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When the U.S. government released a report last month analyzing 16 years of data on UFOs, the document's findings were inconclusive, offering no evidence linking 144 unexplained sightings to alien or non-terrestrial technology.

The report from the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence didn't rule out the existence of UFOs – referred to in the document delivered to Congress as unidentified aerial phenomena. Instead, investigators pointed to various hypotheses that could possibly account for the unusual events. Much of their research remains classified, leaving ample room for the public's imagination to run wild.

Omissions aside, the report is a watershed moment in the intelligence community's acknowledgement of UFO research, as a matter of national security more than anything else. Whether the threat is coming from foreign adversaries with top-secret technologies, or from something much more funky, like Toejam and Earl, the federal government is now taking an open posture toward the study of unusual activity observed in the sky.

The UAP report was delivered to Congress on June 22. Six days later, in the sky above Philadelphia's Paine's Park, 36-year-old Ryan Swing had a brush with the unknown while out rollerblading.

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