At 5:30pm on Jan 4, 2004, Taipei's Steven Lai (
Lai sent his footage to the Taiwan Ufology Society (TUFOS,
"We studied it for some time, but the object was too close to the buildings to have been a UFO," said TUFOS President James Huang (
While Lai's footage wasn't this year's first Taiwan UFO sighting, hundreds of people still trawl the skies with high-powered telescopes daily hoping to catch a glimpse of the unexplained. They send their reports, whether credible or not, to TUFOS. Now boasting 500 members, the group is the nation's sole Ufology society and is a sorting house for dozens of reports that come in annually regarding UFO sightings in Taiwan.
Since Taiwan's first officially recorded sighting of a UFO by Tsai Chang-hsien (
Affectionately known as "Ufo Ho" to his friends and colleges, the articulate Ufologist spent months wading through pages of reports filed by Taiwanese citizens over the years. Realizing the information his organization had gathered was wasted sitting in his computer, Ho decided to publish a complete record of Taiwan's UFO sightings.
"There's certainly no shortage of books touching on UFO sightings, but there was nothing specific to Taiwan," he said. "No one had ever set out to catalog the nation's UFO sightings and publish all the written and photographic evidence in a single publication before."
It took Ho almost a year to sift through information and contact and re-interview the people who had reported the sightings, to ensure there were no discrepancies. Entitled On the Trail of UFO Sightings (UFO
The results of Ho's book point to a drop in UFO sightings in Taiwan in recent years, with only two recorded incidents taking place last year, and an increase in the number of sightings on the opposite side of the Taiwan Strait.
"Obviously there are more people in China than anywhere else, so I'm not surprised at the increase in sightings there. The recent drop in UFO sightings can be put down to several things," he said. "There are now more diseases than ever before, and anything landing here would be susceptible to falling victim to them. And secondly, I think the military use of lasers means that fewer extra-terrestrials now dare to enter the Earth's atmosphere in case they are shot down."