Speed Reads

The truth is out there

A secret Pentagon program studied UFOs until at least 2012. Here's one encounter they couldn't explain.

"There are more things in heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy," Hamlet says in Act I of Shakespeare's famous tragedy. For U.S. Navy Cmdr. David Fravor, the unknown thing from the heavens he saw in 2004 looked like "a white Tic Tac, about the same size as a Hornet [fighter jet], 40 feet long with no wings," he told The Washington Post on Monday, two days after the Pentagon confirmed the existence of a secret program that searched for alien spacecraft and other potentially dangerous aircraft. "It was a real object, it exists, and I saw it," Fravor said, and it was clearly "something not from the Earth."

Fravor told the Post that on Nov. 14, 2004, he was ordered to lead his Navy strike fighter squadron, the A-41 Black Aces, off the California coast to check out some fast-dropping unidentified flying objects officials had been tracking for a few weeks. When they arrived, he saw the oblong object "just hanging close to the water," and "as I get closer, as my nose is starting to pull back up, it accelerates, and it's gone," Fravor told the Post. "Faster than I'd ever seen anything in my life."

A separate squadron of planes arriving as Fravor's crew left shot the following video of the "anomalous aerial vehicle". A private company, To the Stars Academy of Arts and Sciences, annotated the video after one of its consultants, Luis Elizondo, got the Pentagon to declassify and release it and two other cockpit videos before he left the government. Elizondo led the UFO-seeking Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program (AATIP).

Fravor retired in 2006 and mostly kept quiet about what he saw until 2009, when an unidentified government official approached and put him in touch with Elizondo. The AATIP started in 2007 and officially closed in 2012, though some of its research reportedly continues. You can read more about Fravor's experience at The Washington Post.