Image: Saturday Night Uforia Logo

our speaker(s) tonight:

james e. mcdonald
donald h. menzel
hector quintanilla

Great Northern 1897
Great Northern 1892

Above, top: Route map for the Great Northern Railway in 1897. Below: German-language poster for the Great Northern from 1892. Germans were the largest immigrant group into Minnesota. One section reads, "The Red River valley in Minnesota and North Dakota. The best and most fertile country in America. The grain chamber of the world. A good home and wealth for German farmers".

THE BACKSTORY BEHIND three notable men who in April, 1967, would come together to speak at a panel on UFOs, actually reaches back to the 1870s, when James J. Hill would acquire and take control of a bankrupt railroad, changing its name to the Great Northern Railway.

Over the next 30 years, James Hill would use his marketing savvy to transform the Great Northern from a moribund local rail line into the northernmost transcontinental rail passage in the United States. Seeing the potential for future passenger service, Hill promoted and sold homesteads to European immigrants all along the line. Going even further, Hill did the same with industries -- buying out entire companies and then building new plants and factories across his transcontinental route. He did the same for mining, buying rights to the iron ore ranges in northeast Minnesota, and transporting the ore to his and other businesses in the midwest.

But it is as an honest broker that Hill is best remembered. Rather than seeking land grants from the government, Hill purchased the land outright for both the rail line and the homesteads he offered to immigrants. The farm land he offered was sold at a low price so that immigrant farmers could afford to build their new lives. Hill also invested in schools and churches for the new communities being created. As a result, tens of thousands of immigrants were able to settle and -- with hard work -- thrive. In 1882 alone, 42,000 immigrants came in and settled in North Dakota's Red River Valley, along its border with Minnesota.

And when the national economic depression of 1893 hit -- lasting through 1897 -- Hill truly showed his mettle, lowering shipping costs for both farms and business, and extending credit for those who could not pay. As a result, Hill's enterprises survived the depression even as many others were pulled under.

Thus having accomplished much in his 71 years -- a truly "self-made" man who had started out as a bookkeeper -- in 1909 James Hill would retire, passing on control of the Great Northern Railway to his son, Louis Hill.

And it was Louis Hill who would soon take a fateful step which would lead -- some 50-plus years later -- to the three notable men presenting their considered views on UFOs to some of the most influential men and women in the United States.

Glacier National Park

Above: Brochure cover for Glacier National Park. Prominent in the circle in the center is the slogan "See America First".

A MAN OF MANY talents, Louis Hill had his father's keen and visionary instinct for marketing. Seeing the opportunity to increase railroad passenger traffic, Louis Hill became a major player in the successful campaign to establish Montana's Glacier National Park in 1910.

Like his father before him Louis was a hands-on manager, and over the next six years Hill worked tirelessly to turn the park into a premier destination spot -- supervising the building of roads, trails and camp sites, as well as selecting the sites for the park's future hotels and lodges.

Projecting his vision nationally, Louis would coin the phrase "see America first" -- forming a national society around the concept. Part of this campaign took the form of featurettes produced for distribution in the then-emerging film industry. But more important, Louis Hill heavily promoted both "See America First" and Glacier National Park to the most influential people in the media of the day -- the editors of the nation's newspapers.

Hosting them in groups of 10 at a time, Hill would invite the editors of newspapers from across the nation to join him first in St. Paul, Minnesota, and from there to travel by train to Glacier National Park in Montana. Arriving at the park, the group would be treated to fishing, horseback riding, box lunches, camp fires, cookouts, and an overall good time in the spectacular outdoor splendor of the Rocky Mountains.

The end result of Hill's effort was not merely positive national press coverage for the park, but burgeoning friendships and a newly discovered sense of brotherhood amongst the newsmen themselves, who -- in an age before radio, with telephones, automobiles, and home electrical service still a rarity -- had precious little opportunity before this to meet and get to know one another.

This dynamic of new-found friendship would fatefully come into play in 1912, when amongst Hill's newspaper guests was Casper Yost of the St. Louis, Missouri, Globe-Democrat. Another was Malcolm Bingay of the Detroit, Michigan, Free Press. Writing years later, Bingay would remember...

We sat around a campfire and listened to a man talk. He was telling us of a dream which possessed him... His dream was the creation of an ethical organization of American newspaper editors. He wanted to see them banded together on the common ground of high purpose.

That man was Casper Yost, and in telling his dream he had planted a seed -- though it would take ten more years for it to germinate and flower.

NY Journal Front Page 1898
Elyria Chronicle Front Page 1908

Above, top: February 17, 1898, headline of the New York Journal American -- published by William Randolph Hearst, who famously said, "You furnish the pictures and I'll furnish the war". Below: Front page of the April, 24, 1908, edition of the Elyria, Ohio, Chronicle. The picture of the young woman is a model "who bears a strong resemblance to Evelyn Nesbit Thaw" -- who was at the center of the murder of famed architect Stanford White by her husband Harry Thaw. Playing out in the newspapers for more than a year, the murder was hailed as 'the crime of the century'.

AT THE TIME in which Yost revealed his dream to the other editors, American 'journalism' was mostly tabloid fare. Although some smaller publications strived to be socially responsible, many newspapers -- especially those published by William Randolph Hearst -- thrived on the exaggerated sensationalism of what would come to be labeled as 'yellow journalism'.

This dynamic would begin to change during the years of World War I, when many Americans would experience the personal disruption and grief of what was then called 'the war to end all wars'. The 1898 Spanish-American war promoted by Hearst and claimed as a great victory had resulted in 385 Americans dead. But World War I had left more than 53,000 Americans killed, with a further 320,000 wounded -- many of them missing limbs or otherwise severely disfigured. In addition, the influenza pandemic of 1918-1920 killed more than 50 million people worldwide, including 675,000 people in the United States. In the face of such personally-felt tragedy, the glory days of yellow journalism became numbered.

Then, in January, 1922, two articles in the Atlantic Monthly magazine would have a transfiguring effect on the press. The first, entitled "The Daily Press", was written by pioneering civil rights and social justice activist Moorfield Story...

THERE never was a time in the history of the world when greater problems pressed for solution than now. The relations between nations are critical, and the hatreds engendered by the recent war are fraught with infinite dangers. Shall we attempt to make war impossible? Shall we cease to bankrupt ourselves by making preparation for hostilities, or shall we make no effort to protect civilization against another world-conflict? What can we do to equalize the conditions of men, restore cordial relations between employer and employee? How shall we deal with the racial ill-feeling that is responsible for lynching, Ku Klux Klans, and multiform lawlessness? What is the remedy for the corruption and inefficiency that are so common in legislative bodies and among public officials. How adjust the crushing burdens of taxation, how provide for adequate transportation of goods and passengers? These are a few of the questions that demand attention.

The newspaper press is the source from which the public derives its knowledge of the facts. The daily journal goes into every home, every office, and every workshop. It can educate the people by its comments on events as they occur, and by its discussion of public questions. It asserts for itself a great position as the 'Fourth Estate.' It claims for itself great rights and great privileges -- practically unrestrained free speech and reduced postage, among others. Its powers and its privileges carry with them great responsibilities, for it can lead or mislead the public. It is bound to lay before its readers only the truth, and, in printing the news, to remember that what it lays before its readers should be only 'that which is fit to print.' It is a great educational force for good or evil, and those who conduct the press, while they exercise its power, should recognize their responsibility.

When this view is presented to editors, they are apt to remind us that a newspaper is a commercial enterprise; that it must secure adequate circulation, or die; that, to gain circulation, it must publish what its readers wish to see; and that it cannot take a higher stand than its readers permit. In adopting this rule, the editor, of course, abandons to a great extent his position as leader. His readers lead him, not he his readers. If a strong editorial on some question in which people are warmly interested brings many letters of condemnation or threats of discontinuing subscriptions, and he yields to these critics, it is they, not he, who edit his newspapers. The press must either lead or follow; and, if it follows by catering to a depraved public taste or a popular prejudice, it is largely responsible for the taste or prejudice, for both grow by what feeds them. To every editor is presented the question: 'Shall I seek money through increased circulation and advertisements, or shall I try to create a sound public opinion and make my journal a power for good?' ...

The second article in that issue was by Frederick Lewis Allen, editor of Harper's magazine and a widely-respected figure in journalism. Under the title of "Newspapers and the Truth", Allen wrote...

IT is a significant fact that public interest in newspaper ethics and the conduct of the press was never so widespread in this country as it is to-day. Before the war, people who discussed the subject concerned themselves primarily with the question whether the newspapers degraded public morals by their exploitation of divorce scandals and their general preoccupation with men's misdeeds, and the question whether large advertisers, and especially department stores, could bring about the suppression or distortion of news affecting their financial interests. The war, however, with its censorship, its development of the art of propaganda, and the improvement which it brought about in methods of swaying masses of men by controlling or doctoring the news, has made us realize that the problem of newspaper conduct is larger and more fundamental than we had supposed it to be. We now see that it is immensely important that the press shall give us the facts straight; and not merely the facts relating to department stores and other large business concerns, but the entire mass of facts about the world in which we live -- political, economic, religious, scientific, social, and industrial.

It is beginning to be understood that, as Mr. Walter Lippmann ably argued in his recent book on Liberty and the News, access to accurate accounts of what is going on about us is one of the indispensable conditions of freedom. We talk a great deal about the right of the individual to express his opinions, and somewhat less about the advantage to the community, or the nation, or the world, of determining its collective action after the freest discussion; but we are just beginning to see that it is still more vital that the individual shall be able to form his opinion upon the facts. If these facts are withheld from him or misrepresented to him, his opinion is as valueless as that of a judge who has heard incomplete or false evidence in a case. Though the individual may be at liberty to shout his ideas from the housetops, he is still a slave to illusion; and all the more completely a slave than if he were in bonds, because he fancies that he walks freely in the light.

There never was such an age of newspaper- reading as the present. Most of us read -- or at least glance at -- one, two, or more newspapers a day. They are the eyes through which largely we see the life of our time, and the news that they print is in great measure the raw material of our ideas. Nothing is more important than that through these eyes we shall see, not a distorted picture, but the reality. ...

This cardinal rule of newspaper ethics -- that what is presented as sheer fact should be accurate and without bias -- is easy to state. It is harder to live up to than anybody can imagine who has not faced the newspaper man's problem for himself. ...

Yost, at first disdainful at some of what the articles had to say, soon found himself inspired to act on his dream. Writing to other editors about the need for an association to enforce newspaper ethics, Yost found himself the next month addressing a gathering of like-minded people in Chicago, and from there to a meeting of the American Newspaper Publishers Association in New York. As a result, by October over 100 editors had signed up to be part of Yost's ethical association, and the American Society of Newspaper Editors was formed. That same month they adopted a code of ethics for all newspapers, and in 1923 held their first national convention.

Further conventions would be held annually every year except 1945. And it was at the 1967 convention in Washington, D.C., that the three notable men -- atmospheric physicist Dr. James McDonald, astrophysicist Dr. Donald Menzel, and Blue Book head Maj. Hector Quintanilla -- would come to discuss UFOs with the editors of the nation's newspapers.

McDonald, Quntanilla, Menzel

Above, left: Dr. James E. McDonald at his office at the University of Arizona. Middle: Hector Quintanilla at his desk at Project Blue Book. Right: Dr. Donald H. Menzel of Harvard Observatory holding two of his fanciful sketches of alien life.

THE THREE MEN came before the editors from different perspectives and vastly divergent experience with the issue of UFOs.

Dr. Donald H. Menzel had the longest involvement with the issue by far. Menzel -- at the time the newly-appointed Director of Harvard Observatory -- had aggressively inserted himself into the controversy in 1952, the preeminent year of sightings. In short, it was Menzel's theory that all sightings could be attributed to mirages mostly caused by temperature inversions.

In his unpublished papers, Captain Edward J. Ruppelt -- in 1952 the chief of Project Blue Book -- gave this candid insight to Menzel's approach to the subject...

One day in mid-May 1952, I was in the Pentagon when I received a call from General Garland's office. At that time Gen. Garland was the Deputy Director of Production for General Samford. The girl in Gen. Garland's office said that there would be a meeting in Dr. Stephen Possony's office at 2:00 that afternoon and the general wanted me to be there.

When I arrived at the meeting Col. Dunn was there, along with Gen. Garland, Steve Possony, Les Rosensweig and another colonel whose name I've forgotten. Dr. Menzel was also there. The meeting got right underway with Menzel telling us very bluntly that he had solved the UFO problem for the Air Force. He minced no words. I had heard of Menzel and I was duly impressed with his accomplishments. He said that he had been studying the UFO phenomena for a long time and that he had done all of the development work for the cameras in Project Twinkle. This seemed a little odd to me because I was very familiar with all of the work on Twinkle and I had never heard of his connection with the project.

He went on to tell about how he had seen a UFO while at White Sands P.G. some years before and how he had ordered his driver to stop and had determined that it was a mirage of some sorts. He told how he had done some experiments with liquids of different densities, etc. to prove his ideas about what he'd seen.

After he went through all of this he asked if there were any comments. The way he did this immediately irked everyone at the meeting. He had the attitude that this is it -- worry no more my friends. I wasn't at all convinced that he had as much as he thought he did because he had the same approach and attitude that I had seen in a dozen other people all of whom had the answer. But I hated to say anything due to his stature in the field of science.

Steve Possony, no small cog in the system, wasn't as easy to intimidate, however. Steve's first question was whether or not Menzel thought that the few very elementary and simple experiments proved anything. He asked Menzel if he would try the same basic physics tricks to prove some type of solar phenomena, Menzel's specialty. Menzel hedged a lot on this question and changed the subject.

He started to talk about the hoaxes that we had and tried to make like they were a big percentage of the overall picture. Gen. Garland began to get a little fidgety about this time and told Menzel that we were well aware of how many of the sightings were hoaxes, about 2 or 3 percent.

Then Menzel announced that he had sold a story of his ideas to Time and Look. He said that he would like to have the Air Force publicly back him up 100% in these two magazines. At this Gen. Garland about blew a stack. Steve Possony asked Menzel if it might not be more scientific to do a little bit more research on the subject before he went out and sold the story. Also, he said he thought that Menzel could have approached the Air Force a little sooner. Then Col. Dunn said that he thought that ATIC -- specifically Blue Book -- would have been very glad to put a little money into a more formal type of experiment. He went on to say that he didn't think that the Air Force would care to endorse something that we know so little about. He did say that we would be glad to say that Menzel had told us about the theory and that this could be released through the PIO.

At this Menzel blew his top. It was no theory, he said. Then he began to throw around the name of Jonathan Leonard of Time magazine and said that he was behind this 100% and that Leonard would do this and that.

After a bit more of a hassle I asked Menzel if he would leave us a copy of his work so that we could show it to a few of ATIC's consultants. He wanted to know who we would show it to and I said Dr. Joe Kaplan, of the physics Department of UCLA, Dr. Hynek, of Ohio State, and I would also like to have the people at 'Project Bear' run some theoretical calculations on it.

Menzel refused this suggestion and folded up his data and got ready to leave. Gen. Garland again told him that if he cared to, he could mail the data to us at ATIC.

That evening Steve Possony contacted Father Heyden, Head of the Astronomy Department at Georgetown University, and told him about it. He was very adamant in his idea that all Menzel had was a couple of meaningless high school physics experiments.

The next morning I was requested to do a little checking by Possony.

I happened to go to the Office of Naval Research this morning to see Lt. Com. Frank Thomas, who was our contact man with ONR and the Navy. I mentioned our meeting with Menzel and he stopped me about halfway through the story. He got on the phone and called someone in ONR. It turned out that Menzel had tried to pull a deal with the Navy, only he was backing some kind of gun. He had decided that it was the salvation of the Navy and he had tried to put the pressure on them to back him. He went a step further, though, he offered to donate his time as a consultant in developing this gun. (It might have been something else, but I think that it was a gun.)

This seemed to be a very noble thing to do so ONR got interested. The bids for the contracts came in and Menzel strongly suggested that they be given to a small outfit that had made one of the bids. Since the bid was high, ONR did a little investigating and found out that Menzel was one of the prime backers of this 'nonprofit research organization.' ONR canceled out on the whole thing.

We received no more info from Menzel until his article came out in Time. When it did come out, I called Dr. Kaplan on the West Coast. He hadn't seen the article but said that he would get a copy of the magazine and call me right back. He did and I can't recall his comment but it was very nasty. I asked him if he would put his comments in writing and wire them to me since the press was on our necks. He did and the wire said something to the effect that although Dr. Menzel had an interesting idea, it was far from the answer to all UFO reports. I passed this wire on to Al Chop in the Pentagon and it was toned down a little more and passed on to the press.

In the meantime Dr. Hynek had seen the article and called me. He was just as irked. It was his opinion that Menzel was stooping to some pretty low tactics to make a buck.

Sometime later, at an American Optical Society Meeting in Boston, Dr. Hynek got Menzel on the stand to debate with him on the subject and really ran him into the ground. We taped the session -- Bob Olsson did it -- for our records.

In a 1952 article on the activities of Project Blue Book written for the classified Air Intelligence Digest, Ruppelt added...

Reflection and refraction theories as natural explanation of UAO reports are questioned by authorities like Dr. Ronald Ives, the Cornell geophysicist, who is an outstanding authority on mirages. Dr. Ives points out that the reflectivity of temperature disparities in the air is so slight that it reduces the intensity of the light source to a negligible degree -- far less bright than the brilliantly luminous objects that have been so frequently seen.

Notably, Dr. Menzel declined to put his theories to the test, as revealed in a prepared written statement from the Air Force given to Major Donald Keyhoe in 1952. The statement, as printed in Keyhoe's book Flying Saucers From Outer Space...

These explanations were known to the Project, and carefully considered, long before Menzel published his theories. They explain only a small per cent of the sightings . . . At the request of ATIC, prominent scientists analyzed Menzel's claims. None of them accepted his answers . . . Dr. Menzel was invited by Project Bluebook to apply his theories to any or all of the unexplained sightings, using Project records cleared for this purpose. He has not availed himself of this offer.

Keyhoe had also submitted a list of questions to the Air Force specifically asking if it accepted Menzel's explanations of three famous cases, to which the Air Force answer to all three was "no". Keyhoe had also asked the following question and received the following answer...

Question: "Did Dr. Menzel obtain all available ATIC records in these three cases?"

Answer: "He did not obtain this information. In answer to a query, he was offered all Project data on these and other cases, through usual channels. We have heard nothing further from Dr. Menzel in regard to this."

In a 1962 letter Menzel acknowledged the offer had been made, but claimed...

At one time they had offered to do so but tried to impose the restrictions of classification on me. This I refused to do.

Here too -- in what would become a disconcerting pattern -- Menzel was dissembling. In January, 1953, Captain Ruppelt in a monthly status report noted that work was progressing on transferring data on sightings through 1951 into a new system. But he also noted that the "sighting reports for 1947 and 1948 are not available for evaluation". In Ruppelt's personal papers he gives a clue as to why the reports were unavailable...

It wasn't too long after this that we received a letter from Menzel. It contained about the same thing that the articles contained, although he had said that he had a lot more data for us. He proposed that he be allowed to act as an unpaid consultant (dollar a year) to work out more of his idea for Blue Book. He said that he knew of a non-profit organization that would be glad to take over the actual work. We wrote back and said to have the organization submit a proposal. In a few weeks we received the proposal and it was outlandishly high for the work that they offered to do. They were going to set up searchlights in the desert, etc. but they wanted all Air Force people and equipment to do it. Remembering the story that I heard in ONR I turned the proposal over to AMC, who would have handled the negotiations, and they found that Menzel also had considerable interest in this organization. This didn't alter our decision to give it a fair review, however, and we sent it to "Project Bear," Dr. Kaplan, and Dr. Hynek. All of them very definitely turned thumbs down on the proposal as being too much money for what we would get. Dr. Kaplan was on his way to Italy to attend an international meeting of geophysicists at the time that I showed him the proposal so he took some of the data along with him. He showed it to many of the people from other countries and they were likewise unimpressed, although they were very much interested -- curiosity wise -- in the UFO's and what Dr. Kaplan had to say about them.

The proposal was duly rejected by ATIC and Menzel was notified.

In a few weeks we received another letter from him. He said that he had decided to write a book and wanted to know when he could come to ATIC to study our files. Although this was against the policies, Col. Dunn suggested that we go ahead and try to set it up. I checked with the AMC security people and they said that he had no clearance and that temporarily, he couldn't get one. Since ATIC is a secure area he couldn't be allowed to visit for any length of time. He was notified of this and didn't like it. Col. Dunn sent him a letter, very much to the point, saying that he could get his data through channels, from the PIO, like anyone else.

Not long after this I had a visit from Dr. Aiken, of Harvard, a computer specialist. Aiken said that he thought that maybe he could make something of the UFO reports if we would be kind enough to loan them to him. He was working for ATIC at the time and had the proper clearances and storage facilities that allowed him to store documents borrowed from ATIC. We packed up three years of reports and sent them to him. He was to send them back to us in a month. One month passed, then two, and not a word from Aiken. I called him several times and he was "just getting ready to send them back" each time. Finally I sent Bob Olsson up to Boston to get the reports but when he arrived Aiken couldn't produce them. We did get them back a few days later.

When Menzel's book came out, here were all of the classified reports in it. The specific item that gave the whole thing away, and caused us to check further, was a "confession" to the FBI from Chrisman and Dahl, who were the originators of a big hoax in Tacoma, Washington. For some time we had been trying to get the "confession" released but couldn't. Then there were other verbatim quoted from many old reports that had never been released but had been sent to Aiken. I tried to push an investigation but Col. Don Bower talked me out of it since the data that was taken really wasn't of any interest or consequence. I still objected to the principle of the act. I felt that even though the material probably should have been declassified long ago -- like so much other data -- it wasn't up to Aiken to pass it on to someone who didn't even have a clearance. If he would do this with our data, and Menzel asked him to do it, both were darn poor security risks.

This ended the Menzel story except for a few nasty letters that I received from him after I went off active duty.

Yet, in his 1953 book Menzel wrote...

Scientists who might have easily provided the key that would unlock the secrets of the saucers did not receive detailed information necessary for a serious study of the whole problem.

A statement which was not only deceptive, but which ignored completely other noted scientists' objections to Menzel's mirage theories -- and indeed Menzel's refusal to apply his theories to actual reports in Blue Book files for judgment by others.

But none of this discouraged Menzel from his aggressive self-promotion as a UFO expert. He would go on to write more magazine articles and books on the subject -- often misstating or leaving out relevant facts from any particular report he was "explaining". Also, along the way, he would often slip in derogatory statements about Blue Book and the Air Force.

Such were the ethics and the temperament of this 'man of science'.

The second speaker on the panel, Major Hector Quintanilla, had far less experience with the subject than Menzel, as well as a different approach. Quintanilla had become head of Blue Book in 1963. A personification of the 'American dream', Quintanilla had been born in Mexico, coming to the United States with his family at the age of six. Quintanilla almost immediately went to work, delivering papers and shining shoes. In 1943 he was drafted, and served in the brutal Pacific theater of operations until his honorable discharge in 1945. Quintanilla then went on to continue his education, earning a degree in physics from St. Mary University in 1950. In 1951 he enlisted in the military, receiving a commission of Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. From there he advanced steadily, taking over the role as chief of Blue Book as a Captain in 1963.

He wasn't particularly qualified, nor did he want the job, as he revealed himself much later in an unpublished manuscript...

In April 1963, I was informed of a new assignment at Wright-Patterson. Nobody mentioned UFO's and probably nobody knew at the time, that I was to become the new and the last Project Blue Book Officer. I arrived at Wright-Patterson during the latter part of July, 1963. My sponsor was Lt. Col. Robert Friend, chief of Project Blue Book from 1959 to July, 1963. Bob Friend had done a tremendous job with the UFO program, but very few people knew it. He did his job, did it well, and stayed in the background. Bob took me around the Base, showed me where all the essential buildings were located, and then introduced me to all his contacts. In this business, contacts are essential in order to get the job done in the minimum time. When the formality of processing was all over, I was introduced to the man who in some ways changed my life and in a way also changed the destiny of the UFO's. This gentleman was a man who stood six foot, three inches tall, walked straight as an arrow, had a commanding voice, was a West Point graduate, a native of California, Persona non Grata in some circles, and a full Colonel who went by the name of Eric T. de Jonckheere.

Colonel de Jonckheere wasted no time in telling me that he had selected me to be the next UFO officer, he had reviewed my record and considered me qualified to handle the job. He needed an officer with a Physics degree, with maturity, tact, a diplomat, drive, and one who could stay cool under fire. I shook my head -- hell, he couldn't be talking about me. I had a Physics degree and I was mature, but the rest of the stuff was not part of my make-up. He asked me to try it for a couple of weeks and then come back and give him a briefing. Bob Friend briefed me on the program and I occupied myself daily by doing background reading and researching. On August 5, 1963, we got a call from the newspaper office in Fairfield, Illinois. The Wayne County Press was having a field day. The first paragraph of the Wayne County Press dated August 5, 1963 read as follows:

An 18 year old boy was chased home Sunday night by a flying saucer or some other unknown heavenly body. The whole neighborhood out this way is talking about it.

This report triggered other reports; so Bob said that I could cut my teeth on this one. ...

Quintanilla went out to investigate as part of a team headed by Major Friend. It was not just the '18 year old boy' (and his girlfriend) who had reported being chased by a light as they drove in the car (and also having his car stall as it passed overhead) -- other citizens reported their own independent sightings of maneuvering lights as well (the Blue Book file eventually comprised almost 100 pages).

The Blue Book evaluation: a combination of the moon, Jupiter, a meteor, an aerial refueling operation, and over-active imagination.

Quintanilla continues...

As soon as we returned to Wright-Patterson, Colonel de Jonckheere asked for a full report. Bob told me to write it up because I'd have to brief the "ole man". I briefed Colonel de Jonckheere and gave him a full account of what had transpired, our conclusions, etc. He nodded his head in satisfaction and said, "you're my new UFO officer". At that time I didn't think I was ready for the responsibility and I told him so. Colonel de Jonckheere looked me straight in the eye and said, "You take this job and do it well or I'll bust your ass". And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I became a UFO investigating officer.

Quintanilla's investigation -- as well as his brief from Colonel de Jonckheere -- established a pattern Quintanilla would follow from that moment on. In his actions and his correspondence, Quintanilla made clear that his only interest was following and promoting the Air Force line: most sightings have been explained and the remainder would be if there were more information. Writing in his personal journal in January, 1964, researcher Jacques Vallee would note...

We have just had an excellent meeting with the officers in charge of Blue Book, Captain Hector Quintanilla and Sergeant Moody. I come away from it with a clearer sense of how they perceive their role. Neither one of them has any serious training in science, and they make it plain that knowledge is not their business:

"The mission of the Air Force is to identify, intercept and destroy any unauthorized object that violates U.S. air space," Quintanilla told me. "In other words, if an unknown object is detected by ground radar or by a pilot we ask it to identify itself. If it doesn't we chase it. And if it tries to escape interception we shoot it down. It's as simple as that."

"What about the global nature of this phenomenon?" I asked. I brought up the French cases, the landings, and the humanoid sightings. They were not interested.

"It's none of our business if a Martian shakes hands with a baker in Brittany. Our responsibility is limited to reports from U.S. citizens. What we are looking for? Enemy prototypes, spy craft, anything unusual that we can understand in terms of technology."

At that same meeting Vallee quotes Quintanilla as making a telling remark...

"We always call experts," answered Quintanilla. "For example, we send all the mirage cases to Menzel, all the meteors to Dr. Olivier...."

I felt disgusted with that comment: "With that kind of approach, how do you expect to ever learn anything new? You will always find that the phenomenon is composed of meteors and mirages! ..."

The third participant on the panel, Dr. James McDonald, had the least experience in the UFO field of the three. Giving his own account a few months later, McDonald would relate...

I have been curious about UFO's in a casual way for 10 or 20 years and have even checked cases in the southern Arizona area off and on rather casually, mainly encountering sincere laymen who do not recognize an aircraft strobe light, or Venus, or a bright fireball, when they see them. It is quite true that many persons misidentify natural phenomena; and my experience was mainly but not entirely limited to that sort of case.

About 2 years ago I became more than casually curious for several reasons that are not too relevant here, and began to spend much more time and very quickly changed my notions about the problem. I visited Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, saw their very impressive and surprising UFO files, the pattern of which is entirely different from what I had imagined.

