Among many other shocking disclosures, a series of 8,500 documents released by the British National Archives have revealed that many Brits feared a devastating alien invasion back in 1967.
As Reuters is reporting, the 35 previously classified files -- available online -- mainly cover the period from 1997 to 2005. Included are photographs, sketches and detailed accounts of flying saucer sightings, along with correspondence between the U.K. Ministry of Defense and witnesses.
"It was a large cigar-shaped vehicle with big projectiles on each side like wings," one man details in a 1998 account. "It seemed to have two very bright lights at the front and a white light flashing round and round underneath. ... As you can imagine, I felt quite shaken."
As the Independent reports, the extra-terrestrial files are a testament to how the massive global phenomenon was discussed at the highest level of government and security services worldwide. Also among the more prominent revelations are messages from the British Government to the Prime Minister of Grenada to response to that nation's attempts to sponsor a debate on UFOs at the United Nations in 1977-78, CBS reports.
The documents also reportedly detail how the government began making official inquiries into UFOs starting in 1950, following a series of reported sightings. The Ministry of Defense even set up a secret working group called the "Flying Saucer Working Party" to monitor the sightings, though the organization remained secret until 1988 when correspondence between Winston Churchill and the Air Ministry was revealed.
Other materials, however, suggest that the UFO craze has receded as of late, with sightings having dropped from a peak of 609 in 1996-97 to a measly 130 per year between 2001 and 2006. British defense officials are also reported to have discredited claims made by author Philip Corso in the popular 1997 book The Day After Roswell, noting that the retired U.S. colonel was not a reliable source of information.