The Scientific Obligation
“Men of science are being increasingly compelled to pursue the end of governments rather than those proper to science.” -- Bertrand Russell.
The investigation of unidentified flying objects has been a curious business from the start. Although government today is making increasing use of scientific talent in defense programs, scientific investigation of phenomena has never been considered a purely governmental concern. It is therefore puzzling to see the Air Force as the sole agency investigating something which it alleges is only natural phenomena and scientific skepticism doubting that there is any justification for an investigation at all.
When UFOs began to appear in large numbers during 1947, it was thought that they were revolutionary new aircraft of some sort. Since they were not ours, the Air Force began an investigation. In 1948 the Air Force investigation was made official through Department of Defense orders. Official orders were later drawn up, including Air Force Regulation (AFR) 200-2, giving the Air Force sole responsibility for investigating UFOs. All reports from other armed services, government agencies, and citizens were then channeled to the Air Force. In the 12 years that have passed since 1947, the Air Force is the only sizeable agency--official or unofficial--which has investigated UFOs. The problem has never been tackled by science.
In order to understand the attitude of scientists who are extremely skeptical of UFOs, it is important to realize the following points:
(1) Ever since 1947 there has been a tremendous outpouring of nonsense on the subject.
(2) The press, on the whole, has ridiculed "flying saucers" and has tended to laugh at the people who report them.
(3) The information available to the casual observer has been mostly the two extremes: Wild claims by apparent psychopaths and Air Force statistical summaries.
The average scientist, occupied with projects of immediate importance, would not take UFOs seriously unless he chanced to see one himself or if he were predisposed to have an interest in unusual atmospheric phenomena. The evidence for UFOs has been muddled from the start, and scientists need to see evidence before they will get excited about something. If there has been a straightforward investigation from the start, scientists would have been encouraged to examine the data; but this was not the case.
Since most scientists have not seen the evidence, and since the wild rantings of mystics and the official disclaimers deter them from taking a look, the average scientist is prone to accept the work of Dr. Donald Menzel, Harvard astrophysicist, that UFOs are merely a collection of misidentified natural phenomena. To do this, he must also accept the corollary argument that there is basically a psychological explanation for the UFO movement--world tensions, the desire for outside help, and the usual glib explanations of this sort. There is no other explanation for the persistence of UFO reports consistent with Dr. Menzel's theory. To the uninitiated, his ideas are plausible and so they are accepted without much independent investigation.
Dr. Menzel's arguments are reasonable and logical only if the assumption is first made that nothing unique and different is being seen by those who report UFOs. This is the one thing which Dr. Menzel has in common with the Air Force: The presupposition that all UFOs are natural phenomena seen under conditions which deluded the observer into thinking he had seen something exceptional. Once this assumption is made, it is then quite logical to attempt to identify the particular natural phenomenon which give rise to a UFO report. This is exactly what Dr. Menzel and the Air Force have attempted to do.
This approach to UFO investigation, which I have called the "Deluded Observer Hypothesis," is a dangerous one. There is no assurance that all observers have been deluded--an assumption which would tend to make science an impossibility if applied consistently. If the question to be answered is: "Do UFOs represent a unique, unexplained phenomenon?" then this method assumes its own conclusion. Suppose that real, solid disc-shaped objects of undetermined origin were actually present in our atmosphere. Would they ever be discovered by this approach?
Attempting to find natural explanations for UFOs is a valid approach up to a point, and a quite necessary part of UFO investigation. But it is only part of what is needed for a true scientific investigation. Attempts to explain all UFOs have failed. There has always been a remaining percentage of so-called "unknowns." Those who accept the Deluded Observer Hypothesis explain this by saying that the remaining "unknowns" could have been explained too if the evidence had been more complete. This argument is fallacious on two counts: (1) The evidence was complete in the cases which the Air Force classified as "unknowns." The "insufficient data" category is a separate one. The "unknowns" could not be explained because of the nature of the evidence, not because of any lack of evidence. (2) Investigators working on the assumption that UFOs are all natural objects are understandably prone to "find" a conventional object in the right place at the right time to explain a UFO report. Many of the "explained" UFOs were explained solely by guesswork. In short, the embarrassing "unknowns," which (to the Air Force investigators) "must be" natural objects, have been rationalized in one way or another. There is real danger that, in their eagerness to find natural explanations, the Air Force will explain away unknown objects as something commonplace.
In my opinion, it is time that Dr. Menzel, the Air Force, and any others who reason that all UFO observers are deluded, examine their presuppositions. In their eagerness to debunk the idea of visitors from space, they have created a climate of opinion in which it is not acceptable to test any hypothesis which admits the possibility that UFOs are something unique and unexplained. An hypothesis recognizing the "unknowns" as a real phenomenon would credit good observers with having seen what they reported, but would not commit investigators to any particular explanation of what the objects were.
For scientific purposes, it is not crucial that many people are fooled by common objects. This is an obvious fact; yet it is the only thing which can be established by a test of the Deluded Observer Hypothesis. By itself, this hypothesis is incapable of testing to see whether UFOs might be something unique because it has presupposed that they are not.
In order to be scientific, first and foremost, the investigation would have to include an active attempt to gather better information through instrumentation. At present, the Air Force only investigates sightings reported voluntarily and through channels. Many excellent cases involving competent witnesses are therefore ignored when they are not reported directly to the Air Force. This is true even of cases reported in the press and known to the Air Force.
Secondly, after active data gathering, those UFO reports which have complete data and can not be explained--the "unknowns"--should be carefully examined. Are the reports consistent in any way? Do they show any patterns in regard to shape, performance, etc. ? If so, it would appear that we could not assume a natural explanation for all UFOs, and that the "unknowns" must be something unexplained. The next problem would be to devise some crucial experiments to determine what the objects were and, perhaps, to form a coordinated skywatch to study the behavior of the objects. (Officials of General Mills Inc. suggested in 1951 that the government start a 24-hour sky-watch after their balloon-tracking personnel had reported several UFOs.) Although these steps would be necessary in a true scientific investigation, none of them have been taken.
Unless the Air Force is hiding some secret information which shows that UFOs are real, which is flatly denied, it is inconceivable to me that there is any justification for having UFOs remain a military problem. If nothing is being hidden, there is no reason why the investigation cannot be turned over to civilian scientists. Why must the Air Force retain this burden which, they themselves have suggested, distracts them from the more vital task of defending the country from air attack?
There is one possible factor which might prohibit turning the investigation over to the scientific world: The fact that
UFOs are not recognized as a scientific problem. An easing up of secrecy would solve that problem, however. Before there can be any final solution, the government apparently will have to endorse UFOs as a scientific mystery (nothing more), turn the investigation over to civilians, and encourage a sane, thorough investigation by making the subject respectable. In this way the stifling effects of military secrecy would be counteracted and Air Force personnel would be freed for other duties.
To take this step would not necessarily entail making any sensational announcements. On the contrary, if properly handled, it could be done quite casually as the normal and logical thing to do. If something of this sort is not done, we will continue to have stringent security measures hiding evidence of an allegedly non-existent phenomenon and preventing any independent scientific investigation. Until something of this sort is done, there will be no scientific solution to the problem of UFOs.
As a means of settling the long-standing controversy about UFOs, which threatens to go on indefinitely unless something is done; I propose that the following steps be taken:
1. That the Executive Department relieve the Air Force of its responsibility in UFO investigation (it now has sole responsibility), emphasizing that UFOs are a scientific mystery apparently not connected with problems of national security.
2. That all Air Force records on UFOs be declassified (shorn of witnesses' names, and technical data which might help an enemy.)
3. That this data be turned over to a committee of professional scientists from accredited universities for analysis and further study.
4. That NICAP become a semi-official clearing house for UFO information, sending cases of scientific value to the committee, and releasing information and the conclusions of the scientific committee to its members and the press.
5. That military personnel, pilots, and other responsible citizens be encouraged to report all sightings and other pertinent information to NICAP for evaluation and dissemination.
6. That the government, by example, encourages scientists around the world to participate in a cooperative scientific investigation of UFOs along with other routine scientific projects.