At the same time, I contacted a number of private investigating UFO groups, one of the best and most constructive located here in Washington, the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena; contacted another one of the large national groups, the Aerial Phenomenon Research Organization, and found again somewhat to my surprise, that these amateur groups operating on a shoestring basis, and frequently scorned by us scientists, were, in fact, doing really a rather good investigative job within their resources, and had compiled in their files, for instance in NICAP, on the order of 10,000 or 12,000 cases, many of which I have subsequently checked, and all of which imply a problem that has been lost from sight, swept under the rug, ignored, and now needs to be very rapidly brought out into the open as a problem demanding very serious and very high-caliber scientific attention.

And although relatively new to the field, McDonald would fast make an impression. Researcher Jacques Vallee would write in his personal journal entry for June 8, 1966...

A major event has happened in the last few days. A friend of Brian O'Brien has launched a bold new campaign that is taking everybody by surprise. His name is James McDonald, forty-five years old, professor of atmospheric physics at the University of Arizona. Having suddenly become interested in the subject, he read many books, including Anato­my (of a Phenomenon), and decided to do his own research. Through O'Brien he asked to be authorized to spend two days at Wright Field. He began by request­ing to be shown all the cases of "globular lightning." He was amazed and horrified at what he saw: case after case that obviously had nothing at all to do with electrical discharges in the air. So he asked to see more and started reading the general files, getting increasingly upset as he kept on reading.

McDonald moved very fast once he realized, as he told us bluntly, "that the explanations were pure bullshit." So he bypassed the Major and went straight to the General who heads up the Base, to tell him exactly what he thought of Blue Book. After forty-five minutes, which is much longer than Hynek ever spent with the General, they were talk­ing about the humanoid occupants! Then he flew back to Arizona and started contacting all the amateur investigators, one by one, from APRO to NICAP. He made an appointment to see Hynek.

We have just had lunch with McDonald today, and it is clear that an entire era has come to a crashing end. This man has many contacts, many ideas, and he is afraid of nothing.

Charging onward, McDonald would make his first major public speech on the subject four months later -- on October 19, 1966. Addressing the American Meteorological Society in Washington, D.C., McDonald would give ample evidence of his wide-ranging knowledge and methodical approach to the issue (the following is from a summary prepared afterward)...

Careful scrutiny of hundreds of the better UFO reports from quite credible observers during the past twenty years (and longer) reveals that not only does it seem altogether impossible to explain them away in terms of atmospheric physics, but also the other officially proposed categories of geophysical, astronomical, technological, and psychological hypotheses fail to encompass the UFO phenomena. Reasons were given for regarding as probably the least unsatisfactory hypothesis that of the extraterrestrial nature of the UFOs. Serious shortcomings in the past official investigations of the UFO problem were discussed, and a radical change in the level of scientific study of the problem was urged.

One might group past and current explanations of the unidentified flying objects (UFOs) into eight broad categories comprising the following spectrum of hypotheses:

1. Hoaxes, fabrications, and frauds;

2. Hallucinations, mass hysteria, rumor phenomena;

3. Lay misinterpretations of well-known physical phenomena (meteorological, astronomical, optical, and so on);

4. Advanced technologies (test vehicles, satellites, re-entry effects);

5. Poorly understood physical phenomena (rare atmospheric-electrical effects, cloud phenomena, plasmas of natural or technological origin, and so on);

6. Poorly understood psychological phenomena;

7. Extraterrestrial probes;

8. Messengers of salvation and occult truth.

There appears to be general agreement among all who have seriously studied the past 20 years of UFO reports, here and abroad, that Categories 1 through 4 do indeed account for a substantial number of reported "unidentified aerial phenomena." However, when such cases are eliminated, there remains a still-sizable residuum of unexplained reports from credible observers. Categories 5 and 6, to the extent that they constitute 'i explanations in terms of the still-unknown, are intrinsically difficult to handle in logical fashion. Nevertheless, one can attempt reasonable extrapolations from present knowledge and thereby put certain rough bounds on the probable range of present ignorance. Admitting that certain UFO cases may come to be understood in terms of improved knowledge in Categories 5 and 6, I find no adequate basis for accounting for the entire problem in such terms.

I would emphasize that I now regard category 6 as the only important alternative to Category 7, but discussions of typical cases with psychologists has led to no promising clues in this area. Category 8 is accepted by a distressingly large and vocal group outside the scientific community, but I am not aware that supporters of Category 8 have shed any useful light on the basic problem My own study of this problem has led me to the conclusion that Category 7 now constitutes the least unsatisfactory hypothesis for accounting for the intriguing array of credibly reported UFO phenomena that are on record and that do not appear to fit acceptably into the first six cited categories. Needless to say, the a priori probability of Category 7 appears to be exceedingly low in terms or present scientific knowledge.

My study of past official Air Force investigations (Project Blue Book) leads me to describe them as completely superficial. They have, for at least the past dozen years, been carried out at a very low level of scientific competence as a very low priority task (one of about 200 within the Foreign Technology Division, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base). Officially released "explanations" of important UFO sightings have often been almost absurdly erroneous. In only a few instances has there been any on-the-spot field investigation by Blue Book personnel, and much of that has been quite superficial. On the other hand, official press releases, statements to Congress, and so on, have conveyed an impression of expertise and investigative thoroughness that has led both the public and the scientific community at large to accept the conclusion that no significant scientific problem exists with respect to UFOs. This impression has, of course, been enhanced by journalistic fun-poking and by the dismaying actions of many cultist groups. It seems to me to be important to secure much more extensive scientific study of the UFO problem, preferably involving not only the Air Force, but other more scientifically oriented agencies. That the official Air Force position has for over fifteen years been one of public assurance of no UFO hostility argues the reasonableness of turning over substantial portions of the UFO investigative problem to science-oriented federal agencies in the near future. The recently-announced "university teams" program is a laudable step forward. Much more effort seems warranted, and agencies such as NASA and NSF should participate actively in the task of rapid clarification of the long-standing confusion over the UFO problem. The work of independent organizations such as the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (whose efforts impress me as much more thorough and open-minded than those of Project Blue Book) should be exploited and incorporated into all future studies.

A part of the background to the manner in which Blue Book has handled the UFO problem in the past dozen years is to be found in the complete report of the 1953 Robertson Panel. That scientific panel concluded that there was no strong evidence of any hostile UFO action. The Central Intelligence Agency, represented at the policy-drafting sessions closing the activities of the Robertson Panel, requested that the Air Force adopt a policy of systematic "debunking of flying saucers" to decrease public attention to UFOs. The reasons for this request were associated with the 1952 wave of UFO reports, the largest wave ever recorded in the United States (possibly exceeded in intensity by the French wave of the fall of 1954). So many UFO reports were flooding into air bases throughout the country and other parts of the world in the summer of 1952 that the CIA regarded them as creating a national security problem: In the event of enemy attack on the country, the clogging of military intelligence channels with large numbers of reports of the evidently non-hostile UFOs was regarded as an acceptable hazard. This CIA request, made in January of 1953, was followed by the promulgation, in August, 1953, of Air Force Regulation 200-2, which produced a sharp drop-off in public reporting of Air Force UFO sightings, by forbidding release, at air base level, of any information on sightings of unidentified aerial phenomena. All sighting reports were to be funneled through Project Blue Book, where they have been largely categorized as conventional objects with little attention to scientific considerations. The strictures implicit in AFR 200-2 were made binding with promulgation of JANAP 146, which made any such public release of UFO information at air base or local command level (by any of the military services and, under certain circumstances, commercial airlines) a crime punishable with fines up to $10,000 and imprisonment up to 10 years. These regulations have not only cut off almost all useful reports from military pilots, tower operators, and ground crews, but even more serious from a scientific viewpoint has been their drastic effect on non-availability of military radar data on UFOs. Prior to 1953, many significant UFO radar sightings were disclosed. Since then, military radar sightings have been scientifically compromised by confusing denials and allusions to "weather inversions" whenever word of radar observations accidentally leaked out in the midst of a UFO episode. Air Force Regulation 200-2 contained the specific admonishment that "Air Force activities must reduce the percentage of unidentifieds to the minimum." This has been achieved. ...

McDonald's fifth public talk since that time -- in what would turn out to be an impressive number of talks over the coming four years -- would be to the editors of the nation's newspapers.

And with the guest speakers now properly introduced, ladies and gentlemen -- without further ado -- our speakers tonight: James E. McDonald, Hector Quintanilla, and Donald H. Menzel...



MR. JOHN QUINCY MAHAFFEY, Texarkana Gazette, presiding: Welcome to the program on unidentified flying objects.

For the benefit of the new members of the society and for those who have not encountered me in the past, I feel I should explain that I have a speech impediment -- that is, I stammer very badly if I get mad or scared.

The doctors told my parents at the time I was a little boy that I would outgrow this trouble. I will be 60 years old in October, and if I am to outgrow it before I pass on to my reward, as the Baptists say, I'm going to have to do some pretty fancy outgrowing.

The fact is, however, that if I don't get mad or I don't get scared or if you don't heckle me or otherwise frighten me, I might get through this program without dislocating my jaw.

Now, I am sure that you are asking yourselves why, with all of the articulate talent that we have in this society, did Newbold Noyes, the program chairman, select this stuttering editor from Texarkana to moderate a program on unidentified flying objects. Well, the fact of the matter is that Noyes is an adventurer. He likes to live dangerously. Also, I think Bob Notson, the president of this society, told him that I was an expert on UFOs. Actually, I am only an expert on flying objects, having been able to identify all of those thrown at me through the years by my ever-loving wife, and other Texarkana detractors.

Now, in order to get the audience properly tuned in on this program, I must harken back to the wisdom of my late and great publisher, Clyde E. Palmer, who said that you couldn't be a good newspaperman unless you could develop some of the characteristics of a goose. He went on to explain that the main characteristic of a goose is that he wakes up in a new world every day. Not being a goose, I asked Mr. Palmer how he knew that a goose woke up in a new world every day. And he said, "John Quincy, that's your main trouble; you're always cluttering up things with all kinds of technicalities."

The point he was making is that a good newspaperman must be naive enough to be interested in everything that goes on, and he must guard against that degree of sophistication that gives birth to a full cup -- the attitude that you are so smart that you can't be told anything.

Now that you're properly tuned in, I would like to make the further observation that this is not a kookie program. There is not a single kook here today. These people know what they have seen. Two of them are genuine and distinguished scientists. One of them is an Air Force officer who runs Project Blue Book. And the other two are people who know what they have seen and what they are talking about.

I think the best way to present this program is to present it as we would a case in court. We are going to prosecute and defend UFOs, and I hope the participants on the panel will not be offended if I do not give them long and comprehensive introductions.

Remarks by William C. Powell and Muriel McClave

The first two witnesses I shall present are Mr. William C. Powell of Radnor, Pennsylvania, and his friend, Miss Muriel McClave.

Mr. Powell has had a varied flying career. He began flying in 1939. In 1941 he was with the Royal Canadian Air Force, and in 1942 he transferred to the U.S. Army Air Corps. In October of 1945 he began flying the North Atlantic for KLM Airlines, and in October, 1951, he joined Bell Aircraft Corporation as an engineering test pilot. Then in October, 1959, he joined Sears Roebuck as a company pilot, which position he now holds.

He and Miss McClave, this very attractive young woman here, will now tell you what they saw on May 21, 1966. I shall ask Mr. Powell to speak first and I will ask him then to present Miss McClave as his corroborating witness.

MR. WILLIAM C. POWELL, Radnor, Pennsylvania: A couple of weeks ago when Mr. Noyes asked me to speak before this assembly, I immediately got a knot in my stomach. I still have that knot. So, if I falter any time, please understand that I'm operating in an unfamiliar environment.

On May 21, 1966 -- I'll speak of Miss McClave as Mickey -- Mickey and I decided to take a flight in my aircraft, a small Luscombe, down to Ocean City. We went out to the airport at Montgomeryville, Pennsylvania, and proceeded toward the shore, going via the North Philadelphia Airport to circumvent the populated area of Philadelphia. As we approached the center of New Jersey, we observed just a few cumulus clouds and dark areas on the shoreline, so we decided we had better not proceed in that direction. Instead, we turned around and went back over the North Philadelphia Airport and proceeded toward Quakertown, Pennsylvania, planning to land at Quakertown and have some refreshments. Our course took us right over Willow Grove Naval Air Station.

As we were proceeding, at an altitude of 4,500 feet and on a course of approximately 335 degrees (we had just passed Willow Grove Air Station), I was observing the jets that were taking off and circling around and climbing up underneath us. They were going in aircraft formations of two. One set passed us lower to the left and climbed on out. Then there was another pair that was climbing just a little wider to the left and proceeding straight ahead.

As I was watching this last pair proceed straight ahead of me, I noticed what I thought was an aircraft over to the left, proceeding toward the departing jets.

As you know, you try to define an airplane -- what kind of tail it has, either a Cessna, or what. I couldn't determine any tail on this object. And the more I kept peering at it, I sort of whimsically thought it was a flying saucer.

So I said, "Hey, Mick, look at that flying saucer out there." And she immediately picked it up, and we watched it proceed directly to the rear of the two departing jets. And then it made a right-hand turn -- a flat right-hand turn -- and proceeded directly toward us. As it approached, it became larger, naturally. I knew it was on a slightly divergent course. Therefore, I didn't change any heading. We just watched this thing, and it proceeded by us. I estimated it passed us at the same altitude approximately 100 yards away. As it disappeared off to the right-hand side, I was straining around to see it, and it disappeared from my vision.

As it approached us, I said, "No, this can't be; this can't be what I've heard about." I had been skeptical and I was still a little skeptical about what I was really looking at.

I was trying to envision some wires or something hanging down from it to make it look like an elongated weather balloon or something. But it was exactly what I had heard and read about these so-called UFOs.

We had a very, very clear picture of it at that distance. The day was quite clear. The visibility was at least 15 miles and over.

It was actually, you might say, saucer-shaped with a slightly raised dome on the top. It was all well defined, very clear. The bottom of it was what I would describe as a dago red -- a very brilliant red. The top, the slightly raised dome, was a very brilliant white. We could not see any portholes or anything -- just a solid object, no lines on it except these two colors.

At the time it passed us, it appeared to be cruising at about the speed of another light aircraft passing us at that distance.

From what I gather from Miss McClave, she actually could see it disappear. It never got out of her vision until it all of a sudden disappeared after the aircraft on the right-hand side.

So that is the story of the incident.

Mickey, do you have anything to add to this?

MISS MURIEL McCLAVE: I think you have said everything.

MR. POWELL: I want to point out that I refrained from discussing this with Miss McClave so that we wouldn't influence each other on what we did see. Evidently she agrees pretty much with what I have just said.

MISS McCLAVE: All I can say is that Mr. Powell has said everything. I can't really elaborate any more. Everything he said is true. It was very, very close to us. It was almost right next to our wing tip as it passed the plane. And it was very, very vivid and very clear.

MR. POWELL: I also would like to tell you that I refrained from speculating about what it could be because of all the other stories that are floating around.

I hope I have presented to you a very factual report of what we did observe.

MR. MAHAFFEY: Thank you, sir, and Miss McClave.

I think I should explain that this incident is only one example of the problem of UFOs and is certainly not the whole problem.

Remarks by Major Hector Quintanilla, Jr.

Now we are ready to hear what the U.S. Air Force has to say about UFOs.

I am pleased to present Major Hector Quintanilla, Jr., who is a native of San Antonio, Texas. He attended St. Mary's University there, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in physics in 1950. His career includes service with the Army Air Corps in the South Pacific during World War II. He received a direct commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force Reserve in April of 1951 and was recalled to active duty in August of 1951. After his recall and after tours of duty in Germany and Japan, he was reassigned, in 1959, to the Rome Air Development Center in New York as chief of the Data Processing Branch and remained there until assignment to the Foreign Technology Division in Dayton, Ohio, in July 1963. He has been chief of Project Blue Book since that time.

Here is our next panelist, Major Quintanilla.

MAJOR HECTOR QUINTANILLA, JR., United States Air Force: The Air Force became interested in the UFO phenomenon as a project in 1947. During this period a policy letter was written by the Chief of Staff which directed the Commander of the Air Materiel Command to set up a project whose purpose was to collect, collate, evaluate and disseminate to interested government agencies and contractors all information regarding UFO sightings. Initially, the project was classified. However, the security classification was dropped in March, 1952. The UFO project has been unclassified since that time.

During the period 1948 to 1955 the Air Force made three comprehensive studies of the UFO reports which had been submitted to them. These reports are known as the "Sign Report," which was published in February, 1948; the "Grudge Report," which was published in August, 1948, and the "Project Blue Book Report," which was published in May, 1955. The reports concluded that "the phenomena presented no threat to the security of the United States and that the vast majority of sightings were misinterpretations of conventional objects." They also concluded that "it was considered to be highly improbable that any of the UFO reports examined under studies represented technical developments outside the range of present-day scientific knowledge."

This was in 1955, and since that time Project Blue Book has concerned itself with the investigation of these sightings, the evaluation of the data and release of the information to the news media. This information is given to the public in the form of news releases and Blue Book brochures.

Today, the operational portion of the project is still located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The objective of the project is still the same today as it was in the beginning, and that is to determine if UFOs present a threat to the security of the nation.

I would like to emphasize at this point, although we go to great lengths to collect all available information on the sightings and to reach a conclusion as to what stimulus caused the sighting, such an explanation is wholly subordinated to the primary function of Blue Book: the determination in each case whether there is a threat to our national security.

My office is the focal point for all UFO reports which are reported to the Air Force. Each Air Force base commander throughout the country appoints an officer to be the UFO investigating officer for his area of responsibility. The investigating officers collect information from the observers and conduct a preliminary evaluation of the sighting, according to the scientific disciplines which are available to them at the base levels. The information and the primary evaluation are submitted to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base via Teletype or through letter reports. These reports are then placed in categories according to their characteristics.

If a UFO report exhibits aircraft characteristics, we go directly to the FAA, local airports and SAC Headquarters and its subordinate units and to the Air Defense Command and its subordinate units.

UFO reports which exhibit balloon characteristics can be checked by contacting the U.S. weather stations, local airports, Air Force weather stations, the Holloman Balloon Control Center, the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the various industrial companies which are presently engaged in balloon research activities.

In checking reports which exhibit satellite characteristics, we go directly to the Space Detection Center at Colorado Springs. They have the responsibility for tracking all satellite activity. We also go to the Space Detection Center for information regarding satellite decays.

For the reports which we suspect were caused by missile firings, we go directly to Cape Kennedy, Vandenberg, Point Mugu, Wallops Station, Eglin Air Force Base, Green River and other military units which might be engaged in special activities.

For analysis of radar reports we use an organization at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, or we can use other organizations which are engaged in this type of activity.

For photo analysis we use one of the organizations at Wright-Patterson.

For physical specimens which are submitted to the Project office we have used the services of the Air Force Material Laboratory, Battelle Memorial, Pure Food and Drug Administration, Libby-Owens and Corning Glass, the Northwestern Geology Department and the Institute of Paper Chemistry.

For suspected astronomical sightings we use the services of Dr. J. Allen Hynek, astrophysicist and Project Blue Book consultant; also Dr. Charles P. Olivier, head of the American Meteor Society, and Dr. Robinson, an astronomer at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

We also frequently refer to open literature such as Sky and Telescope for current information on comets, meteors and auroral displays.

Although my office staff is small, within the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base complex I have the services of physicists, chemists, astronomers, meteorologists, aerodynamic engineers and photo analysts. These people are available to the Project whenever they are needed.

I would also like to add that I have received excellent organizational and administrative support from all echelons in the Air Staff. The Secretary of the Air Force and the Chief of Staff are interested in this program.

I would like to point out that the Air Force must evaluate subjective information which cannot be duplicated in the laboratory. We evaluate an observer's interpretation of an experience or event. With the exception of meteorites, we have never recovered anything tangible of extraterrestrial origin.

I am sure that most, if not all, of you are aware of the Air Force contract signed last year with the University of Colorado. This contract, valued at approximately $300,000, is between the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the university. It calls for an 18-month study under the direction of Dr. Edward U. Condon, former director of the National Bureau of Standards, and now a professor of physics at the University of Colorado. One point should be made very clear in connection with this contract. The only involvement of Project Blue Book with the Colorado contract is to provide them duplicates of all current UFO reports and such material from our files as they may ask for. As a matter of interest, to date I have supplied them with at least 400 case histories. Dr. Condon is conducting a totally independent study.

In conclusion, I want to read two paragraphs from the current Project Blue Book Report:

"To date, the firm conclusions of Project Blue Book are: (1) No unidentified flying object reported, investigated and evaluated by the Air Force has ever given any indication of threat to our national security. (2) There has been no evidence submitted to or discovered by the Air Force that sightings categorized as unidentified represent technological developments or principles beyond the range of present-day scientific knowledge. (3) There has been no evidence indicating that sightings categorized as unidentified are extraterrestrial vehicles.

"The Air Force will continue to investigate all the reports of unusual aerial phenomena over the United States. The services of qualified scientists and technicians will continue to be used to investigate and analyze these reports, and periodic reports on the subject will be made. The Air Force takes no stand on whether or not extraterrestrial life could or does exist. Scientists believe that it is entirely possible that the universe contains life on planets other than our own. The Air Force continues to extend an open invitation to anyone who feels that he possesses any evidence of extraterrestrial vehicles operating within the earth's near space envelope to submit his evidence for analysis."

MR. MAHAFFEY: Thank you, Major.

I must again emphasize in this program that we presented Mr. Powell's sighting as only one example of the sort of experience with which we are dealing. It is not our thought that the rest of the panel should be devoted to this one sighting. Dr. McDonald and Dr. Menzel will be talking about the general problem, though perhaps they may find it useful to refer to what Mr. Powell and Miss McClave saw to illustrate the problem.

Remarks by Dr. James E. McDonald

And now I should like to present our first scientist, Dr. James E. McDonald, who now holds the position of senior physicist, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, and professor, Department of Meteorology, University of Arizona.

Briefly, his educational background includes a B.A. in chemistry from the University of Omaha, an M.S. in meteorology from Boston Tech and a Ph.D. in physics from Iowa State University. He has been a research physicist at the University of Chicago and has taught physics at Iowa State University prior to his current position. He is a member of the American Meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Union, the Royal Meteorology Society and Sigma Xi.

I am honored to present our distinguished guest, Dr. McDonald.

DR. JAMES E. McDONALD, University of Arizona: Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to have the chance to talk with you and discuss the results of what I have found in approximately a 12-month intensive study of this extremely interesting problem of unidentified flying objects. About last April I began to take a close look at the problem, having been moderately interested in the problem for some years prior to that. I have been to Wright-Patterson at Project Blue Book three times and I have examined 150 or so cases in their files and talked to the scientific and military staff at Blue Book.

I have talked with people in the Air Force, both scientific and military, about other aspects of the problem. I have been around the country discussing it with independent groups, such as NICAP [National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena] here in Washington. NICAP is one of the outstanding independent groups; it has done an excellent job over the years of digging into this fascinating problem.

I have, on my own hook, interviewed dozens of key witnesses in important cases around the country and have examined hundreds of cases in a good deal of detail. I have gone over Air Force evaluations, Dr. Menzel's analyses of problems and other evaluations.

It is against that background that I now tell you that the sighting Mr. Powell discussed, and which I was quite interested to hear about, is by no means unrepresentative of the categories of sightings that demand immediate serious scientific attention in this country and all over the world. And that is part of what I am here to tell you today.

This is not a nonsense problem, as it has been made out. A lot of you have had fun, I suppose, writing feature stories about little green men and hoaxers and so on. Believe me, that is the wrong part of this problem to look at.

In the past week I have spent all of my time discussing my serious concern with scientific colleagues and with military people here in Washington. This week I think I have given 10 talks and briefings. I am glad to say to you that scientific and official concern is beginning to change. I have been at the Naval Research Lab. I've been at the Pentagon twice this week briefing civilian, military, Air Force and other personnel. This week I have also talked to the National Academy people, the National Science Foundation and other persons whose influence on the problem I believe will quickly show up, but whose affiliation I am not free to discuss with you.

I have to say to you that, as a result of a pretty close look at this problem, I think we have all missed the boat. I think we have been misled. I think the problem has been most seriously mishandled officially for 20 years. The problem has been misrepresented by many interacting factors, including yourselves and scientists such as myself.

I have tried to put all of this down in a rather long paper that is available to you at the back of the room. It is entitled "UFOs: Greatest Scientific Problem of Our Times?" In 20 minutes I can't possibly go over all of the details. But I will refer to the sections of this 28-page paper as I go along. Since I know you can't read it now and I doubt you'll be able to read it before you leave, I hope that all of you will take it, either to read on the airplane or to carry it home to read and then pass on to your scientific editors or aeronautical editors or what have you. The paper goes into considerable detail and explains my point of view.

I think the problem has been superficially and incompetently handled by the Air Force. I have said that in many open discussions. I have said it to Air Force generals this week. I have said it to Air Force generals months ago. And I say it again.

The history of the problem, as Major Quintanilla indicated, began in 1947. The pivot point in the history of the UFOs was the Robertson Panel of 1953-five well-known scientists assembled by the Air Force and CIA to have a look at the problem. The security agency's concern that led to formation of the group grew out of the heavy wave of reports of 1952, not exceeded even by last year's 1,000 reports.

I was startled when I went into Major Quintanilla's office and saw five feet of shelving just devoted to the 1952 waves of sightings. There were so many cases that the security people were concerned with the clogging of intelligence channels.

These five scientists -- good men all -- spent two days together, and two days is just not enough to look at this problem. They ruled that there was no evidence for existence of any "artifacts of a hostile foreign power" and suggested that an educational program be launched. This was never done. It would have been a good thing.

Their fourth recommendation came after strong interaction with the CIA representatives at the final session. (I am in the peculiar position of being almost the only one outside official Air Force channels who has seen this document. Major Quintanilla gave it to me and I made extensive notes from it. When I asked for a copy on a subsequent visit, things happened, and it has been reclassified by the CIA. I made no comments about this for several months. It was fully clear to all the personnel at Blue Book and in the Foreign Technology Division that I had all these notes. I have no hesitation now to discuss it in full. See my paper for more details.)

The fourth recommendation asked for a systematic "debunking of the flying saucers." The stated objective of the "debunking" was to "reduce public interest in flying saucers."

I wish to make it very clear that I do not regard this as a dark and sinister action of a covert body trying to deceive the citizenry. They wanted to get the "noise" out of the "signals" that were clogging the intelligence channels. Hence, viewed narrowly from security viewpoints, it made good sense to get this "noise" suppressed. But it was a scientific tragedy that at that time this problem was not turned over, in the face of nonhostility, to scientific groups. It was not. It stayed in the Air Force; and, gradually, as near as I can see, it has been downgraded to an extremely low priority project which, when I was there first, involved the major, a sergeant and a secretary.

Now, Major Quintanilla has indicated that the Air Force draws on other sources of expertise. And when we read the press releases from the Pentagon Desk, we do indeed get the impression that Air Force expertise, which is not zero by any means, has been used.

My examination of the problem strongly indicates that the Air Force expertise has had very little to do with Project Blue Book, and that this is the heart of the trouble. For instance, in the case of radar, I talked not very many days ago to the Air Force's best radar propagation man, Dr. David Atlas, who indicated to me he had never been brought into any discussions of propagation anomalies or anything like that in all his years at the Air Force Cambridge Research Lab. And I could go on to illustrate examples of that sort.

The question of what the UFOs are is crucial when you look at sightings such as Mr. Powell and Miss McClave talked about and when you realize, as I now do -- but did not 12 months ago -- that these are not unrepresentative sightings. The close-range sightings of disks and cigar-shaped objects frequently seen at tens of feet in populous areas are on the increase. There are credible observers, multiple witnesses. A case in Beverly, Massachusetts, where five adults -- two of them police officers -- were within 20 feet of an object that was right over the middle of the street. In the back of my paper are 18 cases out of thousands. And this particular case of last spring is cited.

That sort of thing and Powell's observation are representative of the interesting sightings. They are not confined to the United States. One finds this going on all over the world. I can vouch only for the American reports that I have checked, and those are completely staggering.

When Blue Book tells you and me, as we just heard a moment ago, that there is nothing in the unidentified flying objects that defies present-day explanation in terms of science and technology, that's balderdash; it is utter rot, I assure you. How would you explain the kind of a dome-shaped object that Mr. Powell saw? Well, if it was the only one you ever heard of, you would forget about it. But look at the unidentified cases: Exeter, New Hampshire; Damon, Texas; Port Huron, Michigan. Look at the sightings only a couple of months ago in Davis, California. Look at the cases that simply fit no conventional, no scientific, no known explanation.

