The UFO Phenomenon -- Seeing Is Believing

Almost 50 percent of Americans, according to recent polls, and millions of people elsewhere in the world believe that UFOs are real. For many it is a deeply held belief.

For decades there have been sightings of UFOs by millions and millions of people. It is a mystery that only science can solve, and yet the phenomenon remains largely unexamined. Most of the reporting on this subject by the mainstream media holds those who claim to have seen UFOs up to ridicule.

On Feb. 24, "Peter Jennings Reporting: UFOs -- Seeing Is Believing" takes a fresh look at the UFO phenomenon. "As a journalist," says Jennings, "I began this project with a healthy dose of skepticism and as open a mind as possible. After almost 150 interviews with scientists, investigators and with many of those who claim to have witnessed unidentified flying objects, there are important questions that have not been completely answered -- and a great deal not fully explained."

For full online coverage of "Peter Jennings Reporting: UFOs -- Seeing Is Believing" return to ABCNews.com on Friday, Feb. 25.

This two-hour primetime special reports on the entire scope of the UFO experience -- from the first famous sighting by Kenneth Arnold in 1947 to the present day. The program draws on interviews with police officers, pilots, military personnel, scientists and ordinary citizens who give extraordinary accounts of encounters with the unexplained. Also included are the voices of professional skeptics about UFOs, including scientists who are leading the search for life forms beyond Earth elsewhere in the universe.

The program explores the facts behind the enduring mystery of the incident at Roswell, N.M., and looks into the strange stories of alien abductions. Among the UFO cases presented:

Minot Air Force Base, N.D., October 1968 -- Sixteen airmen on the ground and the crew of an airborne B-52 witness a massive unidentified object hovering near the base.

Phoenix, March 1997 -- Hundreds witness a huge triangular craft moving slowly over the city.

St. Clair County, Ill., January 2000 -- Police officers in five adjoining towns all independently report witnessing a giant craft with multiple bright lights moving silently across the sky at a very low altitude.

Today if you report a UFO to the U.S. government you will be informed that the Air Force conducted a 22-year investigation that ended in 1969 and concluded that UFOs are not a threat to national security and are of no scientific interest. But as one of the world's leading theoretical physicists says in the program, "You simply cannot dismiss the possibility that some of these UFO sightings are actually sightings from some object created by ... a civilization perhaps millions of years ahead of us in technology."

"Peter Jennings Reporting: UFOs -- Seeing Is Believing" is produced by PJ Productions and Springs Media for ABC News. Mark Obenhaus and Tom Yellin are the executive producers.

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