A central organization--NICAP--already exists, which can digest the bulk of data and make significant evidence available
to scientists. Among the NICAP membership are enough professional scientists to form the nucleus of the scientific committee, and other professional scientists would undoubtedly become interested. In this way, the transition could be made to a public, scientific investigation with a more liberal information policy, and the Air Force would be able to concentrate on other things. Air Force scientists could be represented on the committee in the event the scientific findings turned up anything relevant to air defense.
There is nothing in the problem of UFOs which could not be resolved if all scientists had access to the data and citizens were kept well-informed on the progress of the study. In science, it is essential that all relevant data be exchanged freely. In a democracy, it is essential that the populace be well-informed so that it may prepare intelligently for any event. This necessary information is not available today, but it could be if the Air Force and the government are sincere in their desire to resolve the issue. The UFO problem would then be what it should be--the responsibility of science and society.
Why the Air Force UFO Investigation is Unscientific
In response to criticisms of its UFO (flying saucer) investigation, the Air Force has issued periodic statements attributing its conclusions to "top scientists." The claim is made that the investigation has been completely scientific and, by implication, that the conclusions (that flying saucers do not exist) are unquestionably correct. In order to judge these claims, it is necessary to see whether the Air Force methods of investigation conform to the rules of scientific investigation. The question to be examined is thus a double one: What is the scientific method, and has this method been applied to UFOs as claimed?
The following quotation from a Department of Defense news release, November 5, 1957, typifies the Air Force position on this question:
"The selected, qualified scientists, engineers, and other personnel involved in these analyses are completely objective and open minded on the subject of 'flying saucers.' They apply scientific methods of examination to all cases in reaching their conclusions ... the data in the sightings reported are almost invariably subjective in nature. However, no report is considered unsuitable for study and categorization and no lack of valid physical evidence of physical matter in the case studies is assumed to be 'prima facie' evidence that so-called 'flying saucers' or interplanetary vehicles do not exist.“
The emphasis is on the superior quality of the investigating teams, the open-mindedness they display, and the inferior quality of the data they are forced to work with.
However, it turns out in most cases that the "almost invariably subjective data" allows the Air Force to make identifications of UFOs as common objects with such certainty that it is considered sacrilege to question the conclusions. It also turns out, perhaps significantly, that many of the cases involving non-subjective data (i. e., radar trackings, photographs, and movie films) could not be explained and have been classified as "unknowns." A good example of this "unknown" category is the Rapid City, S. D. case, August 12, 1953. * In this case an unidentified light in the sky, giving a radar return, caused a jet scramble. An F-84 was vectored in and gave chase, pursuing the UFO for 120 miles. When he gave up and turned back, the UFO turned back and followed him. A second F-84 then chased the UFO, which was registering on his gun sight radar, as ground radar showed both the F-84 and the UFO. When the second pilot turned back, the UFO continued on its way, seen by a Ground Observer Corps post as it passed. In 1959 the Air Force admitted that gun camera photos of the UFO had been obtained, but that they could not be analyzed.
This case is one of the many hundreds of good, verified UFO reports classified as "unknowns" which have accumulated through the years, and which are the reason why so many people are not satisfied with the Air Force conclusions. Contrary to the above statement by the Air Force, the category studies--in which UFOs are said to be identified as this or that common object--do not take into account the possibility of UFOs being interplanetary vehicles or any other unique objects. As will be shown, the techniques employed preclude this possibility.
Before analyzing the actual techniques employed by the Air Force to see whether they are scientific, it is appropriate to establish in general terms the nature of scientific investigation. The following statements about scientific method are taken from philosophers of science, and paraphrased from texts on the subject. **
"Scientific work is group work; the contributions of individual men to the solution of a problem may be smaller or larger, but will always be small compared to the amount of work invested in the problem by the group... the amount of technical work involved in the solution of a problem goes beyond the capacities of an
* Ruppelt, E. J. The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects (Doubleday) p. 303.
** For example, see: Cohen & Nagel, Logic and Scientific Method.
individual scientist... the social character of scientific work is the source of its strength."--Hans Reichenbach, in "The Rise of Scientific Philosophy."
Abstracting from this, we see that science implies a community of scientists checking and rechecking each other's work. The opinions of one scientist, so commonly used in an authoritative manner today, do not constitute a scientific investigation, and may or may not be correct once an investigation is completed. Such opinions, especially when they precede any investigation, will reflect only the prejudices of the individual scientist. In other words after a free interchange of data among the scientific community, it is the weight of evidence as established by scientific techniques which provides the solution to a problem.
"When a man desires ardently to know the truth, his first effort will be to imagine what the truth can be. He can not prosecute his pursuit long without finding that imagination unbridled is sure to carry him off the track. Yet nevertheless, it remains true that there is, after all, nothing but imagination that can ever supply him an inkling of the truth. He can stare stupidly at phenomena: but in the absence of any imagination they will not connect themselves together in any rational way. "--C. S. Peirce, in "The Scientific Attitude and Fallibilism."
This states one of the basic requirements of scientific method --the need for an imaginative hypothesis to order the data and provide a tentative explanation which, of course, is to be checked by subsequent experiments and observations. (The last sentence of the quote from Peirce applies particularly well to the Air Force UFO investigation, since the Air Force is more interested in dissecting UFO phenomena into arbitrary categories than in testing to see whether there is a rational order to the key cases.)
From these and similar statements the scientific method can be characterized in the following propositions:
(1) Science is the attempt to solve problems and understand phenomena through investigation by a free community of scientists, any one of whom has access to the reasoning, experiments and techniques used by the others.
(2) Any hypothesis (imaginative explanation) must be chosen,
taking the facts into account. This hypothesis should be as free as possible of our preferences or desires, and should not be held sacred and beyond question. It must be tested thoroughly before being accepted as fact, and even then is subject to modification if more evidence is obtained.
(3) Science implies selectivity and critical judgment--choosing of relevant data and discarding of irrelevant data; choosing and testing a hypothesis and either modifying confirming or discarding it depending on the results of applying it to all relevant data.
It will not be necessary to go beyond these elementary points. How does the Air Force investigation of UFOs stack up against these criteria?
(1) None of the UFO data obtained by the Air Force since 1952 are available to the scientific community for study. Only the conclusions in the form of "fact sheets."
(2) No attempt has been made to test any hypothesis which admits the existence of an unexplained phenomenon. No one is allowed to examine the reasoning and techniques of the Air Force investigators in order to test their multiple explanation "hypothesis."
(3) No one can tell, except by inference, how critical the Air Force investigators are of their own "hypothesis, "... since the relevant data are not available to scientists. The possibility that the Air Force "hypothesis" might be inadequate and outmoded is not admitted.
The statement that "no report is considered unsuitable for study... “indicates a lack of selectivity which stacks the deck in favor of the Air Force category studies. As most serious students of UFOs are aware, the Air Force has implicitly adopted the hypothesis that UFOs are many different natural phenomena; moreover, that they are familiar phenomena seen under conditions which fool the observers. Rather than taking the facts into account, this is actually a denial of the reported facts. The observers, it says, only thought they saw flying discs. The "scientific methods" applied to UFOs then become techniques designed to determine the number of UFO cases which can be explained as familiar objects seen under conditions which deluded the observers. (All unofficial competing hypotheses are based on the premise that, after allowing for erroneous observations, the real UFOs are one or possibly two or three phenomena -- e. g., space ships, secret devices, space animals...)
The only sense in which this Deluded Observer hypothesis has any meaning is as a psychological study on the ability of human beings to describe accurately things which they see in the sky. Obviously many observers are fooled, especially when interpreting what has been seen, but less frequently in describing what has been seen. Descriptions from the average intelligent observer with some practical observing experience can be taken as essentially accurate. Interpretations, however, are best left to a community of scientists aided and abetted by crosschecks such as radar or photographic data. If it were true that no observational data is reliable, there could be no science; yet this is the paradoxical assumption underlying the Air Force category studies.
