Your Local News | Allentown, Bethlehem & Easton
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Environment & Science

Aliens confirmed? Not exactly, but Lehigh Valley instructor sees ‘forward momentum’ toward disclosures

Catasauqua UAP report
National UFO Reporting Center
In mid-July, a UAP sighting was reported in Catasauqua and recorded to the National UFO Reporting Center. They reported three red orbs hovering in the sky and uploaded this photo.

  • The federal government didn't confirm the existence of aliens over the summer
  • A history-making hearing did take place, which included whistleblower testimony about UAPs
  • A Northampton Community College instructor says there's hope for future disclosures

BETHLEHEM, Pa. — After decades of little movement toward government disclosures about alien life interacting with Earth, there’s been recent forward momentum, Kathleen Covalt says.
“It's happening in the larger culture,” said Covalt, who teaches online classes through Northampton Community College for adults interested in learning about unidentified anomalous phenomena, or UAPs. “ … The younger people are in a whole different culture — all the alien and UFO movies — it's almost like to them, ‘Of course they exist.’

“They're not as whacked out by it, let's say, as older people, and I think that's a positive thing, too.”

That shift in culture — an increasing acceptance of the possibility of alien life — is working to decrease stigmas around those who report sightings. At the same time, federal officials are calling for increased transparency, adding fuel to the movement and giving scientists and research organizations more ground to study them.

They’ve even gone through a rebranding recently – UAP has become the modern acronym scientists and government officials use, replacing unidentified flying objects, or UFOs.

“I think this is the hope. I think what we might get is more of a disclosure from, not the government, but from the average scientist, who is very well revered in our culture.”
Kathleen Covalt

“I don't know what we're gonna get from the government, but now science is starting to get on board,” Covalt said. “I think this is the hope. I think what we might get is more of a disclosure from, not the government, but from the average scientist, who is very well revered in our culture.”

A history-making hearing

In July, social media platforms across the globe were awash with stories and commentary, claiming the U.S. government had acknowledged the existence of extraterrestrial life and even asserted to have studied an attempt to re-engineer ships.

That didn’t really happen.

The House of Representatives’ Committee on Oversight and Accountability on July 26 held a hearing called, “Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena: Implications on National Security, Public Safety and Government Transparency.” The 2½-hour meeting did make history — marking the first public hearing on UAPs to include testimony from military pilots alongside a whistleblower.

In addition to Ryan Graves, the executive director of Americans for Safe Aerospace and a former Navy pilot, and David Fravor, a retired Navy commander, officials heard from David Grusch, a veteran of the Air Force — it was fromthe latter’s testimony that most likely spurred many of the viral stories on the internet.

A self-described whistleblower, Grusch testified under oath that the “U.S. government is operating with secrecy — above congressional oversight — with regards to UAPs” and he was told about “a multi-decade UAP crash retrieval and reverse engineering program” and that "non-human biologics" were recovered from crash sites.

There were some holes in his testimony, paramount that he was relaying information told to him, so he didn’t have first-hand knowledge or tangible proof.

“He did not see anything — he's just saying people told him about the existence of these things,” Covalt said. “So he is not considered like a firsthand witness necessarily, he's saying, ‘A lot of people told me.’

“He interviewed over 40 people, and a whole bunch of these folks told him about the existence of these programs and the craft and the non-human biologics, but he didn't see them.”

In his closing, Grusch said he hoped his testimony would act as a “catalyst for a global reassessment of our priorities.”

“As we move forward on this path, we might be poised to enable extraordinary technological progress in a future where our civilization surpasses the current state-of-the-art in propulsion, material science, energy production and storage,” he said. “The knowledge we stand to gain should spur us toward a more enlightened and sustainable future, one where collective curiosity is ignited, and global cooperation becomes the norm, rather than the exception.”

The Pentagon has denied Grusch’s claims of a cover up, according to an Associated Press report.

In a statement, Defense Department spokeswoman Sue Gough said investigators have not discovered “any verifiable information to substantiate claims that any programs regarding the possession or reverse-engineering of extraterrestrial materials have existed in the past or exist currently.”

Weeks later, the Pentagon launched a website where officials plan to release details about resolved UAP cases.

Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder on Aug. 31 held a news conference that included reports on the Maui wildfires and Hurricane Idalia.

“In other news, the department is launching a website on the All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office to provide the public with information concerning AARO and its efforts to understand and resolve unidentified anomalous phenomena,” he said. “This website will provide information, including videos and photos, on resolved UAP cases as they're declassified and approved for public release.”

“ … The department is committed to transparency with the American people on AARO's work on UAPs.”

‘We do not know what they are’

For many who ardently believe in the existence of extraterrestrial life, the July hearing, coupled with the launch of the government website, shows promise for the future of disclosures.

“The government as a whole is not saying yet that these things exist,” Covalt said. “But they are saying UAPs exist; they are saying, ‘We do not know what they are.’”

The Lehigh Valley has not been immune to sightings, some explainable, others not.

In May, residents reported bright strings of lights streaming through the clouds. It turned out they were Starlink internet satellites orbiting Earth.

Pennsylvania has been a hotspot for UAP sightings, with data from the National UFO Reporting Center showing the commonwealth recently ranked sixth in the country for most reported.

The center shows almost 5,000 reports, including some from the Valley. In February, an “orange orb moved across sky quickly traveling northeast” was reported in Allentown. A couple weeks later, a “sound” was reported in Catasauqua. In mid-July, another report came from Catty — three red orbs hovering in the sky.

“Both me and my girlfriend were in the car driving home from a baseball game when we mutually observed three red/orange craft in the air hovering at about 500 feet in a stationary triangle-like formation,” according to the report. “The three craft then began to drift slowly to the east, when one by one they began to fade into the night sky.

“My girlfriend was able to take a pretty good video as well as a photo of the event and has left us very convinced of what we saw.”

‘There is momentum here’

The second Wednesday of each month, Covalt runs an online meeting for those willing to share their experiences and ask questions about UAPs called “UFOs/ UAPs & Beings from Other Realms.”

“That's what I'm doing to help keep the people who come to my group informed, because I stay on top of it, because it's a learning curve,” she said.

For those more recently interested in UAPs and government disclosures, it might seem frustrating, like progress is crawling, especially as the U.S. marked the 75th anniversary of the legendary Roswell incident, when an alien craft purportedly crashed in the New Mexico desert, allegedly followed by a quick cover-up by the federal government.

“Truly something is happening now – there is momentum here,” Covalt said. “Because now they're saying, ‘There are UAP and here's an image of one’ … So they are providing some evidence that there are unidentified things, and now Grusch is saying, ‘And we have them and are studying them.’

“The government's not saying it, but at least it was said in a congressional hearing,” she said. “It is frustratingly slow. But compared to the whole history, it's going pretty fast.”