Although there are no magic ways of making sure that you see a UFO, there are things you can do to improve your chances. Here are some tips for finding one.


This may not be an idea that your parents will like, but it's a good way to have a UFO experience. UFO TipsAccording to UFOlogist Jacques Vallee, almost all UFO landings take place after 6:00 p.m. Sightings rise in number until about 10:30 p.m. and then begin to decline. Very few sightings of TRUFOs take place between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. The number of sightings decreases after 10:30 because most people go to bed around that time. The more people there are in bed, the fewer there are to spot a UFO. Of course, some people see strange lights outside their bedroom windows, so being in bed doesn't rule out the possibility of seeing a UFO.


Most UFOs are observed by witnesses who are outside at the time. But it's not just a matter of being outdoors. Where you are may make a difference. Here's a list of the top thirteen states for UFO sightings, based on recent studies:


New Mexico
New York 


This doesn't mean that you won't see a UFO if you live somewhere else. Your chances may be a little better in these states, that's all. What's more, a rural area in any state is better for UFO spotting than a heavily populated area. However, while it's true that you'll be less likely to see a UFO in New York City or Los Angeles or Denver or Chicago, it's also true that UFOs have been sighted just a few miles from almost every large urban area in the country.


Many UFOlogists distrust stories told by children, but collectively, more children see UFOs than any age group of adults. Do children see more UFOs, or are they more likely to report what they see? In general, children have fewer preconceptions about things and report just what they've seen — no matter how odd it is.

Being young, however, is not the only factor in UFObserving. Other studies have suggested that people with red or blond hair are more likely to see a UFO and that left-handed individuals may also have more close encounters. But seeing a UFO is probably a matter of luck for many people.


No one knows how often UFOs have been spotted by people in cars, but many people have this experience while driving or riding. Mark Rodeghier of the Center for UFO Studies in Chicago reviewed reports of vehicles that encountered UFOs and uncovered a number of facts: First, most vehicular encounters occurred on rural roads in clear weather. Second, most lasted for less than ten minutes. Third, most did not involve any UFOccupants. Finally, most of the UFObservers had trouble with their vehicle's engine, headlights, and/or electrical equipment before and during the encounter.

One example occurred in Marshall County, Minnesota, on August 27, 1979. On this clear night, Deputy Val Johnson was patrolling County Road 5 in his Ford LTD when he noticed a white light above the tree line perhaps two miles to the south. The light seemed too bright to belong to another car or a truck, so he decided to investigate. He wondered if it might belong to a light aircraft involved in a drug-smuggling operation across the Canadian border.

He turned onto Highway 220 and accelerated to 65 mph, keeping his eyes on the light. Suddenly it swept toward his windshield, blinding him. At that moment he passed out.

When he came to, he realized that his car had skidded across the highway into the oncoming lane. Fortunately, no other cars were traveling that night or he surely would have been involved in an accident. Still, Johnson was not in good shape. His head had hit the steering wheel, and his eyes felt raw and sore. He radioed for assistance.

"Something hit my car," he reported. "I don't know how to explain it. Something attacked my car. I heard glass breaking, and my brakes locked up, and I don't know what the hell happened."

Officer Greg Winskowski arrived quickly, along with an ambulance, and Johnson was taken to a nearby hospital. He was treated for eye irritation, which the doctor said was similar to what might happen to a welder who wasn't wearing a mask, and released a few hours later.

That wasn't the end of the case, though. Sheriff Dennis Brekke inspected the site of the accident carefully. He discovered that the damage done to the patrol car (a smashed headlight, a cracked windshield, an almost broken radio antenna) could not have been caused by anything then at the scene.

What Sheriff Brekke found most interesting, though, was that the clock in the patrol car and Johnson's own wristwatch were both exactly fourteen minutes slow. By looking at the deputy's earlier radio messages that night, Brekke was able to confirm that Johnson's watch had been correct prior to the accident. What could have caused both timepieces to lose fourteen minutes?

Brekke called a nearby UFO center, but an extensive investigation proved nothing conclusive. However, some people believe that Johnson did encounter a TRUFO and somehow collided with it or with the electrical field that surrounded it. As to where those fourteen minutes went, no one knows.

While Deputy Johnson's experience is thought-provoking, it is even more amazing to compare it with an encounter that Russ Johnson (no relation to Val John­son) had two days later, at almost exactly the same time — only four hundred miles away in Vermillion, South Dakota.

Russ Johnson saw a light ahead of him on the highway. It rushed toward him and covered his car with bright light. Blinded, he slammed on the brakes and skidded sideways to a stop. He opened his eyes and watched an object zoom into the sky behind his car.

No newspaper had yet carried word of Val Johnson's encounter, so if Russ Johnson was making up a story, he did so without reading anything about Val Johnson's experience. He did not claim to be injured and his watch did not stop.

A strange similarity? Two encounters with the same TRUFO? This is the kind of case you may be asked to handle as a UFOlogist.