Since "no report is considered unsuitable for study...," it is an easy matter to "confirm" the Deluded Observer hypothesis. Failure to select for study only the observations from intelligent laymen and trained or experienced observers will inevitably lead to a preponderance of poor or inaccurate observations. Thus the Air Force is not testing to learn if real, unique objects are being seen. It is assuming that such objects are not being seen, and attempting to show in each case that some common object could have caused the report. It is not surprising, therefore, that common objects could have caused 90-odd percent of current UFO reports. Whether they did or not is another question which has not been answered in more than a small percentage of cases.
In the case of "unknowns," common objects have been ruled out. Because it is assumed beforehand the observer must have seen some common object which fooled him, however, the possibility of its being an uncommon object is automatically rejected. This leaves the "unknowns" in a state of limbo, carefully camouflaged by irrelevant statistics. Actually, if the Deluded Observer hypothesis were adequate to explain UFOs there would be no need to continue the study, since this hypothesis has been amply "confirmed" by the Air Force.
In attempting to establish delusions, the problem is to explain every case possible in terms of some common phenomenon and, when assumptions are made, it is naturally desirable (and tempting) to choose those which will favor this identification. In the process of attempting to locate a familiar object in the
right place at the right time to account for a UFO report, it is a simple matter to assume that which is not known with any degree of certainty; for example (as in the Mantell case)* that a balloon probably caused the sighting because balloons were being launched during that period of time in the general area; or (as in the Gorman case) ** that a balloon deluded the pilot observer into imagining complex maneuvers because one pilot had previously been deluded by a balloon. Identifications such as this, very common in the Air Force study, are partly responsible for the high percentage of "explained" UFOs. A real identification would, at the very least, produce the records of a balloon launched on the correct date in the general area of the UFO report and show that the balloon probably was at the position where the UFO was seen.
Because the Air Force has always favored the Deluded Observer Hypothesis, it has been at enmity with the Interplanetary Object Hypothesis. As often happens when two diametrically opposed hypotheses collide, the Air Force (as the entrenched authority) has ridiculed and debunked its enemy, denying that there is any evidence for the opposition hypothesis. The worst sort of prejudice, as it manifests itself in science, is clinging to an outmoded and inadequate hypothesis, forcing the evidence to fit it, while at: the same time deriding the opposition for its "science fiction" conclusions. There are a lot of intelligent advocates of the Interplanetary Object Hypothesis and, unlike the Air Force, they approve of and are attempting to encourage a full scientific review of the evidence, as well as an active attempt to gather better data.
The Air Force, it is worth emphasizing, has never made an effort to test an obvious alternative hypothesis--that there may actually be disc-shaped objects flying around, regardless of the question of their origin. Refusal to modify or change a hypothesis even though it has been unable to produce a rational scheme of explanation is unscientific. Instead of producing a rational scheme, the Air Force has produced an irrational scheme in which thousands of serious, competent witnesses are ridiculed, their claims only superficially examined if at all, their sightings automatically considered to be delusions.
The Air Force refusal to release its data to civilian scientists
* Ruppelt, E. J., The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects, p. 59.
** Ruppelt, E. J., op. cit.; D. 67.
makes it nearly impossible to test other hypotheses. Today, official ridicule showers down on anyone audacious enough (1) to think that the "unknowns" might be real, unexplained objects (2) to think that the Air Force investigation might leave something to be desired. Neither of these possibilities is very startling when examined in isolation, but put them together and they seem to make a package which is too incredible for the average person to take seriously. It should be pointed out that criticism and demand for factual evidence is the essence of science, and that no scientific conclusion is beyond question.
Not only is the accumulated data on UFOs kept secret, but also current information of UFO sightings. JANAP 146(C) --a Joint Chiefs of Staff Bulletin -- by threat of fines and stiff punishment prevents both military and civilian pilots from revealing the contents or existence of a CIRVIS (Communications Instructions for Reporting Vital Intelligence Sightings) report, which includes reports of UFOs. * This surprising directive, while encouraging secret UFO reports, drys up the best single source of reliable public information on the subject; namely pilots (military and civilian) flying all over the world. This censorship --for what else can it be called -- makes knowledge of UFOs the exclusive property of the Air Force and a few highly-placed security and defense officials. If UFOs are only misidentified natural phenomena, there is no valid reason for such strict security measures. As long as JANAP 146(C) remains in force, the far-flung military communications network will be worthless for scientific purposes as a source of data. The Air Force investigation is unscientific, most of all, because it has usurped the right to study UFOs, and has substituted dogmatism for science.
This article is not intended as a criticism of the Air Force as a whole. In fulfilling its function, the Air Force is a powerful force for defense of the free world. It is intended as a criticism of those individuals, be they military or civilian, who are responsible for the current policy on UFOs; and especially those who claim that there has been a scientific investigation which has settled the question once and for all.
* A recent revision of this document, JANAP 146 (D), includes Canadian pilots in the CIRVIS network. The wording of the section on "security" has been modified to play down the strict security measures which keep UFO reports secret. The reports, however, are still secret.
FEDERAL AVIATION AGENCY
Jan. 15, I960
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN.
The following in the original records on file at this facility and is all the information contained in this record concerning UFO sighted September 2, 1959. Taken from log of this date. 1259Z
Robert Dickerson Redmond city police reported strange bright light descending rapidly north of the station. At several hundred feet it stopped and hovered for several minutes. He drove toward it on the Prineville highway and turned in toward the airport. At this time the light turned orange and it moved to the northeast of the station very rapidly. Relocated approximately 10 miles northeast of the station estimated 3000 feet. 1310Z
Reported object to Seattle Air Route Control Center. We continued to observe UFO. Stayed very steady and projected long tongues of red, yellow and green light. These tongues of light varied in length and extended and retracted at irregular times. Observed high speed aircraft approaching from southeast. As aircraft approached UFO took shape of mushroom, observed long yellow and red flame from lower side as UFO rose rapidly and disappeared above clouds estimated 14,000 feet, scattered layer, UFO reappeared south of Redmond approximately 20 miles estimated 25,000 feet. Seattle Air Route Control Center advised radar contacted UFO at L420Z located 25 miles south of Redmond at 52,000 feet. No further sightings made at this station. 1511Z
Seattle Air Route Control Center advised UFO still 25 miles south of Redmond, various altitudes from 6,000 to 52,000 feet.
Chief, Redmond Air Traffic
PROCEEDINGS AND DEBATES OF THE 86th CONGRESS, SECOND SESSION
NICAP UFO Report
Extension of Remarks
Hon. Leonard G. Wolf
In the House of Representatives
Wednesday, August 31, 1960
Mr. WOLF. Mr. Speaker, under leave to extend my remarks, I include an urgent warning by Vice Adm. R. H. Hillenkoetter, former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, that certain potential dangers are linked with unidentified flying objects – UFOs. Admiral Hillenkoetter’s request that Congress inform the public as to the facts is endorsed by more than 200 pilots, rocket, aviation, and radar experts, astronomers, military veterans, and other technically trained members of the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena. Among them are Rear Adm. H. B. Knowles; Col. Joseph Bryan III, U.S. Air Force Reserve; Lt. Col. Jas. McAshan, USAFR; Lt. Col. Samuel Freeman, U.S. Army Reserve, Aviation; Mr. J. B. Hartranft, president, Aircraft Owners Pilots Association; Capt. R. B. McLaughlin, Navy Missile expert; Mr. Frank Rawlinson, physicist, National Aeronautical and Space Agency; Dr. Leslie Kaeburn, space consultant, University of Southern California; former Air Force Maj. William D. Leet, with three officially reported UFO encounters while an Air Force pilot; Frank Halstead, 25 years as curator, Darling Observatory; Rear Adm. D. S. Fahrney, former head of the Navy missile program; Col. R. B. Emerson, U. S. Army Reserve, head of Emerson Testing Laboratories; Prof. Charles A. Maney, astrophysicist, Defiance University; Capt. W. B. Nash, Pan American Airways.
The “NICAP Report on Secrecy Dangers,” with documented evidence on UFO’s, was first submitted confidentially to me, and to several other Members of Congress, including Senator LYNDON JOHNSON. In a reply to NICAP, July 6, 1960, Senator JOHNSON stated that he had ordered the staff of the Senate Preparedness Investigating Subcommittee to keep close watch on UFO developments and to report on any recent significant sightings and the Air Force investigations of such sightings.
