GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Have you ever seen a UFO? If you have, you’re probably not alone in Michigan.

The nonprofit National UFO Reporting Center has been collecting data from people who claim to have seen unidentified flying objects since 1974. In those nearly 50 years, the organization — which is not affiliated with the government — has collected and released to the public over 170,000 sightings.

“We’re really the only UFO reporting agency that makes all of its data available to the public through our website,” NUFORC Chief Technical Officer Christian Stepien said.

In 2023 alone, there have been approximately 2,000 reports to NUFORC, 60 of which came from Michigan. The recent Congressional hearings on the potential of classified information regarding UFOs led to an increase in reports — Stepien said they more than doubled afterward.

“The level of awareness of the general public has gone up,” he said. “People are realizing that it’s absolutely real, the ships are flying around every single day.”

The sightings from around the country collected by NUFORC range anywhere from orbs of light in the sky to massive ships that float over people’s homes in complete silence. But what has been reported in Michigan?

The most common instance based on the data provided by NUFORC shows a lot of glowing spheres zipping through the sky. There have been reports of military action being taken during these instances, like one in Bad Axe in June.

“An ex-military witness saw some F-16s, he called it ‘dogfighting’ with a flying saucer. He said it was ‘hiding in the sun.’ It wasn’t just zipping around,” Stepien said.

Stepien said that UFO investigators started looking into that case but no results have been brought forth so far. That’s the case for a lot of the claims added to the website’s database.

Another sighting that stood out to Stepien was one in Hubbardston in northeast Ionia County on July 11. The person who made the report said it appeared that a UFO was being either chased or escorted by helicopters. No physical proof was provided for the claims.

Stepien told News 8 that NUFORC will allow for any claims to be reported to its database, but the organization will go through them and will remove any that are “clearly hoaxes” or can be explained. He said the goal of the organization is not to prove whether or not aliens have visited earth but rather to give the public the information that these sightings are happening.

“The thing I think people need to be aware of is just how much it’s happening,” he said. “I think some people think, ‘Wow, somebody saw a flying saucer once or twice in the ’60s or ’40s,’ but it’s never stopped. Just the sheer number of reports and the sheer number of people who see these things — I think the statistics are something like 1 in 5 or 2 in 5 of all Americans have seen something that they can’t explain in the sky.”

Stepien said anyone can report their sightings to NUFORC and use the database to learn about past sightings. You can make your report by clicking here or calling 206.722.3000.

“The more of these cases we can get into our database, the stronger the documentation becomes with what’s been going on and just the better case we can make to the American public,” he said.

To view reports from in Michigan and the rest of the country, click here.