Reports About the Demise of the UFO Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

There's a persistent joke on the 'net about how, as camera phones have grown in usage, the number of UFO sightings has dropped (e.g. this XKCD comic). And while this joke has morphed slowly into an assumed fact, the truth of the matter is actually the opposite - at least in Canada anyhow.

Need proof? See the 2016 Canadian UFO Survey, which shows that UFO sightings are currently being reported at near-record levels. The Canadian UFO Survey has been compiled by UFOlogy Research Manitoba since 1989, and in 2016 they recorded 1131 officially filed UFO reports - the fifth year in a row above 1000 cases - which "clearly contradicts comments by those who would assert that UFOs are a ‘passing fad’ or that UFO sightings are decreasing in number".

Here's a graph of the numbers of reported sightings of UFOs in Canada from 1989-2016, just for clarity:

Graph of the Number of Canadian UFO Sightings 1989-2016

Of course, a high number of UFO sightings doesn't necessarily translate to something inexplicable. As noted in a blog post summarising the report, most of the UFOs reported were just simple lights in the sky, while 'close encounters' comprised less than 1 in 100 of the reports. Additionally, it has to be noted that the number of cases considered "Unexplained" was just 4%. And further...

...It should be emphasized the classification of Unknown does not imply alien visitation. Each case may still have an explanation following further investigation. And of those that remain unexplained, they may remain unexplained, but still are not incontrovertible proof of extraterrestrial intervention or some mysterious natural phenomenon.

For more detailed (and fascinating) breakdowns of the data, as well as selected cases of interest, see the full 2016 Canadian UFO Report (PDF download).