In 1981, a 55-year-old farmer in Trans-en-Provence, France, reported hearing a strange, high-pitched sound before seeing a flying saucer nearby. The lead-colored UFO took off almost immediately, he said.
What makes this sighting unique is that the farmer immediately contacted local police, who took soil and plant samples, according to a report of the incident. Experts from France’s UFO-investigating body, formerly called Groupe d’Études et d’Informations sur les Phénomènes Aérospatiaux Non-identifiés (GEPAN), said the chemical evidence was consistent with heating of the soil and pressure from a heavy object. They also found traces of zinc and phosphate and evidence of abnormalities in the plants nearby.
However, skeptics said the smooshed plants could have been caused by tires, and cars had been heard traveling in the area around the same time as the farmer’s sighting. Because there was a military base nearby, another explanation is that the French military was testing an experimental craft.
Sighting by retired astronaut
In general, some of the most reputable or credible sightings come from those who are in the skies all day long: pilots and members of the military. The National UFO Reporting Center (NUFORC) logged one such sighting in 2013, Vice reported. Late in the evening in 2013, the man, a former commercial pilot, fighter pilot and astronaut, was looking at the sky with his family in Athens, Texas, when he noticed what looked like an orange, glowing fireball.
“When I looked up into the sky, I saw a fairly large, orange, glowing orb moving rapidly overhead [at] right about 90 degrees of elevation,” the man reported to the NUFORC.