Something is going on here of the greatest scientific interest that has been shoved under a rug, ridiculed and laughed out of court. You and your feature writers have helped ridicule it. It's easier to write a funny story. And once the Air Force t ells you there is nothing to it, what is more logical than to say, "People see things; there a lot of nuts around the country?" And that has led to the net effect that very few of these are reported.

For example, Mr. Powell's report never got on the wires. He told me he called the Naval Air Station at Willow Grove after a day's deliberation, and they weren't very interested; and he didn't go any further with it.

The number of embittered citizens who have been hurt by Air Force callous rejection and discrediting, saying they saw twinkling stars and so on, is very large and I have had firsthand contact with many of them. As a citizen I am a little disgruntled at this kind of treatment. If there were some reason for it, if there were a national security reason -- but it's just incompetence in operation.

It has led a lot of serious students of the problem to speculate that there might be some conspiracy. And I have given that very careful thought for a number of reasons. The group at NICAP here in Washington has had much more contact with this problem than either the Air Force or I, and they have again and again encountered cases where it looked to them as if there must be some really high-level conspiracy.

People have suggested that maybe Blue Book is only a front organization and doesn't know that it's only a front organization. Well, I can't begin to tell you the sources that I have checked on this. But I do not think it is a grand coverup. It is a grand foulup, a foulup of incredible proportions, unprecedented in my experience.

There have been scientists who have looked at the problem -- not very many. Dr. Menzel is one. I cannot agree with the optical-physical-astronomical principles -- the argument that Dr. Menzel uses.

Another person who has recently looked at the problem is Philip Klass, who has thought that these, perhaps, are plasma phenomena. That is a reasonable thing to have a look at, and I have had a look at it. I can't agree with Philip Klass that any substantial portion of the cases can be accounted for in terms of plasma phenomena associated with corona discharges on power lines or ball lightning. In the best labs in the country it is the biggest problem in fusion research to get plasma lifetimes of more than seconds. But how did Mr. Powell see this plasma coming along at him from ahead and watch it for tens of seconds? How did two California Highway Patrolmen at Red Bluff, California, stand about 150-200 feet from a 100-foot-long object that had great big bright blinking lights on it, that maneuvered up and down and led them a chase of about 70 minutes? How did the Portage County, Ohio, sheriff's deputies last spring follow for an hour and a half a plasma or a twinkling star or, as Major Quintanilla has said, a combination of Echo and Venus -- an explanation that is utterly absurd? And it still stands as the official explanation. Congressman Stanton has been told that a reinvestigation confirms that. That too is utter rot.

I tell you that this sort of thing has to stop. And you editors are in an excellent position to help stop this by pressing for what I am afraid, at this juncture, may be the only way to escalate serious scientific concern, and that is to ask for a full and fair congressional inquiry into the past 20 years of mishandling of this extremely important problem.

The scientist doesn't usually like to pursue these kinds of routes. I don't. You often get not only less than you hoped but you also lose scientific progress. We must have a hearing that is not like the one last spring which was called by Congressman Ford as a result of constituents' concern over Air Force handling of the Michigan cases that were explained in terms of swamp gas. No single explanation has brought the Air Force more ridicule. The swamp gas theory is nonsense. And it still stands as the explanation. This is the explanation that came directly from Dr. Hynek, and Major Quintanilla has assured me that it is Hynek, not him, with whom I must have my discussions. And I have, but the explanation has not been retracted.

When Ford got an investigation, who conducted it? The Armed Services Committee. Who testified? Three Air Force-related people, period. That we can't have. We must have what NICAP, for example, has been pleading for for years.

If you want to get the single best source of information about the whole UFO problem, I refer you to a publication by NICAP called "The UFO Evidence." It comes to mind at the moment because it contains a long summary of their unsuccessful attempts to persuade congressmen -- they were almost successful several times -- to launch an investigation. And this, as I've said, is needed. We scientists have been assured for so long there is nothing to it. As I have gone around the country -- and I suppose I have talked to 15 scientific groups, including Rand, the University of Washington, my colleagues in the American Meteorological Society -- over and over again I have encountered the conviction that "there can't be anything to this; the Air Force has investigated it for years and years and shown that there is not a shred of evidence" -- the sort of phraseology you heard a moment ago.

This even shows up abroad. Jacques Vallee, a French investigator of UFOs, who is now in this country, has written two fairly good books on the subject. I asked him, "Why doesn't the French Government, for example, do something?" He replied, "When we go to the French Government, they say the United States Air Force has been spending a lot of money for many years on this and has shown there is nothing to it. Why should we spend French money?" And so this image of expertise that has been spread abroad -- which has behind it zero -- is holding this problem in a limbo that it must be blasted out of.

Although I saw some progress this week -- progress of an entirely different sort -- I don't think we are really going to get the serious concern among many top-notch scientists. What we need are scientists who are much better equipped than myself to look at this problem. This has to go to the top-caliber scientists all over the world, because something is involved here that is of concern to all of us. It is not a simple problem. I mean, obviously, how am I going to explain a 30-, 40-, 50-foot disk that goes by an experienced pilot like Mr. Powell, who, I understand, has logged 18,000 hours and he sees this object just as he might see a Cadillac a few tens of yards away.

Even the very best scientists are going to be very bewildered when they examine, as I, for example, have examined, the astounding volume of evidence that exists on this problem that has been generally put under the rug.

The wire service editors know it's a lot of nonsense. If something happens out in Sauk Center, maybe even the Sauk Center Gazette doesn't report it. But if it does, the wire service editor is sure disinclined to report it. And so the discrepancy between what you as editors suspect is the nature of the problem and what you see in just looking at clipping service coverage -- where you get all the Sauk Center Gazette reports -- is, well, it's almost incredible.

I couldn't believe it when last spring I saw the NICAP clipping service coverage. I thought I knew something about the problem, but the number of incidents in Shamokin, Pennsylvania, or Custer, Washington, or what-have-you -- you never hear of them, and nobody else hears of them. If you read The New York Times and your own paper, you won't have heard of them, because we have collectively helped the Air Force forget about this somewhat uncomfortable problem. And you have helped. Yet, the evidence is simply astounding.

Well, I much prefer to talk about the purely scientific aspects of some of these explanations. I have no startling scientific illumination of the problem. It's baffling to me. Nothing in my scientific education prepares me to give you a pat explanation of what is going on here.

There are hoaxes; there are misinterpreted phenomena; there are all these things, of course But there are not advanced test vehicles, believe me. No Air Force test vehicle is going to go for five miles behind a loaded gas truck in Oklahoma -- this sort of thing-landing in the middle of cities. No American test vehicle is going to be tested in Brazil or New Zealand, and no Russian test vehicle is going to be tested in the United States or England. There is every reason to believe that the phenomenon is global. They are not advanced test vehicles; they are not hallucinations. I have had three sessions with psychologists and I have asked them, "Is there anything in your clinical experience that would match this?" The answer is, "No, it certainly doesn't sound like anything psychological." After all, there are cases involving dozens of witnesses and others involving radar sightings -- although if the Air Force is involved, the sightings are disclaimed and blamed on weather, electronic malfunctions and so on; at least that's how they have been so attributed since 1953. If you want to get all the Air Force radar sightings, you go back before the CIA request for a "debunking" policy and Air Force Regulation 200-2.

Well, what is to be done? The Colorado Program is a beginning, but I am uneasy about the Colorado Program. There is not nearly enough scientific talent on that program. I have said that quite openly -- without intending to carp -- to many people in Washington. It should be beefed up immediately. What we need is much more attention to this problem, and that, unfortunately, requires money. But it also requires people, and that is what is short out at Colorado. I'm afraid they have not taken the problem seriously enough to muster the scientific talent to do justice to that.

We need an immediate escalation of the problem. Congressional inquiry, if you can press for it, will perhaps do the trick; it might also send the problem awry. I don't have great confidence in a congressional inquiry being the greatest solution. I'll continue to try, as one scientist, to pursue it in other ways. The problem belongs in a science-oriented agency, not the military. And by their own statement, with which I agree, there is no clearcut evidence of hostility. But let's get it into a scientific agency.

Amusingly, all my efforts to interest NASA in this gives me the feeling that they think it's nonsense too. I think they have been hoodwinked and sort of unintentionally brainwashed for years and years. And all this is not as a result of any high-level conspiracy. It's just a foulup. But a foulup of really incredible proportions. We must launch a new level of investigation.

There are very specific things. Radar is already deployed. The trouble is it's compromised by present regulations. There are many radar sightings. This would be an immediate objective source of information that could be put into scientific terms and be very useful.

There are a number of electromagnetic effects known in the evidence -- car-stopping cases, for instance. In Texas, in 1957, the fascinating case, nine different vehicles stopped. But this is going on all the time. NICAP must have 150 examples of this. It's going on in Australia, England and so on.

Associated with this are apparently interference effects, radio and TV, magnetometers, compasses, a lot of electromagnetic effects. Science knows a lot about electromagnetic sensing devices, and many things could be done quickly if only the problem were taken seriously. There are many airline reports in the old evidence. But once the Air Force began to discredit pilots -- and they have, in some cases, unmercifully discredited them -- that source of information pretty much dried up.

That can be changed. Mobile teams need to be prepared to get out into the field in a hurry with a lot of gear. And this can be done. I discussed this in the Pentagon last week with the people who know a great deal more about that sort of thing than I do.

The whole question of the pre-1947 sightings, which I can't even begin to sketch, must be looked at by historical scholars as well as students of the history of technology, to examine the interesting question of whether sightings that appear to constitute a continuum at low levels, running back to the turn of the century at least, are the same phenomena. NICAP is coming out with a volume in a few months, one that represents a good compilation of evidence. But historical sophistication is needed to assess the evidence. That is a very important thing to do, because the whole nature of the problem is quite different, if it is the case -- and I lean in this direction -- that aside from the marked increase beginning in 1947, there appears to be the same phenomenon of craft-like, machine-like objects operating in our environment for tens of years.

The heart of the problem is the "ridicule lid," and you're sitting on it. You're sitting on it in a way that is very important. Get off the lid! That is, get your wire service people to take it seriously; look at the problem yourself; examine it for yourself and get off that lid, because that is a big part of the problem now.

You don't know whether changes in the frequency of sightings is a real change, or whether they occur just because you have given it serious credence in your area, which makes people come out with reports that they wouldn't otherwise have told a soul about.

You are on the lid. Get off it. Ask for congressional investigation.

My report lists 18 or 20 editorial comments. It shows that some of your colleagues have already pressed for this -- too faintly -- in the past. Have a look for yourself at the evidence. You will find an astounding picture of enormous interest that has been mishandled and misrepresented for far too long.

MR. MAHAFFEY: Thank you, Doctor.

Well, we have got a good juicy controversy going now. I'm all shook up myself. But now comes the chief prosecutor of UFOs.

Remarks by Dr. Donald H. Menzel

If I presented Dr. Menzel as he really should be presented, we would be here for the rest of the morning and you would never hear him. Let me skip briefly through a career that includes a Ph.D from Princeton University, teaching tours at the University of Iowa and Ohio State University. In 1926 he went to Lick Observatory as assistant astronomer. In the fall of 1932 Dr. Menzel became associated with Harvard University where he has been ever since, except for three years of service as a commander in the U.S. Navy during World War II. His studies have covered a large number of fields - from pure physics to pure astronomy. In 1936 he was the director of the Harvard-MIT Eclipse Expedition to the USSR. In 1954 he became the director of the Harvard College Observatory and only resigned that position in 1966. At Harvard he is Paine Professor of Practical Astronomy and professor of Astrophysics. He has been president of the American Astronomical Society.

Dr. Menzel has been a prolific writer. His books, articles and scientific papers cover a broad field and have been translated into many languages. He has even ventured briefly into the realm of science fiction. There is no end to this man's accomplishments.

I am highly honored to present Dr. Donald H. Menzel of Harvard University.

DR. DONALD H. MENZEL, Harvard University: Well, I too have examined the evidence and I have drawn slightly different conclusions from those presented by the previous speaker.

Similar sightings of flying saucers go far back in history, where they have assumed different forms for different people. Old records refer to them as fiery dragons, fiery chariots, wills-o'-the-wisp, jack-o'-lanterns, firedrakes, fox fire and even the devil himself.

And now we are having urged on us a new legend to explain a rash of mysterious sightings. Certain UFO buffs argue that the peculiar properties and maneuvers of these apparitions, as reported by reliable people of all different kinds, are so remarkable that only one explanation for them is possible: they must be vehicles from outer space, manned by beings far more intelligent than we, because the operators have clearly built vehicles capable of something far beyond anything we can conceive of. This is the argument that we are asked to accept.

On the face of it, it sounds much like the reasoning of Sherlock Holmes, who said on several occasions, "It is an old maxim of mine that when you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth!" I am willing to go along with this formula, but only after we have followed Holmes and excluded every possibility but that of manned UFOs. And we must also show that no further possibilities exist.

The believers, I feel, are much too eager to reach a decision. Their method is quite simple. They try to find someone whom they can establish as an authority, someone who will support their views. Then they quote and often misquote various authorities, or they misquote one another, until they believe what they are saying. Having no real logic on their side, they resort to innuendo and ridicule and try to discredit those who fail to support their view. The UFO magazines all refer to me as the archdemon of saucerdom!

To the buffs all sightings are true UFOs unless proved otherwise.

I concede that the concept of manned spaceships is not an absolute impossibility. Neither are the concepts of ghosts, spirits, witches, fairies, elves, hobgoblins or the devil. The only trouble with this last list is the fact that they are somewhat out of date. We live in the age of space. Isn't it natural that beings from outer space should exhibit a similar interest in us? But when we consider that these beings -- if indeed they are beings -- have been bugging us for centuries, why should not one have landed on the White House lawn and shown himself to the President of the United States, to a member of the National Academy of Sciences or at least to some one of you editors?

Now, please don't misunderstand me. I think it is very possible that intelligent life -- hopefully more intelligent than we -- may exist some where in the vast reaches of outer space. But it is the very vastness of this space that complicates the problem. The distances are almost inconceivable. The time required to reach the earth -- even at speeds comparable to that of light -- range in hundreds, if not thousands, of years for some of our nearer neighbors. And it takes light some billions of years to reach us from the most distant galaxies, times comparable with that for the entire life history of our solar system. The number of habitable planets in the universe is anybody's guess. Any figures you have heard, including mine, are just guesses. I have guessed that our own Milky Way may contain as many as a million such planets. That sounds like a lot. But the chances are that if this figure is right, the nearest inhabited planet would be so far away that if we sent out a message to it today, we should have to wait about 2,000 years to get a reply. Alas, the evidence is poor for intelligent life in our solar system, although I would rather expect to find some low forms of life on the planet Mars.

With respect to UFOs, my position is simply this: that other natural explanations exist -- Dr. McDonald to the contrary -- for the unexplained sightings. The Air Force has given me full access to their files. I concur with Dr. McDonald that there is no vast conspiracy by either the Air Force or the CIA to conceal the facts from the public, as many groups have charged.

The Air Force has made its mistakes. They never have had enough scientists in the project. They have failed to follow up certain sightings of special importance. To me their questionnaire is amateurish, almost cleverly designed in certain cases to get the wrong answer and lose track of the facts. The Air Force is aware of my criticism. And at Major Quintanilla's invitation I have been making constructive criticisms and trying to help them in a revision of the questionnaire. It is not an easy job.

From 1947 until 1954 a bewildered group of Air Force personnel tried honestly and sincerely to resolve the UFO problem. Many highly reliable persons had reported seeing objects moving at fantastic speeds and apparently taking evasive action in a manner impossible for known terrestrial craft. By 1952 a sizable number of those in the Air Force group had concluded that extraterrestrial vehicles were the only explanation. Some of this unrest leaked out. Popular writers exploited these ideas, and soon various UFO clubs came into existence. In 1953, as you have heard, a committee of scientists headed by H.P. Robertson of Cal Tech met at CIA to consider a number of the Air Force's most convincing cases. These cases were supposedly the ones that had convinced the Air Force personnel who had worked on them as the 20 or 30 most outstanding cases, the ones that looked as if there was absolutely no other explanation except UFOs from outer space to account for the sightings. The Robertson Committee immediately solved a number of them. The rest they could not solve only because of poor or insufficient data. The questionnaire again! They concluded that all cases had a natural solution. And the report states that there is no evidence to support the idea that UFOs are vehicles from another world.

Nevertheless, the UFO buffs believe, almost as an article of faith, that special observers, such as military or airline pilots, couldn't possibly mistake a meteor or a planet or a star, a sundog or a mirage for a UFO. This viewpoint is absolute nonsense, and the Air Force files bear witness to its falsity! They contain thousands of solved cases -- sightings by the same kind of "reliable individuals," like the pilots. But such persons have often made huge errors in the identification.

A huge meteor flashes by in the sky! The copilot thinks it is going to strike the plane and takes evasive action. He may even imagine that his plane is hit by the backwash from this UFO. The pilot disagrees, and the pilot is right. The UFO proves to be a bright fireball or meteor a hundred miles away! Such occurrences are frequent, not rare.

Distances, especially in space, are hard to estimate. If you're in the air, a thing you might think is 100 feet away from you actually may be a star that is clear back in the firmament.

A bird's feather, shining brightly in the sun, floating a mere 20 feet overhead may, to someone on the ground, seem to be a distant object moving at a very high speed.

Conversely, a pilot may think the bright object on the horizon, in reality a star or planet, that lies just beyond his wing tip is a UFO. Sometimes a layer of warm air, sandwiched between two layers of cold air, can act as a lens, projecting a pulsing, spinning, vividly colored saucer-like image of a planet. (I have seen this phenomenon myself, despite the fact that the previous speaker in his lengthy manuscript tries to discredit my sighting.) Pilots, thinking they were dealing with a nearby flying object, have often tried to intercept such images which evade, of course, all attempts to cut them off. The distance may seem to change rapidly as the star fades or increases in intensity. Because, as the pilot flies along, the star may even be completely cut off at times by a mountain or by a forest and it will seem to buzz in and out from the plane, attacking the plane. It's realistic and very frightening.

The observations of this type fortify the UFO legend that these objects "maneuver as if under intelligent control." But the pilots fail to realize that the "intelligent control" came from within themselves, and I think that the Air Force personnel of Project Blue Book still do not appreciate this important UFO phenomenon.

Mirages aren't the only apparitions that appear to maneuver. I think I was the first person to point out that a special kind of reflection of the sun (or moon) from ice crystals, sometimes called a sundog (or moondog), can also perform evasive action. Layers of ice crystals are necessary like those found in cirrus clouds. An aviator, flying through cirrus, sometimes sees a peculiar metallic-appearing reflection. The reflection often has a reddish tinge on one side, a reflection of the sun or moon. He may elect to chase it. The apparition will recede if approached.

The pilot reverses course and the object seems to execute evasive action. As the pilot runs out of ice crystals, the UFO will seem to put on a burst of speed and disappear into the distance. It is the ice-crystal analogue of a rainbow.

But such behavior does not imply, as the UFO addicts try to imply, the presence of an intelligent pilot to guide it.

As we look over the Air Force files, we find that some 90 per cent of the solved cases result from the presence of material objects in the atmosphere, reflections from planes banking in the sun and balloons -- child's balloons, weather balloons, lighted or unlighted, especially those enormous plastic balloons as large as a ten-story building, which carry scientific instruments sometimes to 100,000 feet -- reflecting full sunlight while the earth below lies in dim twilight. Such balloons shine more brilliantly than Venus. Advertising planes or illuminated blimps frequently become UFOs.

Birds, by day or night, often reflect light from their shiny backs. Windblown kites, hats, paper, plastic sacks, feathers, spider webs, seed pods, dust devils have all contributed their share of UFO sightings. Insects -- single insects or insects in swarms -- saucer-shaped clouds, the reflection of a searchlight on clouds, special space experiments, such as rocket-launched sodium vapor releases or balloons launched from rockets from Wallops Island, have also produced spectacular apparitions, visible all up and down the East Coast. Ball lightning and the aurora borealis occasionally contribute.

Reflections from powerlines, insulators, television antennas, radars, radio telescopes, even apartment windows! These too have, in their turn, produced realistic UFOs, and I could go on adding almost indefinitely to this list.

But the chief point that I want to make is that a simple phenomenon like any of the above have tricked intelligent people into reporting a UFO.

But there are still a few other phenomena that can produce UFOs of a type that, as far as I know, the Air Force still does not recognize and I think I am bringing them to the public's attention for the first time today. You will see occasional reference to some of these phenomena but only indirectly.

Let me quote from an article on "Vision" in Volume 14 of the McGraw- Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology: " ... any observant person can detect swirling clouds or spots of 'light' in total darkness or while looking at a homogeneous field such as a bright blue sky." So, if you want to see flying saucers, just look up. If you don't see them, you probably aren't "observant."

I can see them most clearly in a dark room or on a moonless night with the sky even darker with heavy clouds. I find the background of stars on a clear night somewhat distracting. Just lie on your back, open your eyes and see the saucers spin. You will almost surely see bright irregular patches of light forms. Some of them seem gray-green but I occasionally see silver or gold and occasionally red. I can even imagine windows in some of them. As you move your eyes, they will cavort across the sky. To speed up the action, just rub your eyes like a person coming out of a sleep. Occasionally, the whole field will become large and luminous. Now, I ask you, how can you be sure that the UFO reported by an airline pilot is not just one of these spurious images? And even if an alerted copilot confirms it, he might also be responding to a similar effect in his own eyes, since we don't know that he is seeing exactly the same thing that the other man is reporting.

The chemistry and physiology of the human eye are certainly responsible for many UFO sightings. The eye responds in a different way to different kinds of stimuli. Take a sudden burst of bright light like that coming from a flashbulb. You newspaper editors, and especially the photographers down here in the first row, would know that when you look at a sudden flash you will have an enduring effect on the eye. The light from the flash produces immediate change in the so-called visual purple of the retina. In a sense the retinal spot where the light fell on the eye becomes fatigued and, for some minutes after the flash, you will be able to see a bright usually greenish floating spot which could be mistaken for a UFO by someone unfamiliar with the problem.

But let me take an actual case which is typical of a large number in the files of Project Blue Book. A child going to the bathroom turns on a bright light and accidentally awakens one of his parents who is blinded by the sudden illumination. The child turns off the light and the parent, for some reason, also gets up and just happens to glance out of the window. He is startled to see a peculiar spot of light floating over the trees and making irregular jerky motions. He watches the UFO for a minute or two until it finally disappears. He can't be blamed for failing to realize that the erratic and often rapid movements of the UFO are due to similar movements of his own eye. The UFO simply appears in the direction in which he happens to be looking, and that's all. And yet he may describe it graphically as a luminous object "cavorting across the sky."

Many such stimuli are possible by day and night. A few weeks ago I was driving toward the setting sun. I came to a stoplight and looked out the side window of the car. I was startled to see a large black object shaped something like a dirigible surrounded by dozens of small black balloons. I suddenly realized that these were after-images of the sun. The big one was where I had been looking more fixedly. The spots were images where my eye had wandered. A UFO buff could have sworn that he was seeing a "mother ship" and a swarm of UFOs in rapid flight.

I once had another similar experience. I suddenly glanced up and was surprised to see a whole flotilla of UFOs in formation across the sky. They looked like after-images, but I hadn't been conscious of the visual stimulus responsible. I quickly retraced my steps and found it: sunlight reflected from the shiny surface of the fender of a parked car.

I am sure that many UFOs, still unknown, belong in this class. Look fixedly at the full moon for at least 30 seconds and then turn away. A greenish balloon will swim over your head and perform maneuvers startling or impossible for any real object. I have been able to attain the same effect with the planet Venus when it is near maximum brilliance. Yet most observers will swear that such UFOs are true objects. And the Air Force questionnaire, failing to recognize even the existence of this kind of UFO, contains not a single question that would help them identify it. In fact, the words signifying UFO, unidentified flying object, showed the state of mind of the Air Force personnel who invented this abbreviation. What I am saying is that the UFOs are not unidentifiable. They are often not flying and many are not even objects. It is this point of view, to regard the apparition as actual solid objects, that has retarded the solution so long.

After-images possess still another complicated characteristic. Colored light tends to produce an after-image of complementary color. A green flash will cause a red after-image and vice versa.

Color-blind persons and persons with defective vision will often experience effects different from those of people with normal eyesight.

Another optical phenomenon that can produce an illusion: you may forget that the eyeball jumps a little every time that you blink. Walking transmits vibrations to the eye at every step. Many individuals think they see stars, planets or satellites oscillating when the movement is actually that of the eye itself.

Let me give you this quotation from a book:

On our return across Minnesota we had an experience which I have always remembered as illustrative of the fallacy of all human testimony about ghosts, rappings and other phenomena of that character. We spent two nights and a day at Fort Snelling. Some of the officers were greatly surprised by a celestial phenomenon of a very extraordinary character which had been observed for several nights past. A star had been seen, night after night, rising in the east as usual, and starting on its course toward the south. But instead of continuing that course across the meridian, as stars invariably had done from the oldest antiquity, it took a turn for the north, sank toward the horizon and finally set near the north point of the horizon. Of course, an explanation was wanted.

My assurance that there must be some mistake in the observation could not be accepted, because this erratic course of the heavenly body had been seen by all of them so plainly that no doubt could exist on the subject. The men who saw it were not of the ordinary untrained kind, but graduates of West Point, who, if anyone, ought to be free from optical deceptions. I was confidently invited to look out that night and see for myself. We all watched with the greatest of interest. In due time, the planet Mars was seen in the east making its way towards the south. "There it is!" was the exclamation. "Yes, there it is," said I. "Now, that planet is going to keep right on its course toward the south."

"No, it is not," said they; "you will see it turn around and go down towards the north."

Hour after hour passed and as the planet continued its regular course, the other watchers began to get a little nervous. It showed no signs of deviating from its course. We went out from time to time to look at the sky.

"There it is," said one of the observers at length pointing to Capella, which was just rising a little to the east of north; "there is the star setting."

"No, it isn't," said I. "There is the star we have been looking at, now quite inconspicuous near the meridian, and that star which you think is setting is really rising and will soon be higher up."

A very little additional watching showed that no deviation of the general laws of Nature had occurred, but that the observers of previous nights had jumped at the conclusion that two objects, widely apart in the heavens, were the same.

Those words came from a book called "Reminiscences of an Astronomer," published in 1903 by Simon Newcomb, who was in charge of the American Nautical Almanac office from 1877 until 1897. This event actually occurred in 1860. The similarity to modern UFOs is overpowering. A star cavorting across the sky! Military officers as reliable and responsible witnesses!

For you who wear eyeglasses, there is still another way of seeing a UFO. Look directly at some bright light. There are a lot of them around the room here. Keep your head turned slightly to the left or right and you will undoubtedly see a faint, roundish, out-of-focus spot. This is light reflected from the front surface of your eyeball, back to the lens and then back into the pupil of your eye. A bright source, to one side and slightly behind you, can also reach your eye through reflection from the internal surface of the spectacle lens.

To this moment I haven't mentioned still another method of detecting saucers -- one not subject to the vagaries of the human eye. I mean radar. Radar is a machine. It can't make mistakes. Or at least that is the common argument advanced by the UFO buffs.

The previous speaker in his document violently discredits my work and reveals his ignorance of the phenomenon of radio propagation of these radar waves. It so happens that during that three-year service in the Navy, which has already been referred to, and 22 years since then as consultant to the Central Radio Propagation Laboratory of the National Bureau of Standards, I have had a little experience with this particular phenomenon and the conditions. Radar is cursed with all of the potential afflictions that any complicated electrical gadget can suffer. But let me mention only one: mirage.

Let me explain briefly what a radar does. It sends out a pulse of radio waves. We know the direction, northeast, for example. We know the elevation above the horizon. An echo returns. From the interval between the transmission and the return of the signal we know how far away the object is that reflected the pulse. We think, therefore, we detect a plane -- or a UFO in flight -- because the radar directs its pulse upward.

But we haven't any way of following the pulse in its path toward the target. A layer of warm, dry air or even a layer containing a few bubbles of warm air will bend the radar beam back to earth. This is what we call partial trapping and this is, for example, what happened in Washington in the famous sighting in 1952.

The reflection of the beam after it has been directed backward comes back from a distant building, a train or a ship. No wonder that planes that were sent out to intercept the radar UFO found nothing. In one such case a well-known writer on flying saucers wrote: "The discovery of visible saucers had been serious enough. The discovery now of invisible flying saucers would be enough to frighten anyone."

