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France opens UFO archives

The French space agency (Center National d'Etudes Spatiales - CNES) is the first national agency in the world to open its archives on sightings of unknown objects in flight (UFO). Online visitors already have access to a quarter of the 1,600 UFO cases collected across France over the past 30 years. The database contains documents and eyewitness accounts of strange phenomena. After the digitization is complete, the collection will be supplemented by accompanying videos and photos. An explanation has now been found for many of the strange phenomena listed in the database. Some turned out to be illusions (man-made grain circles, for example) while others turned out to be parts of a meteorite or debris from a satellite crashing back to Earth. However, the agency estimates that 28 percent of the sightings listed remain unexplained. For example, in 1967 two small children who were tending a herd of cows saw four small black creatures about four feet tall, who rose into the air and entered a spherical structure that sped away with a sulfur-like odor and burnt grass left behind. The children's report was confirmed by another witness, who heard the whistling sound of the flying object and smelled the sulfur but did not see the object. The CNES conducted a second investigation, but to date has not found a rational explanation for the encounter. Another sighting that annoys experts was made in 1994 by the crew of an Air France flight, who observed a large red-brown disk, the shape of which was constantly changing, at an altitude of 10,500 meters. The disc was recorded on radar, which confirmed the sighting of the crew.