On the last Saturday in May this year, Corinne Federer and her mother took a trip to Muiderslot Castle, a moat-girdled fortress built in 1285 at the edge of the glossy river Vetch, near Amsterdam. Fortunately, for the Internet, Federer took pictures.

When Federer later went through her photographs of the fortress, she spotted something odd, something hovering just above the cloud line: a UFO, in the classic saucer-shape, but with a single, decidedly un-aerodynamic S-shaped fin. Alien technology, for sure.

To no one’s surprise, the image – a silvery UFO caught suspended over the Netherlands’ marshy sprawl, admiring an earthly tourist attraction – went viral.

And how could it not have? UFO sightings are part of our earthly lexicon. For decades, the flying saucer has represented our shared wish to stare up at the skies and hope for something more, something probably cooler than ourselves – that, and our common suspicion of our governments and their secrets.

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