In December of 2000, the Defense Intelligence Analysis Staff of the British MOD complied a report on UAP sightings over the United Kingdom. Contained within this report, amongst other insightful tidbits: were the annualized numbers of sightings from 1959 through 1997. Now it occurred to me, that these data provided by the MOD, were bound to be more reliable than data collected by private organizations: primarily based on the fact that the ratio of pranksters, and bored drunken youngsters would be of representative insignificance. That is to say, it is easy for a bored teen to prank a private organizations, as compared to the British Ministry of Defense. Further, the two years which will be discussed presently, are from a time just before "the internet" became widely available to universities, let alone private connections. Lastly, these years also present a time, of a slightly more "conservative" Briton (as compared to contemporary society.) And as such, are probably some of the more reliable numbers to be found in regards to UAP sightings.
The MOD technical report's annualized "event reports" for 1977 and 1978 were chosen for this brief meta-analysis, as they represent one of the more striking contrasts of the whole 36 year period. Ideally, a deeper analysis should be made of the whole period, with the goal of teasing out any predictive qualities which might be contained therein.
1977 - 1978
In the year 1977 there were 425 reported sightings to the MOD. In the year 1978 there were nearly twice as many.(750) The first and most pertinent question to be asked about these data, would be, what was the cause of the seemingly dramatic increase in UAP sightings between those two years? One approach to addressing this question would be to compile all atmospheric data for the corresponding years, and compare any such anomalous events from year on year. By comparing these data from year on year, any corollary between weather phenomenon (as suggested in the MOD report) and Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon could be found. This is something which is being done presently; however, and as always, I am more than open to volunteers and suggestions to this path of investigation.
For this brief analysis however, a social-cultural perspective has been used. Choosing to research any possible correlations between the reported UAP events and that of cultural / social events is in the real of "overview" at best, and at worst could lead down false paths of investigation. Having that said though, there are some interesting cultural events which do seem to have played (at least to some extent) a part in the increase of UAP sightings over the United Kingdom. In the following Headlined sections, some of the more interesting (possible) causes will be highlighted.
Hollywood (as acting agent.)
UK 27 December 1977
UK 13 March 1978
Now it would seem, with these two movies alone, the collective consciousness of the UK would be literally buzzing with the idea of UFOs / UAPs. And to some extent I am sure that is correct; however, this would be another area, where looking into later years, and other theatrical releases would be of benefit. Further, to reiterate what was said earlier, these numbers are UAP events reported thttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifo the Ministry of Defense, and not that of the local radio show.
Soviet satellite Cosmos 954 burns up in Earth's atmosphere.
Soyuz 28 (Aleksei Gubarev, Vladimir Remek) is launched on a rendezvous with Salyut 6
Charon, a satellite of Pluto, is discovered.
The U.S. scientific satellite Seasat is launched.
A massive short circuit in Seasat's electrical system ends the satellite's scientific mission.
The above events too could hold a key to the increase in reported sightings, though again, they alone may not offer a full explanation. Further, as an aside, this year (1978) NASA was pretty much ran over by the Soviet space program: That is to say, during this time, the soviets had several successful launchers, whereas NASA had only one, and if failed after 10 days.
August 6 – Pope Paul VI dies in Rome.
August 26 – Pope John Paul I succeeds Pope Paul VI as the 263rd Pope.
September 28 – Pope John Paul I dies after only 33 days of papacy.
October 16 – Pope John Paul II succeeds Pope John Paul I as the 264th pope.
The above almost speaks for itself as for relevance; it is of note however, that Briton, does have a rather mixed history with the Catholic Church.
As stated before, the above is more of a thumbnail sketch, a "meta-analysis" of cultural / social causes to mass UAP / UFO sightings. Any predictive qualities, (unlike the atmospheric proposal) would be difficult, at best to define. Further, evaluating social causes to these sightings is a rather subjective affair; making it harder to concretely say: When popes die, people see UFOs.(or the reverse, when people see UFOs, popes die.) What would be of note, and worthy of further research would be a combination of the two meta-analysis (cultural and atmospheric) combined with a greater data-set (the whole 36 year period). This would provide a fuller picture of the "current" situation, and perhaps allow elements of predictability to emerge.