Talk about out-of-this-world: the BBC is reporting that New Zealand's military has just released hundreds of classified files, dating from 1954 to 2009, detailing reports of sightings of unidentified flying objects (UFOs).
The documents, which run at an estimated 2,000 pages, allegedly comprise drawings of flying saucers as well as alleged samples of alien writing. Also included are accounts by members of the public, military personnel and commercial airline pilots describing close encounters, as well as never-before-seen details of the country's best-known UFO sighting, when footage of unusual lights was shot off the South Island town of Kaikoura in 1978, which was then explained as natural phenomenon.
New Zealand Air Force spokesman Kavae Tamariki confirmed the documents' release, but otherwise remained tight-lipped over their contents. "We have just been a collection point for the information," he told the Dominion Post, adding that the military did not have the resources to investigate UFO sightings. "We don't investigate or make reports, we haven't substantiated anything in them." Officials also say the files were open for scrutiny but that individuals named in the reports are to remain anonymous.
In a move that seems inspired by the ongoing WikiLeaks "Cablegate" scandal, the Dominion Post is publishing the entire lot of documents online. Among the reports that have been uploaded so far are details of a 1999 sighting of what appeared to be aircraft contrails above the sky in Auckland, during which the writer reportedly warns, "A vast many people in Auckland will suffer flu-like sickness." Another report from 1995 describes an incident in which a man met an alien with massive, size 440 feet who told him dying humans ascend as hydrogen atoms.