Although many media outlets picked up on the story about Britain's MoD releasing yet more UFO docs, a few points need to be made in order to put it in perspective.
As reported by various news agencies, the British government has released another batch of files regarding UFOs, Held by the Ministry of Defence, the 5,000 pages in 18 separate files include correspondence from British citizens inquiring about UFOs and also reporting sightings to the MoD “UFO Desk.” The files cover the years between 1995 and 2003.
In Canada, similar files have been available for some time, and are accessible through the National Archives in Ottawa. Analyses of the Canadian UFO reports have been conducted since 1989 by the unaffiliated group Ufology Research, based in Winnipeg. Its annual studies of the numbers and distribution of UFO reports in Canada are available at: http://survey.canadianuforeport.com
A 20-year longitudinal study of Canadian UFO reports covering the years 1989 to 2008 used data on more than 8,500 UFO cases, including many sightings reported to government and military agencies such as National Defence, Transport Canada, NavCan and the RCMP.
The study can be accessed at: http://bit.ly/dk2pN9
British media are noting that in the case of England, “Reports of sightings of UFOs peaked in 1996 in the UK - when science fiction drama The X Files was popular.”
It should be noted that this was not the case in North America, where The X-Files TV show was produced and where it likely had the most influence. In both Canada and the United States, data shows that the number of UFO reports steadily increased during 1995 and 2003, dissimilar to the MoD results.
UFO sightings continue to be reported throughout the world in significant numbers. In Canada, the peak year was 2008, when more than 1,000 sightings were reported, and 2010 may reach a similar mark.
It should be noted that the large numbers of sightings do not prove alien visitation or mass hysteria. Most sightings can be explained or have insufficient information for conclusions but an approximately residual 5 per cent of unexplained cases each year suggests there is a real phenomenon worth studying in a scientific manner.
Finally, in response to a query from a reporter, I took a quick count of Canadian UFO reports received in July 2010 versus July 2009. Last year, the month of July saw 79 reports on file, but this year, July 2010 has more than 135 cases reported so far, and we're still getting them coming in. Almost a doubling of UFO case numbers in 2010? Hmmm.