Belgian UFO Wave of the 1990s
Click the image above for the full gallery.
Ah, Belgium. Famous for beer, waffles, chocolate, and terrifying unidentified triangular objects zipping around the nighttime sky.
I write about horror and horror-related things, so why am I writing about UFOs? Well, UFOs and the idea of aliens have a lot of similarities with things like urban legends, hauntings, cryptids, and more. There's no commonly accepted proof that any of this stuff exists, and information on them all hangs out on the fringes of society and odd parts of the Internet.
But there's a big crossover as far as UFOS/aliens and horror go. Abductions, lost time, experimentation, implants and body horror, and even animal mutilations—all of these fit squarely within the horrific, and the thought of them unsettle many people. Not only that but consider this for a moment: what are aliens doing flying around our skies? There's really no answer that includes well-intentioned aliens. It's all bad...for us.
Knowing that, let's take a look at something strange that happened in Belgium in the 1990s.
Where is Belgium?
In case you don't know where Belgium is located...
Like many European countries, Belgium has more than one official language: Dutch (Flemish), French, and German. Officially, the country is called the Kingdom of Belgium and has a royal family. Belgium has three regions: Wallonia, Flanders, and Brussels-Capital. During the late 80s and early 90s, the wave of UFO sightings that hit the country centered around Wallonia (the southern region of Belgium).
At this point, I'd like to note that Belgium is full of inarguably mature adults, so keep that in mind when you read about the UFO sightings. I say mature because it's the only country in the world to go a staggering 652 days without a federal government—and the place wasn't utterly destroyed by its own citizens. Just imagine what might happen in your country if the government suddenly disappears. I know I am.
USA! USA! USA!
The next time you eat French fries, remember to thank Belgium for inventing them. Maybe.
Triangles in the Night Sky
From October 1989 through almost the entire year of 1990, Belgium became the stage for a jaw-dropping spectacle that stunned thousands of people. Yes, you heard that right—thousands of reports flooded in from all over the country. This wasn't one of those "my cousin's brother saw a flying saucer" sightings. All over Wallonia, triangular spacecraft showed up in the night skies, captivating Belgians and leaving everyone wondering about the existence of aliens.
A whopping 13,500 people had the terrifying privilege of witnessing these triangular craft zip around above them, and 2,600 of those people had the guts to come forward and share their personal accounts of these eerie events. All of the witness accounts had one thing in common: the triangular craft.
Police officers near the city of Eupen stumbled across the strange sight of a huge triangular craft hovering in the air, illuminating the ground with three powerful beams of light. They reported a gyrating red beacon in the center of the craft.
With all the sightings— thousands of them—the Belgian Air Force decided to enter the fray. Armed with their supersonic F-16 jets and high-tech radar systems, they sent pilots after one of these triangular crafts. Modern military, even back in the late 80s & early 90s, was pretty advanced, so you'd think they'd have the upper hand, right? These UFOs not only pulled off maneuvers that the supersonic jets were incapable of but also seemed to mock the fighter jets by accelerating from 170 to a jaw-dropping 1,100 mph in less than a second. (280 to 1,800 kph) That kind of acceleration would produce enough g-force to convert human bodies into mashed potatoes.
The sightings didn't stop there. Throughout 1990, these triangular UFOs continued their appearances, frightening onlookers. Witnesses were stunned as these unidentified objects remained eerily silent, emitting only a low humming sound. And that's not all—they could hover in mid-air and then vanish into the horizon in the blink of an eye. Even more astonishing, these sightings were confirmed by Belgian Air Force pilots, police officers, and air traffic controllers. There was even publicly released radar data detailing the flight paths, speed, and acceleration of these as tracked by the Belgian Air Force.
Fast forward to today, and you'd think such a massive event would be etched in history as irrefutable proof of UFOs (meaning: Unidentified Flying Objects, aka "WTF is that up there?").
However, you'd be wrong because many people are still skeptical of the thousands of witnesses, the military investigation, the 19 police officers who reported seeing it, dozens of credible sources throughout the country, and modern radar technology that recorded actual hard data of an aircraft showing an acceleration of 46 gs.
So, what's the commonly accepted skeptic theory on all of this?
Mass hysteria. Oh, and also, the photo of the triangular craft above was a big hoax made from styrofoam (polystyrene) and a fishing line. (We'll ignore all those other photos.)
Who knew radar data could be so hysterical?
One of the scariest things to humans is the notion that they aren't sitting at the top of the food chain, gastronomically or metaphorically. Aliens are a controversial topic, and yes, some of that comes from skeptics who reject the concept of alien life, but another part comes from a deep-rooted fear of the idea that humans may be lesser in some way to another life form. Less intelligent, less technologically advanced, and less important because we aren't the only sentient, sapient, conscious, self-aware things in the universe.
Because maybe—just maybe—we aren't the center of the universe. 😲🤯
Relevant & Related
- See a few news clips from Belgium around the time of the sightings over at History Channel's Bierset, Belgium UFOs.
- You can read more about this strange story at Caelestia, astronomyufo.com, and UFO Casebook.
- For another explanation of what might have happened, check out this fascinating analysis by the late Renaud Leclet: The Belgian UFO Wave of 1989-1992 - A Neglected Hypothesis.
- While you might think the story of the Belgian UFO Wave was over decades ago, this Reddit post picks up on some intriguing parts, like users claiming they saw the triangular thing in the sky (meaning: not a hoaxed photo), and even some odd threads calling into question the declaration of the original photographer that his photo was a hoax.
- The fact that you're reading this online is thanks to the World Wide Web, which can be traced back to Robert Cailliau, a Belgian computer scientist, informatics engineer, and author. He wrote a book about the origins of the web: How the Web Was Born: The Story of the World Wide Web.
- Here are a few fun short videos I've made related to UFOs: First Contact | Houston
- Interested in literary aliens? Check out The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein