General

This Is the County With the Most UFO Sightings

Sometimes back several millennia ago, men first saw things in the sky they could not understand or identify. Maybe they were comets, or birds making migrations after dark. And, these were the beginning of a very long series of apparent mysteries that have lasted until today. Even the U.S. government has started to spend time, and money, on the issue. Last June, the Defence Department’s Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) released what it titled its “Preliminary Assessment: Unidentified Aerial Phenomena”. It was a short, nine-page summary of a much larger, classified document. The lack of access to the full report only intensified the public interest. But, at least the government had admitted, indirectly, that the subject was worthy of a major investigation.

24/7 Tempo has identified the county with the most UFO sightings per capita, based on data provided by Cheryl Costa and Linda Miller, authors of “UFO Sightings Desk Reference: United States of America 2001-2020.” The data shows the relative likelihood of county residents reporting UFO sightings. (Population figures come from the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.)

A number of factors influence the number of sightings, including population, geography, climate, and weather. Reporting is facilitated by access to broadband, and media reports may create a feedback loop: high-profile incidents, such as when airline pilots report being buzzed by fast-moving objects, are often followed by a rash of sightings. (Here is why scientists think there is life on other planets.)

Horry County, South Carolina leads the country in UFO sightings, with 254.1 per 100,000 residents. That makes sense as it’s home to Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach, the cities with the most per capita sightings.

In addition to the top county, two others stood out. The No. 2 and No. 3 spots are claimed by Yavapai and Mohave counties in Arizona. The state has three more counties farther down the list: Maricopa, Pima, and Pinal. That may have something to do with the state’s clear skies and with the fact that Arizona is a leisure destination — another factor that drives sightings.

Some details on Horry County

2001-2020 sightings per 100K: 254.1
> Total sightings: 844 — #12 out of 100 cities
> Population 2019: 332,172

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