Note: This is longer than I meant it to be. You can skip over the details of
the sightings in the Mini-EOTS and not miss the analysis. Skip down to the
subheading of “Analysis” and pick up there. You can always return to the
sighting reports for clarification if needed. The point here, that might be
giving away the ending, is that we are looking at Twining 2.0, meaning there
really is not much new here. We are in the summer of 1947 when the Pentagon
didn’t know what was happening and began an investigation. The only real
difference is that this seems to be more transparent… though the Navy has
classified the sighting reports.)
three quarters of a century ago, we find that the military and the government
were in the same place that we find ourselves today. Captain Ed Ruppelt, the
chief of Project Blue Book in the early 1950s, said that during the summer of
1947, just after the Kenneth Arnold sighting, the Pentagon was in a panic over
reports of flying saucers. Ruppelt wrote, “The paper work of that period also
indicated the confusion that surrounded the investigation; confusion almost to
the point of panic. The brass wanted answers quickly, and the people were
taking off in all directions.”
means that they didn’t know what was happening but they had a number of flying
saucer sightings that the Air Force found puzzling. Their solution then was to
create an estimate of the situation. This is not the fabled Estimate of the
Situation that is talked about in UFO literature, but another, earlier estimate
that contained just 16 cases and about 35 reports that included a sighting with
color photographs (as opposed to 144 reports with no idea how many events were
we have Airborne
Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group which is what the
new office will be called. It’s mission is similar to that of all those earlier
investigations including Sign, Grudge, Blue Book, Moon Dust, and AATIP.
following analysis could have been written today, given what the UAP report to
Congress supplied. I offer this in comparison to what was released on June 25,
2021, because it is basically the same thing as the report from 1947. Reports
gathered and selected because of who the witnesses were, little in the way of
analysis of those sightings, and a suggestion that more needed to be done.
the end, nothing came of this and we were subjected to decades of
misinformation, distortion and outright lies about UFOs. The mission was to
conceal the UFOs in a cloud of deceit. It was as vague then as the new report and
offered little in the way of investigative analysis.
the following with the nearly useless UAP report in mind. I believe we are
going down the same path, given that no one today seems to have a sense of
history. Those responsible for the report to Congress should have taken time to
look at the history of UFO investigation. It might have saved them some time
and suggested a method for their work. Instead, it looked to me that they have
fallen into the same trap because no one looked down the road. Here is a report
about that earlier assessment that I wrote two years ago. They could have just
taken it and handed it in as if it was something new and important. This is
is surprising that Lieutenant Colonel George Garrett’s “Mini Estimate of the
Situation” was accepted as anything other than rumor and speculation that it
seemed to include. There was little hard information in it, there was
apparently no real investigation of the cases so that a legitimate conclusion
could not be drawn, but it seemed to have been accepted at the higher
headquarters. However, given they believed the solution to the flying disc question
resided at the top of the chain of command, the somewhat lackadaisical
composition of it isn’t all that surprising. It seemed to be a warning that
they were onto something that maybe should remain classified, even if the
answer was to be found in terrestrial terms.
the world today, and even that world decades ago, there were avenues for
investigation that were not followed. The military and the government had the
resources to look deeper into the phenomenon that was commanding so much press
attention. Garrett, along with FBI agent Reynolds, and Brigadier General George
Schulgen, seemed to have put together a document that did little to advance
their knowledge. Today we can do that.
than create a number of tables that provided a quick look at the sightings as
they did, they could have provided some interesting information about those
sightings. Today it is clear that some of the cases cited in that Mini ETOS are
not very good and certainly not overly puzzling. Following, in the order they
were listed by Garrett is what can be found about these cases in the world of
the Internet and the declassified Project Blue Book files, along with some
possible solutions for a few of them.
Flying Saucer Sightings
Garrett’s first case was
that from Manitou Springs, Colorado, which is at the foot of Pike’s Peak near
Colorado Springs. The first indication of this case was published on June 28 in
the Denver Post. It becomes clear that one of the witnesses was
Dean Hauser, a Navy veteran, who was accompanied by six other railroad workers,
including Ted Weigand, Marion Hisshouse, T.J. Smith and L.D Jamison. They were
eating their lunch when Weigand spotted a bright silver-colored
object approaching rapidly from the northeast. It stopped almost directly
overhead and the group of men watched it perform wild gyrations for a number of
minutes. Hauser said that the object, after having approached in a straight
line, “began to move erratically in wide circles. All this time it reflected
light, like metal, but intermittently, as though the angle of reflection might
be changing from time to time.”
