Above: Image of two-sided card included in Major Donald Keyhoe's 1960 book Flying Saucers: Top Secret -- which focused primarily on events from 1957 through early 1959. This was the third book on the subject by Keyhoe, director of the civilian UFO organization NICAP (National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena).
The years 1960 through 1969 would witness a near-constant cascade of change -- from the tragic to the euphoric -- across virtually all fields of human thought and endeavor, both individually and collectively, ranging from the intimately personal to the intricately technical, and all points in-between.
Yet against this decade-long backdrop of societal upheaval, Project Blue Book -- the Air Force's official investigation into the mystery of what by then were being labeled as unidentified flying objects (UFOs) -- would remain essentially unchanged in its arch-sceptical attitude and approach to the subject. And as the decade drew to a close, so too would Project Blue Book itself -- bringing with it an end to the classic age of flying saucers.
In this, the beginning of the multi-part conclusion of the "Saucer Reading Fest" series, UFO events of the turbulent 1960s -- both publicly and behind-the-scenes -- are surveyed year by year, starting with...
--- 1959 ---
Certainly, the Air Force had made various attempts stretching back for more than a decade to rid itself of responsibility for investigating reports of unidentified flying objects -- going so far as to announce at the end of 1949 that there was no substance to the subject and therefore the Air Force investigation was terminated forthwith, full stop.
But the preliminary lead up to accelerated Air Force efforts throughout the 1960s -- which would culminate with the long-desired closure of Project Blue Book and a public finale to official Air Force involvement -- can be directly linked back to a February, 1959, meeting, as revealed in a "Memorandum for the Record" by the (then) recently-appointed head of Project Blue Book, Major Robert Friend...
Above, top left: Captain Robert J. Friend early in his military career. Middle: Major Friend during his time as chief of Project Blue Book. Right: Colonel Friend with Major Hector Quintanilla in 1963, shortly before Quintanilla succeeded Friend to become the last head of Blue Book. Friend, who had a background in physics, enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1942 and was trained as a pilot at the Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama before his assignment to the legendary Red Tail squadron providing fighter-escort over Europe during the war. Following the war, Friend returned to Tuskegee as Commandant of Cadets before being assigned to technical intelligence at Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio. In 1958 he was appointed chief of Project Blue Book. Bottom images: Two-page agenda for February 17, 1959 meeting.
[Note: In the following Memorandum for Record, the acronym AFCIN stands for the office of the Air Force Chief of Intelligence, located at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. The acronym ATIC represents the Aerospace Technical Intelligence Center (formerly the Air Technical Intelligence Center), located at Wright-Patterson AFB as part of Air Materiel Command, where Project Blue Book operated under the formal name Aerial Phenomena Group, as a function of the Air Force Chief of Intelligence, under the acronym of AFCIN-4E4. The acronym SAFIS stands for Secretary of the Air Force Information Services -- informally known as the public information office -- which was responsible for press and public inquiries in any area concerning the Air Force, including UFOs and Project Blue Book. The final acronym, SAFLL, stands for Secretary of the Air Force Legislative Liaison, which managed the flow of information between the Air Force and the United States Congress.]
MEMORANDUM FOR RECORD
SUBJECT: Unidentified Flying Object Conference
1. A meeting was held at the Department of Air Force, AFCIN, at 1330 on 17 Feb 1959, for the purpose of discussing the philosophy toward and policy regarding the Unidentified Flying Objects Program. The following persons associated with the program were present:
Mr. A. Francis Arcier, AFCIN-4
Col L.T. Glaser, AFCIN-4E4
Dr. J. Allen Hynek, Air Force Scientific
Consultant UFO Program
Mr. B.L. Griffing, AFCIN-4E4
Maj J.F. Byrne, AFCIN-X1A
Maj L.J. Tacker, SAFIS-3
Maj J.E. Boland, SAFLL
Maj R.J. Friend, AFCIN-4E4g [Handwritten insert: "served as chairman with competence and tact" followed by two-letter initial]
2. Brief on Dr. Hynek:
Dr. J. Allen Hynek, Astrophysicist, Ohio State University, presently on leave of absence to act as Associate Director of the Satellite Tracking Program for the Smithsonian Institute.
Dr. Hynek has been the Air Force's scientific consultant on the UFO Program for ten years and has been invaluable in this capacity.
Dr. Hynek suggested this meeting to allow him to air some of his views on the UFO Program and his personal problem of adverse publicity. (Letters and publications intimating his only interest in the UFO Program was for financial gain.)
Dr. Hynek indicated that he felt the Air Force had done a good job of handling a very difficult program with the limited resources available. The purpose of the meeting being to improve on these resources and other facets of the program in an effort to improve on our job.
3. The agenda is attached as TAB-A
4. Discussion, Conclusions and Suggestions:
a. Official Name of the Program:
It was concluded that the present name of "Unidentified Flying Objects" was not appropriate and that a name change was desirable. However, it was felt that this was not the proper time for a change due to the possibility of supplying the UFO fanatics with ammunition for a new attack. This subject is to be given further consideration. In this connection it was decided to no longer identify the unsolved cases as "unknowns" but rather as "unidentified."
b. Dr. Hynek's Problem of Adverse Publicity:
Several solutions for Dr. Hynek's problem of adverse publicity were proposed, the most drastic of which was to have Dr. Hynek withdraw from his present position as scientific consultant for one or two years. It was the consensus of opinion that any solution which cost the services of Dr. Hynek would be unsuitable due to his immense value to the program. The course of action decided upon to attempt to correct this problem was to omit the use of Dr. Hynek's name in any of the official release [sic] on the UFO subject. Further Dr. Hynek is to forward all letters received by him on the UFO subject to SAFIS-3 for reply. Dr. Hynek to maintain his present status until it can be determined if the new positive and more scientific approach to the program would reduce if not eliminate his problem of adverse publicity. The release of Dr. Hynek to be only a last resort solution.
c. Education of the Public:
It was concluded that the Air Force should direct positive efforts toward taking full advantage of all favorable publicity associated in any way with the UFO Program. That specific efforts should be made toward producing information which would educate the public and be advantageous to the UFO Program. Pictures and/or descriptions of the phenomena or objects determined as being probably responsible for a sighting should accompany the news releases. It was decided that a collection of such pictures should be made and filed for this purpose.
d. Rapid-Processing of Information to SAFIS:
In all instances SAFIS should be notified as soon as possible what the probable Air Technical Intelligence Center's analysis will be and particularly in the case of those sightings which are being given the "full blower" technique by the press. It helps the Air Force's position if SAFIS can give positive information that the investigators are at the location of the sighting and the official investigation underway.
e. Investigation and Reporting:
It was decided that the Air Force's investigation and reporting processes in connection with the UFO Program needed revamping. The conclusions were that the investigations should be more scientific, faster and more complete. In order to accomplish this improvement in investigation techniques, it was decided that AFR 200-2, dated 5 Feb 1958, which outlines the responsibilities and requirements of the Air Force Agencies responsible for these investigations be revised. This revision to outline more specifically responsibilities, also to outline the desired qualifications of selected investigators, and to list equipment with which each investigation team should be supplied. Further, a suggested training course which should be given to all personnel selected as investigators should be supplied (See TAB-B). It was also suggested that the investigators from the 1006th AISS be brought to ATIC for an indoctrination course outlining those factors of investigation peculiar to UFO cases.
f. Analysis and Evaluation:
It was felt that in the past many cases were given an unscientific and "fast brush" treatment in an effort to get them filed. It was decided that the approach should be more scientific and positive. Unless the analyst could be sure of his conclusions beyond doubt, then a statement in the vein of the following should summarize his analysis:
"There is no evidence available to indicate that the object sighted in this case was not a meteor" or "In view of all the available evidence, the object of this sighting was probably a meteor."
It was also suggested that a panel of qualified men, in diversified fields be formed and used for consultation. The men on this panel to be qualified in the following areas:
This panel to be used on an "on-call" basis, but to meet at least once each month; at which time a summary of the months activities will be presented to them. The purpose of this panel is to review some of the more troublesome cases, spot trends in the program and make suggestions as to the future outlook. The formation of this panel to be given further consideration by the ATIC.
g. Re-evaluation of Old Cases:
Many UFO organizations have been constantly reopening the more sensational of the old cases to the further embarrassment of the Air Force. It was decided that the Aerial Phenomena Group, AFCIN-4E4g, would review these old cases, which in view of greater scientific knowledge and experience may be removed from the "unknown" category and reclassified as a "probable."
h. Claims of UFO Organizations:
In many instances the private UFO organizations, or their sponsors, have made claims that some individual, usually a person held in high esteem by the public, has made some statement sympathetic with the views of the organization. It was decided that SAFIS-3 would write letters to each person so quoted and ask for corroboration or denial, and for further detail if in the affirmative.
a. That the Air Force needs to take a more positive approach toward the UFO Program.
b. The Air Force investigations be more scientific and thorough.
c. The analysis be scientific and thorough.
d The public be kept more abreast of the UFO Program by an approach of pre-education.
e. An expansion be made of the resources available to the ATIC to help with the overall analysis of the program.
ROBERT J. FRIEND
The full significance of the meeting -- held in Washington, D.C. -- becomes apparent only when considered in light of the attendees, who represented a kind of "Who's Who" of the Air Force investigation at the time. Aside from Major Robert J. Friend -- the head of Project Blue Book -- the men involved were...
Colonel Leonard T. Glaser: A native Texan, Glaser derived his middle name from his birth in Tulare, California while his parents were on a visit there. After graduation from Texas A&M university (where in May, 1941 he had led a trophy-winning drill unit) Glaser became an aviation cadet at Goodfellow field and became commissioned as 1st Lieutenant in the Army Air Forces in December, 1941. In January, 1942 Glaser graduated (see picture) before being sent for further aviation training at Kelly field. In 1943 he was promoted to Captain and then in June, 1944 reported to the 32nd Flying Training wing headquarters at Perrin field. In February, 1945, he graduated Flying Instructor School for Instrument Flying as a qualified flight instructor. Sometime thereafter Glaser was assigned to the Far East Air Materiel Command in Japan, where in 1949 he was promoted to the rank of Major. Not much else after that is known about Glaser or his route to assignment as a colonel at ATIC in the 1950s, but he is referred to by researcher Michael Swords as "Intelligence Projects Head" at ATIC. Although the exact extent of his responsibilities is not clear and was undoubtedly far wider in range than UFO investigations, his name appears frequently between 1957 and 1959 regarding UFO investigations -- usually as part of a request to Air Force bases for further information on specific incidents. But his involvement also includes chairing a 1958 meeting for which the memo states that Glaser "briefed all conferees on present shortcomings within the UFO program" -- indicating that he had some oversight responsibility for the program.
Alex Francis Arcier: Born in Victorian-era London in 1890, A. Francis Arcier was educated in England and France. As a young man he studied engineering and aerodynamics under Gustave Eiffel. He took flying lessons starting in 1911, and by 1914 became a licensed pilot in England (pictured, left at the controls of a biplane). His early career was as a draftsman for several leading aeronautical engineers. In World War I he became a flying instructor. Arcier emigrated to the United States in 1919 and was employed as Chief Engineer at the Witteman Aircraft Corporation and later other aircraft firms, where he designed the first twin-engine and four-engine bombers for the United States. He gained his U.S. citizenship in 1929, and thereafter became widely regarded as one of the best aircraft designers in the world, contributing many cutting-edge and significant aircraft designs (as for instance the Fokker Trimotor Transport which carried Richard Byrd over the north pole). His engineering contributions during World War II (including as co-designer of the Waco gliders used on D-Day) brought him into close collaboration with the United States military, leading to his appointment in 1948 as Chief Scientist for U.S. Intelligence at ATIC (under the formal title of Scientific Advisor to Chief, Intelligence Department).
Arcier would often work in conjunction with...
James F. Byrne, Joseph E. Boland, and Lawrence J. Tacker: Outside of their activities in regard to UFO reports, little information is publicly available on these three men. Major J.F. Byrne operated out of the "Executive's office" of AFCIN. Major J.E. Boland was the Air Force chief legislative liaison to the United States Congress. Major Lawrence J. Tacker (pictured as a Lt. Colonel in 1966) was chief Air Force spokesman on any matters relating to Project Blue Book. Along with their individual duties, the three men had worked as part of a team (whose other two members were A. Francis Arcier, and the arch-sceptical then-head of Blue Book, Captain George T. Gregory) since at least 1957, when the Air Force began to feel increased pressure from both individual congressmen and the public at large. Together, the team shepherded a reprinting of Blue Book Special Report No. 14 -- a massive statistical study on flying saucer reports (from 1947 through 1952) conducted for the Air Force by the Battelle Memorial Institute.
Initially classified, the 300+-page Special Report No. 14 (of which 100 pages made up the body while the rest consisted of appendices) was first distributed in a non-classified limited run of 100 copies in October, 1955. Most of the copies remained internal to the Air Force, with a few left available for public inspection in Washington, D.C. Complaints about the inaccessibility of the report to the public led to inquiries in June, 1956, from Congressman John E. Moss (Chairman of the Government Information Sub-Committee of the Committee on Government Operations) followed soon thereafter by an order from the Secretary of the Air Force that Blue Book "make available to the general public a low-priced edition" of the report. It would take more than seven months to accomplish, much of the time specifically devoted to the writing of a new "preface" to the report, with one goal being -- according to a July 12, 1957 memo by Captain Gregory -- to "leave the impression of good faith towards the public".
According to researcher Michael Swords, the men continued on as a "fire suppressant" team to counter any eruption of new allegations by the most prominent critic of the Air Force investigation -- Major Donald E. Keyhoe, head of the extremely influential National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP). Nor were the tactics limited to the public arena -- a May 10, 1957, memo by Byrne states... "The subject of U.S. persons using the UFO hysteria for personal gain has been informally brought to the attention of the FBI. Documented cases where illicit or deceptive devices or methods are used by individuals to arouse public interest in UFOs should be made available to the FBI through the OSI. This subject is being studied by AFOIN-X1 and further development will be brought to your attention."
Burgoyne Lee Griffing: Dr. B.L. Griffing was born in 1896 in Kansas. Little public information is available on his life, but it is known that he received a fellowship in Physics at the University of Kansas in 1921 and that sometime thereafter he spent five years in China, becoming a professor of physics at the Interdenominational College of Nanking in 1927. By 1934 he had returned to the United States, and worked as an assistant to Professor (and Nobel Prize winner) Arthur Holly Compton at the University of Chicago in the study of cosmic rays. Some time thereafter, Griffing became a civilian employee at ATIC's Electronics Branch. In 1952 he was involved with the Air Force plan to establish a network of diffraction-grid cameras to capture unidentified objects in flight, and was part of General Samford's 1952 press conference concerning the Washington National-Andrews AFB radar-visual sightings over two weekends in July, 1952 (pictured post-press conference above, standing right).
Joseph Allen Hynek: Dr. J. Allen Hynek (pictured in 1957, standing right) was born in 1910 in Chicago, Illinois. Hynek earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Chicago in 1931. He would spend the next four years performing postgraduate work at the University of Chicago's Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, Wisconsin, under the directorship of astronomy legend Otto Struve and earning him his PhD in astrophysics.
In 1935 Hynek accepted a position as instructor in the department of physics and astronomy at Ohio State University. Three years later, in 1939, Hynek was promoted to assistant professor (and in 1941, he was invited to teach a summer semester at Harvard College Observatory). In 1942 Hynek married and while on his honeymoon in Washington, D.C., met up with an old friend who recruited him for war work at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland. There Hynek was part of a team which developed the radio proximity fuse -- widely heralded alongside radar and the atomic bomb as one of the three most important scientific developments affecting the outcome of World War II (Hynek's role in this was officially in the administrative realm of the effort rather than as a researcher). In 1946 Hynek returned to Ohio State University, as an associate professor and director of both the university's smallish McMillan Observatory and Ohio Wesleyan University's Perkins Observatory.
In 1950 Hynek was promoted to full professor and became assistant dean of the Graduate School. In 1956 -- on leave from Ohio State -- Hynek went to work at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory at Harvard under Dr. Fred Whipple, director of the observatory and chairman of the department of astronomy at Harvard (pictured, standing left). Here Hynek was in charge of organizing and supervising the tracking and observation of the U.S. Navy's "Project Vanguard" satellites, expected to launch within the next two years. Hynek's program was called "Project Moonwatch", the "moons" being the satellites when finally launched into orbit.
But it would be in 1957 that Hynek would first achieve truly national prominence, with the Soviet Union's surprise launch of Sputnik -- the first manmade satellite to orbit the Earth. Having already established Moonwatch, Hynek and Whipple became the point men for information to a near-panicked American public, holding twice-daily press briefings -- and earning them a picture on the cover of Life magazine. Hynek spent the next years solidifying Moonwatch and traveling the world to set up the photographic tracking stations, which became an integral part of the U.S. space program. Simultaneously, he worked with the Air Force to set up a balloon-based telescope program, dubbed "Project Stargazer". But it was as the official astronomer-consultant to the Air Force Project Blue Book -- a position he had held since the late 1940s -- that Hynek was present at the February 17, 1959, meeting with Glaser, Arcier, Byrne, Tacker, Boland, Griffing and Major Friend.
Taking all of the above into consideration, it is clear that the real mover-and-shaker behind the February 17, 1959 meeting was Hynek. It was Hynek who had called the meeting, and it was Hynek -- the only nationally-prominent figure in the group -- who threatened to disassociate himself from the Air Force investigation entirely if matters didn't change...
Dr. Hynek suggested this meeting to allow him to air some of his views on the UFO Program and his personal problem of adverse publicity. (Letters and publications intimating his only interest in the UFO Program was for financial gain.)...
Several solutions for Dr. Hynek's problem of adverse publicity were proposed, the most drastic of which was to have Dr. Hynek withdraw from his present position as scientific consultant for one or two years. It was the consensus of opinion that any solution which cost the services of Dr. Hynek would be unsuitable due to his immense value to the program....
But Hynek's stated reasons for the meeting seem upon examination to be spurious. His only involvement with Project Blue Book over the previous two years had been extremely limited and basically conducted in writing -- Hynek would be mailed a select few incidents for his review at his Smithsonian observatory office at Harvard, with his analysis likewise returned by mail to Blue Book at Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio.
Nor does Hynek's purported concern over letters and publications "intimating his only interest in the UFO Program was for financial gain" make much sense. The two major publications of private UFO groups -- the NICAP Investigator and the APRO Bulletin -- rarely mentioned Hynek throughout 1957 and 1958 (and even then Hynek's name came up only in connection to Project Moonwatch). Hynek also had excellent behind-the-scenes relations with a third private UFO group -- Civilian Saucer Investigations (CSI).
The question then becomes why Hynek would abruptly and forcefully agitate for a different approach to Blue Book going forward (and in some instances, going backward into cases which had been inadequately examined). And although it is pure speculation, it may well be that Hynek's motivation had everything to do with the arrival in October 1958 of Major Robert Friend as the new head of Blue Book.
Prior to that time Blue Book had been in the hands of Captain George T. Gregory, an arch-sceptic for whom (Hynek would later write) "promotion was the be-all and end-all of existence."
But the arrival of Major Friend as Gregory's replacement signaled the opportunity for a more objective approach to investigations. Researcher Richard Hall would later write that...
In October 1958 Blue Book received a very needed shot in the arm when Major Robert Friend replaced Captain Gregory as head of the project. His presence significantly bolstered morale because Friend had substantial scientific training and approached his job in a fair and impartial way just as Ruppelt had. But by that time, Blue Book had many limitations Ruppelt never faced. Friend tried very hard to organize a then chaotic project. Fearing many UFO files had been taken as souvenirs just as had been done prior to Ruppelt's time, he proposed microfilming reports. He also suggested cataloging sightings which would create an index to evaluate common characteristics. Both of these plans required funds that Friend was never able to acquire from his superiors...
Hall also wrote that "Friend kept in almost daily contact with Hynek throughout his term at Blue Book". And Hynek himself acknowledged his high regard for Major Friend, writing...
Of all the officers I served with in Blue Book, Colonel Friend earned my respect. Whatever private views he might have held, he was a total and practical realist, and sitting where he could see the scoreboard, he recognized the limitations of his office but conducted himself with dignity and a total lack of the bombast that characterized several of the other Blue Book heads.
And thus it may have been that Hynek's meeting with the current "who's who" of Air Force involvement -- calling for a "positive approach" with both the investigation and the analysis of incidents being conducted in a manner that was "scientific and thorough" -- was Hynek's attempt to support Major Friend in his newly-appointed post, and to shield Friend against undue interference from those who might wish to continue Captain Gregory's arch-sceptical approach to running Blue Book.
But whatever the reason, the meeting's 'suggestion' that "a panel of qualified men, in diversified fields be formed and used for consultation" was formally approved in March, 1959. The particular "qualified men" to be involved were also decided that month -- intriguingly, not including Hynek -- and the first meeting of the "UFO Advisory Panel" took place on May 8, 1959. Unfortunately, the only documentation for that meeting lies in a summary found in a "Weekly Activity Report"......
The men included were all from Wright-Patterson AFB and represented some related technical or professional field. The need for a chaplain in the group was due to the fact that (as noted in another memo), "Many of the cases reported to the ATIC have as a basis religious belief or at least strong religious overtones".
The next meeting of the panel was held on schedule, on the last Monday of May, 1959...
Above: Cover for February, 1959, issue of Fate magazine with an article by Frank Edwards headlined at the top. Edwards -- prominently referred to in the following minutes -- was a widely-known broadcaster and columnist who fervently believed in flying saucers as extraterrestrial vehicles and that the facts were being kept from the public by the Air Force.
UFO ADVISORY PANEL MEETING
22 May 1959
Dr. L.V. Robinson, AFCIN-4E, Astronomer
Mr. Theodore J. Hieatt, AFCIN-4X3, Public Relations
Mr. V.J. Handmacher, RDZSXD, Physicist
Major Leroy D. Pigg, WLDPFM, Psychologist
Captain R. Pritz, EWH, Chaplain
Major Robert J. Friend, AFCIN-4E4g
The purpose of this meeting was to determine the type of information which should be used for correlation in bringing Special Report #14 up to date.
All members of the panel were present.
Major Friend opened the meeting with general background information on the program and specifically Special Report #14. It was explained to the panel that the information contained in the report was almost a pure statistical study and that for the most part the information gained was negative in nature. The meeting was then opened to the members as to an approach which would possibly make an extension of this study more meaningful. After discussion, it was decided that further examination of this area would be continued at the next meeting after the members were able to make a more thorough study of the report (Special Report #14). However, the following tentative suggestions were made and discussed by the panel:
Major Pigg - Time line analysis after some major event which could possibly effect the number of UFO sightings. Frank Edwards is to give a presentation on Unidentified Flying Objects on 6 June 1959, at Akron, Ohio, and this was selected as our first event. If a consistent lag occurs after such an event before there is an increase in the number of UFO reports, it would allow the Air Force to anticipate these surges and possibly take preventive action.
Dr. Robinson - Suggested that predictable astronomical events (i.e. meteor showers) be correlated with the UFO sightings. In conjunction with this it was also suggested that the annual weather cycle be correlated, since during periods of extreme cloudiness these astronomical events would probably not be observed.
Captain Pritz - Suggested that periods of extreme public anxieties be correlated with UFO sightings. These periods of anxieties may be political, economic, religious, etc. Capt. Pritz further pointed out that people are generally gullible, especially sincerely religious people, and are easily taken in.
Mr. Handmacher - Suggested that the sighting may be an extension of the "cold war". He also indicated that the AVRO (disc shaped aircraft) was to start flying soon and that this could cause an increase in reports. Mr. Handmacher to supply us with a date and location, if possible.
It was concluded that the Aerial Phenomena Group would immediately give consideration to Major Pigg's suggestion of a time line analysis using the "Frank Edwards" talk as an initial event.
The other suggestions would be shelved until the next meeting of the panel when all members would be more familiar with Special Report #14.
Mr. Hieatt is to show the moving pictures of the UFO show which was on the Armstrong Circle Theater TV program.
ROBERT J. FRIEND
If the UFO Advisory Panel met the following month, then no readily locatable documents concerning it appear in Blue Book declassified files -- its next appearance being reflected in the minutes of a July 27, 1959, meeting...
Above, top: Picture taken in Norway in 1957 by American tourist Mrs. William F. Barrett. The anomaly was not seen by Mrs. Barrett until the photo was developed. Below: Letter regarding photo from Eastman Kodak, sent to it for analysis as a result of the July 27, 1959, meeting.
UFO ADVISORY PANEL MEETING
I. Members Present --
27 July 1959
Dr. L.V. Robinson, AFCIN-4E4, Astronomer
Mr. Theodore J. Hieatt, AFCIN-4X3, Public Relations
Mr. V.J. Handmacher, RDZSXD, Physicist
Major Leroy D. Pigg, WLDPFM, Psychologist
Captain R. Pritz, EWH, Chaplain
Major Robert J. Friend, AFCIN-4E4g
II. Introduction. The purpose of this meeting was as follows:
a. Introduce Dr. Hynek, Air Force consultant on the UFO Program, to the panel.
b. Hear an account of Dr. Hynek's meeting with Aime Michel, French author of "Flying Saucers and the Straight Line Mystery".
c. Discuss the trends in the program as derived from the statistics of the six month period 1 January 1959 to 30 June 1959.
d. Discuss the outstanding cases for the month of July 1959.
e. Discuss latest activities of the private UFOites [sic].
a. The meeting was opened by Major Friend, who outlined the objectives of the meeting.
b. Dr. Hynek related the events of his visit with Aime Michel, French writer on the subject of UFO's, and author of "Flying Saucers and the Straight Line Mystery". It was pointed out that Michel is an engineer with the French telephone company, is very sharp, very definitely not a crackpot, but is indeed very biased in his attitude toward UFOs. Aime Michel's opinion is that scientific investigation was not the province of the government, but could be done better by private individuals. In answer to a query as to what should be done, Michel replied that someone who had access to all the data sit down and think about it. Dr. Hynek also brought out the following facts resulting from his meeting with Michel:
(1) More serious scientists interested in the UFO Subject in France than in the United States. This group is, however, small.
(2) Report of disc-shaped objects began in France in 1942.
(3) French general public does not take much interest in UFO's while in the United States it does.
c. Major Friend pointed out to the panel that the most significant information gained from the six month statistics 1 January 1959 to 30 June 1959, was the fact that the slope of the curve [handwritten insert: which plots the frequency of reports received] was generally the same as for the same period in 1958 and that the number of cases was approximately 50% of the 1958 total for the period.
d. The outstanding cases for the month which were discussed are as follows:
(1) Airline pilot sighting, area of Hawaii, 11 July 1959. The panel agreed with the conclusion that the object responsible for this sighting was a meteor of the fireball class.
(2) Photograph of an unidentified flying object taken by Mrs. William F. Barrett of Great Barrington, Massachusetts while visiting Norway 24 July 1957. The panel could come to no conclusion on the cause and recommended that the photograph be sent to Eastman Kodak for possible analysis.
e. The publicity being given to the UFO sighted by Captain Killian, American Airlines pilot, his crew and 39 passengers, and other airline pilots on 25 February 1959 was discussed. The panel, while agreeing that the probable cause of the sighting was jet refueling, felt that this case, as do others, indicates incomplete investigation due to the fact that no Air Force representative ever interrogated the principal witnesses. The panel recommended that even after this lapse Captain Killian and his co-pilot be questioned for the record. (See attachment #1).
IV. Suggested Actions:
a. That a qualified individual representing the ATIC be sent to question Captain Killian of American Airlines even at this late date, and a full report be made to the panel at an early date.
b. That in the future the OIC of Project Blue Book be authorized to instigate similar investigations at the earliest moment when, in his judgment, a case warrants such immediate attention.
ROBERT J. FRIEND
The July meeting of the panel is particularly interesting on two matters. The first, obviously, was Hynek's visit with French researcher Aime Michel. Both researcher Michael Swords and researcher Jacques Vallee state that Hynek went to Paris with astronomer Gerard de Vaucouleurs and both strongly imply that the trip was specifically made to visit Michel (with Swords further stating that it was to review Michel's case file of 1954 incidents in France). However, Hynek in 1960 -- as part of a lecture to a conference at Elgin AFB -- stated...
It chanced that I happened to be in Paris on other business and took two days off on my own to seek out Michel and talk with him.
The "other business" on which Hynek was involved may have been his work on Project Moonwatch, which involved considerable international travel. Or it may be that it was some other matter -- at the time Hynek's traveling companion, astronomer Gerard de Vaucouleurs, was part of the Harvard Astronomical Observatory as well as being associated with the University of Paris, where that summer astronomer and aeronaut Audouin Charles Dollfus of the university was personally conducting high-altitude balloon observations of Mars (both by telescope and spectroscope) from a pressurized cabin (and while wearing a kapok-padded suit for warmth). But in the end the "other business" which brought Hynek to Paris is not conclusively known.
The other item of interest in the July 27, 1959, meeting of the UFO Advisory Panel was presented almost as an afterthought in the minutes, indicating that the panel had decided...
b. That in the future the OIC of Project Blue Book be authorized to instigate similar investigations at the earliest moment when, in his judgment, a case warrants such immediate attention.
The OIC (Officer in Charge) in this instance was Major Friend, and it appears to be another instance of providing cover for Friend to investigate (in a positive, thorough and scientific manner) any incidents which he decided warranted such.
The next meeting -- according to the schedule -- should have occurred in August, but like the June, 1959, meeting (if indeed there was one) documentation regarding subsequent meetings of the panel are not readily locatable in the declassified files of Project Blue Book, the next minutes of any meeting of the UFO Advisory Panel being from eleven months later, in April, 1960. The only remaining documentation directly concerning any subsequent meetings for 1959 is a singular -- and brief -- memo dated September 8, 1959...
UFO Advisory Panel 8 September 1959
1. Attached for your information is a folder containing an agenda and a proposed program for bringing Special Report #14 (Project Blue Book) up to date.
2. Please be reminded that the UFO Advisory Panel meeting day has been changed to the last Thursday of each month, which will make the next scheduled date 24 September 1959.
RICHARD R. SHOOP
But whatever insight might have been gleaned from the missing documentation of the UFO Panel's activities between July, 1959, and the end of the year, a different series of documents makes clear that the focus of ATIC had shifted once more towards the goal of ridding Air Force intelligence of the problem entirely.
Above: Photographs (with enlargements) taken in July, 1947 at Phoenix, Arizona. Reports of mysterious aircraft over American skies had started in late June.
Responsibility for dealing with UFO reports had officially been in the hands of the office of the Air Force Chief of Intelligence (AFCIN) stretching back to 1948 (and unofficially going back to the first sighting reports at the beginning of summer, 1947). Originally designated as Project Sign, the effort had metamorphosed into Project Grudge before becoming Project Blue Book in 1952, each located at the Air Technical Intelligence Center (ATIC, renamed in 1959 as the Aerospace Technical Intelligence Center) at Air Materiel Command headquarters at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.
The original impetus for Air Force intelligence to take responsibility for investigating flying saucer sighting reports lay in the simple fact that at first it was assumed that the flying discs (as they were then called) potentially represented advanced Soviet military technology. As such, it went without question that it was a matter for ATIC, which since WWII (under a progression of designations, starting as the Technical Data Laboratory in 1942, then Army Air Forces Air Technical Service Command in 1945, then T-2 Intelligence in in 1945, then the Technical Intelligence Department in 1947, and finally the Air Technical Intelligence Center in 1951) had been responsible for identifying and -- when possible -- reverse-engineering first Nazi and then Soviet advanced aircraft.
Through ATIC, Air Force intelligence had been tasked with -- or as many felt, stuck with -- responsibility for investigation and analysis of unidentified flying objects ever since. During that time attempts to close the project entirely had been made, and had failed. But starting in September, 1959, a different plan for ridding Air Force intelligence of the problem got underway, and ATIC began a concerted behind-the-scenes effort to pass the UFO baton into the hands of the Air Research and Development Command.
Above: Cover and inside blurb of October, 1954, edition of Life of the Solider and the Airman -- a monthly publication of the U.S. Army, Recruiting Publicity Bureau. Originally published in 1919 as U.S. Army Recruiting News: The Bulletin, in the 1960s it became Recruiting and Career Counseling Journal.
Itself being the result of R&D efforts during World War II, in 1950 the Air Research and Development Command (ARDC) had been designated as the primary Air Force arm for research and development of cutting-edge aircraft (and within a short time, for ballistic missiles as well).
In "Rearming for the Cold War" -- a publication of the Department of Defense Historical Office -- historian Elliott V. Converse III notes...
By late 1956, 62 weapon system project offices were in operation. With the exception of the West Coast ballistic missile operation, all were located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, which was the home of the Air Materiel Command and the Wright Air Development Center, the Air Research and Development Command's major subordinate organization. Depending on the importance of the particular system, each project office numbered from 2 to as many as 50 military and civilian personnel drawn from both ARDC and AMC... One outside observer described the project offices as "almost as noisy and confusing as a newspaper office just before the edition goes to press."
Aside from the project chief and the deputy chief, weapon system project office personnel were largely specialists drawn from functional elements of their respective commands. The Air Research and Development Command representatives possessed expertise in aerodynamics, electronics, propulsion, flight test, navigation, ground support equipment, and training...
On paper, the technical expertise at ARDC certainly qualified it to assess UFOs as physical flying machines. But that was not what ATIC had in mind in trying to rid itself of the problem. For ARDC also ran the Cambridge Research Laboratories, otherwise known as the Geophysical Research Division, where -- if ATIC had its way -- UFO reports might be studied primarily as an atmospheric or other geophysical phenomenon (and perhaps after that, dispensed with entirely).
To accomplish this goal, the first step would be for ATIC to produce a study documenting the wisdom of transferring the UFO project to ARDC. Dated September 29, 1959, the study would be signed by Colonel Richard R. Shoop...
Top image, left: Richard R. Shoop during World War II. Top image, right: Shoop upon retirement from the Air Force in 1969. Middle image: July, 1947, document concerning a sighting while Shoop was stationed at Muroc (later, Edwards) AFB. Bottom: Copy of sworn affidavit submitted by Shoop.
Born in Pennsylvania in 1919, Shoop had enlisted in the Army Air Corps as a pilot cadet in 1938. Two years later he would attend, graduate and then become an instructor at the Advanced Flight Training school at Kelly Air Field in Texas. In 1942 he helped organize advanced glider training before becoming Group Commander of the unit. By 1945 Shoop was assigned as Director of Engineering at Muroc air base -- the heavily guarded site for testing of advanced aircraft (While at Muroc, Shoop personally test flew the Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star, the first U.S. operational jet fighter, as well as the Republic F-84 Thunderjet, the first fighter-bomber capable of carrying nuclear weapons, as well as the experimental Northrop Flying Wing, a propeller-driven prototype of a long-range bomber).
It was while stationed at Muroc Field in early July, 1947, that Shoop became one of multiple witnesses involved in what is now considered to be one of the classic sighting reports, described by Sidney Shalett in the April, 1949, Saturday Evening Post article entitled "What You Can Believe About Flying Saucers"...
One of the earliest of the more perplexing cases occurred on July 8, 1947, two weeks after Kenneth Arnold's experience, at Muroc Air Field in California. Muroc is the Air Force's most hush-hush sanctum, where the Air Force and Navy test their secret supersonic models, so it's not a place where you would expect the personnel to get unduly excited by strange things in the sky. But something did occur at Muroc, and the Air Force maintains that no experimental craft was involved.
It was Lt. Joseph C. McHenry, the billeting officer, who, walking toward his office at 9:30 a.m., first saw "two silver objects of either spherical or disklike shape, moving at about 300 miles per hour at approximately 8000 feet." He yelled at a couple of sergeants and a stenographer, who were near by, and they saw them too. Three more witnesses were summoned, but the objects had disappeared by this time. However, a third object hove into sight, and five out of the seven witnesses saw it. Everyone was certain that, because of the apparent speed and the fact that they seemed to be traveling against the prevailing wind, the objects couldn't have been any type of weather or cosmic-ray balloon.
At noon the same day, Maj. Richard R. Shoop, attached to the office of the Chief of Technical Engineering Division, had his attention directed by a Colonel Gilkey to "what appeared to be a thin metallic object," which played lazily over the field, diving, climbing and oscillating for eight minutes...
Captain Ed Ruppelt, director of Blue Book from 1951-1953, would later write that "according to the old hands at ATIC" it was "the first sighting that really made the Air Force take a deep interest in UFO's".
The month following his sighting report, Shoop was transferred to the Air Command and Staff School at Maxwell Field in Alabama. An outgrowth of the Army Air Corps Tactical School which had been pivotal in World War II for training leaders in command and tactics, the Air Command and Staff School offered an intensive program in three fields: a Tactical Course, a Command and Staff Course, and an Air War Course. Upon graduating in 1948, Shoop was assigned to Headquarters, Alaskan Air Command, where he was Assistant Director of Plans and Director of Operations and Training. He would remain stationed there for three years.
Following other posts over the course of the next few years, in 1956 Shoop was transferred to duty at RAND Corporation (with RAND the acronym for Research and Development) -- the world's first military "think tank", established by the Army Air Corps in 1945 to assess national security issues through the prism of air power (although by the time Shoop arrived it had a far broader scope).
In 1958 Shoop was assigned to the Air War College, the senior professional military education school of the U.S. Air Force, preparing selected officers for key command and staff assignments with an emphasis on strategy and air power. Upon graduation, Shoop was assigned to ATIC at Wright-Patterson AFB, where -- as noted above -- in 1959 he signed the following study calling for a transfer of the UFO program to ARDC...
[Note: in the following the acronym ZI stands for "zone of interior", a military phrase generally defined in war as "the part of a theater of war not included in the theater of operations". In the instance of this study, it refers to the continental United States. The acronym OIC stands for "officer in charge". ADC stands for Air Defense Command. Finally, ACS/I stands for Assistant Chief of Staff, Intelligence. In the Air Force the title refers to the head of Air Force Intelligence, who serves directly under the Chief of Staff for the entire Air Force.]
STUDY BY AFCIN-4E4
UNIDENTIFIED BLYING OBJECTS - PROJECT #5771 (BLUE BOOK)
28 September 1959
1. Since the fall of 1947, the Air Force has conducted a project designed to determine if unidentified flying objects constitute a threat to national security, or if they offer any scientific and/or technical information which would be beneficial. This program, far from the original intent, has become an unproductive burden upon the Air Force, and specifically the Aerospace Technical Intelligence Center. The program requires financing, and manning and has resulted in unfavorable publicity for the Air Force, and again more specifically the Aerospace Technical Intelligence Center. The Air Force needs to eliminate this costly, and to date unproductive, program. Complete elimination is desirable, but it should certainly be disassociated with the intelligence community where it is extremely dangerous to prestige.
FACTORS BEARING ON THE PROBLEM:
2. As of 30 June l959 after 12 years of investigating and analyzing every unidentified flying object which was brought to its attention, the Air Force has accumulated a file of 6152 cases. The number of reports number better then 8000, for many objects were reported by more than one witness and from different sources (Tab - A). From this vast experience with UFO's, the Air Force has not had the slightest evidence that these objects constitute a threat to national security, or are space vehicles controlled by man or alien beings from another world; nor has any real scientific and/or technical knowledge resulted.
3. There are 50 private UFO organizations in the ZI whose members exploit unidentified flying objects for financial gain, religious or other more devious reasons at the expense of the Air Force (Tab - B). There have been instances when the members of these organizations have actually competed with the Air Force during the investigation of a case. When not satisfied with the Air Force handling these private investigators have, on occasion, incited the witness to complain to their Congressman. These complaints have resulted in Congressional hearings, unfavorable publicity, and always an increase of the work load imposed upon the ATIC (TAB -C).
4. The methods by which UFO reports are forwarded is by TWX or telephone from military installations, and by letter or phone from civil organizations or private citizens (TAB - D). This, when compared with the reaction time necessary for survival in event of an attack using modern weapons, is ridiculous. The ATIC interest in these objects, in view of the foregoing, can only be its intelligence or scientific and/or technical significance after successful defense action has been accomplished by another agency.
5. Approximately 80% of the effort in the UFO program is directed toward the public relations objective.
6. The ATIC has a staff of three people who work full time on the UFO program, and there are two at SAFIS who spend considerable time with the program. In addition to these full time, or nearly full time people, there are a great number in the field who must meet the problems of this program on a day to day basis (TAB - G). Since 1947 the program has contracted the services of a scientific consultant in the person of Dr. J. Allen Hynek, The annual average for Dr. Hynek's services has been $1500. In 1952 a statistical study of the program was performed by a civilian contractor. This study cost the Air Force approximately $100,000. In addition to the above listed expenses must be added the operating expenses which can be directly attributed to the UFO program. For all of this expense, to date we have only bought a small amount of good will from a small minority of the public.
7. Immediate elimination of the program. To do this would result in destroying every advantage gained in the past 12 years. It would not only supply fuel for the confirmed UFOites, but would also provide avenues for propagandists. In addition to arousing the confirmed UFO believers, it could encourage the wrath of those citizens who took no active part, but trusted their security in the fact that the Air Force was on the job. While the eventual elimination is to be sought as a goal, it must be understood that the public must first be conditioned in order that they be receptive of the idea. Disbandment of the program as a project assigned to a specific agency by no means infers that the Air Force will not continue this effort. Every agency in the Air Force, as a matter of doing its part toward accomplishment of the overall Air Force mission, would give proper attention to reports of any objects which may prove hostile or of intelligence and/or scientific and technical value. The only objective which would suffer as a result of eliminating this program would be the public relations aspects.
8. Remove the UFO program from the intelligence community with plans for eventual complete elimination following a program of public education. By moving the project out of the intelligence community several problems associated with the program would be eased. First, the public tends to exaggerate the importance of any operation which is in any way connected with military intelligence. Second, it would eliminate as an intelligence responsibility a program which is open to public inspection. Third, the program, in the absence of potential national threat and scientific returns, has been one mainly of public relations. The program could be moved to the Washington area and made the direct responsibility of one of the branches of the SAFIS. The long range plan to educate the public would use the media of the press, television, radio, and possibly movies, to inform the public of the various aspects of the program. The public should be made aware of the phenomena and/or man-made objects which have been misidentified and reported as UFO's. Within the limits of security, all rocket, satellite launching, etc., should be made public knowledge. The public should be made aware that the Air Force will still be accomplishing the two major objectives of this program; determining if UFO's constitute a national threat, and if they are of any scientific and/or technical value as a routine part of its overall mission. A study program should be undertaken by the persons conducting the UFO project which would be more than the pure statistical study which was accomplished for Special Report #14. This study should make specific correlations to determine, if possible, the cause for surges of reports (this would serve a dual purpose by allowing anticipation of surges and also possible prevention by known causes). The study should contain specific information as to the types of phenomena and/or man-made objects which have been responsible for the sightings. The report should also give heavy consideration to the psychological aspects of the program. Removal of the program from the intelligence community would not mean that the objectives of the program have changed, but only that more discretion will be given to which cases are possibly of intelligence significance, or are of possible scientific value. Liaison between the UFO office and the appropriate sub-division of AFCIN, ADC, or ARDC would tend to maintain the high level of these objectives. A rated officer with a technical background and intelligence experience should be assigned as OIC of this program to allow a high degree of accomplishment in the analysis of the cases, to insure that scientifically significant cases will be recognized, and that cases which may have intelligence value will be given the proper attention. The main disadvantages of this plan are the relatively great expense which may be incurred during the initial phases of the public education program, moving of the UFO office away from the scientific and technical facilities of the ATIC and WADC, and the loss of prestige which would result by removing the organization from the responsibility of an organization with scientific and technical capability to another whose main concern is public information. When viewed properly, it will be realized that the expense incurred in the public education program will more than pay for itself if this eventually leads to deactivating of the program. As for the scientific and technical assistance, this is available in the Washington, D.C. area from ARDC, WACA, etc.
9. A third solution is essentially the same as that outlined under paragraph eight. The only recommended change is that the UFO program be associated with an organization such as ARDC which has a scientific and technical capability. Liaison then would be accomplished between the UFO office and SAFIS, AFCIN, and ADC. This solution would do away with the problem of the possible loss of prestige which could result from the disassociation which an organization having scientific and technical capability while retaining all of the advantages.
10. The best immediate solution to the UFO program is to disassociate the project with the intelligence community and to assign responsibility for the program to the ARDC with SAFIS, AFCIN, and ADC liaison. The program under ARDG guidance to be directed toward active public education and the eventual elimination of the program as a special project.
11. It is recommended that this study be approved and forwarded to the ACS/I for consideration, with a recommendation that it be approved and forwarded to the Air Force Chief of Staff for consideration and possible implementation. Such approval to be acknowledged by authentication of the draft document which is attachment number one to this study.
BICHAHD R. SHOOP
And so over the course of September and October, 1959, a series of draft letters and studies appear in the declassified files of Project Blue Book detailing ATIC efforts to shift responsibility for the UFO problem to ARDC. One such document is a further iteration -- considerably softened in tone -- of Col. Shoop's initial study...
Above: List of UFO organizations included as one of the tabs appended to the study.
STUDY BY AFCIN-4E4
UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS PROGRAM
PROJECT #5771 (BLUE BOOK)
A. Examine the current unidentified flying objects program, as conducted by the United States Air Force, to determine its proper orientation within the Air Force structure.
II. FACTORS BEARING ON THE PROBLEM:
A. In 1947 the Air Force established a project whose purpose was to collect, collate, evaluate, and distribute to interested government agencies and contractors all information concerning sightings and phenomena in the atmosphere which could be construed to be of concern to national security. As of 30 June, 1959, after 12 years of investigating and analyzing every unidentified flying object sighting brought to its attention, the Air Force has accumulated a file of 6352 cases. The total reports received number better than 8000, for many objects were reported from more than one source (TAB-A). From this vast experience with UFO's, the Air Force has not had the slightest evidence that these objects are a threat to national security or are space vehicles controlled by man or aliens from another world. This same experience has not revealed any scientific and/or technical information which would be beneficial to the United States.
B. The UFO program, far from its original intent of determining the intelligence and scientific and/or technical value of these objects, has seemingly acquired a primary objective of providing public information. This distortion, of what was a lesser objective, is probably due to the fact that public interest in the UFO has appeared to gain momentum each year since 1947. In the ZI there are 50 private UFO organizations. Those members exploit unidentified flying objects for financial gain, or religious, or other more devious reasons (TAB-B). There have been instances when members of these organizations have actually competed with the Air Force during the investigation of a case. When not satisfied with Air Force handling, these private investigators have, on occasion, incited the witness to complain to their Congressmen. These complaints have resulted in Congressional hearings, unfavorable publicity, and an increase of the work load imposed upon ATIC (TAB-C).
C. The UFO project requires manpower and resources which ATIC might use more constructively on other programs. ATIC presently has a staff of three people who work full time on the UFO project, and several others who must allocate part of their time. In addition to these full time, or nearly full time people, there are a great number in the field who must meet the problems of this program on a day to day basis (TAB-G). Since 1948 the project has contracted the services of a scientific consultant in the person of Dr. J. Allen Hynek. The annual average for Dr. Hynek's services has been $1500. In 1952 a statistical study of the program was performed by a civilian contractor. This study cost the Air Force approximately [left blank]. In addition to the foregoing expenses, the operating costs which can be directly attributed to the UFO program must be added.
A. Several solutions to the problem of proper orientation of the UFO program are as follows:
1. Retain the program at ATIC and direct the major efforts associated with the program toward accomplishment of the original objectives. The major advantage of this solution is that the project has been assigned to the intelligence community since its birth and all Air Force experience in handling the program belongs to ATIC. There would be no requirement to establish new lines of communication and/or liaison. This solution would require no new directives and the sub-divisions of the Air Force are familiar with the present method of operation and know their responsibilities to the program. This solution has several disadvantages. The public tends to exaggerate the importance of any operation which is in any way associated with military intelligence. The UFO program is more or less open to public inspection, and the association of such a wide-open project with ATIC has a tendency to reduce the prestige of the intelligence community. The project requires manpower and resources which might be used more constructively on other programs.
2. Transfer the UFO project from the intelligence community to another agency of the Air force which has a scientific and technical capability; i.e., Air Research and Development Command. Such a change would allow a fresh approach by an organization which would not be burdened by problems which are bred from familiarity. The scientific objectives of the project in the absence of evidence that UFO's pose a threat to national security could possibly take on greater stature, and association with an agency such as ARDC could enhance this possibility. The UFO program would not suffer any loss of prestige due to its disassociation with the scientific capabilities of ATIC. There are certain disadvantages which could result from the reassignment of the UFO program. There would be a requirement for establishing new lines of communication and/or liaison, new directives, and for the sub-divisions of the Air Force becoming familiar with new operating procedures and responsibilities.
3. Transfer the UFO project to one of the sub-divisions of SAFIS. This solution would effect the transfer of the project to an agency which is presently responsible for the public information aspects of the program. Responsibility for the full program could probably be accomplished by expansion of the present office. The project would be assigned to an agency which has some familiarity with the program. A program of public education on the UFO program could best be conducted by SAFIS. There are some disadvantages however, since extensive coordination would be required between the UFO office and AFCIN, ADC, and ARDC in order to accomplish the primary objectives of the project. There would also be a requirement for new directives, and the sub-divisions of the Air Force would have to become familiar with new responsibilities and a new method of operation. In addition, the UFO program, could lose prestige due to its association with an agency which has no scientific capability.
B. Elimination of the direct association between the intelligence community and the UFO project would be mutually healthy. The intelligence community should not be burdened with this program which has such strong overtones of public relations. Also, it has been pointed out more than once during the 12 year life of this project that positive steps should be taken to strip this program of its aura of mystery. The disassociation with intelligence would do much to accomplish this aim because of the public's cloak and dagger attitude toward military intelligence. The UFO program to date has revealed no evidence which indicates these phenomena are a threat or potential threat to our national security. In the absence of such, evidence the only possible positive gain from this project would be the scientific and/or technical knowledge which might be available. This objective would be within the scope of the normal mission of ARDC. If this project was moved to SAFIS, the primary objectives would be further subjugated and in time, the UFO project would probably degenerate into a complete public relations program.
A. Assignment of the UFO project to an agency with a scientific capability; i.e. ARDC, is the most logical orientation of the program within the Air Force structure. When the UFO project was conceived in 1947, a major consideration was national security; therefore, its assignment to intelligence was very logical. Experience to date with the UFO has not revealed any evidence that these phenomena are a threat to national security, and their only possible value to the Air Force is scientific information. To enhance the success of this reassignment, the scientific objectives of the project should be more clearly defined.
V. ACTION RECOMMENDED:
A. It is recommended that this study be approved and the necessary steps taken for possible implementation on such approval should be acknowledged by authentication of the draft document which is Attachment #1 to this study.
By November all the drafts reached final form and the process of officially suggesting the transfer of responsibility for UFO reports from ATIC to ARDC began its way up the chain of command, with the following letter to Major General Charles B. Dougher (commander of ATIC) from Col. Philip Evans (Deputy for Sciences and Components at ATIC -- the department under which Blue Book operated). The letter also contained a suggested draft letter to be sent to Major General James H. Walsh (Air Force Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence in Washington, D.C.)...
Above, right: Major General Charles B. Dougher, commander of ATIC. Left: Major General James H. Walsh, Air Force Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence in Washington, D.C. Colonel Philip Evans, author of the letter, was the immediate superior to Major Robert J. Friend, who was in charge of Project Blue Book.
1. It is my impression that General Walsh is interested in producing the maximum of aerospace intelligence with the minimum expenditure of funds and utilization of manpower. Toward that goal we have already witnessed the necessity for reducing ATIC efforts in those areas indirectly applicable to the aerospace problem.
2. I have conducted a review of the functions of AFCIN-4E, and feel that the time is now upon us when we must seriously consider whether to continue performing the UFO mission. Since 1947 the Air Force, and more specifically ATIC, has been responsible to determine the nature of unidentified flying objects. At that time it was felt that the assignment should be made to Intelligence since it was possible that these objects might pose a threat to the national security. After 12 years experience ATIC has yet to uncover any positive evidence that UFO's constitute any such threat.
3. The attached study clearly indicates that this program has cost us much in both manpower and money. It further points out that at this time it does not properly belong in the intelligence community, but rather it should be regarded as a scientific phenomenon, coming with the purview of ARDC.
4. If after reviewing the study you concur, the attached letter to General Walsh will be prepared in final form.
PHILIP G. EVANS
1. Staff Study by 4E4
2. Proposed Ltr to Gen Walsh
This was followed by the draft of the proposed letter to Walsh...
D R A F T
SUBJECT: UFO Program
TO: AFCIN (General Walsh)
1. In 1947 the Air Force, and more specifically the ATIC, assumed responsibility for a program designed to determine if unidentified flying objects were a national threat. This program at its inception was designed to determine first, if UFO's were hostile, and second, had any possible scientific value. A tertiary objective was to determine the nature of each of these objects. With the passage of time, the absence of positive indication that these objects were hostile or had any scientific value, and the coming of the private UFO organizations, the third objective began to take on more stature. Today this objective has grown to such an extent that we are fast reaching the point where the tail may wag the dog. This is damaging to Air Force prestige and has a detrimental effect upon intelligence operations.
2. The attached study offers as a solution transfer of the UFO project to an agency with a scientific capability. I concur with the views outlined in the study that such a move would be beneficial to both the intelligence community and to the UFO program. Disassociation with intelligence would do much to strip the aura of mystery from the UFO program, and the same disassociation would eliminate a project from intelligence which is more or less open to public inspection.
3. It is recommended that the attached study be approved and the necessary steps taken to effect transfer of the UFO project to ARDC.
CHARLES B. DOUGHER
Major General, USAF
Study by AFCIN-4E4
Also included in declassified Blue Book files as part of the file containing the proposed letter to General Walsh is the following description of the "USAF UFO PROGRAM". Whether it was actually included is unknown...
Above: Supplementary data included in the original study signed by Col. Shoop. The key for the two flow charts (at the upper left of each) implies the lines were originally drawn using different colors.
[Note: in the following the mention of "1127th F/A Group" stands for the 1127th Field Activities Group, and refers to specialist intelligence field-collection teams (usually of 3 airmen) located across air bases throughout the United States. Originally designated the 4602d in 1952, and then the 1006th, before becoming the 1127th, its primary function lay well outside the UFO realm (capturing fallen Soviet satellite and rocket debris, for instance), and the teams were mostly part timers, with regular Air Force duties outside of their field collection responsibilities. But since 1952 they had also acted as local investigators for Project Blue Book, when sightings reports seemed to warrant investigation. Also in the following the acronym WADC stands for Wright Air Development Center, being the facilities hub of ARDC at Wright-Patterson AFB. WADC encompassed approximately 200 buildings at Wright, with the prescribed mission "...to accomplish Research and Development of aircraft, guided missiles, weapons systems, components, associated equipment, and materials; to conduct tests and provide engineering support and to maintain technical liaison with Air Materiel Command in support of the mission of the Air Research Development Command."]
28 September 1959
USAF UFO PROGRAM
I. Brief History.
A. In the fall of 1947 the United States Air Force took official notice of reports of unidentified flying objects, the so-called "flying saucers," because they represented a possible threat to national security, and has [sic] become a subject of public concern. The Air Force was designated the responsible agency due to the fact that most of the objects were reported to be flying.