I know of no reliable cases of simultaneous visual and radar sightings. In view of the physical properties of the eye, the surprising fact is that so few cases have been reported.

Time won't permit me to elaborate on still another relevant phenomenon. The Air Force appears to have neglected completely the psychological angle of mass hallucination. Back in 1919, in Spain, a not unrelated phenomenon occurred. Thousands of people -- reliable people -- swore that they had seen images of saints rolling their eyes, moving their hands, dripping drops of blood, even stepping out of their panels. One person would call out, "Look, there it goes!" and everyone else would look and they would see this phenomenon. There were many similar events recorded through history.

Then there are hundreds and thousands, perhaps, of hoaxes like that at the University of Colorado when some enterprising pranksters made hot air balloons from candles and plastic bags and it gave the university officials who were investigating the UFO phenomenon an opportunity to see how poor the evidence can be, a fact well known to the legal profession. This is still another point that the Air Force has sometimes failed to realize. Moreover, their poor questionnaire has only further confused an already confused picture.

Several times during this talk I have used the phrase "UFOs cavorting across the sky." I did so deliberately because it seems to be a favorite phrase of my good friend Dr. J. Allen Hynek of Northwestern University, and consultant to the Air Force Project Blue Book. He has sometimes expressed doubts about the UFO because stars don't "cavort" across the sky.

What I have tried to show today is that many kinds of optical stimuli can produce weird effects. With all these kinds of phenomena masquerading as UFOs, many of them, like those related to the physiology of the human eye still practically not investigated, I think I can reasonably claim, applying the criterion of Sherlock Holmes, that we have not excluded all of the impossibles. I have shown that the arguments advanced in favor of the interplanetary nature of UFOs are fallacious. Their alleged high speeds and ability to maneuver, their alleged short distances are completely underestimated and they have natural explanations.

I think it is time for the Air Force to wrap up Project Blue Book. It has produced little of scientific value. Keeping it going only fosters the belief of persons that the Air Force must have found something to substantiate belief in the UFOs. In making this recommendation I am not criticizing the present or recent administration of the project. But it's time that we put an end to chasing ghosts, hobgoblins, visions and hallucinations.

As for the true believers, bless their little hearts, let them go on believing in UFOs, fairies or Santa Claus, if they want to. Nothing will change their minds. They will go on forever demanding more dollars for investigation and more congressional investigation of the UFOs and the Air Force.

Incidentally, I would like to mention that a complete discussion of many of these phenomena appears in the book, "The World of Flying Saucers" by Lyle G. Boyd and myself.

MR. MAHAFFEY: Thank you, Dr. Menzel. You have acquitted yourself well, I think.

Questions from the Floor

And now we are ready for the questions. I am going to ask the panelists to talk through the table microphones because I don't want to get caught in the backwash that is probably going to come up here. It's perfectly all right for the panelists to question one another, but first I would like a few editors to ask questions. Are there any questions from the Mars PTA?

MR. E. ROBERT STEVENSON, Retired Member, Middlebury, Connecticut: In my home town three people have said they saw these things, and my mind was wide open when I came in here to listen to this debate. Perhaps by prejudice, I'm agin a fellow from Harvard. That Harvard bunch won't even admit that Yale exists.

A friend of mine told me seriously that he'd seen a ghost. Well, I don't know but the clergymen tell us that spirits exist and, while the clergymen are not scientists, most of us take the words of the clergymen in regard to this thing, but I would like to get some more facts.

I might say in regard to the government, it can't even solve the problem of delivering the mail and the post office stuff, let alone anything else. So, I am in favor of this fellow who was complaining that they don't scientifically go after this stuff. I'd like to hear more from these fellows on what they think of all this debate.

MR. MAHAFFEY: Who would like to answer that?

UNIDENTIFIED VOICE: I think that was an opinion rather than a question.

MR. MAHAFFEY: I agree, sir. That was editorial opinion.

MR. ARVILLE SCHALEBEN, Milwaukee Journal: A question for Dr. McDonald. In five minutes can you tell us what you think of Dr. Menzel's talk?

DR. McDONALD: Well, I believe that Yale exists.

I would have to observe that you have had the advantage of hearing the one scientist in the country who has looked at a lot of cases and has drawn conclusions from his examinations of those cases. As I elaborate much more completely in terms of specific cases in my paper, I cannot agree that this kind of argument about well known illusions and ways of being tricked is what is accounting for cases where California Highway Patrolmen are standing a hundred feet from an object and have their .44's drawn. The cases where experienced observers are seeing objects at very close range are not specks in the eyes and are not sundogs.

Look at the case of the Salt Lake City businessman who was a private pilot. He saw an object, under clear conditions, at midday. The official Air Force explanation was first that it was Venus. Later it was changed to a sundog -- the sort of thing Dr. Menzel has mentioned. When Harris, the pilot who saw it, heard that it was Venus, he -- pointing out that he had clearly indicated he saw the object between him and a distant mountain -- made the wry comment that he was kind of worried about the safety of the nation, if there were people in the Pentagon "who think you can fit Venus into the Salt Lake Valley, between him and Mt. Nebo." This is more of the suggestion that pilots are being fooled by familiar meteorological objects all the time. We can be fooled in many ways, but that this is the heart of the explanation just will not do any longer. I cannot agree at all with Dr. Menzel.

DR. MENZEL: May I ask one?

MR. MAHAFFEY: Yes, sir.

DR. MENZEL: He refers to policemen standing with their revolvers drawn to shoot an object they thought was 100 feet away. As a matter of actual fact, at Los Alamos during the height of the flying saucer scare, they tried to shoot down the planet Venus, which was regarded as one of these UFOs.

As for the Salt Lake City incident, that was definitely a sundog type of phenomenon and has been definitely established that the weather conditions were such that sundogs were quite possible.

And I am sorry to see the myth perpetuated concerning the fact that policemen and military pilots are somehow or other blessed of a method of not being fooled by hallucinations or by sundogs, which are in no sense hallucinations. They're as real as the rainbow.

MR. MAHAFFEY: A question here, yes.

A MEMBER: I would like to ask Dr. Menzel --

MR. MAHAFFEY: Give your name and the paper, please.

MEMBER: All right, but you won't believe it. I'm Dick Tracy of the Brush-Moore Newspapers.

MR. MAHAFFEY: I don't believe it!

MR. RICHARD E. TRACY, San Gabriel (Calif.) Valley Tribune: At any rate, I would like to ask Dr. Menzel, in view of the apparent national confusion that exists on UFOs, why he could not, in conscience -- despite other than cost and time factors -- support a good congressional investigation of this matter?

DR. MENZEL: We have had three investigations. No matter how many investigations we have, unless somebody happens to come up with the idea that these are from outer space, we shall never be able to satisfy the UFO buffs. That's the first answer.

The second thing is that the current outcry for congressional investigation comes from organizations such as NICAP, which are urging citizens to write to their congressmen to demand such investigations.

MR. FREDERIC B. MARQUARDT, Arizona Republic: I would like to ask Dr. Menzel, if he had been teaching at the University of Zaragoza in 1491, would he have advised Isabella not to give Columbus the money to determine whether or not the world was flat?

MR. MAHAFFEY: Sound off, Doctor.

DR. MENZEL: I would most certainly have urged any study of the universe that is likely to lead to any positive results.

Here we have something that is completely negative. There is absolutely no evidence whatever, in my opinion, even to support the idea that flying saucers come from outer space. It is the imagination of the flying saucer buffs that is giving us this picture.

MR. MAHAFFEY: It's now time to cut this off. I think it has been a most interesting and most informative program and the society is much indebted to our brilliant panelists.

I began this program on a note of levity; I would like to close in the same vein.

We used to have an old printer at the Gazette named Colonel S.H. White. I don't think Colonel White was a real colonel; I think he got his rank in Kentucky because he liked to drink Old Crow Whisky. When he got enough Old Crow, he would always try to fly. One day one of the printers came in my office and said, "Sir, the colonel's drunk again in the composing room and is trying to fly."

And I said, "Oh, hell! Can't you handle that situation?" He said, "Oh, yes, sir. I ain't worried about him flying; his arms ain't long enough."

So that ends our panel and I thank you very, very much.

Certainly, McDonald's twenty-minute allotment of speaking time had only permitted him to hint at the depth of knowledge he had come to share. Fortunately, his "prepared remarks" were printed and made available to the editors, allowing for a happy imagining of the effect they might have had on these influential men and women, had he been able to deliver them in person.

And imagining so -- as an added bonus -- ladies and gentlemen, our speaker tonight: Dr. James E. McDonald...

McDonald at Lectern


James E. McDonald

(Prepared for presentation before the 1967 annual meeting of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Washington, D.C., April 22, 1967.)

* * * * * *

SUMMARY -- An intensive analysis of hundreds of outstanding UFO reports, and personal interviews with dozens of key witnesses in important cases have led me to the conclusion that the UFO problem is one of exceedingly great scientific importance. Instead of deserving the description of "nonsense problem", which it has had during twenty years of official mishandling, it warrants the attention of science, press, and public, not just within the United States but throughout the world, as a serious problem of first-order significance.

The curious manner in which this problem has been kept out of sight and maintained in disrepute is examined here. Basic responsibility for its systematic misrepresentation lies with Air Force Project Bluebook [sic throughout, should be Blue Book] which, on the basis of firsthand knowledge, I can only describe as having been carried out in the past dozen years in a quite superficial and incompetent manner.

Years of Air Force assurances have kept the public, the press, Congress, and the scientific community under the misimpression that the UFO problem was being studied with thoroughness and scientific expertise. This I have found to be completely false. Illustrative examples, drawn from a very large sample, will be described to demonstrate this.

It is urged that the time is long overdue for a full-scale Congressional investigation of the UFO problem, an investigation in which persons outside of official Air Force channels can put on record the astounding history of the way in which a problem of potentially enormous scientific importance has been swept under a rug of ridicule and misrepresentation for two decades.

The hypothesis that the UFOs might be extraterrestrial probes, despite its seemingly low a priori probability, is suggested as the least unsatisfactory hypothesis for explaining the now-available UFO evidence.


June 24, 1967, will mark the twentieth anniversary of what we might whimsically call the "birth of the flying saucer." For just twenty years earlier, on the afternoon of June 24, 1947, Kenneth Arnold, a Boise businessman flying in his private aircraft, reported seeing a formation of nine disc-like objects skimming along at high speed between him and distant Mt. Rainier. He said that they moved in an unconventional manner "like a saucer would if you skipped it across the water." A reporter who interviewed Arnold after he landed that evening in Pendleton, Oregon, coined the phrase "flying saucers" to add a feature-story twist to an observation that this experienced pilot had told in consternation -- and a journalistic era was thereby opened.

As one digs back through the subsequent history of the UFO problem, it becomes evident that a wave of UFO sightings actually began several days prior to Arnold's observation, but it was not until about July 4 that press interest rose exponentially and "flying saucers" were headline news throughout the country. I have recently had the opportunity of reviewing a compilation of UFO sightings for those first few weeks of what is usually regarded as the beginning of UFO observations, a compilation being prepared by T.R. Bloecher for publication later this year, probably by the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP). Although I was already familiar with much UFO history when I began to examine Bloecher's material, I was startled to see the large number of reports of high-speed unconventional objects that flooded into press offices throughout the country in that early period, far more than I had ever guessed. Only a small fraction of the reports were carried by national wire services, so it has been necessary for Bloecher to dig into old newspaper files in many major U.S. cities to unearth the dimensions of that wave of sightings.

I cite this early period as exemplifying much that has happened [sic] subsequently, although most of the reports of that period have never been checked as were later cases, so one cannot yet regard the evidence for all the 1947 sightings as conclusive. A mixture of denials led to a rather quick fall-off in news value of the "flying saucers" in late 1947. Hoaxes were headlined with about as much emphasis as were reports from experienced observers. The published reports fell off, and for awhile it appeared that one had witnessed just another "silly season phenomenon," as some newspaper men described it.

But, surprisingly, the UFO reports began cropping up again. Here and there they received press coverage, mostly non-wire coverage in local papers. By 1948, considerably more reports were coming in, and military concern (which had probably never died out) was responsible for establishing an official investigatory project, Project Sign (often loosely called "Project Saucer"). Sign was set up January 22, 1948, with headquarters at Wright-Patterson AFB, within the then newly-created United States Air Force. That date marks the beginning of Air Force responsibility for investigating UFO phenomena, a responsibility it carries to this date. I think it is rather striking that USAF was exactly seven days old when it was handed the UFO problem in 1948.

Project Sign gave way to "Project Grudge" in February, 1949; and, with ups and downs, Grudge continued until about March, 1952, when it was superseded by "Project Bluebook," an organizational entity that survives today, still headquartered at Wright-Patterson AFB. The summer of 1952 brought one of the greatest waves of UFO reports on record, and the first Bluebook Officer, Capt. E.J. Ruppelt, has related (Ref. 1) the hectic efforts of his staff of about ten Air Force personnel to keep pace with the reports that poured into WPAFB that summer. The famous Washington National Airport sightings of July 19 and 26, 1952, which included CAA radar observations, commercial airlines pilot observations, and ground observations, created the nearest thing to a panic situation that has ever evolved from UFO reports. After a White House query and numerous Congressional and press demands for an accounting, a press conference was called and the entire series of observations were "explained" as due to anomalous radar propagation and mirage-type refraction events. (I have carefully examined these official explanations and find them entirely inadequate, incidentally.) Although press attention subsided in the face of these assurances, Air Force concern behind-the-scenes continued, and early in the following year a panel of scientists was assembled to review the situation.


The Robertson Panel (chaired by Caltech theoretical physicist H. P. Robertson) met in January, 1953, and reviewed selected UFO reports -- apparently about eight in detail and about fifteen others on a briefing-basis. Two working days of case-reviews followed by two days of summarizing and report-drafting constituted the entire activity of this Panel during the period January 14-17, 1953. I describe that Panel's work in more than passing manner because I believe that the Robertson Panel marked a turning point in the history of UFO investigations.

On the first of three visits to Project Bluebook at WPAFB last summer, I asked to see the full report of the Robertson Panel and was given that report by the present Bluebook officer, Maj. Hector Quintanilla. He informed me that he had "routinely declassified" it earlier on the basis of the "12-year rule" covering DOD documents. I made extensive notes from it and discussed its content with Maj. Quintanilla. On my next trip to Bluebook, on June 20, I requested a Xerox copy of the report. The copy was prepared for me, but not given to me because a superior officer suggested that since "another agency" was involved, they'd have to check before releasing it to me. I reminded them that I already had extensive notes on it and that I had already discussed its contents with many scientific colleagues around the country. I was assured that their check was perfunctory and that I would be sent the copy in a week or two.

In fact, I never received it. The "other agency," the Central Intelligence Agency, ruled that this document did not come under the "12- year rule" and reclassified it. Although a so-called "sanitized version" was later released, the full document remains undisclosed. A number of sections of the "sanitized version" have been published by John Lear, who asked for full release but got only the partial version (Ref. 2).

I studied the full version in unclassified status. Military and scientific staff at WPAFB have been fully aware of my possession of this information for months. I have discussed it with many scientists. I regard it as open information in no way bearing on the security of the United States, and I shall now describe its contents here. I urge that press and Congress demand full and immediate release of the entire text of the Robertson Report, including the CIA recommendations which have had such strong bearing on the way in which the Air Force has subsequently treated the UFO problem, so that other scientists can make their own evaluations of the manner in which scientific pursuit of the UFO problem was derailed in 1953.

The scientists comprising the Robertson Panel (Robertson, Luis w. Alvarez, Lloyd V. Berkner, Samuel A. Goudsmit, Thornton Page), on the basis of what I must regard as a far too brief examination of the evidence already in Air Force files as of January, 1953, ruled (first) that there was no evidence of any hostile action in the UFO phenomena. In particular they ruled (secondly) that there was no evidence for existence of any "artifacts of a hostile foreign power" in any of the records which were submitted to them. And (thirdly) they recommended an educational program to acquaint the general public with the nature of various natural phenomena seen in the skies (meteors, vapor trails, haloes, balloons, etc.), the objective being to "remove the aura of mystery " that the unidentified objects had "unfortunately" acquired.

In view of the rather limited sample of UFO evidence which was laid before this Panel, such conclusions were perhaps warranted. The crucial shortcoming was this: There is no evidence that any of these five men had previous extensive contact with the UFO problem. The principal cases they examined excluded some of the most interesting and significant cases already on record (e.g., United Airlines, 1947; Chiles-Whitted, 1948; C.B. Moore, 1949; Tombaugh, 1949; Farmington, 1950; Chicago & Southern Airlines, 1950; TWA Airlines, 1950; Seymour Hess, 1950; Mid-Continent Airlines, 1951; Nash-Fortenberry, 1952; and many other very significant 1952 sightings). And a mere two days of review of the UFO data (prior to going into report drafting session) would not be enough for all the Newtons of science to sort out the baffling nature of this problem. The only scientist present at these sessions who had already examined a substantial number of reports was an associate member of the Panel, Dr. J. Allen Hynek. When I asked him last June why he did not then speak out, on the basis of his then five years experience as chief scientific consultant to the Air Force on UFO matters, he told me that he was "only small potatoes then" and that it would have been impossible for him to sway that eminent group. In reflecting on all that I have learned in my past year's work on this problem, I regard this four-day session of the Robertson Panel as a pivotal point in UFO history. For instead of a recommendation that the problem be taken out of Air Force hands (on grounds of non-hostility of the UFOs) and turned over to some scientific agency for adequate study, there was a most regrettable fourth recommendation made in addition to the three cited above, a recommendation made at the specific request of CIA representatives present at the final sessions of this Panel. (CIA representatives listed in the report given to me on June 6, 1966, included Dr. H. Marshall Chadwell, Mr. Ralph L. Clark, and Mr. Philip G. Strong. Top-ranking USAF representative present was Brig. General Garland, chief of the Air Technical Intelligence Command. F.C. Durant and J A. Hynek were "associate members" of the Panel.)

Whereas the first three recommendations were later disclosed (though not for about five years), the fourth recommendation has never been fully reported in a manner that press, public, Congress, and science can evaluate. However, enough of that fourth recommendation is described in Lear's summary of the "sanitized version" that even persons who have not seen the entire document, as I have, can sense that a minor tragedy of science may have been effected in January, 1953.

The fourth recommendation made by the CIA, asked for a systematic "debunking of the flying saucers," to use the actual language the document. And the stated objective of the "debunking" was to "reduce public interest in flying saucers."

Now I wish to make very clear that on the basis of my examination of the full context of this fourth recommendation, I do not regard this as a dark and sinister action of a covert body trying to deceive the citizenry of the nation. Rather, the reason behind this regrettable decision (that appears to have been acted upon so very faithfully by Project Bluebook ever since) was entirely understandable when seen from a solely national-security view-point. The unprecedented wave of UFO reports of some 1500 just in official Bluebook files alone, tied up Air Force intelligence personnel and intelligence machinery to an alarming degree. Given the scientists' opinion that there was no evidence that the UFOs came from any terrestrial power hostile to the U.S., it seemed to security people to be urgently important to reduce this "noise" that might cover up real "signals" coming into intelligence channels. Hence, viewed narrowly from security viewpoints, it made good sense to get this noise suppressed. It has indeed been effectively suppressed in the ensuing fifteen years.


Within a few months after the CIA recommendation was incorporated as the fourth item in the Panel summary, a very important Air Force regulation, AF200-2, was promulgated (August, 1953). This regulation contains the actual wording that "the percentage of unidentifieds must be reduced to a minimum," a goal that has been well achieved. AF200-2 was tied in with another regulation, JANAP-146, that effectively made it a crime punishable with up to ten years imprisonment and $10,000 in fine, if anyone disclosed, at air-base level, any information on any "unidentified." Auxiliary regulations made the other armed services subsidiary to the Air Forces in UFO matters, so that all reports from any military channels were supposed to go to Project Bluebook at WPAFB. Local commands could release to the press or to interested citizens information on reports for which known explanations were available; but all unknowns were to go to Bluebook.

This had an effect that is well known to all who have studied this problem closely. At Bluebook the most outrageously unscientific "explanations" were assigned to important sightings. Cases bearing not the slightest resemblance to feathered creatures were called "birds," and some of the most improbable "balloon" phenomena in all the history of ballooning can be found in Bluebook files. "Astronomical" was tagged onto cases that are no more astronomical than ornithological; and so it went. The "percentage of unidentified" was, by the fiat of scientifically untrained Bluebook officers, steadily "reduced to a mini- mum." And science be damned.

I could discuss, for hours, specific details of cases reported since 1953 for which Bluebook has given utterly unreasonable "explanations," cases I have gone over in detail and many of whose key witnesses I have personally interviewed. The only non-military person who has had continuing opportunity to examine these cases was the Bluebook consultant, Dr. J.A. Hynek, who has held that role continuously for eighteen long years. I have discussed some of the famous howlers with him and with Air Force personnel. I can only say here that I am quite dissatisfied with such answers as I have been able to secure.

In those Bluebook files have lain hundreds of cases that received no adequate scientific review, that have often been explained away in such ridiculous manner that even amateur astronomers or untrained citizens have publicly complained over the absurdity of the official explanations. And much more distressing have been the many cases in which responsible citizens have, in all good faith, reported significant encounters with unidentified objects at close range, objects defying explanation in conventional scientific or technological terms, only to have the Pentagon press desk release official explanations in terms of "twinkling star" and "inversion," "mirages," "balloon," "refueling tanker," and the like. Such explanations, put out as if they resulted from a careful Air Force check, made the citizens who reported seeing strange objects feel, as one victim put it to me, "like idiots." I truly doubt that Air Force personnel at WPAFB and the Pentagon can have any notion of the bitterness they have created among persons who have been made the butt of ridicule by these "debunking" policies that trace back so clearly to the 1953 decisions.

The net effect, over the years, of such policies and procedures has been entirely understandable. Newspaper editors, not having staff to send out to check even the sightings in their own vicinity in a manner that could be termed scientific, and having no good reason to suspect that the Air Force would be superficially inventing explanations with essentially no scientific content, quickly grew convinced that there must not be anything to the UFO phenomena. Once this conviction was fairly well established, the natural propensities of journalists to prefer writing feature stories to factual accounts of inexplicable phenomena led to the "funny treatment," and that led to still more ridicule. That, in turn, led the discerning citizen to realize that if he did see a large red, glowing object 100 feet long over a field beside a lonely road at night, with no other witnesses to back him up, he'd better keep his mouth shut. And mouths shut up by the hundreds, as any serious student of the UFO phenomena knows very well through the recurrent phenomena of the disclosure of "hidden UFO reports."

The "hidden UFO report" is one that some person has never related to anyone except perhaps one or two friends or members of his immediate family, until, by chance, he encounters a serious investigator, whose chief goal is not just ridiculing UFO witnesses. Then he may disclose his previously hidden report. I have encountered many hidden UFO reports which the observer had elected not to relate even to members of his own family, so strong has the "ridicule lid" become. NICAP is often the recipient of hidden UFO reports when persons happen to read of that organization's serious efforts to solve the UFO puzzle. It is not surprising that one does not find huge numbers of hidden reports that have been disclosed to Bluebook.

Thus the process grew cumulative in nature. Instead of a flow of corroborative reports with multiple witnesses who saw a given event from various locations (obviously invaluable in scientific analysis of a case), one had a near-stoppage of reports, or else the painfully recurrent situation where one found only a single witness coming forth in an area where the probability of additional observations seemed very high. The "percentage of unidentified" was "reduced to a minimum," and ridicule was one of the potent reductive factors.

Commercial pilots have had bitter experiences with Air force discrediting of their reports, as for example in the famous Killian case (American Airlines pilot who, along with several other crews on Feb. 24, 1959, saw three UFOs over Pennsylvania). NICAP files and the important NICAP "UFO Evidence" (Ref. 3) have several good examples. The effect, by the late 1950's was clearly evident in the reluctance of airlines pilots to report sightings, a reluctance strongly enhanced, in some instances, by management directives from airlines offices instructing their pilots that they were not under any circumstances to publicly report any unidentified aerial objects that they might see during flight operations. This further reduced the percentage of unidentified in an area of great potential importance.

Another exceedingly adverse effect of AF200-2 has been that radar sightings of unidentified objects cannot be disclosed to press or public by local air base personnel. Radar sightings do leak out in the midst of periods of active sightings, but then the next day official disclaimers usually appear, as in the case of the important Midwest wave of early August, 1965. Radars at Tinker AFB and Carswell AFB reportedly had unknowns at positions compatible with reports from many state highway police in Oklahoma and Texas, as was learned by direct phone calls from the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety in the height of the excitement (Ref. 4). But the following day, the press was told these were due to "inversions" and "electronic malfunctions," as had happened before in such important cases as the Red Bluff, Calif., sightings of August 13, 1960, or the Redmond, Oregon, case of Sept. 24, 1959, or Skowhegan, Me., February 11, 1966, etc. In the August, 1965, Midwest episode, it was interesting that Wichita Weather Bureau radar, unaffected by AF200-2, also tracked many of the unknowns and, like the subsequently denied USAF radar observations, matched ground-visual observations closely. In some cases FAA radar observations have been available to confirm visual sightings; in others, one gets the impression that FAA releases are compromised in some manner not unlike those at Air Force bases.

No single effect of AF200-2 has been as scientifically disastrous as the compromising of the radar data. Here is an already available electromagnetic sensing device, deployed in large numbers throughout the country, which is known to be capable of detecting UFOs. This latter assertion is fully justified by the pre-1953 disclosure of many Air Force radar observations of high-speed objects for which no adequate explanations were ever given. Indeed, one of the problems that was repeatedly mentioned in the Robertson Panel report (see Ref. 2) was the "fast-track" problem, which clearly bothered both CIA and Air Force in 1953. And well it should, as one can readily learn for himself by reading Ruppelt's book (Ref. l), or the long summary of radar sightings of objects tracked at multi-thousand-mph speeds as listed by NICAP (Ref. 3. A more recent case, that I have personally checked on, occurred at Patuxent River Naval Air Station on December 19, 1964, when two unidentified objects were tracked at speeds of over 7000 mph. Whereas the Navy released a statement attesting to the experience of the radarman and whereas the operating personnel stated that the set was not malfunctioning, Air Force spokesmen told Sen. Harry F. Byrd, who queried the Air Force on the case, that an inexperienced operator was on duty and the set was not working properly (Ref. 5).

And not only have American radars tracked high-speed objects executing maneuvers defying explanation, but so have radars of other countries. To cite one such case, South African Air Force radar tracked an object making repeated passes at speeds of 1000 mph over the Cape on May 23, 1953, under conditions that led the government to declare it officially unknown, a status that they have recently reconfirmed. In addition, there are on record, both in USAF files and elsewhere, many cases of combined visual and air-borne radar sightings by military and commercial aircraft. The famous Rapid City, So. Dakota, case of August 12, 1953 (Refs. l, 3) could serve as a good example of unexplained Air Force sightings. After a UFO was spotted by a member of the Ground Observer Corps on night duty, two F-84's were vectored in to the location of the object, which showed on GCI ground-radar. Both pilots got airborne radar lock-ons and also saw the glowing object visually, but could not close on it. Many more such cases can be cited, but not after August 1953 when AF200-2 shut down further disclosures of military sightings.

Citation of foreign radar sightings above leads to the inevitable question of why foreign governments have not conducted independent studies of the UFO problem. There seems absolutely no question but that the UFO phenomenon is a global phenomenon, so why haven't England or France, or Australia, dug into this problem? I have no final answers, but I asked a French UFO investigator, Dr. Jacques Vallee, about the French situation in particular. He explained that whenever French investigators of the UFO problem made any appeal to their government, they were told that the United States Air Force had been carefully studying that problem for years and had shown that there is nothing to it! I am told that the situation in Australia is not dissimilar. Is it conceivable that AF200-2 has succeeded in reducing the percentage of unidentifieds not only here but all over the world? I strongly suspect so, though that is an inference I could not prove, only make plausible by many examples.

Air Force Regulation 200-2 was given a new number a few months ago; it is now called AF80-17. The only significant change was to permit the University of Colorado to gain access to airbase-level information on unidentifieds. Let us hope that this single important alteration will soon pave the way to clarification of radar sightings by military radar systems. But for fifteen years, 200-2 has been a most effective barrier to free disclosure of precisely that type of observational data that would have gone farthest toward arousing scientific concern for the UFO problem -- the radar sightings. Much more can be said about the radar problem, but here the blockage effect of the "debunking order" that led to 200-2 has been the point of principal interest.


