Yes, like many of you, I tuned in for the first installment of Unidentified: Inside America’s UFO Investigation, Friday night. Let me say, up front, that there really was nothing new here, except that it had the trappings of a serious program. Before I explain what I mean by “nothing new,” let point out a couple of other things.
We open, more or less, with the tale by a Navy pilot with her face blacked out and a warning to never mention her name, even in private emails. She’s worried about her career if she talks about seeing a flying saucer. But we learn that she was assigned to the USS Nimitz, and the 41 Squadron, which would serve to identify her for the Navy, if they chose to pursue it. How many female pilots were in that particular unit on that particular ship at that particular time? Her identify is hidden only from those of us out here in the civilian world… but this sort of thing makes for good television.
We do learn the name of the lead pilot , CMR David Fravor, and we see him in his rather nice house. He tells the story that he has been told before. He tells of seeing the object, shaped like a tic-tac, that is about 40 feet in diameter, and which makes amazing maneuvers that are impossible for any aircraft in the current inventory. There is video footage from the Heads Up Display that tends to corroborate what he is saying… though no real analysis of the image was presented. You can watch an interview with him here:
We do hear from a number of former power players from the Washington establishment, though John Podesta has been talking about UFOs for a long time. Luis Elizondo was part of the AATIP program, that is, the newest and latest of the government investigations about UFOs. However, John Greenewald has supplied some disturbing information about this. You can read about this aspect of it here:
I will note that George Knapp has allegedly released a document that has Elizondo’s name on some sort of distribution list. I haven’t been able to find it, and a name on a distribution list does nothing to confirm the claim that Elizondo was in charge of the AATIP program. This is one of those things that pop up in UFO research all the time to complicate matters.
Moving on, the interesting thing about this new television series, was that rather than delving into all the wild theories and putting up fake documents as if they were real, they stuck to a conservative point of view. We are shown, for the most part, the witnesses and we see their testimony corroborated by video. We learn that many military pilots have seen UFOs, interacted with them, but fail to report the sightings because of the stigma attached to them. No rational person wants to be tarred with the nut case label that so often accompanies a UFO report.
Now, I said earlier that there wasn’t really anything new here. I meant, simply, that this program could have been made 75 years ago, if we had TV documentaries then. We had military pilots reporting UFOs. We had high-level military and government officials worried about these craft. We had serious research being conducted.
As first example, an Army Air Corps National Guard pilot flying near Mt. Baldy, California, on July 8, 1947, reported a UFO. The flat object, reflecting light, was about the size of a fighter. The pilot said that he gave chase attempting to keep the object in sight but was unable to do so. He, of course, didn’t have a Heads Up Display, or in this case gun camera film to back up his report. Technology had moved a long way in the last 75 years.
And then there is this sighting: Three airmen, including Major Archie B. Browning, flying a B-25, near Clay Center, Kansas said they saw a silver-colored object pacing their aircraft at 1:45 p.m. Browning said that a bright flash called his attention to the object, which he said was thirty to fifty feet in diameter and very bright. He said the object appeared to be pacing the aircraft at 210 miles an hour. When they turned toward it, the object seemed to accelerate to high speed and disappeared. Again, the technology didn’t allow for any sort of photographic evidence. Eventually, the Air Force would suggest that the sighting was caused by a sunshine reflection on the windshield.
The point is that here are military pilots who were seeing something they could not explain and who had reported it for the last 75 years. They did not have the ability to record the event, given the technology in 1947, but that is about the only difference. These sightings were originally taken seriously by Army intelligence officers, and were reported up the chain of command. Eventually, a curtain of ridicule has been pulled down and the pilots are said to have mistaken sunshine reflections for real objects.
In fact, the movie, UFO, was released in 1956 that had the same trappings of authenticity as Friday night’s documentary. UFO included movie footage and pilot reports and eyewitness testimony. The Air Force moved quickly to undermine the film’s credibility.
There was another aspect to this that I thought of as slightly overblown. Elizondo was in his car when he received a telephone call about a secret briefing given to selected members of Congress. We don’t know who they were, but we hear that this is a history making breakthrough. UFO witnesses and members of Congress seriously discussing flying saucers… except it wasn’t the first time that it happened. Two decades ago Jesse Marcel, Jr. met, secretly, with members of Congress to discuss his handling of the strange metallic debris recovered near Roswell, New Mexico. This meeting did not inspire a change in the situation. The status quo had been preserved.
At the end of the program was one final thing that bothered me. One of the men said that the only thing we didn’t know was if we would meet E.T. or Independence Day.” He was wondering if those flying the UFOs were interested in benign contact or an invasion of Earth.
Back in the summer of 1947, according to Ed Ruppelt, who had been the chief of Project Blue Book in 1952, the Pentagon was in a panic. They didn’t know what the flying saucers represented. Could it be a terrestrial threat or one from outer space? Could alien invasion be far off?
Now, some 75 years later, we can answer half the question. It doesn’t seem to be Independence Day. After 75 years, there is little chance that an invasion was coming. That might be the reason that the panic evaporated 75 years ago. They realized that there was no invasion fleet and that they had time to try to understand what was going on. Since then, it appears that they have failed to find any additional answers, at least according to what we know.
Now, we’re beginning all over again, with the same type of investigation, with some formerly highly placed people saying the same things that we have heard for decades from other formerly important people. The problem is, at this point, we have nothing but the eyewitness testimony of the military pilots and the interest of some formerly important people which doesn’t really move the needle. We are in the same place we were nearly three-quarters of a century ago… there is just more hype today than there was then.