B. On 30 December 1947, the Air Materiel Command at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio was directed to establish a project to collect and evaluate all available facts concerning sightings of unidentified flying objects. The objectives of this project to be as follows:
1. Determine if these objects constitute a threat to national security.
2. Determine if any scientific and/or technical information was available from the sightings.
3. Identify and/or explain all UFO sightings.
C. From 1947 until February 1949, the program was identified as Project "Sign". In February 1949 the name of the project was changed to "Grudge," remaining so until March 1952, when it was further changed to "Blue Book," the present identification. In the sumer [sic] of 1952, when the intelligence department of AMC took its first step toward into what is now the Aerospace Technical Intelligence Center (ATIC), the program was reviewed at the request of Headquarters, USAF. Recommendations which resulted from the review were that the reporting, investigation, and analysis procedures be improved where possible.
D. As of 30 June 1959, after 12 years of investigating and analyzing every unidentified flying object which was brought to its attention, the Air Fore has accumulated a file of 6152 cases. The number of reports received number more than 8000, for many objects were reported by more than one witness, and from different sources. While the general trend of the number of sightings over the past three years has been downward, the totals for the more recent years are still far above the totals for the initial years of the program (TAB-E). The breakdown of the cases since 1 January 1956 is shown in TAB F. Another factor which adds to manpower requirements is that individual cases are being given more attention by the public, and balloon into a major problem for the Air Force.
II. Method of Operation.
A. The method of operating the UFO program has been generally the same since its birth; reporting, investigating, analyzing, and public relations. It is only in which agencies of the Air Force have performed each of these functions, and to what extent, that the program has changed. The program as presently conducted under the provisions of AFR 200-2, dated 14 September 1959, is as follows:
1. Reporting - nearest Air Force or other government or military facility submits reports to the Aerospace Technical Intelligence Center. Some reports are forwarded directly to the Air Force by civil agencies or by private citizens.
2. Investigations are conducted by the air base or station nearest the scene of the sighting; either upon receiving the report, or upon being notified of the sighting by the ATIC. In the more unusual or seemingly important cases the investigation, upon ATIC request, is conducted by the 1127th F/A Group, an intelligence organization. In some rare instances the investigation is conducted by the ATIC.
3. Monitoring the program, analysis, and maintaining the records is the responsibility of the ATIC.
4. The release of all information pertaining to UFO's, which is for public consumption, is the responsibility of the Secretary of the Air Force's Information Services (SAFIS).
B. The Program Today.
1. The present efforts extended in the conduct of the UFO project are directed toward specific goals:
a. To explore each sighting thoroughly for possible intelligence and/or scientific information.
b. To eliminate the defensive attitude which has been allowed to creep into the program's public relations philosophy (the attitude of trying to prove that each object sighted is not a space vehicle of some type).
c. To inform the public that a specific program, such as the UFO project, to evaluate each and every sighting is not essential to national security. The USAF, in the conduct of its overall mission, will consider each and every report of an unidentified flying object, and those which indicate a need for further exploitation, due to possible intelligence and/or scientific value will receive this added attention.
d. To strip the shrouds of mystery from the program, the haze through which many innocent people are duped by those who are using the UFO for personal gain, by a program of public education. This public education program, using the media of the newspapers, to inform the public of the probable causes for those sightings which receive widespread publicity and other general information on the program.
2. To heighten the probability of accomplishment of these specific goals, the Air Force directive AFR 200-2, dated 14 September 1959, governing this project has been rewritten. The new directive should improve the reporting procedures and investigation techniques of the responsible field organizations. A study program has been established which is designed to publish a sequel to "Project Blue Book" (Special Report #14), a statistical study of the program covering the years 1947-1952. A panel of experts has been formed to assist with the study program, the analysis of the more stubborn cases, and to make suggestions as to how the project could be generally improved. This panel is composed of experts in physics, psychology, astronomy, religion, and public relations. The members of the panel, who volunteer their time, are from ARDC, WADC, and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
The above was an informative history of the Air Force view of events. But equally of interest -- found in the tabs included with the original study -- is the following notation included in the statistics for 1959...
During this reporting period the Aerial Phenomena Group instituted a policy of automatically including all reports of only one witness in the insufficient data category. This is in keeping with good intelligence and scientific precepts - if substantiation cannot be found, this decreases in value the information.
This decision appears to be a permutation of a decision noted in the meeting called by Hynek in February, 1959...
It was concluded that the present name of "Unidentified Flying Objects" was not appropriate and that a name change was desirable. However, it was felt that this was not the proper time for a change due to the possibility of supplying the UFO fanatics with ammunition for a new attack. This subject is to be given further consideration. In this connection it was decided to no longer identify the unsolved cases as "unknowns" but rather as "unidentified."
Although the decision to switch to "unidentified" from "unknown" in categorizing sightings was (mostly) followed through, the extent to which the single-witness "insufficient data" decision was implemented -- or how long it remained in place -- is a matter of conjecture. Certainly, declassified files show that at least some single-witness sightings were initially given some analysis, even if they were eventually classified as "insufficient data" -- as for instance in a December 3, 1959, sighting report...
But in any case there had rarely been any clear distinction made between the definition of "insufficient data" and that of "unknown" (or "unidentified"). Initially the "insufficient data" category applied to reports which were brief, as for instance those found as a short blurb in a newspaper, or a letter from a citizen sent to the Air Force which gave little detail (and often with written requests for more information not answered by the witness). But over time some reports which logically belonged in the "insufficient data" category were classified as "unknown", while reports which best fit into the "unidentified" category were labelled "insufficient data" -- the result being that the difference was meaningless in practice, and useless as anything but a bureaucratic statistic.
But as noted above, matters of classification were no longer of particular interest to the UFO powers that be in Air Force intelligence. What they were after was being freed from having to classify UFO reports at all.
Above: Lt. General Bernard Schriever, chief architect of the U.S. Air Force's early ballistic missile and space programs, and in 1959 commander of ARDC.
The exact course of events following the November 10, 1959, letter from Col. Evans to Major General Dougher (containing a proposed draft of a letter to Major General Walsh regarding transfer of the UFO problem from ATIC to ARDC) is unclear, but in early December, 1959, drafts appear in declassified Blue Book files of a proposed letter from Major General Walsh to Lt. General Bernard Schriever, the commander of ARDC. Although the final signed letter, known to be dated December 7, 1959, does not appear in the files, the suggested draft states...
SUBJECT: (U) Transfer of USAF Aerial Phenomena Program
TO: Lt Gen Bernard A. Schriever
Air Research-Development Command
Washington 25, D.C.
1. Reference Air Force Regulation Nr 200-2, Subject, "Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO)," dated 14 September 1959.
2. In 1947 the USAF assumed responsibility for a program of investigation and analysis of unidentified flying objects over the United States. This program was designed to determine if these phenomena represented a threat to our national security. At its inception the program was directed toward determining first, if these phenomena were hostile, and second, had any possible scientific value. A tertiary objective was to determine the nature of each of these reported objects.
3. With the passage of time there has been no indication that these phenomena were hostile or posed a threat to the security of the United States. After review of the twelve year record of the UFO program it is clear that the program has developed along lines progressively more remote from intelligence interests. However during the life of the project there have been indications of possible scientific value. Our experience with this program indicates exploitation may be desirable in the following scientific and/or technical areas:
a. Slow moving and erratic meteors.
c. Space vehicles (general).
f. Static electricity,
h. Upper air physics.
4. It is my opinion that any future value to the Air Force lies in exploitation of these phenomena for scientific purposes rather than as an intelligence function. With your concurrence I propose to initiate action to transfer the aerial phenomena program which now involves three full-time USAF personnel and one scientific consultant to such agency within your command that you may deem appropriate.
On December 23, 1959, ARDC issued an "interim reply", which unfortunately is not readily locatable in declassified Blue Book files.
And thus the documented saga of ATIC's maneuvers to hand over the UFO problem to ARDC is next to be found in the events of...
--- 1960 ---
On February 5, 1960, the office of the Air Force Chief of Intelligence in Washington, D.C. was informed of ARDC's reaction to ATIC's proposal...
Above: March, 1960, transmittal form forwarding to ATIC the following letter -- which had been date-stamped "5 FEB 1960" -- from ARDC...
[Note: In the following the acronym AFCRC refers to the Air Force Cambridge Research Center.]
H E A D Q U A R T E R S
AIR RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT COMMAND
UNITED STATES AIR FORCE
Andrews Air Force Base
Washington 25, D.C.
ATTN OF: RDRRC
SUBJECT: Transfer of USAF Aerial Phenomena Program
TO: HQ USAF (AFCIN)
Wash 25, D.C.
1. Reference is made to your letter of 7 December 1959, subject as above, and to our interim reply of 23 December 1959.
2. Our review of the USAF Aerial Phenomena Program, including the AFCRC Study, has been completed. We find that more than half of the program relates to phenomena of a non-scientific nature. The remaining portion, while possibly associated with scientific processes, does not include qualitative data and is therefore of limited scientific value. Considering the quality of data available from other sources, exploitation of the aerial phenomena observations would not significantly enhance our research programs.
3. For the reason stated above, I do not believe that the transfer of the USAF Aerial Phenomena Program to ARDC is in the best interest of the Air Force.
Major General, USAF
The lack of documentation on the activities of the UFO Advisory Panel in the last half of 1959 leaves its role in the behind-the-scenes maneuvering regarding the transfer from ATIC to ARDC unclear. But in mid-February, 1960, a letter from Dr. J. Allen Hynek suggests not only that the scheme had his full endorsement, but that he was willing to mount an end-run attempt to make it happen -- by way of Brigadier General Benjamin G. Holzman...
Benjamin G. Holzman: Born in 1910 in Los Angeles, Holzman had attended the prestigious California Institute of Technology throughout his educational career, achieving his Bachelor of Science, Masters, and PhD degrees there. Although he had ostensibly majored in "geology", the Cal Tech Geological and Planetary Sciences program ranged across a wide spectrum of disciplines, including geophysics and advanced meteorology. Following graduation in 1934, Holzman held a series of impressive positions, including Chief Meteorologist for American Airlines, meteorology instructor at Cal Tech, and Supervisory Meteorologist at La Guardia Airport. In 1942 Holzman joined the Army Air Forces and held another series of increasingly-impressive positions -- Commanding Officer of the Weather Squadron at Goose Bay, Labrador; Research and Intelligence with the Soviet Hydrological and Meteorological Mission, Washington, D.C.; Chief, Long-range Forecasting Section, Headquarters Army Air Forces, Washington, D.C.; and Deputy Director, Weather Service, Headquarters U.S. Strategic Air Force, London, England -- where Holzman was one of a small team that gave General Eisenhower the go-ahead for the D-Day invasion at Normandy on June 6, 1944.
In June, 1945, Holzman was brought back to the United States where he became the Meteorological Advisor to the top-secret Manhattan Project, conducting a nearly minute-by-minute analysis of wind and other atmospheric conditions which were an essential part of the first atomic bomb test -- code-named "Trinity" -- both before and after the event. Holzman would go on to serve the same role at the famed "Crossroads" test in the Bikini Atoll, and at the "Sandstone" test in the Eniwetok Atoll -- later serving as an integral member of the "Long Range Detection Committee" which detected and confirmed the detonation of the Soviet's first atomic bomb. Eventually, over the course of equally-impressive responsibilities for the Air Force, Holzman was assigned to ARDC, where he became Commander, Air Force Research Division, in charge of its atmospheric research.
The letter from Hynek to Holzman came in the guise of being a congratulations on a recent promotion...
Above: August, 1960, cover of Life magazine with cover story on the record-breaking high-altitude jump from a balloon gondola made by Joseph Kittinger under a program by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, for which Dr. Hynek was the scientific advisor.
February 17, 1960
Office of the Commander
Air Force Research Division
Air Research and Development Command
United States Air Force
Washington 25, D.C.
Dear General Holzman:
Thank you very much for your letter of 14 January 1960 in which you informed me of your appointment by Lieutenant General B.A. Schriever as Director or the new Air Force Research Division. It is my understanding that the Air Force Research Division is now one of the four major divisions of the Air Force devoted to scientific work, and that it has cognizance over the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the Aeronautical Research Laboratory at Dayton and certain basic research activities at the Geophysics Research Directorate and at other research centers. I understand also that Colonel A.P. Gagge, of whom I have heard many good reports, will assume Directorship of the Office of Scientific Research.
I wish to thank you for your invitation to offer advice and suggestions with respect to the policies and operations of the new Air Force Research Division. Since I continue to have close contact with both the Geophysics and Electronics Research Directorates at Cambridge and with the Air Force Office or Scientific Research, as well as with the Aerospace Technical Intelligence Center, I welcome this opportunity to congratulate you on your new position of great responsibility and to offer, if I may, a few comments and suggestions.
At present under the sponsorship of GRD I supervise an unmanned balloon project directed toward the study of stellar scintillation and image motion at high altitudes. With the Air Force Office of Scientific Research I am presently directing the scientific aspects of a series of high altitude manned balloon flights. Our pilot is captain Joe Kittinger, and the work is being done under the careful eye or Dr. Wennersten. I should like to report that I have found Dr. Wennersten a most amiable and capable person with whom to work, and I hope that our association continues well into the future. I have recently directed to Dr. Wennersten an informal summary and outline of what, in my opinion, the future of scientific research from high atmospheric altitudes holds. I should be pleased to direct a copy to your attention should you so wish.
I should also like to comment with pleasure on the immense (that seems to be the most appropriate word for it) enthusiasm and skill of Captain Kittinger. I consider myself extremely fortunate to be associated with Captain Kittinger in the execution of the balloon flights.
I have no specific recommendations with respect to our balloon work, which is doing well, except, of course, to express the hope that as it continues to develop it will receive your personal good wishes and support. I do, however, have some specific recommendations in connection with a totally different aspect of my work with the Air Force.
For more than a decade I have been consultant to the Aerospace Technical Intelligence Center at Dayton. During this time I have been primarily concerned with the problem of Unidentified Flying Objects, particularly their astronomical aspects.
As you well know, the Air Force has attempted to do as creditable a job on this touchy matter as was within their province. However, much of their work has been misunderstood by the public, and all too often such public opinion has been unfavorable to the Air Force. It seems that the wishful thinking portions of the public are all too ready to accuse the Air Force of covering up the evidence and misleading the public. This is most unfortunate, but is in part a natural outcome of placing this problem in an intelligence division of the Air Force rather than in an out-and-out scientific department. By this I in no way imply an unfavorable comparison; I merely point out that the objectives of an intelligence division are necessarily somewhat different than those, say, of the Geophysics Research Directorate.
Since you have been kind enough to ask for my suggestions, I would, therefore, acting in my capacity as consultant to the Air Force, but entirely on my own responsibility, like to recommend that the scientific aspects of the UFO problem be transferred from ATIC to a division more directly concerned with atmospheric physics, perhaps to the Geophysics Research Directorate.
The subject of Unidentified Flying Objects more logically belongs in a scientific office rather than in an intelligence center. My reasons for saying this are these: I think it is amply clear by now that those relatively few sightings that are puzzling are related to upper atmosphere phenomena and may offer interesting examples or meteorological and atmospheric optics phenomena and, as such, be worthy of study in themselves. Quite apart from the public interest in such matters, which should be kept quite separate from the Air Force's scientific offices, and should properly be the province of the public information office, there may well be nuggets of scientific value in the often well reported sightings which continue to come into the office of ATIC. I need only remind you that less than two centuries ago the entire province of meteorites was kept out of legitimate astronomy because stories of "stones that fell from the sky" were regarded as old wives tales. Had these accounts been given careful attention by the scientists of that day, the productive branch of astronomy which we now know as meteoritics would have been born well over a century earlier than it was.
I do not maintain that there is necessarily any parallel between the "stones that fell from heaven" and the many "flying saucer" stories we hear today. What I do say, however, is that since the Air Force, because of its defense obligation to the nation to keep track of potentially hostile objects in the sky, must take account of such reports, that certain of those reports which are deemed to have possible scientific value should be brought to the cognizance of scientific offices most directly able to cope with them. With its excellent roster of physicists and upper atmosphere specialists, it seems to me that the Geophysics Research Directorate might well undertake this aspect of the UFO problem. I do believe that with their staff of scientists many of the reported sightings which remain "unknown" and develop into political headaches for the Air Force (since it so frequently happens that the public is quick to write to its congressional representatives that these sightings are not getting a square deal from the Air Force) would be quickly cleared up; and secondly, and of greater importance to me as a scientist, many such reports, properly examined, might add a rich chapter, to atmospheric optics and upper atmosphere research.
I do, therefore, recommend that consideration be given to the transfer of the scientific aspects of the Unidentified Flying Object problem to the cognizance of the Geophysics Research Directorate or another appropriate scientific division of the Air Force.
The reasons for Hynek's end-run attempt -- after ARDC's Major General Ferguson had already rejected the plan -- may have been because the rejection had not come from the science-oriented branch of ARDC. Perhaps Hynek believed that an atmospheric scientist of the caliber of Holzman might find himself so intrigued by the possibilities that he would take on the challenge. If so, it was probably a tactical mistake on Hynek's part to state "it so frequently happens that the public is quick to write to its congressional representatives that these sightings are not getting a square deal from the Air Force" -- for scientist or not, no higher-up in the Air Force wanted to invite that kind of negative attention. In any case, Holzman replied to Hynek with a polite brush-off...
H E A D Q U A R T E R S
AIR RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT COMMAND
UNITES STATES AIR FORCE
Andrews Air Force Base
Washington 25, D.C.
8 March 1960
Dr. J. Allen Hynek
60 Garden Street
Cambridge 38, Massachusetts
Dear Dr. Hynek:
I was very happy to receive your letter of 17 February. I have read with interest your suggestion that the study of UFO's be transferred from intelligence channels to the scientists.
Accordingly, I am forwarding a copy of your letter to Headquarters, Air Research and Development Command with a request that it consider your suggestion.
Again, my appreciation for your thoughtfulness.
Brigadier General, USAF
But ATIC was not ready to give up on ridding itself of the problem. A backup plan was enacted, this time attempting to transfer the responsibility entirely to SAFOI (Secretary of the Air Force, Office of Information) -- colloquially known as the "press desk" -- in Washington, D.C. This possibility had already been extensively examined in Col. Richard Shoop's original study, dated September 29, 1959...
8. Remove the UFO program from the intelligence community with plans for eventual complete elimination following a program of public education... The program could be moved to the Washington area and made the direct responsibility of one of the branches of the SAFIS. The long range plan to educate the public would use the media of the press, television, radio, and possibly movies, to inform the public of the various aspects of the program... When viewed properly, it will be realized that the expense incurred in the public education program will more than pay for itself if this eventually leads to deactivating of the program...
The new (alternative) goal now decided, the identical process which had been followed with ARDC to send the suggestion up the chain of command was initiated -- starting with a March 31, 1960, memo from Col. Evans to Major General Dougher (commander of ATIC), containing a suggested draft letter to General Walsh (Air Force Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence)...
[Note: the heading "Air Technical Intelligence Center" is as on the original, although the name had formally changed to the Aerospace Technical Intelligence Center.]
AIR TECHNICAL INTELLIGENCE CENTER
UNITED STATES AIR FORCE
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE
ATTN OF: AFCIN-4
SUBJECT: Transfer of USAF Aerial Phenomena Program
TO: AFCIN-4 (M/Gen Dougher)
1. In keeping with a policy of producing the maximum of aerospace intelligence with a minimum expenditure of funds and utilization of manpower, AFCIN-4E in December 1959 recommended the transfer of the Aerial Phenomena Program to Air Research and Development Command. It was pointed out at that time that after 12 years of experience ATIC has yet to uncover any positive evidence that UFO's constitute a threat to national security. It was further pointed out that the UFO program's only potential value to the United States Air Force was due to its scientific and/or technical aspects. ARDC, after reviewing the program, declined the transfer indicating that the data available was not qualitative and therefore of limited scientific value. It is my opinion that the data available is limited qualitatively only because of the volume of UFO traffic required to be handled by this organization. In an effort to continue meeting the USAF obligations to this program and also to disassociate it with intelligence, it is suggested that the Aerial Phenomena Program be transferred to SAFOI. The attached draft of a letter to General Walsh clearly indicates the benefits which might be derived from such a transfer.
2. If you concur with these suggestions, it is recommended that the draft of the attached letter be authenticated and forwarded to AFCIN.
PHILIP G. EVANS
Draft of ltr to Gen Walsh
Adding his weight to the effort, the next day A. Francis Arcier sent his own memo on the subject to Dougher...
ATCIN-4X1 1 April 1960
Subject: Transfer of UFO
MEMORANDUM TO MAJOR GENERAL DOUGHER
1. My comments on the transfer proposed in Colonel Evans' memorandum of 31 March 1960 are as follows.
2. I have tried during the last ten years of close association with this program to get it out of ATIC, for most of the reasons given in Colonel Evans' letter and its attachment. However, I have some additional comments:
a. This program has a high psychological warfare potential (an example being the H.G. Wells "War of the World" [sic] put on as a radio show by Orson Wells [sic, should be Welles] some years ago). Defense against this is not a function of intelligence.
b. I do not agree that, as stated in paragraph 4e, "loss of prestige to UFO program" is a disadvantage. In fact, I have been trying to bring this about totally.
3. Major Tacker of SAFOI is about to publish a book on UFO [sic]. This would surely destroy the claim of objectivity which the Air Force has made.
4. This transfer would certainly ease the 4X3 personnel problem.
5. If a transfer of personnel is involved in this matter, I recommend that Major R.J. Friend or Captain George T. Gregory go with the program; that is if they are awaiting reassignment or if they can be spared. A better alternative might be to have either of these officers named ATIC representative in an advisory capacity only and upon call. A much better alternative, and the one I recommend, would be for Dr. J. Allen Hynek to be retained by SAFOI as the scientific advisor on this subject.
A. FRANCIS ARCIER
4E ltr 31 Mar 60, subj Transfer
of USAF Aerial Phenomena Program
Both Evan's draft of the letter from Dougher to Walsh and an identical seemingly-final version on ATIC letterhead appear in Blue Book files...
AEROSPACE TECHNICAL INTELLIGENCE CENTER
UNITED STATES AIR FORCE
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE
ATTN OF: AFCIN-4E
SUBJECT: Transfer of USAF Aerial Phenomena Program
TO: AFCIN (Major General Walsh)
1. During December 1959, a study was conducted by AFCIN-4E, ATIC, recommending the transfer of the Aerial Phenomena Program to the Air Research and Development Command. It was pointed out that 12 years experience with the UFO program had failed to reveal any threat to national security, and that any value from the program would be derived from exploitation of its scientific and technical aspects. After review of the program, ARDC declined the transfer indicating the data available was not qualitative and therefore was of limited scientific value. It is the opinion of ATIC that the data available is limited qualitatively only because of the volume of UFO traffic required to be handled by this organization. If the cases which give indication of possessing scientific and/or technical value were to be exploited fully, it is believed that they would be of benefit to the USAF. It was further pointed out in the study, and by ARDC, that the great majority of these cases are valuable to the Air Force only as statistics and as they relate to the public relations aspects of the program. The Air Force must continue its responsibility for operation of this project; however, in view of the fact that this program, for the most part, deals with public relations it is suggested that it be transferred to SAFOI. SAFOI is presently responsible for the public relations portion of the program and this transfer would only entail expansion of the branch within SAFOI responsible for this function.
2. This program could operate without the loss of its possible military and scientific value if conducted as follows:
a. The reports will by regulation be forwarded to SAFOI for initial evaluation and storage. An officer with a technical background, and preferably with intelligence experience, will be assigned to that branch of SAFOI charged with this responsibility and will conduct this initial evaluation.
b. Those reports which reach SAFOI which give indication of having possible intelligence value or scientific and technical possibilities will be forwarded to AFCIN and/or ARDC for further evaluation and/or exploitation.
c. The conduct of the program in the field (investigations) will still be the responsibility of the Air Force bases. At the bases it will still be preferably the intelligence function which will be responsible for these investigations.
3. The advantages of this transfer are:
a. SAFOI is familiar with the Aerial Phenomena Program.
b. Reports will be evaluated immediately at the office responsible for public relations.
c. The reports which show promise of additional value, either from an intelligence and/or scientific viewpoint, will be forwarded to specializing agencies for further exploitation. Under this method of operation the number of reports which agencies such as ATIC and ARDC are required to handle would be cut to a minimum, allowing for more man-hours per report and consequently better analysis and evaluation.
d. The program will lose some of the aura of mystery which surrounds it due to its association with intelligence.
e. ATIC will be free to apply man-hours, previously applied to the UFO project, to other programs more beneficial to the Air Force.
f. ATIC prestige will lose the damaging effects which can be attributed to its association with a program so much in the public eye.
4. There are certain disadvantages associated with this change, the magnitude of which will decrease as the agencies concerned become familiar with the new method of operation:
a. The requirement for the office handling this program to establish the necessary security measures for handling classified intelligence reports.
b. It will be the responsibility of one individual not directly concerned with intelligence to determine which reports are of possible
c. Possibility of delay of reports with intelligence value getting into proper channels and the resulting delay of evaluation and dissemination of intelligence information.
d. The necessity for familiarizing sub-units of the Air Force with a new method of operating the Aerial Phenomena Program.
5. It has been pointed out that there would possibly be a lag in intelligence information finding it [sic] way into the proper channels. However, it should be immediately obvious that reports which originate from intelligence sources would remain primarily in intelligence channels with information copies of these reports, when deemed necessary due to their relation with the Aerial Phenomena Program, forwarded to the office in SAFOI which handles the project. The program should suffer little from being severed from an organization with a scientific and technical capability. The office within SAFOI responsible for this program could request the services of any agency within the government complex, which has a scientific and/or technical capability, for assistance in the evaluation of these reports.
6. The officer presently conducting the program for ATIC is available for transfer along with the project. This officer is capable of per- forming the function spelled out in paragraph 2a of this document.
7. Dr. J. Allen Hynek, Astrophysicist and Director of the Observatory at Northwestern University should be retained as the scientific consultant to this program. Dr. Hynek's experience with the aerial phenomena program spans the entire 12 years that the Air Force has conducted this program, and this experience would be invaluable to any future Air Force efforts in this area.
8. It is believed that this method of operating the Aerial Phenomena Program would be the most beneficial to the USAF. The long range aims are to eliminate this costly program completely as an Air Force responsibility. The first step, however, is to eliminate the most unproductive aspects of this program (i.e. hoax and garden variety UFO reports) as a responsibility of intelligence.
9. If you concur with the recommendations of this letter, it is suggested that the necessary steps be taken to effect the transfer of the Aerial Phenomena Program to SAFOI.
Draft of ltr to M/Gen Luehman
For unknown reasons, the letter on ATIC letterhead lacks a date as well as a typed signature space, nor is there any penned signature -- interesting omissions which may have import (as discussed a little later).
As to the content of the letter, although it is interesting in total, it is particularly revealing as well in that it appears to be another end-run attempt to have ARDC deal with at least some of the problem...
b. Those reports which reach SAFOI which give indication of having possible intelligence value or scientific and technical possibilities will be forwarded to AFCIN and/or ARDC for further evaluation and/or exploitation...
...Under this method of operation the number of reports which agencies such as ATIC and ARDC are required to handle would be cut to a minimum...
These sly references to reports which may be referred to ARDC take on even further meaning when the official ATIC position is remembered -- that out of thousands of reports over the course of 12 years there were extremely few, if any, that had any intelligence value. Paired with the suggestion that Dr. Hynek be made the consultant to SAFOI on this, and his stated belief in his letter to Holzman that "it is amply clear by now that those relatively few sightings that are puzzling are related to upper atmosphere phenomena and may offer interesting examples or meteorological and atmospheric optics phenomena",
it becomes clear the ATIC plan was that ARDC would be handling most, if not all, incidents requiring further investigation.
In any case -- as noted in the above letter from Dougher (commander of ATIC) to Walsh (head of Air Force intelligence) -- a separate letter on U.S. Air Force letterhead appears in Blue Book files from Walsh to Major General A.H. Luehman...
Arno H. Luehman: Born in 1911 in Milwaukee and educated in public schools, Arno Luehman graduated West Point in 1934. From there he went to Kelly Field, Texas, for flight training, and as a pilot began working his way up the chain of command. During World War II, Luehman served as Assistant Chief of Staff for operations at Headquarters Third Air Force, and in the same capacity at Headquarters 13th Air Force in the Southwest Pacific, where he flew combat missions in B-24 and B-25 aircraft -- ultimately becoming Chief of Staff for the 13th Air Force. Following the war Luehman held a variety of assignments, including the Operation Crossroads atomic tests and as Assistant Chief of Staff for Plans at Strategic Air Command. From there Luehman went on to attend Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base, following which he held a series of assignments as an international relations adviser -- first as secretary of the U.S. Representatives to the United Nations Military Staff Committee, then as military adviser to the U.S. Delegation at the Third General Assembly at Paris, and finally as Chief of Staff for the U.S. Air Force Representative to the U.N. Military Staff Committee -- all this during the 1948-1949 time period of heightened U.S.-Soviet tensions, including the Berlin Air Lift. In 1949 Luehman attended the Advanced War College following which, in 1951, he became Air Force Deputy Director of Information in Washington, D.C. Indicating the high regard his superiors had for his abilities, Luehman in 1954 became Commander of the 3500th U.S. Air Force Recruiting Wing at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base -- taking charge of the first Air Force recruitment effort separate from that of the U.S. Army. At the time not only recruitment but reenlistment in the Air Force was at near rock bottom. Luehman instituted an aggressive recruitment program, at the same time lobbying for an increase in pay for his pilots -- whom he publicly proclaimed were paid less than their Soviet counterparts. Luehman's recruiting emphasis was on the emerging "jet age", and in his recruitment efforts he produced pamphlets for not only for potential recruits ("The Jet Air Age and Your U.S. Air Force") but for their parents as well ("Your Son and the Jet Air Age"). As a result of his efforts, both recruitment and reenlistment soared. In 1957 Luehman returned to Washington, D.C., as Director of Information.
Like the previous letter from Walsh (head of Air Force intelligence) to Schriever (head of ARDC), the letter to Luehman was framed in terms of seeking his "concurrence" with the proposed transfer...
DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE
HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES AIR FORCE
WASHINGTON 25, C.C.
ATTN OF: AFCIN (Major General Walsh)
SUBJECT: Transfer of USAF Aerial Phenomena Program
TO: SAFOI (Major General A.H. Luehman)
1. In the fall of 1947, the USAF took official notice of reports of unidentified flying objects. Responsibility for the UFO project was assigned to the intelligence community.
2. The project, as established, was to determine if UFO's were hostile, had any possible scientific value, and to determine the nature of each of these objects. After 12 years and more than 8000 reports, the Air Force has not discovered any evidence which would indicate that UFO's are inimical or pose a security threat in any way.
3. In the absence of evidence to indicate a possible security threat the scientific and public relations aspects of the program gained stature. It becomes obvious that with these new objectives the program's assignment to intelligence is no longer practical. Experience during the same 12 years has indicated that the program is more a public relations program than anything else. The few reports that may have intelligence and/or scientific and technical value have a tendency to become lost in the volume of UFO traffic. In an effort to overcome this shortcoming, it is my opinion that the aerial phenomena project should be assigned to SAFOI.
h. To prevent the loss of valuable information; [sic, semi-colon punctuation] intelligence, scientific, and/or technical, it is suggested that an individual with a technical and intelligence background be assigned to the branch of SAFOI which becomes responsible for the program. All reports which have indication of value in the intelligence and/or scientific areas would be routed to the appropriate agency for exploitation. The officer presently conducting the program for ATIC is available for transfer along with the project. This officer is capable of performing the function spelled out in this paragraph.
5. It is suggested that Dr. J. Allen Hynek, Astrophysicist and Director of the Observatory at Northwestern University, be retained as the scientific consultant to the program. Dr. Hynek has performed in this capacity for ATIC since 1947, and his experience and "know how" would be invaluable to Air Force efforts in conducting the aerial phenomena program.
6. With your concurrence, I propose to initiate the action to transfer the aerial phenomena program to SAFOI.
And like the letter from Dougher (head of ATIC) to Walsh proposing the transfer, the copy of the letter from Walsh to Luehman, while typed on Air Force Headquarters letterhead, lacks a date as well as a typed signature space, and there is no hand-written signature, or the usual notations such as copies sent to others -- all curious omissions in and of themselves.
But the most noticeable omission in Blue Book files is the complete absence of any reply or any reference whatsoever to the reaction of Major General Luehman to the proposal. Taken together these omissions seem to indicate the likelihood that for whatever reason -- and despite their having being typed onto letterhead -- the letters may have never been sent.
In any case, the unsigned letters represent the last particulars of ATIC's plan to be found in Blue Book files. And there matters would rest for a time.
Above: First page of Air Force Regulation AFR 200-2 -- issued to air bases worldwide -- detailing procedures for the reporting of UFOs.
The ultimately-futile concerted effort by ATIC to rid itself of the problem had begun in September, 1959, and continued on into April, 1960. But even as ATIC was maneuvering behind the scenes to convince higher-ups that there was no intelligence value in UFO reports, the public was hearing of an entirely different Air Force viewpoint. From the February 28, 1960, edition of the Lubbock, Texas, Avalanche-Journal...
Air Force Accused of Hiding 'Warning' On Saucers
Units Put On Alert 'Secretly' -- Public Misled, Group Charges
By ALVIN SPIVAK
WASHINGTON (UPI) -- The Air Force has sent its commands a new warning to treat sightings of unidentified flying objects (UFO's) as "serious business" directly related to the nation's defense, it was learned Saturday.
An Air Force spokesman confirmed issuance of the directive after portions of it were made public by a private "Flying Saucer" research group.
Issued In December
The new regulations were issued by the Air Force inspector general last Dec. 24.
The regulations, updating similar ones issued in the past, outlined procedures and said that "investigations and analysis of UFO's are directly related to the Air Force's responsibility for the defense of the United States."
Existence of the document was revealed by the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP).
The big-name privately-financed committee accused the Air Force of deception in publicly describing unidentified flying object reports as delusions and hoaxes while sending the private admonition to its commands.
Vice Adm. R.H. Hillenkoetter (ret.), a NICAP board member and former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, said in a statement that a photocopy of the inspector general's warning had been sent to the senate space committee.
'Time For Truth'
"It is time for the truth to be brought out in open congressional hearings," he said.
THE AIR FORCE confirmed that the document had been issued. A spokesman said it was put out by Maj Gen Richard E. O'Keefe, acting inspector general at the time, to call attention to revised Air Force regulations concerning UFO's.
The statement was included in an "operations and training" pamphlet circulated at intervals to bring commands up to date.
Pentagon aides said the new regulations, covering seven printed pages, made no substantive change in policy but were rewritten as a matter of course.
The Air Force has investigated 6312 reports of UFO's since 1947, including 183 during the last six months of 1959. The latest Air Force statement, issued a month ago, said "no physical or material evidence, not even a minute fragment of a so-called flying saucer, has ever been found."
The inspector general's document, NICAP said, was headed "UFO's Serious Business."
NICAP quoted the inspector general as saying:
"Unidentified flying objects -- sometimes treated lightly by the press and referred to as 'flying saucers' -- must be rapidly and accurately identified as serious USAF business . . .
"Air Force concern with these sightings is threefold. First of all, is the object a threat to the defense of the U.S.? Secondly, does it contribute to technical or scientific knowledge?"
The third point cited, NICAP said, was the question of how to explain the sightings to the public. NICAP said the inspector general "predicted that UFO sightings will increase, causing public apprehension."
Hillenkoetter said that "behind that scenes, high-ranking Air Force officers are soberly concerned about the UFOs."
"But through official secrecy and ridicule, many citizens are led to believe the unknown flying objects are nonsense," the retired admiral said. He added that "to hide the facts, the Air Force has silenced its personnel" through issuance of a regulation.
"Veteran airline pilots and other technically trained observers have been discredited," he said. "Hundreds of authentic reports, many confirmed by radar or photographs, have been labeled delusions or explained away by answers contrary to fact."
The news account was dead wrong in its claim that the message constituted "new regulations" issued "by the Air Force inspector general last Dec. 24". In fact the Inspector General's office had merely used its regular bi-weekly publication -- "The TIG Brief", addressed to air base commanders worldwide -- to issue a reminder of a revision made in September 1959 to a six-year-old already-existing Air Force regulation. Nor was doing such significant or surprising. The Inspector General's office by definition had the responsibility for assuring that all Air Force regulations were being properly followed.
The regulation in question -- Air Force Regulation 200-2 (AFR 200-2) -- had first been promulgated in 1953. Revised several times since then with variations in wording, its purpose had always been to establish (as worded in the September 1959 revision) "the responsibility and procedure for reporting information and evidence on unidentified flying objects".
Professionally typeset at seven pages, it was fairly comprehensive and explicit -- defining what did and did not constitute a UFO, the Air Force objective in investigating reports, assigned responsibilities for reporting, investigating, and submitting UFO reports (as well as for the release of public information), the chain of communication for informing ATIC, and specific information to be collected...
15. Basic Reporting Data and Format. Show the abbreviation "UFO" at the beginning of the text of all electrical reports and in the subject of written reports. Include in all reports the data required, in the order shown below:
a. Description of the Object(s):
(2) Size compared to a known object (use one of the following terms: Head of a pin, pea, dime, nickel, quarter, half dollar, silver dollar, baseball, grapefruit, or basketball) held in the hand at about arm's length.
(5) Formation, if more than one.
(6) Any discernible features or details.
(7) Tail, trail, or exhaust, including size of same compared to size of object(s).
(8) Sound. If heard, describe sound.
(9) Other pertinent or unusual features
b. Description of Course of Object(s):
(1) What first called the attention of observer(s) to the object(s)?
(2) Angle or elevation and azimuth of the object(s) when first observed.
(3) Angle or elevation and azimuth of object(s) upon disappearance.
(4) Description of flight path and maneuvers of object(s).
(5) How did the object(s) disappear? (Instantaneously to the North etc.)
(6) How long was the object(s) visible. (Be specific, 5 minutes, 1 hour, etc.)
c. Manner of Observation:
(1) Use one or any combination of the following items: Ground-visual, ground-electronic, air electronic. (If electronic, specify type of radar.)
(2) Statement as to optical aids (telescopes, binoculars, etc.) used and description thereof.
(3) If the sighting is made while airborne, give type of aircraft, identification number, altitude, heading, speed, and home station.
d. Time and Date of Sighting:
(1) Zulu time-date group of sighting.
(2) Light conditions. (Use one of the following terms: Night, day, dawn, dusk).
e. Location of Observer(s). Exact latitude and longitude of each observer, and/or geographical position. A position with reference to a known landmark also should be given in electrical reports, such as "2mi N of Deeville;" "3mi SW of Blue Lake." Typographical errors or "garbling" often result in electrically transmitted messages, making location plots difficult or impossible.
Example: 89 45N, 192 71W for 39 45N, 102 21W.
f. Identifying Information on Observer(s):
(1) Civilian -- Name, age, mailing address, occupation, and estimate of reliability.
(2) Military -- Name, grade, organization, duty, and estimate of reliability.
g. Weather and Winds-Aloft Conditions at Time and Place of Sightings:
(1) Observer(s) account of weather conditions.
(2) Report from nearest AWS or U.S. Weather Bureau Office of wind direction and velocity in degrees and knots at surface, 6,000', 10,000', 16,000', 20,000', 30,000', 50,000', and 80,000' if available.
(5) Amount of cloud cover.
(6) Thunderstorms in area and quadrant in which located.
(7) Temperature gradient.
h. Any other unusual activity or condition, meteorological, astronomical, or otherwise, which might account for the sighting.
i. Interception or identification action taken (such action may be taken whenever feasible, complying with existing air defense directives).
j. Location, approximate altitude, and general direction of flight of any air traffic or balloon releases in the area which could possibly account for the sighting.
k. Position title and comments of the preparing officer, including his preliminary analysis of the possible cause of the sighting(s). (See paragraph 17.)
l. Existence of physical evidence, such as materials and photographs.
But irrespective of the actual history of AFR 200-2 and the non-sensational reason for the reminder published in the TIG Brief, the public was definitely receiving the message that UFOs were "serious business" to the Air Force.
The year 1960 would also see increasing pressure from civilian UFO organizations for Congressional investigations of the Air Force role in the mystery, as from the March 1, 1960, edition of the Hartford, Connecticut, Times...
Nutmegger in Fore of Drive To Nail Down UFO Reports
This country's best-known "flying saucer" private research group will soon press for public hearings on unidentified flying objects.
Richard Hall, secretary for the NICAP (National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena), has reported that organization representatives are "getting ready to talk" to senators and representatives about this.
Mr. Hall, a Hartford area native and former student of Gilbert High School in Winsted, said the drive by the NICAP for hearings, attempted on several occasions, would be the most intensive one yet.
THE MOVE comes only a few days after an Air Force spokesman confirmed a report by the NICAP that the Air Force commands had received a directive to treat all sightings of UFOs as "serious business" directly related to the nation's defense.
Mr. Hall reported the number of congressmen who "have shown interest" in public hearings on UFOs has increased. He said that no Connecticut senators or congressmen had indicated any direct interest in the subject.
The two Connecticut congressmen most likely to have a related interest to the UFO subject would be Senator Thomas J. Dodd of West Hartford, member of the Senate's Space Committee, and U.S. Rep. Emilio Q. Daddario of Hartford, member of the House Committee on Science and Astronautics.
THE NICAP, Mr. Hall explained, is going to press more now since "the atmosphere for getting this thing out into the open is almost certainly more acceptable because of space developments." The long-announced aim of NICAP, he said, is to "get evidence found in investigations out for the public to judge."
The NICAP, headed by Maj. Donald E. Keyhoe, USMC (ret.), includes among its board members Vice Adm. R.H. Hillenkoetter, former director of the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency).
Nor was NICAP the only outside organization pressuring the Air Force, as for instance from the March 13, 1960, edition of the Alamogordo, New Mexico, Daily News...
Above: Picture accompanying article.
Up To Air Force
Challenge Made On UFO Evidence
An official of an organization dedicated to the study of unidentified flying objects (UFO) said today the group has physical evidence of the existence of such phenomena, and a challenge was issued to the Air Force to try to refute the evidence.
The challenge came in a letter from Mrs. Coral E. Lorenzen of Alamogordo, who is an international director of the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization. This group has worldwide membership and its aim is to collect and study data on UFOs.
Mrs. Lorenzen said today the APRO has in its possession two pieces of material found after what she termed "an extra-terrestrial vehicle . . . met with disaster in the earth's atmosphere."
Mrs. Lorenzen's letter was sent to Maj. Lawrence J. Tacker of the Office of Public Information of the Air Force in Washington.
"We feel . . . that it should be routed through you since it concerns directly a recent report issued by your office to the effect that the Air Force has no physical or material evidence indicating that any UFOs are real and extraterrestrial," Mrs. Lorenzen wrote. "A release which you issued early this year states 'no physical or material evidence, not even a minute fragment of a so-called flying saucer, has ever been found.'"
The APRO, she adds, can provide this physical evidence.
"It is, in fact, a portion of an extraterrestrial vehicle which met with disaster in the earth's atmosphere. The catastrophy [sic] was witnessed by numerous human beings," she wrote.
"The gratifying aspect of this case, however, is that we do not have to depend on the testimony of witnesses to establish the reality of the incident, for the most advanced laboratory tests indicate that the residual material could not have been produced through the application of any known terrestrial techniques . . .
". . . We humbly submit this proposition: The evidence which we have is available to the U.S. Air Force -- not to be bickered about, but rather to be examined by scientific authorities acceptable to all parties concerned."
Mrs. Lorenzen exhibited a photograph of the two small pieces she says are part of a space ship. She said that at present she would not say where they were found or where they now are.
"I would like to emphasize this is no trick and that the APRO stands ready to back up its offer," she said. "The Air Force is here provided the opportunity to indict or vindicate itself, as it chooses."
But even the most die-hard critic of Air Force behavior would have to have some sympathy for its predicament, considering APRO's next public statement published five days later -- after the Air Force had accepted Lorenzen's offer. From the March 18, 1960, edition of the El Paso, Texas, Herald-Post...
Mystery Metal 'Is Not Meteorite,' Group Says
By TERRY CLARKE
ALAMOGORDO, March 18. -- A scientific research group, with world headquarters at Alamogordo, today notified the U.S. Air Force they will not send physical evidence they believe indicates the existence of unidentified flying objects, operating within the Earth's atmosphere, to an Air Force laboratory at Dayton, Ohio.
An Aerial Phenomena Research Organization spokesman said an Air Force regulation would prevent release to the public of any test results obtained by the Air Force unless the "mystery metal" were proven to have originated on Earth.
Coral Lorenzen, international director of APRO said the group will release the results of exhaustive laboratory tests performed on the mysterious metallic object, so far identified only as "Metal X," to the public, along with the entire story behind its discovery.
Earlier, APRO had told the Air Force the object was part of "an extra-terrestrial vehicle that crashed in the Earth's atmosphere."
Asked if the object could have been part of a meteorite, APRO officials said, "the material is a manufactured metal in a form unknown on Earth, according to advance [sic] laboratory tests including spectro-analysis."
Today, APRO officials said they received a message from Maj. Lawrence J. Tacker, public information officer at the Department of Defense in Washington, D.C., advising them to send the mysterious object to the Aero Space Technical Intelligence Center at Wright Air Development Center, Dayton, Ohio, "as soon as possible."
APRO scientists [sic, throughout] said they declined the proposal, pointing out the material, only known specimen of its kind in the world, is extremely valuable. They said they did not feel it would be in the public interest to hazard sending it across the county.
"Also," Director Lorenzen said, "some of the world's most competent and recognized scientists operate laboratories right outside Alamogordo at the Air Force Missile Development Center at Holloman Air Force Base. We can't see the point in chancing mailing the material all the way to Ohio."
In a telegram, sent to Major Tacker at the Defense Department in Washington today, APRO said:
"Your proposal that APRO send the UFO residuals to A.T.I.C. for study must be respectfully declined sine AFR 200-2 would prevent release to the public of any test results obtained there. Our moral obligation to our members and the general public prevents us from entering into such an arrangement. (Signed) Coral Lorenzen, APRO."
Air Force regulation 200-2, officials said, allows release to the public only those UFO reports that are proven to be of known origin on Earth, such as weather balloons. The regulation forbids A.T.I.C. and the Air Force to release reports on unidentified flying objects which cannot be explained.
"We would prefer," Lorenzen said, "that he Air Force join us in selecting a qualified and impartial civilian testing laboratory to check our findings and release them to the public so they can judge the truth for themselves."
APRO officials said they are documenting the entire background of the case leading up to their discovery and possession of the mysterious object, along with complete detailed reports on their laboratory findings, and will have them ready for release to the public within a few days.
They said the entire clinical data will be published in the APRO Bulletin, a technical publication for scientists, and other qualified observers and researchers throughout the Free World. APRO's world-wide organization, made up of volunteer members interested in solving the UFO mystery," has been investigating so-called flying saucers and other phenomena for more than a decade.
Observers on all continents, officials said, investigate incidents related to unidentified aerial objects and funnel their reports to the Alamogordo headquarters at 1712 Van Court.
Here, reports are catalogued, analyzed and checked against similar reports. "APRO," Lorenzen aid, has proven many reports, including some by so-called 'contactors' [sic] who have claimed actual contact with beings from other worlds, to be erroneous or outright frauds."
"However," APRO scientists said, "some of the documented reports in our files from qualified observers of the highest integrity indicate there is more to the UFO mystery than the pubic has been led to believe."
"APRO," Director Lorenzen said, "is a non-profit organization of all sorts of people . . . physicists, aeronautical and missile engineers, astronomers and people from all walks of life who volunteer their free time for no pay for just one reason . . . to attempt to solve a fascinating and challenging mystery."
It would take four more days for Mrs. Lorenzen to reveal the full story to the public. From the March 22, 1960, edition of the El Paso, Texas, Herald Post...
'Flying Saucer' Mystery Metal Believed To Be Pure Magnesium
Metallic Form Unknown to Earth
By United Press International
ALAMOGORDO, March 22. -- A private research group at odds with the Air Force over "flying saucer" evidence said today metallic fragments reported recovered from a Brazilian explosion were pure magnesium, a metallic form not known on earth.
The Aerial Phenomena Research Organization made its statement to bolster claims of "extra terrestrial space ship" exploration of Earth's atmosphere.
Fishermen See Blast
Director Coral Lorenzen gave United Press International this account of the explosion and recovery of fragments:
An unconventional aerial object exploded along the coast of Brazil in view of 20 fishermen early in September, 1957. The witnesses agreed a small, shiny, disc-shaped object traveling at high speed toward the ocean veered sharply up away from the water and exploded "each fragment glowing brightly in the noonday sun like fireworks."
One observer gathered fragments extinguished by the waves and eventually turned them over to Dr. Olavo T. Fontes, medical scientist at the Brazilian National School of Medicine, and also an APRO member.
Fontes turned some fragments over to the National Mineral Production Laboratory for analysis. Spectro-analysis by Dr. Luisa Barbosa, chief chemist revealed the material was pure magnesium with no trace elements.
Fontes, surprised, ordered a recheck. No known method exists for reducing magnesium to absolute purity and it is not known to exist in a pure form on Earth, though its supply is plentiful.
The second test made Oct. 24, 1957 confirmed the first finding, and then X-ray diffraction methods were used again at the Geology and Mineralogy Division of the National Dept. of Mineral Production.
Scientist of Repute
Conducting the test, said APRO, was Dr. Elysiaro Tavora Bilho, well-knokn [sic] scientist at Brazil who has pioneered in crystallography. Again, said, APRO, the tests showed the fragments to be pure magnesium.
By this time the Brazilian Army learned of the incident and directed Filho's tests, which included the powder diffraction pattern. Geiger counter and atomic scaler tests showed no abnormal amount of radiation.
APRO said the "purest magnesium ever produced on earth still has impurities which could easily be identified in the spectographic analyses. The Ubatuba samples showed none."
APRO officials said they would publish a detailed, clinical report, in the APRO Bulletin, a technical paper for scientists and member observers throughout the Free World.
They said the report would be released to the public because APRO officials felt "the Department of Defense" and "Air Force officials" had indicated reluctance in co-operating on an independent and impartial laboratory to check the Brazilian findings.
Here then were details which should have been included in the initial challenge to the Air Force: the alleged incident had occurred more than two years previously. There had been 20 witnesses -- all fishermen. The many witnesses "agreed a small, shiny, disc-shaped object traveling at high speed toward the ocean veered sharply up away from the water and explode". One of the witnesses "gathered fragments extinguished by the waves and eventually turned them over to Dr. Olavo T. Fontes, medical scientist at the Brazilian National School of Medicine".
But in fact the APRO Bulletin published a somewhat different version of events in its May, 1960, issue...
On September 14, 1957, Mr. Ibrahim Sued, a social columnist for the Rio de Janeiro daily newspaper, "O Globo," included in his column the text of a letter he had received from a reader. Quote:
"Dear Mr. Ibrahim Sued. As a faithful reader of your column, and an admirer of yours, I wish to give you something of the highest interest to a newspaperman, concerning the flying saucers. If you believe they are real, of course. I also didn't believe anything said or published about them. But just a few days ago I had to change my mind. I was fishing together with some friends at a place near the town of Ubatuba, Sao Paulo, when I saw a flying disk. It approached the beach at unbelievable speed, an accident seeming imminent -- in other words, a crash into the sea. At the last moment, however, when it was about to strike the water, it made a sharp turn upwards and climbed up rapidly in a fantastic maneuver. We followed the spectacle with our eyes, startled, when we saw the disk explode in flames. It disintegrated into thousands of fiery fragments, which fell sparkling with magnificent brightness. They looked like fireworks, in spite of the time of the accident -- at noon. Most of these fragments, almost all, fell into the sea. But a number of small pieces fell close to the beach and we picked up a large amount of this material -- which was as light as paper. I enclose herewith a small sample of it. I don't know any one that could be trusted to whom I might send it for analysis. I never read about a flying saucer having been found, or about fragments or parts of a saucer that had been picked up; unless it had been done by military authorities and the whole thing kept as a top-secret subject. I am certain that the matter will be of great interest to the brilliant columnist and I am sending two copies of this letter to the newspaper and to your home." Unquote. The signature was not legible.
Mr. Sued had never written about the UAOs before. Dr. Olavo T. Fontes, APRO's Brazilian representative, read the letter in the column and decided to call Mr. Sued and attempt to at least view the particles. Four hours after a telephone conversation with the columnist, Dr. Fontes visited Mr. Sued at his home. There, on a table, was the sample sent by the unknown correspondent...
So rather than occurring "in view of 20 fishermen", it was in fact one man "fishing together with some friends". The identity of the letter-writer could not be discerned because the "signature was not legible". There was nothing in the letter about "a small, shiny, disc-shaped object" -- only the anonymous letter-writer's statement that he saw "a flying disk" which "approached the beach at unbelievable speed". And there were no details to which "witnesses agreed" because the entire incident was related in a single letter by an unknown letter-writer who was never heard from again. Nor was it true that "one observer gathered fragments extinguished by the waves and eventually turned them over to Dr. Olavo T. Fontes, medical scientist at the Brazilian National School of Medicine". Instead, they had been sent to a society columnist who reprinted the letter.
Especially curious, however, are aspects of the tale itself, as well as the subsequent letter's phrasing that...
Most of these fragments, almost all, fell into the sea. But a number of small pieces fell close to the beach and we picked up a large amount of this material -- which was as light as paper. I enclose herewith a small sample of it. I don't know any one that could be trusted to whom I might send it for analysis.
If the letter writer didn't know "any one that could be trusted" why send only a small sample, and what had happened to the "large amount of material" he had gathered? Why had the letter writer not provided any means of contact, but included an illegible signature? Was the fact that this precluded interviewing other witnesses just an unfortunate by-product, or was it deliberate? And why was the "brilliant" society columnist for "O Globo" chosen to "send it for analysis"?
Equally curious was the letter-writer's disclaimer that...
I never read about a flying saucer having been found, or about fragments or parts of a saucer that had been picked up; unless it had been done by military authorities and the whole thing kept as a top-secret subject.
The legend that a saucer had been recovered by military authorities had been part of flying saucer lore since the early 1950s, when gossip columnist Frank Scully had published his book "Behind the Flying Saucers", wherein Scully alleged he was in contact with "two scientists" who had worked on the crashed saucers (the "two scientists" were later revealed to be practiced con men). The book garnered wide-spread publicity both in the U.S. and internationally, and so there was nothing especially curious about that part of the letter-writer's statement.
However, the letter-writer's claim that he had never heard about" fragments or parts of a saucer that had been picked up" could be seen to have been included to counter any suspicion that he was parroting a 1947 hoax known as "The Maury Island Incident" -- perpetrated by two con men claiming that while in a boat not far from shore a saucer in trouble had appeared, and...
...began spewing forth what seemed like thousands of newspapers and from somewhere on the inside of its center. These newspapers, which turned out to be a white type of very light weight metal, fluttered to earth...
Having witnessed such a spectacular event, the con men involved at Maury Island had chosen to send "samples" directly to a single individual in the press and leave it at that -- just as the letter-writer himself had done.
And then there are the curious actions of Mrs. Lorenzen herself. The first thing that jumps out is that for an unexplained reason it had taken more than two years after the alleged incident (and subsequent laboratory analysis) for Mrs. Lorenzen to announce it publicly. When she did finally announce it, she distorted some of the details ("20 fishermen") and completely glossed over the doubtful provenance of the "evidence" (telling the United Press reporter, for instance, that a witness had given a sample directly to Dr. Fontes). And even then Mrs. Lorenzen didn't simply release the details and results, but instead chose to present the story in the form of a public challenge to the Air Force. As the founder and head of one of the oldest private UFO groups, she certainly knew the reaction she would receive from the Air Force -- which she then went to great lengths to publicize further.
In the end the Air Force declined to step into the trap, and the story quickly faded from public view. The next month Mrs. Lorenzen would write...