Looked at in retrospect, and viewed against the large volume of unexplainable phenomena reported outside of military channels since 1953, the recommendations made by the five scientists who comprised the Robertson Panel seem most regrettable.

Are they to be faulted for their actions? I think not. The cases they reviewed were selected by someone else, presumably Air Force intelligence officers, or possibly CIA representatives (though I stress that I doubt this and know of no evidence indicating that the CIA then maintained, or now maintains, any scientific scrutiny of the details of the UFO phenomena). I feel entirely certain that if I had no prior knowledge of details of UFO cases and were suddenly asked to make a recommendation based on a mere three days' look at UFO cases, I would not end up describing them as the greatest scientific problem of our times. One might, however, wish that the Panel members had asked for a better chance to review more cases; and one can surely ask whether non-hostility didn't argue need for getting the whole problem out of the mainstream of our military intelligence channels and into some primarily scientific channels where the problem could have been more adequately examined.

The latter suggestion was, unfortunately, not made by the Panel. Probably these were busy men who thought the whole business had actually been well checked out by Air Force personnel and Air Force consultants. Perhaps they were reluctant to accept as scientifically significant observations made outside the scientific laboratory. Perhaps there were other considerations.

But at any event, January, 1953, brought a marked turn of events. Bluebook operations under Capt. E.J. Ruppelt seemed to have been heading in 1952 towards some kind of systematic investigation methods that might have brought the whole problem out into full glare of scientific light. But after 200-2 came out in August, 1953, and Ruppelt left the Bluebook staff shortly thereafter, a true period of "dark ages" began at Bluebook. Plenty of good reports kept coming in, as one can easily see by going over those files. But contrived "explanations" became the order of the day, and debunking to reduce public interest in the flying saucers went on apace. Organizations such as NICAP attempted to force the problem out into the open, but their efforts were treated by Air Force personnel as if they amounted to crackpot activities, a viewpoint which I found rather well established in Air Force circles when I began an intensive examination of this problem in April, 1966. Whether this attitude has since altered appreciably behind scenes, I cannot say. I might note, however, that I have repeatedly stated to Air Force personnel concerned with the UFO problem that the NICAP investigations since its founding in 1958 are far superior to those of Bluebook, and I wish to repeat that assertion here. It is based on a great deal of first-hand experience and on the basis of careful examination of many cases investigated by NICAP and Bluebook, respectively. Prior to June, 1966, I had no first-hand knowledge of either NICAP or Bluebook. By July, 1966, it had become very clear that Bluebook has been operated on an almost incredibly non-scientific basis, whereas NICAP's work merits high praise, especially when measured against the shoestring budget on which they have operated.


I must comment next on one very intriguing aspect of the give-and-take between the Air Force and groups such as NICAP, namely the question of the "conspiracy hypothesis." Among those who have done a substantial amount of checking of UFO reports, there invariably develops great concern over what I term the "coverup versus foulup" controversy.

Some feel, on the basis of considerable knowledge of UFO history, that there are so many well-documented instances in which Air Force personnel have obfuscated in their handling of UFO cases that there must be a grand conspiracy, a high-level coverup of some sort. NICAP, and especially its Director, Major Donald E. Keyhoe, have cited dozens of instances that seem to suggest such a high-level coverup. I have to confess that I am not able to rebut these individual cases with specific information; I agree that, on the face of it, many past actions do seem to suggest a pattern of almost conspiratorial coverup. But, at present, I cannot subscribe to the grand- coverup hypothesis.

I do not believe, as do some UFO investigators, that the CIA or still higher security groups "know all about the UFOs," know that they are of extraterrestrial origin, and are concealing this from both the public and science. Rather I have seen a large amount of evidence, much of it compelling in its nature, that leads me to reject the grand-coverup hypothesis. I believe it is instead a grand foulup, accomplished by people of very limited scientific competence, confronted by a messy and rather uncomfortable problem. (What air force officer, American, British, Russian, or Chinese, would care to admit that in his country 's airspace there are maneuvering objects of unknown nature far exceeding in performance characteristics anything his friends are flying!) I have told Air Force personnel quite directly that I think it's a foulup, not a coverup, and until I see new evidence to the contrary I shall subscribe to this view.

As a result of close scrutiny of the operating methods of Bluebook, after seeing at firsthand how little scientific expertise has been utilized at Bluebook, and after finding no one in any Air Force office that I have visited who exhibits any appreciable knowledge of the full history of the UFO problem, I have slowly formed my own picture of what has probably happened in this long-standing coverup vs foulup controversy. I sense that groups like NICAP who have been assiduously investigating the UFO problem over the years have been incapable of imagining how incompetently the problem was actually being handled within the Air Force. They could only imagine that everything they knew was surely also known to Bluebook investigators, and that all those spurious explanations defying elementary scientific principles could only be the efforts of not-too-careful officers assigned to put out the coverup propaganda.

But after seeing what has gone on at Bluebook, after talking with higher-echelon personnel at WPAFB who were almost unaware of what was being done in the 3-man (major, sergeant, secretary) operation, and after being assured in the most convincing manner that Bluebook has been an extremely low priority project (one of about 200 in the Foreign Technology Division of WPAFB where it has lain in recent years), I form a very different picture. My picture of all this is no cloak-and-dagger conspiracy, no effort to prevent public panic over the "real nature" of the UFOs, no front organization named Bluebook concealing a higher-level investigation of the UFOs. Instead I see just one incompetently and superficially investigated case after another swept under the rug.

Bluebook, without conspiratorial finesse, has succeeded in hoodwinking us all. One of their most successful tactics might be called the "five-day delay." After an important sighting that has somehow made the wire services (many of us wonder how it is that certain cases make the grade while so many others go unnoticed), Bluebook and the Pentagon press desk just wait. Then, when press interest has gone through its characteristic half-life of about two or three days, they put out some "explanation" and add solemn assurance that the Air Force has investigated such and such a number of cases in the past ten years and of these such and such a tiny percentage have been regarded as unidentified, and the public and the editors shrug their shoulders once again, forget the sightings, and decide there sure must be a lot of nuts in the country to be reporting such outlandish things when the Air Force keeps on dutifully checking them and finding them all due to twinkling stars and meteors. It works. As editors, ask yourselves if it doesn't work!

And all the time groups like NICAP, having diligently dug out the facts, usually in far more detail than has Bluebook or its consultants, are left wondering how such atrocious official explanations could be palmed off on the public unless...and their suspicions that there must be a top-level coverup grow and grow. I believe that this, combined with inherent tendency for military personnel to play it safe and play it classified when in doubt about an uncomfortable situation, has generated the suspicions of a well-designed conspiracy. When jets are scrambled to try to follow a UFO, and all is later denied, I think it's just some colonel playing it safe. I do not, in my rejection of the hypothesis, fault those who have been driven to it by some faint faith in the image of scientific expertise so diligently shaped by innumerable Press Information Officers at the Pentagon and elsewhere. But in the area of the UFOs, that image appears to me to be a completely false image, almost laughably false. The United States Air Force most assuredly has a lot of top-notch scientific talent at its disposal. It just hasn't used any of it on the UFO problem for at least fifteen years, as far as I can see.

I have often wondered if perhaps the PIOs at the Pentagon press desks actually believe that, with all the engineering and scientific talent that can be found up at Wright-Patterson AFB, Bluebook must have lot of that talent, too. This, at least, might explain how the Pentagon desk has dutifully passed on to a sometimes howling-mad local citizenry "explanations" of the most patently senseless nature in recent years. I might add that one additional strong argument against the high-level coverup hypothesis is the very ineptitude of Bluebook "explanations." If CIA and USAF really wished to conceal the UFO, they could very easily have assigned to the Bluebook office clever, scientifically trained officers who could have contrived sensible rather than absurd "explanations." This has clearly not been done. Finally, were there some frantic effort on the part of CIA and USAF to plumb the secret of the UFOs, NICAP and even a person who has done as much checking of strong cases of close-range sightings as I have done, would surely run into many cases where the key witnesses had been carefully interrogated by trained personnel put to get every last shred of evidence from a strong case. Quite the opposite situation prevails: Again and again one finds that even when key witnesses risked ridicule and reported a case to Air Force channels, no investigation of any kind was conducted. Let me cite a single example that I checked just last week.

A report in the latest NICAP bulletin (Ref. 7) indicates that: "A UFO over the United Nations in New York City was reportedly seen on November 22, 1966. Witnesses included at least eight employees of the American Newspaper Publishers Association, who watched from their offices on the 17th floor of 750 Third Avenue at 4:20 p.m. on a bright, sunny day. The UFO was a rectangular, cushion-shaped object (which) came southward over the East River, then hovered over the UN Building... It fluttered and bobbed like a ship on agitated water." Witnesses mentioned were D.R. McVay, assistant general manager of ANPA and Mr. W.H. Leick, manager of the ANPA's Publications Department. I telephoned the ANPA offices and spoke at some length with Mr. Leick about the sighting. He confirmed that eight or nine persons were out on the 17th floor terrace watching the object hover over the UN Building for a number of minutes as it rocked and reflected the sun's rays with a golden glint before rising and moving off. I asked Leick if they reported it to any Air Force channels, and he said that A.A. LaSalle called a New York office of the Air Force and was assured that an officer would be in the next day to interview them. But no one ever came. This is indicative of the diligence with which the Air Force is seeking out the last bit of evidence about UFOs. Over a half dozen responsible witnesses see an unconventional object hover over mid-town Manhattan, they tell the Air Force, and it yawns! Leick added that they also phoned a New York newspaper "which shall go unnamed," but "they weren't interested." It got to NICAP almost by accident, and NICAP sent up their standard witness-questionnaires which Leick said they all filled out as carefully as they could.* If this were an isolated instance, it might be amusing; it is all too typical, unfortunately. So I don't see the earmarks of a frantic race against time to secretly solve the enigma of the UFOs.

*Incidentally, my phone call to Leick illustrated another point -- it turned up one more of the many "hidden UFO reports" I have received. Leick and his wife, driving at night on the Ohio Turnpike several years ago, had seen a luminous, unconventional object with a circular array of lights. After hovering about 5 minutes, it took off in an oblique climb at very high speed. "I've never seen anything that fast," Leick told me. He had never reported it, having no desire to be ridiculed for his observation, he explained.

If my view is wrong, if there is a high-level coverup, then I am going to be one of a very large number of scientists, both within this country and outside it, who are going to want to hear some fast explaining as to how a scientific problem of the potential interest of the UFO problem could be regarded as the legitimate domain of deception-operations unparalleled in previous history. But, to repeat, I just don't believe there have been such operations. (In a recently published book [Ref. 7], L.J. Stanton also rejects the "conspiracy hypothesis," but for reasons which seem to me to reflect incomplete knowledge of the facts of the case. Stanton's book can be recommended as a generally sound analysis of the history of the UFO problem and the shortcomings of the official investigations.)

Thus, it's not the UFOs but the Air Force investigation that is the big joke, as I now see it.

On June 7, 1966, at the end of my first visit to Bluebook, and after incredulously pouring over perhaps 150-200 cases selected at random from the Air Force UFO files, I stated to Brig. Gen. Arthur W. Cruikshank, Jr., commander of the Foreign Technology Division at WPAFB, that when the full picture gets out as to how the Air Force has mishandled the UFO problem, "the Air Force will look very, very sad." I still regard this prediction as sound, ten months later. Gen. Cruikshank's response was laudable. He put three officers onto the task of carrying out a quick review of Bluebook. I extended all possible cooperation to that trio of officers last summer, and then I heard no more. I subsequently found that Gen. Cruikshank (who seemed to be quite interested to hear a real live scientist in his office saying that there might be much more to the UFO problem than had ever met the Air Force eye) was transferred to another command on the West Coast as part of a routine shift of personnel. Therein one sees one more facet of the Air Force problem. No one has ever stayed with this problem long enough to sense its true dimensions. There have been a half dozen Bluebook officers since Ruppelt. None seems to have had any appreciable scientific background. Only the chief scientific consultant has been present over the whole eighteen years, and until recent months, Dr. Hynek seems not to have taken very seriously the enormous volume of important reports that one finds packed into the huge files in the Bluebook office. And so years have slipped by and the UFO problem is still with us. Worse yet, credible UFO reports of close-range sightings are on the increase, and this despite the "ridicule lid" which callous Air Force discrediting has imposed.


Having suggested that press and public have been misled by the CIA-requested debunking that Bluebook has carried out in the past dozen years, it is next in order to ask why scientists have not seen through the misrepresentations. Certainly at this writing one would be rash to suggest that more than a few per cent of the country 's scientists take the UFO problem seriously. If the true percentage is larger, then I can only say that most of the supporters are keeping themselves very well concealed. By contrast, those who scoff at the UFOs as a lot of nonsense or as an expression of the human need for miracles or as the mistaken observations of untrained laymen are both numerous and vocal.

In seeking an explanation of this pattern, one must again lay primary responsibility on Air Force Project Bluebook for having left scientists with no reason to doubt that the problem was being very thoroughly investigated. Scientists are busy people, always have more to do than they have time for, and when they read in the papers that Bluebook has explained away all but a tiny percentage of reports and that, for most of those explanations could probably have been found had there been more adequate information, they are not likely to pursue the matter farther. Scientists, like Congress and the public, had no reason to suspect that all those Pentagon reassurances were baseless, so most of them ignored the problem.

Others, unfortunately, without any first-hand knowledge about the actual UFO evidence and without any personal examination of a substantial number of UFO reports, have felt free to speak ex cathedra that "people have a need for miracles, so what's more natural in a scientific age than scientific miracles," and so on. Many, seeing the highly visible cultist and crackpot fringe of believers in UFO space messengers have baselessly assumed that this was the entire picture. Others have simply opined from their armchairs with scarcely any knowledge of any sort, just speaking from scientific orthodoxy at its worst.

In NICAP and in other similar groups such as APRO (Aerial Phenomena Research Organization), there has been a modest number of scientists who have followed the UFO problem with some interest, though none seems to have pursued the matter as a full-time effort. None could be rated at Nobel prize-winning caliber, none are leaders of American science, I suppose; and most have been reluctant to speak out on the basis of their personal knowledge, though they have suspected that scientific values were being ignored in the neglect of the UFO question. I was, myself, in roughly that last category until I decided, a year ago, to try to make an intensive study of the problem and see if there really was anything to all those reports that seemed to keep cropping up. Despite almost a decade of intermittent checking of local UFO reports near Tucson, I had seen too few instances of strong cases to feel free to extrapolate very far. I was entirely unprepared for what I found almost immediately upon making a personal check of NICAP's operating methods and case files, and upon doing the same at Bluebook. I feel sure that my reaction will be paralleled by that of many other scientists just as soon as they can be persuaded to personally look into the actual nature of the UFO evidence in detail. To get them to do so, I am finding, is not as easy as one might hope.

I might say that I have never met a scientist who has made what I could regard as an adequate investigation of the UFO problem who is at all inclined to sneer at the problem. If I did find one, I would be extremely interested to hear his arguments.

There is one scientist who has written and lectured a great deal about UFOs, and who has certainly looked at a lot of cases without being convinced that the UFO problem involves anything of great scientific interest. That is Dr. Donald Menzel, former Director of the Harvard College Observatory. Dr. Menzel has published two book s on the UFOs, both aimed at explaining UFOs chiefly in terms of misinterpreted meteorological and astronomical phenomena (Refs 8, 9). I am deeply puzzled by those books, especially the more recent one.

My puzzlement stems from realizing that Dr. Menzel's background in physics and astronomy is well-attested by his authorship of a number of texts and references in those areas. Despite that background, when he comes to analyzing UFO reports, he seems to calmly cast aside well-known scientific principles almost with abandon, in an all-out effort to be sure that no UFO report survives his attack. Refraction processes are quite well understood in optics, and the refracting properties of the atmosphere are surely as familiar in astronomy as in meteorology, if not more so. Yet in "explanation" after "explanation" in his books, Menzel rides roughshod over elementary optical considerations governing such things as mirages and light reflections. For instance, the interesting observation made by Dr. Clyde Tombaugh, in August, 1949, who along with two members of his family saw a puzzling array of pale lights move rapidly through their zenith sky in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and disappear into the southeastern sky, is casually attributed by Menzel to "reflections of ground lights against the boundary of an inversion layer in the air." The difficulty that these lights were rapidly moving in orderly fashion across Tombaugh's sky Menzel explains (Ref. 9, p. 269) by asserting that it was produced by "a ripple in the thin haze layer." That is, "this ripple, tipping the haze layer at a slight angle, could have reflected the lighted windows of a house; as the ripple progressed in a wavelike motion along the layer, the reflection would have moved as did the rectangles of light." Now this might go down with a layman, but to anyone who is at all familiar with the physics of reflection and particularly with the properties of the atmosphere through which generations of astronomers have successfully watched a large number of astronomical events, the suggestion that there are "haze layers" with sufficiently strong refractive index gradients to yield visible reflections of window lights is simply absurd. But, in Menzel's explanations, light reflections off of atmospheric haze layers are indeed a sight to behold. This, I say, I simply do not understand, since one is not dealing here with some subtle shade of opinion. Such a near-normal reflection process just does not occur in our atmosphere -- and no one should know this better than an experienced astronomer.

Refractive distortions of stellar images are a familiar source of trouble to astronomers, and the circumstances governing these distortions are rather well known. Certainly the order of magnitude of refractive displacement and oscillations are extremely well known. Yet Dr. Menzel speaks in detail (Ref. 9, p. 61) of a "mirage of Sirius" which he, himself, reportedly observed while flying in an Air Force aircraft in the Arctic, in which refraction effects are supposed to have enlarged Sirius to an apparent angular diameter of about 12 minutes or more of arc (equivalent, he asserts, to a sphere a foot or two in diameter at a distance of 300 feet). Just how refractive index gradients with the axial symmetry necessary to enlarge a stellar image into a circular disc of such relatively enormous diameter could ever develop within our atmosphere, Arctic or otherwise, is not hinted by Menzel, nor does he confront the puzzle of how, as he flew along, his steadily changing optical path always provided him with this kind of a refractive index pattern of axial symmetry despite looking through steadily changing air-paths! But having made his point, he uses it as the basis of discounting UFO sightings by experienced pilots who, he indicates, repeatedly see refraction phenomena of just the same type. This is nonsense.

The important Nash-Fortenberry sighting of July 14, 1952, in which the pilot and co-pilot of a Pan-American DC-4 observed six red-glowing disc-shaped objects maneuver at high speed and in unconventional manner below their plane over Chesapeake Bay, is readily explained by Menzel (Ref. 9, p. 256 ff) as searchlights hitting an "inversion layer." He speaks of what "a thorough study of the situation showed," but as one reads along, it becomes clear that all of his arguments apply only to formation of the familiar nocturnal inversion layers that hug the earth's surface. Yet the two experienced Pan American pilots distinctly describe (and Menzel's book, p. 258, reiterates this) the way in which the observed luminous objects "abruptly began a steep climb to an altitude above that of the plane," an appearance quite out of question for an hypothetical searchlight shining on an hypothetical inversion layer near the earth's surface. But many other details of the sighting, clearly stated by Nash and Fortenberry, such as the sharp-edged nature of the glowing discs, and their impressive formation-holding maneuvers, are glossed over in Menzel's inversion-layer explanation. Such easy neglect of salient features of the cases he treats marks many other examples that could be cited.

Menzel's explanation of the famous Chiles-Whitted sighting is another excellent illustration of his methods of argumentation. An Eastern Airlines DC-3, piloted by Capt. C.S. Chiles with J. B. Whitted as second officer, encountered a high-speed rocket-like glowing object approaching them out of the northeast in the early morning hours over Montgomery, Ala., on July 24, 1948. The object was described as having a length of over 100 ft and thickness twice that of a B-29 fuselage; it had something resembling blue-glowing ports and a fiery wake streaming from its aft end; and just as it passed the aircraft, rocking the DC-3 as it did so, it pulled upwards into a steep climb and passed out of sight through the broken cloud deck overhead. All of these details are on record with the Air Force and are recounted in Menzel's book (Ref. 9, p. 108). Menzel suggests that this was a fireball (intensely bright meteor). He glosses over the reported rocking of the DC-3, and completely ignores the un-meteoric pull-up and vertical climbout. But what is most difficult to understand, from an astronomical point of view, is that he goes on for several pages indicating that since that incident occurred near the time of the Delta Aquarid meteor shower, these pilots were fooled by a fireball from this shower. Now first of all, few showers have meteoroids large enough to reach the fireball class (brighter than -5 magnitude), and the Delta Aquarid stream is not one of the showers noted for this. But much more surprising is that Menzel clearly failed to check his computations of the position of the shower radiant, for had he done so he would have found that the Delta Aquarid radiant was at culmination about 40° above the southern horizon, whereas the Eastern Airlines DC-3 was heading towards the northeast. Had Chiles and Whitted seen an Aquarid meteor in the skies ahead of them, it would have given the appearance of moving in the same general heading as their plane, whereas all accounts, including Menzel's own version, describe the huge glowing object as coming directly towards the aircraft! Thus there is a clean-cut error of about 180° in Menzel's Aquarid meteor explanation. But Menzel closes his pat discussion of this case (Ref. 9, p. 112) with the statement that "...there can be no doubt that Chiles and Whitted misinterpreted the appearance of an unusually brilliant meteor..."

The phenomenon of anomalous propagation of radar within layers of strong gradients of humidity and temperature is well understood. To determine whether significant beam-refraction can occur, one consults radiosonde data to see just what index gradients prevailed. Menzel discusses a number of UFO reports in which he invokes anomalous propagation, but in no instance does he present evidence that he has examined any quantitative aspects. With qualitative arguments, false arguments are easily built up; quantitative considerations are what one finds almost nonexistent in Menzel's disposal of UFO sightings. In some instances, he attributes airborne radar echoes to phenomena which are unknown to military pilots and unexplainable in terms of meteorology and physics. For example, in the important Port Huron, Michigan, case of July 29, 1952, ground radar detected a high-speed unknown and then the radar in the nose of one of the F-94's vectored into the unknown picked up an echo and locked-on; finally the pilot himself saw a fast-moving glowing object in that location. Menzel (Ref. 9, p. 160) easily explains the visual effect as the star, Capella, and the ground-radar fix and radar lock-on he explains away as "phantom returns caused by weather conditions." Evidently he did not examine the available radiosonde data for that date and area, as I did, for there was absolutely no chance of anomalous propagation causing false ground-returns on the ground-based radar that originally picked up this fast-moving and oddly maneuvering target. But still more perplexing is his suggestion that the airborne lock-on by the F-94 was due to "weather conditions." Index gradients adequate to give appreciable super-refraction or subrefraction are unknown in the free atmosphere. Still more significant, is that one cannot get a return even with powerful index gradients unless there is some solid radar-returning object in the bent beam. Near the earth's surface, it is ground objects of one sort or another that provide these false targets of solid nature; but aloft there are no such solid objects lying around to throw back a spurious echo. The result is that "ground returns " are entirely unknown aloft, and one need only ask an experienced Air Force pilot to confirm that Menzel is here (and in other similar cases such as the outstanding B-29 case over the Gulf of Mexico, December 6, 1952, discussed on p. 5 of Ref. 9) invoking a phenomenon that just does not occur.

Many other such examples of loose reasoning, failure to check the relevant weather data, and casual neglect of key features of the reports could be cited. He speaks (Ref. 9, p. 179) of the "freak weather" and of severe electrical activity near Levelland, Texas, on the night of November 2/3, 1957, when observations by 10 independent witnesses were made within a two-hour period of a large luminous egg-shaped object that hovered over fields or roads and stopped ignitions of engines in eight or nine vehicles. Having asserted, without documentation, that there was severe lightning in the area, he goes on to say that the objects, estimated by various witnesses at from 100 to 200 feet in length, were just "ball lightning." And wet ignitions stopped the cars.

The fact that the engines could be restarted just as soon as the object darted off would, of course, be entirely inconsistent with wet ignitions; but that feature of the observations is ignored. Worse, the actual weather data for the night and locale in question are ignored. I dug out the weather maps and rainfall data. A large high-pressure area was moving southward over the Texas Panhandle, completely antithetical to convective activity and lightning of any sort -- and a check of half a dozen stations in the vicinity revealed that there was not even any rain falling during this period, nor had more than a small amount fallen hours earlier that day when a cold front went through.

The Air Force offers the same absurd explanation of the Levelland UFO reports, incidentally, and Dr. J.A. Hynek, who was involved in formulating the Air Force explanation of this one, has stated to me that this explanation was a bit "unfortunate." The Levelland case affords an excellent illustration of how the press has been used by the Air Force in its "debunking" efforts. The Levelland case, plus several others elsewhere in the Southwest on the same night, were headline news all over the country on November 3 and 4, 1957. No response came from the Air Force for another four days, long enough for editorial interest to wane a bit. Then an Associated Press dispatch of Nov. 7, 1957, reiterated the usual: "The Air Force says its investigations of 5,700 reported sightings of flying saucers in the past 10 years have produced no physical or material evidence that such things exist." In the Tucson Daily Citizen, that dispatch was headed "5700 Duds." Turning the page from Menzel's disposal of the Levelland case, one finds him re-using the ball lightning explanation to account, on the next page, for another case, the Loch Raven Dam case of October 26, 1958. He ignores completely the point that here, too, the car engine was stopped, but the witnesses' report of a large luminous object, estimated at 100 feet or so in length, hovering over a bridge structure, he attributes to more ball lightning. To make the latter seem to fit better, he refers to the object as a "ball," despite the witnesses' remarks that it looked much like "a Navy blimp" (Ref. 10, p. 192). Also ball lightning is a luminous mass only a foot or two in diameter, so how Menzel feels it can attain a size of 100 ft is far from clear. But the real irrelevance of the entire "explanation" emerges only when one runs down the weather map for the day in question and finds that a large high-pressure area sat over the East Coast, precluding anything like the kind of atmospheric electrical activity so casually invoked by Menzel.

I could easily go on at much greater length with specific objections to Dr. Menzel's methods of explaining UFO cases, but the above should suffice to suggest the nature of my strong objections to his writings on this subject. I simply do not regard them as substantial scientific analyses of the UFO phenomena. I believe they should be ignored.

However, they have not been ignored at all. One can find references in the writings of other scientists who cite his work as the authoritative analysis of the UFO problem and I can only presume that those others who have accepted his conclusions have not examined the actual details of his arguments, for the latter just will not withstand close scrutiny. In my opinion, and in the opinion of a number of oth [sic] others familiar with the UFO problem, Dr. Menzel has had a baleful influence on scientific progress towards solution of the puzzle of the unidentified flying objects. I believe that Bluebook officers have patterned many of their "twinkling star" and "fireball" explanations after those to be found in Menzel's books -- and perhaps one can only say that for officers with very limited scientific background to take his writings as reliable was not unreasonable, in view of his prestigious affiliations and his past publications on many scientific topics. But the latter considerations notwithstanding, his writings on the UFO problem are, in my opinion, scientifically unsound. The sooner a large number of other scientists take a close look at the astonishing nature of his analyses, the sooner they will be put aside as having no real relevance to the solution of the UFO mystery.

Recently another writer has launched an attack on the UFOs in a manner bearing many resemblances to Dr. Menzel's approach. Whereas Dr. Menzel feels that optical effects probably explain the bulk of the UFO reports, Philip J. Klass, of the Aviation Week staff, has attempted to argue that essentially all UFO reports can be accounted for in terms of plasma phenomena associated with corona discharges on power lines or ball lightning (Ref. 11). Like Menzel he sidesteps quantitative considerations. Also like Menzel, he rather freely ignores many salient features in the reports of witnesses who have seen unidentified objects, or else freely twists them to fit his own interpretations. Finally, I believe he has ignored most of what is known about ball lightning. This still leaves open the likelihood that a few UFOs out of the thousands that have been reported were corona phenomena or ball lightnings, but Klass' efforts to explain the whole problem away with plasma-type phenomena cannot be taken seriously. I have discussed his approach with several colleagues active in the field of atmospheric electricity, several of whom have had personal exchanges with Klass, just as I have, and all share my rejection of his main arguments.

Ball lightning, to be sure, is a very poorly understood atmospheric phenomenon. But if there are any workers in atmospheric electricity who hold, as does Klass, that ball lightning can be generated without presence of intensely active thunderstorms, I have failed to uncover such viewpoints in a recent extensive review that I have carried out on the ball lightning problem, thanks to Klass' prodding. Klass has cited a half-dozen cases of clear-air lightning as if this somehow proved his contentions, but none of those cases sounded like what is normally termed ball lightning. He ignores the fact that ball lightning reports involve luminous plasmoids of diameter seldom exceeding a few feet, usually about the size of a basketball or smaller; instead he feels willing to say that objects reported as having diameters ten to a hundred times larger are "ball lightning."

