From aliens with lemon-shaped heads to laser beams being shot to earth, the MoD and The National Archives have released approximately 800 sightings from 1981 to 1996.
“We want you, come with us,” one alien apparently told two terrified boys after appearing from under a hovering UFO.
The boys, from Staffordshire, whose faces glowed red from the spaceship’s incredible heat, ran for their lives and reported the incident to police.
It is just one of countless mysterious reports released as part of a project aimed at opening up the records to a global audience.
The records, 4,000 pages in total, feature papers relating to the famous “Rendlesham Forest” sightings, often described as “Britain’s Roswell”.
Other highlights include:
* More than 30 sightings of bright lights over central England in just six hours in March 1993. Witnesses included police officers and military personnel and the assistant chief of the air staff was briefed. It was later discovered that most of the sightings were caused by a Russian rocket re-entering the earth’s atmosphere.
* The Belgian Air Force scrambling F-16 fighters to intercept UFOs reported by police officers and others. A report in March 1990 found the fighters obtained “lock-ons” with their radars but could not explain what caused the phenomena.
* Numerous sightings over Scotland as Bonnybridge became the UFO hotspot of the mid-90s.
* A report of wailing noises and mysterious lights being beamed on to a cemetery in Cheshire in July 1996. Investigations discovered four smouldering railway sleepers, one with a hole burnt through it.
Many of the UFO reports were filed in 1996, the year the blockbuster film Independence Day was released and coinciding with the growing popularity of the X-Files TV series as UFO sightings rose from 117 in 1995 to 609 in 1996.
Dr David Clarke, a UFO expert and journalism lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University, said: “It’s evident there is some connection between newspaper stories, TV programmes and films about alien visitors and the numbers of UFO sightings reported to the MoD. Aside from 1996, one of the busiest years for UFO sightings reported to the MoD over the past 50 years was 1978 – the year Close Encounters of the Third Kind was released.
“Obviously, films and TV programmes raise public awareness of UFOs and it’s fascinating to see how that appears to lead more people to report what they see to the authorities.”