The physical evidence story was accepted well abroad, but in the U.S., editors refrained from too wide a use of it, and it fell flat. We have labeled this attitude "Brinksterism" because people have a tendency to want the facts until they are confronted with them -- they come to the brink of the truth and then turn their backs.
Most researchers would scream "censorship" -- we have said in the past and will reiterate at this time -- there could have been censorship, but we just don't know. A certain fear of confirmation of the unknown element seems to play a big part in this; perhaps we will never know just how much.
As for the Air Force, it undoubtedly labeled the whole thing a stunt, one of many to add to its ledger -- reaffirming its view that the true goal of private groups such as APRO was to gain publicity by attacking the Air Force, and thereby (through increased paid memberships, sale of books, and other means) make themselves a tidy profit.
Above: January, 1960, cover of the Saucerian Bulletin. First issued in 1953 and sent to paid subscribers, it was published by Gray Barker, who was second only to Ray Palmer (publisher of Fate magazine) as a purveyor of flying saucer lore. Originally genuinely intrigued by the phenomena, Barker soon became cynical and turned to hucksterism to feed financially off hoaxes and wild tales sold to the gullible. In 1956, as owner of Saucerian Books, Barker had written and published They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers, creating the legend of the "men in black" (weird and mysterious men who come to intimidate flying saucer witnesses into silence). In the January, 1960, issue of the Saucerian Bulletin, pictured above, articles included "Saucerians Wave to Anglican Priest", "Saucers From Inside the Earth?", and "Invitation For Ride In Saucer" (wherein Barker told of being one of more than a dozen people who had been invited to ride a flying saucer to an island off the coast of Brazil).
Meanwhile -- well away from the private and public machinations of UFO groups and the military -- a strange sighting by a reputable witness in Indiana made its way to Project Blue Book...
According to an Air Force questionnaire filled out by the witness, he was a 24-year old physics teacher, having completed four years of college plus his post-graduate work. He had been driving south on Highway 31 approximately two miles north of Scottsburg, Indiana. At approximately 4:30 p.m. CST he spotted an unusual object in the west and pulled over to watch. The object was at a 20-30 degree elevation from the horizon "in the direction of the setting sun". On the questionnaire he chose "dull daylight" from one of the six choices given for "condition of the sky", and chose "scattered clouds" from five choices for cloud conditions (he also chose "dry", "no wind" and "warm" for general weather conditions).
Again according to answers given on the questionnaire, the object was "light golden, very shiny" and "brighter than the background of the sky" and at no time changed in brightness. The object retained its position during the entire five minutes he viewed it, and he circled "no" to the questions as to whether it broke up into parts or exploded, gave off smoke, or flickered, throbbed or pulsated. Nor did it move behind or in front of anything, including clouds, or change shape at any time. Choosing from four options to describe "the edges of the object", the witness chose "sharply outlined". The sighting was made from "in a car" in "open countryside". He could not estimate its distance. In answering the question "how did the object or objects disappear from view", the witness replied, "I didn't see it disappear". In the car with him was one additional witness, his mother.
The witness also provided a sketch (shown as from Blue Book files and then enhanced below)...
Unfortunately one page of the questionnaire -- that asking each witness to describe what they saw in their own words -- is missing from the Blue Book file, and there was no subsequent follow-up investigation. This leaves it as a matter of conjecture as to why the report by a physics teacher of sighting a shiny, golden, cigar-shaped, sharply-outlined object "rotating on its own axis, very slowly" was explained by Blue Book as "probably a cloud reflecting the sun's rays with upper air currents giving the appearance of rotation".
In any case, that is where the matter rests, even today.
The next month, a strange multiple-witness sighting took place in the skies over the north-south border separating Port Huron, Michigan, from Sarnia, Ontario, Canada. From the February 22, 1960, edition of the Port Huron, Michigan, Times-Herald...
Above, top: Postcard image of Blue Water Bridge, a twin-span international bridge across the St. Clair River. Middle: Map showing U.S.-Canadian border. Port Huron and Sarnia are at the lower portion. Bottom: Sketch of objects from the February 24, 1960, edition of the Port Huron, Michigan, Times-Herald. The caption underneath -- headed "Lights Looked Something Like This" -- read... "This drawing by Times Herald staff artist Robert L. Leighton has been checked by Peter C. Bart, Sarnia, and has been described by Mr. Bart as a fairly accurate representation of the five lights he saw in the eastern sky over Sarnia early Sunday. Mr. Bart says the lights were quite bright and the lower two had short beams running downward a short way in opposite angles. Mr. Bart, who was working at the Sarnia railroad yards when he and two other workers saw the lights, said he has no idea what caused them. They remained motionless in the sky and then moved away". The illustration was published two days after the following story...
Report Objects Also Make Noise
7 Tell Of Lights In Sky
Seven persons reported that early Sunday morning they heard and saw five unidentified flying objects hovering over the southern section of Port Huron and Sarnia.
At first all were reluctant to say anything about it, but they decided later to report it.
The objects appeared to be bright, white lights, were said to be in a definite formation and were round in structure.
ALL WHO SAW and heard the objects said the sky was cloudless at the time.
Mrs. Thelma Ballentyne, 1115 Eleventh avenue, employe of the Grand Trunk YMCA, said she awakened about 5 a.m. Sunday and heard a peculiar noise.
"At first I thought it might be a train or plane but when I listened a little longer it sounded like a dynamo running or a large group of planes," Mrs. Ballentyne said.
"I checked the time and it was 5:10 a.m.," Mrs. Ballentyne added.
"The sound was a steady one and it sounded the loudest from the southern part of the house.
"It lasted for about five minutes and then began to fade out.
"The noise was like nothing I had ever heard before," Mrs. Ballentyne said.
Mrs. Ballentyne said she didn't look out the window, and only heard the noises.
FOUR EMPLOYES of the Canadian National railroad yards at Sarnia, P.C. Bart, Edward Baker, Edward Moffitt and a Mr. Abbott, who were all on duty Sunday morning reported they saw and heard the objects.
Mr. Baker, a tower man, was in one of the railroad switch towers when he said he saw the objects move in over Port Huron.
Mr. Baker said, "the objects came out of the sky from the Port Huron side.
"It was the weirdest sight I have ever seen.
"The objects glowed with a bright, white light and were in a definite formation.
"There were three on top and two on the bottom.
"The two lower ones had a flashlight-like beam that came from the center of the object down toward the ground, but did not quite reach the ground.
"All five objects were stationary in the sky for about five minutes and then moved off to the northeast at a high rate of speed and disappeared."
MR. BAKER said another strange thing happened.
"In a nearby woods there is a flock of crows that has become accustomed to the trains that move by every day and never makes a disturbance because of the noise. I have never seen a plane frighten them either, but Sunday morning when the objects appeared and the noise could be heard the crows began to scream and fly all about," Mr. Baker said.
The four men said, "The objects were solid appearing and seemed to be about 5,000 feet above the ground [sic, no end quote].
Several other employes of the railroad reported they heard and saw the objects also.
Col. William Marriott, in charge of Sarnia's Civil Defense, said he had no reports of the objects, but said his wife also heard the noise Sunday morning.
Officials from Selfridge Air Force Base said today they knew nothing of the incident and knew of no planes in the area at that time.
Law enforcement officials in Port Huron and Sarnia reported they received no calls on the objects.
Two days later -- and approximately 1500 air miles southwest of Point Huron-Sarnia -- an interesting sighting occurred just after sunset, according to a February 29, 1960, letter to the Air Force from a witness in Tucson, Arizona...
Above: Hand-written letter to the Air Force. The letter was subsequently typed up verbatim by the Air Force, presumably for purposes of forwarding copies (for instance, from the Public Information Office in Washington, D.C. to Project Blue Book).
On Wednesday evening, February 24, my wife and I were returning from a drive which we had taken to the eastern section of Tucson. We were traveling west on East Broadway Avenue and were approximately 8-1/2 miles east of the center of town. The sun had just set behind the mountains. The sky was mostly clear, with a few banks of colored clouds.
My wife called my attention to a white streak in the sky. It was traveling east and was framed by our windshield. I took it for a jet contrail, but it did not lengthen or spread. I pulled to the side of the road and we both left the car to study it more closely. It was 6:20 P.M.
It seemed to be over the southern part of the city, over the mountains to the west, but continued to move east. It appeared to be a band of white light, non-radiating, the same color as a contrail. After a while it started to maneuver, changing direction quickly, and slanting at various angles. At one point I saw, very dimly, a globe shape behind the band of light.
(Later, in discussing this with my wife, we both drew illustrations of what our impression had been without letting the other see what we were sketching. She drew a similar sketch)
At about 6:25 two diagonal streaks of light left the upper and lower parts of the band, breaking off when they were of the same length as the original. They circled about, staying near the first band, then looped and came back toward it. Once again I thought that possibly it was three jet planes stunting and watched to see if the "contrails" crossed. The two additional streaks, however, seemed to be absorbed back into the original band. Only that remained visible.
The object continued to "glide" over a limited portion of the sky, changing direction quickly and angling back and forth. Then it started to gently rise and head in a southerly direction, gradually growing fainter. It did not grow smaller so much as fade. The rear part of it went first, then the rest. This was at 6:28.
Next morning I called Davis-Monthan Air Base and the local newspaper and was told that no-one else had reported anything. There were other planes in the sky at the time but all heading away from it. When we had first stopped a 4 motored plane was pulling away from it to the north.
Since Wednesday the sky has had fairly heavy cloud cover to the west. We have been driving out and watching the sky each evening but have not seen it again. We are certain that what we saw was a material object and not a light reflection, both because of the globular shape and because of the two streaks of "light" that broke off and then returned to the object.
Is any of this of interest to you?
The image of the banded globe included in the letter above was a reproduction in the typewritten version of the original hand-written letter, but the witness also later sketched out what he had seen in an Air Force questionnaire...
In other answers on the questionnaire, the witness also answered yes to the question "was the object brighter than the background of the sky". In answer to a question about comparing the brightness to an automobile headlight at a distance, the witness circled "a block away" from five choices given. It did not move behind or in front of anything, including clouds, and in fact in a handwritten note next to his choice of "scattered clouds" the witness wrote "to the south - none where the object was" (his other selections for weather included "dry", "cool", and "slight breeze"). The condition of the sky was "bright twilight". There were no stars in the sky.
The object's color was "white, like a jet contrail which I first took it for", and it "made no discernible sound". In answer to the question "what were you doing at the time you saw the object, and how did you happen to notice it", the witness wrote...
I was driving and noticed abstractly what I took to be a contrail coming toward us. My wife, who happened to be watching it approach, called my attention to the fact that the "contrail" was not lengthening or spreading.
At one point in the questionnaire witnesses are asked to indicate first the angle of elevation and then the path of an object, notating "A" for its beginning position and "B" for its ending position...
From four choices offered for the edges of the object, the witness chose "sharply outlined". There had been "first one, then three" objects. A handwritten notation gave a further description...
My impression was of a thinskinned globe of darkish gray material, banded at its center section by a thicker band of almost luminous metal. I have no idea of the size. A 4 motor transport was flying near it (apparently) but facing away from it to the north when we first saw it. It appeared to be not quite as long as the plane but could have been at a higher or possibly lower level.
A pale globe with a bright white band is the best description of it.
Under the choices for the apparent size of the object compared to something "held in the hand and at about arm's length", he chose "half dollar". The witness answered "no" as to whether he could estimate the size or speed of the object. The sighting had taken place "8 miles due east of the center of Tucson", in "open countryside". He was facing west when the sighting began and looking to the southwest when it ended. The sighting had lasted eight minutes. The witness was wearing eyeglasses. Educationally, he had attained his Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Labor and Personnel Relations, and was currently employed at Arizona State University as Employment Service Interviewer. He was 31-years old.
Finally, in answer to the question "what do you think the object was, and what might have caused it", he wrote...
The easy explanation was that something on the ground was reflecting into the sky. But the sky was clear and the object maintained a constant brightness for almost eight minutes before it gradually faded away. The globular shape which was visible for a time suggest some sort of air craft. At no time in its maneuvers did it flutter or skitter about as a reflection might have. It moved smoothly and steadily, making direction changes quickly but not jerkily.
Back at Project Blue Book the first "solution" to the sighting came from Col. Philip Evans in a March 26, 1960, letter to Major Lawrence Tacker at the Public Information Office in Washington, D.C. The object sighted, said Evans, was "determined to be the reentry of U.S. satellite Discoverer VII".
Evans' answer apparently proved to be unsatisfactory -- possibly because the reentry had occurred in the second week in March, weeks after the sighting. Generally such a discrepancy might have been ignored, and perhaps the fact that the original letter had gone to the Office of the Inspector General of the Air Force before being forwarded to Project Blue Book was reason enough to come up with another solution that better fit the circumstances. In any case the final evaluation for this report was...
Probable reflection. Slow random movement of object viewed for about 8-10 minutes while looking into the setting sun, together with atmospheric conditions conductive to refraction as well, indicates possible reflections from unknown source.
And that is where the matter remains, even today.
Meanwhile, at the same time that the very public back-and-forth tussle between APRO and the Air Force over metallic debris was playing out in the press, behind the scenes an Air Force teletype message revealed an especially intriguing sighting report from St. Louis, Missouri. The sighting had taken place at 3 a.m. on March 24, 1960, reported independently by two police officers approximately 3 miles apart -- one on the south side and one on the north side of Lambert Field in St. Louis, Missouri...
Above, top: Airport terminal of Lambert Field in St. Louis, Missouri, in the late 1950s. One of the nation's first major airfields, it had played host to the first presidential trip in an aeroplane (made by Theodore Roosevelt) and it was from Lambert that Charles Lindbergh departed in the Spirit of St. Louis to New York to begin his historic trans-Atlantic flight in 1927. The terminal in the image was completed in 1956. Designed by Minoru Yamasaki, its radical domed design served as inspiration for the TWA terminal at Idlewild Airport (now JFK Airport) at New York. Middle: From 1956, an F3H Demon jet fighter at the McDonnell Aircraft plant adjacent to Lambert Field. Below: In 1959, McDonnell received the contract to produce the Mercury space capsules at its St. Louis plant.
UNCLASSIFIED FROM MAXIN 25C04
IMMEDIATE ATTENTION AND ACTION TO:OSAF, HQ USAF, ADC, ATIC, 33AD. FOR: SAFIS, OSAF; AFCIN, USAF. REFERENCE AFR 200-2, PARAGRAPH 15. UFO: A. (1) ROUND (2) SIZE OF TIRE ON HEAVY EARTH MOVING VEHICLE, APPROXIMATELY NINE FEET IN DIAMETER (3) WHITE (4) THREE OBJECTS (5) "VEE" THREE SHIP ELEMENT (6) OBJECTS FLEW OVER CITY POLICE CAR AND ONLY BOTTOMS WERE OBSERVED, ROUND AND APPEARED FLAT AS SAUCERS. (7) NONE (8) NONE (9) NONE. B. (1) BRIGHT LIGHT APPEARED OVER WHOLE AREA OF LAMBERT FIELD, MISSOURI, LASTING ABOUT TWO SECONDS BEFORE THE THREE OBJECTS WERE SIGHTED. (2) DIRECTLY OVERHEAD AT ABOUT 5 - 10,000 FEET (3) 5-10,000 FEET SW TRAVELING TO NE VISIBLE FOR ABOUT 6 SECONDS. (4) DIRECT NE LEVEL FLIGHT (5) INSTANTANEOUSLY BELOW OVERCAST (6) SIX SECONDS C. (1) GROUND VISUAL (2) A CHECK WITH OPERATIONS OFFICER, CAPT ROBERT S. BROMAN, AO 92931, DET 6, RADAR BOMB SQ AT 4300 GOODFELLOW, ST. LOUIS, MO, REPORTED NEGATIVE SIGHTING. A CHECK OF LOGS BY MR. CLARK TUCKER, RADAR WATCH SUPERVISOR FAA, LAMBERT FIELD, ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI, REVEALED NEGATIVE REPORTS. (3) NOT APPLICABLE D. (1) 0800/24 ZULU (2) NIGHT. E. (1) ONE OBSERVER WAS PARKED IN CAR. GARFIELD AVENUE BETWEEN AIR PORT ROAD AND 1ST STREET (BERKELEY) ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI (SOUTH SIDE OF LAMBERT FIELD). (2) SECOND OBSERVER WAS PARKED IN CAR ON NORTH SIDE OF LAMBERT FIELD AT BROWN AND COUNTY DAY ROAD (BERKELEY) ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI. F. (1) S/SGT BRYAN CHRISNER, 34 YEARS OLD, 6628 THURSTON, BERKELEY, MISSOURI, A MEMBER OF THE BERKELEY POLICE FORCE, FORMER NAVY AIR FORCE PILOT AND HAD EXPERIENCE IN REPORTING UFO'S DURING MILITARY SERVICE. (2) OFFICER BOBBY EADES, ALSO MEMBER OF BERKELEY POLICE DEPARTMENT. BOTH OFFICERS WERE ON DUTY AT TIME OF SIGHTING. CHRISNER CONTACTED EADES ON CAR RADIO AND ASKED HIM IF HE HAD NOTICED ANYTHING UNUSUAL. EADES ANSWERED "YOU MEAN THE SKY LIGHTING UP AND THE THREE OBJECTS GOING NORTHEAST". G. (1) RELATIVELY CLEAR. (2) WINDS - SURFACE, 311 DEGREES, 8 KNOTS, 6000 FEET, 330 DEGREES, 24 KNOTS, 9000 FEET, 310 DEGREES, 49 KNOTS. (3) CEILING AT 0155, 10,000 SCATTERED AND HIGH BROKEN. (4) VISIBILITY 10 MILES, NINE TENTHS CLOUD COVER. (5) SAME AS FOUR. (6) NONE. (7) THIRTY ONE DEGREES. H. NONE. I. CONTROL TOWER AT LAMBERT FILED REPORTED NO AIRCRAFT IN AREA AT TIME. MC DONNELL AIRCRAFT, ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI, REPORTED NO AIRCRAFT IN AREA AT TIME.J. NONE. K. LT COL JOHN E. RHODE, CHIEF INTELLIGENCE, DCS/PLANS, HQ MATS, SCOTT AFB, ILLINOIS. THE IDENTITY OF THE OBJECTS CAN NOT BE DETERMINED BY THIS HQ, BUT IT IS BELIEVED THAT IT MIGHT BE SOME FORM OF UNUSUAL WEATHER PHENOMENA. 1. A LETTER PREPARED BY OSI DETACHMENT, SCOTT AFB, ILLINOIS, ON THIS MATTER WILL BE FORWARDED TO ATIC THROUGH REGULAR CHANNELS.
The official Blue Book evaluation for the above was "insufficient data".
The next day, March 25, 1960, a sighting report by three sentries at Biggs AFB in Texas concerned a particularly-close encounter...
Above, top: Postcard image of main gate to Biggs AFB in the late 1950s. Bottom: B-52 bombers at Biggs. Part of Strategic Air Command's nuclear deterrent force, the bombers would routinely fly to "fail safe" points outside the Soviet Union.
FROM DCOI 132. EXPEDITE. FOR THE DIRECTOR OF INTELLIGENCE. UFO. REFERENCE PARA 15A AFR 200-2. DATED 14 SEP 59. THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION IS SUBMITTED. (1) UFO, ROUND. (2) TWO OBSERVERS WHO SAW UFO PASS WITHIN EIGHT (8) FEET OF PARKED B-52. ESTIMATED SIZE COMPARED TO HALF DOLLAR HELD AT ARMS LENGTH. ONE (1) OBSERVER WHO SAW UFO AT ALMOST SAME TIME BUT AT A POINT OVER HIS HEAD WITH NO PHYSICAL REFERENCE POINT ESTIMATED SIZE AS THAT OF BASKETBALL HELD AT ARMS LENGTH. (3) ALL OBSERVERS DESCRIBED COLOR AS GLOWING BLUISH WHITE. (4) ONE (1) UFO. (5) NOT APPLICABLE. (6) NO DISCERNIBLE FREATURES OR DETAILS JUST GLOWING LIGHT. (7) NO TAIL, TRAIL OR EXHAUST. (8) OBSERVER STATED UFO SOUNDED LIKE WHIRLING CHILDS TOP WITH HOLES IN THE SIDE OR AN OBJECT MOVING VERY FAST THROUGH THE AIR. (9) NO UNUSUAL FEATURES. REFERENCE PARA 15B OF CITED REGULATION: (1) OBSERVERS FIRST HEARD SOUND. (2) ELEVATION WHEN FIRST OBSERVED: OBSERVER NO.1; TWENTY (20) DEGREES. OBSERVER NO. N2 [sic]: FORTY (40) DEGREES. OBSERVER NO. 3; SEVENTY--FIVE [sic] (75) DEGREES. AZIMUTH: OBSERVER NO. 1; FORTY -FIVE ( 45) DEGREES. OBSERVER NO. 2; FIFTY (50) DEGREES. OBSERVER NO. 3; NINETY (90) DEGREES. (3) ELEVATION UPON DISAPPEARANCE: OBSERVER NO. 1; APPROXIMATELY THIRTY-FIVE (35) DEGREES. OBSERVER NO. 2; APPROXIMAELY TWENTY (20) DEGREES. OBSERVER NO. 3; APPROXIMATELY TWENTY (20) DEGREES. AZIMTH; OBSERVER NO. 1; FORTY-FIVE (45) DEGREES. OBERVER NO 2; FIFTY (50) DEGREES. OBSERVER NO 3; NINETY (90) DEGREES. (4) OBSERVER NO. 1; UFO DESCENDING AT TEN (10) DEGREE ANGLE, PASSED OVER FUSELAGE OF PARKED B-52 (WITHIN EIGHT (8) FEET) AND STARTED CLIMBING AT APPROXIMATELY THIRTY-FIVE (35) DEGREE ANGLE. OBSERVER NO. 2; LEVEL FLIGHT PASSING OVER WITHIN EIGHT (8) FEET OF PARKED B-52. OBSERVER NO. 3; LEVEL FLIGHT WHEN FIRST OBSERVED, THEN STARTED CLIMBING AT APPROXIMATELY TWENTY (20) DEGREES. ALL OBSERVERS STATED UFO DID NOT CHANGE HEADING. (5) OBSERVERS NO. 1 AND NO. 2 STATED UFO DISAPPEARED ALMOST INSTANTANEOUSLY. OBSERVER NO. 3 STATED UFO SEEMED TO DISAPPEAR TO FADING IN DISTANCE. (6) UFO VISIBLE TO OBSERVER NO. 1; FOUR (4) SECONDS. OBSERVER NO. 2; TWO (2) OR THREE (3) SECONDS. OBSERVER NO. 3; SIX (6) TO EIGHT (8) SECONDS. REFERENCE PARA 15C OF CITED REGULATION. (1) GROUND-VISUAL. (2) NO OPTICAL AIDS UTILIZED. (3) N/A. REFERENCE PARA 15d OF CITED REGULATION. (1) ZULU TIME-DATE GROUP (251050). (2) NIGHT. REFRENCE PARA 15E OF CITED REGULATION. OBSERVER AND UFO LOCATED AT: ALERT AIRCRAFT AREA BIGGS AFB TEX: 31 51N, 106 24W. REFERENCE PARA 15F OF CITED REGULATION. (1) N/A. (2) OBSERVER NO. 1: STOUT, JOHN G., AIRMAN THIRD CLASS, AF [Illegible]1653. OBSERVER NO. 2: ELAM, JAMES, AIRMAN THIRD CLASS, AF 18575648. OBSERVER NO. 3; EICHERT, KENNETH L., AIRMAN THIRD CLASS, AF 15611474, ALL PERSONNEL ASSIGNED 95TH COMBAT DEFENSE SQUADRON, BIGGS AFB TEX. DUTY: SENTRIES. OBSEVERS CONSIDERED RELIABLE BY SUPERVISORY PERSONNEL. REFERENCE 15G OF CITED REGULATION. (1) ALL OBSERVERS DESCRIBED WEATHER AS HIGH OVERCAST WITH EXCELLENT VISIBILITY. (2) WINDS: SURFACE - 340/6. 6000 - 020/10. 10000 - 310/05. 16000 - 360/15. 20000 - 220 [Illegible] THAN 05 KNOTS. 30000 - 030/15. 50000 - 270/50. 60000 - 280/45. (3) CEILING: HIGH CIRRUS (HEIGHT UNDETERMINED). (4) VISIBILITY: TWENTY (20) MILES. (5) AMOUNT OF CLOUD COVER; 10/10. (6) NO THUNDERSTORMS IN THE AREA (7) TEMPERATURE; FIFTY-ONE (51) DEGREES FAHRENHEIT. REFERENCE PARAN15H, 15I, AND 15J; NONE. REFERENCE PARA 15K OF CITED REGULATION. CAPTAIN LAWRENCE A. SMITH, COMMANDER 95TH COMBAT DEFENSE SQUADRON. THE INFORMATION RECEIVED FROM WITNESSES APPEARS TO BE RESONABL Y RELIABLE AND THE EXPLAINED INCIDENTS APPARENTLY OCCURRED SUBSTANTIALLY AS REPORTED, ALTHOUGH POSITIVE EVIDENCE IS LACKING AT THIS TIME. WEATHER CONDITIONS COUPLED WITH THE APPARENT LACK OF AIRCRAFT, MISSILE OR BALLOON ACTIVITY, TENDS TO SUBSTANTIATE THE STATEMENTS OF THE OBSERVERS. THE INVESTIGATING OFFICER WAS PRESENT AT THE SCENE OF THE SIGHTING WITHIN A MATTER OF A FEW MINUTES OF THE INCIDENT AND PERSONNALLY OBSERVED THE CONDITIONS. NONE OF THE UFO'S WERE OBSERVED BY THE INVESTIGATING OFFICER. REFERENCE PARA 151 [sic] OF CITED REGULATION. NONE. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: LT CTLONEL [sic] BYRON KING, PROVOST MARSHAL AT WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE WAS CONTACTED AND REPORTED THAT NOTHING HAD BEEN OBSERVED IN THE AREA AND FURNISHED THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION: ARMY INTELLIGENCE IN THE AREA HAD NO REPORT OF ANY UNUSUAL INCIDENTS. HOLLOWMAN [sic] AFB NEW MEXICO REPORTED THAT THEY DID NOT HAVE ANY AIRCRAFT IN THE AIR AT THE TIME. THE ARMY REPORTED THAT THEY DID NOT HAVE ANY AIRCRAFT IN THE AIR AT THE TIME. THE ARMY REPORTED THAT THEY DID NOT HAVE ANY AIRCRAFT OR MISSILES IN THE AIR AT THE TIME. RADAR DIVISION OF THE SIGNAL MISSLE SUPPORT AGENCY AT WHITE SANDS DID NOT HAVE THEIR RADAR WORKING PRIOR TO 0530 HOURS. CAPTAIN W.J. CESSNER, 1900TH AACS SQUADRON, BIGGS AFB TEXAS WAS CONTACTED AND REPORTED THAT THEIR TOWER PERSONNEL HAD NOT OBSERVED ANYTHING UNUSUAL. MR. [Blacked Out], SENIOR CONTROLLER FOR RALCON DURING THIS SHIFT, WAS CONTACTED AND REPORTED THAT NO UNUSUAL SIGHTINGS HAD BEEN OBSERVED. ADDITIONAL SIGHTINGS: TWO (2) ADDITIONAL SIGHTINGS WERE REPORTED BY TWO (2) INDIVIDUALS IN THE SAME IMMEDIATE AREA WITHINONE [sic] KQLQ [sic] HOUR SUBSEQUENT TO THE ORIGINAL SIGHTINGS. HOWEVER, INTENSIVE INTERROGATION OF THE INDIVIDUALS INDICATED THAT THE INFORMATION WAS VAGUE AND PROBABLY THE RESULT OF NERVOUS TENSION. AT 1225Z 25 MARCH 1960 SEVEN (7) INDIVIDUALF [sic], TWO (2) OF WHICH WERE THE ORIGINAL OBSERVERS STATED THEY HEARD A SOUND VERY SIMILAR TO THAT HEARD AT THE TIME OF THE ORIGINAL SIGHTINGS BUT NO UFO WAS OBSERVED. HOWEVER NO ADDITIONAL INFORMATION COULD BE DEVELOPED TO IDENTIFY THE SOURCE OF THIS SOUND.
In sum, one of the military witnesses had claimed the object had descended "at ten (10) degree angle, passed over fuselage of parked B-52 (within eight (8) feet) and started climbing at approximately thirty-five (35) degree angle". The second of the three military witnesses saw it in "level flight passing over within eight (8) feet of parked B-52", while the third military witness "saw UFO at almost same time but at a point over his head". The object's "estimated size compared to half dollar held at arms length". It was reported as sounding like "like whirling childs top with holes in the side or an object moving very fast through the air". And especially notable, it had been the sound which had first drawn their attention to the "glowing bluish white" light.
Documents show that further investigation had the first two witnesses -- who saw the light eight feet over the parked B-52 -- estimating its brightness as 15-25 percent brighter "compared to blue Taxiway Marker Lights, 6.6 Amp, 150 Watts". The third witness who saw it "at a point over his head" placed its brightness as "75-85 percent" as bright as the Taxiway Marker Lights. That same investigation revealed that astronomers at the McDonald Laboratory in Fort Davis, Texas (150 miles southeast of Biggs AFB) had seen nothing unusual that night.
The above facts would seem to favor a classification of "unidentified" or "insufficient data" from Project Blue Book. But perhaps because APRO had gotten word of the incident and sent off a letter on April 1, 1960, demanding details, the incident was summarily categorized by Col. Philip Evans -- in a memo with the subject of "Activity of Aerial Phenomena Research Organization" -- as "being a bolide" (otherwise known as a fireball meteor).
At just about the same time the bolide explanation was assigned to the Biggs AFB incident, another letter -- date stamped "Apr 15 1960" -- was being forwarded to Blue Book from the U.S. Navy, telling of another flying light being sighted near the Naval Ammunition Depot at Crane, Indiana...
Above: From the October 2, 1966, edition of the Terre Haute, Indiana, Tribune, a center-spread feature on the activities of the Naval Ammunition Depot at Crane, Indiana. Established in 1941 at the beginning of World War II, the base transformed a wilderness into the third-largest U.S. Navy base in the world, encompassing 97 square miles with 125 miles of railroad and more than 200 miles of roadway. Although referred to locally as "the world's biggest ammo dump", NAD Crane's activities at the time of the incident reported below encompassed high-level research and development in guided-missile ordnance and pyrotechnics.
U.S. NAVAL AMMUNITION DEPOT
IN REPY TO:
From: Commanding Officer, U.S. Naval Ammunition Depot, Crane, Indiana
To: Commanding Officer, Bakalar Air Force Base, Columbus, Indiana
Subject: Unidentified Flying Object; report of
Ref: (a) 99ND INST 3820.1 of 2 Feb 1956
1. It has been brought to my attention that an unidentified flying object has been sighted by a civilian employee of NAD Crane, Indiana. The details of the sighting are as follows:
a. Between 0130 and 0200 (Zulu Time) on 6 April 1960, [Blacked Out] age 46, who resides at [Blacked Out], Loogootee, Indiana, and employed in the Quality Evaluation Laboratory as an Engineering Technician, GS-11 (Pay No. 1067), was driving east on Highway 50, about 2 miles west of Loogootee. There were no other passengers in the car. This is approximately 84°-30' North Latitude and 37°-15' West Longitude. A yellow-red light, approximately a foot in diameter and two feet long passed in front of him from left to right. The light came from behind a group of trees, passed over the highway and behind a hill to the right. The direction of travel was north to south. The object seemed to be about 300 feet above the ground, traveling at a slow rate of speed. It was visible for approximately 10 to 15 seconds.
b. He further reports that the sighting occurred between dusk and nightfall. Both visibility and weather conditions were clear. He saw no air traffic in the vicinity. He heard no sound from the object, nor did he see a tail or exhaust trail on it.
2. No other reports of this light have been called to my attention.
From the details given, it seems reasonable that this report was evaluated by Project Blue Book as "insufficient data". But what warrants particular interest here is the fact that the experience was sufficiently unusual and impressive to cause the witness -- an engineering technician in the Quality Evaluation Laboratory -- to risk not just personal ridicule but perhaps his future reputation at his workplace by making the report at all. And he apparently was held in high-enough regard for the Navy to forward the report to the Air Force.
But some witnesses were of such high caliber that ridicule was not a concern, as from the following Blue Book file of an April 18, 1960, report made to the Smithsonian Visual Tracking Center as part of Project Moonwatch...
Above: A 1963 advertisement for a 6-inch Newtonian telescope. The make and model employed in the following report is not known.
[Note: Punctuation is as in the original.]
18 April 1960
Subject: Sighting Report - Extraordinary
To: Smithsonian Visual Tracking Center
60 Garden st., Cambridge 38, Mass.
l. After consulting with Mr. [Blacked Out] who heads the K.C. Moon Watch, I submit the following:
a. Date/Time: 17 April 1960; 1429-1431.5 GMT -6 hrs = 8:30 am CST
b. Location: Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base, Missouri. 20 miles south of K.C., Mo.
c. Weather: Fair - Temperature 40°F.
d. Sky Condition: clear--no moon
e. Sighting made with both unaided eye and six inch Newtonian telescope with one inch eye piece - 48x.
f. Object sighted initially 1429 GMT north of belt in Orion - 30° above horizon--estimated. Moving in arc toward southwest, it passed 1° south of Sirius falling below horizon at 1431.5 GMT. Color, a reddish glow. Object subtended 5 seconds of arc- estimated--with undetermined profile. During sighting period there was no apparent change in either size, color, or magnitude. The angular rate of change of the object appeared to increase from 2°/minute--estimated-- in Orion to 1°/second at last sighting.
2. Mr. [Blacked Out], Field Representative LINK, and I were viewing M-42 in Orion when this spectacle occurred. We sensed we were seeing something extraordinary. The first 30 seconds we watched and debated the origin of the light. This was no aircraft. Then we checked the objects [sic] track. At first thought it to be a polar orbit--but on checking it with the celestial polar axis on orbit near 45° appeared more reasonable. In a desperate effort I got the object in the narrow field of my telescope. Unfortunately I did not get a good focus.
3. Did we observe a vehicle of the Discoverer class on reentry just prior to its becoming a fire-ball?
s/Jim. G. Ford
As it turned out, it wasn't a Discoverer satellite re-entry. And considering the credibility of the source and the precise observations noted, Blue Book decided that, "From the information given no conclusion can be offered. Case listed as unidentified."
According to Blue Book lists of monthly activity -- consisting of a tally of sighting reports and press accounts -- it had been an interesting first four months for 1960. January had seen 23 reports come into Blue Book (with an additional 9 found in the press and other sources). February's count was identical to January, with 23 reports to Blue Book (with an additional 9 found in the press and other sources). There was a slight uptick in March, with 25 reports to Blue Book (with an additional 8 found in the press and other sources). Then in April there was an upsurge, with 39 reports to Blue Book (with an additional 10 found in the press and other sources).
But the above figures are deceptive. The vast majority were sketchy reports of "something" seen, and few fell outside of a timeframe of a few seconds in sight, giving credence to their frequent evaluation as meteors. This doesn't mean that there weren't other seemingly credible reports to be found -- some were appearing in the newsletters of UFO organizations, but unfortunately they were often offered at face value without any critical examination, as for instance from the March, 1960, issue of NICAP's "UFO Investigator"...
January 6; Jackson, Mich.--Several residents reported seeing a UFO like an inverted cone moving south in the western sky at tree-top level about 8:00 a.m. The UFO, glowing brilliant white, sped south and disappeared into a cloudbank. The report was investigated by a Michigan division of ICARF, a UFO organization with headquarters in Long Island.
Or the reports found in newsletters might offer an odd nexus of events, as from the January, 1960, edition of the APRO "Bulletin"...
NEBRASKA AND NEVADA RESIDENTS SEE BRIGHT SPEEDY LIGHT
On the 3rd day of January 1960, at 10 p.m., Clark Fengel of Omaha, Nebraska and his wife observed a brilliant object which streaked across the sky leaving a fiery trail behind it, from west to east. He estimated its height as 10,000 feet; its trajecory [sic] was flat, he said.
* * *
On the same evening, a blue light which raced silently across the Las Vegas, Nevada sky, puzzled McCarran Field tower controlmen. "It was the fastest thing I ever saw," said tower employee Jack McMillen who spotted the light at about 11:05 p.m. A departing private plane also saw the object. Earlier that evening, four different pilots in two commercial airlines planes flying between Bryce Canyon and Mormon Mesa reported observing a similar light. Their reports of the object to Salt Lake City were intercepted by the McCarran tower. McMillen said he saw the light for about two or perhaps three seconds, going north to south at about a 15-20 degree elevation. He also said he had thought it might have been a meteor but changed his mind as it left no trail, and had a horizontal trajectory. He said he contacted a private plane which had just taken off and asked the pilot for confirmation. The pilot confirmed McMillen's sighting. An Air Force T-33 inbound to Nellis also confirmed its pilot had also seen a strange light.
The deficiencies in such accounts are self apparent -- including the different times and widely-separated locations, the references to nameless pilots flying for unnamed airlines, the lack of sourcing (was it a personal report made to APRO, or picked up from news accounts, or?), and the indisputable fact that in the end these "sightings" sounded very much like meteors, occurring on schedule during the peak of the Quadrantid meteor shower in the late night-early morning hours of January 3-4, 1960. Such deficiencies were also to be found even in the longer reports found in the newsletters.
As for Project Blue Book, the ebb and flow in both quality and quantity of sightings reports continued apace in May, 1960 -- the first interesting sighting report being found in a letter to Project Blue Book, concerning a May 9, 1960, sighting at the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Station Rockcliffe, located in the eastern part of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, adjacent to the Ottawa River...
Above, top: Map of general location of RCAF Station Rockcliffe. Middle: Ottawa Air Force Day at Rockcliffe, June, 1957. Below: Sketch included with the following letter.
Dear Sir: May 14, 1960.
On Monday May 9, at approx. 2.15 A.M. while driving along the Ottawa River (East bound) I observed the following:
A light in the sky (Which I first thought to be an aircraft landing light) was approaching from the east towards Rockliffe airport. My attention was first drawn to the light when it suddenly made a short spurt sideways, then continued on then repeating this movement. I stopped the car and myself along with a member of the air force who was a passenger in my car got out and stood on the street to watch it. When this object came closer it passed behind a cloud and when it did the light made a halo around the object. There was no sound at all and we stood there watching it until it disappeared out of sight. The light from the object was brighter than a star and the most remarkable thing about the object was the way it would dart sideways as it continued its course. The following morning I asked the control tower if any aircraft had been in the air at that time and I was told that there was not. I further checked with our local airlines and they also said that no flights had been in the vicinity. I spoke to one of our officers and he advised me to contact your office. I am employed by the National Defense Dept. R.C.A.F. Rockliffe (Dept. of Construction and Engineering) and I am quite familiar with aircraft and there [sic] movements and I am sure that the object in question was not an aircraft.
Having read considerable news reports about strange objects in the sky I have always been rather sceptical about such reports. If any explanation can be given for this sighting I would appreciate hearing from you at your convenience.
I am including a rough drawing of just what course the object took and the appearance which may be of interest to you.
May I thank you in advance for any information you can give me in regards to this object.
Yours very truly,
The report was categorized by Blue Book as "insufficient data".
Ten days later, on May 19, 1960, an especially odd incident was reported to have taken place in Dillingham, Alaska. Air Force attention was first drawn to the reported incident through a June 2, 1960, teletype from the 10th Air Division at Elmendorf AFB to Air Defense Command in Colorado, with copies to (amongst others) ATIC at Wright-Patterson...
Above, top: Aerial view of Dillingham, Alaska. Located on Nushagak Bay at the mouth of the Nushagak River, part of an inlet of Bristol Bay (an arm of the Bering Sea in the North Pacific) in southwestern Alaska. The only access to Dillingham, even today, is by plane or boat. Indigenous home to the Yup'ik people, it was first drawn into the European world in 1818 when the Russian-American company established a trading post there (naming it "Alexandrovski" in honor of the Russian czar). In 1881 it became part of the Alaskan Purchase by the United States. That same year the first cannery was built, and by 1903 there were four canneries in operation. That same year saw the establishment of the William P. Dillingham courthouse, named after a U.S. senator from Vermont, who had traveled extensively in Alaska in pursuit of an investigation into conditions there. In 1910 a post office was built, designating itself as the Dillingham post office, and the name soon became that of the town itself. In 1960 the total population was 424, with many being descendants of the native peoples. The primary livelihood was and is commercial salmon fishing.
UNCLAS FROM 10AD DO-I 0146. ATTN AFCIN HQ USAF. ATTN SAFIS
UFO ITEM ALPHA: (1) CIRCULAR IN PLAN, ROUGHLY FOOTBALL SHAPED IN CROSS SECTION. (2) 20 TO 25 FEET IN DIAMETER, 10 TO 12 FEET IN THICKNESS (3) METALLIC SELIVERY [sic] WHITE, COMPARED TO ALUMINUM (4) ONE (5) N/A (6)TWO FLEXIBLE TUBES OR FLAPS APPROXIMATELY 4 TO 5 FEET LONG DEPENDING [sic] FROM EDGE, A SEMI-CIRCULAR, WHIRLING DEVICE IN CENTER OF BOTTOM. (7) NONE. (8) SOUND WAS DESCRIBED AS WHIRRING WITH SUCKING SOUND WHEN FINALLY ASCENDING. (9) OBSERVERS DID NOT SEE ANY WINDOWS. WERE FAIRLY SURE OF DIMENSIONS AND STATED WAS BIG ENOUGH FOR POSSIBLY 3 MEN TO BE INSIDE. ITEM BRAVO. (1) CAME INTO VIEW (2) UNKNOWN (3) LAST SEEN HIGH, ESTIMATED 8000 FEET, ALMOST DUE SOUTH (4) OBJECT WAS MOVING SLOWLY AND APPARENTLY FOLLOWING NO SPECIAL COURSE. WOULD MOVE ALONG NEAR GROUND, LOWEST ALTITUDE ESTIMATED UNDER 300 FEET, THEN RISE AND HOVER AND DESCEND AGAIN. FINALLY ASCENDED RAPIDLY TO ESTIMATED 8000 FEET AND MOVED RAPIDLY SOUTH. APPEARED TO HOVER OVER THE VILLAGES OF CLARKS POINT AND EKUK FOR SOME TIME. (5) SLOWLY TO SOUTH (6) APPROXIMATELY 1 HOUR. ITEM CHARLIE. (1) GROUND VISUAL (2) SOME OBSERVERS USED BINOCULARS TO WATCH OBJECT OVER CLARK POINT AND EKUK. TYPE UNKNOWN. (2) N/A. ITEM DELTA: (1) 20/0500Z MAY 1960 (2) DAY. ITEM ECHO: 4 MILES NORTH OF DILLINGHAM ALASKA OR APP BKGQ3306. ITEM FOXTROT: OBSERVERS WERE A GROUP OF NATIVES. THE PERSON WHO INTERROGATED THEM AND REPORTED SIGHTING IS SFC RALPH SORENSEN (ALASKA NATIONAL GUARD) BOX 45, DILLINGHAM, ALASKA. BARGE OPERATOR, AGE 25. NO ESTIMATE AS TO RELIABILITY BUT DID NOT SOUND LIKE A CRANK. SFC SORENSEN TALKED TO THE NATIVES THROUGH INTERPRETER AND MAILED IN A REPORT. ON RECEIPT, A TELEPHONE CONVERSATION WAS HELD WITH SFC SORENSEN FOR ADDITIONAL DETAILS. SFC [Portion of teletype missing] GOOD. ITEM GOLF: (1) VERY CLEAR, NO CLOUDS.(2) WINDS AS OF 0000Z, LITTLE CHANGE THEREAFTER. SURFACE 270 DEGREES 10K; 6000 FEET 350 DEGREES 10K; 10000, 30 DEGREES 16 K; 16000, 30 DEGREES, 23KJ 20000, 300 DEGREES 24K; 30000, 50 DEGREES 30K; 50000 330 DEGREES 11K; 80000, 070 DEGREES 10K. (3) UNLIMITED (4) UNRESTRICTED (5) CLEAR TO LIGHT SCATTERED (6) NONE (7) TEMPERATURE INVERSION AT 4000 FT. ITEM HOTEL: UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA; US WEATHER BUREAU ANCHORAGE AND LOCAL WEATHER PERSONNEL FAIL TO INDICATE ANY POSSIBLE EXPLANATION. ITEM INDIA: NONE. ITEM JULIETTE: AT 20/0545Z MAY 1960, THE 705TH ACWRON, KING SALMON, ALASKA WAS CARRYING A WEATHER BALLON AT BKFQ3045 AT 35,000 FEET. THIS HOWEVER WOULD NOT SEEM TO CORRELATE WITH SIGHTING, ESPECIALLY CONSIDERING WIND DIRECTION AND VELOCITY. ITEM KILO: CHIEF, INTELLIGENCE DIVISION, HQ 10TH AIR DIV (DEF). THE NATIVES WHO OBSERVED THE OBJECT STATED IT CAME WITHIN 200 FEET OF THEM. SEVERAL OF THE OBSERVERS DREW SKETCHES WHICH WERE VERY SIMILAR. WHEN THE OBJECT ROSE INTO THE AIR, A SUCKING NOISE WAS HEARD AND GRASS WAS SUCKED UP FROM THE GROUND. ONE OF THE OBSERVERS, A DEAF-MUTE, POSSIBLY INDICATED THAT A 5 GALLON CAN WAS SUCKED UP, BUT THIS WAS NOT ASCERTAINABLE FOR SURE. IN THE PAST, NATIVES HAVE OFTEN PROVED TO BE ACCURATE AND RELIABLE OBSERVERS OF UNUSUAL OCCURANCES IN THE ALASKAN AREA. NO REASONABLE EXPLANATION OF THE OBJECT IS READILY APPARENT. REQUEST YOUR OPINION OF WHETHER ON-THE-SPOT INVESTIGATION AND INTERROGATION OF OBSERVERS BY THIS OFFICE IS WARRANTED
On June 16, 1960, Blue Book did indeed request further investigation...
ATTENTION: 10TH AIR DIVISION. YOUR MSG 10AD DO-I 0146, DTD 2 JUNE 60, REQ YOUR ORG PERSONALLY CONTACT THE WITNESSES OF THE ALLEGED UFO. REQ A CAREFUL EVALUATION OF EACH WITNESS.
And on June 21, 1960, a report was filed -- noting that it was "an amplification and partial correction of information"...
Above: Figures 1 and 2 showing the shape of the object as described in the following report. Below: Figure 3 showing the path of the object.
[Blacked Out], Alaska National Guard, did not see the object, but was the person who reported the sighting. He stated that many people saw the object after it was well up in the air, but he had heard of no one other than those listed below who saw it at close range. In a town the size of Dillingham, news travels fast and if anyone else had seen it, [Blacked Out] probably would have heard of it.
[Blacked Out] saw the object at close range. He is a deaf-mute native and communicated his sighting to his brother [Blacked Out]. [Blacked Out] was not personally contacted. The following account was given by [Blacked Out], speaking for his brother. [Blacked Out] was in the yard of the house when he saw the object flying along the ridge. He noticed that it was creating considerable suction, in fact, enough to pick up two empty five gallon fuel tins and swirl them in the air below the object. He was alarmed because some very small children were playing in the area and he was afraid they would be sucked up. The object passed about 50 to 100 feet from him and just cleared electric wires estimated 12 feet above ground. Apparently the cans were carried from one side of the ridge on which the houses stand, to the other, a distance of possibly 100 yards. The object passed between the houses, dipped slightly into the ravine, and ascended at an extremely. high rate of speed. As it ascended, it swirled dead grass from the meadow high into the air after it. [Blacked Out] drew a picture of the object, (figure 1) and described it as follows: It was quite round with a projection at the ends on the center line. Whether this was "fore and aft" or a flange all the way around could not be determined. There was a red band on the object between the projections. On the bottom were two appendages which moved in an undulating motion (the motion was described with arm movements). Also, in the center bottom, was a half moon shaped object which whirled at varying speeds. Apparently, when the object ascended rapidly, it whirled very fast. According to [Blacked Out] account, the angle of incidence to the object of these appendages and half moon changed, but because of language difficulty, it was impossible to determine what relationship this had with the movement of the object except that it possibly occurred when it turned. The object was about as big as an automobile and was silver in color. [Blacked Out] felt certain it was not a balloon and was metallic. It was impossible to determine the three dimensional shape of the object. It is difficult to assess the reliability of these persons but it is probably at least average. Conversation with [Blacked Out] indicated no reason to doubt the veracity of either [Blacked Out] or [Blacked Out]. There was some language difficulty in communication with [Blacked Out].
Another possible witness was [Blacked Out]. He was not interviewed because he was then living in an outlying village. [Blacked Out] stated that he understood that [Blacked Out] was at the [Blacked Out] house and had heard the object make a lound [sic] sucking noise when it ascended. He was not sure whether [Blacked Out] had seen the object.
[Blacked Out] established the time of initial sighting at approximately 20/0500Z, May 1960. He is the proprietor of a pool hall and barber shop in Dillingham and was seated at the rear window of his establishment. He noticed the object come into view from behind some buildings. The object was near the ridge and approximately paralleling the ridge. He described the object as the size of a light airplane at that distance, silvery in color and football shaped. When shown the drawing (figure 1) he stated it did not seem so round to him. He was unable to discern any details at that distance (about 2 miles) except that it did not have wings. The object appeared to be moving slowly. [Blacked Out] watched the object for a while, then went to locate binoculars. From the window there is a clear view of the ridge and
[Blacked Out] house. The reliability of [Blacked Out] is difficult to estimate, but he was not evasive and some details of his story correlated with that of [Blacked Out] There was some language difficulty.
[Blacked Out] was flying in a light plane at 2500 feet near Ekuk, south of Dillingham at 20/0645Z, May 1960. He saw people on the ground looking up and in trying to find what they were looking at, saw the object at an estimated 10,000 feet and nearly above him. He stated it was round and silver, with a small trapezoidal object below it and a much smaller object of indeterminable shape below that. He described the trapezoidal object as not more than one-fifth the size of the round object, flat, and with the horizontal sides larger than the incendiary balloons floated over from Japan during WWII. He said he felt he could climb up to the object, but did not as fog was enveloping the airfield at Dillingham and he was afraid to waste the time. He could give no other details. [Blacked Out] is a barge operator and pilot. He seemed to tell a straight forward story and the object was in that location at the time indicated.
Additional Information. At the time of the sightings, the weather was described as clear. [Blacked Out] and [Blacked Out] stated a breeze of about 15 miles per hour was blowing and that the object was headed pretty much into the wind. The object came from approximately 50 degrees true and ascended on a heading of approximately 215 degrees true (figure 3). It was last seen almost due south of Dillingham over the village of Ekuk. The 705th ACWRON at King Salmon carried the following moves on a weather balloon: 20/0145Z BKGQ3035, 0215Z GQO840, 0245 GQ0035, 0315 FQ 5830, 0445 FQ5023, D515 FQ 4845, 0545 FQ 3050. At 0545 contact lost and fade.
COMMENTS of Preparing Officer
There still appears to be no logical explanation of the sighting. It is quite obvious that an object was sighted. Whether all the details of the sighting are correct cannot be ascertained, however, there is no reason to doubt their essential accuracy. At any rate, it does not appear that a commonplace object such as an airplane or balloon was responsible for the sighting.
THOMAS M. CONROW
Chief, Intelligence Division
All the ascertainable facts now in, Major Friend would assess the report -- with names of witnesses this time not blacked out -- as follows...
There was a Wx balloon with a radar reflector which crossed the area at the time of the sighting. The description of this type of balloon from a distance and by some one not familiar with the equipment would generally match that of the witnesses. It is not known if the witnesses Ivan Jerry and Stefan Pat are Indians or not, but it is suspected that they are, and that superstition and a natural tendency to exaggerate is the cause for some parts of their story. The language barrier could also be partly responsible. For the fantastic part of the report it is concluded that the object responsible for the sight [sic] was a Wx balloon which was plotted into the area at the time of the sighting.
But if Friend was able to culturally stereotype his way out of the details of events at Dillingham, a report from Las Vegas of a May 30, 1960, sighting would apparently not be so easy to dismiss...
Above: Aerial view of the Las Vegas strip from 1964. The tower in the distance is the Landmark Hotel, which did not open until 1968 after being purchased by Howard Hughes.
UNCLAS 86500P E-043. HQ USAF FOR AFCIN AND SAFIS. LAADS FOR LAOIN.
IN ACCORDANCE WITH AFR 200-2, DATED 14 SEPT 1959 THE FOLLOWING REPORT IS SUBMITTED. "UFO" A. DESCRIPTION OF THE OBJECT: (1) UNKNOWN (2) HEAD OF A PIN (3) WHITE AND DARK (4) ONE OBJECT-DISAPPEARED BEHIND CLOUD, REAPPEARED AS TWO OBJECTS. (5) UNKNOWN (5) NONE (7) NONE (8) NONE (9) NONE B. DESCRIPTION OF COURSE OF OBJECT: K(l) [sic] EXTREME SPEED AND HEIGHT (2) 75 DEGREE TO 80 DEGREE ABOVE HORIZON AZIMUTH 055 DEGREE (3) 90 DEGREES OVERHEAD (4) NORTHWEST COURSE MADE ONE HARD 90 DEGREE TURN AT HIGH SPEED. (5) OBJECTS DISAPPEARED DIRECTLY OVERHEAD BEHIND CLOUDS. (5) ONE AND ONE HALF TO TWO [Portion of teletype missing] AIDS USED (2) N/A D. TIME AND DATE OF SIGHTING (1) 30 MAY 1960, 2145Z. (2) DAY E. LOCATION OF OBSERVER: [Blacked Out] AVE. LAS VEGAS, NEVADA. F. IDENTIFYING INFORMATION OF ALL OBSERVERS: (1) [Blacked Out] AGE 42, MAILING ADDRESS [Blacked Out], LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, OCCUPATION DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT FOR [Blacked Out] AIRLINES, RELIABILITY-GOOD AND [Blacked Out] AGE 33, [Blacked Out], LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, OCCUPATION, ADVERTISING AGENCY, RELIABILITY-UNKNOWN. (2) N/A WEATHER AND WINDS: (1) HIGH SCATTER WITH VISIBILITY UNLIMITED, WINDS MODERATE. (2) SURFACE-030 DEGREE 5 KTS, 6,000-140 DEGREE 10 KTS, 10,000-150 DEGREE 15KTS, 16,000-160 DEGREE 15 KTS, 20,000-200 DEGREE 11 KTS, 30,000-240 DEGREE 15 KTS, 50,000-250 DEGREE 25 KTS, 80,000-UNKNOWN. (3) 100 SCATTER, (4) 35 MILES (5) FIVE TENTHS (6) NONE (7) UNKNOWN H. NONE I. NONE J. LOCAL TRAFFIC A VARIUS [sic] ATUDES [sic]. K. OPERATIONS TRAINING OFFICER, CAPTAIN DEE L. JORGENSEN, NELLIS AFB INTELLIGENCE SECTION CHECKED REPORT AND PASSED INFORMATION TO THIS STATION, CAUSE OF SIGHTING IS UNKNOWN, RELIABILITY IS BELIEVED TO BE GOOD. L. NONE.
The Blue Book conclusion...
If this were not observed by a person well qualified in aviation the case would be classified as probable a/c, however in view of observers [sic] qualification and familiarity with aviation case listed as insufficient data.