Cases like the interesting Red Bluff, Calif., sighting of August 13, 1960, where two California Highway Patrolmen stood less than a hundred yards from an object of metallic luster estimated at about a hundred feet in length, with huge lights on it, or the well-reported Exeter case (Ref. 14) of Sept. 3, 1965, could not, by wildest stretch of any reasonable scientist's imagination, be attributed to ball lightning -- and the more so when one notes that the weather conditions were so stable that the official Air Force explanation used that circumstance to try to blame each of those cases on inversion-refraction of stars. Nor could dozens of other sightings, many made under daylight conditions with perfectly clear skies, where the observers reported solid, metallic-looking objects moving rapidly in the free atmosphere (far from Klass' corona-producing power lines and defying reasonable explanation as "ball lightning").

I know of no atmospheric scientists who give serious credence to Klass' efforts to shoehorn all UFO reports into the corona-and-ball-lightning pigeon-hole; but a large amount of magazine and press coverage has recently been given to his arguments, which is most regrettable in that this will further confuse the real issues. This readiness of editors to pick up the dubious arguments of engineers or scientists who offer arguments attacking the UFOs as nonsense, contrasts sharply with their general unwillingness to take seriously the much more solid efforts of groups like NICAP who are, in a sense, doing the very job that the journalists might well be doing -- carefully reporting unusual events going on recurrently all over the country. But can one fault the journalists heavily on this score? Probably not, since once more one sees, at the bottom of all this conviction that there really cannot be anything to all this talk about unidentified flying objects or else our Air Force would have found it out years back.


Like most scientists, I prefer to base scientific conclusions on quantitative observations obtained from controlled experiments in the laboratory. But scientists don't always get their problems handed to them in such neat packages. Seismologists frequently have to go out and interview lay witnesses in earthquake areas in order to fill in details of their isoseismal patterns. Meteorologists can't make tornadoes in their laboratories; they must study them as they randomly occur, and rely frequently on anecdotal accounts by eye-witnesses. Meteoriticists who try to locate the fall-points of suspected meteorites often find laymen's reports confused and marked by certain characteristic errors of underestimate of distance, etc.; yet meteoriticists do manage to locate strewn-fields and impact-points by putting together large numbers of lay reports and working carefully to sort out the grain from the chaff.

Similarly, in the case of the UFO problem, it is unfortunately going to be necessary for scientists to begin by listening carefully to the accounts of many untrained observers and to do their best to sort out the grain from the chaff. With experience, one learns to immediately drop off an interview with a poor observer, an inarticulate witness, or one who is over-dramatic about his account. With diligent searching, one finds that mixed in with the lay observations are some real gems of observation made by quite experienced observers, often with a considerable scientific training. And slowly one develops a body of evidence that indicates an impressive degree of general consistency. NICAP, working in just this manner, found some years ago that the evidence for the reality of the UFOs was very weighty -- but no one in science paid much heed because they were not a scientific body.

The danger of rejecting reports that originate predominantly from non-scientists is a danger science has fallen into in the past. The most notorious parallel concerns the history of the "discovery" of meteorites. Prior to about 1800, recurrent reports of peasants who claimed that stones had fallen out of the sky were scoffed at by the academicians. In many parts of Europe, iron objects that had reportedly fallen out of the skies were venerated as church relics, and this bothered the academicians of the Enlightenment who were trying to break away from the supernaturalism of the past. Hence for years scarcely any scientists gave credence to these lay claims of witnessed falls.

But finally, in 1802, at L'Aigle, France, an unusual shower of meteoritic fragments occurred, and not only all the peasants attested to the fall, but many churchmen and local political officials added their testimony. So the French Academy sent an eminent physicist, Biot, to L'Aigle to investigate. His report, based on many persons' accounts, finally convinced the scientific world that stones do fall out of the sky. The Academy's initial reluctance to believe so odd a contention was heavily influenced by their notion of a beautifully simple, Clock-winder theory of the solar system based on the Newtonian synthesis. The idea of rocks and other debris skimming around amongst the orbits of the planets whose motions Laplace and Lagrange had so firmly accounted for, was to them distinctly uncomfortable. But Biot's analysis carried the day, and in 1803, the year of his report, the subject of meteoritics was opened as a legitimate scientific subject.

Similarly today, most of us find it uncomfortable to think that in our atmosphere there may be real objects of a most unconventional nature operating and maneuvering in a way that we cannot account for in terms of present-day knowledge. In our discomfort, most of us seem to take the easy way out and say it just can't be, and we even suspect as slightly unbalanced those who claim to have seen these things. William James put it painfully well when he said: "By far the most usual way of handling phenomena so novel that they would make for a serious rearrangement of our preconceptions is to ignore them altogether, or to abuse those who bear witness to them." Let me hasten to add that I'm not in any position to sermonize on this theme; I'm sure I've been guilty of the same error in my own scientific work. The difference is solely that, in the case of the UFOs, I have now seen too much evidence to be able to ignore any longer the seriousness of the problem of our collective turning away from all of these reports.

The 1803 episode that led to acceptance of meteorites is actually only a weak parallel to the present-day case of the UFOs, for the UFOs do not appear to constitute just one more geophysical or astronomical phenomenon of still obscure nature. Almost everyone who has carefully sorted through the evidence is forced to consider quite seriously the hypothesis that the UFOs are some form of extraterrestrial probes. That is an hypothesis very much more uncomfortable, I fear, than anything like "rocks falling out of the sky." It has so much more far-reaching consequences if true; its a priori probability seems so much more remote than was that of rocks falling from the sky; it carries so much more dynamite to explode cherished conceptions of our place in the universe.

Nevertheless, trying to put aside all the preconceptions that I tend to share with orthodox fellow-scientists, and trying to keep my eyes fixed on the astounding nature and the astounding volume of the UFO evidence that I have examined in the past twelve months, I am forced to join many others who see in the extraterrestrial hypothesis the only presently plausible explanation for the now-available facts. I repeat, however, that I treat it only as an hypothesis, subject to rejection if facts so rule.

Even to hold this as merely an hypothesis is to invite the charge of going far beyond the available evidence, I've found. This is an understandable charge, yet not really a defensible charge. I have noted some of my colleagues making the mistake of judging the "available evidence" by the insignificant fraction of the actually available evidence that they are aware of. They tend unconsciously to think that the total existing evidence cannot be more conclusive and consequential than the scraps of information they have themselves read, mostly in newspapers. This reaction plus the very low a priori probability of the extraterrestrial hypothesis tend inevitably to make most scientists balk at taking that hypothesis seriously. I understand this.

But the actually available evidence pointing rather strongly in that strange direction is an iceberg of credible reports of close-range sightings by reliable people, an iceberg whose tiny visible portion belies its true bulk and significance. The heart of the problem is how to get large numbers of top-notch scientists to dive down and examine with great care the enormous bulk below the surface, the large body of evidence that exists but has not been pasteurized for acceptance by the body scientific. As long as scientists think that all this is just a lot of nonsense, they will largely ignore it. This is precisely where you editors can play an exceedingly important role, by doing some checking on your own, reading some of the substantial references on UFOS (e.g., Ref. 3, above all), and pressing in every way you can for an adequate and much-expanded investigation of the UFO problem.


Because, as I have now said almost ad nauseam, so much of the misrepresentation of this problem must be laid at the door of Air Force Project Bluebook, I urge that a full-scale Congressional investigation be prepared immediately to examine the actual nature of this problem. Following the protests of many citizens in the Michigan area (after some moderately interesting sightings in March, 1966), some Michigan Congressman pressed for and secured a hearing before the House Committee on Armed Services last year. But if there was ever a one-sided hearing, this was it. The three persons testifying were persons already having an obvious vested interest in telling Congress that the problem has been in fairly good hands -- Air Force Secretary Brown, Bluebook Officer Major Quintanilla, and Bluebook Chief Consultant, Dr. J. Allen Hynek (see Ref. 12). Whereas NICAP has been pressing for a chance to present its (strong) case before a Congressional committee for years (see, for example, the summary of those efforts in Ref. 3, p. 173 ff), they were not invited to testify before the April, 1966 hearings before the Armed Services Committee. Fortunately, a number of NICAP members submitted material for the record, somewhat alleviating the otherwise Air-Force dominated record of those hearings, but no NICAP representatives were asked to testify in person.

I would emphasize that, at this very date, NICAP and many serious investigators of this problem have information enough on hand for a half-dozen Congressional investigations. What is needed is some pressure from the press for immediate clarification of the status of this 20-year-old mystery that has been swept under a rug of ridicule and misrepresentation by Project Bluebook. And the fastest way to get clarification will be, I now believe, a Congressional investigation. Clearly this will not solve the problem as a scientific problem; but I fear that the existing scientific faith in 20 years of Air Force assurances is so strong that we shall not see anything like adequate scientific attention given to the UFOs until Congress sorts out the incredible history of Bluebook mishandling of the UFO problem and thereby awakens scientists to the fact that they have been misled for two decades about what may well be the greatest scientific problem of our times.


Some will surely object that to urge a Congressional investigation at a time when the new University of Colorado program is just getting underway is out of order. I do not think so. First of all, I have repeatedly said and continue to say that the Colorado program is not nearly large enough to cope with the apparent dimensions of this problem. I believe that, once that program gains some momentum, it will move towards the same serious concern for the UFO problem that I now hold. But I am uneasy, frankly, at the very limited manpower resources available to the Colorado group, and they are now about a third of the way through their initial contract-period of 15 months. As I understand it, there are, at present, only four full-time persons on that program, none with training at the Ph.D. level; and the fractional-time of the several others (mainly psychologists) contributing to the program averages, as I understand it, less than 30 or 40 per cent. Several weeks ago I spent several days with three of the full-time members of the Colorado team and made directly to them the same point I am here making, namely, that this problem warrants far more scientific attention than their program is currently able to provide. It is most encouraging that they will soon add two or three more members with considerable scientific training, but even this will scarcely make the Colorado effort at all commensurate with the importance of the UFO problem.

Even if the Colorado program could quadruple 1ts scientific staff in the next few weeks, I would still be saying that we must get more good people onto this problem. It is far too important a problem to leave in its present state, and only a large increase in high-caliber scientific manpower attacking the UFO enigma will suffice to make real progress on it.


I believe that the primary responsibility for UFO investigations ought to be taken from Air Force hands and turned over to some strong science-oriented agency. NASA would seem to be a very logical group for this.

Curiously, I have said this both in NASA and fairly widely-reported public discussions before scientific colleagues (e.g., Ref. 13), yet the response from NASA has been essentially nil. Perhaps they, too, are sure that this is just a nonsense problem and has no relation to their space programs, their "search for life in the universe." NASA is busy telling us that there is high probability of life in the universe, but it's all far out there, not here. Frankly, when one looks long and carefully at the UFO evidence, one wonders if perhaps it's not conceivable that some of it has found us, rather than vice versa. But, to date, my own efforts to get NASA to consider that intriguing possibility seem to have been ignored. Even attempting to get a small group within NASA to undertake a study-group approach to the available published effort seems to have generated no visible response. I realize, of course, that there may be semi-political considerations that make it awkward for NASA to fish in these waters at present -- but if this is what is holding up serious scientific attention to the UFO problem at NASA, this is all the more reason why Congress had better take a good hard look at the problem and reshuffle the deck.

Interestingly, in the course of my months of digging into the UFO problem, I have learned from a number of unquotable sources that the Air Force has long wished to get rid of the burden of the troublesome UFO problem and has tried twice to "peddle" it to NASA, but without success. I regret that I am not free to quote my sources on this, but I regard them as entirely credible. An Air Force wish to be rid of the UFOs would be entirely compatible with the firm impression I have formed from many lines of evidence that no one in any position of importance within the Air Force views the UFOs as real or significant.

Such a position is compatible, too, with all that I have been able to learn about how the University of Colorado program came into being. Everything points to this: that the Air Force regards their UFO responsibilities as a public relations liability that they would like to have done with, once and for all, and Colorado may help them unload it. The request for a group within the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board (AFSAB) to meet and review the UFO problem did not come from the Systems Command within which Bluebook operates. It came from Gen. E.B. LeBailly, Director of Information, Secretary of Air Force Office of Information (SAFOI). Gen. LeBailly's request was made on Sept. 28, 1965 (see Ref. 12, p. 5995), some weeks after a large wave of UFO sightings all over the Midwest. That wave made headline news throughout the country, and Bluebook's "twinkling star" explanation was held up to ridicule when the Director of the Oklahoma City Planetarium gently pointed out that Maj. Quintanilla was (once again) misreading his star charts and blaming the sightings on stars that weren't even in the Midwest skies. This made headlines, too, and many editorials in the Midwest were critical of USAF's handling of the incident. If the behind-scenes response to this had been Air Force concern to try to do a better job of checking a real scientific problem, the Systems Command could easily have found several dozen men right there at Wright-Patterson AFB who could have stepped in and instantaneously upgraded the Bluebook operation by one or two orders of magnitude.

No such action followed. Instead, it was the general in charge of USAF public relations who asked AFSAB to review the situation, which they did on February 3, 1966 (Ref. 12, p. 5996). An AFSAB-appointed group, the O'Brien committee, devoted only a day to their deliberations and did not even invite the testimony of Bluebook's chief scientific consultant, both of which points may be some kind of measures of their scientific concern for the seriousness of the UFO question. It was this group that recommended establishment of a "university team" approach, which eventually became the one-university approach now centered at Colorado. All that I have seen points to the conclusion that this whole effort was directed chiefly towards getting the Air Force out from under an onerous burden, the public-relations liability of the UFOs. I know of no one on the O'Brien Committee who took the UFOs seriously. (I might add that I got a small chuckle out of the Bluebook scientific consultant's patting himself on the back, Ref. 15, about his "small sense of personal triumph and vindication" when USAF announced the Colorado program. I had firsthand contact with some of the thinking that lay behind the search for a university to head up the Air Force's UFO review. I am afraid it warrants vanishingly "small sense of personal triumph and vindication" in the mind of the one person who might have put this problem on the right track soon after he began his 18-year consultantship in 1948!)

Lest some of that sound like a charge of "whitewash," let me interject that I do not mean that at all. First of all, I know that Dr. Edward P. Condon and the University of Colorado group would not have touched the problem if it had been brought to them in such a context. But, secondly, I have found nothing to make me suspect that the Air Force views the UFOs as anything but a lot of misinterpreted natural phenomena, balloons, aircraft, and all of the rest of the things they say in the Pentagon press releases. I would not hesitate a moment to say it if I truly thought they were dissembling; but I do not think so at all.

I believe that today USAF really believes there's nothing to all this talk about unidentified flying objects. I believe that they want to get rid of the annoying business once and for all, and that they sincerely wanted to select an unimpeachable scientist and a school of good reputation to take on the job of showing once-and-for-all that there's nothing to it, and then forget about it and go back to what they regard their proper business, defending the country against hostile forces.

All this is not a point of view that I have formed overnight. I have puzzled over the curious history of the Air Force handling of the UFOs almost as much as I have puzzled over the UFOs themselves in the past year. And I have discussed these matters with many knowledgeable persons in forming the above opinion. I would be quick to agree that much evidence points to a time, back in the early 1950's, when many USAF people, some in high places, suspected that the UFOs might be extraterrestrial, though I cannot begin to lay out that evidence here. But once the turning point of the Robertson Panel and the 1953 CIA debunking order was rounded, and personnel had been rotated and shuffled a few times, I believe that the Air Force fell victim to its own UFO propaganda. I think that, as one Bluebook officer was replaced by another and high-level commands changed, no one was left, except the chief scientific consultant, who had any knowledge of how things had gotten switched over to the debunking policy. And, from my discussions with the chief scientific consultant, Dr. J.A. Hynek, I gather that even he paid little enough attention to the entire problem that he did not regard the 1953 events as very critical.

Pointing further in the same direction is the fact that I found no evidence that anyone at higher levels at WPAFB was, by 1966, even aware of the Robertson Panel report. In my third visit to Bluebook, on July 30, 1966, Maj. Quintanilla informed me that the CIA had reclassified the Report and that consequently I would not be getting my Xerox copy (they sent it down to Washington by courier, since the CIA had no copy, and evidently didn't know what WPAFB was talking about when a clearance to release the copy to me was requested of CIA!). So at that point I asked Quintanilla if the then commanding general of the Foreign Technology Division within which Bluebook has operated, Brig. Gen. A.W. Cruikshank, had ever asked him for the Bluebook file on the Panel. He said Cruikshank had not. Then I asked if the Division's Chief Scientist, Dr. A.J. Cacciopo, had ever asked to see it, and Quintanilla said he had not. It is my belief that personnel turn-over has occurred so fast that, for a good many years, none of the people having direct responsibility were clearly aware of the role of the CIA decision of 1953, that the task had simply been downgraded to its low present status, and that Bluebook has been run by people who believed what they read in the papers -- their own UFO propaganda.

If there had been anyone looking at the continuing input of UFO reports in a competent scientific manner, if anyone had been thoroughly familiar with radar propagation physics, meteorological optics, meteor phenomena, aerodynamics, etc., and testing each new report against the broad spectrum of scientific considerations that one has to invoke to sort out the plausible from the implausible "explanations" of UFO reports, then I doubt that the downhill trend that set in after 1953 could ever have continued. But no such competence appears to have been operating, and I believe that things just naturally slid down to the point where each new Bluebook officer must have merely followed along in the pattern set by the man before him, talking about "stellar scintillation" and "weather inversions" and "mirages" without any real scientific knowledge of these matters, feeding information to the PIO's at the Pentagon who ground out the reassurances we've now had so much opportunity to read.

So, to summarize, I think the Air Force yawningly views the UFO problem as a PR problem, not a scientific problem. I think the present Air Force support of the small effort now underway at Colorado is fine -- but far from adequate. I think that, until the truth about past mishandling of the problem is laid out and stamped with at least Congressional authority, we won't see much escalation of scientific effort to attack this problem. And this worries me. For in the UFO problem I see the dimensions of an unprecedented challenge to science. I am uncomfortable that we scientists are, as a whole, blandly ignoring it as if it weren't there, while the reports keep pouring in -- pouring in at what seems to some of us to be a markedly increasing rate, and shaping themselves into patterns that give some of us pause. Some of us are just a bit uneasy about what we know and what you editors, the Congress, and the nation at large do not know. We wish that some means could quickly be found to get the world's really outstanding scientists to come to grips with this problem -- not second-raters such as myself who will never be capable of plumbing the depths of so complex a problem.

Thus I ask you to join in urging immediate Congressional hearings if you can agree with me that this is probably the fastest way to force the problem out into full light of scientific investigation, both in the United States and abroad.


I cannot, of course, vouch personally for UFO reports from all parts of the globe, as I can for a sizeable number of U.S. reports that I have personally checked. But after studying a large number of foreign reports, I cannot draw any other conclusion than this: the nature and density and frequency of UFO reports is evidently about the same in other portions of the globe as here in our country. We are not being singled out for any special attention.

I have been intrigued by hearing Dr. Jacques Vallee's discussions of the French reports, and will spend this evening at his home in Chicago carrying on still further discussions of the French investigations. French UFO reports are about the same as ours, briefly. I have recently been in rather close communication with the leading non-governmental Australian UFO-investigatory group, centered in Melbourne. They have been sending me press reports of Australian sightings, and again they are much like those occurring over and over in this country -- discs and cigar-shaped objects, metallic looking structures often with domes on them, etc. Persons whose reliability I am given to accept describe UFO reports in South America with frequency and nature like those in France, Australia, England, and elsewhere.

American newspapers print very little domestic news from foreign countries and virtually no UFO reports from abroad, so most Americans are startled when told that it appears that UFOs are appearing all over the world. I just received a carefully prepared 45-page report from New Guinea, written by an Anglican missionary in the Papuan Territory there, summarizing a fascinating series of reports, several at close-range, in New Guinea in 1959. I had heard of these before, but seeing Rev. Cruttwell's lengthy original report increased my readiness to believe that all those sightings at Boianai, Menapi, and Samarai may actually have occurred! When I get packets full of current Australian press clippings on sightings from outback sheep stations and the like, I find it hard to maintain my provincial skepticism, and grow suspicious that perhaps all those reports are every bit as real as the ones I'm continually checking by telephone from Tucson. Before you accuse me of gullibility, take a look at the foreign UFO clippings yourselves. They may make you a bit uneasy, too.

There is a danger here that I'd better confront. You editors probably think that you know what is going on in this country, and that you're aware of an occasional UFO report from here and there, but you may be thinking that my remarks about reports "pouring in'" are rather overdone. My reply is simple -- if you read only what comes over your wires, you'd never guess what is really going on in the world of UFO reports, here or abroad. The only way to get a glimpse of what is actually happening is to subscribe to a clipping service that is cutting local press stories from the Excelsior Springs Daily Standard, the Eagle Valley Enterprise, the Marion Weekly Leader and so on (just to read off the names of a few on the clippings I just received, courtesy of NICAP's clipping-service arrangements. If you read only the New York Times, your own paper, and the wire copy, you won't have even a tiny fraction of the cases -- because wire editors long ago came to realize that UFOs are a lot of nonsense and almost never file wire stories on such a lot of nonsense. Once in awhile they will, for reasons that are not always clear; but, by and large, I'd estimate that only one or two per cent of the locally-reported UFO sightings are read about beyond the readership area of the nearest small-town paper. This is part of the reason why this problem is being ignored. If each day's paper in each major city carried an adequate account of all of the U.S. UFO reports for the preceding 24 hours, the citizenry would be up in arms in a week demanding that Congress find out what is going on. But the bottom of the iceberg floats along unseen because wire editors have long since learned that these reports are just "silly season" stuff; so who cares what some farmer out in Sauk Center saw just above his barn last night. (I am reminded that Ruppelt mentions in his book, Ref. 1, that for a brief period in 1952 Bluebook subscribed to a clipping service but they got so many reports they couldn't file them all and were obliged to cancel the subscription.)

I talked with an African student on our campus recently and was amused to hear that sightings not dissimilar to those occurring rather regularly in Iowa and Oregon and Georgia are reported in Africa. Yes, I believe that when all the facts are in, it will be clear that unconventional objects are hovering low over farmhouses and power plants and vehicles in nearly every corner of our globe, and have been doing so with mounting frequency during recent years -- while officialdom and journalists and scientists have ignored the "peasants." Must we wait for a L'Aigle?

Or will you editors press for action now?


There 1s no satisfactory way of presenting a fair picture of the now-available UFO evidence without going into much detail in recounting many cases, discussing credibility of witnesses, and carefully assessing the plausibility of each of a number of alternative hypotheses to account for each given sighting. Space will not permit such an exhaustive presentation here. If you seek a published summary that goes a long way towards that goal, see Ref. 3, The UFO Evidence, edited by R.H. Hall of NICAP. It describes over 700 cases from the NICAP files, and has the material cross-filed in a number of very useful ways.

I have personally checked on a fairly large sample of the cases discussed in that publication and can state on that basis that the accuracy and reliability of the book is impressively high. No single publication on UFOs compares with this one for its level of documentation, completeness, and authenticity -- though there are a number of other quite good references that are available.

I shall discuss, rather briefly below a number of UFO reports, most of which I have personally checked in some manner. Where I cannot personally vouch for the report, this will be indicated. Because there are now many thousands of UFO reports on record in Air Force, NICAP, and other files, it must be remembered that the following comprise a minute fraction of the full record. The points emphasized will vary from one case to another, since they have been selected for a variety of reasons.

Case 1. Portage County, Ohio, April 17, 1966.

Near 0500 on 4/17/66, two Portage County sheriffs deputies, Dale Spaur and W.L. Neff, were routinely checking an abandoned car south of Ravenna, Ohio. Suddenly a large luminous airborne object advanced from a wooded hill, hovered over them illuminating the pre-dawn darkness, and then moved off a short distance. The deputies radioed the desk and were told by the dispatcher to follow the object until a camera car could overtake them. Then began a peculiar pursuit that eventually took the deputies entirely out of Ohio into Pennsylvania and stretched over more than 70 miles and lasted almost an hour and a half. Two other law enforcement officers, Wayne Huston of the Palestine, Ohio, police force and Frank Panzanella, Conway, Pa., police officer became involved in the pursuit before it was over. The object was described by the officers as about 40 feet in diameter, brightly luminous, and seemed to have something like a fin on its rear upper surface. A diffuse conical luminosity extended from its undersurface. I have personally interviewed Neff, Huston, and Panzanella, and NICAP's Pittsburgh Subcommittee has done a very extensive (125 p.) report on many aspects of this one important case.

The object varied in elevation from a few hundred feet above terrain to an estimated 2000 ft as it moved along, and it reportedly moved from one side of the highway to the other in motions that match no conventional object. Huston joined the chase when he intercepted the transmissions to the Portage Co. dispatcher's desk, realized Spaur and Neff must be coming his way on Route 14, went out and parked to watch up the highway to the northwest, and soon saw a luminous object moving along followed by a speeding car. As the object and car passed, he swung in behind, got into radio communication with the deputies who were in the car ahead, and stayed with them until the end of the chase in Conway, just northwest of Pittsburgh. At Conway, the officers spotted a local policeman, Frank Panzanella, who was observing the object, and they pulled up beside Panzanella. Shortly thereafter the object shot up vertically at very high speed and passed out of sight, according to the testimony of all four officers.

The Bluebook investigation of this case would have been left at no more than an original four-minute phone call from Major Quintanilla to Spaur (in which Quintanilla sought to convince Spaur he had seen Echo satellite go over and then transferred visual attention to Venus which was then rising in the southeast) except for local press concern over the case. Local and public interest, generated by detailed reporting of the incident in the Ravenna Record-Courier, led, through several stages, to a request from Ohio Congressman William Stanton for Bluebook to send someone to Ravenna to make a personal check. NICAP taped that interview, and, having listened carefully to it, I can summarize it as a rather bulldozing attempt of Maj. Quintanilla to persuade the officers that it was only Echo and Venus that they saw. They were not impressed.

The Echo-Venus explanation still stands as the official Bluebook explanation of this case despite the efforts of NICAP, Dr. J.A. Hynek, the Record-Courier and myself to secure revision. The fact that Officer Huston saw the object coming in out of the northwest clearly rules out his seeing Venus, yet at that time the first two officers had been following the object for a much longer time than Echo requires to transit the full sky. This, plus the four-witness description of vertical ascent at the termination of the sighting are calmly swept aside by Bluebook with its Echo-Venus "explanation."

On September 30, Col. Hayden P. Mims, Congressional Inquiry Division, sent a letter to Congressman Stanton telling Stanton that a further review of the reports confirmed the original Echo-Venus explanation. My own interviews with three of the principal witnesses were made subsequent to Mims' letter, and I carefully queried each man as to whether the Air Force had ever gone back to them to check further on their accounts. Not one of the three had been interrogated since the original interviews in May. In late July, 1966, I asked Quintanilla to let me see Huston's crucial testimony, but was not permitted to examine it in full. Huston told me in October that he had been interviewed by an investigator sent by USAF who took full notes on the crucial point that Huston saw the object coming down Route 14 from the northwest. Yet this point is blandly ignored in the Bluebook Echo-Venus explanation.

Despite the absurdity of the Echo-Venus explanation and despite open criticism of it from the cited sources, that explanation still stands in the official Bluebook records. Congressman Stanton was forced to accept the assurances tendered him that the Air Force had carefully evaluated this case, and the law-enforcement officers had to take the brunt of such ridicule and pressures as all this brought to them. There are many more details pertinent to this case that are fully documented in the 125-page report prepared by William B. Weitzel, a University of Pittsburgh instructor who headed the Pittsburgh NICAP Subcommittee's thorough investigations of this case. Few cases better illustrate the unreasonableness of Bluebook's approach to the UFO problem and their incompetent and superficial investigations. My memorandum and my correspondence to WPAFB asking for rectification of this case have never been answered. It was my dismay over the Mims letter and Bluebook's refusal to alter their stand on this case that led me to begin open and pointed criticisms of the Air Force investigations in October 1966 (Ref. 13).

Case 2. Exeter, N.H., September 3, 1965.

