, that include hundreds of sightings of Unidentified Flying Objects, have been opened to the public for the first time.
The documents released at the National Archives in Kew, include sightings recorded by Ministry of Defence staff of an alien craft over Wallasey Town Hall and a saucer-shaped UFO hovering over Waterloo Bridge.
Some sightings are easily explained, such as the one submitted by drinkers at The Walnut Tree near Tunbridge Wells in 1982. They repeatedly reported seeing sightings of red and green flashing lights in the sky above the pub.
When quizzed on the location of the strange lights, they said they were seen, on each occasion, in the direction of Gatwick airport. sorry I just posted too on this aplogies. Donna
The power of suggestion also seems to have had a strong influence on what people see in the sky, with the number of reports doubling after the release of Steven Speilberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind in 1977.
But some of the reports come from more reliable sources. There is a report from two police officers in April 1984 who responded to a call from members of the public in Stanmore who claimed to have seen a UFO.
The officers saw the object and described it as circular, with a dome on the top and bottom, with multi-coloured lights.
Another report taken in 1984 dispels the myth that sightings are only seen in isolated areas, after numerous witnesses on Waterloo Bridge in London report seeing a saucer-shaped UFO.
Nick Pope, who worked for the Ministry of Defence for 21 years and was responsible for investigating the sightings, said: "While there's no evidence of little green men in these files, they should be of immense interest to sceptics and believers.
"Most of the UFO sightings here are probably misidentifications of aircraft lights and meteors, but some are more difficult to explain, and include UFOs seen by police officers and pilots, and cases where UFOs have been tracked on radar."
But the documents show the MoD was not investigating the possibility of visitors from outer space making a stop at Earth.
Defence intelligence staff were more interested in checking that UFOs were not in fact signs of earthly covert spying missions by other countries
An MoD memo from 1983 says: "The sole interest of the Ministry of Defence in UFO reports is to establish whether they reveal anything of defence interest (eg intruding aircraft)."
The note goes on to say there are adequate explanations for the phenomenon, including space junk burning up in the atmosphere, unusual cloud formations and meteorological balloons.