According to the
witnesses, it was difficult to get a clear idea of
its shape, and even viewing it through binoculars did not appear to “bring it
any closer.” They estimated its height at one thousand feet. For twenty minutes
they watched it climb, dive, reverse its flight course, and finally move off
into the wind in a westerly direction. “It disappeared in a straight line in
the west northwest in a clear blue sky,” Hauser reported. At no time did anyone
hear any noise.
The day after the
first article appeared in the Denver Post,
there was a second one. This time the Post
reported witnesses had been interviewed by members of the
15th Air Force Headquarters and the results of the investigation would be sent
on to Washington, which suggested those results were seen by Garrett. The
conclusion, unknown to the witnesses, was “possible birds.”. This case itself,
is not mentioned in the Project Blue Book files which is somewhat significant.
The reason that Garrett might have
been impressed with the sighting would be the number of witnesses, that they
observed the object through binoculars, and that they were men with some
mechanical expertise. It should also be noted that the object was in sight for
about twenty minutes and that a bird, observed first with the unaided eye would
be resolved as a bird when seen through the binoculars.
Garrett next cited a report by
Bryon Savage, a businessman pilot, living in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Savage
said that he, and his wife, had seen a round, flat object, described in some
accounts as “disc-like,” traveling nearly due north at a speed estimated at
three times that of a jet on May 17 or 18, about 8:30 in the evening.
The Oklahoma City Times gave it prominent
space on June 26th. At the time of his sighting, Savage had been out in
his yard near dusk, but the sky was still light, when he saw an object
“come across the city from just a little east of south … its altitude was
very high somewhere around 10,000 feet, I couldn’t be sure. Funny
thing about it, it made no noise. I don't think it had kind of internal
combustion engine. But I did notice that right after it went out of sight,
I heard the sound of rushing wind and air. I told my wife right away, but
she thought I must have seen lightning.”
He said that the object was “a shiny, silvery color,” and very large -- “bigger than
any aircraft we have.” He said it was “perfectly round and flat.” He
was also quoted as saying that it appeared “frosty white,” and that its
speed was about three times as fast as a jet. It disappeared
from view in about fifteen to twenty seconds. Although the
sighting details provided by Savage are far more complete than those
given for many of the official cases listed by Blue Book as
“explained,” this report falls in the category of Insufficient
Next up in Garrett’s Mini EOTS, was
a report from Greenfield, Massachusetts on June 22, 1947. According to the
L. de Rose said,” ...there appeared across his line of vision a brilliant,
small, round-shaped, silvery white object” moving in a northwesterly direction
as fast as or probably faster than a speeding plane at an estimated altitude of
1,000 feet or more. The object stayed in view for eight or ten seconds until
obscured by a cloud bank. It reflected the sunlight strongly as though it were
of polished aluminum or silver… He said it did not resemble any weather balloon
he had ever seen and that “I can assure you it was very real.”
to the information available, this was a case that had been secretly
investigated by the FBI, and given Special Agent Reynolds’ participation with
Schulgen and Garrett, it is not difficult to believe that the FBI was involved.
It does demonstrate an FBI interest in UFOs that began at the very beginning,
something the FBI sometimes suggests they wanted to hide.
reached the case that had launched the concern about flying saucers. It was the
one that had been featured in newspapers and on radio programs. It was the
reason that people were talking about flying saucers and flying discs. Kenneth
Arnold, the Boise, Idaho, businessman, said that he had seen a string of strange
objects, flying one behind the other, at about 9,500 feet.
Watching them, he at first thought they might be water spots on the windows or
maybe sunlight reflecting off the mountain top snow but then realized they were
Using the cockpit clock to time them, and
guessing at their distance, he calculated the speed to be more than 1500 miles
an hour thought there are various other reports about their speed. He was
unsure of the exact shape but later said they were crescent shaped. He counted
nine of them in an undulating formation that he described as flying like a
formation of geese. He said it looked as if they were chained together and that
the formation was rather diagonal.
When Arnold landed in Yakima, Washington,
later on the afternoon of June 24, he told the assembled reporters what he had
seen. In the course of describing the objects, he said they moved with a motion
like that of saucers skipping across the water. Hearing Arnold's description of
the motion of the objects, reporter Bill Bequette, coined the term "flying
saucer," (Bequette would later dispute this) though in the next few days,
most reporters and then scientists and Army officers would call the objects
flying disks. The term, then, according to most investigators, didn't
originally refer to the shape of the objects, but to the style of their
movement through the air.