This case has been rather fully reported in many places, notably in a book by J.G. Fuller (Ref. 16); and a number of other good reports and discussions of it can be found in House Document 55 (Ref. 12). After several preliminary sightings that I shall omit to save space here, the principal sighting by Exeter policemen Eugene F. Bertrand and David R. Hunt and by an 18-year-old boy, Norman J. Muscarello took place at about 0200 on Sept. 3rd. I have personally interviewed Bertrand and Hunt and have discussed their reliability with Exeter Chief of Police R.D. Irvine. Omitting many details, the men saw an object, estimated at almost 100 feet long, carrying a number of bright blinking red lights, maneuvering and hovering silently over a farmhouse until it soundlessly went away.

Maj. Quintanilla's first explanation for this was "twinkling stars." When the officers wrote to Bluebook, protesting such an explanation which would hold them up to ridicule and place in jeopardy their reputations as reliable officers, the explanation was switched to involve a night-advertising aircraft. When it was next determined that the aircraft in question was not even operating that night, Maj. Quintanilla altered his explanation to one involving a B-47 refueling operation near Pease AFB. When, finally, the policemen secured the actual time of that operation and thereby established that the refueling operation was over by the 0200 time of the main sighting, Quintanilla finally classified it as Unknown. A revealing history.

Case 3. Ernest Stadvec, Akron, Ohio, July 4/5, 1961.

Many more cases are on record in which the witnesses did not so assiduously press for correction of Bluebook's unreasonable explanation. One witness in an Akron sighting, owner of a local air service company, Ernest Stadvec (Ref. 17), told me in an interview concerning his sighting that once Bluebook came out with a press release that he had been looking at the star Capella and that this was the correct explanation of two fast-moving luminous objects he sighted from the air in his private plane, he wanted to forget the whole thing and save himself further embarrassment. His description would not remotely fit "Capella," since one object descended rapidly from a high elevation angle, the other climbed out under his plane and shot off in directions not even close to Capella's location at the time. Stadvec said the Air Force explanation "made me look like an idiot," and he went on to tell me of other subsequent pilot sightings in that area that were not reported publicly because of the way the Air Force had handled his sighting.

After the second object sped off at very high speed, Stadvec states that he contacted FAA Cleveland and the control tower operator told him by radio that a fast luminous object had been sighted visually and on FAA radar; but the latter was denied to the press the next day.

Case 4. Red Bluff, Calif., August 13, 1960.

A rather detailed account of this sighting can be found in Ref. 3 (see p. 61, 112, and 170). I have interviewed one of the two California Highway Patrolmen who were the principal witnesses and have spoken with two other persons in that area who were involved in the incident. CHP officers C.A. Carson and S. Scott, driving east at 2300 on a back road south of Red Bluff suddenly sighted what they first took to be an aircraft about to crash just ahead of them. Pulling their patrol car to a rapid stop and jumping out to be ready to render whatever assistance they could, they were astonished to see the long metallic-looking object abruptly reverse its initial steep descent, climb back up to several hundred feet altitude and then hover motionless. Next it came silently towards them until, as Officer Carson put it to me, "it was within easy pistol range." They had their pistols ready and were debating whether to fire when it stopped. Attempts to radio back to the nearest dispatcher failed due to strong radio interference, an occurrence that recurred each time the object came close to them during the remainder of this 2-hour-long sighting. Huge bright lights at either end of the object swept the area. Carson stated to me that one light was about six feet in diameter; other smaller lights were also discernible on the object. After some initial minutes of hovering only 100 to 200 feet away from them and about that same distance above the ground, the object started moving eastward away from them. They then contacted the Tehama County Sheriff's office that handled their night-dispatching work, and asked for additional cars and for a check with Red Bluff Air Force Radar Station. Then they began to follow the object. The full account is too involved to relate here (see Ref. 3), but it is important to point out that a number of witnesses confirmed the object from various viewing points in the county, and a call to the AF Radar unit brought confirmation that they were tracking an unknown moving in the manner reported by Carson and Scott.

When, however, Carson and Scott went next day to talk with personnel at the Red Bluff radar base, they were informed that no such radar sighting had been made. Their request to the officer in charge to talk with the radarman on duty at the time of the incident was denied. The Bluebook explanation that came out after a few days attributed this very detailed, close-range sighting of a large object, seen by two experienced officers, to "refraction of the planet Mars and the two bright stars Aldebaran and Betelgeux." NICAP referred the question to one of their astronomical advisers, who found that none of the three celestial objects were even in the California skies at that time. Bluebook then changed the explanation to read Mars and Capella! Capella, the only one of those celestial bodies that was even in the California skies at 2300, was nowhere near the location of the sighted object, and could not, of course, give the impression of the various maneuvers clearly described by the officers.

Carson subsequently stated, " one will ever convince us that we were witnessing a refraction of light." And to me, he wryly remarked on the Bluebook explanations that "I'd sure hate to take one of my cases into court with such weak arguments." Dr. Menzel (Ref. 9, p. 254) concurs with the Air Force explanations and speaks of this being a night of "fantastic multiple inversions of temperature and humidity," such that he would have expected many more reports of UFOs. I should like to know what radiosonde data Dr. Menzel is citing, since the data I obtained does not fit that description. And any such casual putting-aside of the details of the basic report has no scientific justification in the first place. If Menzel and Bluebook think California Highway Patrolmen draw their 44's in uneasiness over looking at a refracted image of Capella, and misinterpret it as a 100-ft object with huge bright lights hovering over the road nearby, I am afraid I cannot share their readiness to so easily discredit and discount reliable witnesses. When I spoke with Carson a few months ago, I found him still deeply impressed by this incident, over six years after it occurred. "I've never seen anything like it, before or since," he emphasized.

The northern California valley area was the scene of a number of other very interesting sightings in the period August 13-18, many of which NICAP has documented and cited. In my own checking of the Carson-Scott sighting, I ran onto one additional interesting "hidden UFO report" involving a sighting of a low-altitude hovering disc with red lights, seen by a Red Bluff physician during that same period, but will omit details here.

Case 5. Beverly, Mass., April 22, 1966

Just one year ago today, an exceedingly interesting sighting occurred at about 2100-2130, well within a populous urban area, near the intersection of Salem Road and Sohier Road, Beverly, Mass. One of NICAP's most thorough investigators, Raymond E. Fowler of Wenham, Mass., checked this case carefully, and it was from his detailed report to NICAP headquarters that I obtained the supporting information to back up my own interview with one of the key witnesses, Mrs. Claire Modugno. As in all cases worth citing, the full detail is so great that it is impossible to do justice to it in a brief summary such as this.

The incident began when Nancy Modugno, age 11, was frightened by a hovering red light outside her bedroom window. Just as she called to her father, he happened to note that the TV picture he was viewing became scrambled. To quiet the girl's near-hysteria at whatever she had seen, Mrs. Claire Modugno and her two neighbor-women went outside to establish that it was only an airplane light. However, they found instead that about 200 yards from the adjoining intersection, viewed directly across the athletic field of Beverly High School, three brightly lit oval-shaped objects, estimated to be perhaps 20 feet in diameter, were circling in an oddly pulsatory motion directly above the high school building. Mrs. Modugno estimated they were only about 20 feet above the roof, when I queried her on this point. One of the women, Miss Brenda Maria, age 22, whimsically waved her hands as if to beckon them toward the group; one object immediately left the circle and moved towards them, hovering only about 20 feet above one of them. Fowler's full report conveys some of the fright these women evidently felt, and Mrs. Modugno emphatically confirmed this to me. The women ran back to the Modugno home and phoned the Beverly police, who sent a patrol car with two policemen (Officers Bossie and Mahan). Then the two policemen and several neighborhood adults all observed the three unidentified objects, whose movements and location had changed somewhat. The officers got on their radio and called for Air Force jets, but the UFOs moved away before any jets could get there. No Air Force check has ever been made of this case, to Mrs. Modugno's knowledge. This is an example of a case that was not even reported in local newspapers, yet is clearly an incident of great interest. I call attention to the fact that this case contains actions that might be loosely described as "contact" if one interprets the seemingly immediate response of one of the objects to Miss Maria's waving as anything more than adventitious. Other such instances, involving seeming "response" can be cited, though they are too few in number to justify any strong generalizations.

Case 6. Goodland, Kans., March 8, 1967

I have interviewed both Editor Tom Dreiling of the Goodland Daily News and Goodland patrolman Durl Rouse concerning their joint sighting of a torpedo-shaped object that maneuvered over that western Kansas town not many weeks ago. Rouse had been observing the object (or possibly more than a single object) for some time before contacting Dreiling about 0200. It had multicolored flashing lights and an intensely bright beam fore and aft on its 50-60 foot main body. This object is in the category of the non-silent UFOs: it made a noise that Dreiling described as like a "huge vacuum cleaner," adding that he'd never heard any aircraft or helicopter making a noise remotely resembling this. The object passed over the Dreiling residence at an estimated altitude of 1500 ft. Rouse, using field glasses, saw structural details including a central shaft with a red light on top and an odd color-banding. I am unaware of any official explanation of this sighting; Bluebook investigates only cases reported directly to the Air Force.

Case 7. Davis, Calif., February 13, 1967

At about 1915, two young women driving back to their homes in Woodland, Calif., after a Sacramento shopping trip, noted a bright light which both took to be an aircraft landing light at first, before they even exchanged comments on it. As they left the Sacramento Freeway {Hwy. 80) to turn off on Mace Blvd. to head north to Woodland, the object seemed to head for their location, and continued to close with their car until it came to within a (very roughly) estimated 100 yards. By this time, the driver, Miss Karen Prather, and her passenger, Miss Carol Richied, both of whom I interviewed, had become somewhat frightened, and Miss Prather had accelerated to over 80 mph in a futile effort to move out of what had seemed like the diving approach of an aircraft. But as the object approached, both knew it could not be an aircraft, for the "big light" became resolvable into three separate lights in triangular array. Both described these lights as "huge." Just as it appeared that it might move right into their car, the object tipped up, displaying a disc-like base with one central red light and five or six dimmer white lights. As the disc tipped its nearer edge up, it simultaneously executed a quick turn to the southwest and sped off towards Davis, eventually passing out of sight in the lights and haze over that city. No sound was audible over the noise of Miss Prather's speeding Mustang, they stated.

The girls reported the incident immediately to the Woodland office of the California Highway Patrol, and from the latter office it got to the Woodland Daily Democrat. The following day a California Highway Patrolman contacted them and stated to them that they should not take seriously the kidding they were probably receiving, for he had seen an object answering to the same description at about 1945 only about 30 minutes after the girls' sighting. To date I have been unable to secure the name of that officer. A Davis NICAP member is pursuing the case, I understand, and hopes to get an open confirmation of his sighting. Reports that other motorists in the same area saw this object are being investigated, but no other witnesses have been located to date.

Case 8. Near Cincinatti [sic, throughout], Ohio, February 11, 1967

A number of independent sightings on the evening of February 10/11, 1967, in suburban areas north and east of Cincinatti were checked by L.H. Stringfield of that city. After receiving his report, I personally interviewed three witnesses, confirming the highlights of Stringfield's more complete report. At several localities that night, a glowing, reddish, cigar- or football-shaped object was described as moving overhead or hovering. But most interesting were the accounts given to me in telephone interviews with Michael McKee, age 21, and Miss Sharon Hildebrand, age 19.

They had seen what appeared to them as a domed or disc-shaped object hovering over a creek-bed in a wooded area near Milford at about 0145 on the 11th. McKee, using a railroad searchlight he had in his car, illuminated the weakly-glowing object and found it to be highly reflective. No sound came from it as it hovered only an estimated 100 feet away. He started to walk toward it to examine it more closely, but Miss Hildebrand became very frightened and cried to him not to go, so he returned to the car. (McKee felt willing to say to me that he did not need very much persuading to return to the car.) Miss Hildebrand's father mentioned to Stringfield that his daughter was still in a state of shock when the two returned to her home. Police were notified and investigated about an hour later, finding no object, but noting that tree branches were broken off in a roughly circular area matching the 30-ft diameter estimated by the two witnesses.

One of the other witnesses who reported seeing only airborne objects, Mr. George Dover, of Wyoming, Ohio, told me by telephone that he had seen a red-glowing object pass near his house, heading towards the general location of Milford just before 0100 that same night. Other accounts will not be cited here, since I have not personally checked them.

Case 9. Richmond, Va., June 24, 1966

This is another sighting by a law-enforcement officer. In general, one notices the pattern that UFO reports tend to come primarily from persons whose vocation takes them out of doors a great deal or who are engaged in some form of observational work. There are more nighttime UFO observations than daytime observations {reasons unknown), and a substantial number of nighttime cases involve sheriff's deputies, police officers, and watchmen. There is nothing surprising in this.

At about 0330, Richmond patrolman William L. Stevens was cruising on the edge of Richmond when he spotted some yellow and green lights a few hundred feet in the air. Driving closer in his patrol car to secure a better look, he found that the lights appeared to surround the edge of a "dirigible-shaped" object, which he estimated at perhaps 100-125 feet long and over 30 feet in diameter. The lights were alternately green and yellow, in a string around the object, and the entire object seemed to be enveloped in a haze or mist of some unusual nature.

As he neared it, the object moved off ahead of him. He continued following and stayed with it for over six miles before it accelerated and sped away. When I interviewed Stevens by phone, he stated that it moved as if it "were playing a game" with him, always maintaining about the same lead-distance ahead of him, despite his altering speed several times. At one point he was driving at 110 mph. Two other officers in Henrico County also reported seeing moving lights in that area at that general time, but no other witnesses reported seeing the object at as close a range as did Stevens. A young couple reported a somewhat similar object north of Newport News that night. This case was reported in the Richmond News Leader some weeks later (July 21); Stevens feared ridicule and had not volunteered a report earlier.

As a postscript to this latter point, and further commentary on the widely encountered sensitivity to ridicule that has evolved from years of "explanations" by Bluebook, plus hometown newspaper ridicule growing out of the mismatch between original citizens' reports and subsequent Air Force statements, I might quote from a clipping that happens just to have come across my desk. Capt. Jack Brown, of the Shasta, Calif. police force, is quoted in the Redding, Calif., Record Searchlight for Feb. 17, 1967, concerning some unusual sightings he and other local police officers have made recently in the Shasta area. I omit the sightings, since I have not checked them, but note that Brown is quoted, in a purely matter-of-fact way as saying "he knows what has happened to other law officers who reported seeing flying saucers: They were ruined by the publicity." That may be a bit too strong; but I know from much personal experience in interviewing witnesses that witness after witness has been embittered by callous Air Force discrediting of their accounts. It's high time that this pattern was terminated. It will be terminated only when some truly competent personnel not committed to UFO-debunking are made responsible for investigations.

Case 10. Randolph, Vt., January 4, 1965

This was another case originally checked out by NICAP investigator R.E. Fowler. At about 1715, Dr. Richard S. Woodruff, Vermont State Pathologist and Professor, College of Medicine, University of Vermont, was returning to Burlington from grand jury testimony in Brattleboro. His driver was a Vermont State Trooper whose name has been released to NICAP but not released publicly. Driving north between Bethel and Randolph, on Hwy. 12, the two suddenly noticed a sharply-defined round object, glowing with a reddish-orange light, streaking across their path at perhaps 200 feet above terrain. It passed from west to east in a matter of seconds, making no noise audible over their own engine noise. No sooner had it passed out of sight to their east than a second similar glowing object streaked past, and finally a third, the total duration of the sighting being only about 30 seconds. They estimated the distance to the objects at one-half to one mile; but in the twilight, their estimates, according to Dr. Woodruff, with whom I have discussed the incident, were probably not too reliable. Both were entirely certain these were not aircraft or astronomical objects, and they noted that the objects climbed slightly as they moved eastward. The angular diameter corresponded to a baseball at arm's length or perhaps a bit larger, according to these witnesses; i.e., many times the angular diameter of the moon. The skies were clear and stars were visible. Four men driving in another car on the same highway reported seeing three similar objects at about the same time and place, and gave generally similar descriptions, as did also H.E. Wheatley, Chairman of the Randolph Board of Selectmen, who saw the phenomenon while driving about a mile north of Bethel.

NICAP obtained from Maj. Marston M. Jacks, of the Pentagon Office of Information, on January 27, 1965, the Bluebook evaluation: meteors of the Quadrantid meteor stream. Actually the radiant-point of this stream was, at that time, about on the NNW point of these observers' horizon, so any Quadrantids moving in the east-to-west manner described by all witnesses would have been invisible due to the very trees above whose tops these three glowing objects were observed moving. Secondly, the reported angular diameters are completely out of accord with that of stream meteors, and the passage of three such objects along essentially identical trajectories within 30 seconds or so strains the meteor hypothesis still further. Dr. Woodruff, emphasizing that he is quite familiar with meteor phenomena stated, in comment on the Bluebook evaluation, "If I had thought that there was any possibility that the three objects we saw were meteors, I never would have mentioned the matter."

Case 11. Cherry Creek, N.Y., August 19, 1965

This is a case where I have not been able to make contact with the principal witnesses by phone, but a rather thorough NICAP report is available, and even more interesting, this is one of the small fraction of all cases which Bluebook has put in its officially Unexplained category. Finally, it illustrates a phenomenon found in so many UFO cases that it cannot be ignored: panic reactions among animals in the vicinity of a close-range UFO. I have a special file of such animal-reaction cases, which I am assembling because these cases seem to have strong bearing on the question of whether the UFO observations are some quirk of human psychology, or as Jung once suggested, "psychic projections of archetypal images." If cows, horses, dogs, pigs, cats, and birds share our archetypal images and psychically project them, then perhaps I'm wrong in suggesting these cases rule out purely psychological explanations of the UFO phenomena. To date, however, I have found no psychologists who are willing to go so far as to suggest that bovine, canine, and equine archetypal images are identical with ours.

At about 2020, on August 19th, Harold Butcher, age 16, was milking on his parents' farm. He had a transistor radio tuned to a news program, and was using a tractor to power the milking machine. Suddenly, several things happened almost simultaneously: Static-like interference rose in his radio, the tractor motor stopped, and a bull tethered outside in the barnyard began stamping and bellowing (making a noise "like I have never heard come from an animal before," as the boy said it). Looking out the barn window, Butcher saw a large elliptical object descending to the ground, about a quarter-mile away, making an audible beep-beep sound. The object, which he said was about 50 ft long and football shaped, remained on the ground for only a few seconds before shooting straight up into the clouds overhead. When he yelled for members of his family to come out, they noted a strange odor, a peculiar greenish glow in the clouds into which the boy stated that the object had disappeared, and they found that the bull which had been tethered to a steel bar had bent the steel bar in his efforts to get loose.

Mrs. Butcher phoned state police, and before they arrived the object had been briefly sighted again by four persons. USAF officers from nearby Niagara Falls AFB investigated the case. A purplish liquid of unknown nature was found at the spot Harold indicated he had seen the object first touch down (or seem to touch down). The tall grass was disturbed in that area and singed in some places. Two track-like soil depressions were found. On the next night, State Trooper Richard Ward saw an object with eight circular lights, flying at a speed which he put at double that of typical jets yet emitting only a faint purring sound. His sighting was made only a few miles from the Butcher farm.

The Air Force report notes that milk production from the Butcher dairy herd fell to less than half its previous value after this sighting and stayed low for some days. It might be mentioned that there are three cases on record of cattle being stampeded by nearby UFOs, and a Clarinda, Iowa, farmer whom I have interviewed about an object which was reported as landing on his farm, said that his cows fled to the farthest available area within his fenced pasture and would not return for several days to the corner in which the object had landed. There are many cases of extreme reactions in dogs that were present when UFOs were cited. In the Sept. 3, 1965, Exeter, N.H., incident, horses started stamping and kicking their stalls at almost exactly the same instant as Officer Bertrand and young Muscarello spotted the object coming in over trees at the Dining farm. Bertrand, when I asked him, was unsure whose reaction was first, his or the horses.

Case 12. Dexter, Mich., March 20, 1966

It was Frank Mannor's dogs who first reacted to the glowing object that became the center of the famous "swamp gas" controversy of last spring. Mannor, on going outdoors to see why his dogs were barking so unusually at 2000, spotted a luminous object "coming down at a forty-five," towards a nearly wooded swamp. The object reportedly hovered momentarily and then descended below his line of vision. With his son, he walked out towards the spot, and spotted it again, glowing in the swamp, several hundreds of yards ahead. He stated that it seemed to be sitting in a patch of mist, about 10 feet off terrain, was domed in shape, and had a coral-like or quilted structure to its surface. Suddenly the light turned blood-red and then blinked out, according to the accounts of Mannor and his son. In the meantime, others had been summoned, including police, some of whom reported seeing the glowing object in the swampy wooded area.

(I have tried twice to reach Mannor by phone to confirm details of his sighting. The first time his wife informed me he was not talking to anyone as a result of all the ridicule he had received. The second time, their phone was unlisted or disconnected. I have heard a NICAP taped interview with Mannor in which he confirms the main features as reported in the press and corrects Life's erroneous drawings of the shape of the object that he saw. It had a flat bottom, he stressed.)

At a large press conference, Bluebook scientific consultant Dr. J.A. Hynek, proposed that all this was due to swamp gas. The source he cited for his authority was Minnaert, a Dutch astronomer, whose book mentions will-of-the-wisp but goes way back to an early 19th century scientist to find a corroborating witness. Swamp gas is methane, and it remains a chemical mystery how it sometimes ignites by natural processes, giving evanescent flickering flames a few inches high over marshy areas, mainly in summer when chemical reaction rates are high. A colleague who earned his Ph.D. collecting salamanders in that very area said he'd never once seen swamp gas burning, even in the summer when production rates are maximal. The Dexter case involved a luminous object "the size of an automobile" described as descending into the swamps and then glowing so brightly it was visible for hundreds of yards away through the brush and trees, scarcely a close fit to swamp gas. Furthermore, low temperatures at that time of year could support only extremely low methane production rates, and the winds that night were about 5 mph, which would have precluded accumulations of more than trace amounts under any conditions.

Probably no one UFO "explanation" has brought the Air Force more ridicule than this swamp gas case. "Swamp gas" has become almost a symbol of public ridicule of the Bluebook contribed [sic] explanations. I attempted many months ago to persuade Bluebook to change that to an Unidentified, but was emphatically told by Maj. Quintanilla that any changes would have to come from Dr. Hynek, not him, since the Air Force had absolutely nothing to do with that one. Dr. Hynek, when I then pressed him to consider retracting it on his own, indicated that perhaps that might be a good idea, but has not done so to date.

Case 13. Damon, Texas, September 3, 1965

Less than 24 hours after the Exeter incident, two Brazoria County deputy sheriffs were cruising near Damon, Texas, when they spotted what they first took to be a gas-well fire in the distance. But as the lights separated and then floated up into the air, Deputies Billy E. McCoy and Robert W. Goode took increased interest. They decided to drive via back roads to investigate, and had pulled over to the side to check again with binoculars when suddenly the lights seemed almost instantaneously to shoot towards them and stop over a field only about 150 feet from them at an altitude of perhaps 100 feet above the field. I have interviewed both men, and despite their being experienced law enforcement officers, they did not conceal the fact that this sudden approach and the astonishing size of the object frightened both of them.

The object was extremely large; one compared it to the size of a football field, the other put its length as 200 feet or more. Its vertical thickness at its domed center section they thought to be 40 to 50 feet. A very bright purple light on the object illuminated not only the ground near the object, but even the inside of the patrol car. Goode was driving, and his left arm was on the outside of the car. Despite the covering of a shirt and coat, he sensed heating of the exposed arm in the moment before they darted off as fast as the patrol car could go. McCoy looked back as Goode drove off, and the object was seen to shoot off at high speed back in the direction from which it came, and then veer upwards and disappear aloft. The Bluebook office assembled data on the location of the star Antares and on local inversions, and at one stage this was their tentative explanation for this highly un-astronomical sighting. But the final evaluation that now stands for this one is Unidentified.

Yearly, and sometimes in between, Bluebook puts out assurances that in the (tiny fraction of cases in their) Unidentified cases are none that "defy explanation in present-day scientific and technological terms." When one examines some of the officially Unidentified cases like the Damon Case, or the Exeter or Cherry Creek, or the famous Socorro case, or any of a number of other officially Unknown cases that are not remotely like anything in our present-day technological or scientific knowledge, one wonders just what Bluebook's frequently-reiterated phraseology is supposed to mean.

Case 14. Salt Lake City, Utah, October 2, 1961

A multiple-witness daytime sighting of a solid, metallic-looking disc was headline news in the Salt Lake Tribune of October 3, 1961, though wire editors didn't take it seriously. A Salt Lake insurance man, Waldo J. Harris, flying his private plane, took off from Utah Central Airport at almost exactly noon. During his engine run-up on Runway 160, he casually noticed what he thought to be a plane a number of miles off to the south-southeast. After lift-off, he noticed it again in the same apparent spot. After climbing out and turning out of the pattern, he happened to notice it a third time, and this time became puzzled that it had not altered its apparent location appreciably. He thought perhaps it was doing tight S-turns, he told me in an interview with him some months ago, and he might not have paid further attention to it except for the fact that suddenly it executed the first of several "wobbling" maneuvers and glinted brightly in the noon sun, giving him a sharper impression of shape. It looked disc-like, he thought. But still being unsure, he flew towards it and climbed to 6000 ft. When he got within an estimated 2-3 miles of it, at the same altitude as the object, he confirmed his impression that it was like two saucers, in lenticular over-all outline. It appeared motionless in midair at his flight altitude, and at one important point it lay between him and distant Mt. Nebo, so that he was viewing it against the distant mountain background.

He tried to close further, but suddenly the object abruptly shot upwards, by an estimated 1000 ft, and as he closed still further, it began moving southwards at a considerably faster speed than his, and then again seemed to hover perhaps 8-10 miles away from him. When he continued towards it, but long before he came close again, the object suddenly shot upwards at extremely high speed towards the southwest and climbed out of sight.

At the time that he first discerned its non-conventional shape, Harris had radioed back to the Utah central Airport and requested that personnel there get binoculars and examine the object from the ground. A total of seven ground observers confirmed the general features of his sightings. These included Mr. and Mrs. Jay Galbraith, who operate the airport, Robert Butler, a mechanic, Virgil Redmond, and several others. The rocking motion as the object hovered was confirmed by the ground observers. A number of other observed details will be omitted here.

The original Bluebook explanation, released by the Pentagon press desk, was that Harris had seen either a balloon or Venus. I discussed balloons with Harris at some length; he obviously had seen a lot of them, large and small, in his flying experience. He was quite positive that a balloon was out of question. He said that when he was first told that a Pentagon Air Force spokesman had suggested it was Venus he was viewing, he had pointed out again that his account emphasized that at one stage of the sighting the object clearly lay at his 6000-ft altitude, between him and distant terrain. He said that, at the time of that Air Force announcement, he had made some jaundiced public statement to the effect that he's a bit worried about the safety of our nation if there are people down there in the Pentagon who think you can fit Venus into the Salt Lake Valley, between him and Mt. Nebo.

I had checked the present status of the Harris report, at Bluebook in June, 1966, and proceeded to tell him that it is now officially classed as a "sundog." I shall not repeat his comments.

One can easily take this sighting and show how unreasonable both the "Venus" and "sundog" explanations are. Venus lay in the southwest sky at an angular altitude well above Harris' horizon, and would be quite difficult to spot without diligent searching. But Harris saw the object towards the south-southeast, "right down Runway 160", and it was on his horizon when he had climbed to 6000 ft. Similarly the sundog explanation is nonsensical. The altitude of the noon sun at Salt Lake City that day was about 40°, and sundogs, if there had been any, would have occurred to right and left at essentially that same angular altitude, far above the position in the sky where Harris and others saw the object hovering. Furthermore, the skies were almost cloudless, the observers emphasized. This case is just one more of hundreds of glaring examples of casually erroneous Bluebook explanations put out by untrained men and passed on to the press and public by PIO's who are equally untrained and cannot recognize elementary scientific absurdities when they see them. Yet just this kind of balderdash has left the bulk of the public with the impression that UFOs can't exist since the Air Force has disproved virtually all the reports they've ever received.

Case 15. Central Indiana, October 3, 1958

In the records are many (probably well over two hundred) cases where UFOs "buzzed" cars, and there are also several instances, from various parts of the world, where unidentified objects have passed over railroad trains in a manner suggesting something more than random coincidence. One interesting example involves a Monon Railroad freight train that was repeatedly overflown by four glowing discs during a protracted episode early on October 3, 1958. I have interviewed three of the five train crewmen, confirming details to be found in the NICAP report and in a more complete account by Frank Edwards, who originally investigated the sighting. It is a very involved sighting, since the objects followed the train, maneuvering back and forth near it for an hour and ten minutes; hence only a sparse outline will be given here.

