Although the reason for my post on the “Close Encounters Chase” was simply to point out that there had been a negative impact on the lives of some of the police officers involved, other points have been raised. So, I have been looking at some of other material available. My original intent here was to just show that part of the Air Force explanation was a blatant lie (which is obvious from the record of the case), but I’m going to expand it slightly.
First, the lie. The Air Force, on the Project [Blue Book] Card, lists the following explanations. 1. PHOTO: (PROCESSING DEFECTS) 2. SATELLITE 3. Astro (VENUS).
I’ll ignore the discussion of the photographs because they aren’t very good and I could argue that if the Air Force fudged one part of the explanation, why should we accept the rest, but I’ll let that go. Instead I’ll focus on the second part of the explanation which is the beginning of the sighting. The Air Force claimed that the object moving from west to east across the sky was a satellite.
In an undated Memo for the Record in the Project Blue Book files, it said, “The following agencies were called by airman [sic] Elmer to find out if one of the satellites Echo I, II, ; Pegusus [sic] I, II, III, would be visable [sic] in the area at the time of the sighting on 17 April 66.”
From the Goddard Space Flight Center, in response to the inquiries, “Definitaly [sic] not ECHOI or ECHOII they were over the southern hemisphere at the time of the sighting.”
Robert Sheaffer, on page 250 in his book, The UFO Verdict, wrote, “Neither Pegasus nor any other bright satellites had been visible.” He also noted that his friend and colleague, James Oberg had been able to find that information relatively easily some ten years after the fact.
So, the Air Force, with no evidence whatsoever, wrote off part of the case as a satellite. Even their own files show that this explanation for part of the sighting doesn’t work.
And that would have been the end of this post, but I found something else in the book written by Hector Quintanilla, the final chief of Project Blue Book and who retired as a lieutenant colonel. In writing about this case, he noted:
He [Hynek] reasoned that a policeman, a Congressman, a professor, a reporter, the biggest hobby club in the United States were all involved and if I didn’t change my evaluation they would make life miserable for me. They did make life miserable for me, but I never did change my evaluation. I would have changed the evaluation on scientific merit, but not because of political pressure.
But, as we can see, that statement is not accurate. The files showed no evidence of a satellite in the right area at the right time moving in the right direction. Although the Air Force’s halfhearted effort failed to eliminate the Pegasus satellites, they could have learned that with a little more effort. Once there were a few cracks in the satellite explanation, Quintanilla should have reevaluated it and eliminated it because it wasn’t true.
Here’s the point. The Air Force was again caught with an explanation that didn’t work. The evidence was stacked against it, but clearly they, which is to say Quintanilla, weren’t about to open a flood gate by changing what, to his mind, was a good explanation.
Before we get into a long debate about the rest of the sighting, or what it was that Dale Spaur saw in the west, let me say that it is only the satellite explanation that can be rejected based on this information. Even the skeptics seem to agree with that.
We can’t reject other explanations for other parts of the sighting based on this limited information but we can reject this segment. It does demonstrate the mindset of those in the Air Force when conducting their investigations. Clearly they knew better but it seems that they just didn’t care. Their answer was posted and that was it.