Within days Arnold would provide the
military with a written description of the events. In a document that was
originally classified, but that has long since been downgraded and was a part
of the Project Blue Book files, Arnold wrote:
On June 24th... I had finished my work... and about
two o’clock I took off for Chehalis, Washington, airport with the intention of
going to Yakima, Washington... I flew directly toward Mt. Rainier after
reaching an altitude of about 9,500 feet, which is the approximate elevation of
the high plateau from with Mt. Rainier rises... There was a DC-4 to the left
and to the rear of me approximately fifteen miles distance, and I should judge,
a 14,000 foot elevation... I hadn’t flown more than two or three minutes on my
course when a bright flash reflected on my airplane. It startled me as I
thought I was too close to some other aircraft. I looked every place in the sky
and couldn’t find where the reflection had come from until I looked to the left
and the north of Mt. Rainier where I observed a chain of nine peculiar looking
aircraft flying from north to the south at approximately 9,500 foot elevation
and going, seemingly, in a definite direction of about 170 degrees.
They [the objects] were approaching Mt. Rainier very rapidly,
and I merely assumed they were jet planes. Anyhow, I discovered that this was
where the reflection had come from, as two or three of them every few seconds
would dip or change their course slightly, just enough for the sun to strike
them at an angle that reflected brightly on my plane... I thought it was very
peculiar that I couldn’t their tails but assumed they were some type of jet
plane. I was determined to clock their speed, as I had two definite points I
could clock them by... I watched these objects with great interest as I had
never before observed airplanes flying so close to the mountain tops... I would
estimate their elevation could have varied a thousand feet one way or another
up or down...
They flew like many times I have observed geese to fly in a
rather diagonal chain-like line as if they were linked together... Their speed
at the time did not impress me particularly, because I knew that our army and
air forces had planes that went very fast.
A number of news men and experts suggested that I might have
been seeing reflections of even a mirage. This I know to be absolutely false,
as I observed these objects not only through the glass of my airplane but
turned my airplane sideways where I could open my window and observe them with
a completely unobstructed view... When these objects were flying approximately
straight and level, there were just a black thin line and when they flipped was
the only time I could get a judgement as to their size.
Unlike most of the other sightings Garrett
used, with Arnold there was a great deal of information. A stronger case for
something unusual could be made by attaching to it to his Mini EOTS.
One of the important points was that the
Arnold report was not stand alone. There seemed to be independent corroboration
for his sighting. Unfortunately for Garrett, that corroboration would not
appear until a month after he had forwarded his Mini EOTS to his higher headquarters.
Fred Johnson, who claimed to be a
prospector, reported watching five or six disk-shaped craft as they flew over
the Cascade Mountains about the time Arnold had lost sight of his. He said they
were round with a slight tail which differed slightly from what Arnold had
said. Johnson thought the objects were about thirty feet in diameter. He could
see no formation and as they banked in a turn, the sunlight flashed off them
just as Arnold had said. As they approached, Johnson noticed that his compass began
to spin wildly. When the objects finally vanished in the distance, the compass
returned to normal.
After learning of the Arnold sighting,
Johnson wrote to the Air Force on August 20, 1947, saying:
"Saw in the portland
(sic) paper a short time ago in regards to an article in regards to the so
called flying disc having any basis in fact. I can say am a prospector and was
in the Mt Adams district on June 24th the day Kenneth Arnold of Boise Idaho
claims he saw a formation of flying disc (sic). And i saw the same flying
objects at about the same time. Having a telescope with me at the time i (sic) can
asure (sic) you there are real and noting like them I ever saw before they did
not pass verry (sic) high over where I was standing at the time. plolby (sic) 1000
ft. they were Round about 30 foot in diameter tapering sharply to a point in
the head and in an oval shape. with a bright top surface. I did not hear any
noise as you would from a plane. But there was an object in the tail end looked
like a big hand of a clock shifting from side to side like a big magnet. There
speed was far as I know seemed to be greater than anything I ever saw. Last
view I got of the objects they were standing on edge Banking in a cloud."
It is signed, "Yours Respectfully,
Although there was no official government
study at the time, the Army Air Forces had asked the FBI to interview Johnson.
The FBI report contained, essentially, the same information as the letter that
Johnson had sent to the Army. The FBI report ended, saying, "Informant
appeared to be a very reliable individual who advised that he had been a
prospector in the states of Montana, Washington and Oregon for the past forty
Dr. Bruce Maccabee, a physicist with the
Navy and who has a private interest in UFOs, wrote in the International UFO
Reporter, that the Johnson sighting is important, not because it takes
place near where Arnold saw the nine objects, but because it seems to be an
extension of the Arnold sighting. It provides independent corroboration for the
Arnold sighting, strengthening that case, and reducing, to ridiculous, some of
the explanations that have been offered to explain it.
