Winston Churchill ordered the Royal Air Force to keep secret a suspected UFO encounter during World War II because he feared public hysteria and loss of religious faith, according to newly released documents. “This event should be immediately classified since it would create mass panic and destroy one’s belief in the church,” he reportedly said. The decision was made after an RAF plane encountered a metallic flying object on the coast of England which “hovered noiselessly” near the craft as the crew snapped photos.
A weapons expert at the time said the hovering object was “totally beyond any imagined capabilities of the time,” reports the Telegraph. Churchill had a known interest in UFOs, and requested a report in 1952 on “flying saucers” and what it “amounted to,” according to historians. The information on the RAF close encounter is included in some 5,000 pages in 18 government files covering UFO reports from 1995 to 2003 that have now been posted online by the British National Archives.