Blue Book's deferential credibility conferred on "a person well qualified in aviation" would apparently not extend to an "amateur astronomer" -- and embassy official -- who reported a remarkable sighting from early June, 1960, from Germany...
Above: Aerial view of Mehlem, Bad Godesberg. Bad Godesberg is a municipal district of Bonn, southern North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. From 1949 till 1999 (while Bonn was the capital of West Germany), the majority of foreign embassies to Germany were located in Bad Godesberg.
UNCLAS U-169. CINCUSAFE FOR EURATIC. USAF FOR AFCIN.
REPORT OF UNIDENTIFID [sic] FLYING OBJECT. EMBASSY OFFICER WHO IS AMATEUR ASTRONOMER REPORTS UFO SIGHTED OVER BAD GODESBERG 2215Z 12 JUNE. WHILE STUDYING CONSTELLATION ANDROMEDA THROUGH FIELD GLASSES OBJECT PASSED SOUTH TO NORTH THROUGH FIELD OF VISION. OBJECT CONSISTED NINE SEPARATE ROUND DISTINCT WHITE LIGHTS IN V FORMATION. ANGLE OF V APPROXIMATELY 120 DEGREES. LUMINOSITY BRIGHTER THAN FIRST MAGNITUDE STAR. RELATIVE SIZE LARGER THAN PLANET VENUS. NO SOUND. NO TRAIL. OBJECT SEEN ALSO WITH NAKED EYE. TRAVERSED 30 DEGREES IN 5 SECONDS THEN LOST IN TREES. VISIBILITY AND SKY CONDITIONS HERE UNLIMITED AT TIME.
For unknown reasons, Blue Book did not ask for any follow-up interview with the unnamed witness, and while Blue Book commonly evaluated reports of V-formations as a migrating flock of birds, in this instance the report was evaluated as follows...
One witness - insufficient data. The witness was observing Andromeda. The constallation [sic] was on the horizon at this time to the NE. The witness was looking over the Rhine river through Binoculars. It is probable that a mirage of some sort was being observed. The objects were distinct and the duration of the sighting extremely short.
The improbable circumstance of an identical "mirage" being sighted both through binoculars and with the naked eye notwithstanding, that is where the matter stands today.
Two weeks later, on June 24, 1960, an especially intriguing multiple-witness sighting took the form of an "unidentified flare" reported approximately 1200 nautical miles due east of the coast of Brazil (and some 1600 nautical miles due west of Angola) near Ascension Island -- an isolated volcanic outcropping jutting up from a base some 10,500 feet from the oceanic crust of the South American Plate, and piercing through the equatorial waters of the South Atlantic to an elevation of 2818 feet at its highest point.
The genesis for the sighting was located both figuratively and literally some 4400 miles northwest of Ascension at Cape Canaveral, Florida and the U.S. Air Force Titan I program -- the United States' first multistage intercontinental ballistic missile, 10-feet wide and 90-feet long.
Above: First test launch of a two-stage Titan ICBM from Cape Canaveral, Florida, February 6, 1959.
Designed to deliver a 3.75 megaton thermonuclear bomb to its intended target, Titan I was still in its testing stages in 1960. The multistage rocketry involved was complex, and there were several catastrophic test-flight failures in late 1959 and early 1960, followed by notable successes beginning in April.
Flight testing took place over a range stretching from Cape Canaveral to Ascension Island, as vividly described in the January, 1960, issue of "Popular Mechanics"...
Above: First page of Popular Mechanics article on the facets involved in the testing program of the U.S. Air Force Titan ICBM.
UNDER GLARING FLOODLIGHTS, men swarm across a launching pad at Cape Canaveral, Florida. In the center of the milling army of foil-garbed specialists, a nine-story rocket juts skyward, spilling out liquid oxygen frost and vapor.
"T minus 20 minutes and counting!"
The terse countdown call blares from loudspeakers around the pad. It booms through the blockhouse. It croaks from headsets clamped to the ears of scores of technicians seated at a nightmare of instruments all over the missile "complex." It races out over the airwaves from powerful transmitters to island tracking stations in the Atlantic far off the coast of South America.
And, across 3500 miles of tossing, night-shrouded ocean, it crackles from radios in the darkened bridges and communications rooms on board six far-flung weird little ships. On these vessels, the men who hear it already are at their stations, monitoring banks of telemetry gear in "the hole" below decks, plotting precise positions in the navigation shack, and scanning the tropical sky through powerful glasses. High on each ship's superstructure, under a pair of huge white domes known to the crews as "the Mae Wests," corkscrew-shaped radio antennas clank and rumble as they peer this way and that across a precise sector of sky, like a pair of rolling electronic eyeballs.
The moment for which these hardy mariners may spend up to 45 miserable storm-tossed days on their heaving splinters of steel, is imminent. In 20 minutes, if all goes well, the missile will lift off its pad at Canaveral on a 5000-mile ballistic ride through space at 15,000 miles per hour. One by one, each station or ship will track it from horizon to horizon as it passes overhead. The crew on the last vessel, picketed at the end of the line beyond Ascension Island will -- if the navigation was good and the weather is right -- actually see the burning nose cone streak like a giant meteor toward the sea. If the mission involves recovery, their job will be to find that speck in the black ocean, lift it aboard ship without damage and bring it home.
The special fleet that does this work is made up of half a dozen odd little radome-studded ships, each faintly resembling a miniature destroyer with a severe growth of lumps on its topside. Some have peculiar names like Rose Knot, Sampan Hitch and Coastal Ansader. A slightly smaller class has no names at all. Each is informally referred to by its crew members as "that bucket," but officially answers to a number designation such as ORV (Ocean Range Vessel) E-42-1836.
Originally, the latter were the Army's "FS" ships -- a small frigate class used for freighting and supply during World War II. In the Korean fracas they ran the island coasts dropping and picking up bands of cloak-and-dagger shore parties -- duty for which they were ideally suited. Drawing a scant 12 feet, boasting an overall length of only 176 feet with a slim 34-foot beam, they could ghost in and out of shallow harbors unnoticed at night.
Today, this trim little fleet, painted a gleaming white, reports to the Air Force and is operated under contract out of Port Canaveral by Pan American World Airways. On board each one, a highly skilled group of six or seven RCA technicians and engineers operates the complex maze of RCA-designed electronic wizardry that makes the fleet a vital link in the giant missile range chain.
It's one thing to send a mammoth chunk of fire-spitting steel out of this world, but quite another to keep track of where it goes and what it "sees" and "feels" enroute. Today, virtually all big missiles carry an instrument package designed to count cosmic rays, take temperatures, test magnetic fields, look at the sights through camera eyes and perform a host of other chores. All this data is radioed back to earth. To pick up these broadcasts from space, and track the big bird with pinpoint accuracy to its watery grave, telemetry stations are spotted along the earth under the missile's flight path. On the Atlantic range, stretching halfway across the ocean from Cape Canaveral, 10 such stations are strung through the chain of islands north of South America's coast. The last is in mid-ocean on Ascension Island. With all the handy islands, this still leaves unmonitored watery gaps totaling 3500 miles in the big ICBM shooting gallery. And it is these holes that the tiny ships of the telemetering fleet must plug.
"Usually half of the ships are scheduled for duty," explains Captain Siegurd Hilseth, rugged tow-headed skipper of ORV E-42-1836. "The rest are in port, perhaps Trinidad or Recife, for resupply, repair, and to give the men a needed rest from weeks of being cooped up at sea." An average tour for a down-range picket ship, according to Hilseth, is about 21 days, though some have been out for as long as seven weeks due to lengthy countdown "holds" and severe tropical storms.
Crewmen, routed from tropical beach resorts, hotels and homes are all aboard 24 hours before departure. "We will be on station by F (firing day) minus one," announces the skipper. "You are on voice control with Cape Canaveral central control until the shoot is terminated or scrubbed. We go!"
Steaming out across the Atlantic in a tiny ship crowded with electronic gear and people can be grim duty. Hilseth's crew numbers 24, in addition to five technicians who report to RCA's instrumentation leader, Grady Cole -- "Which leaves no mattress space to spare on this transistorized canoe," according to one crewman.
Enroute to rendezvous with the missile, life on board the ORV simmers down to a monotony of chores and wallowing through heaving seas.
"Our object [sic] is to get out on station and sit," says Hilseth. "But what hurts is when we lie out there pitching, rolling and gyrating to the four compass points for weeks during delayed shoots. For 10 days we rode out one hurricane so bad everyone was thrown from his bunk. Big ships went down in that storm but no ORVs...
During long drifting periods, the men play cards, read, look at antique movies and grumble. Good days are spent rigging nets to scoop up flying fish attracted by lights the men hang on the fantail at night... "Small things out there become huge events -- like the whole day we spent watching the antics of a baby whale playing around the ship."
Kytoon aerial helps spot missile under adverse conditions.
But the real fun begins on "F-Day." Up on the bridge, Hilseth and his navigator have been busy for days checking their navigation to within a hair's breadth of the predicted impact point of the missile. "The human and electronic brains at Canaveral can calculate with remarkable accuracy where that bird will drop," explains the skipper. "Nose cone pick-ups have been made in as little as 20 minutes. While the antennas clank around over our heads, we figure our precise current and wind drift, and correct our position with engines. We want to be not too close, but not too far from where that white-hot steel will plunge from space into the sea. The RCA boys watch that missile from the side, bow-on, and swing with it as it arcs across the sky. If I have to swing the ship, the antenna man down below goes crazy keeping his helicals pin-pointed on that radar blip screaming across the sky."
Technicians at Stations
Long before the shoot, all the technicians are lined up at their stations, where they've been running simulated countdowns, feeding data into their maze of electronic gear on one dummy "shoot" after another.
The telemetry room was not dubbed "the hole" for nothing. It is approached from the forward deck by ladder, opening into a vast steel-walled cavern below decks. "It was converted from a cargo hold," Grady Cole explains, "and there's 12 inches of concrete in the roof -- not for protection against wild missiles, but for ballast. Without it the ship would ride like a cork." Actually, the comparison isn't too far-fetched anyway. Stout oak bars lace the aisles between equipment racks -- "so we can remain standing at a 45-degree angle," Cole points out.
Signals from the missile and Canaveral are received and taped in "the hole" -- the ORV's telemetry room.
Under that concrete sit the 24-foot-long banks of dials, switches, recording reels and electronic tubes -- "everything from transistors to power tubes 15 inches high and eight inches across," says Cole. "It takes nine tons of sea-water-cooled air conditioning to keep this place at 70 degrees when everything is running." Everything begins really running, in a bustle of activity, when countdown at Canaveral -- relayed through the Pan Am communications man on board -- closes in on "T-Time." Along the electronic corridors, earphone-clad technicians monitor their stations. One man stands by the remote controls that turn the antennas this way and that inside their white domes topside. "At a certain calculated time and place in the sky we expect to start picking up signals from the missile," says Cole, "so the two independently controlled tracking antennas in the Mae Wests are homed in at a predetermined 'look angle.' If the signal doesn't come in when it should, we can send our own signal through the circuits and check them out almost instantaneously -- so we know right away the missile has wandered, not us. Then we go nuts replotting flight curves from data pouring in from other range stations via Canaveral."
Once the bird is picked up on the scopes, everyone aboard works to keep it there, and the ship's tape-recorder memory, in charge of two busy RCA experts, locks up a continuous record of all events occurring aboard the soaring missile, on the ship, plus data from other range vessels and stations. Superimposed on this high-frequency and UHF-coded jumble are continuous time signals squealing in from WWV. "A single shoot uses up 28,000 feet of tape," Cole reveals. "If played off at the usual record speed in your home, you'd have about two and a half days of continuous 'music.'"
Technicians locate with great precision the spot on the range map will have to sit before a shoot.
At the tuning station, another man functions at high speed and precision. "He's got to know the precise instant of lift-off and exactly where the missile is at any instant after launch," says Cole. "He works to a tolerance of 50 milli-seconds, which means that at any fifty-thousandths of a second, he must be able to pinpoint the missile in flight -- and don't forget it's traveling at 15,000 to 18,000 feet per second!"
In spite of all the hazards and pitching seas, no ORV has ever caused a countdown "hold" due to malfunctions, though Grady Cole winces at some near calamities. "Once, our only ballast tube blew just two hours before T minus zero," he recalls. "A young electronic genius in our crew sat down and, without any 'specs' to help him, mathematically worked out a combination of home-made resistors that pinch-hit for the missing link and gave us the whole shoot. Another time, at T minus 30 minutes, a timing component went out. We just ran the shoot without any time. Luckily, it was a faultless one."
A technician checks the spiraling antenna inside the picket ship's radome.
As minutes tick by and the bird nears its target, a lookout man from ship's personnel stands in the bow peering up at the black sky. Close to the prescribed instant, if all goes well, and near a predicted place in the firmament, he'll spot blazing streaks of light arching toward the sea -- usually two or three -- like spectacular shooting stars. These will be the rocket's final stage, the nose cone and the separated instrument capsule, plummeting into the atmosphere at 15,000 miles an hour. "There she is!" he bellows, and everyone goes limp. "That yell," says Cole, "is the pay-off for all our trouble."
Though Hilseth's ship hadn't been involved in a nose-cone recovery up to last summer, several other ORV and search ships have. For them, the real chills come after the shoot terminates.
Search for Nose Cone
Usually, three ships, arranged in a triangular group around the predicted impact point, lie in wait for the plunging payload. Often Navy ships do this job. Aircraft, on hand to help spot the cone in the tossing ocean, sweep the area in grid patterns. As the whirling, white-hot pieces of metal burn down through the atmosphere, the picket ships start their hunt, sailing a system of circles and squares over the sea. All units tune radios to a special frequency, ready to pick up signals being transmitted from the recovery package.
The rig that is used to bring a recovery package safely back from space involves an ingenious arrangement of parachutes and flotation gear. As the glowing nose cone hits the outer atmosphere, a switch, triggered by the sudden slack in speed, actuates a timer that starts a recovery sequence in the cone. At 20,000 feet, the rear cover of the re-entry vehicle pops off. A small ribbon parachute whips out and slows the plunging hardware from hypersonic to subsonic speed. Then a second, larger drag chute is released, and brings the space vehicle to earth at an impact velocity of 60 to 100 miles per hour -- slow enough for a safe water landing.
Jubilant recovery crew surrounds the advanced ICBM re-entry vehicle taken from the Atlantic in April, 1959.
At some point in the last plunging mile, a big balloon is also ejected from the cone and automatically inflates itself. This ball is sectionalized -- like the segments of an orange -- so that if the impact bursts the skin at any point, remaining segments will keep it afloat. The instrument package, hitched to the balloon by 50 feet of nylon line, dangles deep under the sea's surface where it won't be battered by waves. The balloon, bobbing atop the waves, carries a transmitter that starts broadcasting a homing signal as soon as it hits the water. It also blinks a white light from the tip of its antenna, and automatically spreads a fluorescent dye marker around itself for easier visual sighting by the planes.
Aboard any of the ORVs closing in on that package will be a few extra passengers, including skin divers and, if there happens to be a living cargo in the capsule, a medical scientist or two. First search vessel to spot the balloon (planes usually pick up the radio signal first and vector the ships in) rings it in the glare of spotlights. Over the side go the divers on a raft. One will swim down to hook a retrieving line to the dangling instrument package. Others stand by to help if needed. Some nose cones are huge things weighing half a ton or more...
As noted in the article, the range was operated and maintained for the Air Force by Pan American World Airways operating through its Guided Missile Range Division (GMRD) headquartered at Patrick AFB (PAFB) in Florida, which is where the report on the June 24, 1960 (actually 1:30 a.m. on June 25) incident near Ascension Island begins...
Above, top: A series of launch pads used to test the Atlas and Titan Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles -- known as "ICBM Row" -- at Cape Canaveral. Middle and Bottom: Two views of Ascension Island.
TO: Manager, Operations Planning
DATE: 28 June 1960
SUBJ: INCIDENT REPORT:
FLARE LIGHT SIGHTED DURING DATA CASSETTE
RECOVERY, TEST 1802
REF: Test 1802
During actual recovery of the data cassette on Test 1802 a bright flare-like light was observed by various personnel stationed aboard the A/C, ORV, and the small recovery boat. Statements by observers who sighted the flare light are attached.
The undersigned was aboard ORV WHISKEY as observer and advisor for Test 1802. The following statement is submitted concerning my observations from the small boat at the time of the sighting.
"Missile impact occured [sic] at approximately 25/0034Z. The data cassette blinking light was first sighted from ORV WHISKEY at approximately 25/0115Z at a range of 4 NM bearing 192 deg. true from OSP. The vessel proceeded immediately toward the flashing light. The aircraft reported sighting the strobe light shortly after and was orbiting the data cassette awaiting the arrival of the ORV.
"At approximately 0145Z the ORV approached to within 1 NM of the blinking light. The blinking light was not observed directly from the small boat because of wave action and distance from Data Cassette. The light appeared as a blinking glow. Half way toward the Data Cassette the small boat members and myself observed a steady bright glow appearing 100 yards from the direction of the data cassette. As the small boat closed to within 300 to 500 yards of cassette (now within line of sight) the flare light disappeared. The light was white or yellowish and appeared to radiate in a 360 deg. circle rather than a directional pattern. Its glow was of constant intensity during its entire observed duration.
"The small boat approached the data cassette, and retrieval was completed by 25/0128Z. A SOFAR event was coordinated with Station 12 at point of pickup.
"The SOM aboard WHISKEY was below deck maintaining communications at the time of data cassette pickup.
"It has been established by written statements received from the A/C Commander and vessel personnel, that the aircraft did not release a flare, and that that light's origin was from other than test participants."
As stated in the first report, supporting statements were provided from the other witnesses. For an unknown reason, the first supporting statement was labeled "Encl: 2", and there is no "Encl: 1" in the Blue Book declassified files...
TO: Operations Planning
Attn: [Blacked Out]
FROM: [Blacked Out]
DATE: 30 June 1960
SUBJ: LIGHT SIGHTED DURING TEST 1802 RECOVERY
REF: Recovery Test 1802
At approximately 0130, 25 June 1960, while standing on the main deck I sighted a light about two points forward of the starboard beam only about two hundred yards from the cassette. This additional light was not flashing like the strobe light of the cassette. It appeared to be a flare judging from its color, great intensity, and short period of illumination.
The next supporting statement -- labeled "Encl: #3" -- was from an RCA cameraman...
28 June 1960
In answer to your letter of 28 June 1960 regarding an unidentified flare of light observed during Test 1802, I would like to state briefly what I saw while photographing the recovery.
While I was setting up for pictures of the small boat lowering, I saw this flare of light which to be looked like a flare had been dropped from an Aircraft. This light was stronger than the blue-white intermittent flash of the strobe on that cassette. It was warmer and yellowish in color. It was back of the cassette and about 25 degrees off the Starboard Beam but seemed in the same line or distance from the shop [sic].
I was with the first Mate of the Ship at the time and I mentioned it to him and said that the A/C flare was dying out, that the cassette light was still visible for the recovery.
I thought nothing more of this, as I expected this was routine for recovery, and went ahead and shot pix of the recovery.
Small diagram of position I sighted the flare-----------
The "small diagram" mentioned was drawn at the bottom of the letter (shown below first in full and next with a portion blown up for better clarity)...
The third and last supporting statement to be found in Blue Book declassified files -- labeled "Encl: #4" -- was from a co-pilot of one of the aircraft circling overhead at the time...
I was copilot of Silver One flying at 3500' MSL. Silver Two was at 2000' MSL and had reported visual contact with the cassette. Weather was overcast with haze and sea state of 05. The pilot and I could see Silver Two's running lights and proceeded to position our A/C above him and in orbit around the cassette. At this time (approx. T/60) a bright light appeared. On an overcast night over the ocean in a turning A/C it is practically impossible to estimate altitude however I concluded that the light was no farther than 100 yards from the cassette and either on the surface or very near the surface. No waves appeared to break over the light; therefore the light must have been a few feet above water surface. The light intensity was approximately the same as that of a parachute flare but did not appear to be emitting smoke. The light burned for approximately 10 seconds. I immediately called the other A/C to determine whether he had dropped any flares. A negative reply was received. Questioning of both A/C crews later confirmed that neither A/C had dropped any object at any time during the test.
An unknown hand at Blue Book scribbled at the top of the copilot's letter the notation "- exagerated?", but the weight of the combined testimony left little recourse in Blue Book's evaluation -- "unknown", with the notation...
No positive conclusion regarding the identity of this object can be reached with the available data. The object was a flare of some type; source, or origin, remains unidentified.
The circumstances of the men at sea -- and in the air -- shared a number of traits in common with each and every one of the other witnesses involved in all of the sighting reports listed above. Ordinary people had been going about their daily lives when suddenly the "thing" or "things" they saw came into view as an unexpected intruder. Some of them tried to come up with their own "rational" explanations, but in the end all of them were left with the vague discontent of witnessing something so extraordinary that it had to be witnessed to be fully comprehended in its effect, yet also left only with the futile inadequacy of words with which to tell their tale.
There were other reports for the first half of 1960, of course -- many easily explainable while others were too vague to credit. And although such periods are often dismissed as "quiet" or "dull", these selected incidents from the first half of 1960 are a telling reminder that there is always a residue of reports it is wise not only to remember, but on which to carefully reflect.
Above, top: The "Mercury 7" astronauts in a photo for National Geographic in 1960. Below: Second part of the lengthy two-part article "I Lived With The Astronauts", published in the December, 1959, and January, 1960, issues of Popular Mechanics. "Mercury" was the name for the United States program to launch humans into space. In January, 1959, NASA identified 110 test pilots -- 52 from the Marines or Navy, 58 from the Air Force -- as its initial candidate pool for America's first "astronauts". After a series of intense physical and probing psychological tests, the group was winnowed down to seven men, announced in April, 1959, as the "Mercury 7". From that time on their training was followed with intense interest in the national press -- so much so that Life magazine paid $500,000 (equivalent to over four-million dollars today) for exclusive rights to their insider stories. The first Mercury flight would take place in May, 1961, the last, in May, 1963. In total there were six Mercury flights flown by six of the seven astronauts. Deke Slayton had been grounded because of heart irregularities, but eventually reached space as the docking module pilot of the 1975 Apollo–Soyuz Test Project.
The world of early 1960, of course, encompassed many events outside the UFO sphere. In January, Senator John F. Kennedy declared his candidacy for President of the United States. In February, four black students began their now-famous "sit in" at the Woolworth's counter in Greensboro, North Carolina. That same month, France tested its first atomic bomb -- even as the 1960 Winter Olympics opened at Squaw Valley, California. In March, the U.S. announced that 3,500 troops were being sent as advisors to the South Vietnamese armed forces. And in April the state of the art in space travel was reported in the April 13, 1960, edition of the Corpus Christie, Texas, Times newspaper...
Above: Engineers check the Transit 1B satellite prior to its April 13, 1960, launch from Cape Canaveral.
U.S. Launches New Satellite
Orbiting Device Planned As Navigation Station
CAPE CANAVERAL. Fla. (AP) -- The United States launched a navigation aid satellite into successful orbit today.
The space messenger, a device with highly important military possibilities, was fired upward from this missile testing center at 6:03 a.m. CST.
Then in Washington the Navy announced that a tracking station at Las Cruces, N.M., had reported the satellite passed over that point at 7:36 a.m. in its swing around the earth.
The satellite also was picked up over Austin, Texas by the University of Texas tracking station.
There had been earlier indications of a successful flight.
While the rocket engines were still pushing the satellite into the sky, tracking stations in the United States, Newfoundland, England and Germany began reporting strong radio signals from the satellite.
The 265-pound spherical payload, called Transit 1B, is designed to study the feasibility of using satellites as global, all-weather navigation stations.
Ships, planes and submarines receiving radio signals from a network of transits would be able to plot their positions to within one-tenth of a mile more simply and accurately than at present.
Its second stage engine was geared to be stopped and restarted in flight in order to place the payload in a circular orbit about 500 miles high. This is the first such off-and-on engine flown by the United States. Russia is not known to have used anything comparable in its space shots.
Ten minutes after the launch scientists announced the second stage had fired successfully. It was to burn 4-1/2 minutes and then coast to a height of 500 miles. Then it was to ignite again and inject the satellite into orbit.
Successful launching of Transit 1B was the third major American space achievement in little more than a month. On March 11, Pioneer V, carrying man's first interplanetary communication system, winged into orbit about the sun. Tiros I, the weather-eye satellite that photographs clouds, followed.
Officials emphasized that Transit 1B is merely a test of equipment and theories that may be used in an operational system. Two or three more advanced test Transits will be launched later this year, with the first operational payload scheduled for 1961.
Development of an operational Transit system of four satellites by 1962 is a major U.S. military goal.
It will be especially important to Polaris missile submarines and bombers carrying long range Hound Dog and Skybolt air launched rockets. Quick, accurate information on position will be of great value in plotting missile trajectories from these mobile launching platforms.
Polaris Subs Due in '60
The first Polaris subs are expected to begin operating on the high seas late this year. They will be able to use Transit satellites to check their ship's inertial guidance system, which must be corrected periodically because of gyroscope drift.
Hound Dog missiles, with a 500-mile range, now are being deployed on B52 bombers. The 1,000-mile Skybolt is scheduled for B52 and B58 bombers in 1962.
By studying signals from the satellite, scientists also will be able to gain a better idea of the exact shape of the earth and the precise distances between certain points. This would enable American land-based rockets like the Atlas to zero in more accurately on an enemy target.
Although Transit is primarily a military project, commercial shipping and airlines are expected eventually to make use of it.
But the U.S. space program -- still primarily a military operation -- was only advancing in fits and spurts. In February, the ambitious Midas I satellite -- intended to be first in a series of "early warning" space capabilities against attack by the Soviet Union -- had exploded five minutes and 2,000 miles into its flight, sending its fiery wreckage careening into the Atlantic. And so new a territory was space itself -- the launch of Sputnik had only taken place two-and-one-half years earlier -- that virtually every satellite was still labelled "experimental" (with manned flight still more than a year distant).
Still, the rapid growth of what was being hailed as the "space age" brought with it a new set of challenges for the Air Force -- and Blue Book. This became the primary focus when the UFO Advisory Panel held its monthly meeting in April, 1960 -- for which the first detailed minutes since its July, 1959, meeting appear in declassified Blue Book files...
MEMORANDUM FOR RECORD 12 April 1960
SUBJECT: Meeting of UFO Panel, 7 April 1960
A. The following topics were discussed: Redirection of program with emphasis toward possible scientific value, filing system, and a case of falling ice which took place at Dalton, Massachusetts.
B. For the past 13 years ATIC has coped with the intelligence and public relations problems presented by reports of so-called UFO's. In the latter days of the 1940's there was some reason surely to fulfill the defense obligations or to determine whether the reported phenomena would in any way affect national defense. This was, and has continued to be, the primary concern of ATIC in this respect. During the dozen or more years in which ATIC has been the recipient of a total of over 8000 reports, there has been at no time any evidence that those residual reports that could not easily be ascribed to the misidentification of common objects such as aircraft, balloons, etc., showed any hostile intent or were devices of a military character,
C. The conviction has grown on the part of the people directly concerned, and of the panel on UFO's, that it has become pointless to continue the type of "score-keeping" and monitoring of UFO sightings on the basis of hostile intent. This is not held to mean that our first look at UFO reports should not be to determine if they give evidence of possible threat to national security, for this is a primary concern; but rather that this should not be the final step in cases which give further indication of having some greater value because of their scientific potential. Further, the cases should not be considered individually only, but their collective value should be given equal consideration; i.e., frequency and numbers of fireballs. One might ask why any attention whatever should be paid to this small but steady flow of UFO sightings. To cease all attention would first be deliberately to close an important Air Force function of monitoring aerial phenomena. One can never tell when a newly launched enemy device might first come to our attention as an UFO report; secondly, the public fully expects the Air Force, as the defense service that has obvious cognizance of aerospace, to monitor and be aware of evidence in the upper atmosphere. A great loss in public confidence in the Air Force might result from complete abrogation of the UFO program.
D. Furthermore, it is now clear to the panel that UFO activities are not confined to the United States, but considerable such activity has occurred in France, Italy, Brazil, and of late, we understand through private sources, even Russia is not without similar activities. Indeed, the panel understands that there are some Russian scientists who are giving careful attention to aerial phenomena, broader in general scope than UFO's, but nonetheless including what we normally hear called UFO phenomena. It would be most embarrassing if, in view of the many years already spent by the United States Air Force on this subject, some other group should, in their relatively short attention to this subject, find or discover any Scientific Potential [sic, capitalized]. It is the panel's firm belief, based on examined evidence, that the so-called unknown sightings are the result of insufficient and inadequate reporting of natural but unusual physical phenomena, often perhaps of a meteorological or astronomical character.
E. The panel further recognizes that in the next decade sky surveyors, electronic and optical, will of necessity increase many fold. New detection devices, such as the Baker Nunn Camera and large telescopes and radio telescopes are already in operation, and in particular new electronic devices; e.g., image conversion devices are in the process of development. It follows, therefore, that in the next few years surveillance groups will have to contend with many of the pehnomena [sic] which heretofore have been reported to ATIC. The development of this equipment will of necessity be influenced by its ability to discriminate between natural occurring phenomena and space probe objects (rockets and missiles). While these surveillance devices will be used for possible scientific progress, it must be realistically recognized that they are also, possibly with refinements, the equipment upon which we will depend for the first steps in defense-detection; and it does not call for much imagination, in view of recent developments in the space age, to realize that our ever decreasing time allowance for effective reaction in event of an attack will depend upon the reliability and speed of these detecting devices. It is equally dangerous to think of taking aggressive action due to misidentification of an object such as a meteor for an enemy missile as it is not to take action if our detection devices dismiss an enemy missile as a meteor. In order to realize such delicate differences, the physical and chemical characteristics of various phenomena which have missile-like qualities must be exactly determined. Other important patterns such as frequency of occurrence must also be determined, for this is an indication of how often our detecting device would be called upon to eliminate such phenomena. It is difficult to imagine a device which would be able to detect missiles or other such objects and not be disturbed by a bright meteor. The differentiating factors would be small; therefore, the numbers of characteristics and those which are at greater variance should be considered to help increase reliability of such a detector. This, of course, necessitates greater knowledge of the characteristics of both these phenomena and missiles, etc. There is a wealth of material already in the ATIC files, but it requires further processing for its scientific value.
A. The panel hereby recommends a review of past material in light of accrued experience, and a thorough scientific analysis be made of those cases which are determined to be the more outstanding and having a high scientific potential.
B. It is recommended that in future, after consideration has been given to the threat possibilities, that those cases which give indication
[Remainder of memorandum missing from declassified files.]
That the minutes from the April 12, 1960, meeting of the UFO Panel end abruptly is indeed unfortunate for the serious researcher. However, the substance of what remains is thought-provoking not only for its considerable and well-stated substance, but also for the fact that the "minutes" bear little resemblance to notes on a meeting but rather read as a well-considered policy paper providing a basis for discussion of serious policy considerations in future meetings.
Here then also was a renewed and revised rationale for the existence of Blue Book, and the need for better investigation of the phenomena. In 1947 the "flying discs" were seen as potential Soviet threats to the aerial security of the United States, exposing the lack of and need for an "early warning system" against attack from the sky. Likewise, the surge of reports in 1952 -- coming after the Soviets had gained the atomic bomb -- led to the revival of a moribund "ground observer corps" effort from World War II into "Operation Skywatch", with thousands of trained civilian observers reporting sightings of unknown aircraft to Air Force filter centers. Now, in 1960, the UFO Panel noted that "in the next few years surveillance groups will have to contend with many of the pehnomena [sic] which heretofore have been reported to ATIC", whose very success would rely on "its ability to discriminate" between what were conventional aircraft and missiles, and what were not.
In other words, the UFO Panel seemed to be reestablishing the national security rationale for continued vigilance and increased scientific investigation of UFO reports..
But if that was its intent, Col. Evans -- under whom Blue Book operated -- was having none of it...
If there was a meeting of the panel in May, 1960, then its minutes are not readily locatable in the declassified files -- the next minutes being from the third week of June, 1960...
20 June 1960
MEMORANDUM FOR RECORD
SUBJECT: UFO Panel Meeting, 16 June 1960
1. On 16 June 1960, a UFO Panel, Meeting was held at ATIC. The following members of the panel were present:
Mr Theodore Hieatt, ATIC
Dr J. Allen Hynek, Consultant
Mr V Handmacher, WADD
Chaplain William Thorensen, WPAFB
Major Robert J. Friend, ATIC
2. The following subjects were on the agenda for this meeting:
a. Dalton, Massachusetts ice fall, 25 March 1960.
b. Redmond, Oregon UFO sighting, 24 September 1959.
c. LaCamp, Louisiana UFO sighting, 12 April 1960.
d. Proposed study by the Aerial Phenomena Group.
3. The Dalton, Massachusetts case (ice fall), 25 March 1960. A 30 pound chunk of ice dug a deep hole in the yard of Mr Larry Roche of Dalton, Massachusetts. When the case was reported Mr Roche was requested to put a large piece of the ice in his freezer, to save it for analysis. The recovered ice was shaved off its outer cover in order to insure that only its original composition was analyzed and it was forwarded to ATIC in a sealed container for this purpose. The sample was analyzed at the physics laboratory of WADD to determine its composition. A copy of the report of this analysis is attachment #1 to this document. The analysis has not contributed any information or clues as to the origin of the ice. A report of this case and the laboratory report is to be forwarded to government agencies who may have interest in this area. NASA and Army Engineers, Ft Belvoir, Va.
b. On 25 September 1959, a UFO was sighted at Redmond, Oregon by a policeman and an employee of the FAA facility. The FAA installation at Seattle, upon receiving a report from FAA, Redmond, contacted the Air Force GCI sight [sic] at Keno AFB near Klamath Falls, Oregon to determine if a target was observed near Redmond. The observer on duty at Keno replied in the affirmative to FAA, Seattle. USAF interceptors and civilian aircraft were scrambled, but were unsuccessful in their attempts at interception. Subsequent to 24 September 1959, the GCI site has had similar returns from the Redmond area. The GCI site did not consider there was a relationship between the visual and radar sighting, but the FAA logs carried them as one report. No report of this case was made to ATIC. However, Major Keyhoe, NICAP, obtained a copy of the FAA logs and has since used this case against the Air Force. A telephone investigation by ATIC revealed that the radar sighting was probably caused by a gap filler antenna and that the visual sighting was probably due to a refraction of the planet Venus which was in a position that coincided with that reported by the witnesses. SAFLL briefed the Space and Aeronatuics [sic] Committee on this case and used the finding determined by ATIC. The panel concurs on the probable cause of this sighting.
c. On 12 April 1960, an object struck the ground at LaCamp, Louisiana causing a loud explosion, a flash of bright light and leaving several deep holes in the ground. The light was observed by one witness but the explosion was heard by many. The Air Force investigators took samples from the ruptured ground and forwarded them to ATIC along with the report. Analysis of the samples is complete and the report is being forwarded to ATIC by a contractor. A telephoned brief of the report indicates that the residue in the holes was metal and increases the mystery in this case. Stereoscopic photographs of the ruptured ground are presently being processed. It is hoped that these photographs coupled with the analysis report will shed some light on the cause for this case. No conclusion was reached or suggested by the panel.
d. The panel was unanimous in the opinion that a comprehensive study of the year 1957 would be more beneficial than a cursory examination of the period January, 1953 to the present. The information to be charted on the IBM cards used for the study was discussed. Dr Hynek is reviewing the information for discussion at the next panel meeting.
4. The panel unanimously reaffirmed a previous recommendation by Dr Hynek that adequate investigators be made available to the Aerial Phenomena Group. It continues to be apparent that the investigation problem requires individuals who are familiar with the special nature of the UFO problem. Investigators should have background in atmospheric optics, astronomical techniques, and general information concerning astronomy and physics as well as in good investigative techniques. These investigators would be used on those cases which give indication of having greatest promise of intelligence or scientific value; i.e., LaCamp, Louisiana sighting.
ROBERT J. FRIEND
Item number four of the minutes -- in its wording that the "panel unanimously reaffirmed a previous recommendation by Dr Hynek that adequate investigators be made available" -- was not without significance, in light of a warning which had been received nine days prior...
AEROSPACE TECHNICAL INTELLIGENCE CENTER
UNITED STATES AIR FORCE
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE
ATTN OF: AFCIN-4E2
SUBJECT: Possible Congressional Hearing
TO: AFCIN-4E (Col Evans)
THRU: AFCIN-4E2 (Col Shoop)
Major Tacker, SAF0I-3d, Hq, USAF, Washington, D.C. called Major Friend 7 June and advised him that there is a very strong possibility that a Congressional hearing will be called on UFO. The particular area of concern is with the lack of adequate investigation. Major Tacker indicated that during Major Friend's next trip to Washington it might be profitable to sit down with L&L and discuss the situation. The specific incident which was probably the cause for this concern was a case which was brought to the attention of a Virginia Congressman, and had not been reported to ATIC by Langley AFB. Langley AFB was contacted by phone and they gave their reason for not reporting the incident as the fact that the witness was a chronic reporter of UFO's and they did not feel that the case was worthy of investigation.
ROBERT J. FRIEND
The potential for an upcoming congressional investigation on the Air Force handling of UFO investigations was never welcome news -- but it certainly was nothing the Air Force had not successfully overcome before.
No, what truly rankled was the instigator of ongoing congressional attention -- a civilian UFO organization called NICAP, led by a scrappy retired member of the United States Marines.
Above: Cover for Aug-Sep, 1957, issue of NICAP's UFO Investigator.
Three years earlier, in 1957, a major new civilian UFO organization had burst onto the public scene. Called the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP) it had been founded in October, 1956 by inventor Thomas Townsend Brown. But by early 1957 it would be headed by (retired Marine) Major Donald Keyhoe -- well-known to the public as a well-connected and serious researcher and author on the phenomenon.
Headquartered in Washington, D.C., and with prominent military and government members on its Board of Directors -- including a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency -- NICAP began to reap considerable publicity as it called for 1) Congressional hearings on the Air Force handling of its investigations of the UFO phenomena and 2) Air Force dealings with the public on the matter.
Up until that time, Congressional interest generally went no further than an occasional request that the Air Force reply to a constituent inquiry. But by 1958 the pressure by NICAP and Major Keyhoe began to be felt at the Pentagon, as reflected in a February 3, 1958, Air Force memo...
MEMORANDUM FOR DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF INFORMATION SERVICES, SAFS
SUBJECT: Congressional Public Hearings - Unidentified Flying Objects
1. Major Donald, Keyhoe of the National Investigation Committee on Aerial Phenomena has been badgering the members of the McClellan Subcommittee, the Senate Committee on Investigating Government Operations, to hold open hearings on the question of the existence of unidentified flying objects.
2. In this regard investigators for the subcommittee contacted SAFLL and a meeting was held on 31 January 1958 at 1000 hours in Mr. Horner's office on the Air Force's position regarding possible hearings. Members of the committee attending this meeting were:
Mr. William Weitzen, Deputy for Research & Development Operations
Lt. Colonel William R. Kelzo, SAFRD
Major Joseph E. Boland, SAFLL
Major James F. Byrne, AFCIN
Major Lawrence J. Tacker, SAFIS
Mr. Donald O'Donnell, FBI (Committee Investigator)
Mr. Jack Healey, FBI (Committee Investigator)
3. The committee's investigators simply asked if the Air Force desired such hearings. Mr. Weitzen stated that he did not see the need for it but would cooperate in every way possible if the committee thought the hearings necessary. Mr. Jack Healey stated they wanted a definite Air Force position. Mr. Weitzen said he would have to wait until Mr. Horner returned but thought Mr. Horner would agree with his statement that we would cooperate in every way. The two investigators were invited to visit ATIC at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base for background information. They said they would do so if hearings developed.
4. There will be a meeting of this group again this week when Mr. Horner returns and gives his views.
5. Major Tacker pointed out during the discussions that OIS was providing the publicity at the present time on this subject at the request of AFCIN. He stated we would continue to do so and would cooperate in every way with the staff agencies concerned or with the congressional committee if hearings are held.
GLEN W. CLARK
Chief, Public Information Division
Office of Information Services
On February 28, 1958, a memo from Major General Luehman revealed the outcome...
1. Investigators for the McClellan Subcommittee (the Senate Committee on Investigating Government Operations) recently held informal discussions (31 January 1958) with us concerning the advisability of conducting public hearings on the Air Force's position regarding unidentified flying objects. The thing they were concerned with most was the charge that the Air Force was withholding information on this subject. I am sure we convinced them that this was not the case, as they have since indicated there is no need for hearings on this subject.
Three months later, on May 8, 1958, a request from an individual congressman -- John E. Henderson of Ohio -- was sent to the Secretary of Defense. Henderson was a minor Republican congressman still in his first term. As a member of the House Banking and Currency committee he had no direct congressional relationship with the Air Force. But Henderson's interest had been spurred by his reading of "The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects", a 1956 book authored by the former head of Blue Book, Captain Edward J. Ruppelt. After a month of scrambling and planning by the Air Force, a briefing was held for Henderson and some colleagues on June 20, 1958...
Maj. Byrne AFCIN/X1A
MEMORANDUM FOR RECORD
23 June 1958
SUBJECT: Briefing of Representative Henderson and Colleagues on the Air Force Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) Program.
1. On 20 June 1958, Major Boland, SAFLL and Major Tacker, SAFIS, assisted by Mr. Arcier, AFCIN-4X1, and Major Byrne, AFCIN-X1A, briefed the following House members, in the Capitol chamber of Representative John E. Henderson, Ohio.
Rep. Henderson, Ohio
Rep. Cramer, Florida
Rep. Magnuson, Washington
Rep. (Mrs.) Walker, Washington
Mr. Mongel (Adm. Aid--Henderson)
Mr. Bachelor (Adm. Aid--Cramer)
Mr. Tely (Ada. Aid--Mr. Magnus on)
Mr. Gordon (Adm. Aid--Griffen, Mich.)
2. The briefing was prepared in response to a personal request by Rep. Henderson who had previously submitted a series of questions on UFO's. AFCIN prepared the answers to these questions and supplied the necessary briefing material.
3. Members of Congress are constantly besieged by constituents regarding UFO's, by letter, telephone and personal visits. With rare exception, such requests are forwarded to SAFLL for answer. The lack of information on UFO's professed by the Congressman causes a certain amount of professional embarrassment. As a result, a great number of Congressmen and their administrative aids [sic] have indicated an interest in first-hand information on UFO's. SAFLL, on the urging of SAFIS and AFCIN, siezed [sic] this opportunity to prepare a number of briefing kits, containing reproductions of statistical information, charts and graphs, individual case histories, and such other related material that would give the reader a rather comprehensive knowledge of the subject. These kits were submitted at the time of the subject briefing. It is expected that additional requests will be made for kits as word travels regarding their availability.
4 The Congressional audience was favorably impressed by the presentation. One apparent dedicated sceptic, at the conclusion of the briefing, professed his complete faith and confidence in the Air Force's handling of UFO's. Several members indicated that they were now prepared to deal directly with their constituents without calling on SAFLL.
5. The subject briefing, scheduled for one hour, lasted the full morning, which attests to the Congressional interest in the subject. The following is believed to have accrued from the briefing, with members expressing:
a. Confidence in the Air Force UFO program.
b. An understanding of the problems the Air Force faces in administering the program.
c. Acceptance of responsibility to personally advise their constituents on UFO matters.
d. Agreement that it would be unwise to give the subject undue publicity, particularly in an open or closed formal Congressional hearing.
e. Distrust in private organizations and authors, as giving undue impetus to the existence of "flying saucers" and stimulating unfavorable public hysteria.
6. Mr. Arcier addressed the group as a technical consultant. Maj. Byrne, in the capacity as administrative consultant, clarified certain answers given by the SAFLL representative, to preclude possible misunderstanding on how the UFO program is administered Air Force wide.
7. The excellent briefing material prepared by AFCIN-4 and the personal attendance of Mr. Arcier, who impressed the group with his profound council, deserve special note as reason for success of the briefing.
8. Classified portions of the UFO Scientific Panel Report of 1953 were made available to and receipted for by the Congressmen present.
To the Air Force it appeared to be an unqualified success, perhaps providing the template for dealing with any such future inquiries. However, in August, 1958, the most significant congressional action up to that time proved the Air Force's hope unfounded. The full story contained in 31 pages of Air Force documents was well summed by historian David Jacobs in his seminal 1975 book, "The UFO Controversy in America"...
In August, John McCormack's House Subcommittee on Atmospheric Phenomena (part of the House Select Committee on Astronautics and Space Exploration) requested a briefing on UFOs. McCormack wanted a week-long hearing in "closed secret session, unrecorded, names of witnesses to be held in confidence," and decided to call as official witnesses Francis Arcier (the Air Force's chief scientific adviser), Captain Gregory, Majors Best and Byrne of Air Force intelligence, and Majors Brower and Tacker of the Office of Public Information. McCormack requested that Menzel, Keyhoe, and Ruppelt serve as outside witnesses. Air Force intelligence thought that if there must be hearings, the Air Force might benefit from them.
McCormack opened the session by explaining it was not really a hearing; the subcommittee, according to an Air Force memorandum, merely sought "additional information on upper space that would be helpful to the appropriate executive agency." Gregory outlined major events in the history of the UFO program, from Project Grudge and its reorganization to Special Report 14. He correctly explained that Project Grudge concluded UFO reports were misidentifications of natural phenomena, war nerves, and the like, but he incorrectly stated that press publicity was the only reason for reorganizing Grudge and establishing Project Blue Book. Without mentioning any UFO sighting reports, Gregory said that the publicity about UFOs brought about the 1952 "hysteria." This publicity, according to Gregory, led people to question the Air Force's handling of the UFO menace. As a result, Gregory recounted, General Samford requested the CIA to review the Air Force's UFO program ; it did so by forming the Robertson panel which, he incorrectly reported, had sixteen members (it had five).
Gregory then outlined the panel's conclusions and recommendations and described the current Air Force UFO program. Without mentioning Project Blue Book's habit of lumping the probable and possible categories under the title of identified or the Air Force's policy of urging untrained air base officers to identify UFO reports at the base level, Gregory said Blue Book's improved investigating methods had reduced the unknowns from 30 percent to 10 percent. Without explaining that the diffraction camera plan never worked properly, Gregory declared that the plan, while "not wholly successful" because of "lack of operating personnel," produced no results to indicate the objects were not conventional. Gregory said Special Report 14 found a "total lack of evidence" for extraterrestrial visitors but did not tell the subcommittee that the report called the evidence ambiguous. He used Hynek as an example of the caliber of scientists who had carefully examined the UFO phenomenon and found nothing unusual about it but did not say Hynek thought UFOs deserved increased systematic study.
Gregory concluded by noting the rise of private UFO organizations, books, and clubs, and by chastising the organizations for continually trying to embarrass the Air Force. These self-appointed UFO groups, he said, constantly misinterpreted, exaggerated, or misquoted Air Force publications "all to the detriment of the Air Force." Gregory added that the Air Force "would be more impressed by all this were it not so profitable." Contrary to these private groups' claims, the Air Force neither did nor would suppress any evidence indicating that UFOs were a threat to the security of the United States. This briefing apparently relieved the subcommittee members, who "highly commended" Gregory and the other Air Force officers for their efforts. According to Air Force records, the members were "definitely pleased" with its approach to the problem and "apparently satisfied" with the results. The subcommittee was so satisfied, in fact, that one of its staff told Air Force representatives that it would call no more witnesses and "take no further interest in this matter."
Over the next 22 months there was no serious threat of a new congressional investigation. Then, in June, 1960 -- as noted previously -- Major Tacker notified Major Friend of renewed congressional interest. This would ultimately take the form of a briefing at the Pentagon in mid-July -- with members from the Senate Committee on Preparedness, the House Armed Forces Committee, the House Science and Astronautics Committee, and two representatives from the CIA attending. This time the going would not be easy, as revealed in a July 18, 1960, "Trip Report" by Major Friend...
Above: June 9, 1960, memo pad note referring to Major Tacker's memo advising the possibility of an upcoming congressional investigation. At the bottom someone has added a handwritten note dated June 14: "Maybe the matter could be used in the comming [sic] appearance of Maj Tacker - (TV Thur 23 June 'To tell the truth')". To Tell the Truth was a popular game show where three people would claim to be the same person. The object of the game was for four celebrity panelists to decide who was the 'real' one telling the truth.
1. Monday - 11 July 1960. Maj Friend visited with L/Col Sullivan, AFCIN-Pla, for the purpose of briefing him on the status of the UFO Program, and also to coordinate the activities for the week. A meeting was held among L/Col Sullivan, AFCIN-Pla, L/Col Prentiss, AFCIN-1B1, L/Col Tacker, SAFOI-3d, Maj J. Boland, SAFLL, and Maj R. Friend, AFCIN-4E2. At this meeting Maj Boland outlined all of the areas concerning the program which were of special interest to the committees. The principal points were, the Air Force capability as it pertains to the Aerial Phenomena Program, claims relating to classification of reports and withholding information, and specific information concerning the Redmond, Oregon sighting of 24 Sept 59, and the Wash D.C. sighting of 19 July 1952.
2. Tuesday - 12 July 1960. Prepared a draft of the semi-annual "Fact Sheet" (Atch #1). This draft was used as a hand-out at the briefings.
3. Wednesday - 13 July 1960. Briefed Mr Stuart French of the Senate Committee on preparedness [sic, uncapitalized]. In the general discussion which followed Mr French pointed out that ATIC should have a capability for investigating sightings of unidentified aerial phenomena which appear to have high intelligence, scientific, or public relations potential. Mr French requested that the following cases be summarized and forwarded to him: Redmond, Oregon - 24 Sept 59, Wash D.C. - 19 July 52, Levelland, Texas - 2 Nov 57, and Lubbock, Texas - 25 Aug 51. Mr French stated that he would like to visit the Aerial Phenomena Group at ATIC. Present at the meeting; Mr Stuart French, Senate Committee, L/Col L. Tacker, SAFOI-3d, Maj J. Boland, SAFLL, Maj R. Friend, AFCIN-4E2.
4. Friday - 15 July 1960. Briefed House Armed Forces Committee, House Science and Astronautics Committee, and CIA. Present at the meeting: Mr Robert Smart, Armed Forces Committee, Mr Spencer Beresford, Mr Richard Hines and Mr Frank Hammil [sic, should be Hammill], Science and Astronautics Committee, Mr John Warner, CIA (Asst for Legislative Liaison to Mr Allen Dulles), Mr Richard Payne, CIA (Tech Advisor), Mr John McLaughlin, Adm Asst to Sec of the Air Force, M/Gen A.H. Leuhman [sic, should be Luehman] and B/Gen E.B. LeBaily, SAFOI, B/Gen Kingsley and Col James C. McKee, SAFLL, L/Col Sullivan, AFCIN-Pla, L/Col Tacker, SAFOI-3d, Maj J. Boland, SAFLL, Maj R. Friend, AFCIN-4E2 and Dr J. Allen Hynek, Consultant to Project Blue Book. For approximately the first half hour the audience was briefed on the Air Force Aerial Phenomena Program, the method of conducting the program, and an explanation of some of the phenomena and/or objects responsible for sightings. The meeting became a general question and answer session. Mr Smart stated that his interpretation of public claims that the Air Force was withholding information was that it was being withheld from Congressional Committees. Major Friend pointed out that the Air Force was not in the possession of any evidence classified or unclassified which gave any proof or indication that unidentified aerial phenomena were interplanetary vehicles. It was further pointed out to Mr Smart that this would be foolish action on the part of the Air Force since the revelation of such information would be so beneficial to the Air Force appropriations. Regarding classification of UFO reports, it was pointed out that Par #18 of AFR 200-2, dated 14 Sept 1959 (Atch #2), specifically requests that UFO sightings not be classified unless necessary due to supporting information, source, or military potential. Major Friend pointed out that no case in recent years was classified for reasons of the UFO sighting itself. Mr Smart pointed out that the private UFO organizations' claims had a certain amount of weight because of the affiliations of such men as Vice/Admiral Hillenkotter [sic, should be Hillenkoetter] and the number of sightings reported by airline pilots. It was pointed out that the Air Force was not aware of how close the connections were between the private UFO organizations and such men as Hillenkotten [sic], and that plans are to write to these men to determine the extent of their connections. Major Friend pointed out that it is without doubt that airline pilots represent reliable sources, but being pilots alone does not qualify them in other scientific or technical areas. It was pointed out that ATIC attempts to assign an officer who is rated, as well as having a technical background to the UFO Program. Major Friend pointed out that he has seen UFO's, experienced their startling effects, and in some instances actually reacted to their presence in an unusual manner. One such experience with the associated scientific explanation was described to the audience. Mr Beresford indicated that the Science and Astronautics Committee had given some attention to unidentified aerial phenomena and that they appeared to have some scientific potential. Mr Smart pointed out that the Air Force bases probably have the capability for investigating the routine cases, but were probably limited when extensive scientific information is required. He indicated that the Committee would be satisfied if they could state that the Air Force has the numbers and the capability to conduct the UFO operation. This to mean that the Aerial phenomena Group, ATIC, will investigate those cases which appear to have intelligence, scientific, or public relation potential. Mr Smart further pointed out that the Congressional Committees should be kept advised on all pertinent sightings. He further stated that his future stand to constituents would be based on these conditions.
5. General. ATIC is to make the necessary budget arrangements to allow investigation of certain significant UFO sightings. To allow us an interim capability, trips will be authorized from the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force. The appropriate accounting symbol will be obtained by telephone during this interim period.
AFCIN-4E has requested AFCIN-4X6 to initiate the necessary action to obtain the sum of $3000. These funds will be used by AFCIN-4E2x to perform on-the-spot investigations of significant sightings of unidentified aerial phenomena.
The investigation of significant cases of sightings of unidentified aerial phenomena on the scale suggested by the investigating committee is not now within the capability of AFCIN-4E2x.
The assignment of one additional officer is considered mandatory in order to properly perform currently assigned functions as well as the additional investigative duties being proposed. The officer so assigned should be rated and should possess a technical background if he is to contribute maximum effectiveness in the investigation and analysis of unidentified aerial phenomena.
The above being a "Trip Report" by Major Friend, it was natural and appropriate that it focus on Friend's activities and perceptions. Unfortunately this left out related items of interest -- for instance, the reason for the presence of the two CIA representatives and what, if anything, they asked or stated. Also missing from Friend's report was anything about the role of Dr. Hynek at the meeting. Fortunately, in Hynek's book "The UFO Experience" -- published 12 years later -- Hynek himself gave some insight to his involvement, particularly as regards Blue Book's need for "mobility and capability to investigate cases of importance"...
This recommendation was based largely on my insistence to the Committee that Blue Book invariably got 'scooped' by civilian organizations in the investigation of cases. Time and again NICAP or APRO had interviewed the witness before the local Air Force men had, and I gathered from many witnesses that the civilian interrogations often were more thorough than those of the Air Force. I also pointed out the need for upgrading the data. Time and again the reports from local Air Bases constituted a waste of teletype time...
I also pointed out to the Smart Committee that when certain original data are lacking, as they very often were, immediate telephonic contact with key witnesses was essential -- not two or three months later, but within hours of the receipt of the TWX. The first order of business at Blue Book should be the immediate scrutiny of an incoming report, to decide whether it is 'significant' in the terms already specified and, if so, to decide at once what additional information is needed and to proceed to get it immediately -- calling in the Scientific Consultant then, and not weeks later, to ask his help in gathering information...
Without casting aspersions on Hynek's account as accurately representing Hynek's beliefs at the time, it is doubtful that Hynek's actual words at the briefing were anywhere near as forceful or candid while addressing the Senators, Congressmen, Generals, and members of the CIA present -- though he very likely did point out that lack of mobility and delayed response gave civilian organizations the upper hand.
