Where Does South Dakota Rank among the States with the Most UFO Sightings?
It's a pretty sure bet that when you mention Roswell to someone the topic of unidentified flying objects will be one of the first things that come up.
After all, it was nearly three-quarters of a century ago that one of the most infamous episodes involving UFOs took place in this Southeastern New Mexico city.
The 'Roswell Incident' as it has since been dubbed, took place on July 8, 1947, when rancher WW 'Mack' Brazel reported the crash of an alleged flying saucer, complete with the recovery of debris and 'bodies'. The incident was shrouded in so much secrecy that the military was accused of covering it up at the time.
The conspiracy theories were so prevalent decades later that in 1997, just shy of the 50th anniversary of the event, the United States Air Force released a 231-page report saying there was 'no Pentagon evidence that any kind of life form was found in the Roswell area in connection with the reported UFO sightings, and that the “bodies” recovered were not aliens but dummies used in parachute tests conducted in the region'.
And while New Mexico has become synonymous with UFOs over the years, the state isn't anywhere close to being the place with the most reported sightings of unexplained objects in the sky. According to a list on Stacker, data from the National UFO Reporting Center show that would be California, with more than 10,000 claims over the years, nearly double of any other state.
So where does South Dakota land on the list?
The Mount Rushmore State is apparently not high on the list of destinations for visitors from outer space. We've had just 272 reports since 1963, which is the third-fewest overall.
STATES WITH THE FEWEST UFO SIGHTINGS (National UFO Reporting Center)
- North Dakota - 192
- Wyoming - 266
- South Dakota - 272
- Delaware - 294
- Rhode Island - 448
- Alaska - 448
- Vermont - 459
- Nebraska - 468
- Hawaii - 495
- Mississippi - 537
Despite a spike of UFO sightings across the country in the first half of 2020 compared to the same time a year earlier, South Dakota's busiest year for reports of extraterrestrials in the skies above us was 2012, with 27 claims.
In 2021, the state has had a pair of alleged sightings - New Year's Day in Rapid City with a report of 70 blinking lights moving about in the sky, and March 1 in Sturgis where a lime green fireball was spotted for about 30 seconds.
STATES WITH THE MOST UFO SIGHTINGS (National UFO Reporting Center)
- California - 10,333
- Florida - 5,826
- Washington - 4,351
- Texas - 3,848
- New York - 3,830
- Pennsylvania - 3,517
- Arizona - 3,188
- Ohio - 3,012
- Illinois - 2,758
- North Carolina - 2,629