Although I have not had time for a detailed study, I believe the conclusions of these experienced NICAP officials should be given careful consideration. Certainly their sober evaluations should be completely disassociated from the obvious frauds and delusions about UFO’s which unfortunately have been publicized. The NICAP report is stated to be the result of a 3-year investigation – its conclusions based only on verified visual, radar, and photographic evidence by trained, reputable observers.
On August 20, 1960, NICAP sent me this following statement to be added to the original report:
There is a growing danger that UFO’s may be mistaken for Soviet missiles or jet aircraft, accidentally causing 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 Gen. 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 existence of these UFO’s we will end up, one fine day, by mistaking them for the guided missiles of an enemy – and the worst will be upon us.”
Today, this danger may surpass the one cited in NICAP’s report: That the U.S.S.R. might spread false rumors that the UFO’s are secret Red devices which have mapped all the U.S. and allied targets and could be used as surprise-attack weapons. (Some Americans already suspect hidden fear of UFO’s as the reason for secrecy.)
We are sure you will agree it is imperative to end the risk of accidental war from defense forces’ confusion over UFO’s. All defense personnel, not merely top-level groups, should be told that the UFO’s are real and should be trained to distinguish them – by their characteristic speeds and maneuvers – from conventional planes and missiles. This is not in effect today.
Second, the American people must be convinced, by documented facts, that the UFO’s could not be Soviet machines.
Certainly every Member of Congress will agree that any such danger of accidental war – even if slight – must be averted in every possible way. It is also important to prevent any unfounded fear that the UFO’s are secret enemy devices.
After discussing the subject with colleagues, I am certain that there is a real concern by many Members of Congress. Without necessarily accepting all the conclusions of the NICAP Board of Governors and technical advisors, we are convinced that a thorough study of the UFO problem should be made. Pending such action, I believe that publication of the NICAP report will help to reduce the dangers cited by Vice Admiral Hillenkoetter and the other NICAP officials.
For those Members desiring to do so the previously mentioned confidential report can be obtained upon request at the National Investigation Committee on Aerial Phenomena, 1536 Connecticut Avenue NW., Washington, D.C.
(178) and (179)
CORNING DAILY OBSERVER
CORNING, CALIFORNIA, MONDAY, AUGUST 15, 1960
FOUNDED IN 1887, Vol., 109, No. 31
2 UFOs seen hovering here Saturday night
A pair of unidentified flying objects, (UFOs) were seen by two California Highway Patrol officers, two sheriffs deputies and many resident Saturday night and early Sunday morning.
One of the objects was spotted on the radar screen at the Air Force radar station new Red Bluff.
This morning, however, the lawmen, while reporting fully on the incident, requested that their names not be given.
And this morning the radar station was considerably more vague than it was Saturday midnight when it confirmed the officers’ report of the object.
According to the CHP officers, they spotted the first object over Hoag road east of Corning. They followed it to Vina where they saw it joined by a similar object and then watched as the two objects disappeared quietly below the eastern horizon.
The officers saw the first objects about 11:50 Saturday night and watched until nearly 2 a.m. Sunday when the UFOs departed.
During those two hours they saw the first object perform, “aerial feats which were absolutely unbelievable,” and twice scared it away from them with the red light on their patrol car.
According to the CHP officers they were eastbound on Hoag road when they first spotted what appeared to be a huge airliner dropping from the sky. They stopped their patrol car and got out to watch what they were certain was to be the crash of a large airplane.
Once outside their car the officers were greeted with silence, but concluded that the airliner was falling from the sky without power. At an altitude which the CHP officers estimated at from 20 to 100 feet, however, the object stopped and then reversed its direction at high speed. It climbed to about 500 feet and stopped there.
The lawmen said that the object was “round or oblong”
in shape and was surrounded with a glow which made it visible. It had a red light at each end, and at times as many as five white lights were visible between the red lights.
After a while the UFO moved again, and “performed aerial feats that were absolutely unbelievable.” The officers reported.
At this point the lawmen radio’s the sheriff’s office to request that a contact be made by the radar station at the Air Force installation near Red Bluff. The radar base reportedly confirmed the presence of the “completely unidentified” object.
Scared if off
As the highway patrolmen watched, the object twice came at them, sweeping the area with one of its “huge” red lights. The officers reported that they countered by shining the red light of their patrol car on the descending object and it swerved away from them.
They said that the UFO used its red searchlight six or seven times while they watched.
About this point the UFO began moving slowly in an easterly direction and the officers jumped back in their car and attempted to follow it. They sighted it again when they parked near the Vina fire station.
Here, as they watched, the object was joined by a similar UFO which came from the south. The second object moved near the first and both stopped. They remained in that position for some time, the officers said. Occasionally one or the other would shine its red beam.
Finally, some two hours after they spotted the first UFO, the officers watched as the two objects moved east and disappeared.
The report was second such report in less than a week. Last Monday night, when residents reported hearing two loud sonic booms, two Corning police officers and several residents in the area reported seeing a “ball of fire” in the sky in the direction of Vina.
THE GRIFFIN STATEMENT
Late in 1958, while looking into the Air Force UFO investigation, Washington newsman Bulkey Griffin was invited to visit the UFO project at Air Technical Intelligence Center, Dayton, Ohio, to "see for himself." While there Mr. Griffin was shown some of the files and asked some pointed questions. The following is one of a series of articles he wrote as a result of his investigation.
Holyoke (Mass.) Transcript-Telegram, Friday, Dec. 26, 1958
AIR FORCE CLOAKS SAUCER INFORMATION;
NOT EARNESTLY TRYING TO GET THE TRUTH
(This is the third of four articles about the unidentified flying objects and Air Force information on them, written in the light of our discovery of space travel.) By Bulkey Griffin; T-T Washington Correspondent.
Washington--The bulk of government information on the unidentified flying objects (UFOs) never reaches the public. This is because the Air Force, which has made itself the sole source of this information, withholds it.
To start with, so-called security regulations clamp down in many areas. The public is not told of sightings by military pilots, nor sightings over most military establishments, nor sightings over places like the White House or atomic energy establishments, nor sightings by our far-flung defense radar network.
To these great areas of silence the Air Force has contributed others. In a regulation this year (AFR 200-2) it is decreed that no sighting near an Air Force base--and these bases dot the nation--shall be given the public if the object sighted is possibly an unfamiliar one. It is easy to grasp that this covers every valuable sighting.
The Air Force, in a letter last May to the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, stated it does withhold information from the public but does so chiefly to protect individuals from troublesome notoriety. No one seems to have asked the Air Force why it can't give pertinent details of most sightings without revealing names.
Consider how the Air Force speaks to the public today. It employs infrequent generalized statements. Specific sightings are virtually never mentioned, much less described. This is a good way of dulling public curiosity.
An all-important fact in the general picture is that the Air Force apparently is not making an earnest search for the truth. It would seem that the best way, and possibly the only method today, to get at the truth of reported UFOs instantaneous reversals of flight, quick turns and great speeds, would be to track the UFOs with scientific instruments. In such manner one could at least learn actual speeds and angles of turn. Without going into detail, the evidence is that the Air Force is making no such attempt, and never had made any such serious effort.
One result of the widespread skepticism touching the flying saucers, both in the Air Force and among the public, is that airline pilots and other experts have been discouraged from reporting sightings. Capt. William B. Nash, Pan American Airways pilot, writes: "It is very true that because of the general Air Force attitude--or rather its 'official' attitude--many pilots have been discouraged from relating their experiences."
Capt. Robert Adickes, TWA pilot, referring to the public climate, writes that he doesn't wish "to be subjected to the harassment, ridicule and vilification from crackpots again." Both Adickes and Nash had significant UFO sightings.
Veteran airline pilots are the best practical experts there are in assessing sights in our atmosphere. Capt. Nash is one of these experts who will stand up to be counted. He states: "I am still of the opinion that the avalanche of evidence on this subject points one way and indicates one answer: That UFOs are extraterrestrial and under intelligent control."