For in the end it had been an almost brutally uncomfortable encounter for the Air Force. Congressman Smart, in particular, had been openly sceptical as to whether the Air Force was withholding information not only from the public but from Congress. Smart also implied he would begin speaking out against the Air Force -- via "his future stand to constituents" -- if matters didn't change. As a result the Air Force was forced to agree that it would more thoroughly investigate reports which had potential intelligence or scientific value, as well as incidents which generated high publicity, and pledge to keep Congress "advised on all pertinent sightings".
Colonel Richard Shoop, in a July 20, 1960, memo, would outline the briefing and the outcome...
ATIC Capability for Investigating Sightings of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena
20 July 1960
1. On 15 July 1960, a briefing was held at the Department of Defense for members of the House Armed Forces Committee, House Science and Astronautics Committee and CIA. The subject of the briefing was the Air Force Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Program, and resulted from a recent increase in Congressional interest on the subject. This recent surge of interest is due in part to private UFO organizations complaining that the Air Force investigations of UFO sightings left something to be desired.
2. Mr Robert Smart of the Armed Forces Committee stated that the Air Force should have both the numbers and the capability to properly conduct the program, particularly the area of investigation. This was subsequently pointed out to mean that the Aerospace Technical Intelligence Center should investigate those cases which give indication of having high intelligence or scientific potential, and also those which have an unusual amount of public interest.
3. It is estimated that 12-15 cases each year would require investigation by ATIC. It is further estimated that the cost of investigating these sightings will average $200.00 each, or approximately $3000.00 per year. It is hoped that utilization of space available military aircraft will reduce the cost of this operation or allow us an extended capability.
4. Investigating these significant cases of sightings of unidentified aerial phenomena, from the standpoint of qualified personnel, is within the capability of AFCIN-4E.
5. It is requested that the necessary action be initiated to make $3000.00 available to AFCIN-4E for the purpose of investigating significant cases of sightings of unidentified aerial phenomena.
6. At the briefing it was decided that ATIC would be provided with an interim capability directly from the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force. Appropriate accounting symbols to be requested by telephone.
RICHARD R. SHOOP
CC to: AFCIN-4X7
This was followed on July 29, 1960, by a memo from Col. Evans to Major Friend advising him that, "The necessary action has been initiated at this level to obtain both the additional personnel and funds required to carry out this operation." Four days later Major General Luehman officially brought the matter to the attention of the head of Air Force Intelligence...
DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY Aug 2 1960
MEORANDUM FOR ASSISTANT CHIEF OF STAFF, INTELLIGENCE
SUBJECT: Unidentified Flying Objects
1. On Friday, 15 July, in Secretary Sharp's Conference Room, members of this Directorate, AFCIN and SAFLL briefed the following Congressional Committees on the Air Force's UFO program: the Preparedness Sub-Committee of the US Senate, the Science and Astronautics Committee of the House, and the Armed Services Committee of the House.
2. In addition to personnel from each of these Committees and this headquarters, Dr. Hynek of Northwestern University (our civilian consultant on UFO's) and Major Friend of ATIC attended this briefing.
3. The Congressional Committees involved wanted reassurance from the Air Force concerning our position on unidentified flying objects because they have received a great deal of pressure from constituents advocating public hearings on this subject.
4. All personnel attending the briefing were pleased with the results and the general concensus [sic] is that no public hearings will be held in the near future.
5. However, this meeting and the informal discussions which followed revealed the fact that ATIC (Major Friend's office) must have immediate mobility to investigate specific UFO sightings which generate instantaneous press, public and Congressional interest. This mobility will, of course, involve TDY funds for Major Friend or other investigative personnel to visit the scene of a specific sighting and could, I am told, involve the assignment of additional personnel to Major Friend's office. SAFOI, SAFLL, Dr. Hynek and AFCIN-P-1a all concur in this need for immediate mobility in investigating certain specific sightings.
6. Therefore request your office support this recommendation and action be taken as soon as possible to implement this requirement.
ARNO H. LUEHMAN
Major General, USAF
Director of Information
And there -- through requests for action and declarations of intent -- matters would rest for a while. That same month, the last surviving reference to a meeting of the UFO Panel would appear in a memo to Major Friend from Col. Evans, date-stamped 11 August 1960...
Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Panel
EWH Cys sent to: 4X3, WCLDPPM, ADZSXD
1. The next meeting of the UFO panel will be held during the month of September 1960. You will be informed of the exact date by telephone.
2. All during the life of the Air Force program to investigate and evaluate sightings of unidentified phenomena or objects, it has been recognized that the names "Unidentified Aerial Phenomena" or "Unidentified Flying Objects" were not appropriate. In many instances nothing associated with the sighting indicated aerial or flying and reports have been made of both objects and phenomena. Reports which are pure figments are, of course, excluded. Further, these names tend to stimulate the public to the natural extension of associating the term "flying saucer" to a greater degree.
3. You are requested to consider as an official name for the program "Unidentified Phenomena/Objects" or "Unidentified Phenomena or Objects". As for the alphabetized name, this would result in "UPO," not too different from the present "UFO".
4. You are not restricted to the names mentioned above, and at the meeting you should suggest any which you feel to be more appropriate.
5. Our sincere appreciation is offered to you and your organization for the aid which you gave to this panel during the past year. Such a hearty attitude toward cooperation between organizations can only result in successful completion of our assigned mission.
PHILI G. EVANS
Once again, Col. Evans -- Deputy for Sciences and Components at ATIC, the department under which Blue Book operated -- demonstrated that he was far more interested in perceptions than in the actual task at hand.
And behind his wording concerning "successful completion of our assigned mission" lay a very clear intent -- though veiled the statement may have been. For the "assigned mission" in Evans' view was and had always been to determine if UFOs represented a security threat to the United States -- a matter which in Evans' (and others') view had long since been settled.
For the better part of a year Evans had been openly declaring that all that was needed now was to close Blue Book down, and declare "mission accomplished". Congressional wishes be damned, Evans wasn't changing course for anyone.
Above: From the June, 1960, edition of Flying Saucers magazine, a section devoted to "flying saucer clubs". The magazine was published by Ray Palmer, who had co-founded (and later sold his interest in) Fate magazine. By 1960 UFO believers had spit into two distinct factions -- "serious" researchers as typified by NICAP and APRO, and "fringe" groups and personalities who claimed psychic or physical (or both) contact with aliens and saucers. The mid-to-late 1950s would see the ascendancy of the fringe groups and personalities (such as "Professor" George Adamski, the first and most famous to claim contact with aliens and trips aboard their craft), which for a time commanded most of the public attention.
The public, of course, was kept unaware of the behind-the-scenes maneuvering, and was hearing a far-different story -- as for instance in the June, 1960, issue of Argosy magazine.
Argosy had been long-established -- in fact, it is credited as the first 'pulp' magazine. Originally an 'adventure fiction' magazine aimed at boys (under the name "The Golden Argosy", first published in 1882), it eventually morphed into men's adventure fiction, and finally during World War II switched its focus to non-fiction (but still geared toward the men's market).
The June, 1960, article in Argosy was billed as an 'as told to' piece. The 'teller' was Major Donald Keyhoe of NICAP, who himself had a notable history in such publications. In 1950 Keyhoe had penned a headline-making article -- entitled "The Flying Saucers Are Real" -- for True magazine. The effect of Keyhoe's article was later described by Captain Ed Ruppelt, former head of Project Blue, in his 1956 book "The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects"...
The article opened with a hard punch. In the first paragraph Keyhoe concluded that after eight months of extensive research he had found evidence that the earth was being closely scrutinized by intelligent beings. Their vehicles were the so-called flying saucers. Then he proceeded to prove his point. His argument was built around the three classics: the Mantell, the Chiles-Whitted, and the Gorman incidents. He took each sighting, detailed the "facts," ripped the official Air Force conclusions to shreds, and presented his own analysis. He threw in a varied assortment of technical facts that gave the article a distinct, authoritative flavor. This, combined with the fact that True had the name for printing the truth, hit the reading public like an 8 inch howitzer. Hours after it appeared in subscribers' mailboxes and on the newsstands, radio and TV commentators and newspapers were giving it a big play. UFO's were back in business, to stay. True was in business too. It is rumored among magazine publishers that Don Keyhoe's article in True was one of the most widely read and widely discussed magazine articles in history.
From that impressive beginning Keyhoe had gone on to write many more pro-saucer (and anti-Air Force) articles and books (four books by 1960), been extensively interviewed in newspapers and on radio and television, and become the head of NICAP -- along the way making himself 'public enemy number one' in the eyes of many in the Air Force.
The 'as told to' part of the equation was NICAP member Harold Salkin, who himself was an irritant to the Air Force, as indicated in a June 14, 1960, memo...
14 June 1960
MEMORANDUM FOR RECORD
SUBJECT: Congressman Heistand [sic, should be Hiestand]
1. On 13 June 1960, Col Tacker called Major Friend to inform him that he had been requested to brief Congressman Heistand on the Air Force's UFO program. The reason for the briefing was that Congressman Heistand had a scheduled interview with Mr Harold Salkin. Mr Salkin is one of the two gentlemen who visited ATIC during the week of 30 May as "supposed" representatives of ARGOSY magazine.
Mr Salkin requested the interview to gather information for an article on the UFO subject which is to appear in an early edition of McCALLS magazine.
ROBERT J. FRIEND
Still, the Argosy article represented a somewhat surprising collaboration for Keyhoe. Salkin was a former Associate Press correspondent who had gone on to pursue more esoteric realms. A charter member of NICAP in its early Townsend Brown period, he was associated with such fringe personalities as George Adamski and Clara Little Brown -- just the type of people Keyhoe openly disdained as sideshow performers who not merely detracted from but exposed to ridicule the serious study of saucers.
But for whatever reason, the two would collaborate on the June, 1960, Argosy piece...
Above: First page of article. Below: The image is from October, 1957, and first appeared in the May-June, 1958, issue of the APRO Bulletin. The photographer was identified as "Ella Louise Fortune, Welfare Nurse at the Mescalero Indian Reservation", who watched the object as she drove to work. The object "appeared to be motionless
at all times" over the approximately 10 minutes it was in view. It had "a clearly defined edge" and there was "little or no wind". The Bulletin also said that "about 6 miles north of Tularosa, she decided to snap a picture so that she would have pictorial evidence of what she had seen". The original is a 35mm Kodachrome slide.
[Note: the following article at one point incorrectly names Kenneth Arnold as Director of NICAP].
FLYING SAUCERS: menace or myth?
Has the Air Force been hiding the facts on UFOs? Here are its own official documents, made public for the first time!
by MAJOR DONALD F. KEYHOE, USMC, RET., as told to HAROLD SALKIN
FOR THIRTEEN years, the United States Air Force has maintained officially that reports of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) are the result of delusions and hoaxes, with no solid basis whatsoever. This cover-up policy has now been exposed.
In a directive issued by the Air Force Inspector General, commanding officers of air bases in the Zone of the Interior have been warned to treat UFOs -- officia1 Air Force term for flying saucers -- as a matter of deep concern.
The new orders state that investigation and analysis of UFOs are directly related to the Air Force's responsibility for the defense of the United States. Detailed directions are given as a guide to base commanders in reporting UFO sightings to headquarters of the Air Technical Intelligence Center.
The National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP) has held for more than three years that the American people have not been told the truth about the existence of objects of unknown origin in our skies. The Air Force's admission that such phenomena are "serious business" should help Americans and foreign observers to get a clearer picture of what is really taking place within the earth's atmosphere.
On August 29, 1956, NICAP was established in Washington, D.C. Its board members and special advisers include former Air Force officers, a professor, a clergyman, a nationally known newscaster and the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Its prime objectives are the collection, evaluation and publication of authentic facts regarding unidentified flying objects.
Section of Air Force Regulation 200-2, published here for the first time, proves Air Force concern with UFOs, despite official denials.
THERE IS NO doubt that the recent slackening of interest in UFOs on the part of the general public was due to suppression of UFO information within the Air Force. NICAP's aim is to prove to the public that UFOs do exist and should be seriously investigated. To this, the Air Force has been a constant roadblock.
The committee's aim of obtaining open Congressional hearings is yet to be realized. We have worked closely with various Senate and House groups and have been encouraged by many instances of favorable reception. The apparent slump in sightings during the past year, due entirely to Air Force censorship, has not affected Congressional attitudes. Eventually, we believe, open hearings will be held.
In 1957, NICAP's director was approached by the McClellan Subcommittee. During the conferences which followed, a mass of documented evidence was submitted to the subcommittee, covering more than ten years of world-wide investigation by American and foreign researchers. NICAP was informed that the committee was considering holding public hearings, but after the nationally televised Armstrong Circle Theater presentation, the committee stated that it had no such plans. There was, I am sure, strong Air Force pressure.
The Armstrong telecast was carried live by the coast-to-coast network of the Columbia Broadcasting System. The date was January 22, 1958; the audience was well up in the millions. The repercussions of that broadcast are still being felt.
As originally planned, the program was to be a one-hour documentary probing into the various facets of the flying-saucer mystery. Those scheduled to appear included Air Force officials and Kenneth Arnold, NICAP's director, whose 1947 sighting had ushered in the UFO era. Also scheduled were Captain E.J. Ruppelt, former UFO project chief, and Captain C.S. Chiles, Eastern Air Lines pilot who, with his co-pilot, had a close-range encounter with a rocket-shaped UFO in 1948. Captain Ruppelt backed out -- under pressure, it was hinted; Captain Chiles was ordered not to appear. (Later, Captain Eddie Rickenbacker, head of Eastern, confirmed this in a personal letter to me.)
Paragraph from new directive issued by Air Force Inspector General gives instructions to Air Force personnel on handling UFO reports.
CHIEF SPOKESMAN FOR the Air Force was Lieutenant Colonel Spencer Whedon. As rehearsal time approached, it became apparent to Arnold that his testimony was not to be allowed to be presented as he had originally written it. Shortly before air time, he told the CBS producer that he was withdrawing from the program. His lines, as tailored by CBS writer, Irve Tunick, were then spoken by Tunick over the air.
The bulk of the sixty minutes was given over to the Air Force and the pro-Air Force spokesman, Dr. Donald Menzel, Harvard astro-physicist, whose "mirage" theory of flying saucers has been discredited as a definitive solution.
As NICAP's director, I was told that much of my material would have to be omitted from the script, even though originally approved, because of time shortage. This excuse was disproved when Captain Ruppelt backed out; though I was given the extra time, a number of highly significant sightings and statements were censored -- by direct pressure from Colonel Whedon. Under conditions laid down by the Air Force, I had to agree or quit.
In the verbal exchange that followed, I was told by the CBS staff that time did not permit further discussion. I was given an ultimatum: Accept the censorship or withdraw from the program.
My time was limited to about eight minutes. Once on the air, I decided to add a statement not in the script. I spoke the first few words and -- acting in accordance with network regulations -- the CBS director cut off the sound. Viewers at home realized that they were witnessing on-the-spot censorship, but some assumed the network was simply complying with its standard procedure for a scripted broadcast. Actually, CBS had to silence me when I deviated. They were under Air Force orders to permit no change in my statements.
The soundless portion was this:
"For the past six months, our group has been working with a Senate committee on the secrecy of unidentified flying objects. If they hold public hearings with the information we have given them, it would prove that these things are real and under intelligent control."
Air Force pressure caused cancellation of three statements by authorities in the field. Also deleted were the following:
1. A sighting by the British RAF, officially confirmed by the Royal Air Force.
2. A documented sighting in Brazil, in which airlines passengers in flight were stampeded in a near collision with a formation of large flying objects.
3. The Far East case of December, 1956; an F-86 Sabre-jet chased a huge object but failed to overtake it. The plane's radar was affected by strange pulsations, evidently sent out by the unknown in an attempt to break the radar beam.
4. The Kinross case, in which ground radar observers watched as the blip of an interceptor merged with the blip of the UFO; a single blip then shot rapidly off the radarscope. The plane was never found.
5. The sighting by Major Charles Scarborough, flying with three Marine jet pilots near Dallas on May 14, 1954. One jet swooped down on sixteen UFOs from a height of 42,000 feet. The three other jets tried to box in the objects. The silvery, disc-shaped UFOs were in geometric patterns; there were four groups, each with four discs in perfect squares. As the jets closed in, the discs, still in formation, picked up speed and disappeared in a few seconds.
THIS CENSORSHIP WAS in no way the fault of CBS or the Armstrong staff, for two reasons: The Air Force had stipulated at the start that they would have to check my script, ostensibly for "security" -- though they publicly deny any security is involved. Second, the AF insisted there should be no "personalities" -- a device which they used to block any strong evidence or arguments from NICAP.
In a subsequent letter from the CBS Director of Editing to a NICAP member, it was emphasized that the program had been "cleared for security, and the public interest was best served by cutting off Major Keyhoe's audio."
Early in 1957, Congressman Lee Metcalf of Montana sent a letter of inquiry to the Air Force in an attempt to get to the bottom of the UFO censorship controversy. He asked whether such censorship did, in fact, exist.
In reply, he received a letter signed by Major General Joe W. Kelly, Director of Legislative Liaison for the Air Force. It stated:
"Reports of unidentified flying objects are not withheld from the press. On occasions [sic], queries from news-media representatives are directed to the Air Force. Answers are provided on any reported unidentified flying objects which have attracted national attention. Periodical reports are not released, due to the fact that there have been no significant changes in the past two years on this subject.
"Pilots are not muzzled, and their reports, if of any significance, are forwarded to the Air Technical Intelligence Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, where they are further evaluated. Since the last published release in 1955 on unidentified flying objects, there has been no need to release further statements."
NICAP then sent a telegram to General Kelly, asking for details of five selected UFO sightings, chosen because each had received national publicity. No reply was ever received by NICAP. Instead, an unnamed Air Force spokesman made a public statement in which he attacked NICAP's motivation.
Air Force secrecy was officially confirmed on January 23, 1958, when the public information officer at Langley Field, Virginia, wrote to a NICAP member who had asked to run an ad in the base newspaper requesting those interested in UFOs to contact him. The original ad and further revisions were rejected by the officer, Captain G.H. Oldenburgh, who stated:
"I felt it would encourage Air Force personnel to violate present Air Force policy and specifically AF Regulation 200-2."
Regarding the revised versions of the ad, he said:
"Though the wording has been changed, it is my belief that one of the objectives of your organization is the public dissemination of data on unidentified flying objects. As I pointed out to you on the twentieth of January, this is contrary to Air Force policy and regulations."
This official Air Force policy letter was signed twenty-four hours after Air Force Assistant Secretary R.E. Homer stated on the CBS Armstrong Theater broadcast that the Air Force was not withholding any UFO information. Horner said: "I do not qualify this in any way."
Further confirmation of secrecy came a a [sic] year later. The NICAP member, Larry Bryant, finally succeeded in having his ad published in the Daily Bulletin [sic, "Daily" capitalized but not italicized] of Fort Monroe, Virginia, adjoining Langley Field. The Bulletin quickly rescinded the ad, citing a classified intelligence directive covering UFO reports by personnel of the U.S. Continental Army Command (USCONARC).
NICAP requested a copy of the directive. The request was turned down in a letter signed by Colonel Lawrence J. Mulhall at USCONARC Headquarters, Fort Monroe. He explained:
"Security regulations prohibit sending a copy of the USCONARC Intelligence Directive dated 27 May, 1958."
AT ONE POINT in his exchange of correspondence with a member of Congress, General Kelly referred to the existence of Air Force regulations affecting secrecy. He stated:
"Air Force Regulation 200-2 and Joint Army Navy Air Force Publication 146 were placed in effect to give guidance to the major commands on how to handle reports of unidentified flying objects. All reports are forwarded to Air Force Headquarters for investigation and evaluation before any release is made.
"Air Force Headquarters releases summaries of evaluated data which will inform the public on this subject. For those objects which are not explainable, only the fact that the reports are being analyzed is considered releasable, due to the many unknowns involved. (Italics ours.)
"Air Force interceptors still pursue unidentified flying objects, as a matter of security to this country and to determine technical aspects involved. To date, the flying objects have imposed no threat to the security of the United States and its possessions."
In the past decade, a number of Congressmen have attempted to get UFO information from the Pentagon, only to be blocked by an Air Force silence curtain.
On March 13, 1958, Representative Ralph J. Scott, of North Carolina, wrote one of his constituents, who was a NICAP member:
" . . . I quite agree with you that the general public should be allowed information thus far known about unidentified flying objects except, of course, in the case where they might become unduly alarmed or panicked by such a revelation. I am sure you can readily understand and appreciate the seriousness of such a reaction. If this information could be presented to the American public in such a way as to appeal to reason and not to emotion, I think it would be a good thing . . . "
Another prober was Representative William H. Ayres of Ohio, who stated in a letter to a NICAP member:
" . . . In answer to your other questions, Congressional investigations have been held and are still being held on the problem of unidentified flying objects, and the problem is one in which there is quite a bit of interest. Since most of the material presented to the committees is classified, the hearings are never printed. When conclusions are reached, they will be released, if possible . . . " (Jan. 28, 1958)
Representative Thomas Ludlow Ashley, of Ohio, wrote a NICAP member on July 14, 1958:
" . . . As you may know, I have made a number of inquiries of the Air Force relative to its activities in connection with those unidentified flying objects, but have invariably received comment that evidence to date is too inconclusive to sustain any theory, but that these objects are 'hoaxes, hallucinations or normal meteorological manifestations.'
"I share your concern over the secrecy that continues to shroud our intelligence activities on this subject, and I am in complete agreement with you that our greatest national need at this time is the dissemination of accurate information upon which responsible public opinion can be formulated."
Other reactions from members of Congress were:
Representative William L. McCulloch, Ohio: "I believe it is time that citizens of our country were advised of what is happening in this field, if such information would be proper and would not in any way endanger the security of our country."
Representative Edgar W. Hiestand, California: "It has become a very controversial subject. Reactions run the emotional gauntlet through humor, fear and a healthy desire for more information and knowledge . . . "
Senator Thomas Hennings, Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee: "This is a subject which concerns everyone. I am bringing your letter to the attention of the Committee on Aeronautics and Space Sciences, with the request that full consideration be given to the possibility of public hearings on this issue."
NICAP FILES CONTAIN statements by individuals whose authority is not questioned in their particular fields. Taken together, they present a definite pattern:
Rear Admiral D.S. Fahrney, (Retired): former Navy missile chief: [sic, not italicized] "Reliable reports indicate there are objects coming into our atmosphere at very high speeds. The way they change position would indicate their motion is directed."
Clare Booth Luce, former Ambassador to Italy, who with many others sighted a UFO at Rome: "I did see an object; I don't know what it was."
Dr. Clyde W. Tombaugh, discoverer of the planet Pluto, chief of the Armed Services' search for natural satellites, who has sighted UFOs: "These things, which do appear to be directed, are unlike any other phenomena I ever observed . . . Other stars in our galaxy may have hundreds of thousands of inhabitable worlds. Races on these worlds may have been able to utilize the tremendous amounts of power required to bridge the space between the stars."
Dr. Carl G. Jung, world-renowned psychologist, in writing NICAP's director: "I am a NICAP subscriber. I am grateful for all the courageous things you have done in elucidating the thorny problem of UFO reality. I do not possess sufficient evidence which would enable me to draw definite conclusions. The evidence available, however, is convincing enough to arouse a continuous and fervent interest. If it is true that the AAF (American Air Force) withholds telltale facts, then one can only say this is the most unpsychological and stupid policy one could invent. . . . The public ought to be told the truth."
In revealing the Air Force's censorship methods, NICAP is not attacking the Air Force as a whole. NICAP has held that most of the officers and officials are simply obeying orders which originate within a "silence group" whose motives are undoubtedly high; the need to protect the public from possible hysteria.
Nevertheless, NICAP believes that this censorship is dangerous. In my opinion, the thousands of UFO reports by veteran observers prove beyond question that the saucers are machines from outer space. The Air Force's insistence that it has no answer only heightens the possibility of hysteria.
Commenting on the new Air Force orders issued by the inspector general, captioned, "UFO's Serious Business," NICAP board member Vice Admiral R.H. Hillenkoetter said:
"It is time for the truth to be brought out in open Congressional hearings. . . . A photo copy of the inspector general's warning has been sent to the Senate Space Committee."
ADMIRAL HILLENKOETTER, director of the Central Intelligence Agency during the Truman administration, added:
"Behind the scenes, high-ranking Air Force officers are soberly concerned about the UFOs. But through official secrecy and ridicule, many citizens are led to believe that the unknown flying objects are nonsense. . . .
"To hide the facts, the Air Force has silenced its personnel through issuance of a regulation. . . . Veteran airlines pilots and other technically trained observers have been discredited. Hundreds of authentic reports, many confirmed by radar or photographs, have been labeled delusions or explained away by answers contrary to fact."
Other NICAP board members also have issued statements criticizing the Air Force. Typical was the one by Rear Admiral H.B. Knowles (Retired):
"There is a real need to break through the official Washington brush-off and get the truth home to the people."
With the help of the American people, this can -- and will -- be done.
Major Kehoe's new book, "Flying Saucers -- Top Secret," published this month by Putnam's, gives further evidence of the Air Force's Operation Cover-up.
If you have information on UFOs, please submit it -- confidentially, if you wish -- to NICAP, 1536 Connecticut Avenue, Washington, D.C.
Undeterred by such articles, the Air Force was sticking to its message and schedule, as it released the latest version of its semi-annual "Fact Sheet" to the press -- as from the August 1, 1960, edition of Pacific Stars & Stripes...
AF to Continue UFO Probes
WASHINGTON (UPI) -- The Air Force will continue to investigate all reports of unidentified flying objects (UFOs), even though 13 years of investigation have produced no evidence they exist, a spokesman said Saturday.
He said the Air Force is responsible for U.S. air defense and hence this mission includes accounting for all foreign objects in the sky.
Since 1947, when the first excited description of a "flying saucer" caught public attention, the Air Force has investigated more than 6,500 such reports.
"No physical or material evidence, not even a minute fragment of a so-called flying saucer or spaceship has ever been found," the military agency said in its most recent "fact sheet on unidentified flying objects."
The report listed 173 so-called sightings of UFOs or aerial phenomena reported during the first six months of this year, a large number of them in the Pacific and Far East areas.
Astronomical sightings accounted for 52 of these, the Air Force decided. The spokesman said there was "excessive meteor activity" last April and that the nearness of Jupiter to the earth in June made that planet appear unusually large and bright.
Seven of the 173 were airplanes, according to the Air Force, and six were balloons.
Single jet bombers with multi-jet pods under their swept-back wings look like "flying saucers in V-formation," the spokesman said, and vapor trails often appear to glow with fiery red or orange streaks when they reflect sunlight.
A 200-foot balloon, propelled in a jet stream at better than 200 m.p.h. and with its top flattened, is a sight calculated to startle even experienced pilots, he said.
Unexpected and unrecognized objects accounted for 19 reports, it was said. Large Canadian geese flying low over a city at night, with street lights reflecting off their glossy bodies, prompted one UFO investigation. In another instance searchlights aimed at the sky turned scattered clouds into "moving disc-like shapes."
The Air Force discounted 51 reports because there was only one witness in each sighting. To give full credit to these, the spokesman said, would be like accepting as fact the result of an experiment which was conducted only once.
Re-entry of the satellite Discoverer VIII to the earth's atmosphere brought only one UFO report from a public grown accustomed to satellites, the Air Force said.
This left three UFO reports which no valid explanation could satisfy. But the Air Force was convinced that even they could be accounted for if "more detailed objective observation data" had been provided.
Adding a new wrinkle to the issue, the next day the Pentagon released a photograph of its own working model of a flying saucer. From the August 2, 1960, edition of the Lowell, Massachusetts, Sun newspaper...
Saucer Designed to Fly
The Defense Department released this photo yesterday, of a saucer-shaped research aircraft being developed for the U.S. Army and Air Force. The department said the craft is designed to take off and land vertically, using the air cushion principle, and to fly like a winged plane once it is in the air. A spokesman said the picture was made several months ago at the builder's plant in Canada. -- AP Wirephoto
Army Has It
There ARE Flying Saucers
WASHINGTON (UPI) -- The defense department, which insists there are no flying saucers bringing little men from outer space, has disclosed a photo of a saucer it's developing to haul big men in inner space.
-- Well, One Anyway
The picture showed a pie-shape craft with a fan-like apparatus running through the center and two plastic canopies on top.
One of the canopies was open and a man seated inside the saucer was waving at the camera.
The top of the saucer was dotted with a number of small openings. It bore an Air Force insignia and two markings, "U.S. Air Force" and "U.S. Army."
The photo made public last night, was the first official picture ever released of this country's planned flying saucer.
Little is ever said in Washington about the hush-hush project. But it is known that the United States is pushing development of the radical new aircraft, which the Soviets also are assumed to be working on.
Avro Aircraft Ltd., of Canada, which is developing the saucer for the United States said last October the strange vehicle made a successful flight inside a hanger, rising on a cushion of air jetted from beneath the craft.
RELIABLE military sources said the saucer would provide the U.S. Army with a modern airborn [sic] cavalry -- "the likes of which have never been seen in warfare."
The saucer would permit troops and supplies to be rushed to any battle area regardless of terrains. Mud, ice, water and mountains would be no problem.
The saucer would be able to skim close to the ground, dart between trees, dip into small valleys and generally hug the earth's surface, thus confounding enemy radar.
The craft now being developed is for use by the Army but more advanced and faster saucers will be perfected later for the Air Force.
Members of congress were told in secret committee hearings last year that present models are not designed for use in outer space. But they will be able to fly at altitudes now reached by conventional aircraft.
The timing of the Air Force "announcement" was certainly coincidentally curious -- the project had been under development since 1953 and received ample press coverage at the time. Actual flight testing began in secret toward the end of 1959 and had ended in April, 1960, after severe problems with speed and stability became apparent. At the time of the August announcement, a significant redesign was taking place and new tests on the modified craft would not take place until April, 1961 ending in June, 1961 as tests revealed further stability problems (leading to cancellation of the project). There had been virtually no press coverage of the project since the mid-1950s. Why this particular moment -- with the project in distress and no certainty about the future -- had been chosen by the Air Force to 'reveal' a picture of the United States' own saucer can only be surmised.
In any case, Keyhoe was not about to yield ground to Air Force pronouncements, announcing to the press that a prominent member of the Senate was paying close personal attention to the issue of UFOs. From the August 5, 1960, edition of the Bakersfield, California, Californian newspaper...
Above: Senator Lyndon Johnson and the Project Mercury astronauts circa 1959-1960. From left to right are: John Glenn (mostly obscured), Alan Shepard, Gus Grissom, Senator Johnson, Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, Walter Schirra, and Deke Slayton. On Nov. 25, 1957 Senator Johnson had begun hearings on American space and missile activities in the Preparedness Investigating Subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services Committee. This led on Feb. 6, 1958 to the establishment of a Senate Special Committee on Space and Aeronautics -- with Senator Johnson as its chairman -- towards the goal of establishing a national space agency.
UFO Watchfulness Ordered by Johnson
WASHINGTON (UPI) -- The Senate Preparedness Subcommittee is under standing orders from Democratic Leader Lyndon B. Johnson to keep a "close watch" on any new developments related to unidentified flying objects, a group of flying saucer watchers said today.
Johnson, the Democratic vice presidential candidate, also has directed the subcommittee staff to report to him any "significant" sightings of saucers along with an analysis of the air force investigation of them, the group said.
Marine Air Maj. Donald E Keyhoe (ret.), head of the group called the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena said Johnson told him of the orders in a letter.
Johnson, vacationing at his Texas ranch, and acting subcommittee counsel Daniel F. McGillicuddy told United Press International they did not recall any directions to watch for saucer developments.
Letter Made Public
Keyhoe's group has been demanding for years that the government concede flying saucers really exist. The defense department has said repeatedly that almost all unidentified flying objects can be explained as normal phenomena.
Keyhoe made public what he said was Johnson's letter along with a statement accusing the air force of a "wrong and dangerous" policy in allegedly suppressing information on UFO's.
Keyhoe's committee said it has carefully evaluated hundreds of saucer-sightings by military and airline pilots, missile trackers and other experts over the past three years.
Ex-CIA Chief Concurs
"It was the majority conclusion," Keyhoe said, "that the UFO's reported by these skilled observers were unknown devices under intelligent control."
Keyhoe said that one of those concurring in this view was Vice Adm. R.H. Hillenkoetter (ret.), former head of the Central Intelligence Agency, and now a member of the saucer group, plus 200 other military experts, scientists, engineers, and analysis.
There might be danger that unrecognized UFO's could accidentally set off a war with Russia, Keyhoe said. He said such a warning had been given by French Gen. L.M. Chassin, NATO coordinator of allied air forces.
He said Chassin urged world governments to study the possibility that flying saucers exist "if only to avoid the danger of global tragedy."
Keyhoe claimed that several false air alerts in the United States already were on record. He said some were caused by defense radar operators mistaking "UFO formations" for possible enemy aircraft.
And in its July-August, 1960, edition of its newsletter, "The UFO Investigator", NICAP gave specific details...
SENATOR JOHNSON ORDERS UFO WATCH
Subcommittee Examining NICAP Evidence
Senator Lyndon Johnson, majority leader and vice presidential nominee, has directed the Preparedness Investigating Subcommittee to keep a close watch on UFO developments, including the conduct and conclusions of Air Force investigations. (Sen. Johnson is chairman of the subcommittee, which operates under the Senate Armed Services Committee).
The senator revealed these instructions after receiving a confidential NICAP digest of documented evidence.
"At my direction," Sen. Johnson told NICAP, "the staff of the Preparedness Investigating Subcommittee is keeping a close watch over new developments in this field, with standing instructions to report to me any recent significant sightings of unidentified flying objects along with an analysis of the conduct and conclusions of the Air Force Investigation of each such sighting." ...
The "confidential NICAP digest of documented evidence" had been delivered to members of Congress by NICAP in July. Entitled "Dangers of Secrecy on UFOs", it warned against -- amongst other things -- the possibility of a UFO setting off World War III...
NATIONAL INVESTIGATIONS COMMITTEE
Telephone: Administrative Office:
ON AERIAL PHENOMENA
Washington 6, D.C.
NOrth 7-9434 1536 Conn. Ave. N.W.
Major Donald Keyhoe
USMC (Ret.), Director
NICAP BOARD OF GOVERNORS:
Dr. Marcus Bach, State University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
Rev. Albert Baller, Robbins Memorial Church, Greenfield, Mass.
Dr. Earl Douglass, Religious writer and columnist, Princeton, N.J.
Frank Edwards, Radio-TV commentator, Indianapolis, Ind.
Col. Robert B. Emerson, USAR, Baton Rouge, La.
Maj. Dewey Fournet, USAFR, former AF HQ monitor for the AF UFO project
Mr. J.B. Hartranft, Jr., Pres. Aircraft Owners and Pilots Assn.
Vice-Adm. R.H. Hillenkoetter, USN, Ret., formerly Director, Central Intelligence Agency, New York, N.Y.
Rear Adm. H.B. Knowles USN, Ret., Eliot Maine
Prof. Charles A. Maney, Defiance College, Defiance, Ohio
June 21, 1960
CONFIDENTIAL NICAP REPORT TO CONGRESS
Early 1n 1960, because of the growing hazard from Air Force UFO secrecy, Congressional hearings were urged by the majority of NICAP Board members and technical advisers. (See partial list below.)
"DANGERS OF SECRECY ON UFOs (UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS) AND DIGEST OF DOCUMENTED EVIDENCE "
There is a serious and growing danger that UFOs may be mistaken for Soviet missiles or jets, accidentally setting off war. Several Air Defense scrambles and alerts already have occurred when defense radarmen mistook UFO formations for possible enemy machines. NICAP agrees with this sober warning by General L.M. Chassin, Nato Coordinator of Allied Air Services:
"It is of first importance to confirm these objects ... the business of governments to take a hand, if only to avoid the danger of global tragedy. If we persist in refusing to recognize the existance [sic] of these UFOs we will end up, one fine day, by mistaking them for the guided missiles of an enemy - - and the worst will be upon us." (The two preceding paragraphs were added to the confidential report after the first group of photo-copies was completed; members of Congress receiving the first copies have now also received this addition.)
By AF policy, members of Congress and committee chairmen have repeatedly been told that the UFOs are non-existent, and that hearings would benefit only the sensation-seekers and science-fiction publishers. Since it is too late for hearings in the 1960 session, the following evidence is submitted to interested members of Congress, as proof of the need for immediate emergency action.
There is an increasing danger -- as the NICAP Board has warned
the AF -- that Russia could exploit the muddled UFO situation at any time. If successful, this trick would greatly increase tension in the U.S. and allied countries. It could be planned to upset the 1960 political campaigns, or at any desired time to increase fear of USSR attack power. The documented UFO evidence beginning on page 3 indicates how vulnerable the U.S. would be to such a Soviet scheme. Details of this possible trick, probable results, and a plan for blocking it now will be outlined after the documented digest.
Partial list of NICAP officials, consultants and technically qualified members urging prompt Congressional action:
Vice Adm. R.H. Hillenkoetter, USN (Ret.)
Major Dewey Fournet, USAFR, (Intelligence), former AFHQ monitor for the UFO project
Mr. J.B. Hartranft, president, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Assn.
Rear Adm. H.B. Knowles
Col. R.B. Emerson, USAR, head of Emerson Testing Laboratories
Col. Joseph Bryan, III, USAFR, recently on staff of Gen. Norstadt [sic, should be Norstad]
Lt. Col. Jas. McAshan, pilot, USAFR
Capt. W.R. Nash, Pan American Airways, whose sighting of eight 100-foot discs maneuvering below his airliner (confirmed by copilot) was checked by AF Intelligence, listed unsolved.
Dr. Leslie Kaeburn, space consultant, Univ. of S. Calif.
Former AF Maj. Wm. D. Leet (three officially reported UFO encounters
while a bomber pilot)
Mr. Frank Rawlinson, physicist, National Aerenautical [sic] and Space Agency
Prof. Charles A. Maney, astrophysicist
Mr. Frank Halstead, astronomer, 25 years curator of Darling Observatory
plus over 200 other technically trained members -- pilots, missile and radar engineers, officers in the Army, Navy, AF, USMC, and responsible citizens in 50 states (lawyers, executives, editors, newscasters, etc. Names available.)
DIGEST OF UFO EVIDENCE
The documented cases briefed below are examples of the hundreds concealed, denied or falsely explained by the AF.
(Documents, tape-recordings and transcripts in NICAP possession)
1. Kinross case, Nov. 23, 1953. Disappearance of an F-89 jet from Kinross AFB during a UFO chase. Pilot, Lt. Felix Moncla; radar officer, Lt. R.R. Wilson. No trace of jet or airmen found. AF statement to Associated Press: The plane was followed by radar until it merged with an object 70 miles off Keweenaw Pt. in upper Michigan. Letters to NICAP by Moncla's mother, brother-in-law, cite conflicting AF explanations given them and show disbelief in AF answers. Loss of jet, airmen confirmed to NICAP director by Capt. R.C. White, AF Press Desk. (Listed as probable crash, cause unknown.)
The AF now denies this case ever occurred. Denial signed by Maj. L.J. Tacker, AF PIO (Public Information Officer) on UFOs, in statement to NICAP member Richard Levine. Intelligence officers connected with the UFO project, "Blue Book", at ATIC (Aerospace Technical Intelligence Center) at Dayton, also denied knowing of the case; this denial took place in an interview with Richard Vaughn, staff member WTTG, Washington, and NICAP member Harold E. Salkin, on May 31, 1960. Tape and transcript of interview, Tacker and Moncla family letters, photostat of AP story, all available.
2. Airliner-UFO chase by AF order. On April 8, 1956, Capt. Raymond L. Ryan, American Airlines, encountered fast-maneuvering UFO west of Albany. Radioed Griffiss AFB, was ordered to abandon next landing, pursue UFO, aid jets in interception. (Against Civil Aeronautics Board policy.) In investigations by CAB and CAA (now Federal Av. Agency) Capt. Ryan and American Airlines -- evidently under orders -- denied any deviation to chase the UFO, cited flight-log entry as proof of normal flight time Albany-Syracuse. NICAP request for AF report evaded.
Proof of AF-ordered chase, with possible danger to passengers, also indicating false or altered flight-log entry: A previously tape-recorded interview with Capt. Ryan and his first officer, Wm. Neff, with both admitting the AF order, describing the chase to Lake Ontario, where the UFO speeded up, heading for Canada. CAA tower operators at Albany, Watertown, and one AF witness in Albany airport tower, said by Ryan to have observed UFO also. Tape, transcript, Ryan and AA denials, CAA and CAB reports to NICAP confirming Ryan denials, available, with proof tape is genuine.
3. Report of AF transport captain indicating possible UFO attack. During 1958 night flight over Pacific, AF transport radarmen picked up nearby UFO. Strange flashes or explosions followed, like anti-aircraft bursts but blue-green in color. Transport captain fired a challenge rocket. A red flare, other blue-green bursts followed, but no damage to plane. AF captain later told Intelligency [sic] he believed they were "shot at." Intelligence Report summary stated: Entire crew were aware of the previous disappearances of AF transports in this area, and all appeared to believe their experience was related to the previous disappearances. (Extract from unclassified summary sent to NIcaP [sic] by a member serving in AF Intelligence. Original or certified photo-copy available.)
On May 31, 1960, ATIC officers denied any such report, in conference previously cited. (See Kinross case.). Documented denial available.
(Other documented cases listed on following pages)
Since the AF investigation began, UFO censorship has been constantly denied in AF press releases, broadcasts, letters to Congress, press and the public. Examples follow:
AIR FORCE DENIALS OF SECRECY DISPROVED
1. Ass't AF Secretary R.E. Horner, CBS nationwide telecast (Armstrong Circle Theater) Jan 22, 1958: "There has been a mistaken belief that the AF has been hiding from the public information concerning unidentified flying objects. Nothing could be further from the truth. And I do not qualify this in any way."
AF admission, 24 hours later, in official letter by Capt. G.H. Oldenburgh, AF PIO (Public Information Officer) at Langley AFB: "The public dissemination of data on unidentified flying objects is contrary to AF policy and regulations, specifically AF Reg. 200-2." (Letter to NICAP member Larry W. Bryant; available for inspection.)
2. Gen. Joe W. Kelly, USAF, Dir. of Legislative Liaison, to Sen. Francis Case, Rep. Lee Metcalf, other Congressmen, and private citizens: Denials that UFO reports were withheld from the public.
Signed statement to NICAP by Acting Commandant of Coast Guard, R. Adm. J.A. Hirshfield, after NICAP request for a visual-and-radar UFO report from the Coast Guard Cutter Sebago: This official report, said Adm. Hirshfield, had been forwarded to the designated agency" in the Dept. of Defense. He added: "Federal law prohibits the release of official files concerning such cases to other than specified channels. I therefore find it necessary to refuse your request." (The Sebago case involved high-speed UFO maneuvers about the cutter. The AF later publicly implied the officers and radarmen were incompetent,)
(Other documentary proof of secrecy available.)
In 1956, Capt. Edward J. Ruppelt, former chief of Project Blue Book, publicly disclosed the AF policy of debunking UFO reports:
EXPLAINING AWAY OF UFO REPORTS
"I was continually told to 'tell them about the sighting reports we've solved -- don't mention the unknowns.' ... After the AF order of Feb. 11, 1949, everything was evaluated on the premise that UFOs couldn't exist. No matter what you see or hear, don't believe it .... There have been definite indications that there is a movement afoot to get Project Blue Book to swing back to the old project philosophy of analyzing UFO reports -- to write them all off, regardless . . . . Some good reports have come in and the AF is sitting on them. . . . . Some investigators were 'purged' because they had refused to change their original opinion about UFOs. . . . There were two factions. One believed the spaceship answer but felt we should clamp down on information until we had all the answers. Another group favored giving more facts to the public, including the best cases, the unsolved movies of UFOs, and the AF conclusions. A press showing of the "Tremonton" UFO movie -- which the Navy analysts said showed unknown objects under intelligent control -- was planned early in '53. A new publicity policy went into effect - - don't say anything. "(From: The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects.) [sic, spacing of quotation mark]
TYPICAL CASES "WRITTEN OFF" BY AF POLICY
1. Washington UFO operations over White House, Capitol, Washington Airport, 1952; tracked by expert CAA and AF radarmen, speeds from 140 to 7200 mph; objects seen by CAA towermen, pilots, exactly where radar indicated. In 1959, Sen. Keating was told by AFHQ that weather phenomena had caused the radar blips; no mention of the visual sightings. In the May 31 ATIC conference, officers first denied any visual reports, then admitted them. (Record available.)
Capt. Ruppelt statement: "In 1952, the press was led to believe the Washington radar-visual sightings were only weather phenomena. Actually, they' re still unknowns. The press conference did take the pressure off Project Blue Book, but behind the scenes it was only the signal for an all-out drive to find out more about the UFOs" [sic, no period mark]
2. Oxnard case. Maneuvering UFO seen over Oxnard AFB, Calif., and nearby areas, by AF personnel, police, sheriff deputies. Report to NICAP by CAA tower operator detailed CAA radar tracking, by four operators, of UFOs at 3600 mph, one directly over Oxnard AFB. AF denied radar tracking, stated UFO probably a weather balloon.
CAA report, certified by Adm. Knowles, six Board members, available.
3. Nike case. Brief landing, take-off of UFO near Nike base, Derwood, Md. Reported by Army missile men. First AF public answer: Light from torches of welders on transmission-line tower. (Maj. Wm. Lookadoe, PIO, Bolling AFB.) Canceled when Potomac Electric Power Co. official told NICAP no welders in area. New answer, floodlight on farmer's barn, (given Newsweek, also to NICAP by Maj. Tacker, AF UFO spokesman. (Letter available.) NICAP investigators searched area; only structure near UFO "touch-down" spot not even wired for electricity.
4. Report by AF Col. D.J. Blakeslee. then [sic, uncapitalized] a wing commander, of high-speed UFO outmaneuvering his F-84 jet in two chases. UFO, described as having rotating lights, also tracked by AF ground radar.
Intelligence Report summary: "Definitely in family of UFO." (also [sic, uncapitalized] sighted by other AF plane crews.) Jan. 1953 ATIC conclusion: Unknown object. Sept. 1953 answer given by Look Magazine: Wing commander misled by twinkling of planet Jupiter. How AF radar, range 200-300 miles, tracked Jupiter in high-speed evasion of F-84 not explained. On May 31, 1960, ATIC admitted Col. Blakeslee sighting never solved. Documents proving contradictory claims available.
5. AF jet chase of UFO, Redmond, Ore. Official FAA logs released to NICAP describe round, high-speed, illuminated UFO alternately hovering and changing locations near FAA station, Redmond. Both Redmond and Seattle FAA said that AF radar was tracking UFO. As AF jets approached, UFO discharged exhaust-like flame downward, escaped jets with swift ascent. AF statement given Congressmen, NICAP, public: "FAA logs misleading; AF radar did not track; object believed to be a balloon." FAA logs, AF written denials, available.
Other documented cases, photographic evidence, and military orders silencing witnesses will be cited in explaining a possible Soviet trick. Because of the massed evidence, 25% of the public (by national polls) reject AF denials and answers. Some suspect a disturbing reason for secrecy -- that the UFOs are either Russian or hostile space machines. Since 1947, scores of magazine and newspaper articles have discussed the Soviet secret-weapon theory -- some have warned it is the true answer. Factual records, going back to World War II, prove it false, but most citizens in the U.S. and allied countries are not aware of these facts.
Krushchev, Malinovsky, or other high Soviet officials could claim:
1. That Russian machines far surpassing the Midas had secretly mapped all U.S. and allied targets.
(The USAF has publicly listed UFO sightings at most rocket centers, air bases, etc.)
2. That ordinary defenses are useless.
(Futile jet chases have been officially admitted by AF, Navy and Marine Corps pilots; and abroad, by air force pilots in England, Norway, Sweden, So. Africa, Australia, Portugal, Brazil, etc.)
3. That these secret Soviet devices could be used as global H-bomb weapons of "Western aggression."
(Logical since most long-range missiles now can carry H-bombs, and UFO sizes reported (discs over 300 feet in diameter) suggest the ability to carry large loads.)
4. That the U.S. and its allies, knowing they are helpless, have kept the truth from their people.
(In addition to U.S. secrecy, withholding of UFO reports has been officially admitted to NICAP by England and Norway, and indicated by other nations.)
To back up these claims, Krushchev could point to USSR capture of top German rocket experts in 1945 and the Russian lead in space operations. Also, he could "confirm" press stories of strange flying objects reportedly seen across Russian borders. Examples: A Christian Science Monitor story from Finland; a news story from Sweden quoting airline Capt. Ulf Christiernsson and co-pilot as to a fast, saucer-shaped metallic device they believed to be Russian; a Danish air force pilot's UFO encounter, and Scandinavian government's speculations about possible Russian ownership of unknown flying objects. Krushchev could also cite published reports by supposed Nazi rocket experts that they were building a "flying saucer" device which the Russians confiscated in 1945. (Few people realize that known experts like Hermann Oberth, who helped develop the V-2, have flatly denied these stories.)
To launch the false Russian claim, Krushchev could combine Radio Moscow broadcasts with a Kremlin press conference, or it could be timed for some important occasion. The United states could be caught off-guard; if unprepared, confusion and contradictions might be far more disastrous than the U-2 situation.
Presumably the U.S. and other West nations would deny the claim as ridiculous. But the injection of the UFO problem, by Communist stooges here and abroad, would require more than official denials. Even without Communist prompting, the U.S. press would inevitably comment on the implied UFO angle, even if only to brand it nonsense. But once the UFO situation had been spotlighted, then many long-hidden facts would come to light. If the Soviet claim were skillfully handled, some Americans who reject the AF answers might fear it was true. To disprove it, out [sic] Government might be forced to release the hidden AF evidence that the UFOs are interplanetary.
But this belated release would cause two bad reactions :
1. Confusion, and possible alarm, among the millions who believed previous AF denials.
2. A Soviet charge that the interplanetary evidence was hastily manufactured to offset the Russian disclosure.
At best, such a Soviet trick could cause uneasiness in the U.S., allied and uncommitted countries. If adroitly put over, the results could be serious.
Listed below are some of the AF admissions and contradictions which could be used, besides the evidence already cited, to bolster belief in the false Soviet claim.
1. The AF Inspector General's private instructions to training and operating commands that "UFOs are serious business." Dated Dec. 24, 1959, these instructions directed that trained AF investigaters [sic] be equipped with Geiger counters, binoculars, etc.
2. The classified AF Intelligence conclusion, Sept. 23, 1947, that the reported objects were real. (Revealed by Capt. E.J. Ruppelt, former chief of Project Blue Book.)
3. Admission to Rep. Lee Metcalf, in letter from then Maj. Gen. Joe W. Kelly, Director of Legislative Liaison; That AF jets pursue UFOs as a matter of security and to determine technical characteristics.
4. AF Reg. 200-2, section A-3, stating AF interest in UFOs: First, as a possible threat to the U.S.; second, to determine the technical or scientific characteristics of any such UFOs." [sic, end quotation mark with no beginning quotation mark]
5. JANAP 146, instructions by Joint Chiefs of Staff, including reporting of UFOs as "vital intelligence sightings," with priority transmission, and Espionage Law penalties for revealing such reports.
6. AFR-200-2; high priority reports (teletype, phone, radio) to Sec'y of AF; Air Defense Command; Commander, ATIC; Ass't Chief of Staff (Intelligence) USAF.
7. Censorship provisions of AFR 200-2, Section B-11, ordering AF personnel not to discuss UFO information with "unauthorized persons" except when so directed and then only on a "need to know" basis.
8. A Nov. 1957 order at the Missile Development Center, Alamagordo [sic], warning both military and civilian personnel not to reveal UFO reports publicly, under threat of disciplinary action. In official letter to NICAP the order was explained as approved by the commanding General for fear of panic in the neighboring community.
9. Civil Defense directors' protests against AF UFO secrecy: CD Directors of Baltimore, Cleveland, Geauga County, Ohio; other CD officials on record.
10. ATIC signed admission AF pilots have fired on UFOs, also 1955 firing case near Rockford, Ill., and earlier ones admitted by Maj. Jere Boggs, USAF, Intelligence, at press conference in Pentagon, Dec. 30, 1949. Though Maj. Boggs stated firing was ordered as means of securing a UFO for examination, Soviet spokesman could claim this proves USAF fear of Russian machines.
There have been several Far East cases where the proximity of Russian territory could be wrongly emphasized as indicating a USSR source:
1. Chase by AF F-86 jet, Dec. 1956. Strange electronic interference from UFO noted, apparently attempt to jam jet's radar. Pilot switched frequencies, held radar "lock-on," got close enough to see huge, round machine, flat on bottom. (Later calculated from 250-300 feet in diameter.) UFO suddenly accelerated to about 2,000 mph, disappeared. Note: size, description similar to large UFO encountered in 1956 by Navy crew over Atlantic, reported to NICAP via Capt. J.O. Taylor, USN, Ret. and Adm. D.S. Fahrney (former Navy missile chief.)
2. Sightings by USAF pilots in Japan, including "controlled pass" at an F-84 by small flying disc (believed remote-controlled); report declassified in 1953, now on record.
3. Korean area report by Navy pilot (certified by seven Board members, NICAP). Describes UFO observation of U.S. Navy-Korean fleet, 1951, maneuvers tracked by radar operators of 14 ships: UFO invaded [sic] interception at speed over 1,000 mph.
4. Sightings in India, Malay area, other Asian territories.
There are many other documented cases and official contradictions which could be mis-used by the USSR. Besides possibly causing tension in the West, such a false claim could tend to offset Krushchev's admission of frequent U.S. flights over the USSR, which disturbed many Russians, led to believe the country invulnerable. If the Kremlin should plan a surprise attack, the muddled UFO situation could be used to increase pre-attack fear and thus weaken our defenses.
PLAN TO REDUCE THE DANGER
By prompt action, the danger can be greatly reduced. Following the majority vote, NICAP herewith offers its documented evidence, proving the UFOs could not be of Soviet origin, as a stopgap until the USAF releases its hidden proof. Selected NICAP evidence to be placed on public record would include:
1. The majority conclusion that the UFOs reported by competent observers are interplanetary machines far superior to any earthmade devices. (NICAP would stress its verified, factual evidence, as opposed to the wild stories, frauds and delusions unfortunately publicized.) This conclusion would carry an impressive list of names, including some non-NICAP members: Examples: R. Adm. H.B. Knowles; Col. J. Bryan, USAF; Capt. R.B. McLaughlin, USN, missile expert; Wm. Lear, aircraft and electronics expert with AF space contracts; Hermann Oberth, noted space-travel authority; Dr. Leslie Kaeburn, space-travel consultant, Univ. S. Calif; Capt. W.B. Nash, PAA; Capt. Jas. Howard, BOAC; Mr. Albert M. Chop, former AF PIO on the UFO subject; Col. Jao Adil Oliviera, Brazilian AF; Gen. L.M. Chassin, French Air Force, NATO coordinator; former RAF Marshal Lord Dowding; and scores of other technically trained and responsible individuals.
2. Massive documented evidence confirming UFO reality, their tremendous speeds, intricate maneuvers, unique shapes (disc and rocket types) and proof they are not earthmade.
Typical unsolved cases:
A. Official White Sands report, visual sighting and theodolite tracking of UFO; calculated speed, 18,000 mph. Certified by Capt. R.B. McLaughlin, Navy missile expert.
