This photo was taken by a retired RAF serviceman while on holiday in Sri Lanka in 2004. He said he thought it was an atomic bomb going off.
I showed this picture to a meteorologist and they said it was an iridescent ice cloud. About 10% of the reports in the UFO archives can be explained by showing rare natural phenomena like this.
Ultimately, UFOs are something that people project onto their perception of the world. In 1957, the psychologist Carl Jung was asked for his views on UFOs. He said, ‘There is an overwhelming amount of material pointing to their legendary or mythological aspect. As a matter of fact the psychological aspect is so impressive, that one almost must regret that the UFOs seem to be real after all.’
It is this will to believe, and the influence of popular culture, that I find so interesting.
UFO Drawings From The National Archives by David Clarke is out now.