UFO sceptics say that the lack of physical evidence is proof that aliens have never visited our planet – but believers refute that claim.

In their new book Alien Artifacts: Incredible Evidence of Exotic Material From UFO Encounters, authors Sean Casteel & Tim R. Swartz claim that there is a wealth of material that has been left behind by alien visitors over the decades, including some largely disappointing alien pancakes.

Everything from sophisticated electronics to some slightly disappointing sweet treats have apparently been discarded by untidy extraterrestrials.

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In one of the earliest cases cited, which saw a “flying saucer” cruising over the city of Campinas, in Brazil, in 1954, the craft appeared to spring a leak and deposited a streak of unknown material over roofs, street, and even washing lines.

The "silver rain" appeared to be a mixture of tin and some unknown material, the authors say.

Many people say they’ve seen material from crashed or damaged UFOs, dating all the way back to the notorious Roswell Incident in 1947.

US Congressman Tim Burchett, after attending the inconclusive House subcommittee hearing on government investigations of Unidentified Flying Objects earlier this year, dismissed the meeting as “ a joke” and said he knew of “multiple” examples of wreckage being recovered from UFOs that had crash-landed in the US.

Tom DeLonge’s To the Stars Academy of Arts & Sciences claims to have samples of material from a crashed alien craft that is unusually heat resistant, and doesn't bear any relation to metals or alloys used in current military or commercial aircraft.

The group plans to reverse-engineer the mysterious “alien metal” and revolutionise science.

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But the material left behind isn’t all scrap metal. The Alien Artifacts book describes one truly strange extraterrestrial experience.

Wisconsin farmer Joe Simonton saw what he described as a metallic “flying saucer” land outside his house on April 18, 1961.

Inside the craft, Simonton said, was a group of “little men” about five feet tall, “dark-haired, dark-eyed, dark skin” wearing black or navy blue sweaters and helmets.

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One of them – who appeared to be some sort of “chef” – communicated to Simonton that he wanted some water.

When Simonton brought back a jug of water he saw one of the “aliens” use it to make pancakes on a smooth, square grill-like surface.

In hopes of starting a conversation with his mysterious visitors, Simonton asked for a pancake.

The UFO pilot handed Simonton four of the pancakes, which he described as “hot and greasy".

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“If that was their food, God help ‘em,” joked Simonton later. “Because I took a bite of one of ‘em and it tasted like a piece of cardboard. And, if that’s what they lived on, no wonder they’re small.”

Interestingly, pancakes are closely associated with fairies in Irish folklore. Dr. Jacques Vallée's book Passport to Magonia which connects UFO lore to more ancient legends, points out that Simonton’s space pancakes contained no salt.

He says fairies were said never to eat salt, adding that buckwheat is associated with “legends of Brittany, one of the most conservative Celtic areas".

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After the alien shared a pancake with the chicken farmer., one of them then gestured for Simonton to step back, and closed the hatch of craft.

The UFO rose up vertically, “like an elevator,” Simonton claimed, and it shot off into the sky and quickly disappeared.

“Everything was timed perfectly,” Simonton said. “It went up about 20 feet. It tilted at a 45-degree, straight south, and took off. Within two to three seconds it was out of sight.”

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In the early 1960s, the US Air Force still sent experts out to interview UFO contacts.

American astronomer, professor, and noted UFO researcher Josef Allen Hynek was sent to Wisconsin to interview Simonton.

According to Hynek, whatever Simonton had seen, he was sincere.

“There is no doubt that Mr. Simonton felt that his contact was a real experience,” reported Hynek.

Later, a statement from the Air Force suggested they had the sample tested and they were ordinary “buckwheat pancakes” consisting of fat, starch, buckwheat hulls, wheat bran and soya bean hulls. Officially, the Air Force classed the Simonton case as “unknown.”

UFO expert Nigel Watson told the Daily Star: "There are few other cases of food being provided during alien encounters. There is a notable case of the contactee called Howard Menger who obtained some lunar potatoes.

"From childhood Menger met beautiful space women in the woods near his home in New Jersey. They said they would always keep an eye on him, and from 1946 onwards they made regular visits to him. In return for cutting their hair and buying clothes for the female aliens, the Space People gave him a ride to the Moon."

Nigel says that Menger handed some his special Moon potatoes to the government, "claiming they could cure cancer".

Returning to the case of Simonton's pancakes, Nigel says: "Like many alien encounters we have to use our own judgement as to whether Simonton saw an extraterrestrial craft, encountered mysterious beings that are related to Celtic fairies, had a vivid dream, a hoax or if he simply misidentified a catering van."

Alien Artifacts: Incredible Evidence of Exotic Material From UFO Encounters is published by Zontar Press and is available at Amazon and from all good bookshops.

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