The objects were first sighted a bit after 0300, well ahead of the train, crossing the path of the southbound freight as it was near Wasco, Indiana. Cecil Bridge, fireman, sighted them first, and quickly pointed them out to the engineer, Harry Eckman, and another crewman in the cab, Morris Ott. Shortly thereafter, the objects executed a turn and came in towards the train obliquely, passing right overhead at a height estimated at something like 100 feet or so. The men in the cab had radioed the caboose crew, and conductor Ed Robinson in the caboose cupola told me that he was looking right down the line of cars as the four disc-like things swept over the train. He estimated their diameters as 30-40 feet. My interviews with Eckman, Bridge, and Robinson cannot be fully summarized because all of the maneuvers that then unfolded would take too much space to recount. At one time the train was switching cars at Frankfort, Ind., and during the 10-15 minutes operation, Robinson said that the objects seemed to have "landed" a mile or so back up the line. He could make out sparks or glowing lights, but not much detail. After the train resumed motion, the objects followed them again, and did not break off and leave until the train reached the vicinity of Kirklin, Ind. I checked carefully whether there was substance in reports that they had been told to keep quiet about this sighting; all three emphatically denied this. They had not been interrogated by any USAF personnel about this sighting. I believe I am correct in saying that no wire-story coverage on this important case was ever filed.

Case 16. Washington National Airport, July 19 and 26, 1952

One does not have the full picture on UFOs and their official investigation until he has studied carefully many of the cases in the later 1949's and early 1950's, prior to the 1953 turning-point of the Robertson Panel and CIA debunking order. In the past year, I have rather carefully gone over several dozen important cases from that period, and have run down witnesses in many of them. In the case of the Washington Airport incidents, I have never located any witnesses for personal inter- views, but the basic facts of this most famous of all UFO episodes are well attested in press records which I have gone over, so personal interviews are not so crucial here.

I shall not attempt a full recounting, since so much went on that even a chapter in Ruppelt's book (Ref. 1) does not do justice to it. The principal points deserving emphasis are these: Unknown returns were picked up on as many as three separate radars in the Washington area, at times all three sets having compatible echoes. Visual observations of these fast-moving objects were made from ground and air, especially the latter. Despite frantic confusion on both of these two occasions, the record is moderately clear as to who saw what and where. The CAA radar controllers, to this day, insist that the echoes were good hard echoes, quite unlike familiar ground-returns caused by anomalous propagation under inversions. The official explanation put out at the time was that the radar returns were due to anomalous propagation, and the visual sightings were caused by refraction effects due to the same inversions responsible for the radar anomalies.

I have examined the radiosonde data for both nights, have computed the refractive index gradients, and find that, after making allowance for lag effects in the radiosonde, radar ducting could not have occurred. The suggestion that an inversion of the sort exhibited by the radiosonde data for that night at Washington caused the reported visual effects is absolutely absurd. First of all, the inversion was a very weak one by mirage standards, so that even the ground observers could not have seen mirages. But worse, the optics of mirages and the "optics" of radar ground returns are significantly different in several respects, so that false targets would not seem to lie in the same place in the sky to a visual observer and a radar observer. Furthermore, the most important visual observations were not on the ground but in the air by several commercial pilots (and even by one jet pilot who was vectored close to one of the radar targets moving over the capitol). Finally the temperature data aloft at aircraft altitude were not even remotely capable of producing anything like what was described by the pilots.

These 1952 "explanations" have never since been challenged, and the summary analysis of this case that Bluebook still sends out when queried on the case is a verbatim assemblage of the hasty remarks made by frantic officers trying to get the Air Force off the hook in that tight squeeze of July, 1952. I even found a passage in the currently distributed case summary which asserts that "unfortunately the only day for which weather data was obtained was for 26 July 1952," precisely the assertion I found appearing on a memo dated 29 August 1952 from Capt. James (a radar officer) to Capt. Ruppelt (copy of memo in Bluebook file on this case). But, amusingly, a dozen sheets of dog-eared paper further on in this very same file that Maj. Quintanilla gave me, I found the allegedly missing Weather Bureau radiosonde data for July 19! When I plotted it, it became quite clear that no anomalous propagation could have produced the solid radar returns so emphatically described to the press by the experienced CAA radarmen on duty that night.

Donald Keyhoe, in one of his books, vividly describes the press conference at which all this misinformation was put out to press, Congress, and public. Several reporters had asked a few questions of knowledgeable radarmen and tried to object that the weather data simply did not support the Air Force claim of ground-returns; but their objecting questions were cut off.

Case 17. Mount Rainier, June 24, 1947

On the basis of several extended telephone discussions with Kenneth Arnold, the private pilot who reported this era-opening UFO sighting, and on the basis of examination of weather data for that day, I must categorically reject the long-standing Air Force explanation that this was a "mirage." Dr. Menzel, in his second book, also subscribes to this hypothesis. The radiosonde data for that date show no strong inversion aloft of the type that would be required to produce even a mild mirage; but there's no indication that either Bluebook or Menzel used any quantitative considerations in arriving at their explanation. Furthermore, Arnold described the objects as slowly climbing as they fluttered along at high speed from the Mt. Rainier area to near Mt. Adams, a roughly 45-mile distance which he timed them covering at a speed of about 1500 miles per hour. (Scientists will be amused to be told that in the official Bluebook summary analysis, this speed is quoted as "1656.71 miles per hour." At first the objects were viewed by Arnold against outlier peaks on Mt. Rainer: that put their altitude at roughly the same as his flight altitude of about 9500 feet. But by the time the discs reached the Mt. Adams area, Arnold stated that the lead objects in the string of nine had ascended to perhaps 13,000 to 14,000 feet near Adams. That much altitude increase implies so large an increase of angular altitude that the possibility of naturally occurring inversion accounting for these apparitions on a mirage basis is wholly out of the question. And beyond all this, one has to ask just what Bluebook and Menzel would like to suggest as the real objects whose images were refractively distorted into these moving discs? Their azimuth changed position by almost ninety degrees in the roughly minute and a half that Arnold watched them skim past him. To suggest that he was watching an azimuthally moving mirage through such a sector is patently absurd. Yet this is only more of the same type of absurdity that marks many more "explanations" in Bluebook files and in Menzel's books.

Case 18. White Sands, April 24, 1949

Charles B. Moore, Jr., working with several assistants, was taking pilot balloon observations of upper winds, as a part of a high-altitude balloon flight that day. Through a series of steps that will not be fully recounted here, they spotted and began tracking with their theodolite a whitish elliptical-shaped object that was moving at high angular velocity from southwest to northeast. In about 60 seconds this object moved off to the northeast, and just before passing out of sight in the 25-power telescope, its altitude angle began to slowly increase! Another balloon was immediately released to double-check the winds, but no high-speed upper jet was present to blow anything along at anything like this object's speed. I have discussed this early sighting with Moore several times. Dr. Menzel easily accounts for the whole thing on p. 33 of Ref. B: "What Moore saw was an out-of-focus and badly astigmatic image of the balloon above," caused, he seems to tell his reader, by "lenses of air" aloft. Nonsense.

Space does not permit touching here on even a fraction of the significant early sightings that should have turned Air Force scientists toward serious attention to the UFO problem as early as 1950. Those cases can be found, in quantity, in Ref. 3, and many are fairly well treated in Ref. 1. The evidence, viewed in retrospect, is strong that unconventional objects have been around for 20 neglected years, their general nature not altering significantly in that period. I cannot begin now to pursue that extremely important related question: What about prior to 1947? But, in brief, the answer to that appears to be that there are observations extending back to before the turn of the century that seem so similar to 1967 UFO observations that it is probable that the UFOs have been present for decades. Needless to say, if this is proved true (or highly probable) by more complete analysis of the old records, it has exceedingly important consequences.


As reports such as the examples just cited have come in over the years, editorial criticisms of official UFO investigations have not been absent. There has been a small, but steady, flow of editorial questioning as to whether the Air Force is really looking into this problem adequately. Occasionally these comments have carried real barbs. NICAP, in its bi-monthly bulletin, The UFO Investigator, reprints editorial remarks from time to time. Since ASNE members will find these of interest, I insert a number extracted from the NICAP publication and other sources at this point:

"If I had any doubts about the public's interest in Unidentified Flying Objects, I've put them aside...What it boils down to is that many, many persons agree with NICAP's hypothesis that the UFOs are real objects'...'under the control of living beings.'" - Charles H. Ball, Aviation Editor, Boston Traveler.

"Do you ever get the feeling that when it comes to flying saucers, the Air Force makes its denials six months in advance?" - Seattle Times.

"...the public is entitled to the best answers available. Possibly a national hearing on the matter, long sought by dedicated saucer-watchers, wouldn't be too bad an idea." - Springfield, Ohio, Sun.

"The Air Force says all sightings can be explained in terms of known phenomena and then adds that it can't explain 633 of the reports it has had. Which reminds us of the English Astronomer Royal, who spoke up in 1957 just before the Soviet Union startled the world with its first Sputnik Launching: 'Space travel is utter bilge.'" - Dallas Morning News

"If we can whiz things at the moon and other planets, it is possible that other planets are whizzing things by earth...There are many reports in USAF files made by qualified pilots who, in flight, have encountered UFOs with fantastic flight patterns. These officers are not quacks, nor are many of the intelligent people who have spotted phenomenal objects in the sky." - Meriden, Conn., Journal.

"If some of these flying objects are indeed planetary spacecraft, it is logical to assume that governmental officials, assuming they do have such evidence, may be keeping the news quiet for fear that a sudden disclosure might have drastic emotional and economic effects." - Medford, Oregon, Mail Tribune.

"They can stop kidding us now about there being no such things as 'flying saucers.'" - Ft. Worth Star-Telegram.

"The subject of UFOs remains not only an area of sustained interest but one which legitimately demands additional investigation." - Wichita Eagle.

"We think that the time has come when the Air Force's knowledge of these objects and the results of the investigations which have been carried out should be made public." - Coos Bay, Oregon, World.

"...but whatever the reason may be why the Air Force spokesmen are becoming less vocal...the time is Long overdue for the Government to disclose to the public all that it knows about UFOs." - Alameda, Calif., Times-Star.

"Attempts to dismiss the reported sightings under the rationale exhibited by Project Bluebook won't solve the mystery, however, and serve only to heighten the suspicion that there's something out there the Air Force doesn't want us to know about. If Project Bluebook officials want the UFOs to go away they'd be well advised to wish on another star." - Richmond, Virginia, News-Leader.

"There is a strong belief that the military chiefs know more about unidentified flying objects than they are letting on, but are keeping it a well-guarded secret so as not to panic the public." - Shawville, Quebec, Entity.

"It's about time for Congress to hold a public investigation of this mystery....The Air Force is still adamant: everybody is imagining things." - Houston Chronicle.

"The time is Long overdue for a candid disclosure of findings." - Aurora, Illinois, Beacon-News.

"...well-conducted congressional inquiry an help establish the facts and quiet needless public alarm." - Indianapolis News.

"If there is any substantial evidence that any of the sightings can be attributed to objects either intra- or extra-planetary, the Air Force should reveal it to us." - Cincinatti Enquirer.

In those sample quotes one notes an undercurrent of concern that perhaps UFOs are not being investigated adequately. Within just the past month or so a large number of UFO sightings of very unusual nature near Houston, Texas, have evoked similar comments, brought out in a good series on the problem that has run in the Houston Tribune. People down there are beginning to ask whether anyone is really checking into all these phenomena sightings.

I base my comment on a year's detailed inquiry when I say that the answer is that no one in our Government has been taking the problem seriously enough to carry out an adequate investigation. An uneasy citizenry will find, when the facts are out, that their reports were ignored and ridiculed and forgotten.

Note in the quoted editorials a recurrence of the hypothesis that officials at high levels do know about the UFOs and are guarding the public from some panic-triggering news. This is so far from the true situation that I find the suggestion laughable. Nobody in Washington is protecting anyone from panic. The Air Force, NASA, august scientific bodies, and all the rest, know the UFOs are a lot of nonsense.

There is no hidden truth to be disclosed because the agency assigned the responsibility to check the problem of the unidentified flying objects has incompetently done its job, has fallen victim to its own propaganda in the past dozen years, and has misled us all, since 1953.

The quotes above contain a number of pleas for a truly thorough Congressional investigation. This, I now believe, is the only approach at all capable of quickly escalating scientific study of the UFO problem to the top-level status I believe it warrants. And no stimulus for Congressional inquiry would be as potent as some firm editorial pressure from all sides of the country.


Scattered through the comments just cited, one finds remarks indicating that there may be a few editors who are speculating on whether the UFOs are terrestrial in origin.

I believe, on the basis of my intensive study of the UFO problem, that this hypothesis must, in fact, now be given extremely serious scientific attention.

Let me hasten to interject that I am quite familiar with all of the standard reasons as to why this hypothesis seems very remote. The solar system seems to harbor no good niches for evolution of sentient life. Recent disclosures of the lack of magnetic fields near Mars and Venus, demonstrations of the extreme tenuity of the Martian atmosphere and of the high temperatures of the Venusian atmosphere, and all else that we know of our neighbor-planets seem s to argue cogently that the solar system is a most unlikely place to generate a second life-system in addition to ours -- certainly unlikely to have a life-system that has gone far past us.

Within the past half-dozen years it has, somewhat amusingly, become scientifically respectable to take as axiomatic that in the billions of stellar systems within just our Galaxy alone, life must have evolved again and again, taking routes that may have gone far beyond our present civilization, culture, and technology. One can now say that safely in a scientific assemblage. But all that sentient life must be said to be way out there -- not here!

The principle scientific objection to thinking that we might (ever) be visited by being from other stellar systems is tied up with the energetics of propulsion. Edward Purcell, of Harvard, has presented a delightfully devastating analysis of the difficulties of interstellar travel (Ref. 18, p. 121 ff). I certainly am not one to give substantial rebuttal to his arguments except in one lame (but conceivably relevant) way. All of his and many others' arguments against feasibility of interstellar travel are necessarily couched in terms of present-day scientific knowledge and technology. To be sure, Purcell's type of argument seems to grant every benefit of doubt to the other side by looking far into the foreseeable future and still demolishes the idea of interstellar travel. But that adjective, "foreseeable," may be just the rub. Perhaps there are levels of technology so vastly superior to any we can now imagine that things can be done which we now regard as quite out of the question. Clearly, that is an easy argument, by which one could soon be saying that everything and anything is possible. I certainly do not resort to such arguments in my everyday work, and I should like to add that I don't care for science-fictioneering in general.

But after a year of scrutiny of highly unconventional phenomena credibly reported from all parts of this country and (I believe) from most of the entire world, I have been driven to consider possibilities that I'd ordinarily not give a moment's thought to in my own personal brand of orthodoxy. It is the UFO evidence that slowly forces the diligent UFO student to seriously consider the extraterrestrial hypothesis -- evidence that I can only describe as extraordinary in its total nature. (I must confess that my chosen examples exclude a large amount of UFO phenomena that experience teaches me to omit from any brief discussion. It is simply too baffling to lay before unprepared audiences.)

All over the globe persons in all walks of life, representing a wide range of educational and cultural backgrounds are reporting, often in the face of unpleasant ridicule, sightings of objects that appear to be completely real objects yet have characteristics that match nothing about which we have present knowledge. There are still a few persons who suspect these things must be secret Air Force test vehicles. They can forget that: no test pi lot would ever dream of doing the things that these objects are repeatedly doing - hovering over speeding trucks loaded with gasoline, maneuvering low over populated areas, speeding alongside Texas sheriff's cars or diving down on top of trucks and tractors and motorbikes and trains. No American test vehicles would be checked out in Australia and Poland; no Russian test vehicles would be flight-tested in Canada or Brazil. The UFOs are most definitely not secret test vehicles of superlative nature. Arnold's June 1947 sighting involved phenomena not dissimilar from 1967 sightings. No nation came out of World War II with a secret aerodynamic technology that could have produced the craft that Arnold and hundreds of others were looking at in the summer of 1947. And then there is the whole chapter that I am here omitting concerning the pre-1947 sightings that go back to before the Wright Brothers.

And I cannot accept the psychological explanations, to which I have felt obliged to return again and again for further checking and further discussion with colleagues in psychology and related fields. My conclusion: Objects that rock aircraft at times, that leave dents in soil and railroad ties, and splash when they dive into bodies of water are not likely to be projection phenomena. And all of the animal reactions argue rather strongly against human illusory or hallucinatory explanations. Multiple-witness cases rule out hallucinations, essentially by definition. Much more could be said, but armchair speculations about psychological interpretations don't hold much weight when one goes over the whole picture very carefully.

Other alternative hypotheses of hoax, fraud and fabrication account for a few, but a percentually negligible number of UFO cases. Misinterpreted meteorological and astronomical observations and the like do account for lots of poor UFO reports, but experienced investigators learn to recognize these almost at a glance and dismiss them from further attention. It is the detailed, close-range sightings by persons whose reliability cannot be brought into serious question that carry the great weight, These are on the increase, it appears. And it seems that sightings in urban areas are on the increase. Almost no urban sightings can be found in the records for sightings of the late 1940's. In the past year there have been dozens of them. What does this all mean? What is happening? If you wish to know, do not ask Project Bluebook.

Pacing of aircraft and buzzing of cars goes on rather steadily. These cases so strongly suggest something vaguely resembling surveillance or reconnaissance that the student of the problem is forced to weigh the possibility that the UFOs are probes of some type that are engaged in something that we would loosely call "observation." There are many other categories of sightings suggesting the same tentative hypothesis. How can this be? There is, in my present opinion, no sensible alternative to the utterly shocking hypothesis that the UFOs are extraterrestrial probes from somewhere else.


We are 20 years behind in scientific study of this question. Science has been assured so long that the Air Force has been studying the problem that scientists are not likely to suddenly start studying the UFO problem without new pressures to do so.

Probably nothing short of a full-scale Congressional investigation can put on record the abysmal shortcomings of the program that lay behind those 20 years of assurances.

An adequate Congressional investigation can come only from outside pressures -- which will not soon emanate from science.

You members of the American Society of Newspaper Editors are in an ideal position to generate the pressures necessary to force Congressional investigation that will awaken scientists here and abroad to the real state of the UFO problem.

And then, but only then, will the problem receive the attention of the outstanding scientists of the world -- who should have been devoting their efforts to unraveling this extraordinary problem for all of those twenty years that we have been ignoring this problem.

It has become my conviction that the problem of the unidentified flying objects is, indeed, the greatest scientific problem of our time.

And with that now said, the speaker's portion for tonight comes to an end.


Above: Dr. McDonald's speaking schedule for the period October 5, 1966 to March 26, 1968 on the subject of anomalous aerial phenomena. He would continue speaking publicly on the phenomenon for three more years.

IN THE END, the panel discussion itself did result in some favorable press attention, in the form of an Associated Press national wire story -- as from the Bridgeport, Connecticut, Telegram...

Scientist Urges Editors To Demand UFO Probe

WASHINGTON (AP) --The American Society of Newspaper Editors heard an Arizona physicist demand Saturday a Congressional investigation of unidentified flying objects because the Air Force, he said, has handled its UFO investigation "superficially and incompetently."

But the 550 editors at ASNE's annual convention also heard Harvard University astronomer attribute flying saucer sighting over the centuries to natural phenomena, optical effects, the chemistry of the human eye, mass hallucinations and hoaxes.

'Not Unidentified'

"The UFOs are not unidentified, they often are not flying and many are not even objects." said Dr. Donald H. Menzel, Harvard professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics and former president of the American Astrophysical Society.

His challenger was Dr. James E. McDonald, senior physicist in Arizona University's Institute of Atmospheric Physics.

He has specialized in research on UFOs.

"This is not a nonsense problem," McDonald asserted.

"I urge you editors to ask a full and fair Congressional investigation of the past 20 years of UFO mishandling by the Air Force.

"We need an immediate escalation of attention to this problem, and the investigation should be handled by a scientific agency, not a military agency.

'Astonishing Picture'

"The heart of the problem is the ridicule lid. You newspaper editors who are sitting on the lid should get off it and get you wire service people off it. Bring about a Congressional investigation, you will find an astonishing picture that has been mishandled far too long."

The Air Force was represented on the ASNE panel by Major Hector Quintanilla Jr., in charge of "Project Blue Book This is the Air Force team responsible for tracking down UFO sightings.

Both McDonald and Menzel had criticism for the Air Force performance in this field, but Quintanilla contented himself with explaining how investigations are made and summarizing the conclusions to date -- that there has been no indication that UFOs threaten the national security; that no evidence has been found of phenomena beyond the range of present knowledge; and there is no evidence that any UFOs have been vehicles from outer space.

Lists Sightings

McDonald submitted to the editors a 28-page study listing many sightings which he held to be unexplained as natural phenomena. He assured the editors:

"When Project Blue Book tells you there is nothing in the sightings that defies present-day scientific explanation, that is just balderdash -- many cases have occurred which defy all scientific explanation.

"I have investigated also suggestions that UFOs are the result of a conspiracy, and have rejected that idea. I don't think it's a grand cover-up, I think it. is a grand foul-up."

Menzel noted that UFOs go far back into history, but once were considered "golden chariots, fire dragons, or even the devil himself." Now the "UFO buffs ask us to adopt a new legend to account for them," the astronomer said.

Menzel said he believes there may be intelligent life elsewhere in the universe, but the closest planet possibly inhabitable by intelligent beings is so many light years away that if a message were sent to it today, it would take 2,000 years to get a reply.

Says Mistakes Made

He agreed with McDonald that the Air Force has made mistakes, has failed to follow up some important sightings , and has phrased its questionnaires to those who reported UFO's "In such a way as to invite incorrect answers."

But he noted that the files contain thousands of solved cases, including many cases of error by trained experts like airline pilots who have mistaken fire balls or meteors 100 or more miles away for UFOs approaching so close as to seem destined for collision.

Many pilots have tried to intercept the objects, but always have failed, Menzel said, and eventually the object always gets farther away and finally disappears. Many cases of UFO sightings appear to result from the reflection of the sun on ice crystals, which, to a pilot observer, appear to perform evasive action, Menzel said.

Mostly Material Objects

But, he said, 9 out of every 10 solved cases prove to have been material objects in the atmosphere -- planes, children's balloons, weather or scientific balloons so high that they reflect sunlight while the earth is still dark, bits of paper, plastic bags, swarms of insects, saucer- shaped clouds and dust devils -- "all have contributed their share of UFO sightings."

At the close of the discussion, editors aimed questions at the participants. Editor Frederic S. Marquardt of the Arizona Republic asked Menzel, if he had been teaching astronomy in 1491, whether he would have advised Queen Isabella to give Christopher Columbus money for his proposed exploration.

"I would have urged Isabella to give the money to any project which would advance scientific knowledge." Menzel replied. But he added he doesn't think a UFO investigation comes under that heading.

Of course, the full extent to which McDonald's entreaty -- or Quintanilla's stoic reassurance or Menzel's funhouse of optical illusions -- had any real effect on subsequent newspaper coverage can never be known.


All this has been said before, but since nobody listened it must be said again.
-- Quoting Andre Gide, from McDonald's compilation of his favorite quotes.

ALL THREE MEN have now passed.

Hector Quintanilla died in 1998.

There is not much publicly available on his life following the closure of Blue Book. In 1970 Quintanilla retired from the Air Force as a Lt. Colonel. Upon retirement he was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for his time at Blue Book. The citation which accompanied the medal declared that Quintanilla, exercising superior judgment, professional skill, tactics, and diplomacy, made significant contributions to ... minimize criticism and to educate the public in the Air Force's handling of UFO incidents. Quintanilla lived out the rest of his life in Texas.

But some further insight on Quintanilla is provided by researcher Alex Chionetti, who personally met several times with Quintanilla in the early 1990s.

In 2001, Chionetti would write of those meetings...

I remember having long conversations with him, in our native language Spanish. I remember asking him about Roswell, which was barely mentioned during his time. "Hangar 18," he remarked, "I went but there was nothing else than an empty structure, nothing special, no little guys, no ships." We talked about the Socorro Case, where we both shared frustrated experiences with Lonnie Zamora. The possibility that the Socorro craft was an experimental prototype of a lunar module stayed with him for more than two decades, but he could never prove it. He also told me it was Blue Book's most important case...

During his last years, Quintanilla's convictions toward the existence of the UFOs were hoping to find cases with more substance and information. For the last director of Project Blue Book, the "saucer shape was a configuration," a creation of the printed media in the early sixties, which followed one after another...

Despite the lack of physical evidence, Quintanilla felt that "it was egotistical for men to think that the Creator of all the beauty existed solely for our benefit; there should be extraterrestrials or intelligence in one of those multitude of stars." ...

The only other information on Quintanilla's activities following Blue Book is to be found on his headstone...

MAY 7, 1923
MAY 18 1998

Donald Menzel died in 1976.

During the years following his appearance on the UFO panel he was heard less and less on the subject, as Philip J. Klass, editor of Aviation Week magazine, assumed the public mantle of arch-skeptical torch bearer.

Menzel's death attracted little public attention. The news was sent out by the Associated Press in a short blurb, as from the December 15, 1976 edition of the Carthage, Illinois, Press-Democrat

BOSTON -- Prof. Donald H. Menzel, who gained a reputation as an authority on the sun during a 39-year association with Harvard University, died Tuesday after a long illness; he was 75.

But his considerable scientific acumen and accomplishments were better remembered and celebrated by his peers, going so far as to memorialize his questionable anti-UFO activities. From Donald Howard Menzel, A Biographical Memoir, published by the National Academy of Sciences...

Astronomers have always had to contend with astrologers and other charlatans, but after World War II the problem became more severe. Menzel's devastating criticism of Velikovsky's Worlds in Collision in Physics Today provided one of the earliest exposes of this pseudoscientific rubbish. His careful analysis of the UFO phenomenon did much to debunk the claims of visitations by extraterrestrial vehicles.

James E. McDonald died in 1971.

He remained a forceful and energetic advocate for better investigation and analysis of the phenomena through the rest of the 1960s.

But professional and personal troubles began to dog him, and after one unsuccessful suicide attempt in early spring, 1971, he succeeded in taking his own life just days before summer.

Each of the three men made their own mark on the field, but each also brought the same flaw to their individual approaches -- for at the end of the day none were able to step back and look clearly at the evidence without the taint of personal belief or agenda.

Of the three, however, it is only McDonald who -- having personally interviewed scores of witnesses, then painstakingly documented the details which would otherwise now be forever lost -- bequeathed a lasting legacy for researchers even now...

...and into the future.

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The Arrival

Whether you need some serious styling for your walls at home or work or are on the lookout to give someone a special gift they'll treasure forever, you support the work of Saturday Night Uforia whenever you shop for great posters from from any link at this site -- any, each, and every time you start your shopping from here. You still get the same great deal as your friends and family, but a little will be sent back our way as a thank you from And you'll have the extra satisfaction of directly supporting the work of Saturday Night Uforia while treating yourself or friends to something special... like any of these great sci-fi movie posters (you can even have them mounted, laminated, or framed). Just click on the pic for a larger version...

Cowboys and Aliens

Apollo 18


Aliens, 1986

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy




Giger's Alien


The X Files

Transformers 2- Revenge of the Fallen


Critters, 1985

War of the Worlds

Transformers 2 - Bumblebee

Terminator Salvation

Star Trek

Men In Black II

Alien vs Predator

2001: A Space Odyssey

The Quiet Earth, 1986

Close Encounters of the Third Kind, 1977


Termination Salvation -X

Independence Day

Men In Black

Alien, Italian Movie Poster, 1979

Blade Runner Japanese Style

Star Wars - Saga Collage

Star Wars- Return Of The Jedi

Star Wars

Forbidden Planet, Robby the Robot

Star Wars- The Empire Strikes Back

Invasion of the Saucer Men, 1957

Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, 1956

The Day The Earth Stood Still, 1951

Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, Swedish Movie Poster, 1956

Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, French Movie Poster, 1956

Teenagers From Outer Space, 1959

Robinson Crusoe on Mars, 1964

2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968

Devil Girl From Mars, 1955

Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, German Movie Poster, 1956

This Island Earth, 1954

Robinson Crusoe on Mars, 1964

Invasion of the Saucer Men, 1957

Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, 1956

The War of the Worlds, 1953

Invasion of the Body Snatchers, 1978

The Day of the Triffids, 1963

The Phantom Planet, 1962

The Day The Earth Stood Still

Invasion of The Body Snatchers, 1956

It Came from Outer Space, 1953

Queen of Outer Space, 1958

2001: A Space Odyssey


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