I’m watching the ABC Evening News, something I attempt to avoid because there is so little news in the broadcast (but that’s another story) and they tell me that the Project Blue Book files are now declassified and on line. I’m wondering what they mean because they have been on line for quite some time.
They’re referring to John Greenwald’s efforts to post all of these files at his Black Vault website, and his effort is commendable. But NICAP had many of the files on line for years and I have never found a gap in the Fold 3’s Blue Book files also on line. Or, in other words, the only “news” here is that John has provided us with another site where we can see these files.
ABC also seemed to suggest that this was something new. The Air Force had finally released all of the files of its investigation, except, of course, they did that in 1976. I made a trip down to Maxwell Air Force Base and spent time going through the files*. Anyone could have done it but the fact the files had been declassified hadn’t been announced publically. There had been some sort of announcement in an Air Force bulletin that I happened to see, so I made arrangements to take a look.
And once those files were transferred to the National Archives in Washington, D.C., they were more accessible to the public. You could buy the microfilm copies for something like eight or ten dollars a roll back then, but there were ninety some rolls of them. Over the years I actually managed to obtain a full set of the microfilms, so I’ve had all of the Blue Book files in my office for a couple of decades.
The statistics “announced” by ABC didn’t tell the whole story either, and they seemed to think Blue Book began as a result of the Roswell UFO crash (Roswell isn’t even mentioned in the Blue Book files except a short paragraph in a newspaper clipping that is part of another file), but actually the idea for an investigation can be traced back to December 1946 and probably had more to do with the Ghost Rockets of Sweden and some sightings in the US than it did with either Roswell or the Kenneth Arnold sightings. I laid this out in Government UFO Files, along with documentation to support the idea.
They said that 701 cases of the some 12,000 remained unidentified but the truth is that many of the cases are labeled, but not identified. These are labeled as “insufficient data for a scientific analysis.” In many of those cases all the information necessary for a complete investigation is included, but it is labeled that way. This was an attempt to reduce the number of unidentified cases by labeling them as something else and that is all that it was.
In addition to that, many cases that are labeled with a solution are clearly in error. For example, the Portage County UFO chase of 1966. (It was on April 17 and involved several police officers, deputy sheriffs and their supervisors and a stylized version was seen at the beginning of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. See also my posting here on May 20, 2014 for more information.). It has been explained as a combination of Venus and a satellite. The police officers saw the satellite in the west and as it passed over them, as they chased it across Ohio and into Pennsylvania; their attention was then drawn to Venus. The trouble here, as outlined in the Project Blue Book files is that there were no satellites visible in that part of the United States at that time of the morning. Letters and other documents in the Blue Book file prove this, yet the satellite portion of the solution is allowed to stand.
To make it worse, drawings made by the police officers show what was visible in the sky. Those drawings mark the position of the UFO, that of the moon, and that of Venus. Or, to put a point on it, the police officers did see Venus and identified it as such. But the label on the case, which is clearly in error, is allowed to stand and the case is shown to have a solution.
There are many such cases in the Blue Book files. Cases in which the solutions are simply not borne out of the documentation available. Yet we continue to hear about only 701 unidentified cases when the number is probably closer to 5000 when the solutions are examined carefully and those labeled as insufficient data are included. Insufficient data is not a solution, but is a label other than unidentified.
It was good to see a news report that treated UFOs seriously. It was not so good to see facts and figures used that were clearly inaccurate. I’m sure John knew the difference but I’ll wager that the reporter looked at a few things on line, misunderstood them, and ran with his story. The best thing about all this is that you don’t have to believe me. You can look it all up in the Black Vault.
*Bob Cornett and I might have the first outsiders to go through the Blue Book files. The first thing we did was list all the unidentified cases complete with the names and locations. When the files were released into the public mainstream the names had been redacted. We could, of course, put the names back in… but the job of redacting was poorly done and in most of the case files you can find the names. A complete listing of the unidentified cases is available in Project Blue Book – Exposed in both hardback and as a Kindle ebook.
I will note that Jack Webb, in preparation for his TV series about Project Blue Book paid to have all the files microfilmed. We all owe him thanks for doing that.