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Published: Tuesday, 11/20/2012

Lost in space

On the old TV show The X-Files, FBI agent and paranormal investigator Fox Mulder had a poster of a hovering UFO on his office wall with the legend “I want to believe” plastered on the bottom. Because strange things happened to Agent Mulder every week, he had enough confirmation that something was out there, even if he couldn’t always explain it.

But UFO enthusiasts in Britain are beginning to lose faith in the notion that aliens or inter-dimensional travelers are among us. The Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena, a British group, reports that UFO sightings have dropped 96 percent since 1988.

The lack of new cases concerns longtime believers, who find themselves at UFO conferences chewing over the details of the so-called Roswell incident of 1947 and one or two other notorious episodes from the past century.

In the era of YouTube, when everyone carries cell phones with cameras, the absence of compelling new evidence of alien visitation is notable. The odds of capturing otherworldly beings on camera should be up, not down.

The number of groups involved in UFO research also is dwindling, from a high of more than 100 in the 1990s to roughly 30 today. Even true believers need more than anecdotes to justify the time and resources required to make the long slog to the next UFO conference.

Many British UFO researchers fear we’re entering an age of UFO agnosticism, and that “UFO-logy” as we’ve known it may not exist in 10 years. Still, there will always be a remnant of those who believe in UFOs.

These believers are not at all deterred by the lack of evidence, and would ignore anyone who suggested otherwise. For these intrepid souls, Fox Mulder’s other mantra, “Trust no one,” is far more relevant.

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