SOME STATEMENTS BY SCIENTISTS AND PILOTS
SCIENTISTS WHO HAVE SEEN UNIDENTIFIED OBJECTS
Dr. Clyde W. Tombaugh, famous astronomer, discoverer of the planet Pluto, who has sighted UFOs: "These things, which appear to be directed, are unlike any other phenomena I ever observed."
Prof. Henry Carlock, physics professor at Mississippi College, Jackson, Miss., who observed a UFO for about a minute in 1957: "It had a Halo of light around it and what appeared to be three portholes."
Dr. H. Percy Wilkins, noted British astronomer, who has sighted oval-shaped UFOs on two occasions: "For all we know, Venus may at the present time be the abode of living creatures of an advanced type."
Walter N. Webb, former member of Smithsonian Institution's Tracking Program, currently lecturer on astronomy at Hayden Planetarium in Boston: "I have seen a few genuine UFOs. It is my belief that the mass of authentic, factual evidence available indicates that the true UFOs exist and are interplanetary or interstellar spacecraft."
Seymour L. Hess, astronomer then at Flagstaff, Arizona, who in 1950 saw a spherical or disc-shaped UFO moving against the wind: "I saw no evidence of exhaust gases nor any markings on the object. For that elevation (calculated from meteorological data) I would estimate its speed to be about 100 m. p. h., perhaps as high as 200 m. p. h. This, too, means a powerful craft."
Keith D. Cooper, zoologist and former combat engineer, Portland, Oregon, who in 1950 sighted a silvery UFO which made a sweeping turn and sped ahead of an airplane: "I have seen jet planes since and I had seen them before, and I know this object was quite unlike any of them.”
OTHER STATEMENTS BY SCIENTISTS
Dr. James E. McDonald, University of Arizona Institute of Atmospheric Physics, who in 1958 personally interviewed UFO witnesses in Tucson, Arizona: ''There is no doubt about their veracity. "
Dr. Carl G. Jung, world famous psychologist, in a letter to the NICAP Director: "I am grateful for all the courageous things you have done in elucidating the thorny problem of UFO-reality. The evidence available to me is convincing enough to arouse a continuous and fervent interest. "
John L. Cramer, General Mills Research Director, in a public statement about UFOs: "Someone may have solved the problem of flying through space and may be visiting us."
Frank Korkosz, astronomer at the Springfield, Mass., Museum of Science, who suggested in 1957 that UFOs might be spaceships from Venus observing the earth: "There is a possibility of life on Venus. It has become apparent that whenever Venus comes closest to earth there are reports of unidentified flying objects. "
Prof. Hermann Oberth, noted German rocket scientist who was employed by the U. S. Government: "I believe the flying saucers come from other worlds."
Published Statements by
PILOTS WHO HAVE SEEN UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS
Capt. William B. Nash, Pan American Airways, who saw eight discs maneuvering in formation below his airliner in 1952: "We are certain they were intelligently operated craft from somewhere other than this planet."
Jack E. Puckett, former Air Corps Captain and four-engine pilot, then Assistant Chief of Flying Safety on the staff of Gen. Elwood Quesada, who with his co-pilot and engineer in 1946 watched a rocket-like UFO veer across his path: "We observed it to be a long, cylindrical shape approximately twice the size of a B-29. The object was at the same level as our aircraft."
Capt. Killian, American Airlines, whose airliner in 1959 was paced by three large glowing objects, also seen by passengers and other pilots: "I don't care what the Air Force says. They were definitely not conventional aircraft. I am sure there are people on other planets who have solved the problem of space travel. I sincerely believe their vehicles are coming close to the earth. "
Flight Lt. J. R. Salandin, RAF, whose Meteor jet almost collided with a disc-shaped UFO in 1954: "It looked metallic. It was travelling at tremendous speed."
Capt. S. C. Pierman and First Officer Charles Wheaton, Capital Airlines, who were asked by the CAA (now FAA) to check on unidentified radar targets over Washington, D. C., in 1952. Pierman: "In my years of flying I've seen a lot of falling or shooting stars. These were much faster than anything like that I've ever seen." Wheaton: "Now I feel I have actually seen some active strange objects which defy explanation."
Lt. John W. Kilburn, RAF, who along with ground observers watched a silvery disc follow a Meteor jet as it approached for a landing in 1952: "It was a solid object. I have never seen anything like that in the sky in all my life."
Capt. C. J. Kratovil, TWA, who along with his crew and observers at an airport in 1954 watched a large, white disc moving through the clouds. Upon landing, Kratovil was handed an Air Force statement that he had seen a weather balloon: "If this was a weather balloon, that's the first time I ever saw one travelling against the wind. It sounds like a cover-up to me."
Cmdr. M. B. Taylor, USNR (Ret.), former Navy pilot and guided missile expert under Rear Adm. Delmer S. Fahrney, who in 1949 in the company of many other airmen at an air show saw a circular, apparently metallic object fly past, make a sharp turn, and disappear from view: "The sighting was definitely of some flying object unlike anything then or even presently known."
Capt. W. T. Rainbow, New Zealand National Airways, who with his copilot and passengers watched a glowing UFO overtake and pass his airliner in 1955: "It was definitely not a comet or meteor. I have never seen anything like it before."
Capt. Richard Case, American Airlines, who with other pilots saw a large, oval-shaped object flash past his airliner over Indianapolis in 1952: "It was a controlled craft of some sort, going three times faster than we were."
Capt. James Howard and his co-pilot Lee Boyd, British Overseas Airways, who in 1954 watched a large UFO with several smaller satellite objects pace their airliner; Howard: "I'll swear they were solid." Boyd: "We saw something solid, something maneuverable, and something that was being controlled intelligently."
Lt. Cmdr. John C. Williams, USN (Ret.), a Naval aviator for 10 years, who with his wife and several other witnesses observed a disc-shaped object hover and move back and forth for several minutes in 1952: "It looked like two saucers, one inverted on top of the other. Its speed was unbelievable."
OTHER PILOTS WHO HAVE SEEN UFOs
USMC pilots Maj. Charles Scarborough, Capt. R. L. Jorgenson, Capt. Don Holland, USAF pilots: Col. D. J. Blakeslee (Wing Commander), Lt. D. C. Brigham, Lt. H. G. Combs, Lt. William Patterson. TWA pilots: Capt. W. W. Hawkins, Capt Robert Adickes, Capt. Robert Manning. American Airlines pilots: Capt. Willis Sperry, Capt. Paul Carpenter. Eastern Airlines pilots: Capt. C. S. Chiles, F/O J. B. Whitted, Capt. Truman Gile, Jr. Chicago & Southern Airlines pilots: Capt. Jack Adams, F/O Ralph Stevens. United Airlines pilots: Capt. E. J. Smith, F/O G. W. Anderson. Air National Guard pilots: Lt. George Gorman, Capt Thomas Mantell, Northrup test pilot Rex Hardy, Jr., former Lt. Cmdr., Naval Air Service. Capt. D. Barker, ANA Australian airline. Capt. Dario Celis, Venezuelian airline.
The Aeronautical Division of General Mills, Inc., of Minneapolis, Minnesota, launched and tracked every skyhook balloon that has been sent aloft previously to the middle of 1952. "They knew what their balloons looked like under all lighting conditions and they also knew meteorology, aerodynamics, astronomy, and they knew UFOs . . . . . What made these people so sure that UFOs existed? In the first place, they had seen many of them. One man told me that one tracking crew had seen so many that the sight of a UFO no longer even especially interested them. And the things that they saw couldn't be explained."*
Given below are testimonies of two separate sightings of UFOs by Mr. J. J. Kaliszewski, Supervisor of Balloon Manufacture at General Mills, which serve as additional illustrations of such observations, an example of which is given in Captain Ruppelt's book.
From: J. J. Kaliszewski
Subject: Unidentified Object Observation
Time: 1010, 10 October, 1951
Place: 10 miles east of St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin
Observers J. J. Kaliszewski and Jack Donaghue
We had just spotted our trajectory flight and were approaching from the north at an altitude of 4,000 feet. We started a climb towards the balloon on a course of 230°. At 6,000 feet I noticed a strange object crossing the skies from East to West, a great deal higher and behind our balloon. I estimate that our balloon was approximately 20,000 feet at the time.