Pilots and passengers in airplanes have also reported a substantial number of UFO sightings. In fact, one of the best recent encounters happened to the pilot of a Japan Air Lines flight from Paris to Tokyo. This was a freight 1 flight; JAL Flight 1628 was filled with French wine bound for Tokyo. After a stop in Iceland, the plane continued over Greenland, Canada, and finally Alaska,where it was scheduled to stop at Anchorage. However, as it entered Alaskan airspace late in the afternoon of November 17, 1986, Captain Kenju Terauchi realized that the lights he was observing to the bottom left of his windscreen were unusual.

What was strange about them? First, they appeared to be lights from two fighter planes. Second, they appeared to be following the JAL flight. Third, they were about 2,000 feet below JAL 1628, which ruled out the possibility that they were stars that Terauchi had misidentified.

After seven minutes or so of watching the lights, Terauchi reported, "Two spaceships stopped in front of our face, shooting off lights. The inside cockpit shined brightly, and I felt warm in the face."

These UFOs were aligned vertically and appeared as rows of lights in a rectangular pattern. They stayed clearly visible in front of the plane. The entire flight crew watched as the UFOs began to put on a light show with what appeared to be exhaust jets. The display was so colorful that Takanori Tamefuji, the copilot, compared it to Christmas lights.

The crew decided to contact Anchorage to report what was happening. Although air traffic controllers in Anchorage did not initially pick up any strange objects on their radar, the plane's radar indicated that a large object was following five miles behind. Later, however, Anchorage confirmed the appearance of an unknown aircraft in JAL 1628's vicinity.

When Terauchi was interviewed, he drew for investigators his own interpretation of what had happened: a large mother ship of the two smaller spaceships had taken JAL 1628 under its wing. After about fifteen minutes, the two UFOs had moved away from the cockpit, and Terauchi had seen the dimly lit, enormous silhouette of the mother ship. Another aircraft in the vicinity, United Airlines Flight 69, closed in on JAL 1628 to ob­serve the mystery object. But by that time the mother ship had disappeared.

This case was studied fairly thoroughly, though the Federal Aviation Administration decided not to comment on the nature of the sighting. Some skeptics wrote that Terauchi had mistaken Mars or Jupiter for his UFO. Of course, this explanation makes no sense, considering the geometric nature of the lights that Terauchi observed. Others said that the signal received by the JAL flight's radar was merely an echo of the plane's own image. UFOlogists easily ruled out stars, planets, cities, and other known aircraft as responsible for the lights. Some, however, are unconvinced that Terauchi saw a mother ship; they are more willing to believe that he saw two UFOs. Whatever happened, it is clear that JAL 1628 had a remarkable flight.


For reasons that no one yet understands, many UFOs are reported near power lines and reservoirs.

According to UFOlogist Raymond Fowler, one power plant that has been the site of a number of UFO encounters since 1952 is the New England Power Station at Salem, Massachusetts. On July 16, 1952, Shell Alpert, a member of the coast guard, photographed four oval objects hovering near this station. The commander of the local coast guard station released the photographs, much to the displeasure of coast guard officials. Although many explanations were offered by the government, none convinced Fowler.

On October 2, 1965, another sighting took place. The witness, sixteen-year-old James Centorino, was the son of a meteorology professor at Salem State Teachers College. James told Fowler that he was on his bicycle at about 8:20 p.m. when he saw two white lights shining brightly over the smokestacks. "Each stack has two red lights," James explained, "but I couldn't figure out what the white lights were. There seemed to be a dark shape between them, so I cycled down to the plant and up to the fence around it for a closer look."

From his vantage point, James could see a twenty-foot-long cigar-shaped object with a slight hump near the back. Each end had a white light, and the object hovered at a 45-degree angle above the smokestacks. As James moved closer, it made a sound "like air being let out of a balloon." Then it rose further, turned off its lights, and disappeared in the darkness. Fowler dis­covered that an anonymous woman also reported the UFO to police that night, and the coast guard station received numerous calls. The station commander, however, would not release the names of any callers.

Other sightings have taken place at the New England Power Plant as well. Fowler believes that as a conduit of energy, it may attract UFOs. Some scientists also suspect that UAPs may form in electromagnetic fields like those found around power plants and high-voltage power lines.


Patience is a necessity for anyone interested in seeing a UFO. If you aren't expecting to see one, you might have a better chance of a close encounter. In fact, many people who have seen UFOs report that they felt compelled to look at the sky or out a window for no real reason. "I knew I had to look," a typical witness might later report.

One witness woke up at 4:30 in the morning and felt an urge to look out the window. He saw three large orange balls hovering over the lake that his property bordered. In a moment the three spheres zoomed up, and he seemed to wake up from a trance. As he turned to go back to bed, he realized that his parents were standing behind him. They had woken at the same time and felt the same urge to look out the window. Had the UFOs been communicating with them? Had the air around the lake suddenly changed? Many other people have reported similar encounters.



Copyright © James M. Deem. Taken from How to Catch a Flying Saucer (Houghton Mifflin, 1991). All rights reserved. 


Other UFO Stories by James M Deem

A UFO in Montvale, NJ? Three Types of UFO

CloEncse ounters of the First, Second, and Third Kind Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind

The What's What of UFOs: The Five Most Common Shapes The Who's Who of UFOs: What Their Occupants Look Like

UFO Missions: What UFOs Have Been Seen Doing Tips for Having a Close Encounter