“I want to believe.” These are the words of notorious X-Files hero Fox Mulder, who convinced an entire generation that the truth is out there – we just have to find it. But on July 2, it won’t only be sci-fi enthusiasts trying out their ET sleuthing skills, as everyone on planet earth will have to opportunity to celebrate World UFO Day. UFOs have been the stuff of legend for centuries, but it wasn’t until the 1950s that freaky flying saucers grabbed national and international mainstream attention. Since then, UFOs have captured the minds of old and young alike, and witness’ stories have proliferated around the world. World UFO Day serves as a way for everyone to come together and watch the skies on the same night in search of UFOs, but that’s not its only purpose. Many see the holiday as a way to spread knowledge and awareness of UFOs, making a case for their existence, and hoping to make disciples out of the dubious. So why July 2? For many, this date represents the anniversary of the famed and all-but-confirmed 1947 incident in Roswell, New Mexico. Believers claim a UFO crash landed here, deep in the American southwest, but that the government has been covering it up ever since. What do you believe?
World UFO Day - Key Moments
Birth of 'UFO'
The term ‘UFO’ for Unidentified Flying Object was coined by US Air Force officer Edward Ruppelt
The Roswell Incident
Farmers in Roswell, New Mexico report hearing a large crash, and later citizens recover wreckage of what is purported to be a flying saucer.
A broadsheet reports widespread sightings of a celestial phenomenon over Nuremberg.
How to Celebrate World UFO Day
1. Have a “Welcome to Earth” party
In case you needed a reason to throw a party, there’s plenty of opportunity here. Alien and UFO costumes are simple and funny, while the food ideas are endless. Alien cupcakes with green icing, red jello with rocket ships suspended in the middle or even prepackaged moonpies are all great ideas. For an older-earthlings party, try mixing vodka, blue curacao, grenadine, cranberry juice and sours for a Purple People Eater cocktail.
2. Do some investigative research
There are more than enough stories, legends and actual scientific findings on UFOs and space exploration to keep you busy for a day. Use the power of the internet to separate fact from fiction, and try coming up with your own theories on whether the truth really is out there. Finish the evening by gazing up at the stars before going to bed. You never know what you might see.
3. Have a UFO movie marathon
Depending how far you want to go back, try watching a few UFO films from different eras. The Flash Gordon-types of the 30s were genre-defining. The Martian marauders story typical of the 50s and 60s may be a bit campy for you, but you could have some friends over to watch them a la Mystery Science Theater 3000, and let the heckling begin. Or settle in for the visually stunning films of the last few decades - take your pick, sit back, and blast off.
Why We Love World UFO Day
A. It’s a chance celebrate the strange
No matter who you are, everyone is given a pass to think laterally, creatively, and perhaps even a bit unconventionally on July 2. World UFO Day encourages us all to challenge accepted knowledge, and for once, maybe it’s okay for our minds to be off in space.
B. It’s a testament to technology
What do smoke detectors, water filters, treadmills and memory foam all have in common? They were all born from ideas NASA has come up with during its space exploration research, and this innovation is only getting started. The more we research advanced, space-age technology, the more discoveries we’re making that impact our daily lives.
C. It’s given us some stellar movies
Awareness of UFOs has led to some of the box office’s greatest hits in the last few decades. As interest in space exploration and extraterrestrial life lifts off, we can expect Hollywood to keep up with the times. While UFO movies were once designated as strictly campy sci-fi, films like Alien, Arrival and Interstellar have sent their popularity through the stratosphere.