B. Official AF report of giant UFO tracked on B-29 radar at over 9,000 mph, and three groups of smaller units (also seen streaking by the bomber) one of which merged with the large machine, which operated in the manner of a mother-ship. Report declassified 1953, confirmed to Look researcher later, with ATIC conclusion: Unsolved.
C. Official AF report of eight-UFO formation seen below airliner by Capt. W.B. Nash and co-pilot. Speeds calculated in excess 4,000 mph. Sharp turns beyond capability any known craft or missile.
D. Official AF report of doubled-decked "spaceship" encountered on airway by EAL Capt. C.S. Chiles, co-pilot J.B. Whitted. Confirmed also by AF observer at Robins AFB. Power exhaust-blast of UFO rocked the airliner as unknown machine veered to avoid collision.
Other verified reports of revolutionary type craft encountered by armed forces and airline captains, weather bureau observers, tower operators, etc. Names, dates, details on record.
Photographs confirmed by Capt. E.J. Ruppelt, former project chief.
A. Moving pictures of UFOs at White Sands, April 27, 1950 and May 29, 1950. Taken by Askania cine-theodolites for tracking missiles.
B. AF gun-camera pictures of UFO near Wright-Patterson AFB
C. Moving pictures of UFO formation, disc-shaped objects seen visually over Tremonton, Utah. Filmed during [sic] high-speed maneuvers by Navy aviation photographer. Navy analysis confirmed by Ruppelt: Unkown [sic] objects under intelligent control; could not be aircraft or balloons or birds; excessive speeds indicated, UFOs in three groups; each appeared to rotate about an axis.
Evidence of electro-magnetic forces created by UFOs, from unknown type of propulsion. Cases on record showing interference with electrical ignition, radio, television. Statement by Hermann Oberth on probable artificial gravity fields involved. Evidence of radiation involved: Case in Geauga County, Ohio, Nov. 1957; ground checked with Geiger counters by Civil Def. Director Kenneth Locke, found highly radioactive after brief landing by UFO. Confirmation of UFO radiation reports by Capt. E.J. Ruppelt.
3. Reasons why UFOs could not be Russian machines, in addition to proof of superior performance. Records showing UFOs officially reported in World War II, when Russia's best aerial machines were propeller-driven aircraft. Official AF reports:
A. Capt. Alvah Reida, B-29 bomber pilot, encounter with high-speed oval-shaped machine; outmaneuvered B-29 during Reida's attempts at evasion. Capt. Reida's conclusion: Interplanetary.
B. Capt. Jack Puckett, Army Air Corps; 1946 encounter with high-speed rocket-shaped craft (similar to Capt. Chiles report) while piloting C-47 over Florida. Witnessed by co-pilot, engineer.
C. Maj. Wm. D. Leet, 1944 encounter, while piloting AAF bomber; mysterious device unlike any known craft.
(Similarly, the U.S. had no such devices in 1944-5, nor does it possess such machines now. If it did, we would be superior to USSR both in space and global operations. We would not be spending large sums to investigate UFOs. ($10,000 per major case, stated by Lt. Col. Spencer Whedon, ATIC, Nov. 1957,) plus high costs of jet chases, etc. Nor would we be firing on U.S.-owned objects. This point should be stressed to end any complacent belief that we are holding back some superior secret weapon.)
In addition to NICAP analysis and majority conclusions, important opinions about intelligent life in space could be used.
1. Statements by noted astronomers, such as Dr. Otto Struve, Dr. Harlow Shapley, etc., many millions, even billions of inhabited planets must exist in space, and many civilizations would be farther advanced than ours.
2. Dr. Fred Singer, White House adviser on space projects: The moons of Mars, according to the evidence, are artificial satellites launched by an earlier Martian civilization.
3. Statement by Dr. Frank Drake, director of U.S. Project Ozma observatory now listening for messages from other planets: We may possibly hear signals between other planets and space-probes they have launched.
4. Wm. P. Lear, aviation-electronics expert who, with other witnesses, sighted a UFO: "I believe they are intelligence-gathering devices from outside our solar system."
Since the USAF has resisted Congressional hearings on UFOs, NICAP urges the following steps before Congress adjourns, to prevent any false Russian claim involving UFOs:
1. That the opinions of the NICAP majority and recognized experts, and the interplanetary conclusion and supporting evidence, be immediately made public in the public interest.
2. That every effort be made to secure immediate release of the hidden Air Force evidence, as official proof that the UFOs could not be Russian. That this evidence also include the Top Secret AF Intelligence Estimate of the Situation: THE UFOs ARE INTERPLANETARY SPACESHIPS.
(Existence of this conclusion was disclosed by Capt. E.J. Ruppelt in 1956 (Report on UFOs.) Top AF officers and the AFHQ spokesman have repeatedly denied it, in letters to Congress and the public. NICAP is prepared to produce a signed statement by Maj. Dewey Fournet, USAFR, former Intelligence monitor for the UFO program, that the document referred to was drawn up and was kept secret.)
It is realized that some public uneasiness might follow an official AF admission. But NICAP's research indicates there would be no widespread hysteria at the interplanetary answer, unless the AF created suspicion by withholding some of its evidence. It is true some cases might appear to indicate hostility: The Kinross case; the death of Capt. Mantell in a UFO chase; near-collisions on airways, when airline pilots unavoidably injured passengers in evading unknown objects., etc. But evaluation of thousands of reports gives no proof of belligerence. If the AF releases its evidence now, without waiting for a possibly Soviet-inspired emergency, the public probably will accept a frank statement that censorship was invoked in the public interest until more answers were known.
NICAP earnestly requests your opinion as to placing its evidence on record. If you agree it should be made public, will you join other Members of Congress in such a step? Or would you prefer to make an individual statement regarding this problem? If you believe it should be discussed on the floor of the Senate or the House, or both, we shall appreciate your suggestions.
The Director of NICAP will be glad to provide additional information if you desire it. We hope you will help NICAP to block any exploitation of the UFO situation in the crucial months ahead.
(Maj. Keyhoe is an Annapolis graduate; served as a Marine Corps pilot, aide to Col. Lindbergh; chief of information, civil Aeronautics; WW II, Naval Aviation Training; writer on Soviet espionage, aviation, other subjects, in national magazines.)
Tactically, the "confidential NICAP digest of documented evidence" had partially achieved its aim, for in the end it seems clear that Keyhoe and NICAP had indeed been the spur behind the publicly-undisclosed July 15, 1960, briefing of Congressman Smart and others at the Pentagon.
But strategically, Keyhoe's goal of having congress investigate in order to force the admission by the United States Air Force of covering up the evidence and knowledge it possessed of extraterrestrial vehicles zipping around American skies was not only far over-reaching, but counterproductive. The role of congressional oversight was to ensure government agencies were doing their jobs properly. Had NICAP stopped at calling only for investigation of the Air Force handling of reports it not only might have attracted more allies but could have led to a more open and honest investigation by the Air Force. By insisting that Congress hold hearings in order to validate Keyhoe's extraterrestrial coverup view was not merely short-sighted, but in the end, damaging to the cause.
Of course, there was much more going on in the world at the time attracting Congressional and public attention. The show-trial of downed American U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers was taking place in Moscow. Sputnik V became the first spaceflight to send animals into orbit and return them safely back to Earth. The 1960 Summer Olympics were about to begin in Rome. And the contest to elect the next President of the United States was just getting underway in earnest.
Little wonder, then, that even though some spectacular reports would take place over the final six months of 1960, they were crowded out of the newspapers by national and world events, and generally received little public attention...
...or for that matter, any particular attention from Blue Book itself.
Above: July 21, 1960, five-page Air Force "Fact Sheet" on UFO investigations. The fact sheets were released once or twice each year.
For all its promises and proclamations to members of Congress pledging increased vigor in UFO investigations, the Air Force in fact not only continued on as usual but became even more lethargic about pursuing investigations than it had been before -- assigning "solutions" to reports seemingly according to the whim of the moment.
One such example, a civilian report from North Dakota of a diamond-shaped formation seen on July 11, 1960, described in a teletype from Minot AFB...
A. DESCRIPTION OF OBJECT
1. SHAPE WAS DIFFICULT TO ASCERTAIN BECAUSE OF SPEED AND BRILLIANCE OF THE FLYING OBJECTS.
2. WITNESS UNABLE TO DETERMINE SIZE OF OBJECTS BUT STATED TWO CENTER OBJECTS WERE VERY MUCH LARGER THAN THE TWO OUT SIDE [sic] OBJECTS.
3. COLOR, COULD NOT BE DETERMINE [sic] BECAUSE OF DARKNESS.
4. FOUR UFO OBJECTS. TWO LARGE AND TWO SMALL.
5. FORMATION WAS DIAMOND SHAPE BUT UNDERWENT CONSTANT CHANGES IN A GRACEFUL MANNER.
6. THERE WERE NO DISCERNABLE [sic] FEATURES BECAUSE OF DARKNESS.
7. THE TRAILER EXHAUST COULD NOT BE DISTINGUISH [sic] BECAUSE OF EXTREME BRILLIANCES OF THE OBJECTS.
8. THERE WAS ABSOLUTELY NO SOUND HEARD.
9. NO PERTINENT OR UNUSUAL FEATURES COULD BE DISTINGUISHED.
PAR. B. DESCRIPTION OF COURSE OF OBJECT.
1. OBSERVER FIRST NOTICED BRILLIANT OBJECT IN FORMATION WHILE PROCEEDING TOWARD THE NORTH DAKOTA BORDER FROM MONTANA.
2. OBSERVER STATED THAT OBJECTS WERE MOTIONLESS WHEN FIRST SEEN.
3. THE OBJECTS HAVERED [sic] IN THE VICINITY FOR APPROXIMATELY FIFTEEN MINUTES THAN [sic] PROCEEDED FROM A NORTH TO SOUTH WESTERLY DIRECTION.
4. UFO WERE CONSTANTLY CHANGING DIRECTIONS AND FORMATIONS
5. OBJECTS PROCEEDED FROM NORTH TO SOUTH WESTERLY DIRECTION AT APPROXIMATE 150 MILES PER HOUR
6. THE OBJECTS WERE CLEARLY VISIBLE FOR APPROMATELY [sic] FIFTEEN MINUTES
C. MANNER OF OBSERVATION.
1. MAN WAS STANDING BESIDE HIS CAR WHILE OBSERVING OBJECTS.
2. NO OPTICAL AIDS WERE UTILIZED
D. TIME AND DATING OF SIGHTING.
1. 111105Z 120505Z
2. OBSERVER STATEDOBJECTS [sic] COULD BE PLAINLY SEEN (NORMAL NIGHT-CONDITIONS.)
E. LOCATION OF OBSERVER.
1. APPROXMATELY [sic] ONE HALF MILE INSIDE NORTH DAKOTA BORDER AFTER CROSSING MONATANA BORDER ON HIGHWAY 2.
S. [sic] IDENTIFYING INFORMATION ON OBSERVER.
1. OBSERVERS [sic] NAME WAS MR [Blacked Out] AVE WILLOWDALE, TORONTO, CANADA PHONE RA [Blacked Out] AGE AND OCCUPATION UNKNOWN.
2. OBSERVER SEEMED TO BE VERY LOGICAL AND VERY COHERENT. AND GAVE A VERY DETAILED AND EXPLICIT DESCRIPTION OF THE INCIDENT.
C. WINDS ALOFT AND WEATHER AT TIME OF SIGHTING.
1. OBSERVERS DESCRIPTION OF WEATHER WAS THUNDER STORM ACTIVITY IN SOUTH WEST WITH LOW CLOUD FORMATIONS.
2. REPORT FROM MINOT AFB WEATHER STATION WAS AS FOLLOWS. AREA OF SIGHTING NEAR WILLISTON NORTH DAKOTA CLOSEST WEATHER REPORTING STATION NEAREST SIGHT [sic] OF INCIDENT,, [sic]
6000 FEET AT 150 DEGREE AT 5 KNOTS
10,000 FEET AT 270 DEGREE AT 10KNOTS
16,000 FEET AT 300 DEGREE AT 15KNOTS
20,000 FEET AT 280 DEGREE AT 25KNOTS
30,000 FEET AT 270 DEGREE AT 20KNOTS
80,000 FEET UNK UNK
WILLISTON WEATHER AT 2300Z HOURS. 57 CLOUD COVER CIRO-STRA TUS [sic] AND LIGHTING [sic] CLOUD TO CLOUD AND CLOUD TO GROUND SOUTH WEST THRU NORTH WEST TEMPERTURE [sic] GRADIENT SURFACE
PAR 17 COMMENTS:
THE ABOVE INFORMATION WAS RELAYED TO ME BY THE OBSERVER DURING MY TOUR OF DUTY AS OFFICER OF THE DAY MINOT AFB NORTH DAKOTA. THE OBSERVER APPEARED TO BE VERY COHERENT AND PRECISE IN REPORTING THE INCIDENT TO ME, THEREFORE THIS REPORT IS FORWARDED IN ACCORDANCE WITH AFR 200-2 PAR 13 ENTITLED REPORTING OF UFO
The sighting was well-described by the witness, and the witness struck the Officer of the Day as "coherent and precise". The details offered could not be summarily surmised to be a balloon, meteor, star, or aircraft. It would seem to be a prime candidate for follow-up investigation, but even so, no further detail was sought -- not even a perfunctory attempt to have the witness complete a standard Blue Book questionnaire. Instead, Blue Book's evaluation completely dismissed the report outright...
Report categorized as contradictory information. Object hovered for 15 minutes and speed when [Illegible] estimated to be 150 MPH, yet observer could give no details because of speed and brilliance of objects.
Such lack of follow-up even today affects the ability to judge many of the reports which came into Blue Book in the final six months of 1960 -- their evaluations often framed with the language "there is no evidence that it was not...". A speeding light would present "no evidence that it was not a satellite" or "no evidence that it was not a missile". A V-formation in flight would present "no evidence that it was not aircraft". And in a perfect self-fulfilling approach to its conclusions, the lack of any follow-up to the original report ensured that there would be "no evidence that it was not...".
One such example, a July 13, 1960, report from native fishermen at Truk Atoll -- by way of a July 28, 1960, investigation by the District Attorney for the High Commissioner for the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, who forwarded it on August 8 to the U.S. Comnavforces (Commander of Naval Forces) Marianas, which sent it on to Commander 13th Air Force at Hawaii on August 22, and on to Headquarters Pacific Air Forces in San Francisco, which on August 29 forwarded it to Blue Book. The report of the investigating District Attorney...
FOR UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT USE ONLY
High Commissioner July 28, 1960
Report of Unidentified Flying Object
On July 26, 1960, a report was made by a representative of the Magistrate of Patta Island, Truk District, about an object which was sighted near Patta. I decided to investigate the matter and went to Patta on July 27. A statement was taken from one Penian, male, age 19, one of the adults who sighted the object. A translation of the statement is attached and is self-explanatory. in addition, [Blacked Out] drew a sketch of the object, which is attached, as he remembers it. There were also two other persons in the boat who saw the object; one Afecheong, male, age 37, and one Tiofin, male, age 9. There was not sufficient time before the boat left Patta for the return trip to Moen to take a statement from Afecheong or Tiofin, but they did, however, verify the statement as told by Pinion [sic]. Neither of the two adults have formal educations but appeared to be reasonably intelligent and alert and completely sincere. While it doesn't appear in the statement, I asked the men if they had been drinking and they replied in the negative. I inquired as to the reputation of the two men in their community and they are considered reliable and trustworthy.
It is thought that perhaps you may wish to forward the report to Naval Intelligence for whatever value it may be, if any.
Alfred J. Gergely
Attached to the letter was the statement from the witness named Penian...
Above: The Faichuk island group in Chuuk (formerly known as Truk) as part of Chuuk Lagoon, where the sighting took place.
STATEMENT OF [Blacked Out] (Translated from Trukese)
Penian, age 19, resident of Sapota, Patta Municipality July 27, 1960
About two weeks ago, I was accompanied by Afecheong, a 37 year old male, Tiofin, a boy of nine years of age and four women to the reef near [Illegible] Island to fish. We went by an outboard-motor boat. We stopped to let off the women on the reef. Afecheong, Tiofin and I remained on the boat to tie it up and we saw a thing floating over the water. We tried to start the engine but I couldn't, then Afecheong and the boy started to paddle, while I kept on trying to start it. The thing was a far distance from us when we first started out and when we came closer to it, it seemed as though it was moving. We kept on paddling toward it and at this time we saw that it was something like this: It was maybe about the size of a drum-can, has a flat top, the sides are round and the bottom is narrower than the top. One half of the thing was painted with red and the other painted with white and no other thing was detected such as door, window, marks or any other thing except the red and white paints on its sides. We couldn't hear any noise or sound, however, when we came about 250 meters from it the thing slowly moved up over the water. First it slowly moved up straight and when it reached a height of a tall [Illegible]onut tree, it went off at an agle [sic] toward the West. The day at that time was cloudy, the sun was not shining and there were some rain clouds appeared in the South sky, and the time was about 11 or 12 o'clock in the morning. When the thing was in the air above us, our engine then started very easily. We were excited and we started back to the reef but we did not know what happened to that thing any more. We told this thing to the women but they did not see it.
Also attached, a sketch of the object...
The report having been transmitted through considerable determination and adherence to Air Force protocol some 6600 air miles from Truk to Dayton, Ohio, Blue Book had no difficulty reaching its conclusion...
Above, top: The Truk airport at Moen in 1969. Below: U.S. Weather Bureau facility at the airport in 1969.
There is no evidence which indicates that the object was not a balloon, the first impressions of the witnesses. The description of the object tends to fit that of a balloon and the motion tends to bear out this conclusion.
The fact that balloons do not customarily float along at sea level before rising (the typical weather balloon rises at 1,000 feet per minute upon launch) apparently did not meet the "no evidence that..." criteria. Nor was there any attempt made to contact the U.S. Weather Bureau station at the airport on Moen to inquire if they were releasing half-red, half-white balloons.
Illustrating that even the increasing use of "no evidence that..." conclusions sometimes involved a stretch of interpretation, along with a blind eye.
Not all reports made it into Blue Book's files. One such was a spectacular multiple-witness sighting made at a phosphate rock strip-mining operation in Wyoming. The sighting had occurred on July 1, but for unknown reasons first appeared in the July 21, 1960, edition of the Montpelier, Idaho, News-Examiner newspaper...
Above: The Leefe, Wyoming, mining area today.
Saucer Sighting Reported At Leefe
A flying saucer, close enough to frighten observers and appear to be landing, was seen at Leefe, Wyoming, at 10:30 a.m., July 1, by five employees of the San Francisco Chemical Company. Four of the persons seeing the unidentified object were Claude Rouse, Gus Troghini and Clyne Clark, all of Kemmerer, and Glen Lutz of Garden City.
Mr. Rouse described the object to Robert K. Barcus, general manager in charge of operations, as follows: It was bright, silver-colored, highly polished metal having the shape of two dinner plates face to face. He estimated it had a diameter of 185 feet, and 14 feet through the center. Five transparent bubbles projected from the bottom.
The object came from the south and maneuvered as if to land on the stockpile area immediately south of the Leefe plant. Mr. Rouse estimated he was about 400 feet from the object as it vertically descended to about 50 feet above the waste dumps. It then ascended and took off to the south at tremendous speed. There was no evidence of jets, rocket exhausts, propellers, fumes or smoke. No sound was heard other than the idling diesel engine of the tractor that Mr. Rouse was operating.
Sometimes a report would come into Blue Book late, weeks or months following a sighting. One such was an August 10, 1960, reported encounter which only came to Blue Book's attention when a letter was sent to the FBI requesting information on a sighting which had been the subject of an article in the December 10, 1960, edition of the Cleveland Call and Post newspaper...
Churchwoman Sticks To Story
Saw 'Flying Saucer' Hover Over Home
BY BOB WILLIAMS
Here's a tale of flying saucers, unidentified flying objects.
It's been told since August 10, when a huge, odd-shaped object dropped from the sky to hover without a sound, over a point near Quincy Ave. and E 83 St.
Before the startled eyes of a man and a woman who had never met before, the object suddenly whizzed into the sky "with the speed of a missile" to disappear into the clouds.
Did it happen?
MISS MARY ELIZABETH WILLS, a sober-minded rational woman, according to her pastor and closest associates, has been telling the tale since that bright but cloudy afternoon last Summer, and although she has had plenty of attention . . .
"They'd never believe me" she said in a Call & Post interview.
Miss Willis, 37, of 2478 E. 83 St., says she has told her story to pastor, neighbors, and reported it officially to local Air Force headquarters and the Cleveland Hopkins Airport.
"And I have told it to radio stations, television stations, and newspapers, and they laugh at me. Yet it happened, and I have a witness."
IDENTIFIED as her witness is Andrew Mehivec, a RCA TV-radio road technician who Miss Willis says visited her home on "a routine call" last August 10.
"I didn't know him and he didn't know me. He came to repair my combination radio-television record-player, and that was our first contact."
"Had I seen it alone, I would have forgotten it long ago", admits Miss Willis.
But this radio technician walked upon the step to my home, suddenly cried out: "What's happening out here", and I rushed out onto the porch as he stood staring over the tree tops in our back yard.
"I ran off the steps, and I ran around to the rear of my house to look at the thing. I couldn't believe what I was seeing.
"There it hung, at a crazy angle in the sky, no sound, no windows, no portholes or openings that might have been windows.
"IT HAD A LONG BLACK cone-like aperture that shot out in front of the craft, or whatever you call it. The thing stretched out from a point about three house [sic] down from mine to just beyond my back yard.
"Befort [sic] we could catch our breath it suddenly was whisked into the sky, swiftly and silently, except for the slightest suction of air in its wake.
"It was dark blue in color. As it reached the heavy clouds overhead the thing seemed to ease into the clouds hover motionless for another long minute, then gradually dissipate itself into light blue that blended with the sky itself.
"I DON'T CARE who doesn't believe me, it happened, and that man stood right there with me staring up at it", declares Miss Willis.
"I would call it a plane, because it had what could have been four huge motor-like structures in the front across what would be the wing span of a conventional jet craft.
"But there was no sound as it hung over the tree tops, and no noise as it swung like a bullet into the sky."
"I wouldn't care about it except I think the United States should know about such an aircraft, whether its [sic] foreign, friendly or not, and what its mission was.
"If it belongs to us, we're in very good shape, in a military way, but if not, lord help us", asserted Miss Willis.
MISS WILLIS says the radio technician has been interviewed about the unidentified flying object but has grown unwilling to tell the tale "as long as he could see nobody was willing to believe it".
Call & Post efforts to reach whim this week were futile.
"But I have continued trying to get someone to listen to me and to investigate it.
"Believe me, this no [sic] play thing. He shouted to me, and I came outside and looked, and there it was."
MISS WILLIS has been a seamstress at Gotfried Co., for several years and has worked steadily in Cleveland since 1943.
She owns her own home, does not drink or smoke, and attends church regularly. She has attended Second Mt. Sinai Baptist Church and has been active there for 14 years, sings in the Senior Choir.
The Rev. Luther Hill, pastor, finds her the sober-minded, rational type woman she appears to be, even when telling her tale of the thing -- the unidentified flying object that fell from the sky and hovered in midair over the backyard of her home at 2478 E. 83 St.
The report had only come to the official attention of Blue Book because one reader of the article had forwarded it to the FBI. Blue Book's reaction was that -- although there were two named witnesses, a vivid description, and a drawing -- too much time had passed. The report was evaluated as "insufficient data".
Three days following Miss Willis' jaw-dropping encounter, a huge object was reported by two California Highway Patrol officers. From the August 15, 1960, edition of the Red Bluff, California, Daily News...
Above: From the declassified files of Project Blue Book, a clipping from the Red Bluff, California, Daily News.
Eight Officers Report Seeing Flying Saucers
A huge object reportedly to be at least as large as an airliner emitting an extremely red beam described as being 10 feet or more across flying at low levels east of Corning and in the Vina plains area, was spotted by two highway patrolmen, three sheriff's deputies and three city policemen and other citizens Saturday night, shortly before midnight.
The object was first spotted by the Highway Patrolmen when they were on Hoag road east of Corning. The two men said at first they saw what appeared to be a huge airliner dropping from the sky as if it were going to crash.
"We stopped and leaped from the patrol car in order to get a position at what we were sure was going to be a crash," stated the men.
When leaping from the auto the patrolmen noticed complete silence but said they still assumed it to be an aircraft with its engines off.
The object was probably within 100 to 200 feet of the ground when it suddenly reversed completely at a high speed and gained approximately 500 feet in altitude," their report stated.
The patrolmen said at that time the object stopped and was completely visible to both of them. It was not any type of aircraft known to them. It was reported as being surrounded by a glow causing it to appear as an oblong object. There were red lights at each end and sides, and at times white lights could also be seen between the red one [sic], according to the report.
The patrolmen said they watched the object perform various aerial feats. At this time they called the sheriff's office which called the local radar base reporting the happenings.
According to the patrolmen at that time the officials at the base said they were tracking an unidentified object but did not say if the two were the same. No information was available from the base today.
As the patrolmen continued to watch the object on two occasions it came directly at the patrol car each time sweeping the area with a huge red light. One of the patrolmen described the light as being violently red and 10 feet or more across. From their position the men could not tell if the light ever struck the surface.
As the object came within about a mile of the officers they turned their car's red light toward it and it immediately went away from them.
The officers said the strange machine used its red light to sweep the area six or seven times.
According to the report, this object then started slowly moving easterly and the patrolmen followed it until reaching the Vina plains fire station at which time they reportedly saw a similar object approaching the first from the south.
The second object moved close to the first at which time both stopped, the men said.
After watching for two and a malf [sic] hours, a sight, [sic] the patrolmen themselves found hard to believe, they returned to the local sheriff's office.
Also near the same time Saturday night three city policemen saw what they described as a slowly moving object appearing to have red and white lights coming from it, at a low altitude.
The possibility of the object being the satellite recently shot into orbit was discounted by the patrolmen who stated they had seen the orbiting satellite cross the sky earlier.
The patrolmen also stated they experienced radio interference every time the object came close to their patrol vehicle.
Blue Book would investigate and come to the conclusion that the report had been the result of an optical illusion... that is, it was only Mars, as seen through the lens of a temperature inversion.
The day before the sighting -- as referenced at the end of the Red Bluff news report -- a new contender for UFO explanations had made its way into the firmament....
Above, top: The Echo 1 balloon satellite during inflation tests in 1959. Below: November 1960 magazine ad by Bell Labs. Successfully launched (after an earlier version had failed) in August 1960, telecommunications signals were bounced off its reflective exterior. The first telephone call via space was made August 13, 1960, between Holmdel, New Jersey, and Goldstone, California. Two hours earlier recorded messages had been transmitted with greetings from President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Senate Majority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson. Traveling at 18,000 mph and circling the globe approximately every two hours at an altitude of 1,000 miles above Earth, Echo 1 was easily visible from the ground during the night (and sometimes during the day) as it passed from horizon to horizon for several minutes during each pass.
Called Echo I and launched with great fanfare on August 12, 1960, the state-of-the-art communications balloon-satellite was America's latest space showpiece, and "Echo spotting" immediately become a national pastime.
Making it unavoidable, perhaps, that within a day of its launch, Echo 1 was reported to have company aloft, the details for which were gathered by way of an Air Force questionnaire...
Above: Initial letter to the Air Force reporting the sighting.
On August 13, 1960, at about 11:15 P.M. I was watching for the then newly launched ballon [sic] satellite at the Terre Haute, Indiana, Moonwatch station. With me there was the teamleader, his son, the man previously mentioned in the report and myself. This other man was setting up some camera equipment and I had my binoculars with me and was given a stop watch and told to watch the satellite for as long as possible and time the observation. As the satellite came over I was having trouble finding it and the teamleader told me to look up by Vega, which was right overhead at this time, and as I did so I saw the two objects coming from a Easterly direction right overhead. I immediately started the stop watch and called out to the teamleader, "theres [sic] two objects coming in the opposite direction." I was then told to time them which I was already doing. The other man looked up as I said that two objects were coming in the opposite direction and he too watched them until he had to look away to attend to his cameras.
During the minute and 48-1/2 seconds that I watched the objects I followed the lead object mostly. Two or three times I took the binoculars from my eyes and could see the objects quite plainly. I watched them travel from right overhead to about 45 degrees above the West-Southwestern horizon. They were white but had a yellowish cast to them and moved at about the speed of a satellite or a jet plane (of the very fast variety). Occassionally [sic] I would look at the second object and then back to the first. The teamleader and his son did not watch the object as they had their eyes on their scopes watching the satellite.
After the objects were lost from view and the satellite had passed through the teamleaders [sic] scope and his son [sic] he told the boy to take some binoculars and look for the objects that I had seen. He was unable to do so. I then called the tower at Hulman and was told that there was no aircraft in the area. This is why I sent the letter to Capt. Waldrop.
The observer was part of Project Moonwatch -- a satellite-tracking program of trained civilian volunteers first headed by Dr. J. Allen Hynek under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institute. But although the report noted that Hulman Field -- where the Air National Guard was stationed -- indicated there were no aircraft in the area, Blue Book evaluated the sighting as "possible aircraft". The fact that Mr. Gilmour -- the name of the witness in one document which slipped through without redaction -- admitted having had sightings twice before and was the head of a local UFO organization possibly contributed to Blue Book's sceptical evaluation.
But it would not be the last time reports would be made of sightings coincidental to the approach of Echo I. One such was a newspaper report as found in the August 19, 1960, edition of the Ottawa, Canada, Journal newspaper...
Report 'Flying Saucer'
Four Ottawa residents, out Thursday night spotting the Echo I satellite, saw other flying lights in the night sky which led them to believe they were seeing a "flying saucer".
Mr. and Mrs. Bruce Tetu, of 190 Bronson avenue and Mr. and Mrs. Fred B. Cameron, of 2077 Honeywell avenue, were on the roof at 190 Bronson about 10.45 p.m. waiting for the satellite to make its second night run across Ottawa skies.
They saw a bluish-white light move out of the western sky, toward the northeast, then turn northward. The unidentified flying object disappeared.
Then, at 10.55, they saw Echo I make its scheduled appearance. As they watched, their "flying saucer" reappeared, heading south.
They were sure that what they saw was not an aircraft. Its light did not flash or blink, as aircraft lights usually do, and the object appeared to be moving quite fast.
The next sighting linked to Echo I -- ten days following its launch -- would come from (in the eyes of Blue Book) a well-qualified source. First sent to Blue Book as a teletype, a follow-up investigation was requested of McConnell AFB in Wichita, Kansas. The follow-up was dated August, 30, 1960...
Above: AFR 200-2 report on following incident.
Reference your message 4E2X8-2570E, 26 August 1960. A further investigation as to other sightings and witnesses regarding UFO seen 23 August 1960 has been completed with negative results. (The first investigation included interrogation of B-47 crew members airborne at time of Mr. [Blacked Out] sighting and a check with ground radar site in the Hutchinson, Wichita area).
2. [Blacked Out], age 37 years, and family ([Blacked Out]-wife-age 34 years) ([Blacked Out] daughter - age 12) and ([Blacked Out] daughter-age 10) were on the front lawn of their home, [Blacked Out], Wichita 20, Kansas, observing satellite Echo on the night of 23 August 1960 when they noticed an object coming from approximately a northerly direction at an angle of 040° elevation. They reported that UFO turned slowly in a large radius and disappeared about 005° north of satellite Echo at an angle of 045° elevation. The course of the UFO was smooth with no accelerations, power spurts, etc. The UFO was observed for a period of two minutes (0324 hours to 0326 hours) and appeared to be in the shape of a sphere about the size of a golf ball when held at arms [sic] length. Three triangular shaped lights, each about one tenth the size of the sphere, were seen which created an aurora in their direction. The remainder of the sphere was dark and the three lights although yellow in nature gave the sphere an overall effect of a dull orange color.
4. It is the opinion of the preparing officer that the UFO was another satellite other than satellite Echo.
The opinion of the preparing officer aside (at the time there were a total of 15 satellites -- 1 Soviet, 14 American -- in orbit around the Earth), the father was an aeronautical engineer employed at Boeing, a fact which resonated with Major Friend when he recorded his own thoughts in a hand-written analysis...
Witness could see light sources well enough to determine exact shape and indicate the size to be 1/10 that of the object, but was unable to give any real detail concerning other portions of object. Witness indicates object was very close or very large by his estimate of a golf ball at arms length .... it is hard to understand how this obviously trained witness would not have made a better report. It is possible that the object of this sighting was an aircraft, ie tanker, with its special lights on while the crew was trying for a better view of Echo. In view of fact that this witness should have been familiar with such an object, this case classed "Unidentified."
The next day an equally-intriguing sighting occurred in Uniontown, Ohio...
Above: Page with sketches and information from Air Force questionnaire completed subsequent to the following letter...
R.D. #2, Uniontown, Oh.
Major Lawrence J. Tacker
Aug. 31, 1960
United States Air Force
Public Information Office
At around 3:45 Pm. on Thursday Aug. 25 we were outside in the backyard and an airplane came over, very low, and as we all looked up my 7 year-old son said "What's that?" We all looked up again, and saw this round, shiny, metal-like object rotating on a straight path from southeast to the northwest.
We saw it about 3 minutes in all. It was thicker in the middle, I noticed as it turned at a different angle before going out of sight. Incidentally, just before it disappeared, another one appeared below it, rather near to it.
[Blacked Out], the neighbor boy [Blacked Out], all saw this. I've never seen anything like it before, and frankly have doubted stories about them, however, we saw them.
They disappeared very quickly together.
I remember reading in the newspapers last year that UFO's are serious business. Just thought I'd report this, and wondered what you think about them.
We live 6 miles south of Akron, Ohio, on the way to the Canton Airport.
Mrs. [Blacked Out]
P.S. This object was very high, or at least appeared so.
Asked to fill out an Air Force questionnaire, the witness added...
At the time of viewing, I was sure it must be some object we had "put into space". When I saw a second one appear, I began to wonder, because I didn't think we had 2 objects in the same "orbit". I've always doubted UFO reportings, but now know they are really there. It undoubtedly was a metallic-like "craft" that rotated to get it to motion or "power". The "outer" seemed to revolve around the "inner," if that helps. -- Whether it be U.S.A., or Russia, or "inter-planetary" -- I wouldn't know.
When asked in the questionnaire to "describe in your own words a common object or objects which, when placed up in the sky, would give the same appearance", the witness wrote...
When looking at an underneath angle, they resembled a 50¢ piece rotating, but sideways, they looked like tops, or as my 10-year old son said -- "a spinning record with a funnel through the hole".
The "record with a funnel through the hole" was a reference going back to the days of 45-rpm vinyl music records. An obscure reference today, at the time it would have left a vivid impression...
Above: A 45-RPM record player.
At the end of the questionnaire, asked to give a short description of the event, the witness wrote...
We were in the backyard and were looking up at a low-flying airplane when we noticed way overhead this metallic, shiny object which came out of the southeast and disappeared in three minutes in the northwest. It rotated in a straight path, and then I noticed a second one only when the first tipped on its side and veered off to the northwest. They disappeared very suddenly together. There was no sound; it was a very sunny, clear day, no wind. I'd estimate they were very high, and yet, we could see the whirling, or rotating motion, as it went steadily on. As it rotated, it reflected the bright sun, and "sparkled". Three other persons viewed these objects with me. -- [Blacked Out] & [Blacked Out] (ages 10 & 7) and [Blacked Out] (age 7). They all have the same descriptions. The centers were thicker than the edges.
They were clear to me, and to the children, and not fuzzy. I wish I could remember the direction of the rotation, but can't. (I think clockwise, but am not sure)
They resembled 50¢ pieces, tops, spinning records with a funnel through the hole, compacts with a "bump", or saucers. Take your pick. Of course, the angle viewed "changed" the total appearance. The rotating motion, & quick disappearance, are the two things that impressed me most.
I've never put too much faith in these reportings before, but am not a "doubting Thomas" any more!
And finally, in reply to a question asking for personal data, the witness noted that she was 37-years old, and...
Married, 3 children; 1 year college; Girl Scout leader; former adult Sunday School teacher; Jr. conservation group leader....
With all the data now in, Blue Book gave its evaluation...
Probably high flying a/c with reflection of the sun and atmospheric inconsistencies giving the appearance of a disc.
Reports from over the next few days received much the same treatment from Blue Book. On August 25, 1960, a light twice as bright as a first-magnitude star was reported by military personnel to be headed first south, then east. Blue Book asked for no follow-up, and evaluated the sighting as "insufficient information". That same day a Navy report of a light "with brightness of a first magnitude star or better" was reported moving from the southwest to the northeast as seen from a point north of Midway Island. The Blue Book evaluation was "probably Echo I" -- although there is no evidence of it seeking out any confirmation from those who tracked its orbit. A sighting by both civilian and military personnel in Shawano, Wisconsin, on August 26 of three oval, brownish, lights in a line observed while looking for the passage of Echo I received the Blue Book evaluation "it is probable that the object of this sighting" was an aircraft. Likewise, the following August 26 report from Stoughton, Massachusetts...
...was evaluated by Blue Book as...
Object was seen over a fairly highly populated area for a period of 5-6 min. It was size of a medium plane at a very low altitude, according to witness. There is no information in the report to indicate that this is other than an a/c.
But a sighting on August 29 in Crete, Illinois, would receive a less sceptical treatment. The sighting was first reported by letter...
Above: Page from completed questionnaire and enlargement of hand-written note.
August 30, 1960
U. F. O. Investigation Unit
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base
I wish to report the sighting of an object which might be of interest to your group. At about 4:00 PM yesterday, August 29, Mr. [Blacked Out] of Crete, Illinois, saw a gleaming chrome-like football-shaped object hovering over the ground. At the time of the sighting, he was driving north on Illinois route One, between Crete and Steger, Illinois. He observed the object through an open window and, as he approached it, it began to rise, accelerating until it was out of sight. Visibility was very good, but there may have been a few scattered clouds. The relative bearing of the object from him was probably NNW and observed it for something less than a minute, I would judge.
I am reporting this because Mr. [Blacked Out] would probably not take the trouble. I would suspect that many sightings go unreported. Mr. [Blacked Out] is a farmer in his sixties, not given to hallucinations, and only one other time in his life has he seen anything which puzzled him so (apparently he saw a "fire ball" many years ago). He is not well-read on the subject of U.F.O.'s and I would respect the validity of his having observed something.
He feels that the object was shining so brightly that there must have been others who saw it, and he's investigating this possibility today. Should you desire further information, please contact Mr. [Blacked Out] in Crete, Illinois.
John T. Cisek
Park Forest, Illinois
A standard questionnaire was forwarded to the witness, who noted the object was "shiny, like chrome or the sun's reflection on a good mirror". The witness -- who was 67-years old -- had been "driving a pickup truck" at 15 mph in a "rural-residential area" and "first noticed the object at about 600 feet in the air". He estimated that he was between 1/4 and 1/8 mile away from the object, which appeared to be the size of "a bushel basket or larger". After standing still it suddenly "ascended rapidly disappearing overhead... straight up". And although the initial letter stated that the object was "football-shaped", in fact the "light from the object was so intense that it was difficult to determine its exact shape although it appeared spherical". It had been in sight 18 seconds. Asked his opinion of what it was and what caused it, the witness wrote...
I've been a farmer most of my life and have directed my attention toward the skies for as long as I can remember. I have never seen anything like this before and have no idea what it was.
The Blue Book evaluation...
Observation does not fit any known pattern of observation. Motion not consistent with aircraft. Balloon rises at about 1,000 ft per min. This object rose much faster. Witness located about 20 mi S of Chicago and the object was sighted to the North ascending overhead where it disappeared. Case listed as unidentified.
But Blue Book mostly continued apace with its evaluations. A report from Dedham, Massachusetts, on August 29, concerning a "starlike" object "twice the size of Echo" as well as "twice as bright" which "curved in horseshoe path and disappeared in northwest" at a speed which "seemed to be travelling 3-4 times as fast as Echo" and which "never came directly overhead, but almost" -- all observed over the course of 30 seconds -- was noted by Blue Book as "possible aircraft" although its evaluation was "insufficient data". But similar reports -- not evaluated by Blue Book -- began to appear in the nation's papers with witnesses of a most surprising profession. From the August 28, 1960, edition of the Bluefield, West Virginia, Daily Telegraph newspaper...
Unidentified Object Seen Circling Earth
CHICAGO, (AP) -- Three expert star gazers disclosed Saturday they spotted an unidentified object circling the earth in an orbit opposite to that achieved by known American and Soviet artificial satellites.
"I have no explanation for it," commented Robert I. Johnson, director of Adler Planetarium on Chicago's lakefront.
The next day the sighting had astronomers doubting astronomers, as from the August 29, 1960, edition of the Chicago, Illinois, Tribune newspaper...
Experts Up in Air Over Sky Phantom
Adler Chief Spurns Suggestion That Object Was Plane Lights
The director of Adler Planetarium scoffs at suggestions that the unidentified flying object (UFO) he and two staff members sighted was an airplane's lights.
"I know an airplane when I see one," he said.
Robert I. Johnson and two aides saw the object -- reddish-hued and apparently moving faster than Echo I, America's new communications satellite -- Friday night over Chicago.
"I've been dreading the day when I would sight a UFO," he said.
But Dr. Gerard Kuiper, University of Chicago astronomer, said the object the Adler men saw must have been an airplane's lights.
Dr. Kuiper said he and his staff were watching for Echo I at the same time and saw nothing of a UFO.
On the fact that Johnson's report comes from a trained astronomical observer and not an untrained citizen, Dr. Kuiper said the experts are the men most fooled by airplanes.
This is because, he said, they feel that they are least likely to be tricked.
PLANETARIUM observers on the watch Saturday and Sunday nights did not see the UFO again. ...
THE PLANETARIUM director reported, also, that a UFO was reported also at the time of Echo I's first evening passage over Chicago by nine persons Thursday night.
Neither he nor his staff observed it then, however.
A U.S. Weather Bureau meteorologist reported conditions were excellent at 9 p.m. Friday for reflecting light from an earth source.
There were cirrus (ice crystal) clouds at 30,000 feet which could as easily reflect a searchlight, he said.
Two days later, the mystery continued, as from the August 31, 1960, edition of the Bloomington, Illinois, Pantograph newspaper...
Unidentified Flying Object Sighted by Moonwatchers
CHICAGO -- (UPI) -- A saucer-like phenomenon authorities say isn't a flying saucer flew over Chicago Wednesday.
Regular observers atop the outlying Edgewater Beach Hotel reported first sighting of the unidentified flying object (UFO) at 11:50 p.m. Tuesday night. It was visible for "roughly 20 minutes," moonwatcher Helen Gibbs said.
"It could be seen to change colors and get dimmer ... as though it were moving westward," she said.
George Jilek, 35, Palos Park, called the UFO "very brilliant, as bright as the North Star, and constantly changing colors from gold to green to red and yellow."
He said it gave him an "eerie feeling."
Adler Planetarium Director Robert I. Johnson, reporting similar sightings Tuesday by two sources in Washington, D.C., said the object "is a natural phenomenon which can be explained in terms of present-day scientific knowledge. Eventually we expect to be able to explain it."
Observations thus far, he said, "have been inadequate."
Astronomers from coast to coast have reported sighting the mysterious object, which Johnson said seems to be about a tenth the size of the Echo I balloon satellite and traveling about twice as fast.
Johnson said he has received reports from Georgetown University Observatory in Washington, D.C. and semi-official space associations which have caught glimpses of the speeding ball. He added that astronomers from coast to coast and from Michigan to Missouri have reported sightings.
The object has not been traced on radar, Johnson asserted, but an Eastern aircraft corporation traced the object's path through a ballistic camera.
The next day brought news that the object had been photographed, as from the September 1, 1960, edition of the Kansas City, Missouri, Times newspaper...
Mystery Object Circles the Earth
BETHPAGE, N.Y., Aug. 31. (AP) -- A mysterious reddish object circling the earth has been photographed by a tracking camera of the Grumman Aviation Engineering corporation, it was disclosed today.
Grumman said the photograph was taken by a special tracking crew which has been on watch.
The flying object appears to be about a tenth the size of the Echo I balloon satellite and traveling about twice as fast. Sightings from amateur astronomers and others have been received from throughout the United States.
Robert I. Johnson, director of Chicago's Adler planetarium, is compiling data on the object. He says it doesn't appear to be an artificial satellite or a meteor.
The following day brought some fascinating insight both into journalism of the time as well as into the matter of the mystery object itself, as from the September 2, 1960, edition of the Decatur, Illinois, Daily Review newspaper...
Who Dat Who Say Who Dat?
Unidentified Words Fly
By Harold Stainer
Newspapers across the country are receiving reports of unidentified flying objects. A mysterious reddish object has been sighted over Chicago and various East Coast areas by persons on the watch for the Echo I satellite.
Of The Review Staff
Last night some unidentified editors held a discussion on the subject over the New York Herald Tribune News Service teletype network.
As it worked out, the editors paused at the end of their wire conversation to ponder the mysteries of such electronic communications and to wonder at the vagaries of just who was saying what.
But it was probably only an unidentified flying newspaper.
Here is the conversation as it came in on the service's teletype at the Herald and Review:
"To all points -- this is the Washington Post -- has anyone seen mysterious objects that have been appearing with Echo 1. Are we the only ones?"
"This is the Sun-Times of Chicago. There are a large number of these calls coming in here. They have been increasing in the last four days. We're very interested in other points that are getting these calls."
Air Defense Checked
"This is the Oklahoman (Oklahoma City, Okla.). We checked with air defense last night to find out that the Air Force has been sending up a large number of weather balloons in the last few days with large lights attached to them. This would account for the objects that have been seen in this area."
"But not in Chicago. They're traveling at three times the speed of Echo."
"This is the Post again. We have sighted two red objects that appear at the same time as Echo, traveling three or four times faster than Echo, but moving in the opposite direction. Their paths seem always to intersect Echo's path, at least from our perspective."
"The two objects are in formation, one behind the other and maintaining a constant distance between each other -- Sun-Times."
"Post here -- The Air Force has said nothing, although Georgetown Observatory has been tracking the objects. If the Army knows anything about them, they're not talking either. We suspect they're planes flying at extremely high altitude, but unable to distinguish any green navigation lights."
"Planitarium [sic, throughout] here in Chicago (Sun Times) has spotted these things and a photographer has taken pictures of them in New York. The planitarium hasn't been able to explain what it has seen, so I discount the plane explanation."
"Affirmative -- the speed and altitude are not compatible for any known aircraft -- they are going too fast to be very high..."
From here on newspaper editors break into the conversation without identifying themselves as they realize that there is more than just casual interest in the unknown objects, seemingly always sighted about the time Echo 1 appears overhead.
And then they realize that one teletype station is unknown.
"Who do we have with us tonight interested in the unidentified flying object?"
"Washington (D.C.) Post."
"Who is the third party?"
"I have no idea ... probably there isn't any third party."
"Who was it that asked who was interested?"
"I toldja there was a third party."
Finally that same day brought the last official word on the mystery -- at least for a time -- as from the September 2, 1960, edition of the Greenwood, South Carolina, Index-Journal newspaper...
Scientists Try To Work Out Orbit For Strange Sky Object
National Space Surveillance Control Center, Air Force command and control development division, is trying to work out an orbit for a strange object reported several times recently.
But the scientists here said that thus far they have had only one solid observation to go on -- the photographing of the object by Grumman Aviation Engineering Corp. at Bethpage, N.Y., last Thursday night. The center said today it has had no report of new sightings of the object.
Astronomers had reported seeing the heavenly body generally described as of reddish color and moving from east to west, but even the astronomers' observations have not been precise enough to provide a good fix on the object.
Most of the reports have indicated that the body was moving more rapidly than the Echo I balloon satellite.
Lack of precise data has made it impossible to guess at its elevation above the earth. Its east-to-west motion, unlike the paths of man-made satellites, discounted the likelikhood [sic] that it might be "sky junk" from some earlier satellite.
Complicating the observation problem, from the standpoint of the satellite observers, are a variety of reports -- apparently of other things moving in the sky.
"Other things moving in the sky" was an apt description for a reported sighting on September 2, 1960 -- as from the September 17, 1960, edition of the Hartford, Connecticut, Courier newspaper ...
Above: Sketch included in following article.
New Saucer Twist:
'Flying Triangle' Seen in State
CROMWELL (Special) -- Richard Ireton has decided that seeing triangles isn't so square.
Ireton, who lives at 534 Grove Rd. here, said Friday he, his wife and neighbors all saw "flying triangles" two weeks ago. He said he didn't report his findings at first for fear of being "ridiculed."
Now, he says, he's going to ignore opinion and stand by his facts. His detailed descriptions of what he saw and how he saw it testify to his work as a machinist.
Eerie: No Noise
Ireton said that about 11:30 p.m. Sept. 2 he and his wife were driving on Rt. 1 in Westbrook. After crossing a bridge, he noticed "an aircraft about to crash."
He stopped the car to watch the object, which he and his wife saw "veer to the south toward the shore." They drove to the beach. There they saw the object again going "about the speed of a Piper Cub plane."
The eeriest part of the whole thing he said, was that the flying object made no sound.
The object went toward Cornfield Point where it hovered in the air, going first back and forth horizontally and then up and down, Ireton said. It then flew back past him toward the public beach at Westbrook.
Ireton returned to his car and drove to the public beach. There, he said, he saw it go up and off at an angle "at a terrific rate of speed" toward Long Island Sound -- but with no sound of its own.
He said the object had, at two points of the triangle, white lights, at the third point, a blue light. In its center was a revolving red light, Ireton said.
he said the object seemed to fly in an "upright position," with the blue-lighted point on top. He said it was about the size of a jet fighter plane.
After it zoomed away to a great height, he said, it looked like a bright star.
The next night, Sept. 3, he was at his father's cottage on Chalker Beach when the object was seen again by the Iretons, the people in the next cottage and their grandson. It was seen about 9:30 p.m., hovered over the water for a while, then went up very fast and stayed in one spot.
Ireton watched the object with binoculars for half an hour. Then he became cold, he said, and went into the cottage. Several people in this area told him they saw the same thing at the same times, he said.
Finally feeling his experiences weren't incredible, he reported the sightings to the State Police. They said other sightings were reported, but had no advisory on what the object might be.
No neophyte plane spotter -- he's an Air Force veteran -- Ireton said no one seemed much interested in his report.
"I'm no bug on this thing," he said. "I hesitated for a long time and didn't want to report it because I know these things are laughed at. I laugh at them myself. But I saw this thing, close up, with binoculars. It kept bothering me and I had to report it."
Since reporting it, he said, he's heard nothing from the authorities.
"I don't even think they made a note of it," he said. "Maybe I should have called the Air Force."
A Los Angeles, Calif., policeman reported seeing "a flying triangle" there Thursday morning.
Two days later an older Blue Book report -- with a dash of Air Force coverup -- made the news when Major Friend explained a 'lost' film handed over months earlier to Truax Air Force Base. From the September 4, 1960, edition of the Dubuque, Iowa, Telegraph-Herald...
Above: Photo which appeared in the April 12, 1960, edition of the Dubuque, Iowa, Telegraph-Herald as part of the original story, with the caption... What Will It Show -- Mary Jo Curwen (left) of Hazel Green, Wis., holds the camera she used to take movies Monday afternoon of "unidentified flying objects." Other members of the family who saw the objects were (from left): Ceanne, Mrs. C.W. Curwen, Randy, and Mrs. Fern Hillary.
Saucers Not Air Force's Cup of Tea
Hazel Green Film Of Sightings Now Lost in Red Tape
Mix a few feet of movei [sic] film with a yard or so of military red tape and there's bound to be a snag somewhere.
Remember the "flying saucer movie taken this spring by a rural Hazel Green, Wis., family?
Members of the C.W. Curwen family do. The 8-millimeter movies taken April 11 by Mary Jo Curwen, 17, show clearly three, bright "unidentified flying objects" in the sky.
The U.S. Air Force asked to see the film -- possibly the only authenticated film ever taken of a "UFO".
Now it's lost -- or rather, the copy that Curwens sent in early June is lost.
"Say, that's right -- we never did get that film!" Maj. Robert Friend, chief of the Aerospace Technical Intelligence Center, Dayton, Ohio, said Friday.
The film was sent to a Maj. Frederick Willcox at Truax Air Force Base in Madison, Wis. He filed the original sighting report to the Aerospace agency which investigates all U.S. "UFO" sightings.
Maj. Willcox had requested the film, explaining it would "simplify matters" if he forwarded it through official channels.
The film was received at Truax, Maj. Friend reported later Friday, after he had made a few long distance calls.
"They forwarded the film to us at Wright-Patterson AFB here in Dayton, too," Major Friend added, "but they weren't certain of the specific office it was sent to. We've been backtracking for the film here, but have been unsuccessful so far."
He said the Truax group viewed the film, "and Willcox tells me they saw the objects -- they looked like stationary dots to them."
He said that when the film is located, "we can draw a lot more valid conclusions about what it may have been. Right, now, having checked aircraft schedules for the sighting time we tentatively believe the 'objects' could have been aircraft. But, we can't be sure until we see the film."
If it isn't located soon, the Air Force will ask the Curwent [sic] for another copy, he said.
Back in Hazel Green, the Curwen family still receives letters asking for more information on the sighting.
"I've filled out report forms for three or four different organizations," Mary Jo said, "and I got another one last week - I haven't finished that one yet. They're big long things. Then we've had letters from various 'space' clubs who want to see the film -- we can't do that though, because we have only one copy of the film left!"
Away from Blue Book, the next day objects flying in formation were reported by multiple reliable witnesses in northern California, as reported in the September 5, 1960, issue of the Oakland, California, Tribune newspaper...
'Flying Things' Go Over in Formation and Color
A group of flashing, bouncing things of many colors streaked across the Santa Rosa County sky just after midnight yesterday.
They were flying in a V formation, easily seen by the light of a full moon, according to the three Sonoma County deputies who saw them.
"I don't think these were stars," said Deputy Clarence Gloege.
He investigated a report from Rincon Valley that the things were in the sky, turned his binoculars toward them and took a good look. There were six, he said, adding:
"They seemed to flash with many colors and sort of bounced up and down like an image in a radar scope."
Sgt. Tom Cole, Deputy Ed Farrel and some private citizens also reported seeing the unidentified flying objects.
Early September would also bring more Echo I-associated sightings, as from the September 7, 1960, issue of the El Paso, Texas, Herald-Post newspaper...
E.P. Woman Sees 'Flying Arrowhead'
Mrs. Pat Meachem of 144 North Awbrey street, reported seeng [sic] a strange flying object Saturday night about 11 p.m. "I've been watching The Herald-Post to see if anyone else saw it, but if they did, I guess they didn’t report it," she said.
"It was huge -- bigger than any aircraft we have, and it seemed to be made of some soft material like parachute fabric. It was shaped like the 'arrowhead' I read about recently in The Herald Post "Ten Years Ago" column."
Mrs. Meachem referred to an item in which Mr. and Mrs. Joe Z. Maez of 4020 Johnson avenue reported seeing a flying "arrowhead" as big as a B-29.
Mrs. Meachem said the object she saw "swooped down at a terrific speed, and leveled off in a westerly direction," then disappeared over the mountain.
"A friend of my son and I were looking for the satellite Echo when this came down right over us, seemingly from a great distance," she said. "There was no sound of motors, but as it leveled off, we noticed a sort of quivering motion, then it flew away.
"I'm glad that at least one other person saw it. Perhaps there were others in the area who caught a glimpse of it."
And from the September 8, 1960, issue of the Charleston, South Carolina, Gazette newspaper, news of a picture of Echo's companion...
