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Aliens In Our Midst: Why Are We So Fascinated With ET?

Reporter George Knapp and photographer Robert Knight talk about why extraterrestrials is such a draw for people.
Natalie Cullen

Reporter George Knapp and photographer Robert Knight talk about why extraterrestrials is such a draw for people.

Two weeks ago, NASA reported salt water flows on Mars. It was big news. But it didn’t quite shake the world the way NASA thought it might.

These days, no one seems phased by the idea of life on other planets. Talk to most Millennials, and they’ll shrug and say, yeah, we can’t be alone.

And some 77 percent of Americans, according to a 2014 poll by National Geographic, believe extraterrestrials exist.

But why? ET hasn’t landed on the White House lawn. Few of us have seen a flying saucer. Our government denies it over and over.

George Knapp is an award-winning television reporter who broke open the Area 51 story more than two decades ago. Since then, he has been investigating reports of the unexplained and what the government knows about those incidents.

He told KNPR's State of Nevada the thing that intrigued him the most was the government's response to reports.

“I can chase the paper trail of government documents and it was very clear to me early on that the government had lied about it and they’re still lying about it,” he said.

Knapp said there are thousands of documents from the FBI, CIA and the Pentagon that show the agencies were investigating unexplained sightings and other strange phenomena for decades. 

Despite his years of research, Knapp can't say for sure what some of the things that have been documented are. 

“I believe it is an unexplained mystery that it is a legitimate mystery that there are things appearing in the sky that are not made here not by us not by any government," he said, "I don’t know what it is. I don’t where it’s from.” 

But he does believe that the military and the government know UFOs are real. 

Las Vegas resident Robert Knight is a world-renowned rock 'n' roll photographer. He has used his talent as a cameraman to gain access to and delve deeper into the government secrets about UFOs.

He has been researching UFOs since he saw unusual lights in the ocean while camping in Hawaii as a child.

Knight told us that many musicians he talked with believe or have been inspired by aliens. He still not sure what some of the unexplained sightings are. 

 “I still to this day don’t know what it is,” he said, “The searchers are still searching.”

He thinks some people are fascinated by UFOs, aliens and all things unexplained because they feel it could be a way to improve the planet.

“I think a lot of people are looking for hope or rescue from what appears to be a dying or decaying planet and that ET is going to come and save us," he said, "I think there is a lot of hope in the New Age people that there is going to be some sort of intervention.”

Knapp believes people are always interested in Area 51, aliens and the like because of the efforts to cover up what the government does know. 

“I think a lot of people resent the overt secrecy, the over the top secrecy,” he said. 

(Editor's Note: This story originally ran in October 2015)

George Knapp, reporter, KLAS-TV, Channel 8

Robert Knight, photographer

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Joe Schoenmann joined Nevada Public Radio in 2014. He works with a talented team of producers at State of Nevada who explore the casino industry, sports, politics, public health and everything in between.