Newly released Ministry of Defense files have shed light on Churchill’s concerns over extraterrestrials.
A wartime file records Prime Minister Winston Churchill attending a meeting and ordering the hushing up of an RAF sighting for at least 50 years, to protect religious beliefs and prevent “mass panic”.
The government took the possibility of alien contact so seriously that in the 1950s, intelligence chiefs held meetings concerning alien contact and commissioned weekly reports on UFO sightings. Released documents show the involvement of the Joint Intelligence Committee, who typically report to the cabinet on matters of defence, security and foreign affairs.
The documents include information on unexplained radar contacts, “aerial phenomena” and public reports. UFO sightings seemingly reached their peak in 1996 with more than 600 reports – coinciding with the popularity of sci-fi TV drama the X-Files.
The files can be freely downloaded for a month from the National Archives website.