DES MOINES, Wash. - On Tuesday, Congress opened hearings into Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, looking into what some call UFOs, for the first time in half a century.
The Pentagon showcased declassified photos and video of UFOs to Congress – including a flying object without a "specific" explanation" – as lawmakers pressed military officials on the mysterious sightings.
Alien lore also has a special home in Des Moines, where a mural depicts a story that’s out-of-this-world.
The art shows multiple flying saucers, a mysterious man-in-black and the supposed witness, a man piloting this boat back on Puget Sound in the 1940s. It is called the Maury Island Incident, and someone has already made a movie about it.
The Maury Island Incident film follows the story of Harold Dahl, who believes he saw a UFO spilling fiery objects out of the vessel, down onto his boat back in June 1947. The 2014 movie depicts his apparent meeting with so-called men-in-black intent on suppressing his fantastical story.
"It is now time for the government to start sharing what it knows about this phenomenon," said Peter Davenport, who runs the National UFO Reporting Center website.
The page is an open door where anyone can drop in to share their experience, or images of what they saw.
"In a few months it will have been 75 years since the crash of Roswell," he said. "They have been shielding the American people from this information for three-quarters of a century."
The National UFO Reporting Center is based in Washington state.
"The disconnect is so large between the reality behind the scenes versus 80-some years of lying since WWII," said Linda Moulton Howe, an investigative journalist studying all things UFO, alien and related.
She said today’s hearing felt forced, believing Congress held them for show. Howe says the real evidence for UFOs have been obvious for years.
"He said they were like flying saucers, and that is when that phrase stuck in 1947," she continued.
Back near Des Moines, Dahl would later recant his story, saying he would rather be known as a liar than suffer continued ridicule.
Howe believes fewer people are finding tales and stories about UFO sightings as mere make-believe.
"I think that percent becomes smaller and smaller every year," she said.
The deputy director of Naval Intelligence told Congress there is no evidence from wreckage that the objects are extraterrestrial. Military pilots have spotted multiple objects, and so far, there have been nearly a dozen reported near misses for collisions with U.S. aircraft.