It's an age-old question: Are we alone in the universe?
As the documentary "Out of the Blue" rightly points out, brilliant and reputable scientists believe that the conditions for intelligent life exist on thousands of planets. But then there's that other question that separates the scientists from the believers, the witnesses from the skeptics — if aliens are out there, have they come to visit?
James Fox, the producer of "Out of the Blue," says that aliens are out there. "They're flying around. They're here and they've been here."
He also believes that they have incredible technical ability, saying that they can "fly rings around our fastest jets. Yes. That's what I've been told. They can literally almost disappear in place."
"Out of the Blue" is an attempt to weed out the wackos and present credible witnesses who say they saw what looked like alien spacecraft. Witnesses like former President Carter, who said, "I saw one, but I don't know where. It just disappeared." And Mercury astronaut Gordon Cooper, who says he saw "this typical saucer shape, double-cylindrical shape, metallic."
"I looked up and all of a sudden there was this, you know, I got to say it, flying saucer," said Sean Thackery, from Marin, Calif., one of the eyewitnesses in the film.
"You've got this phenomenon taking place that's never been properly explained," said Fox. "You know, people — people wanna know."
The subject of UFOs is one of those things that never gets a satisfactory answer, and never quite seems to go away. Now, 60 years after the reported crash of a UFO in Roswell, N.M., and with the French government releasing its UFO archives, there are new efforts to prove alien spacecrafts really exist.
The documentary begins with an odd, but in a way undeniable, incident that occurred in Phoenix in March 1997, known as the "Phoenix Lights."
Hundreds and possibly thousands of people, many of them looking at the Hale-Bopp comet, reported seeing an array of lights and an enormous delta-shaped craft. The first report of a strange flying object came about 8:20 p.m. from a former police officer in Paulden, Ariz. Over the next 40 minutes, people gave similar reports of an object along a 20-mile route south to Phoenix and Tempe.
"It's coming across the sky," said witness Tim Ley of Phoenix, "and as it's moving, it's blocking and unblocking the stars. There was actually a shape."
"It passed right in front of us. It was just about right above eye length," said Mike Fortson. "My estimate of the size of the craft from the nose as it passed us where we lived to the end of the left wing that passed in front of us was over 5,000 foot long."
There was such an uproar about what people described seeing that ABC News did a story about it back in 1997. At the time, then Arizona Gov. Fife Symington called a news conference, spoofing the whole thing by bringing an "alien" into the room.
What Symington did not say then was that he also had seen the object over Phoenix. But in "Out of the Blue," he says that "we all experienced a very exciting sighting of some kind of a craft of unknown origin. Nobody's ever been able to explain it. … Most of us feel that it was definitely, you know, of alien origin. Enormous. Inexplicable."