April 11, 2011— -- Flying saucer sightings? Reports of three-foot-tall aliens? Secret memos about suspicious objects recovered near Roswell, N.M.?
They're all included in the thousands of declassified government documents posted to the FBI's new online "Vault."
Earlier this month, the FBI announced its revamped online reading room that contains more than 2,000 government files. While the documents had been previously available to the public, not all had been digitized and easily searchable online.
Among the so-called "X-files" are once-classified reports dating back to the 1940s and 1950s detailing Air Force investigations into "flying discs" and the "bodies of human shape" discovered inside them.
In one report from March 1950, Guy Hottel, a special agent with the FBI, said he received information from an Air Force investigator about flying saucers found in New Mexico.
"They were described as being circular in shape with raised centers, approximately 50-feet in diameter," he wrote. "Each one was occupied by three bodies of human shape but only 3 feet tall, dressed in a metallic cloth of a very fine texture. Each body was bandaged in a manner very similar to the blackout suits used by speed flyers and test pilots."
Declassified FBI Documents Reference Mysterious Lights, UFOS
The informant, whose name is redacted in the file, said he thought the saucer was spotted in New Mexico because a high-powered government radar in the area interfered with the saucer's controlling mechanism.
At least one document will disappoint those who believe a spaceship landed at Roswell, N.M., probably the most famous UFO conspiracy theory.
The document from 1947, with the word "Roswell" handwritten across the top, says that a "flying disc" was recovered near Roswell, N.M.
"The disc is hexagonal in shape and was suspended from a balloon by cable," the document said. "The object found resembles a high-altitude weather balloon with a radar reflector."
Other reports once marked "restricted" and "confidential" detail sightings of mysterious flashing lights and other "unidentified aerial objects."
Last month, the British government opened up its own real-life X-files, which included thousands of pages of UFO-related documentation. And, at the time, UFO supporters said they believed the U.S. should follow suit.
UFO Supporter: Government Should Come Clean on UFOs
"We're absolutely on a fast-track to full disclosure," said Michael Luckman, a UFO supporter and director of the New York Center for Extraterrestrial Research. "The U.S. should take a leadership role. Unfortunately, we've held back. ...This cover-up has gone on for more than 60 years."
In the past few months, he said, not only have institutions and countries around the world pushed for UFO disclosure, but military officers here in the U.S. have asked the U.S. government to open its files.
While UFO believers may think that momentum is building for the U.S. to open up X-files of their own, the public at large may not agree.
In November, a Denver ballot initiative to create an Extraterrestrial Affairs Commission failed at the voting booth. The measure, which would have established a seven-person panel to study UFOs and evidence of extraterrestrial visits, managed to capture only about 18 percent of the vote.