Using our balloon for comparison, this object appeared to be about 1/4 the size of the balloon. We were climbing and about six miles northeast of the balloon. The object had a peculiar glow to it, crossing behind and above our balloon from East to West very rapidly, first coming in at a slight dive, leveling off for about a minute and slowing down, then into a sharp left turn and climb at an angle of 50° to 60° into the southeast with a terrific acceleration, and disappeared.
Jack Donaghue and I observed this object for approximately two minutes and it crossed through an arc of approximately 40°- 45°. We saw no vapor trail and from past experience I know that this object was not a balloon, jet, conventional aircraft, or celestial star.
s/J. J. Kaliszewski
* Report on Unidentified Flying Objects, E. J. Ruppelt, Doubleday & Co., c. 1956, p. 161
From: J. J. Kaliszewski
Subject: Sighting of Unidentified Objects
Time: 0630, 11 October 1951
Dick Reilly and I were flying at 10, 000 feet observing the grab bag balloon when I saw a brightly glowing object to the southeast of the University of Minnesota airport. At that time we were a few miles north of Minneapolis and heading east. I pointed it out to Dick and we both made the following observation: The object was moving from east to west at a high rate and very high. We tried keeping the ship on a constant course and using reinforcing member of the windshield as a point. The object moved past this member at about 5° per second.
This object was peculiar in that it had what can be described as a halo around it with a dark undersurface. It crossed rapidly and then slowed down and started to climb in lazy circles slowly. The pattern it made was like a falling oak leaf inverted. It went through these gyrations for a couple of minutes. I called our tracking station at the University of Minnesota airport and the observers there on the theodolite managed to get glimpses of a number of them, but couldn't keep the theodolite going fast enough to keep them in the field of their instruments. Both Doug Smith and Dick Dorion caught glimpses of these objects in the theodolite after I notified them of their presence by radio. This object, Dick and I watched for approximately five minutes.
I don't know how to describe its size, because at the time I didn't have the balloon in sight for a comparison.
Two hours later we saw another one, but this one didn't hang around. It approached from the west and disappeared to the east, neither one leaving any trace of vapor trail.
s/ J. J. Kaliszewski
ELECTRO-MAGNETIC EFFECTS ASSOCIATED
WITH UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS
Washington D. C., NICAP Subcommittee
During October and November, 1957, a new rash of unidentified flying objects (UFO) reports broke out in the United States and other countries. The frequency of the reports was so great that the stories were widely reported on the newswires, making headlines around the country. In the United States the reports seemed to be concentrated in the Southwest and Midwest. A feature of these sightings was that, in case after case, automobiles were reported to have stalled in the presence of the UFOs. Other "electromagnetic" effects (E-M), such as the failure of lights, also were reported.
The former Chief of the Air Force UFO Investigation, Captain Edward J. Ruppelt, asked to comment on the 1957 reports, stated: "During my tenure with Project Blue Book we had reports of radiation and induction fields in connection with UFOs, however the information was sketchy and we were never able to pin it down." Ruppelt characterized the 1957 electromagnetic cases as "a whole new dimension to the UFO investigation."
On November 9, 1957, while these reports were still being made, the following was put on the Associated Press newswires:
Washington, Nov. 9 (AP)--A device capable of disrupting the operation of motor vehicles or other mechanical equipment is one of the things the Armed Forces would like to see developed. But Leonard Hardland, Chief Engineer of the National Inventors Council, said today in response to an inquiry that he does not know of any research in this country aimed at producing a device that could stall automobiles or cause radios to fade.
Such happenings have been reported in the last several days in the Southwest in connection with the reported sighting of a mysterious object in the skies.
Since 1947 similar E-M effects have occurred in the presence of UFOs in at least the following countries: France, England, Italy, Norway, Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Venezuela, Canada, and Australia. Also in the new states of Hawaii and Alaska. The implication of these reports is that, whatever UFOs may be, they appear to affect electrical circuits under certain conditions. There is no absolute proof, but the repeated association of this effect with plainly visible unidentifiable aerial objects can leave little doubt that it is valid to say the UFOs caused the effects. Any other interpretation would imply a chain of coincidences of such magnitude that it would be more incredible than accepting the fact of car-stalling UFOs.
The purpose of this report is to explore this one aspect of the UFO mystery: Electromagnetic effects which occurred at the same time a UFO was seen. The study was undertaken by a Subcommittee of the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP), which obtained help from many sources during the course of its investigation. We are grateful to Mr. C. W. Fitch, Cleveland, Ohio, for a detailed report submitted to us, portions of which have been incorporated into this report. The study would not have been possible without the data uncovered by serious investigators and UFO organizations in the past several years, including: Aime Michel, France; J. Escobar Faria, Brazil; A. P. R. O., New Mexico; C. S. I., New York; and Max B. Miller, California.
The Subcommittee convened for the first time on July 30, 1959. Not having a uniform body of data, our first task was to assemble as many reports of E-M effects as possible. This required a search of the UFO literature, cross checking of sources, and verification of the factual accuracy of news reports whenever possible. The Subcommittee sought first-hand testimony in important cases. However, probably due to the controversial nature of the subject, it was not often possible to obtain the full cooperation of witnesses.
From the resulting chronology the more detailed reports are the well-verified ones which appeared to provide significant clues were selected for special study. All cases which fit our definition of an E-M report are listed in the main chronology. Other borderline reports which have some characteristics of E-M cases are listed in a secondary chronology.
This appendix contains a digest of the data examined by the Subcommittee, maps illustrating the scope of the phenomenon, and summary reports of significant features. Conclusions are, of necessity, sketchy; however, the Subcommittee felt that a pilot study of this sort would be valuable in calling attention to the E-M phenomenon, pointing out fruitful lines of investigation, and suggesting means of acquiring better data.
If this report helps to point out the need for a more complete and scientific investigation of UFOs in general, and provokes some thought on the subject, the Subcommittee will feel that its efforts have been worthwhile.
Richard Lechaux, Chairman Jim Stowell (Research Analyst)
Tom Shelton (Research Analyst) Eli Bernzweig,(Attorney)
Jack Brotzman (Electronic Scientist) Richard Hall (Editor)
Washington, D. C., June 1960.
Experts Ordered to Start Probe of Lights in Southwest
El Paso Texas Times
Nov. 7, 1957
Sighting ‘Shakes’ Scientists
Some of the nation’s top scientists are “pretty shook up” about the mysterious flying objects sighted in New Mexico and West Texas skies this week, said Charles Capen Wednesday night.
Capen, connected with several scientific projects at White Sands Proving Ground, N. M., and the Physical Sciences Laboratory at New Mexico A&M, said, “This is something that hasn’t happened before.
“The scientists have heard the cry ‘wolf’ so much they don’t get excited easily, but some of the top scientists are pretty shook up “about this thing.”
Capen said the subject of the objects was “pretty hushed up” at White Sands Wednesday, although they had been the principal topic of conversation earlier in the week.
“They just weren’t talking about it today,” he said. “The topic of conversation has switched back to Sputnik II and the possible launching of a Russian lunar rocket.”
He said instruments had been set up by White Sands Proving Ground and the Las Cruces Astronomical Society in hopes of catching a glimpse of a rocket if one was launched during the lunar eclipse early Thursday.
If a rocket was launched, Capen said the cameras possibly would catch a silhouette of the rocket or a flash of color going toward the moon.
MANY SEE VENUS
Many El Pasoans thought they saw one of the mysterious flying objects Wednesday night. But it was identified as the planet Venus.
Venus, according to Capen, is closer to earth than usual during this time of year.
“The planet appears in the west, near the horizon,” he said, “and haze in the atmosphere could give it a reddish color. The planet will move closer to the earth until the first week in December, when it will be bright enough to cast a shadow.
“This sort of thing happens quite often, but people weren’t aware of it until they began watching the sky for the satellites and flying saucers.”
The first mysterious object sighted was near Levelland, Texas, early last Sunday, where autos were stalled in the vicinity of the object. More cars were stalled near Orogrande, N.M., Monday, when an object of similar description was sighted there.
