort. A 2007 article appearing at the News OK website pointed out that “The race to win a war often leads to rapid advances in technology, and not just better weapons.” Synthetic tires, advanced rockets and aircraft, weather radar images, jet engines, laptop computers, atomic energy, modern medicine and even the Apollo moon landings all can be traced back to technological origins which began with World War II technology. Arguably, such rapid advancement of technological prowess might be correlated with the steady increase in UFO sightings which occurred over the decades following the War, as well.

So if this trend continues, will our awareness of the UFO presence continue to grow as well? We’re already seeing record numbers of reports of UFO craft, appearing daily on news websites and blogs all over the Internet. Many of these are accompanied by photos of strange objects captured with cell phone cameras, a convenient addition to an evolving technology that’s only seen wide use by consumers during the last decade or so. What will the technology of tomorrow bring that will further increase our ability to perceive and record strange phenomena, and how will our perception of things like UFOs have changed by then?

Image courtesy of NASA.

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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