THAT'S ECHO at bottom right, but what's that at upper left? Ethel H. Bennett of 5525 Washington Ave., S.E. who was photographing the communications satellite, suddenly saw the amber-colored object sweep across the sky, overtaking and passing Echo. Paths of both (marked by arrows) appear irregular because the camera was hand-held.
The next day an item in the English press related a sighting report of a flying triangle which -- unknown to the newspaper or the witness -- closely resembled the September 2 sighting in Connecticut. From the September 9, 1960, edition of the Newcastle upon Tyne, England, Evening Chronicle newspaper......
Mystery Flying Triangle Is Spotted Flashing Over North
REPORTS of a mysterious flying object sighted over Tyneside last night have been sent to the Air Ministry in London for investigation.
The object, described as "a triangular formation of lights with a red light in the center" was seen by people in Consett, South Shields, Fawdon and Fenham, Newcastle.
A spokesman at R.A.F. Station, Acklington said today that he had received reports on the phenomenon from at least two sources and these had been passed on to the Air Ministry.
"I have no further information about this," he said, "and even if I had we are not allowed to release information."
Mr. J. Leslie Otley, secretary of the Tyneside Unidentified Flying Objects Society, said his wife and two neighbours saw the lights between 9.15 and 9.40 last night, circling over Deanham Gardens, Fenham.
"A friend of mine, Mr. A. Miller, telephoned today he saw them too, over Consett at 8.30 p.m.," said Mr. Otley.
"I reported the sighting to Acklington, who told me they had received a similar report from man in South Shields. In the early hours of today I received a phone call from the Fighter Command Headquarters of R.A.F. Stanmore, asking me for further information."
Mrs. Otley said she first saw a single light in the sky, but later this was followed by "a triangular formation of lights, with a red light in the centre."
After 20 minutes, the formation moved off northwards, she said.
The following day, September 10, 1960, a sighting by a family of four in Ridgecrest, California involved a single object sighted four different times over the course of 70 minutes, as described in an Air Force teletype......
Above: Partial page from completed questionnaire. The mother and two children disagreed with the father on the shape of the object.
UNCLAS. MR AND MRS [Blacked Out] AND TWO CHILDREN AGES 12 AND 14 [Blacked Out] ST RIDGECREST CALIF REPORTED THAT BETWEEN HOURS 2150 TO 2300 PDT ON 10 SEP THEY OBSERVED AN UFO AT LEAST FOUR TIMES. ON TWO OBRS THE OBJECT WAS HEADING NORTH TO SOUTH ONE OBR SOUTH TO NORTH AND ONE OBR EAST TO WEST. TWO OBR CONSIDER OBJECT SAUCER SHAPED AND TWO ARE OF THE OPINION IT WAS SHAPED SOMEWHAT LIKE A BOOMERANG. NO ENGINE SOUNDS WREE [sic] HEARD. OBJECT SILENT EXCEPT FOR A SWISHING SOUND WHEN ACCELERATING. ALL OBRS AGREE OBJECT CARRIED NO RUNNING LIGHTS BUT APPEARED TO HAVE A LIGHT GRAY GLOW. WEATHER OBR BY NOTS WEATHER SECTION APPROX 5 MILES FROM WHERE OBJECT WAS OBR CEILING 6000 FT OVERCAST VIS 15 MILES PLUS EXCEPT FOR LIGHT RAIN BTWN 2018 AND 2138. THERE WAS FREQUENT LIGHTNING IN ALL QUADRANTS THROUGHOUT TIME PERIOD. TO MY KNOWLEDGE THIS HAS NOT BEEN REPORTED TO NEWS MEDIA AND PERSONNEL INVOLVED REQ THAT IT NOT BE GIVEN ANY PUBLICITY. NO FURTHER INVES WILL BE MADE UNLESS DIRECTED
An Air Force questionnaire was sent and completed by the father. According to the answers given, he had been sitting on his front porch and then "went into yard to watch". The object was dark colored and about the size of two "Cub aircraft", and flew three times as fast as a Cub. The distance from the object was approximately 600 feet. The questionnaire also revealed some inconsistencies. For instance each of the four sightings lasted only 1-2 seconds, yet the answer was yes as to whether it appeared to stand still at any time. It was said to disappear into the cloud cover, but whether this happened all four times is unclear, as are the circumstances of each if its appearances (but presumably appearing from the cloud cover as well). But curiously, although far-more detailed reports had received the evaluation of insufficient data, this one was earned a rare designation...
There were no other reports received concerning unusual objects in this fairly heavily populated area. It is quite probable that some natural phenomena was responsible for this sighting. However, the cause is not immediately evident from the provided data. Unidentified.
Such gentility would not be extended to a September 15, 1960, report from Tucson, Arizona, as given in a teletype to Blue Book...
Above: Rincon mountains as seen from Tucson, Arizona.
THE FOLG UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECT REPORT IS SUBMITTED IN COMPLIANCE WITH PARA 15, AFR 200-2. 1. SHAPE: PERFECTLY ROUND. 2. 6: APPEARED SLIGHTLY SMALLER THAN A GRAPEFRUIT. 3. COLOR: BRIGHT ORANGE. 4. NUMBER: 20 ESTIMATED 5. FORMATION: ELLIPTICAL (FOOTBALL SHAPED). 6. DIVCERNIBLE [sic] FEATURES: LIGHT FROM EACH OBJECT MADE FOOTBALL SHAPE STANDOUT. 7. EXHAUST TRAIL: NONE OBSERVED. 8 SOUND: NONE HEARD. 9. OTHER PERTINENT FEATURES: NONE. 10. WHAT FIRST CALLED OBSERVERS ATTENTION TO OBJECTS NOTHING NOTED. OBSERVED SEATED IN HIS BACK YARD, LOOKED UP AND SAW OBJECTS. 11. LOCATION WHEN FIRST OBSERVED: OVER RICON [sic, should be Rincon] MOUNTAINS. 12. ELEVATION AND AZIMUTH OF OBJECT UPON DISAPPEARANCE: ESTIMATED [Illegible] DEGREES ABOVE HORIZON, SOUTH SOUTHEAST FROM TASSON [sic, should be Tucson] ARIZONA. [Part of page missing] FADDED [sic] FROM VIEW SOUTH SOUTHEAST. 15. HOWLONG [sic] WAS OBJECT VISIBLE? 10 TO 20 SECONDS (ESTIMATED) 16. MANNER OF OBSERVATION. 17. GROUND-VISUAL. 18. OPTICAL AIDS-NONE. 19. TIME AND DATE OF SIGHTING: 0455Z 16 SEP CURR. 20. LIGHT CONDITIONS: NIGHT. 21. LOCATION OF OBSRVER: TUCSON, ARIZONA, [Blacked Out] STREET. 22. IDENTIFYING INFORMATION OBSERVER: CIVILIAN [Blacked Out] ADDRESS [Blacked Out] NIBE [sic] STREET, TUCSON, ARIZONA. OCCUPATION MACHINIST. RELIABILITY; CHECKED TUCSON POLICE DEPARTMENT THEY HAD NO UNDESIRABLE INFORMATION ON OBERSVER. 23. WEATHER AND WINDS; OBSERVER NOTED SLIGHT HAZE. 24. NO OTHER UNUSUAL CONDITIONS WHICH MIGHT HAVE ACCOUNTED FOR SIGHTING. 25 IDENTIFICATION ACTION; 684 ACW SQ SCANNING REVEALED NOTHING UNUSUAL. 26. LOCATION OF AIR OR BALLOON TRAFFIC IN VICINITY 1 AIRCRAFT OVER DAVIS-MONTHAN AFB OBSERVED ON RADAR SCOPE. 27. POSITION TITLE AND COMMENTS OF PREPARING OFFICER; DIRECTOR ON DUTY, 684 ACW SQ, MT LEMMON AFS, ARIZONA, FROM 2300Z, 15 SEP 60, TO 0700Z, 16 SEP 60. PHENOMENAA [sic] APPEARS UNEXPLAINABLE. HOWEVER, ONLY 1 PERSON, A CIVILIAN, WAS A WITNESS. IT WOULD APPEAR THAT IF THE SIGHTING WERE AUTHENTIC, MORE THAN 1 PERSON WOULD HAVE NOTED IT AND COORDINATED THE INFORMATION. THE OBSERVER DID SOUND SINCERE IN A TELEPHONE CONVERSATION. IT IS FELT HERE THAT NO ACTION SHOULD BE TAKEN BECAUSE THERE WERE NOT ENOUGH WITNESSES TO THE SIGHTING. THE OBJECTS WERE NOT OBSERVED ON THE RADAR SCOPE AND THERE IS NO PHYSICAL EVIDENCE OF IT. THIS REPORT POSSIBLY CONNECTED WITH MOON DUST ALERT.
The teletype was odd on several levels. The reference to a possible "Moon Dust" alert was code for a classified program to recover fallen Soviet missiles, rocketry or satellites. But the unnamed preparing officer was obviously highly sceptical of the report -- to the point of taking the somewhat unusual step of contacting the police department concerning the 29-year old witness. That there was "no physical evidence" was not unusual in sighting reports. Nor was it unusual that a sighting lasting 10-20 seconds at 10 p.m. on a Thursday night would have only one witness. And even had one or more others seen it, they well might not report it, let alone "coordinate the information" (probably intended to be "corroborate the information"). Still, Blue Book made no effort to gather any more details, and its evaluation drew exclusively on the teletype...
Insufficient data available for analysis. It would appear that if the sighting were authentic, more than one witness would have noticed the object and coordinated the information. Objects not picked up on radar and no physical evidence. Case listed as insufficient data.
That same day came another flying triangle report, as from the September 15, 1960, edition of the San Rafael, California, Independent Journal newspaper...
'Flying Triangle' Seen Hovering Above L.A.
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A police officer says he saw a flying triangle this morning. That's right. Triangle, not saucer.
Desk Officer Don Anderson at the West Los Angeles Police Station said a woman called at 7:30 a.m. today to report a flying saucer hovering about 300 to 400 feet above the Douglas Aircraft plant in Santa Monica. Several others called about it.
Officer Anderson went outside and saw it, too.
"It was a triangular shaped dark object," he reported. "At 7:40 a.m. it was traveling in a northeasterly direction at about 1,000 feet at a slow rate of speed."
The officer estimated that it might have been about 10 feet in diameter. He theorized it might have been an experimental craft or even runaway kite with a balloon inside it.
"However," he added, "it seemed to be maintaining a steady altitude, not rising or falling."
He said that a few minutes later it disappeared from view, still going in a northeasterly direction in the vicinity of Santa Monica Boulevard and Beverly Glen Street.
Note: other versions of this AP wire story included the following...
A spokesman for the Douglas plant said men in control towers on either side of the airport saw nothing resembling the reported object.
"We make nothing fitting this description," he said, "although a small weather balloon, about two feet in diameter, is released each morning about that time."
September 15, 1960, also brought news of an unnerving sighting in Canada, as from the Calgary, Alberta, Herald newspaper...
Nevis Woman Startled By Flying Object
Mrs. Albert Gibson, of Nevis, was startled late Monday night by the appearance of a sphere-like object that cast an eerie bluish-green light over the area surrounding her home.
Mrs. Gibson said the "ball," about the size of a two-quart container seemed to remain poised over a field. Trees, hills and blades of grass were clearly visible in a light that shone from the under side of the object.
There were no cars in the area at the time, Mrs. Nevis said. No sound came from the object and it sped away in a westerly direction at a great speed when she made an appearance outside the house.
The Nevis housewife said she had retired but got out of bed at about 10:25 p.m. to go downstairs for something when she noticed the light.
Her interest was sharpened, she said, because she had read reports in The Herald on the appearance of Echo I, the U.S. balloon satellite and had planned to stay up and watch for it.
Meanwhile, back at Blue Book, a September 19, 1960, report concerned an equally unnerving encounter, as described in a summary...
Cucumber shaped object with impression of transparency. Appeared to give off bright light. Object appeared to follow truck and at one time crossed in front of truck. Object appeared to have floating action instead of abrupt movements. Object flashed four times and then disappeared in a steep climb.
The initial teletype to Blue Book concerning the object is badly faded and near unreadable, but some important portions can still be discerned...
CUCUMBER-SHAPED OBJECT APPROX. 35 FEET LONG, 35 FEET WIDE AND 5 FEET THICK; ILLUMINOUS [sic] COLOR WITH IMPRESSION OF TRANSPARENCY; NO LANDING GEAR, WINDOWS OR MARKINGS; APPEARED TO GIVE OFF BRIGHT LIGHT; NO TAIL OR EXHAUST FLAMES; NO SOUND; OBSERVER SHUT OFF TRUCK ENGINE AND COULD HEAR NOTHING. FIRST OBSERVED AT APPROX POSITION OF 4 DEGREES 35 MIN NORTH - [Illegible] DEGREES [Illegible] MIN WEST AT [Illegible] Z SEPT. [Illegible] OBSERVER WAS DRIVING A TOW TRUCK FROM SUSANVILLE, CALIF. [Illegible] ALONG HIGHWAY 139 TO [Illegible] ACCIDENT AT APPROX. [Illegible] DEGREES 55 MIN NORTH - 12 DEGREES 45 MIN WEST. [Illegible] TO EAGLE LAKE; [Illegible] OBJECT FIRST OBSERVED ON HIS RIGHT SIDE AT LOW ALTITUDE AND REMAINED AT LOW ALTITUDE [Illegible] OFF OF EAGLE LAKE; [Illegible] NORTH - 12 DEGREES 44 MIN WEST [Illegible] OBJECT APPEARED TO FOLLOW TOW TRUCK AND AT ONE TIME CROSSED IN FRONT OF THE TRUCK. SPOT LIGHT OF TRUCK TURNED ON AND OBJECT MOVED UP AND ILLUMINATION DISAPPEARED. AND [sic] ONCOMING CAR MADE THE OBJECT DISAPPEAR OR FADED OUT THE ILLUMINATION. OBJECT APPEARED TO HAVE FLOATING MOTION INSTEAD OF ABRUPT MOVEMENT. IT APPEARED TO ACCOMPANY TOW TRUCK UNTIL APPROX TWO MILES FROM SCENE OF ACCIDENT AT WHICH TIME IT APPEARED TO FLASH FOUR TIMES AND THEN DISAPPEARED IN A STEEP CLIMB EAST BY NORTHEAST. A CHECK WITH AC&W SITES THROUGH 28AIRDIV FAILED TO SHOW AND [sic] UNIDENTIFIED AIRCRAFT OF [sic] OBJECT. OBJECT WAS VIEWED 3 TO 4 MINUTES. WEATHER CLEAR, NO CLOUDS, GOOD VISIBILITY, NIGHTTIME. OBERSERVER WAS MR. [Blacked Out], CIVILIAN, [Illegible] YEARS OLD, [Illegible] [Blacked Out], CALIF, TELEPHONE [Blacked Out] OBSERVER CONSIDERED A RELIABLE PERSON BY SUSANVILLE SHERIFF'S OFFICE PERSON FL.
There may or may not be a discrepancy in the amount of time the object was observed. The initial teletype appears to have extra blank spaces after "3" and "4", as in the following:
OBJECT WAS VIEWED 3 TO 4 MINUTES.
But the Blue Book project card lists the total sighting at 30 to 40 minutes. It may be that the original of the now-extremely-faded teletype did indeed say "30 to 40 minutes". It may also be that there was an error in the teletype, and the reporting officer confused the total travel time with the amount of time the object was in view. But because there was no follow-up from Blue Book -- not even a mailed questionnaire -- it remains a matter of conjecture.
Above: Highway 139 near Susanville today.
Nonetheless, the encounter is striking both in its provided detail and in its unstated context. The highway the tow truck driver traveled was a lonely two-lane mountain highway through heavily forested terrain. The trip to Eagle Lake from Susanville covers more than 60 miles, and in that time climbs from an elevation of approximately 4100 feet above sea level to approximately 5100 feet. In view of this and all of the above, Blue Book's evaluation is astonishing in its brazen dismissal of the facts reported...
Probably temperature inversion in area. Random movement and length of observation and reaction to lights indicate this.
An even more jarring explanation would be given for a sighting reported by an Air Force crew in flight south of Midway Island in the Pacific on September 25, 1960. The sighting as given in the initial teletype...
SUBJECT: UFOB REPORT. UFOB WAS SPOTTED 26/0700Z. REPORTED AS FOLLOWS: A1. OBJECT WAS ROUND OR OVAL IN SHAPE; 2 SIX INCHES IN DIAMETER IF HELD IN HAND AT ARMS LENGTH; 3 CONINUALLY CHANGING RED, GREEN AND WHITE. ONE COLOR WOULD LAST FROM THREE TO FOUR SECONDS BEFORE MIXING INTO NEXT COLOR. THE LIGHT FROM THE OBJECT WAS VERY BRIGHT. 4. ONLY ONE OBJECT SIGHTED SEVERAL TIMES. 5. N/A 6. NONE 7. NO TAIL DESCERNIBLE [sic] 8. NO SOUND HEARD BY THE CREW. 9. NONE. B1. OBJECT WAS VERY BRIGHT. FIRST SIGHTED BY THE LEFT SCANNER, THEN THE RIGHT SCANNER, NAVIGATOR, PILOT AND AIRCRAFT COMMANDER, IN THAT ORDER. 2. OBJECT CLIMED FROM WATER LEVEL AT EIGHT O'CLOCK POSITION. SPED PAST THE TAIL TO THE FIVE O'CLOCK POSITION. MISSION AIRCRAFT IN A TURN TO THE LEFT. OBJECT LOST FROM VIEW. NEXT SIGHTING, MISSION ACFT OUT OF TURN LEVEL AT FIFTEEN THOUSAND FEET CSE TWO ONE ZERO DEGREES, OBJECT SIGHTED AT SIXTH [sic] DEGREES REL BEARING FORTY DEGREES HIGH MOVING ACROSS MISSION ACFT NOSE TO A REL BEARING OF THREE THREE ZERO DEGREES LOW. OBJECT PASSED FROM VIEW BEHIND A CLOUD BANK, TOPS, TEN THOUSAND. D. 26/1711ZN/17825W. OBSERVED FOR A TOTAL OF FOUR MINUTES (2) [sic] NIGHT.
In short, an entire Air Force crew in flight had seen an object steadily flashing red, green and white rise up from sea level, pass their tail, and later cross in front of them. The Blue Book evaluation...
Object was probably atmospheric refraction of the star Arcturus.
An especially-intriguing report three days later -- repeating the theme of flashing red, green and white lights -- would receive similar Blue Book treatment. For the public at large, it began with an Associated Press national wire story, as from the September 29, 1960, edition of the Greeley, Colorado, Tribune newspaper...
Above: Farmington, New Mexico at the bottom, Gunnison, Colorado in the middle, Grand Junction, Colorado to the upper left, and Eagle, Colorado at top.
Strange Object Seen Hovering Over Colorado
DENVER (AP) -- An unidentified object flashing red, white and green lights high over southwest Colorado was reported last night by Federal Aviation Agency officials in three cities.
Reports came to the FAA office here from Grand Junction and Eagle, Colo., and at Farmington, N.M.
An FAA spokesman said the report was forwarded to the North American Air Defense Command at Colorado Springs.
An FAA employee at Eagle, using an inclinometer, estimated the object was 37 miles above the earth. The inclinometer is an instrument used to track and determine the altitude of high-flying objects.
Seen by residents at Grand Junction, the object was in the southeast, about 15 degrees above the horizon.
It appeared to hover for about 30 minutes, then moved off to the southwest. It first was seen about 9.35 p.m.
Two pilots -- one flying a Frontier Air Lines plane, the other a military jet -- reportedly spotted the object.
The FAA at Grand Junction said the object appeared to be spherical, and enclosing a square object. The lights, alternately flashing the different colors, appeared to emanate from the square object within the sphere.
The FAA spokesman here said it was the first such unusual sighting in several months. He declined to comment further on it.
With the press reporting the story nationwide, and the FAA report forwarded to Air Defense Command, this was one incident Blue Book had to give at least the semblance of conducting an investigation. It did so by means of a single phone call, as revealed in the following unsigned report...
MEMORANDUM FOR RECORD:
At approximately 1040, 10 October 1960, a telephone call was made to the home of Mr [Blacked Out] of Grand Junction, Colorado regarding the sighting made by him, and others, on 28 Sep l960, and the following additional information was aquired [sic].
The object was first seen and reported from Farmington, New Mexico on a bearing of 35 degrees. It was also reported to be seen from Eagle, Colorado on a bearing of approximately 225 degrees. Mr [Blacked Out] saw the object on a bearing of 100 degrees, then made a triangulation and said the object was estimated to be over Gunnison, Colorado. He also stated that a B-52 was refueling in the Deadwood refueling area, and when the acft was contacted regarding the object a reply was made to the effect that the object could be see [sic]. After the refueling operation was completed the acft changed course and flew in the direction of the object. Mr [Blacked Out] stated that the pilot later reported to the Denver control that when they were in the area of the aleged [sic] object, nothing could be seen.
The object was described as round, flashing red, green white [sic] light with a small square in the middle. The altitude of the object was estimated to be 37½ miles using an inclinometer. The object was reported to be stationary for 20 minutes then it moved Southwest for 15 degrees. The object was visible for 40 minutes.
And with the cursory investigation completed, the final evaluation came from Col. Evans at ATIC, in a memo to Lt. Col. Tacker at the Air Force public information office at the Pentagon...
UFO Sighting, Grand Junction, Colorado (29 Sep 1960)
SAFOI-3D (L/Col Tacker)
1. On 29 September 1960 at 521Z (2221 hours on 28 September 1960) unidentified flying objects were sighted from FAA stations at Grand Junction and Eagle, Colorado and also from the station at Farmington, New Mexico. In addition, many people in the general area reported seeing unidentified flying objects.
2. The object viewed from Grand Junction was described as a round, flashing red, green and white light and reported as generally stationary. The object was in sight for 40 minutes.
3. The witnesses at Grand Junction and Farmington used a theodolite to measure the angle of elevation of the object and then by triangulation arrived at an altitude of 37½ miles for the object.
4. ATIC obtained weather for the date of the sighting from Air Weather Service, Asheville, North Carolina. The adiabatic charts for the area show an inversion at 0405 on the date of the sighting. The ATIC conclusion is that effects produced by this inversion were responsible for the UFO sightings in this area.
5. The stations which measured the angle of elevation of the object were consistent with 15°; however, triangulation revealed that the object, if it were the same one, would have been further from one station than the other, thus a geometric inconsistency. If the objects viewed were due to the inversion, then the apparent angles would have been approximately the same from any location.
6. In the instances of inversions (temperature low near the ground and increasing rather rapidly as altitude increases) light rays which pass through this layer are bent toward the earth and effectively the distance to the horizon is increased from any given point. Mirages which result from these conditions are sometimes referred to as "looming mirages" because unsteady conditions may cause a distant object to suddenly "loom" above the horizon.
7. From the limited information available, it is impossible for ATIC to determine what specific object was viewed by each witness; however, it is concluded that the inversion was responsible for common objects being misidentified and mistakes made as to their actual location.
FOR THE COMMANDER:
PHILIP G. EVANS
Deputy for Science and Components
It was a breathtakingly audacious analysis. Facts were brazenly misstated, fabricated or omitted entirely. The geographical location of the balloon reading revealing the alleged inversion was omitted, and in any case having occurred at 0405 was more than 13 hours earlier than the time reported in the AP wire story, and more than 18 hours earlier than the time given in the memo. Nor would an inversion produce identical visual effects in locations so many miles apart -- Farmington is 141 air miles distant from Grand Junction, Colorado, and 187 air miles from Eagle, Colorado; likewise Grand Junction and Eagle Colorado are 87 air miles apart. The implied incompetence of FAA tower controllers was also striking.
But Evans' analysis was no doubt never intended to be a serious approach. Rather, by means of a wordy evaluation with a sprinkling of "adiabatic charts", "geometric uncertainty", and "looming mirages" added for scientific effect, Evans had provided Tacker with a document that could be shown to any inquiring congressman -- and in Evans' view that would no doubt suffice.
At some unknown time after, an unknown hand added to the Blue Book project record card on the incident the following......
Inversion cannot be resp. for 15° lateral motion.
-- Stellar scintillation, possibly. This caused by turbulence, not inversion. If motion was real, cause is not inversion.
But even today, "inversion" remains the official Air Force evaluation.
The same day as the event in Colorado -- September 28, 1960 -- another Air Force crew in flight would report a sighting over the Pacific only to have it summarily dismissed by Blue Book as well. The initial teletype...
1. AIRCRAFT IDENTIFICATION: ETHAN 30.
2. DESCRIPTION: FAST MOVING BRILLIANT OBJECT.
A. POSITION: 39 DEGREES 42 MINUTES NORTH, 125 DEGREES WEST.
B. TIME: 29/0552Z.
C. ALTITUDE: 11,000
D. HEADING: 090 DEGREES MAGNETIC.
E. SPEED: 215 KNOTS GROUND SPEED.
4. METHOD: OBSERVED BY FOUR COMPETENT CREW MEMBERS.
A. OBSERVED FROM APPROXIMATELY 090 DEGREES TO 020 DEGREES MAGNETIC, 40 TO 20 DEGREES ABOVE THE HORION [sic].
B. DIRECTION: OBJECT TRAVELING SOUTH TO NORTH.
C. SPEED: AS FAST OR FASTER THAN A F-104.
D. ADDITIONAL DATA: WEATHER CLEAR, MOON NOT IN AREA VIEWED. COLOR - BRILLIANT WHITE STEADY LIGHT. WHEN OBSERVED FIRST TIME IT WAS APPROXIMATLEY [sic] MAGNITUDE OF ECHO ONE AND AS IT DADED [sic] OUT IT SEEMED TO APPROACH WITHIN 20 DEGREES OF THE HORIZON. IT THEN REAPPEARED APPROXIMATELY 10 SECONDS LATER WITH A VERY BRILLIANT LIGHT APPROXIMATELY TEN TIMES THE MAGNITUDE OF ECHO ONE, THEN SHUT OFF ABRUPTLY AFGER [sic] APPROXIMATELY 20 SECONDS. AGAIN IT REAPPEARED AS BRIGHT AS IT WAS THE SECOND TIME REMAINING ON UNTIL IT DISAPPEARED IN THE NORTH. THE TOTAL TIME OBSERVED WAS FROM 2 TO 3 MINUTES.
Based solely on the teletype, Blue Book provided its evaluation...
Observers believed obj to be a/c. Light phenomena reason for rpt. Case evaluated as a/c. Possibly landing light turned on to create effect reported.
The position of the aircraft at the time is different between an earlier, shorter teletype and the later "corrected" version given above, The first gives a position approximately 500 air miles off the coast of Baja, California. The "corrected" version gives a position of approximately 30 miles off the coast of northern California. But in neither teletype is there any indication of the crew believing it was an aircraft. And nowhere in the Blue Book file is there any support for designating it a light phenomena caused by another aircraft. Once again Blue Book had taken a report from highly-competent multiple witnesses, totally dismissed what they had to say, and assigned an evaluation seemingly by whim.
But inexplicably, it was sometimes far more accepting of reports from less-qualified witnesses. For instance, the following, which began with a letter dated October 9, 1960...
Project Flying Saucer
Mount Kisco, N.Y.
October 9, 1960
United States Air Force
At approximately 7:37 p.m., Wednesday, October 5, 1960, I was on my way back into the house after having measured the oil level in our outside tank when I noted a round, bright light, as bright as a star, moving across the sky from the southeast; at the moment I spotted this light, it was about 30 degrees above the horizon. The light moved across the sky directly overhead in a northwesterly direction, vanishing into the haze of distance at about 30 degrees above the horizon. The light accomplished this flight of about 120 degrees at a steady rate of speed in approximately twenty seconds and in complete silence. I cannot make any logical estimate of the altitude of this object, but had the impression that it was quite far up.
Before going into the house, I stopped under the porch light and scribbled a brief note regarding what I had seen, so I am not relying on memory while writing this.
I mentioned the above phenomenon only to my family and had no intention of doing anything further about it, feeling that it was probably a rocket or missile of some kind. It has since occurred to me, however, that perhaps this phenomenon might have some bearing on the matter of UFOs which I understand you have been investigating.
I have no particular theories regarding the above phenomenon which I witnessed, and report it to you simply as a matter of information.
An Air Force questionnaire revealed that the witness was a 43-year old male, a "High School & Business School grad" who was currently employed as an "Electronics Engineering Secretary". The only other pertinent information added was that he had had a previous sighting...
About 2 years ago in spring I accompanied my oldest boy to an astronomy "outing" on the Mt. Kisco Elementary School hill where the science teacher called my attention to several bright lights very far up which could be seen moving slowly, by means of a reflecting telescope.
As a single-witness incident -- according to the decision made back in 1959 -- this should have qualified for an automatic evaluation of "insufficient data". But instead...
Object, if at altitude travelling at speeds above present operational a/c. Although described as rocket or missile duration excessive for meteor, and pattern does not conform to this conclusion. Observation near New York City at about 7:30 PM. Object travelling inland. Only one witness. Evaluated as no threat to the security of the United States. No unusual radar reports received this date. Case listed as unidentified. Probable error in duration of sighting.
In counterpoint, a report from Okinawa, Japan, on October 25, 1960, by multiple qualified witnesses was accorded far less deference. The initial teletype...
DATA IS SUBMITTED AS FOLLOWS: ITEM ALPHA: DESCRIPTION OF OBJECT: (1) SHAPE: ROUND (2) SIZE: EQUIVALENT TO MARS (3) COLOR: ORANGE (4) NUMBER: ONE (5) N/A (6) FEATURES: NONE, NO FORMED SUBSTANCE OR APPEARANCE OF SOLIDITY (7) TRAIL: NONE, APPEARED TO OBSERVERS TO FOLLOW TRACKING PATTERN OF ECHO ONE OR SPUTNIK, AND LOOKED SIMILAR TO THESE SATELLITES. (8) NO SOUND (9) NONE, ITEM BRAVO: DESCRIPTION OF COURSE OF OBJECT: (1) SUDDEN AND WAS POINTED OUT TO OBSERVERS BY TWO UNIDENTIFIED MARINE OFFICERS (2) ANGLE: 45 DEGREES FROM OBSERVERS VIEWPOINT. AZIMUTH: TO SE MOVING EAST TO WEST WHEN FIRST SIGHTED. (3) GOING FROM NW TO SE WHEN LAST SIGHTED. (4) FLIGHT PATH: CIRCULAR, OBJECT WHEN FIRST DETECTED APPEARED TO BE 50NM EAST OF OKINAWA AND CONTINUED IN A CIRCULAR (ROUGHLY) AROUND THE OBSERVERS [sic, entire sentence]. DID NOT FLUCTUATE IN PATH OF ORBIT AND DISAPPEARED GRADUALLY TO SE. (5) GRADUALLY (6) DURATION OF SIGHTING: APPROXIMATELY FIVE TO SEVEN MINUTES. ITEM COCOA: MANNER OF OBSERVATION (1) GROUND VISUAL (2) NONE (3) N/A ITEM DELTA: TIME AND DATE OF SIGHTING (1) 1015Z 25 OCTOBER 1960 (2) LIGHT CONDITIONS: NIGHT. ITEM ECHO: LOCATION OF OBSERVERS. MARINE CAMP, CAMP HAGUE, NORTH OF KADENA AFB THREE MILES, APPROXIMATELY 100 YARDS NORTH OF OFFICER'S CLUB, IMMEDIATELY IN FRONT OF FEMALE SERVANTS QUARTERS. ITEM FOXTROT: IDENTIFYING INFORMATION ON OBSERVERS: (1) N/A (2) MAJOR CHARLES R. BURROUGHS USMC 045206, ORGANIZATION, HQ BRTY-12TH MARINES, 3RD MARDIV. DUTY: ASST. COORDINATOR FIRE SUPPORT COORDINATING CENTER. ESTIMATE OF RELIABILITY: UNKNOWN, HOWEVER SUBJECT OFFICER APPEARED TO BE VERY SINCERE AND ANXIOUS TO PROVIDE ACCURATE DATA IN A CONCISE AND KNOWLEDGEABLE MANNER, WAS DEFINITE THAT UFO WAS NOT A WEATHER BALOON [sic]. (OTHER TWO OFFICERS WERE CERTAIN OF THIS FACTOR TOO AS THEY UTILIZE THESE ITEMS IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THEIR DUTY) MAJOR OTTO I. SVENSON JR. USMC, 051271, HQ. BTRY 12TH MAR, 3RD MARDIV, DUTY: ASST. COORDINATOR FIRE SUPPORT COORDINATION CENTER. ESTIMATE OF RELIABILITY: SAME AS FIRST OFFICER. MAJOR HOWARD A. WESTPHALL USMC, 047151, 2ND BN, 12TH MAR, 3RD MARDIV, DUTY: EXECUTIVE OFFICER BN. ESTIMWUE [sic] OF RELIABILITY: SAME AS FIRST TWO OFFICERS. ITEM GOLF: WEATHER CONDITIONS AT TIME OF SIGHTING: (1) OBSERVER'S REPORTED VISIBILITY UNLIMITED, NO CLOUD DECK, NO HAZE. (2) REPORT FROM A/1C WASHINGTON, WINDS FROM NNE AT 12 KNOTS GUSTING TO 20 KNOTS. WINDS 30 KNOTS AT 20,000 FEET AND 50 KNOTS AT 30,000 FEET. CEILING AND VISIBILITY UNLIMITED. TEMP. 70 DEG, AT FIELD ELEVATION. (6) NO THUNDERSTORMS IN AREA ITEM HOTEL AND INDIA: N/A ITEM JULIET: POSSIBILITY OF BALLOON SIGHTING WAS OBVIATED BY TIME OF REPORT AND ACTUAL RELEASE OF WEATHER BALLOON. BALLOON RELEASED AT 1050Z, SIGHTING MADE AT 1015Z. CHECK WITH 16TH FTR TAC WING WOC AND ADCC AT NAHA RESULTED IN NEGATIVE REPORT ON AIRCRAFT IN GENERAL VICINITY AT TIME OF SIGHTING. ITEM KILO: OFFICER IPEPARING [sic] REPORT: CAPTAIN JOHNNY W. SHANKS, AO 590455, CHIEF OPERATIONAL INTELLIGENCE 313TH AIR DIVISION, APO 239. POSSIBLE EXPLANATION: BECAUSE OF DEFINITE OPINION OF OBSERVERS THAT THIS WAS NOT A BALLOON AT [sic] THE TIME DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RELEASE AND SIGHTING, THERE IS NO EVALUATED ANALYSIS OF THIS SIGHTING. HOWEVER, THESE OFFICERS DID REPORT THIS IMMEDIATELY TO ADCC, NAHA AND APPEARED TO BE MATURE, INTELLIGENT INDIVIDUALS,(JESPECIALLY [sic] IN THEIR PRESENTATION OF THEIR OBSERVATIONS. AT NO TIME DID THEY HESITATE IN THEIR DESCRIPTION OF THE UFO AND WERE POSITIVE OF ALL THE INFORMATION THAT THEY GAVE. SINCE ALL THREE OFFICERS HAVE WITNESSED THE FLIGHT PATH OF SATELLITES IT IS OFFERED THAT PERHAPS THIS UFO COULD HAVE BEEN THE PATH OF A MISSILE WHOSE FIRING DATA IS NOT AVAILABLE TO THIS OFFICE. THE OBSERVERS STATED THAT THE SPEED OF THIS UFO COULD HAVE BEEN IN THE SUPERSONIC RANGE BUT OWING TO DARKNESS AND LACK OF HORIZON-REFERENCE, THEY COULD NOT DEFINITELY ESTIMATE THE SPEED.
The teletype report is notable not merely for the report of the witnesses but for the thorough, factual, and unbiased reporting of Captain Shanks, the chief intelligence officer submitting it -- who showed uncommon respect not merely to the witnesses but to the formal reporting process itself. As to the witnesses, their role as fire support coordinators was very specialized: to coordinate air support as an embedded part of amphibious forces in the theater of combat. The role requires steady nerves and the ability to make quick and accurate appraisals of the situation on the ground and in the air, whether under fire in a fixed position or in the tumult of a rapid assault.
What these multiple well-qualified witnesses reported was a fast-moving (possibly supersonic) orange light similar to a satellite circling overhead. Captain Shanks' check with Air Defense Command & Control at Naha Air Base -- responsible for the air defense of Okinawa -- confirmed that there were no aircraft in the general vicinity at the time of the sighting.
The Blue Book evaluation...
There is no evidence in this report which would indicate that the object viewed by witnesses was not an a/c.
Likewise, a November 6, 1960, report from multiple reliable witnesses received a similar Blue Book treatment.
The location for the sighting was a pivotal defense site in Thule, Greenland -- an Air Force radar and communications system for the detection of nuclear ballistic missiles launched from the Soviet Union. Known as BMEWS (Ballistic Missile Early Warning System) the site at Thule had just gone operational at midnight, September 30, 1960, and was still undergoing startup monitoring and testing by technicians and engineers from RCA and General Electric -- the two major contractors on the project. The relevant portion of the initial teletype (with considerable winds aloft information not included)...
Above: U.S. Air Force photo of the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System radar array at Site J in Thule, Greenland.
THIS MESSAGE IN ELEVEN PARTS. PART ONE. OBJECT SIGHTED UNKNOWN IN SHAPE. APPEARED TO BE ABOUT ONE HALF THE SIZE OF A DIME. COLORED ORANGE. ONLY ONE UFO SIGHTED, NO SOUND APPEARED TO BE COMING FROM OBJECT. PART TWO. ATTENTION WAS FIRST CALLED TO OBJECT BY UNUSUAL OCCURANCE [sic] OF LIGHT IN SKY. FIRST OBSERVED OBJECT AT TWO HUNDRED DEGREES MAGNETIC MOVING ON A HEADING OF TWENTY DEGRESS MAGNETIC. OBJECT WOULD TRAVEL IN A STRAIGHT LINE, SLOW DOWN THEN SPEED UP. OBJECT WOULD MOVE NINETY DEGREES OFFICOURSE [sic] BOTH LEFT AND RIGHT AT TIMES. LAST SAW OBJECT AT FORTY FIVE DEGREES MAGNETIC ELEVATION. LIGHT INTENSITY DID NOT CHANGE AND SIGHTING LASTED FOR FIVE MINUTES. PART THREE. OBSERVATION WAS MADE VISUALLY AT ZERO ONE ONE FIVE FIVE GMT DURING NIGHT CONDITIONS. OBSERVERS WERE STANDING IN FRONT OF BMEWS BUILDING ONE ZERO SEVEN THULE AB GRNLD. PART FOUR. OBJECT FIRST SIGHTED BY MR. [Blacked Out], A GENERAL ELECTRIC EMPLOYEE ON BMEWS PROJECT. OTHER PERSONNEL WITNESSING OCCURANCE [sic] WERE MR [Blacked Out] AND MR [Blacked Out] BOTH RCA EMPLOYEES ON THE BMEWS PROJECT. OBJECT WAS STILL VISIBLE WHEN MR. [Blacked Out], MR. [Blacked Out] AND MR. [Blacked Out] HAD TO BOARD A BUS TO TAKE THEM TO J-SITE (BMEWS). UPON REACHING JSITE (BMEWS) MR. [Blacked Out] REPORTED TO WORK. PART FIVE. MR. [Blacked Out] IS 42 YEARS OLD AND HIS ADDRESS IS [Blacked Out], NY. OCCUPATION ELECTRICAL ENGINEER. ESTIMATE OF RELIABILITY GOOD. MR. [Blacked Out] IS 29 YEARS OLD AND HIS ADDRESS IS [Blacked Out], NY. OCCUPATION SERVICE REPRESENTATIVE. ESTIMATE OF RELIABILITY GOOD. MR. [Blacked Out] YEARS OLD AND HIS ADDRESS IS [Blacked Out] N.Y. N.Y. [sic] OCCUPATION FIELD REPRESENTATIVE. ESTIMATE OF RELIABILITY GOOD. PART SIX, WEATHER OBSERVERS REPORT ON WEATHER ... THE CEILING WAS SEVEN THOUSAND FIE [sic] HUNDRED FEET, WITH THE VISIBILITY BEING TEN MILES. THE AMOUNT OF CLOUD COVER WAS NINE TENTHS, A LIGHT SNOWFALL STARTED AT ZERO SIX ONE TWO THREE ZERO GMT. PART SEVEN. BASE WEATHER SENT UP A BALLOON AT ZERO SIX ONE ONE ZERO ZERO GMT. PART EIGHT. A RCAF C-118 WAS ESTIMATING THULE AT ZERO SIX ONE FOUR TWO ZERO ZULU AND WAS APPROACHING THULE FROM THE SOUTH. PART NINE. NO INTERCEPTION OF UFO TOOK PLACE.IPART [sic] TEN.SASSISTANT [sic] DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS MAJOR SAMUEL M. BRUNSON. AT 061100Z THE RAWINSONDE SECTION OF BASE WEATHER RELEASED A BOLOON [sic] AND AT 061155Z IT WOULD HAVE BEEN AT AN ALTITUDE OF APPROXIMATELY 40,000 FEET. SHOULD THE SUNS RAYS HAVE BEEN HITTING THE BALOON [sic] IT WOULD GIVE THE APPEARANCE AS DESCRIBED BY MR. [Blacked Out]. PART ELEVEN. NO PHOROGRAPHS [sic] AVAILABLE OF THE UFO.
As the report noted, a weather balloon had been launched at 8:00 p.m. local time. But as also noted at the time of the sighting (55 minutes later) the balloon would have been expected to be at 40,000 feet and normally beyond the range of visibility to the naked eye. Moreover the cloud ceiling of nine tenths indicated a mostly cloudy sky, and the ceiling was given as 7,500 feet -- more than six miles below the presumed altitude of the weather balloon. These facts combined with the apparent size of the object (described as "one-half the size of a dime" -- when held at arm's length) as well as its maneuvers, including 90-degree course changes, precludes the weather balloon as the source of the orange light. In particular, that the light intensity did not change over the course of five minutes strongly indicates that it was seen flying below the cloud cover.
Revealingly, due to a filing error this report had the benefit of two separate Blue Book evaluations. This was the result of the fact that the Blue Book "Project 10073 Record Card" for each incident in its files was written at an unknown time or times afterwards by an unknown hand or hands. For unknown reasons, the file on the Thule report existed in duplicates, and one of the duplicates was filed and listed as occurring on October 6, 1960 (the incorrect date) while another was filed and listed as occurring on November 6, 1960 (the correct date).
Left: The Project 10073 Record Card for the file dated October 6, 1960. Right: the card for the file dated November 6, 1960.
The evaluation for the October 6, 1960, file...
Object was observed in the northwest. There was a visibility of 10 mi in light snow with .9 cloud cover. The azimuth of disappearance was not given. A balloon was launched at 1100Z it is pos sible [sic] that this balloon remained in the area long enough for association as a cause of this sighting, however, the evidence is not conclusive. There is insufficient data available for a valid conclusion to the sighting.
The evaluation for the November 6, 1960, file...
Possibility of rawinsonde balloon was considered by the reporting officer. Object confirmed in area. Suns rays probably on balloon at 40,000 ft. Probably balloon sighting.
What both evaluations failed to take into account -- outside of that already mentioned -- was the shortened daylight hours in Greenland at that time of year. At the time of the sighting, the beginning of civil twilight (the time of morning when the Sun is geometrically 6 degrees below the horizon, just prior to dawn) would not take place for another seven hours -- making it even more unlikely that a balloon at just 40,000 feet could be reflecting the sun's rays.
But whatever the deficiencies of the Blue Book final evaluations, the supporting documents of each file are often able to provide valuable insight to just what was reported to have occurred. Whereas a newspaper report often represented a filtering of an account, as from the November 29, 1960, edition of the Beaver County, Pennsylvania, Valley Times newspaper...
Weird Looking Things With Blinking Lights
Young Housewife Spots 2 UFOs
By BILL TAYLOR
They were weird looking things, square shaped, with a white light on each corner and a red light on the dome-shaped top which blinked on and off.
They would hover for a while in one spot, as if making plans. One would leave. Then it would come back and the other would leave. Then it would come back again, and the two of them would dart about at 90 degree angles, as if playing games with anything or anyone who might be watching them.
THAT DESCRIPTION was given to police in Center Township, Monaca, Aliquippa and Coraopolis and to the Air Force at Greater Pittsburgh Airport for two strange objects that hovered over the home of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Rohm, Biskup Lane, Cener [sic] Township, Monday night and early today.
It all began shortly after 11 p.m. Monday when 21-year-old Mrs. Rohm walked into a bedroom of her home. She glanced out a window and was startled by what seemed to he two flying objects, hovering in the dark November sky near her home.
She moved closer to the window for a better look and then she became frightened. She could see that the objects were not an illusion and that they were out there in the night, looking as though they wanted a place to land.
"At times they seemed to come right toward the house and I was afraid they would land near the house," says Mrs. Rohm.
"I was scared to death," she said.
MRS. ROHM, who was at home alone with her 17-month-old daughtre [sic], (her husband was working a night turn shift at Jones and Laughlin Steel Corp.) was afraid to do anything except just watch for a while.
"They kept leaving and coming back, she said and they stayed there for quite a while before they were out of sight."
"I couldn't sleep and kept watching where they were," Mrs. Rohm said.
At 12:30 a.m. one of the objects returned and hovered in the same spot where the two of them had first caught the attention of Mrs. Rohm.
Then, in a few minutes, the second one came back. Mrs. Rohm became more frightened and called police. At 12:45 a.m. Center Township police officer Mike Mezmar was at the house watching the objects with the blinking lights going on and off.
Mezmar called Aliquippa police, who alerted Monaca police and Coraopolis police.
Coraopolis police contacted the Air Force at Greater Pittsburgh Airport for a report on any flying objects in the area. The Air Force reported that no flying objects were supposed to be in the area.
At 2:36 a.m. the red light on the dome of one of the flying objects seemed to get brighter and stayed that way until about 3:45 a.m., when the objects circled around and moved slowly away in a northerly direction. They were not seen again.
A policeman called Beaver Falls police, who said that there were red lights on an object over the city, but said it appeared to be an airplane moving north.
TODAY the Air Force at Greater Pittsburgh Airport had no explanation. Neither did the police departments which were alerted.
And so, the happenings may be recorded in the log books of the police stations and the Air Force as "unidentified flying objects sighted over Center Township Nov. 28 and 29, 1960." And the happenings may be forgotten by many.
But in Center Township there is a frightened housewife and mother who says: "I'll never forget that night."
Although the Air Force was contacted, the report never made it into Blue Book files. This is especially unfortunate, as a follow-up investigation or even a mailed questionnaire may have provided much-needed detail -- the apparent size of objects, the perceived distance, the brightness of the light, the weather conditions at the time, the angle of elevation, the direction in which they were spotted, the police officer's own description, and many other details not included in the news article's description of events. That the article approached the story from a definite angle (objects hovering "as if making plans") only makes the actual details more opaque. As it stands, events may have occurred just as described -- or an over-excitable Mrs. Rohm may have been seeing the procession of stars or planets through the lens of atmospheric effects (the fact that the sighting lasted over 4 hours strongly supports this possibility).
Of course, inclusion in a Blue Book file was by no means a guarantee of further investigation. But Blue Book files do represent the best chance at reading first-hand accounts without being filtered through a reporter or Air Force investigator. One excellent example, concerning a December 5, 1960, sighting...
Above: 1960s postcard image of Fidelis College and Seminary in Herman, Pennsylvania.
SAINT FIDELIS COLLEGE AND SEMINARY
CAPUCHIN FRANCISCAN FATHERS
December 10, 1960
On Monday night, December 5, 1960, about 6:05 P.M., [Blacked Out] and I were crossing the road that runs from Herman to Butler when we noticed something strange in the sky. We listened intently but heard no sound emanating from the object. We walked farther down the road toward the place where the object was apparently stopped. We estimated the altitude to be 1000 ft. From where we stood, we could clearly make out a circular object on the forward end of which was a pulsating red light. Along either side of it was an oblong fluorescent glow. About a minute later a plane (presumably a two-engine craft) flew over the object. By means of this plane we were able to contrast the difference in the two.
During this time, the object, which had been traveling in a North-South direction before it stopped, started moving again. Just before it started, a white flash was seen near the red light. Neither of us could tell whether it was inside or outside of the object. After it had started, almost instantly, it accelerated and flew off toward the West flying at a rapid rate of speed. I ran up to the school to get someone else to verify what we were seeing. Within a minute I had managed to round up ten collegians who managed to get a glimpse of the object just before it passed over the horizon. We all stood there trying to figure out just what the thing might be.
About a minute and a half after it had disappeared below the horizon, it (or something similar) was seen coming from the West, a slight distance South of where it had disappeared. It was moving in a West-East direction. The rate of speed was a little less than before.
As it passed over the oak grove across the road from the school building, another flash of light was seen near the pulsating red light on the object. It then changed its course and was headed in a Northwest-Southeast direction when it disappeared over the horizon. That is the last time that we saw it. This entire occurence [sic] lasted from seven to eight minutes.
I, myself, thought nothing more about it until later in the evening, when one of my classmates asked me about what I had seen. I told him and he said that he thought I should report this to someone. He gave me your address. I am writing this because it may be of some little value to someone.
The Blue Book evaluation...
Although there were more than one witness, only one saw fit to report the sighting. Witness also reports that an a/c flew over the object while it was apparently stationary, which rules out a/c sighting. Case listed as insufficient data due to absence of reports from the additional witnesses.
Here, then, was an entirely new twist on who carried responsibility for investigating sightings. Although the reporting witness could be contacted to provide the names of the other eleven witnesses -- if only by means of a mailed questionnaire -- in the evaluator's view the responsibility lay with the other witnesses themselves to proactively approach Blue Book with any information they had to offer.
Of course, not all reports could be further investigated, as for instance a teletype in Blue Book files concerning a December 6, 1960, sighting in Colombia as reported to the United States Embassy there...
FOLG MSG ADDRESSED TO AMEMBASSY JUST RECEIVED FROM LETICIA COLOMBIA CLN QUOTE DEC SIXTH AT THREEPNT TWO FIVE PM SEVERAL PEOPLE AND I SAW AN OBYECT [sic] LIKE A CRYSTAL BALL ABOUT THREE FEET IN DIAMETER FLYING OVER AIRSTRIP AT ABOUT THIRTY FEET HIGH FOR ABOUT ONE FIVE XERO XERO [sic] FEET THEN VERTICAL INTO THE SKY AT VERY FAST SPEED STOP ALSO SEEN BY MORE PEOPLE AT THREE PNT FIVE FIVE AND FOUR PNT TWO FIVE PM SGD MIKE THALKIS UNQUOTE AIRA CANNOT EVALUATE THIS MSG BUT MAY HAVE MOONDUST VALUE X AMCONSUL AND CAS HERE HAVE NO RECORD OF MIKE THALKIS BUT ONE CONSUL EMPLOYEE STATES HE VAGUELY REMEMBERS SUCH A MAN WHO IS GREEK DASH AMERICAN AND HAS BUSINESS IN LETICIA EXPORTING TROPICAL FISH TO TARPON SPRINGS FLA
Blue Book reasonably evaluated this report as "insufficient data", but not without first making a totally unsupported assumption...
The object viewed by these witnesses has characteristics which suggest a mirage. However, in the absence of such data as weather, direction, how sizes and distances were determined, it is impossible to reach a valid conclusion. This case is classed as insufficient data.
But on occasion Blue Book would treat seriously a report which might be viewed as less than reliable, as in a December 31, 1960, handwritten letter reporting a sighting in Nashua, New Hampshire...
Sketch included with following letter.
Saturday December 31
12=15 Noon time
I just saw a flying saucer, first time in my life with my own eyes.
I've read of it in news papers, seen pictures of it in Movie News.
But nothing like this one. It was flying over the ice pond here on Pine St. near my house.
Must be a detachable and portable, can be handle on moments notice and communicates From Beach to Beach [sic, entire sentence].
It has the sound of a smooth running fishing putter Boat [sic, capitalized].
The sound drove me to take a look on the ice pond. The Sun shining bright beamed on that saucer and the light flashed me in the eye that's how I spotted it. For twelve minutes then went high above the clouds. That saucer is shaped like a double space Cover. grey glassy Metal [sic, entire paragraph].
By the Way. Do you know in the States of New England the altitude is so Low, that Enemy planes etc, Could fly low and still never be spotted!! The sky on timing for any to choose, seems Cloudy and Foggy like smoke screen. For instance the difference at the North West passage like Montana, the altitude there is so high the Northern lights Electrifies anything with [Illegible] lights. [sic, entire paragraph]
The flying saucer I've seen to-day was no playtoy from any body's back yard.
Well! I thought I'd let you know.
Nashua, New Hampshire
The Blue Book evaluation...
Witness has not provided sufficient information to allow a valid conclusion. However, what information there is indicates that the cause of this sighting was probably a reflection, mirage, or both.
That, as it turns out, would be the last report to Blue Book for 1960.
But it would not be the last the Air Force had to say on the matter.
Above, top and middle: Book jacket covers for Flying Saucers and the U.S. Air Force, published at the end of 1960. The author -- Lt. Col. Lawrence J. Tacker -- was the Air Force public information office point-man for public and press inquiries concerning UFO reports. Bottom: Foreword to Tacker's book by Air Force Chief of Staff Thomas D. White.
Sometime during 1959 or 1960, those involved with Project Blue Book decided to aggressively engage in an anti-saucer public relations offensive.
Unfortunately, there is no documentation in Blue Book files of the genesis, timing or planning behind the campaign -- the closest being repeated references to the need for a program of "public education" which started appearing in September, 1959. Then in his April 1, 1960, memo A. Francis Arcier notes...
Major Tacker of SAFOI is about to publish a book on UFO [sic].
...indicating that not only was a "program of public education" being contemplated, but well underway. Tacker's book should have produced a considerable amount of documentation -- outlines, suggestions, initial drafts, comments, revisions, review by ATIC technical departments and consultants, contacts with the publisher, galley proofs, and even the process by which the Chief of Staff for the Air Force came to have his name on the book's foreword. The lack of such documentation is especially curious for a book which was promoted as "the official Air Force story".
But even today the process and personalities behind the effort remain opaque, and so publicly it began with an announcement -- as for instance found in the October 20, 1960, edition of the Abilene, Texas, Reporter-News...
Book Will Present Official UFO View
A book carrying the officially documented Air Force answer to the flying saucer question is due off the press in November.
Written by Lt. Col. Lawrence F. Tacker [sic, should be Lawrence J.], Chief of the Magazine and Book Branch of the Office of Information in the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, the book will have authentic information based on heretofore secret USAF documents.
The book's publishers, Van Nostrand Books of Princeton, N.J., have announced the publication date is Nov. 24.
In advance notices, the publishers say that many of the recent books about flying saucers accuse the Air Force of suppressing information.
The new book dissipates these charges, they say, and documents the investigations by the Air Force and its conclusions about unidentified flying objects.
Soon after the onset of the current wave of reports of flying saucers, the Air Force started a program to study and analyze each sighting and to publicize its findings.
By casting doubts on this program and the frankness of its reportage, sensational authors in books and magazines have confused the public, the publishers say.
Advance notices claim that the book will clarify that confusion.
The book opens with a detailed account of one sighting and shows how Air Force personnel collected the data, analyzed the known facts, and released the eventual findings to the public.
Col. Tacker then examines the most publicized examples of UFOs (Unidentified flying objects). Later chapters explore, in text and illustrations, the natural phenomena which have misled many individuals and the psychology that reinforces these delusions.
Neatly included are official regulations, forms and statistical tables.
For unknown reasons the announcement did not include the title of the book, which was released in early December as "Flying Saucers and the U.S. Air Force".
