Whether you do or don’t believe—or maybe you just want to?—in the existence of extraterrestrials, sightings of unidentified flying objects is a real phenomenon.
Chalk it up to aliens, the government or just the influence of science fiction, drugs, alcohol or sheer lunacy, but people throughout the country routinely report spotting UFO’s and have for decades. And a lot of those sightings get reported to the Mutual UFO Network, an organization dedicated to “the scientific study of UFOs for the benefit of humanity.” Outer Places, a community for UFO enthusiasts, collected MUFON’s data from last year and created the maps below showing sightings by state, sightings per capita by state, and shapes sighted by state.
Vermont, Arizona and Maine both had about four sightings per 100,000 people, more than any other state, according to the Outer Places analysis of MUFON’s data. New Hampshire also had high sightings rates, making New England something of a UFO sighting hotbed. Montanans reported seeing a lot of fireballs, while North Dakotans reported spotting circle-shaped objects. Residents of South Dakota, Georgia, Iowa and New Hampshire all reported seeing more star-shaped objects than any other shape.
Anyway, enjoy. (Click each image for a higher-quality version.)
The Washington Post could not confirm the existence of UFOs by the time of publication.