UFO’s in North America & The Reactions That Followed


Cover of the Project Blue Beam book by Serge Monast

Miles Meschter (he/him), Staff Writer

Early February brought a series of notable U.S. national security threats which has prompted an onslaught of media attention. From February 4th to 12th, the Department of Defense downed three different objects dubbed as unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) across North America, along with the seizure of a white weather instrument that was later revealed to be a Chinese Spy Balloon. The spy balloon was a public controversy between the U.S. and China, who initially claimed it was a meteorology device that had blown off course. The balloon charted over Alaska, Montana, the Midwest, to where it was finally taken out by fighter jets off the coast of North Carolina. 

On Friday, February 10th, an U.S. fighter jet took down another aerial object over northeastern Alaska. It was described unmanned, smaller than the spy balloon, flying at 40,000 feet (a similar altitude to that of an airplane). Air Force General, Patrick Ryder, made an obscure statement on the object, saying it “wasn’t an aircraft per se.” 

On Saturday, February 11th, U.S. and Canadian forces took down another UAP in the Yukon Province. Prime Minister Trudeau stated that officers would retrieve and look over the wreckage, yet it remains unfound in an area that has had roughly 500 plane crashes over its history, many whose remains were never recovered. This object was also described by Canadian Defense as flying at 40,000 feet, unmanned, with a cylindrical shape. 

Saturday also saw strange occurrences in Montana, when the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) temporarily halted air travel in the area after radars detected an anomaly, sending out fighter jets to investigate. On Sunday, a fourth UAP was detected over Lake Huron in Michigan and was subsequently blown by missile from a F-16 fighter jet. The Department of Defense (DoD) explained the location was chosen to avoid damaging civilians on the ground. This UAP was described as smaller compared to the Spy Balloon, and observed to be of an octagonal shape. Notably, the Pentagon stated that this object was connected to the radar detection in Montana, which was found to be flying close to DoD sites. The link has raised suspicion that it was a surveillance craft.

Photo from the Department of Defense

The unexpected surge in UFO/UAP activity and their subsequent downings drawed in many on social media and created an onslaught of media sensationalism. Concerns were raised that the UAP’s were connected to China, yet President Biden dismissed this. The size of the Alaska UAP was significantly smaller than that of the Chinese Spy Balloon, which was measured to be around 200 ft tall. By contrast, the object shot down in north Alaska was described to be the size of the small car. Another theory raised, nearly always a connotation with ‘UFO’ incidents is that the aerial sightings are the crafts of aliens. General Glen VanHerck, head of NORAD, stated that all possibilities (including aliens) have not been ruled out.

A popular theory discussed and posted on TikTok, Twitter, and other social media platforms is the resurgence of the ‘Project Blue Beam’ conspiracy theory. Fringe skeptics and trolls on the internet have found the surge in the government-recognized UFO activity to be evidence of a ‘new world order’ conspiracy theory outlined by Canadian writer Serge Monast in 1994. The theory asserts that the Pentagon and U.S. agents have created a global effort, involving the United Nations and NASA, to dissuade the population from religion. The goal of this would be to replace scattered religions with a unified ‘cult of man,’ creating a globalized society where family is oppressed in favor of serving the state. 

The execution of this explains the ‘Blue Beam’ name, as Monast believed the UFOs and alien phenomena are images of laser beam projections into the sky. The presence of an alien invasion would supposedly scare society into abandoning their ways for the global state religion.

Often, these complex conspiracy theories are only mentioned in brief, obscured references in online conversations. This explains Blue Beam’s rise in online discussions and memes on social media. Radical beliefs about global conspiracy and religious threats are popularized online by passive languages, such as indications to the devil and using overarching labels that include ‘globalists’ or ‘the state’. Blue Beam has been a trending theory among conspiracy enthusiasts for many years, especially since Monast’s questionable arrest and death.

The extreme response of online users and sensationalists in popular media have outsized many nuanced takes on the UFO/UAP incidents. It may have also been a lucky convergence of the Spy Balloon controversy igniting a paranoia which worsened with the three UAP’s identified in the following days. The reality of this situation can partly be attributed to a recent change in tracking technology by the U.S. government. NORAD has been shifting its tracking efforts of high speed aerial objects (which include missiles, and enemy jets) to more slow moving objects. Officials from the Department of Defense and NORAD have described how radars have been tuned to now recognize this slower phenomena at these particular altitudes. 

It ought to be considered that many stories spread popularly online are often artificially inflated. Although the public relies on information from cable news, and online outlets, these events must be approached with the caution that profit media will always seek to make news overstimulating. The divisiveness and extremism in culture has made readers more emotionally responsive to whatever news events arise. Looking onward, readers and consumers should be mindful of these factors, especially when they find the next UFO shot down in their backyard.