HIBBING — Fireballs, glowing objects, silent triangles that suddenly appear and then disappear: a few of the unidentified flying objects that have been said to be spotted in the skies above the Iron Range. In Hibbing, six UFO sightings have been recorded 1987, with three since 2016. These are among the thousands of incidents logged at the National UFO Reporting Center.

The national volunteer organization claims to be “America’s foremost UFO Reporting Agency,” offering a hotline that’s staffed 24/7 for people wanting to report an unidentified flying object. There is also an online form on the website where volunteers sift through submissions, tossing out any entry that can be easily disclaimed. As of Sept. 19, nearly 500 new sighting reports have flooded into the UFO reporting center — a number, they say, is “unusually high.”

The last sighting reported in Hibbing took place at 12:10 a.m. on July 6, 2018. A circular object with no explanation, the anonymous account of the incident reads: “We saw a large, single amber light moving North to South for approximately seven to eight minutes when the light flickered and went out for less than a second. It then reappeared for approximately two to three minutes, and we decided to try and video the object. As soon as we focused on the object with our camera, its light turned off and we didn’t see it again.”

Previously, “fireballs” lasting three minutes were said to have appeared at 9:13 p.m. on May 6, 2017: “Two bright orange/orange-yellow balls of light [sic] lots like a fireball without flames traveled across the sky over my house in Hibbing, Minn. They made absolutely no sound and stayed in a line stopping for a moment and then proceeded to fly silently before stopping one last time and vanishing.”

There was also a report of fireballs at 12:30 a.m. on Aug. 22, 2016. That anonymous report states: “Seen a glowing object, kind of at first looked triangular then turned into more of a fireball look. The whole time the object was glowing bright orange, as if it almost was on fire! It was going slow, it seemed, then disappeared across the sky in about thirty seconds. No noise or sound from object, because a minute later or so, a jet flew by and we could hear that and it took much longer for the jet to disappear out of view!”

The Star Tribune on Wednesday reported that since the 1940s, there have been about 1,700 UFO sightings in Minnesota. With nearly half of those occurring just this decade, many speculate that drones are partly to blame but certainly aren’t the sole reason.

Or, as the Star Tribune put it, “Extraterrestrial encounters have been creeping back into the zeitgeist this year, with the U.S. Navy acknowledging the existence of mysterious flying objects in September.”

Just last month, hoards of alien enthusiasts flocked to Nevada’s Area 51, a once top-secret U.S. military base believed to house proof of extraterrestrials. The incident sprang from a tongue-in-cheek Facebook page called, “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us” which was later deleted from the site. Though several million people had been following the event, only a small fraction of them actually showed up, with many getting redirected to a festival in a nearby town.

So, as the public’s appetite for aliens remains insatiated, entities like the UFO reporting center will continue working with law enforcement agencies throughout the country to take in and log reports of beings from other worlds.

To read more local accounts of UFO sightings, or make a report, visit www.nuforc.org.

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