What the heck’s going on? Almost 2,000 UFO sightings — and that’s just over Maryland

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A staggering 1,923 reports have been submitted by people claiming they saw unidentified flying objects above Maryland, according to National UFO Reporting Center reports.

The UFOs or, what NASA call UAPs — unidentified anomalous phenomena — were seen in various shapes, including circles, ovals, triangles and diamonds.

Other reports claimed they saw the UAPs looking like they were emitting lights or flashes.

Maryland ranks 25th among US states having the most  UFO sightings since collection of data started in 1946, according to NUFORC.

California ranks the highest with 16,084 reports filed on the organisation’s website, which shows a huge growth in sightings in the past decade.

While the spectacle of potential UFO sightings has long captivated people across the US, the growth in citizen-initiated reports is more recent, something that has been credited to the topic’s increased exposure on social media.

UAP has also been a point of interest in the public eye due to the bizarre “alien corpses” shown at the Mexican Congress in September, something that met with considerable scepticism among most scientific onlookers.

Earlier, Congress held a hearing on 26 July which included three former military personnel testifying that they had firsthand knowledge of UAPs and also spoke about the potential security risks that the unidentified phenomena could hold.

They asked US officials for more “transparency” on information they reportedly hold about UAP reports.

Then, on 14 September, NASA’s Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena Independent Study Team published a 36-page report which called for more in-depth research into the various sightings people have reported.

Bill Nelson, a NASA administrator said at the research announcement that they wanted to “shift the conversation of UAP from sensationalism to science.”

“There is a lot more to learn,” he added. “The NASA Independent Study Team did not find any evidence that UAPs have an extra-terrestrial origin, but we don’t know what these UAPs are,” he said.

NASA said that while some reports turn out to be balloons, aircraft or natural phenomena, they do not have a detailed body of data they can refer to to help in the investigation of UAP.

“It’s heartening to me that so many people are coming forward now. We are getting significantly more reports than just six months or a year ago,» Peter Davenport, NUFORC’s director, told CBS, confirming the 1,923 reports in Maryland.

Ryan Graves, David Grusch and David Fravor are sworn in during the House Oversight Committee hearing on UAPs

(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

NUFORC is hopeful about the increase in official acknowledgement of UAP reports, but is wary that the US government could still keep details quiet.

«I don’t know what the future has in store for us, but I am encouraged that more people are coming forward and the government recognizes the UFO phenomenon that’s something worthy of their attention,» Mr Davenport said.

Christian Stepien, NUFORC’s chief technology officer, said that while the majority of their UAP sightings can be dismissed as something scientifically explainable, there still are reports that appear to describe something inexplicable.

«[T]here are many, many cases that cannot be explained as something natural or man-made,» Stepien wrote in a statement to USA TODAY.

«The evidence of the last 70 years is incontrovertible in indicating that anomalous craft are flying at will throughout our airspace. Common sense dictates that this should be of extreme interest to the government and the public.»

Mr Stepien also said he believes the government is aware of the interest in the UAP study but has chosen to «keep the details hidden from the public.»

«The recent disclosure hearings in Congress have generated a lot of hope within the UFO community that some of this secrecy may finally be breaking down,” he told the news outlet, “but whether any serious disclosure will happen remains to be seen.”

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