Air Defense Command to Have Trained Men Take Over Inquiry, Report to Intelligence.
By the Associated Press
WASHINGTON, Nov. 5 –
The Air Force said today it has assigned trained investigators to look into the flurry of reported sightings of strange flying objects.
The radar network of the Air Defense Command is keeping watch, the Air Force said, but it has reported no radar sightings.
An Air Force spokesman said the investigation has been entrusted to persons specifically qualified for such work.
These investigators work under the Air Defense Command, which has headquarters at Colorado Springs, Colo., and report to the Air Technical Intelligence Center.
The latest report on flying objects came from the Coast Guard cutter Sebago, which radioed that it spotted a brilliant object in the sky this morning about 200 miles south of the Mississippi River.
“Planet” Circled Ship
The unidentified object was first sighted at 5:10 A.M., the Coast Guard said. Radar contact with the object was retained intermittently from 5:10 AM to 5:37 AM, with the object visible to the naked eye for 16 minutes beginning at 5:21 AM.
The report from the Sebago, on duty in the Gulf of Mexico, said the object “resembled a brilliant planet” and was travelling at a high speed.
Half the Size of Auto
In North Louisiana, four persons told state police they sighted a bright object about half the size of an automobile rising from the ground near Monroe Monday night.
And in Lubbock, Tex., a missile engineer reported seeing a “brilliant colored egg-shaped object” which he said stalled cars in New Mexico Monday.
Witnesses say a mystery object skipped about the countryside near Lubbock and near scientific military bases in New Mexico over the weekend. The reported objects startled citizens, peace officers and servicemen, but apparently left no concrete trace.
“As Bright as the Sun”
James Stokes, 45, an engineer from the Air Force missile development center at Holloman Air Force Base, Alamogordo, N. M., told news director Terry Clark of KALG, Alamogordo, then ten autos were stopped Monday on an isolated desert highway, U. S. 54, between White Sands Proving Grounds and Alamogordo.
The “planet” moved in concentric circles around the ship, according to the report, and was headed northward toward the Louisiana Coast.
The Coast Guard in New Orleans said it is alerting ships to keep a watch for the object, whose whirling flight covered at least 175 miles during the 27 minutes it was tracked by the Sebago.
November “Flap” 1957
Weird ‘Thing’ to be probed by Air Force
More Phantoms Seen in Virginia, Chicago
WASHINGTON, Nov. 4 (AP)
--The Air Force today undertook an investigation of a huge, strangely lighted mystery object reported to have flashed over West Texas.
Reports of strange flying objects have been popping up for years, but this one had the support of a variety of witnesses, including a sheriff and one of his deputies.
It impressed the Air Force sufficiently to call for at least a preliminary investigation.
“We don’t investigate all of them, after all,” an Air Force spokesman said.
A most unusual thing about the object reported Saturday and Sunday was that witnesses said their car engines stopped and their lights went out when they drove near it.
It was variously described as a burning mass, a big light, and an egg-shaped object 200 feet long.
Meanwhile, there were reports on strange things happening in the skies over Chicago and over the Virginia-North Carolina border.
Three policemen and a fireman in Chicago’s suburban Elmwood Park said they saw a peculiar round glowing thing in the early morning sky today. They said their car lights appeared to dim as they kept the prowl car spotlight focused on the thing.
At Martinsville, Va., Mrs. Ruby Hairston said she and her family saw a strange red glare last night while driving to Bassett, Va., from Philpot Lake on the Carolina border.
“It faded from bright red to a pale amber pink, then brightened again,” she said.
Mrs. Robert Moudy of Covington, Ind., told newsmen her husband had seen “a thing” in the sky Oct. 14. She said her husband told only her about it and they did not mention it to anyone else because they feared ridicule.
Mrs. Moudy said her husband related the engine of his combine went dead when the object – flat, oval shaped, about 200 feet long with what appeared to be a large ball of fire in the center – zoomed over a farm near Foster, Ind. Her husband said the object made a screaming noise “like an auto tire squealing on a fast take-off,” she said.
Mystery Object Stalls Autos in West Texas
November 4, 1957
Levelland, Texas. (AP) – West Texans puzzled Sunday over accounts of a mystery object, big and ablaze with light, dozens told of seeing in the sky and several said they found in roadways.
Observers told newsmen of at least five instances in which the engines of cars approaching the phantom object Saturday night and early Sunday were unaccountably stalled, but restarted as the phenomenon rose into the air.
Sheriff Weir Clem, who said he observed the brilliant light but didn’t get a close view, reported one witness who fainted from fright.
Police Patrolman A. J. Fowler, on duty in Levelland as reports poured in from startled residents, said at least 15 persons told of getting a good look and dozens sighted what appeared to be flashes of light.
“They seemed to agree that thus something was 200 feet long, shaped like an egg and was lit up like it was on fire – but looked more like neon lights,” Fowler related.
“They said it was about 200 feet in the air, and when it got close car motors and lights would go off. Everybody who called was very excited.”
There also were reports of an unexplained light in the sky far across the state between Sherman and McKinney, and two men said pulsating green flashed streaked between clouds near Odessa, about 130 miles south of here in west Texas.
Cases included in this chronology represent reports in which a distinct UFO, either a plainly visible object or light source (not diffuse or intermittent flashes of light), was observed at the same time and place that a definite electromagnetic effect (E-M) such as a car stalling occurred.
In most cases the same witness or groups of witnesses both saw the UFO and experienced the E-M effect. In a few cases, however, those who experienced an E-M effect did not see any UFO, but separate witnesses nearby did. The latter were only included if it could be determined that the UFO was seen in the same locality and at approximately the same time. These cases will denoted by an asterisk (*).
- Aug. 28, 1945; nr Iwo Jima. C-46 had engine trouble, lost altitude. Three UFOs observed from plane at same time.
- June 24, 1947: Cascade Mts., Oregon. Compass needle waved wildly.
- Fall 1949: New Mexico. Music on car radio blanked out by static (as UFO passed over car.)
- (*) Jan. 9, 1953: Kerrville, Texas. Odd "roaring" interference on radio (as UFO circled town.)
- Jan. 29, 1954: nr Santa Ana, Calif. Car radio quit and motor missed (as UFO passed low over car).
- June 21, 1954: Ridgeway, Ont., Canada. Car motor quit (as UFO crossed highway ahead of car).
- Aug. 30, 1954: Porto Alegre, Brazil. House lights failed.
- Sept. 18, 1954: New Mexico. Strange green fireball; radio, TV and airport radio interference.
- Oct. 7, 1954: St-Jean-d'Asse, France, Car motor and headlights failed (UFO in sky above road).
- Oct. 9, 1954: Cuisy (Seine-et-Marne), France. Car motor and headlights failed.
- Oct. 11, 1954: Fronfrede (Loire), France. Car motor and headlights failed (as UFO crossed road below cloud cover).
- Oct. 11, 1954: Clamecy (Nievre), France. Car motor and headlights failed; passengers felt shock and paralysis. (UFO in meadow next to road.)
- Oct. 11, 1954: Chateauneuf-sur-Charente, France. Car motor and headlights failed. (Two UFOs at low altitude ahead of car.)
- Oct. 14, 1954: nr Brosses-Thillot, Saone-et-Loire, France. Motorcycle stalled.
- Oct. 16, 1954: Baillolet (Seine-Inferieure), France. (Four UFOs' at low altitude ahead of car; one descended toward road,) Shock and paralysis felt, car motor and headlights failed.
- Oct. 18, 1954: Coheix (Puy-de-Dome), France. Driver of light truck felt half paralyzed, motor began missing. (UFO in nearby field.)
- Oct, 20, 1954: Schirmeck, France. Autoist felt paralyzed, motor stalled, heat felt. (UFO on road.)
- Oct. 21, 1954: nr La Rochelle, France. Motorist and child felt shock and heat, motor and headlights failed (then luminous UFO became visible ahead of car).
- Oct. 27, 1954: nr Linzeux, France. Headlights and motor failed, two passengers felt "electric shock.” (UFO passed ahead of car.)
