What does a UFO watcher in Connecticut think of “Storm Area 51” memes?

Do you believe in aliens?

Michael Panicello, the state director of MUFON Connecticut, does. His group not only holds regular meetings, but also investigates alleged sightings of UFOs in Connecticut. So what does he think of recent news items related to aliens and UFOs? Does he find the “Storm Area 51” memes amusing? He sat down with us to talk to us about his views on these topics and to give us his take on the field of UFOlogy.

Extended Interview with Michael Panicello:


#1: Borenstein, Seth. “8.8 Billion Habitable Earth-size Planets Exist in Milky Way Alone.” NBC News, 4 Nov. 2013, http://www.nbcnews.com/science/space/8-8-billion-habitable-earth-size-planets-exist-milky-way-f8C11529186. Accessed 25 Sept. 2019.

#2: Hernandez, Salvador. “The ‘Storm Area 51’ Event Didn’t Live Up To The Hype But Alien Believers Still Found Their People.” BuzzFeed News, 20 Sept. 2019, apple.news/AkwmmPYYdQ8OQQdSSygeXkw. Accessed 25 Sept. 2019.

#3: Poff, Jon-Michael. “400,000 People Are Pledging To Storm Area 51, And The Jokes Basically Wrote Themselves.” BuzzFeed, 12 July 2019, apple.news/AmZ9jRqcIRCeKGcsle9GDnw. Accessed 25 Sept. 2019.

#4: Sharman, Jon. “UFO Videos of Mysterious Aircraft Spotted by Military Pilots Are Real, US Navy Says.” Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines, 18 Sept. 2019, news.yahoo.com/ufo-videos-mysterious-aircraft-spotted-122902256.html. Accessed 25 Sept. 2019.

#5: Main, Douglas. “Most People Believe Intelligent Aliens Exist, Poll Says.” Newsweek, 22 Apr. 2016, http://www.newsweek.com/most-people-believe-intelligent-aliens-exist-377965. Accessed 25 Sept. 2019.

#6: Grothaus, Michael. “400,000 People Have Joined a Facebook Event Pledging to Raid Area 51.” Fast Company, 12 July 2019, http://www.fastcompany.com/90375813/400000-people-have-joined-a-facebook-event-pledging-to-raid-area-51. Accessed 25 Sept. 2019.

#7: Beware, Kim. “‘Storm Area 51’ event is mostly peaceful, but still plenty weird.” The Washington Post, 20 Sept. 2019, http://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/09/20/storm-area-event-is-mostly-peaceful-still-plenty-weird/. Accessed 25 Sept. 2019.

#8: Healy, Jack. “Area 51 Raid: How a Town of 40 Coped With an Invasion.” The New York Times, 23 Sept. 2019, http://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/21/us/area-51-alienstock.html. Accessed 25 Sept. 2019.

#9: Ritter, Ken. “About 100 People Make It to Gates at Area 51 Military Facility Before Peacefully Rejoining Alien-themed Festivals.” The Hartford Courant, 20 Sept. 2019, http://www.courant.com/nation-world/ct-nw-storm-area-51-hiko-20190920-rdykimkhxvcrniswgexvaatx7q-story.html. Accessed 25 Sept. 2019.

#10: “FLIR1: Official UAP Footage from the USG for Public Release.” YouTube, 16 Dec. 2017, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rWOtrke0HY. Accessed 25 Sept. 2019.

#11: “Gimbal: The First Official UAP Footage from the USG for Public Release.” YouTube, 16 Dec. 2017, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tf1uLwUTDA0.

#12: “Go Fast: Official USG Footage of UAP for Public Release.” YouTube, 9 Mar. 2018, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxVRg7LLaQA.

#13: Captain Marvel. Directed by Anna Boden, and Ryan Fleck, Perf. Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Lashana Lynch, Gemma Chan, Annette Bening, Clark Gregg, Jude Law. Marvel Studios, 2019.

#14: “MUFON Connecticut.” 1 Aug. 2018, mufonct.com/about/. Accessed 25 Sept. 2019.

#15: Guardians of the Galaxy. Directed by James Gunn, Perf. Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Benicio del Toro. Marvel Studios, 2014.

#16: Marvel’s The Avengers. Directed by Joss Whedon, Perf. Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg, Cobie Smulders, Stellan Skarsgård, Samuel L. Jackson. Marvel Studios, 2012.

#17: “Area 51 Mania: Naruto Runner Becomes Viral Sensation.” YouTube, 20 Sept. 2019, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dhfx0bR7Zx4. Accessed 25 Sept. 2019. 

#18: “Earthlings Party at Area 51.” YouTube, 20 Sept. 2019, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=usPo96yaSac. Accessed 25 Sept. 2019.

#19: Shaw, Jason. “Deep Space.” audionautix.com. Accessed 25 Sept. 2019. File originally posted online under an applicable Creative Commons license.