Despite the pre-publication promises it was in fact a slim volume -- 87 pages of text followed by 72 pages of appendices consisting of reprinted Air Force press releases and forms -- amounting to little more than an extended Air Force press release. Chapters included an exceedingly brief survey of "The History of the 'Saucers'" (which actually focused on the various Air Force UFO projects since 1948), as well as a lengthy chapter entitled "The Psychology of the Saucers" -- consisting entirely of crackpot letters sent to the Air Force -- and ending with a chapter on "The Official Air Force Position", to wit... "the Air Force cannot compete with the science-fiction writer in satisfying the desires of those people who wish to believe in spaceships".
But there was one chapter of substance -- in that it contained the entirety of Air Force anti-saucer scientific explanations...
Air Force Regulation 200-2 (See Appendix One) defines an unidentified flying object as any airborne object which by performance, aerodynamic characteristics, or unusual features does not conform to known aircraft or missiles, or which cannot be positively identified as a familiar object.
IT'S EASY TO BE FOOLED
Reports of unidentified flying objects must be accurate and complete, otherwise analysis and evaluation are very difficult. In some instances a reported UFO could have intelligence value and this is just another reason for accuracy and complete reporting on the part of the observer. (See Appendices Two and Three).
Unusual weather or light conditions may make many familiar objects into unidentified flying objects. The speed of the observer's aircraft and sudden climb or descent may produce distortions of vision which cause known objects to hover, perform erratic maneuvers, or glow and scintillate during hours of darkness. Many of these flying objects can be identified as conventional aircraft observed from unusual angles; modern jet aircraft flying at great speeds and high altitudes; reflections of sunlight, moonlight, and starlight from aircraft and balloons at great heights; searchlight reflections on clouds; meteorological and upper air research balloons; meteors, comets, and stars; planets observed at certain times of the year; meteorological phenomena; cloud formations; birds, especially migratory formations; dust and haze; kites, fireworks, and flares; rockets; and condensation trails.
A rare cloud formation sometimes referred to as a lenticular cloud.
A meteor, a comet, a balloon, or an aircraft, under certain conditions, assumes speeds, movements and shapes which are entirely uncharacteristic of the object under normal circumstances. Aircraft at great heights can appear wingless and projectile-shaped. Objects that appeare [sic] to hover or move very slowly could be balloons. Flame-tinged, or brightly-glowing objects, and those objects appearing to leave a trail of light in their wake may frequently be identified as meteors or comets. Another explainable phenomenon may be caused by the sun's illumination of vapor trails. Moving lights at night, or shiny objects in the daytime, travelling at moderately fast speeds, could be aircraft.
It has been characteristic of many reported observations of unidentified flying objects in the past that they have indicated at least some features of modern aircraft. There have been descriptions, including rocket or jet pods, fins or rudders, windows or portholes, propellers, exhausts, etc. High speeds or modern-day aircraft lessen the possibility of detailed observation, and only certain prominent or familiar features of the flying object may stand out in the observer's memory.
Silvery, transparent, disk-like objects may be balloons. The absence of exhaust or engine noise, or any visible means of propulsion, would support such identification. Weather balloons are often released in clusters and many drift in what appears to be formation, depending on the air currents. They shimmer in reflected sunlight or moonlight, and seem to hover as they pass from one air current to another.
The above sketch clearly shows how unusual lighting conditions could fool a ground observer. The sketch is exaggerated to emphasize this phenomenon.
Upper air research balloons may attain great heights and travel great distances before they burst and fall back to earth. They may be observed, therefore, in areas far removed from any logical launching site. Research balloons are usually constructed of material with a highly reflective surface. They often approximate one hundred feet in diameter and are visible, under certain atmospheric conditions, even at extreme heights. Such balloons, seen in reflected light, may seem disk-like in shape and many appear to have an oscillating motion. They carry metallic equipment which can result in electronic contact.
An object usually is not a balloon if its speed is too fast. However, some balloons, such as those used for cosmic research, travel in the upper air currents at speeds often in excess of 100 miles per hour. In identifying a flying object as a balloon, it should be borne in mind that a balloon moves with the wind and not against it.
In the field of technological developments, new giant weather baloons [sic] are being launched to fly at very high altitudes in an effort to learn more about atmospheric pressures, temperatures, wind directions and velocity over vast stretches of open sea. They will travel high above regular air routes and will be rigged to destroy themselves if they drop below 28,000 feet, or fail to go that high. These balloons are 40 feet in diameter and have a plastic skin only 2/1000ths of an inch thick. Flying at great heights over open water, and reflecting sunlight or moonlight from their plastic skin surface, these balloons could easily be mistaken for unidentified flying objects.
An experimental high altitude balloon in a strong wind assumes unusual shapes.
The estimated azimuth and elevation of a flying object can be checked to determine the known location of astronomical bodies. Meteors may be identified by appearance, great speed, short duration of sighting, and in instances of fireballs, color and brightness. At the time when the planet Venus is very low on the horizon, it can appear to change color, perform erratic maneuvers, or become distorted and diffused when viewed through thin clouds, haze, or alternate layers of warm and cold air. Meteors, on the other hand, do not pursue an erratic course. When the duration of observation of a flying object is extremely short, it is highly probable that the object is an astronomical sighting.
An unidentified flying object may assume various shapes. The four most common shapes reported in the past are elliptical or disk shape, aircraft shape, cigar shape, and propeller shape.
Shape is an important factor in determining the identity of a flying object. Distortion of shape, due to distance and darkness, enhances the difficulty of identification. Many of the strange shapes reported in the past would appear to be unidentifiable in terms of familiar objects, but in many instances could have been reflections from conventional objects viewed under unusual conditions. Light and shadow produce fantastic distortions, especially when objects are viewed at great distances and in varying degrees of gathering darkness.
This variety of shapes is an indication of individual reaction to what may have been familiar or conventional objects seen under unusual conditions, or created in the mind of the observer by his physiological limitations and psychological responses. Fatigue, unusual weather conditions, and the stress of flying at great speeds and high altitudes could induce such manifestations.
One report of an unidentified flying object stated that it was shaped like a conventional aircraft, but was luminous and surrounded by a red glow. This phenomenon could have been an actual aircraft reflecting light from some undetected source within or on the aircraft and glowing from an unusual play of moonlight or starlight on metal parts.
Unusual light conditions produced by bright sunlight and cloud cover, completely obscure the wings and tail assembly of a giant B-56 bomber, making it appear elongated or cigar shape. This is one of the most often reported shapes in flying saucer sightings.
A disk-like object, with illuminated portholes, could be a conventional aircraft distorted in shape and stripped of wings by a temperature inversion mirage effect and reflecting light through apparently dual and convergent sets of windows.
Transparent, cigar-shaped objects, illuminated from the inside and emitting an exhaust, could be jet aircraft at high altitudes where they appear wingless. The mirage effect of a temperature inversion could cause the apparent illumination and transparency.
Saucer-shaped objects, which hover and maneuver erratically, could be the planets Venus or Mars seen near the horizon at certain times of the year. When objects are viewed through haze or mist, the limitations of the human eye can produce what appears to be a hovering effect, or erratic movement.
Propeller-shaped objects could be conventional or glider aircraft, distorted in shape by mirage effects caused by a temperature inversion.
Radar sightings of flying objects frequently may be explained as ground targets reflected by a temperature-inversion layer, or as radar echoes of various objects, not all of which are visible to the human eye. Most solid objects produce radar responses which are recognizable. Moving objects, such as aircraft and birds, normally can be identified by the size of the radar blip and by the speed, altitude, and type of movement measured by the radar set. The radar operator should be able to determine whether the responses noted on his scope are real, or are caused by the weather or other phenomena. A blurred effect on the radarscope may indicate a weather target, whereas a solid target, such as an aircraft, will be sharply defined.
A radar equipped Lockheed Super Constellation. Odd shaped aircraft confuse observers.
There are many new developments in aeronautics and astronautics which contribute toward new or differently shaped flying objects. The saucer-domed radar planes, flying as picket ships on our Dew Line Extensions are an example of an unfamiliar type of aircraft which, to the uninitiated observer, might appear to fall into the unidentified flying object category.
Technical advancements in the field of supersonic rockets to gather weather data offer possibilities for radar detection of apparently unidentified flying objects. Rockets will be shot into the stratosphere at 3000-plus miles per hour. At a height of 20 miles or more, their warheads will explode and release a cloud of metal foil fragments, which will be traced by radar to learn wind velocity and direction.
The construction and successful launching of man-made satellites into the edge of space above the earth as part of this country's aerospace program, may lead to reports of unidentified flying objects. The United States expects to launch a number of scientific data-gathering satellites over the next few years and Russia has announced intentions of exploring space to the utmost.
The satellites developed by United States scientists are highly-polished spheres to be propelled aloft by a three-stage rocket. Planned orbit is at a height of about 300 miles and is in the direction of the earth's rotation. The satellites' course will follow a path that will permit its sighting from positions in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. Although the satellites' size will appear small at such an extreme altitude, its reflection will be visible to the naked eye under certain weather conditions. Its terrific speed will carry it from one horizon to the other, within the view of an observer in less than 20 minutes [sic, entire sentence]. The Discoverer Satellites are of this type.
Many new types of aircraft are under development and some are in production at this time. Certain types will be capable of vertical take-off. The unusual configuration of these aircraft lends itself to possible confusion with unidentified flying objects, and a vertical take-off might add to the observer's failure to identify it as a known object.
Analysis thus far has failed to provide a satisfactory explanation for a number of unidentified flying objects. An understanding of some of the phenomena which may cause familiar objects to assume unfamiliar characteristics, together with an awareness of the many new technological developments which may be observed, should result in fewer sightings of this nature. Rational reporting will facilitate analysis of those sightings reported as unidentifiable.
Scientists have been exploring the mysteries of the universe for many centuries and today know a great deal about the composition of the galaxy which includes the earth among its many planets, stars, and other celestial bodies. Yet, many questions remain unanswered and the search for more knowledge in the broad field of astronomy continues. The same is true regarding the earth's atmosphere, and, although considerably more is known regarding the natural laws which govern the sea of air around the earth, there are many aspects of meteorology that are not yet fully understood.
It is not unusual for the mind to become confused by garbled messages, caused by unusual astronomical and meteorological conditions and transmitted to it by the eye. Thus, the sky has been the setting for many strange sights which were not readily understood. Many may have been the result of unusual astronomical and meteorological conditions, which cannot yet be scientifically explained. However, many types of illusions which appear to be flying objects can definitely be related to astronomical and meteorological phenomena.
Under certain atmospheric conditions, reflection and refraction processes can transform conventional aircraft, automobile lights, planets, meteors, and other identifiable phenomena into apparently supersonic flying objects of many shapes and colors. Clouds, haze, industrial smoke, weather droplets and ice particles in the atmosphere are typical ingredients which make up atmospheric lenses through which many illusions of flying objects are seen. Car lights reflected on clouds can create luminous disks which dart erratically through the sky at terrific speeds. Other light sources can produce similar illusions with appropriate variations, many of which even have specific colors provided by refraction of the light through water and ice particles in the atmosphere.
One of the most common causes for optical illusions of distorted and displaced objects is the mirage. Warm air has a lower refractive index than cold air. The air is normally warmer at the surface of the earth and progressively cooler in a fairly steady gradient through high altitudes. It is through such atmospheric conditions that distant objects are usually viewed and the mind becomes accustomed to the impressions conveyed to it through the eye in this normal perspective. Light rays normally travel in a concave path that intersects with the horizon. When the normal temperature distribution is upset, the light rays bend accordingly and optical phenomena result. Causes of mirages follow two basic patterns:
(1) When the surface air is exceptionally warm, the air expands and becomes less dense, causing the convex path to shorten and, under extremely hot conditions, even to become concave.
(2) Under conditions of a temperature inversion, with a layer of warm air over cold air, the path of light rays will lengthen to parallel the earth's surface at greater distances.
These abnormal conditions cause mirages and the eye will see unfamiliar or displaced and distorted images, which the mind is not immediately capable of interpreting correctly. Realistically proportioned mountains, cities and seas may be projected high into the atmosphere. On the other hand, land areas may be distorted and appear as separate images floating in the sky, giving the impression of suspended or flying objects. From an aircraft in flight, a cigar-shaped illusion of a land mass can change size drastically with changes of only a few feet in altitude of the observer's aircraft, thereby giving the illusion that the object is accelerating rapidly, travelling alternately at slow and extreme speeds: going away from the observer or coming in toward him. The same is true at night in the case of objects formed by such light sources as searchlights, glow of lights from cities, automobile headlights, and celestial bodies. A temperature inversion can reflect the image of an aircraft to another location in the sky and mirror it as two aircraft, perfectly joined, with one aircraft inverted below the other.
A mirage in the high dry mountain air under brilliant sunlight looks very much like the saucers Kenneth Arnold spotted on June 24, 1947.
The common mirage, based primarily on temperature distribution, is of course, only one type of the numerous meteorological phenomena producing aerial apparitions. Others are caused by reflection and refraction of light through various atmospheric structures, such as different types of clouds, water droplets, ice and frost formations, haze and smoke. Combinations of meteorological situations, and even combinations of meteorological and astronomical conditions, can produce startling effects.
Combined refraction and dispersion of the earth's atmosphere can cause a celestial body to appear to be at a different location in space and distort its normal color as well. When the object is low on the horizon, this condition is particularly prevalent. The planet Venus, for instance, may appear as bright red on the bottom and bright blue at the top edge, thereby giving the illusion of a flying object emitting red exhaust trails. An observer flying in an aircraft may easily mistake such an apparition for a flying object. As the aircraft moves through the atmosphere at an advanced speed, its position relative to the object naturally changes and the atmospheric conditions in line of sight between the aircraft's position and the object may change as well. The object thus may assume apparent characteristics of erratic behavior and fantastic shapes and colors.
Although all the planets may resemble flying objects under certain conditions, Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter are most commonly mistaken in this sense.
At its brightest, Mercury has a stellar magnitude of -1.9; this is more brilliant than a first magnitude star. This planet can only be seen occasionally, and then only for a short period during morning or evening twilight. The reason this planet is never seen throughout the night, as are some planets, is due to its nearness to the sun. It rises and sets very close to the same time as the sun. 28 degrees is as far as it can ever get from the sun and this distance is never perpendicular to our horizon, but along a line running south of the sun, as the ecliptic (sun's apparent path around the earth) at an angle to the horizon. Mercury's orbit is inclined seven degrees to the earth's orbit, greater than that of any planet visible to the unaided eye, but even this inclination does not take the planet very far from the ecliptic. Since Mercury has an orbit inside of the earth's, it passes between us and the sun; and since (like all the planets) it owes its light to the sun, it goes through a series of phases like the moon.
Venus, with a stellar magnitude of -4.4, is the brightest of all the planets and Mars is next. Venus, at its brightest, can be seen in daylight and can cast shadows after dark. The planet Venus is a morning star for approximately nine or ten months and then an evening star for the next nine or ten months. In 1960 Venus will be a morning star from January to June and an evening star from July through December, Nearer, larger, and brighter than Mercury, this planet is consequently much more conspicuous. Due to its greater distance from the sun, a maximum angular distance of approximately forty-six degrees, it is nearly always visible. Venus for months at a time stands out in plain view as either an evening or morning star, the brightest in the sky. The brightness of this planet is due to two factors -- its proximity to the sun and earth, and its high albedo 0.59 (reflecting power). This means that Venus reflects 59% of the light which strikes it. The orbit of Venus is also inside that of the earth. It therefore passes between us and the sun, and this results in the planet having moonlike phases.
Mars is an evening star about thirteen months and a morning star for approximately thirteen months. This is the first planet outside of the earth's orbit. The albedo of this planet is approximately 0.15 and its maximum stellar magnitude of -2.7 makes its apparent brightness greater than any other planet except Venus. Since Mars is outside of the earth's orbit, we always see nearly all of the side on which the sun is shining. Therefore, it does not go through noticeable phases as do Venus and Mercury. When observed through a telescope it sometimes appears slightly gibbous. Mars appears reddish in color.
Jupiter is one of the brighter planets. Only Sirius, a star, and the planets Venus and Mars are brighter. The albedo of Jupiter is 0.56 and its stellar magnitude -2.3 at its brightest. Jupiter has a very large orbit about the sun as compared with earth's orbit. Therefore, Jupiter, like Mars, has no phases, but always shows us the lighted surface.
In the past, both Venus and Mars, when low on the horizon, have been observed to change color and move at fantastic speeds, when viewed through haze or mist. Venus appears low on the horizon during the spring and is unusually bright. Mars has been reported to resemble a flying object when it was low on the horizon in early summer. If one of these planets is stared at for any length of time without any balancing point of reference, it can appear to perform erratic maneuvers. Thus, the planets of brighter magnitude in our galaxy provide a constant source of illusionary flying objects.
Occasionally one of the brighter stars, such as Sirius, is reported as an unidentified flying object. On these occasions, as with the planets, the star is usually low on the horizon and the weird effects of apparent motion and color changes which are induced by atmospheric refraction and diffusion contribute heavily to the misidentification.
Halo occurs when light from the sun or the moon passes through thin upper clouds composed of ice crystals causing various circles or arcs of light to become visible. These are called solar or lunar halos, and are produced by refraction. The most common halo is a ring of 22 degrees radius around the sun or moon, both of whose angular diameters is approximately one-half a degree. Various figures may result due to the differing shapes and positions of the falling ice crystals through which the light passes. Halos are often white, but a well-developed halo is red on the inside shading off to yellow.
Comets and meteors are often mistakenly identified as flying objects, although sightings of comets are rare simply because their incidence is so low.
Comets are nebulous bodies revolving around the sun for the most part in long ellipses. Although their periods are very uncertain, some few such as Halley's Comet, which pursues unmistakable ellipses, can be expected to return. The nucleus of a comet, which is believed to be composed primarily of frozen gases, strengthens in brilliance the nearer the orbit of the comet brings it to the sun. As the comet moves closer to the sun, the ice tends to evaporate giving off gases that form a cloud around the nucleus known as a coma. Some comets become bright enough to be discerned even in daylight. Since the long tail of the typical comet is composed of matter repelled away from the sun, it may either follow or precede the head, depending on whether it is approaching or going away from the sun.
Meteors are particles entering the earth's atmosphere where they become so intensely heated they turn into incandescent gas. Theories on the origin of meteors are largely controversial; however, educated guesses range from dissipated comets to disentegrated [sic] planets. It is estimated that 24,000,000 meteors, which can be observed by the naked eye, enter the earth's atmosphere during a 24-hour period. These space particles are of various sizes, ranging from the microscopic to the rare ones weighing tons.
Bright meteors are known as fireballs or bolides. Some of these penetrate the lower parts of the atmosphere, where they explode with a noise like a distant thunder. These are rare -- probably no more than a few dozen appear over Europe during an average year. When a meteor, of such size that it is not entirely consumed by frictional heat after it enters the atmosphere, eventually collides with the earth's surface, it is called a meteorite. It is estimated that about 2,000 of these latter enter the earth's atmosphere during an average year.
A fireball meteor streaks above the heavens at night in one of nature's unusual displays.
The appearance and behavior of meteors streaking through the earth's atmosphere take on various fantastic forms, depending upon their size and composition and the meteorological conditions through which they are viewed. A meteor with the brilliance of the Pole Star can be caused by a particle no larger than a grain of sand. A particle no bigger than a pea can become a fireball. Examination of discovered meteorites reveals that most are irregular in shape; however, many become conically shaped in their passage through the earth's dense atmosphere.
Meteors may appear as bright balls or disks with fiery tails, which could be mistaken for jet or rocket-type exhausts. It is not uncommon for meteors to appear as flaming fireballs, with colors ranging from dull red to bright green, and they may even travel in clusters, giving the appearance of flying objects in formation. Meteors may also move relatively slowly and appear to follow a path parallel to the horizon, thereby giving strength to the illusion of flying objects.
Large meteors have long paths and may cross from one horizon to the other in the view of one observer and pass far beyond. They travel in the same direction as the earth in its orbit and their speed upon entering the earth's atmosphere varies. Those meteors overtaking the earth during evening hours may travel initially as slowly as seven miles per second, while those meeting the earth's rotation head on during morning hours can be travelling more than 40 miles per second. Multiply these types of appearances and behaviors by complementary meteorological phenomena and the prospects for illusionary flying objects are considerably increased.
A phenomena which may be seen in conjunction with the sun and moon is that known as sun dogs and moon dogs respectively. This phenomena is an image of the sun produced by refraction in ice crystals and is often seen in conjunction with a well developed halo. The sun dogs most frequently experienced are on opposite sides of the sun at a distance of 22 degrees and are red next the sun [sic, entire sentence]. Secondary formations of this phenomena may occur at 45 degrees from the sun. The technical name for this phenomena is Parhelia. The corresponding image in connection with the moon is called Paraselene. Another startling apparition in conjunction with the sun is called a sub-sun. Sub-suns result from the reflection of the sun in a layer of flat ice crystals and appears at a point below the real sun and can be as brilliant as the sun itself. The sub-sun can develop a pattern of sun dogs and haloes causing a further complicated illusion. At night, the moon will reflect in the same manner under like meterological [sic] conditions. This type of apparition is particularly discernible from aircraft at high altitudes.
Cirrus cloud formations are effective viewing screens for illusions resulting from reflected or refracted light, as they contain ice crystals. These clouds exist in the upper atmosphere, so that conditions are favorable throughout the year for sun dog and moon dog apparitions. However, such phenomena usually are discernible at lower levels only during winter months in temperate zones.
The aurora borealis, or northern lights, produces conditions and phenomena which have been associated with mistakenly conceived flying objects. Auroral activity is associated with the earth's magnetic fields, explosions on the surface of the sun, and other solar activity. The auroral zone in the northern hemisphere follows roughly a circle around, and about 23 degrees away from the magnetic pole. In Europe, auroras are seen only infrequently below 50 degrees.
The aurora borealis cannot be seen in full daylight, and during moonlit periods it is inconspicuous. It is sometimes bright enough to read by, and on rare occasions, its surface brightness surpasses even that of the moon. The most distinctive form of the aurora is that of a curtain or long wavy band, often with folds and flutings in it. Although the lower edge of the aurora is nearly horizontal, the band as seen from Europe would appear as an arc, due to its great distance from the observer. Auroras may consist of more than one curtain and may appear and disappear rapidly, remain constant for long periods, or move slowly across the sky. Some may appear merely as formless, diffused lighting in the sky. Faint auroras may appear colorless. Bright auroras are usually yellow-green, but other colors such as red, blue, grey, and violet sometimes appear. A yellow-green curtain often will be tinged with red around its lower edge. Auroras may appear high in the sky or low on the horizon, depending on the distance of the particular phenomenon from the observer.
While the chances of the aurora borealis itself being mistaken for a flying object are remote, the erratic lighting conditions it produces may often be a contributing factor to a sighting.
There are other phenomena believed to be associated with auroral activity which can produce apparitions resembling flying objects. Such phenomena occur during magnetic storms and probably are the result of gases emitted from explosions on the sun, and other solar activity. One such phenomenon, observed in northwest Europe, was described as a large brilliant disk which appeared on the east-northeast horizon and moved slowly across the sky, changing into an elongated ellipse, thence back to a disk before it disappeared below the opposite horizon.
This phenomenon was observed by many scientists who were out in force to observe expected auroral displays in connection with the magnetic storm they knew to be in progress. It is believed to have been caused by gases travelling through layers of the upper atmosphere in the auroral zone. Its color was described variously as white, pearly-white, greenish-white, and yellowish-white. Calculations based on numerous observations of the phenomenon indicate that it may have been about 70 miles long by 10 miles in diameter.
This phenomenon occurred before the advent of the airplane and all observations were from the ground. However, a phenomenon of this size and brilliance could be seen for hundreds of miles from the air, and in myriad fantastic shapes and maneuvers if complemented by compatible atmospheric conditions. Official astronomical records reveal numerous equally fantastic illusions resulting from phenomena of this sort.
The composition and structure of the earth's atmosphere and the space which lies beyond, and the natural laws which govern them, are complex.
The foregoing is not an attempt to relate all apparently unexplainable aerial phenomena to meteorological and astronomical causes. Rather, it is a summation of the more important aspects of meteorology and astronomy which contribute to sightings of illusionary and real flying objects that cannot be identified readily. The information is designed to orient the potential observer in meteorological and astronomical conditions which affect human perception, thereby enabling him to understand the implications involved and report his sightings more rationally and lucidly.
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In certain instances, unidentified objects have been observed on radarscopes, both ground and airborne. Generally speaking these radar sightings fall into explainable patterns and are caused by certain meteorological phenomena, or familiar objects that are observed under unnatural circumstances.
Radar echoes can be produced by a variety of objects, many of which are not visible to the human eye. A majority of solid objects which return radar energy produce responses on the radarscope that are easily recognizable. Moving objects, such as birds, aircraft, and meteorological balloons, are normally recognizable by their size and velocity. However, some balloons, such as ionospheric balloons, ascent to altitudes above those of normal aircraft and travel with the upper air currents, sometimes at speeds above 150 miles per hour. Radar returns from these balloons could give impressions of unidentified objects.
Certain meteorological and astronomical conditions will present radar returns that are unusual. Radar waves must travel through the earth's atmosphere where, like light waves, they may be bent by unusual temperature and moisture conditions. Radar waves may be refracted or reflected by atmospheric conditions to where ground objects may seem to represent an aircraft or flying object. Even with a moving target indicator, reflected images of distant ground objects may appear to be moving because of the movement of air layers.
Temperature inversions, in which a cold air mass is overlaid by a warmer air mass, can greatly increase the distance from which normal radar returns are received. Thus, objects may appear to be much closer than they actually are and these distant objects, superimposed on the normal radarscope picture, may result in misinterpretation and confusion.
A temperature inversion produces radar phenomena.
Radar echoes may be produced by condensed water vapor in the form of raindrops, ice crystals, or snow. These radar reflections may cover a wide area which has diffused, irregular boundaries and fluctuating intensities. Movement of this water vapor will be determined by the movement of upper air currents, which travel at a speed of as much as 100 miles per hour or more and at altitudes up to 40,000 feet. Normally, these patterns are easily recognizable by their size and radar return; however, they may appear confusing and result in false interpretations.
Meteors that enter the earth's atmosphere and get within range of radar may cause reflections that are extremely difficult to verify. Meteors reach the outer fringe of the earth's atmosphere at a rate of something near 100,000 miles per hour, although only a very few actually get within range of radar. Those that do, approach the earth from all angles and at velocities approaching 25,000 miles per hour. Radar responses to these meteors may occur at any range or altitude, depending only upon the capabilities of the radar set. Radar reports resulting from this type of phenomenon can be verified by a study of the expected paths of meteors at the time of the incident.
In addition, there is the possibility that one radar set, which has characteristics similar to those of another radar set within range, may cause interference and unusual responses that could lead to confusion and inaccurate interpretation. Although this type of interference may cause the appearance of one or even two targets on the radar screen, it can generally be recognized quite easily.
A careful study of unusual radar sightings will almost always disclose that the reason is explainable. Experience in the operation of radar will provide the operator with the ability to recognize most unusual phenomena when they occur. However, occasionally a vertification [sic] of meteorological or astronomical data may be necessary to substantiate the validity of what otherwise might be considered an unfamiliar flying object.
Physiological factors may have profound effects upon an individual's ability to observe and to interpret observations accurately. One of the greatest hindrances to human understanding can result from deception of the senses. The sense of sight is, by itself, purely a physical process and the perception and understanding attached to visual sightings is determined largely by memory of past experiences and familiarity with surrounding objects. This relation of experiences to the interpretation of visual sightings permits many errors.
This margin of error may be applicable particularly to aircrew members operating high-performance aircraft, under adverse or unusual weather conditions, under tension, and during periods of extreme fatigue.
The aircrew member is generally familiar with many of the unusual observations associated with meteorological and astronomical phenomena. However, many unusual observations are the result of certain physiological effects that may be unknown or unfamiliar.
Occasionally, objects that exist on the surface of the eye may be mistaken for distant objects. These objects take various forms. Tiny specks of dirt may appear as shimmering globules of light and if a speck is illuminated by an outside light source, it may appear as a large, out-of-focus blob of light. If this speck is viewed against a clear sky or background, it may be quite spectacular. As this speck floats across the pupil of the eye, it will create the appearance of movement.
Many reported unidentified objects, described as flying saucers, flying disks, shiny spots, or a string of pearls, are nothing more than minute blood capillaries on the surface of the retina of the eye, or tiny corpuscles, which become visible under special conditions of illumination.
Another physiological phenomenon is that of after-image. A sudden flash of light affects the retina of the eye and causes a dark image to remain visible for some time after the light has been extinguished. Flashes of lightning, comets, or meteors will cause this effect and may be confused and interpreted as unidentified flying objects.
Hypoxia, resulting from lack of oxygen, has varying effects on the ability to react and to observe accurately. The effects of hypoxia may vary much in the same manner as those of alcoholic intoxication. Usually vision is affected, reactions are retarded, and observations are distorted. An oxygen mask leak may cause alternating stages of hypoxia and normalcy, with the individual often being unaware of these changes.
In a series of tests conducted at the Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine to determine the effects of fatigue, it was discovered that extreme fatigue may cause an individual to hallucinate, imagining that he sees a variety of unusual objects, and with a vividness to make them seem quite real. Fatigue, even in minor degrees, will slow down reaction time and reduce ability to observe and interpret observations.
Two phenomena that occur frequently are those of autohypnosis and autokinesis. In both of these reatcions [sic], a stationary light will assume apparent movement. In autohypnosis, this reaction is caused by continued attention to an external light source. Autokinesis is the result of observing a stationary light under circumstances in which relation to familiar objects is absent.
There is strong evidence that a great many visual problems, both physical and physiological, arise as a direct result of flight at high altitudes.
When flights are conducted at relatively low altitudes, the visibility of distant targets will be reduced by atmospheric haze. This is because light emanating from objects in space is gradually reduced by absorption and by primary and secondary scattering along the pathway of sight.
Along with the variation of the contrast by atmospheric interference, there is a shift of the apparent contours. This has been disclosed by experiments performed at the Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine. From these studies, it was concluded that the apparent angular size and apparent distance of objects depend on the brightness reduction of the atmosphere. With increasing altitudes, the deviation of the apparent luminance from the actual luminance of an object in space will result in the object's appearing brighter than it actually is. This may result in false identification of a normally familiar object.
The physiological effects enumerated above are but a few of the manifestations resulting from known reactions. Many physiological effects resulting from high-performance flights are still in the category of unknowns. However, these factors greatly influence one's ability to understand and interpret sensory actions. If recognized by the aircrew member, they may aid in identifying unfamiliar objects in flight.
Reasoning ability, degree of susceptibility to suggestion, and general mental attitude are vital factors in identifying and reporting flying objects. Failure to note details accurately and a tendency to overdraw descriptions of sightings can result in failure to identify. An over-active imagination, coupled with physiological strain, can transform unfamiliar meterological [sic] or astronomical phenomena and light aberrations into unidentified flying objects.
Perception and feeling are closely related and can have a marked effect upon understanding. Motivation in many instances determines how we interpret what we see, and expectancy can induce manifestations which are only indirectly related to actual physical phenomena or objects. The separation of what may be observed through the senses from what is known through thought or intuition is difficult, inasmuch as understanding is derived from a combination of both. However, an objective attitude, which permits assessment of observed characteristics, rather than suppositions or theories, will assist the observer in avoiding distorted descriptions.
It has been suggested that the world each of us knows is a world created by large measure from our experience in dealing with our environment. When two points of light, one brighter than the other, are placed at an equal distance from an observer in a dark room, the bright point of light looks nearer than the dim light, if one eye is closed and the observer remains motionless. The direction from the observer, as well as a difference in brightness, will result in an apparent variance in distance. Should two equally bright lights be placed near the floor, one about a foot above the other, the upper light will appear to be at greater distance from the observer than the lower one. Conversely, when the lights are placed near the ceiling of the room, the lower light will appear to be farther away.
When two partly inflated balloons are illuminated indirectly and fastened in positions about one foot apart, where their relative brightness and inflation can be controlled, the observer will experience a variety of reactions as to what he saw.
If the brightness and size of the two balloons remain the same and the observer views them with one eye at a distance of approximately ten feet, he sees two bright spheres equidistant from his position. If the relative sizes are changed and the brightness remains the same, the larger balloon usually appears nearer. When the size is changed continuously, the lighted balloons seem to move back and forth, giving the effect of erratic movement of lighted spheres through space. This is true even when observed with both eyes. If the relative brightness is varied constantly and the size remains the same, a similar effect is obtained. When there is a variation in relative size and brightness, most observers are inclined to judge distance by relative size rather than by relative brightness.
The effect of these tests upon the observer is premised on the fact that he draws upon past experience in assessing distance based upon relative size and brightness. He assumes that, since the two points of light appear similar, they are identical and of equal brightness. Therefore, the point of light which seems brighter must be nearer. In the case of the two points of light placed one above the other, past experience leads the observer to assume that, when he looks down, the lower light is nearer and, conversely, that, when he looks up, the higher light is nearer.
With regard to the seeming variance in distance when the size of objects is changed continuously, rarely has the observer seen two fixed objects at the same distance change in size. Usually any change in size of an object results from a change in the position of the object in relation to the position of the observer. As the object draws nearer, it becomes larger, and the reverse is true as it draws farther away. Therefore, in the case of the two balloons, the observer assumes that any change in size of the two balloons results from a variation in distance from his point of observation.
These experiments show how misinterpretations can result from the relation of visual perception to past experience in an effort to understand and recognize the object or objects seen.
When we see an object, we derive an impression not only of its location, but also of its existence as an object, and the location as related to visual perception will color the characteristics it possesses. Objects seen through haze or mist, or in reflected light, will assume characteristics they do not possess normally, but, because they have been perceived visually, the observer tends to accept them as real. Thus, psychologically, he creates an object with characteristics which do not exist in actuality. It is essential, therefore, that the observer analyze his observations in relation to unusual weather or lighting conditions and reject characteristics which deviate from the normal and can be explained by the unnatural conditions under which they were seen.
When we see an unfamiliar object, we draw upon our individual past experience in an attempt to identify it. If the unfamiliar characteristics of the object cannot be related to past experience, we have a feeling of uncertainty and it is then that we draw upon imagination in an effort to relate visual perception to understanding. Imagination is colored by suggestion and herein lies an inherent danger.
We are open to suggestion constantly in our daily lives. Advertising media, artists' concepts, modern-day science fiction, propaganda, exaggerated films, publicity on perpetrated hoaxes, and the imaginings of zealots and fanatics all react upon the consciousness in the form of suggestion. When we seek an explanation for the unusual or unfamiliar, and attempt to draw upon imagination instead of rationalization, suggestion influences our thinking.
Physiological changes due to fatigue and intense strain enhance the susceptibility to suggestion and may induce psychological manifestations which a more rational state of mind would reject. The observer should attempt to evaluate his observations. Objective analysis of those characteristics he has observed, in relation to the conditions under which they were seen, will assist in identification of the unfamiliar object and result in more accurate reporting.
It is a common misconception that the eye "takes a picture" of everything within its field of view. This is not true. Pick out any word in this sentence and then move your eye to the next and then the next. You will discover that you can no longer read the first word after having moved your eye about 5 degress [sic].
You see best in daylight and the eye sees by moving in short jumps. It is not a sweeping but a jerking motion with which you see details around you. This is of the utmost importance to the combat pilot scanning the sky for the enemy. Experiments have shown that the eye sees nothing in detail while it is moving. It sees only when it pauses and fixes an object on its retina. In scanning the sky, do not deceive yourself that you have covered an area with a wide, sweeping glance. The correct way to scan is to cover an area with short, regularly-spaced movements of the eye.
Judgment of distance is done subconsciously in a combination of ways: Close up, we depend on binocular vision, each eye seeing an object from a different angle. At distance beyond binocular range, which is usually the case in flight, we judge it on a one-eye basis.
The eyes change focus to see objects within about 20 feet, but the change in focus for distant objects is negligible.
It is easy for your eyes to play tricks on you at night when you stare for some time at a light -- say, the tail-light of an automobile or a lead airplane. What happens is technically known as autokinetic movement, or more commonly as stare vision. If the light is stationary, it may seem to move and swing in wide arcs. If the light is moving, it may seem to move to the side when it is actually going straight ahead. The cure for stare vision is don't stare -- keep shifting your gaze from point to point.
Another common illusion at night is to see a light expanding or contracting at a fixed distance from you when actually the light is approaching or going away. Again, shift your gaze.
Dust, grease, water droplets, scratches, on the windshield all obstruct vision, night or day. A speck on the windshield could, after a few hours, take on the silhouette of "an unidentified fiying [sic] object."
With regard to color perception at night, blue and green lights are seen most easily; red and orange are seen least easily.
There is much room for an error in judgment in seeing unidentified flying objects. This is normal and can happen to anyone.
The chapter itself makes it obvious that Tacker's book was not the work of a single author but instead a group effort (and in the book Tacker in fact thanks "the personnel of the Aerospace Technical Intelligence Center for their help"). At 24 pages, the chapter represented more than a quarter of the book's text -- and is the book's most valuable contribution as a detailed examination of the science behind the various Blue Book "evaluations" of the time.
But that was where all substance ended. As noted before, the second-longest chapter, encompassing 21 pages, had been crackpot letters sent to the Air Force (the two chapters making up more than half of the text). A further nine pages were devoted to a chapter entitled "Listen to the Experts", consisting of quotes from sceptical astronomers and Air Force personnel.
Soon after -- apparently as part of the Air Force anti-saucer campaign -- Lt. Col. Tacker began making public appearances. The most notable -- and revealing -- of these would be a December 5, 1960, appearance on the NBC network's "Today" show with host Dave Garroway. Also on the program was Major Donald Keyhoe of NICAP. A complete transcript is not available, but in its newsletter, The UFO Investigator, a partial transcript (albeit with editorial insertions) provides a sense of the encounter as found in the following excerpts from the NICAP article...
Above, top: Life magazine image of spectators gathering outside to watch NBC's Today Show with Dave Garroway. Bottom: Life magazine image of Garroway mid-program. The show premiered as the first of its kind in 1952, with Garroway as host.
... The Garroway UFO discussion on Dec. 5, 1960, originally was limited to 13 minutes. After the NBC switchboards became jammed with calls, Garroway twice extended the interviews, finally using the entire second half of his program. The following extracts from the taped discussion will indicate the AF spokesman's attitude:
Garroway (to Tacker): Will you defend this book, please, because we're attacking it, apparently. Why is the Air Force -- why did you write an official book about this subject?
Tacker: Because I felt the AF was being set upon by Major Keyhoe, NICAP and other UFO hobby groups who believe in space ships as an act of pure faith ... What I object to is this countless harangue that the AF is withholding infomation [sic]. This is ridiculous.
Garroway: Well, just saying it's ridiculous won't prove it one way or another, will it?
Tacker: Yes, it will. Oh, you mean my saying it's ridiculous. No. But I can prove it -- we haven't withheld information.
Keyhoe: You can't prove it because we have cases you have withheld.
Tacker: What do you mean you have cases we have withheld?
Keyhoe: I'm talking about NICAP.
Tacker: What is NICAP? A UFO hobby group!
Keyhoe: Are you saying that about Adm. Hillenkoetter ... Col. Emerson ... we've got high AF officers: Col. Joseph Bryan, USAFR, Col. McAshan --
Tacker: You're impressing me immensely, Major.
Keyhoe: We sent a confidential report to Members of Congress ... (with) a digest of the evidence. In this book, Col. Tacker says that all the Congressmen who talked with AF officers about this subject were completely satisfied with the AF answers ... Rep. John McCormack, House Majority Leader, says a House Select Committee of which he was Chairman tried to get information and was unable to do so, and a number of them were convinced that there were unexplained objects. Rep. Joseph Karth said that in executive sessions they tried to get it (UFO information) from the AF and the Air Force took refuge in security and said this was involved with the Nation's safety.
Tacker: That's absolutely erroneous. We've never taken refuge in security.
Keyhoe: Are you calling Rep. Karth a liar?
Tacker: Are you calling Gen. White a liar? Did you read the foreword to the book? (Gen. Thomas D. White is the AF Chief of Staff).
Garroway: What did you say about the foreword, Colonel? It proves what?
Tacker: I asked if he was saying Gen. White's statement was erroneous.
Garroway: In regard to -- what?
Tacker: In regard to the fact that no space ships had ever been found. That they don't exist.
Garroway: That wasn't what we were talking about, I believe.
Keyhoe: We have letters from a number of Congressmen who say they are seriously concerned over the secrecy. This report (NICAP Confidential Report to Congress) they accepted as proof that these objects are real --
Tacker: Worst bunch of drivel I ever read, that report ...
Keyhoe: ...this drivel you talked about was approved by the former head of the Central Intelligence Agency, Vice Adm. Hillenkoetter, Admiral Knowles, Colonel Emerson ... and about 200 scientists, engineers and others, none of who could be called crackpot types. They are concerned (with the secrecy) for two reasons. There is a danger in the present AF policy. You've had hundreds --
Tacker: Let me interrupt again to say there is no such policy.
Keyhoe: The policy is stated in your book -- to explain away. AF Reg. 200-2 says ... (Tacker interruption) ... all AF activities must reduce the (unsolved) reports to a minimum.
Tacker: Section 18 says all information will be given to the public and it won't be classified.
Keyhoe: Well, it certainly is not ...
Garroway (answering Tacker}: Yes, but the information given out is that which has been reduced to a minimum.
Keyhoe: In 1957 we asked you for a number of cases. You didn't even reply ---
Tacker: I have furnished you every case you asked for.
Keyhoe: I asked for the Capt. Ryan case where the AF sent an airliner to chase one of these objects, and the case of the F-89 --
Tacker: We never sent an airliner to chase one of these objects.
Keyhoe: We have the tape, the transcript -- it's in Senator Monroney's office. (Taped interview in which Capt. Raymond Ryan and First Officer William Neff, American Airlines, describe the UFO chase, confirm it was ordered by Griffiss Air Force Base, and admit leaving their assigned course, without informing the passengers, and pursuing the UFO to the shore of Lake Ontario. Capt. Ryan also confirms that the AF asked them to aid Griffiss AFB jets in intercepting the strange flying object. A digest of this documented case appears in the confidential Report to Congress.)
Tacker: You said you had it. (The tape). I've never seen it. I've never heard it.
Keyhoe: Any time you care to hear it -- I have the transcript here.
Keyhoe: I'd like to mention ... that President-elect Kennedy about a year ago wrote one of our members and called this an important topic. Would you say he was one of the deluded?
Tacker: It's a real important subject. And I want to stress right now that the AF doesn't deny the possibility of these things. It simply states that to date there is no evidence come up with the sensational claim that there are extraterrestrial vehicles in our atmosphere.
Keyhoe: In 1948 -- and you have denied the document exits -- there was a Top Secret Estimate that these things were interplanetary. That was first
stated by Capt. Ruppelt --
Tacker: I've never seen or heard of it.
Keyhoe: Capt. Ruppelt, head of the Project, stated that it was a black document stamped Top Secret on the cover ... Later we checked with Major Dewey Fournet, who was the monitor of the Project at that time and is now on our Board. I have a letter I'll show you later in which he says: I am hereby confirming the existence of two documents the Air Force has denied. One of them is the 1948 estimate ... This was a quotation from memory. The exact signed statement by Maj. Fournet was: I would like to confirm the existence of two USAF documents which were recently denied by an official USAF representative. These are:
(1. An Intelligence summary on UFOs prepared in 1948 by the organization which later became the Air Technical Intelligence Center at Wright-Patterson AFB.
(2. An Intelligence analysis on specific aspects of UFO data which I prepared in 1952 while acting as UFO program monitor for Headquarters USAF, Washington, D.C.
Since both documents were classified when I last saw them, I am not at liberty to reveal their contents.)
Tacker: I can say right now there's no such AF conclusion.
Garroway: Could you afford to say in your official position that there was such a document if it were secret?
Tacker: Could I say?
Garroway: If such a document did exist and it were stamped Top Secret or Secret, could you admit the existence of it? As a Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Air Force?
Tacker, after a noticeable hesitation: I doubt it. But having a top secret clearance, and having gone through all the documents, there is no such document.
Garroway: But you just said you doubted you could say so
Tacker: I can say there isn't one.
Keyhoe: I would like to have your answer on this specific case, the Washington sightings (Interruption by Tacker.)
(In the early hours of July 20, 1952, several UFOs were tracked and seen operating over Washington Airport, Andrews AFB, the White House, the Capitol and other Washington areas. Veteran air-traffic controllers at Washington Airport stated the radarscopes showed solid objects, obviously under control, in unusual maneuvers and at speeds from hovering to over 7,000 mph. The UFOs were seen by airport tower operators, airline pilots and other trained observers; near dawn, one radio engineer sighted the UFOs -- seen as large flying-discs -- as they climbed steeply out of sight.)
Keyhoe, after Tacker interruption: ...you brush off the Washington sightings as a temperature inversion. (Mirages from adjoining layers of warm and cool air.)
Tacker: That's exactly right.
(The AF mirage answer for these UFOs was rejected as impossible by Dr. John Hagin, noted radio astronomer and later head of Navy's Project Vanguard: Washington Airport Chief Radar Engineer J.L. McGivren; Senior Controller Harry T. Barnes, who with five others tracked the UFOs, and finally by the AF itself, in a statement by an assigned spokesman. Maj. Lewis Norman, Jr., radar expert, authority on temperature inversions, and a jet pilot.)
Keyhoe: You stated (in the book) these things were not picked up by radar at Andrews AFB. (Page 22, lines 4 and 5: Andrews AFB radar operators were unable to pick up these images on their radar scopes.
Tacker: I did not state that.
Keyhoe: I beg your pardon ...
Tacker: Oh, at Andrews AFB. Oh, that's right. They were on the radar at
Keyhoe: I have here a signed report by an AF weather observer, a radar expert, who was in the (Andrews AFB) tower. It describes picking up these blips ...
(Signed report available at NICAP. "Objects appeared on radar scope ... as though approaching runway ... Path of objects orderly and direct ... Speed observed, by switching range knob on scope, estimated at better than 900 mph ... appeared as clear solid blips, not fuzzy as usually seen with weather phenomena ... Size (of objects) estimated by blips as 100 to 200 feet in diameter ... After passing over runway, objects separated and performed high-speed maneuvers ... faster than any aircraft before observed.)
Tacker, -- evading mention of his previous denial: We don't consider those people experts. I have 4,000 hours on radarscopes.
Keyhoe: A lot of people are expert on radar ... they guide airliners into airports ... Let me get to this. This person says they were picked up on radar ... they came in formation and split up, operated at speeds over 900 mph. Now you deny flatly --
Tacker: Apparently, right.
Keyhoe: At Washington Airport, the experts on radar tracked these things at speeds up to 7200 mph. --
Tacker: A radar operator is not an expert, Maj. Keyhoe.
(Of special interest here is a previous AF claim that Dave Garroway had promised to help debunk UFOs. In a letter from then Ass't. Secretary of the AF, R.E. Horner, to Rep. Carl Vinson, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee copy in NICAP possession -- Horner stated that Garroway had agreed to help put the UFO subject in proper perspective. After the Dec. 5 program Mr. Garroway told NICAP's director he had never made any such statement. A copy of the AF letter was sent to him at his request.
(In one exchange of the program, Garroway politely disagreed with AF methods of disqualifying UFO reports. Some of his questions were based on his 27 years experience with astronomy.)
Garroway, quoting from the officially approved AF book: 'Many sightings by qualified and reliable witnesses have been reported. However, each incident seems to have an unsatisfactory fact associated with it, such as shortness of time under observation' ... If you saw Marilyn Monroe walking by, and you saw her for one second, would that be adequate?
Tacker: I could probably recognize her.
Garroway: That's what I mean. Again quoting: 'Inaccurate estimates of distance from the observer.' How is it known they are inaccurate?
Tacker: Generally just by a simple mathematical computation at the Technical Intelligence Center.
Garroway: How do they know what the distance is?
Tacker: Well, just based on the size of the object given, they can determine.
Garroway: But the object isn't given.
Tacker: It generally is, in the report. The object and the size -- the approximate size.
Garroway: If we don't know what the object is, how can we give the size?
Tacker: Well, they give the size -- as it appeared in the sighting.
Garroway: Oh, the angular size?
Tacker: Yes, sir.
Garroway: That doesn't tell you anything about the distance, does it?
Tacker: Oh, they can work out the distance from that, certainly.
Garroway: One sighting of an angular object like a star, or planet, or anything?
Tacker: Yes, sir.
Garroway: Well, astronomy would like to know that. That's not the Doppler effect.
Tacker: In the early days investigative techniques were not as good. It was a new subject. This is where the science-fiction type of thing Maj. Keyhoe writes got started ...
Keyhoe: I will make you an offer. I will agree to appear with you in public and expose (reveal) what we don't have time to put on here. If you can prove what you said is true, I will resign as Director of NICAP and recommend to the Board that we disband.
Tacker, after indicting bases, communications, etc. at AF disposal: When I compare this to what your equipment probably is -- a typewriter and some stationery -- it doesn't add up very well. I think it's ridiculous.
Keyhoe: Our equipment includes about 200 (advisers) including top astronomers; missile trackers ... rocket experts ... We could cover every field involved in space-travel planning .... What it all boils down to is that you are under orders to deny this (UFO reality and the secrecy.) It's your job.
Tacker: That's not so.
Keyhoe; I'm going to ask you to explain one case here.
Tacker: I-- okay, go ahead.
(At 11:45 p.m., Aug, 13, 1960, a large, glowing oval-shaped machine, with red lights at each end, was sighted at a 500-foot altitude by State Policemen Charles A. Carson and Stanley Scott. Carson was an AF veteran; Scott had been a paratrooper. Twice the UFO approached the police car, one red light sweeping the ground. On its closest approaches, interference with the police radio was noted. At midnight, after Carson and Scott reported the UFO to their headquarters, the AF radar station at Red Bluff told the press they were tracking the 'object'. Other witnesses confirmed the visual sighting.)
Keyhoe: Last August at Red Bluff, Calif., two state troopers reported they were sighting an object which at one time hovered 500 feet above their patrol car, and cut out their radio. It swept the ground with a red light. They pointed their own red light up and this object immediately climbed at high speed. AF radar at Red Bluff said they were tracking the object. They told the San Francisco Chronicle and ...
Tacker: Air Force radar at Red Bluff did not track it ... and they made the statement that they had nothing on the scope ...
(San Francisco Chronicle: 'The Red Bluff radar station admitted that at 11:45 p.m. Saturday, when the phenomenon was first seen by highway patrol men, it was tracking 'an object'.'
(The Corning Daily Observer: 'One of the objects was spotted on the radar scope at the AF radar station near Red Bluff ... This morning the radar station was considerably more vague than it was Saturday night when it confirmed the officers' report of the object.')
Keyhoe: We asked you about this - you stated that these people had been misled by seeing the planet Mars, the star Aldebaran and the star Betelgeuse.
Keyhoe: We checked with the Hayden Planetarium, at Boston, and other astronomers ... Mars did not rise for an hour afterward, Aldebaran did not rise for two hours, and Betelgeuse was three hours below the horizon.
Tacker: There was a temperature inversion ... it causes a refraction and a mirage above the horizon.
Garroway: How much refraction?
Keyhoe: Not for three hours -- it doesn't pick up a star three hours below --
Tacker: I'm giving you what our scientific community told me -- and that's that.
Keyhoe: You're putting your word against astronomers who are every day working out problems like that.
Tacker: I'm using the word of astronomers who work for the U.S. Air Force, sir.
Keyhoe: Under contract, and under orders to explain these away until you are ready to answer.
Tacker: That's ridiculous. Why don't you get off that kick -- you don't believe it yourself.
The Tacker-Air Force approach to the campaign became evident on the Garroway program. First, to denigrate organizations such as NICAP as "UFO hobby groups", and second, to assert that all sightings were thoroughly investigated by the Air Force, with nothing unusual discovered and no information withheld from the public. But if the goal of Tacker's book (and the Air Force campaign behind it) was to sway public opinion away from Keyhoe and towards the Air Force view, then the Garroway encounter showed it would be no easy task.
But it was not all in vain, for in fact some reviewers did praise the book and Tacker had a much easier time of it when being interviewed alone and unchallenged on other news programs. And just as he had on the Garroway program, Tacker succesfully brought out his talking points. One such example, from the December 19, 1960, edition of the Elyria, Ohio, Chronicle-Telegram...
Those Flying Saucers Turning Into Fast Bucks
WASHINGTON (HTNS) -- A lot of folks who claim to have seen flying saucers are really on the lookout for dollar signs, an Air Force officer, who knows a lot about the subject, said yesterday.
The dollar signs, according to Lt. Col. Lawrence J. Tacker, are translated into real money through the formation of dues-collecting flying saucer clubs, and the sale of books and articles on saucers.
Col. Tacker, on the staff of the Air Force's Information Service, said he believed, however, that the flying-saucer fad is dying out, just as "the great accent on spiritualism" did at the turn of the century.
When that happens, he went on, "I believe the public will find some other romantic subject ... and go on to it, rather than flying saucers."
After years of study of the subject, and complete access to all the data collected by the Air Force on alleged flying objects from outer space, Col. Tacker said, there is absolutely no evidence to prove that such objects exist.
As to assertions that the Air Force has concealed data tending to prove flying saucers exist, the officer called them "pure rubbish."
"I've gone through the files," he said. "I've looked thoroughly for any such Air Force conclusion (that evidence of flying saucers is concealed). I've never found anything to this effect, and I'd like to add that the Air Force regulation on this subject, 200-2, paragraph 18, to be exact, cites specifically that U.F.O. (unknown flying objects) sightings will not be concealed."
Col. Tacker, interviewed on a local radio program here, said that reports of flying saucer sightings have been steadily decreasing, and, in the last four or five years, only two per cent of those reported, and investigated thoroughly, have remained unexplained.
That two per cent, he added, probably fell into the same category of those "explained" -- high-flying aircraft under odd lighting conditions, or in unusual cloud formations; aircraft seen through mist or rain; aerial phenomena or astrophysical phenomena, such as a mock sun, a fireball meteor, or a planet seen by refraction due to a temperature inversion.
Col. Tacker conceded that many "solid citizens," including airline pilots, have reported what looked like flying saucers. But there are lots of "crackpots," too, he said, and "cosmic romantics."
The flying saucer clubs themselves are divided, Co. [sic] Tacker said, between "the so-called 'contactees,' the people who actually rush off and visit Venus and Mars, at the drop of a hat, and the so-called "euphologists," the people who say they've had not contact to date, but they're sure that there are space ships from other planets looking us over."
"These groups even fight among themselves, and the euphology group ... actually calls the contactees crackpots. It's real interesting."
Col. Tacker said most sightings occur in spring and summer "when people are outside and are looking up. I don't imagine we had many reports on this eastern seaboard in the last two or three days, because most people have been inside next to their fires."
Air Force reports, he continued, indicate that most "sightings" occur in Australia, New Zealand, England, and in South America. He gave no explanation for this. The Air Force has received some "second-hand" reports of sightings in Russia, he added, "but naturally, we receive no direct result from Russian authorities on this subject."
Incidentally, Col. Tacker himself published a book recently on the flying saucer subject titled "Flying Saucers and the U.S. Air Force." It tells the Air Force role in reception, tracking and evaluation of reports from all sources on flying saucers. Conclusion -- nothing to them.
The decade had barely begun, but the battle lines for the next eight years had been clearly drawn...
...with the skirmishes of 1960 proving to be but a foretaste of the major hostilities yet to come.
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