- Nov. 14, 1954: Forli, Italy. Conventional and Diesel tractors driving side by side; conventional stalled, Diesel did not.
- Dec. 5, 1954: North East, Pa., House radio "pulsated" (as UFO observed over lake).
- Feb. 2, 1955: nr Valera, Venezuela. Commercial airliner enroute from Barquisimeto; radio went dead at Valera and Barquisimeto (as pilot started to report UFO sighting).
- Apr. 6, 1955: New Mexico. Three unusual green fireballs; heavy radio and TV disturbances.
- June 26, 1955: Washington, D. C . . . National Airport ceiling lights went out as UFO approached. UFO caught in searchlight beam, searchlight went out.
- August 25, 1955: Bedford, Indiana. House lights dimmed and brightened (as hovering UFO pulsated).
- (*) May 1, 1956: Tokyo, Japan. TV distortion.
- October 1956: Oslo, Norway. Autoist felt "prickly sensation,” wristwatch magnetized (according to jeweler). (UFO flew in front of car and hovered over road.)
- Nov. 16, 1956: Lemmon, S. D. Railroad phones, automatic block system "mysteriously dead," Western Union service disrupted.
- December 1956: Far East. Visual and radar sighting of UFO by jet pilot, radar jammed by strong interference. Pilot switched frequency, eliminated interference for 10 seconds; then weaker interference on second frequency.
- Apr. 14, 1957: Vins-sur-Caraney, France. Metal signs magnetized. Fifteen degree deviation of compass noted only in immediate area of sighting.
- (*) Apr. 19, 1957: Maiquetia, Venezuela. Airliner enroute to Maiquetia sighted UFO. Strange radio signals received at Maiquetia Airport at same time.
- May 31, 1957: Kent, England. Airliner suffered radio failure during UFO sighting. Normal functions returned when UFO left.
- Aug. 14, 1957: nr Joinville, Brazil. Airliner cabin lights dimmed and engine sputtered during UFO sighting.
- Oct. 15, 1957: Covington, Indiana. Combine engine failed.
- Oct. 30, 1957: Casper, Wyoming. Car motor kept stalling as motorist tried to turn around (to avoid UFO on road).
- Oct. 31, 1957: Lumberton, N. C. Car motor failed.
- Nov. 2, 1957: nr Seminole, Texas. Car motor and headlights failed. (UFO on road.)
- Nov. 2 or 3, 1957: Amarillo, Texas. Car motor failed. (UFO on road.)
- Nov. 2-3, 1957: Levelland, Texas, Series. Four instances of car motor and lights failing. Many witnesses sighted egg-shaped UFO on or near ground.
- Nov. 3, 1957: nr Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Car motor missed, headlights flickered (as UFO arced over car).
- Nov. 3-4, 1957: Ararangua, Brazil. Airliner ADF (direction finder) right generator, and transmitter-receiver burnt during UFO sighting.
- Nov. 4, 1957: Elmwood Park, Illinois. Squad car lights and spotlight dimmed (as police pursued low-flying UFO).
- Nov. 4, 1957: Toronto, Ontario, Canada. TV interference (audio). (Viewers called out by neighbors to see UFO.)
- Nov. 4, 1957: Orogrande, N. M. Car motor stalled, radio failed, heat felt. (James Stokes, White Sands engineer.)
- Nov. 4, 1957: Kodiak, Alaska. A "steady dit-dit-dit" interference on police radio (during UFO sighting).
- (*) Nov. 5, 1957: Hedley, Texas. Farmer saw UFO, Neighbor reported TV cut off at same time.
- Nov. 5, 1957: Hobbs, New Mexico. Speeding car, motor failed, lights went out (as UFO swooped over car).
- (*) Nov. 5, 1957: Ringwood, Illinois. UFO followed car returning to town. TV sets in Ringwood dimmed, finally lost both picture and sound during same time period.
- Nov. 5, 1957: South Springfield, Ohio. Car and cab stalled.
- Nov. 5, 1957: Pell City, Alabama. Car motor stalled (as driver attempted to approach UFO hovering low over ground).
- Nov. 5 or 6, 1957: Sao Vicente, Brazil, Itaipu Fort electrical system failed, sentries felt heat (as UFO approached and hovered).
- Nov. 6, 1957: Houston, Texas. Car motor stalled, radio blanked with static.
- Nov. 6, 1957: Santa Fe, N. M. Car motor failed, car clock and wrist-watch stopped (as UFO passed low over car).
- Nov. 6, 1957: Danville, Illinois. Police chased UFO. Unable to notify headquarters "because their radio went mysteriously dead."
- Nov. 6, 1957: nr Ottawa, Ont., Canada. Battery radio and portable short wave radio failed; then single tone signal heard one short-wave frequency. (UFO had been hovering below overcast. Radios worked normally after UFO left.)
- Nov. 6, 1957: Toronto, Ont., Canada. Interference on TV (audio), just before viewer was called out by neighbors to see UFO.
- (*) Nov. 6, 1957: Montville, Ohio. Woman's TV blurred. Next day found automobile pockmarked. Night of Olden More report of UFO on ground about one-half mile from woman's home.
- Nov. 8, 1957: Lake Charles, La. Car motor sputtered and failed (as UFO hovered low overhead).
- Nov. 7, 1957: nr Orogrande, N. M. Automobile travelling about 60 m. p. h. Speedometer waved wildly between 60 and 110. (UFO sighted few minutes later. Car was 1954 Mercury, with magnetic speedometer.)
- Nov. 9. 1957: nr White Oaks, N. M. Car lights failed.
- Nov. 10, 1957: Hammond, Indiana. Loud beeping caused radio interference (as police chased UFO). Motorist reported radio failure. TV blackout in city.
- (*) Nov. 12, 1957: Rumney, N. H. Car motor and lights failed. (Ground Observer Corps reported UFO at same time.)
- Nov. 14, 1957: Hazelton, Pa. TV disrupted.
- Nov. 14, 1957: Tamaroa, Illinois. Power failed for 10 minutes in a four-mile area (just after hovering UFO flashed).
- Nov. 15, 1957: Cachoeira, Brazil. Several car motors failed as drivers attempted to approach UFO on ground).
- Nov. 25, 1957: Mogi Mirim, Brazil. All city lights failed (as three UFOs passed overhead).
- Dec. 3, 1957: nr Ellensburg, Wash. Truck motor "almost stopped," but caught again. (Police confirmed UFO sighting.)
- Dec. 3, 1957: Cobalt, Ont., Canada. Radio static (as several UFOs seen over area).
- Dec. 18, 1957: Sarasota, Fla. TV interference.
- Jan. 13, 1958: Casino, N. S. W... Australia. Interference on car (as UFO followed car).
- Jan. 30, 1958, nr Lima, Peru. Truck, bus, and car passengers felt shock; motors of all three vehicles failed. (UFO descended and hovered.
- Aug. 3, 1958: Rome, Italy. Car radio failed; city lights failed.
- Aug. 31, 1958: La Verde, Argentina. Piper aircraft engine increased its revolutions abnormally (during UFO sighting). Engine normal after UFO left.
- Oct. 26, 1958: Baltimore, Maryland. Car motor and headlights failed, two passengers felt heat. (UFO hovering over bridge ahead of car)
- Jan. 13, 1959: Greenville, Pennsylvania. Truck motor, lights and radio failed (as UFO hovered over truck).
- Jan. 13, 1959: Bygholm, Denmark. Car motor failed (as UFO passed over car). Headlights and spotlight worked.
- Feb. 25, 1959: Hobbs, New Mexico. Signals on car radio, steady succession of two dots and a dash (as UFO passed).
- June 22, 1959: Salta, Argentina. City lights failed.
- Aug. 13, 1959: Freeport, Texas. Car motor and headlights failed (as UFO crossed road ahead at low altitude).
- Oct. 22, 1959: Cumberland, Maryland. Car motor, headlights, and radio failed (as UFO hovered low over road ahead).
- Jan. 18, 1960: nr Lakota, North Dakota. Car lights dimmed (as UFO descended toward field about a mile off highway).----------------------------------