The most important point might be that
Johnson made was that his compass was spinning wildly when the objects were
near suggesting some kind of magnetic interference. Garrett, of course, didn’t
have access to that information at the time, which might have changed the
direction of some of that early research.
Dr. Donald H. Menzel, the late Harvard
scientist, decided that Johnson was being honest in his report, that is, Johnson
was not lying about it. Johnson, according to Menzel, was merely mistaken in
his analysis of the sighting. Menzel wrote that Johnson had probably seen
bright reflections from patches of clouds. It didn't seem to matter to Menzel
that Johnson saw the objects only about a thousand feet over his head, watched
them through a telescope, and had them in sight for almost a minute before they
vanished, disappearing into a cloud.
In the Project Blue Book files, which
didn’t exist when Garrett was writing his Mini EOTS, there is a note about the
Arnold sighting. An Air Force officer who reviewed the case wrote, “The report
cannot bear even superficial examination, therefore, must be disregarded. There
are strong indications that this report and its attendant publicity is largely
responsible for subsequent reports.”
Not content with a negative note in the
file, the officer added, “It is to be noted that the observer has profited from
this story by selling it to Fate magazine.”
a comment doesn’t actually negate the case. Even if Garrett had this
information in 1947, it is unlikely that he would have included it in his
report. The idea is does not affect the case, given all that is known about it.
next sighting involved multiple witnesses and pilots including Wilson H. Kayko,
John H. Cantrell, Theodore Dewey and one man identified only as Redman. The Project
Blue Book files available show that two Air Force (at the time Army Air Forces)
pilots and two intelligence officers saw a bright light zigzagging in the night
sky over Maxwell Air Force Base on June 28, 1947. The sighting lasted for about
Ruppelt reported it this way:
night [June 28, 1947] at nine-twenty, four Air Force officers, two pilots and
two intelligence officers from Maxwell AFB in Montgomery, Alabama, saw a bright
light traveling across the sky. It was first seen just above the horizon, and
as it traversed toward the observers it “zigzagged,” with bursts of high speed.
When it was directly overhead it made a sharp 90-degree turn and was lost from
view as it traveled south.
Blue Book files included just ten pages of information about the case that
included the project card and weather data. In a letter dated July 7, 1947, to
the Assistant Chief of Staff for intelligence at Air Tactical Command, there
was additional information. It said:
approximately 2120 Central time, a light, with a brilliance slightly better
than a star, appeared in the West. It was first noted above the horizon of the
clear moon-light night, traveling in an easterly direction at a high rate of
speed. There was no audible sound and it was impossible to determine the
altitude, except that it appeared to be at great height. It traveled in a zig
zag course with frequent bursts of speed, much light a water bug as it spurts
and stops across the surface of water. It continued until it was directly
overhead and changed course 90 [degrees] into the south. After traveling in the
above manner for approximately five (5) minutes, it turned southwest and was
lost in the brilliance of the moon. [sic] at 2145 Central it was no longer
possible to observe.
was noted, in the letter signed by one of the witnesses, Kayko, “No plausible
explanation is offered for the unusual action of this source of light, which
acted contrary to common aerodynamic laws.”
is one other interesting note. On the “checklist” that contains many questions
about the sighting, there is one question about photographs. Here the answer
was, “None in our file altho letter of transmittal indicates one was sent.”
Those photographs have not surfaced.
eventual label applied to the case was that this was a balloon. Although it
seems that four officers, including the two intelligence officers, would have
been able to identify a balloon if that was the solution, it would also seem
that the maneuvers of the object would rule out a balloon, regardless of how
strong the winds aloft were blowing or how variable they might be at different
altitudes. It should also be noted that there is nothing to suggest a lighted
balloon in the area, though weather balloons did, sometimes, carry lights for
the ease of observation after dark.
next case was witnessed by three scientists and the wife of one at White Sands,
New Mexico, on June 29, 1947. Again, while there is little real information
included in Garrett’s estimate, there is more data available. According to the
Project Blue Book files, not to mention several newspapers including the Washington Star on July 7, Dr. C. J.
Zohn, described as a rocket expert, was traveling with two other scientists,
Curtis C. Rockwood and John R. Kauke, near Las Cruces, when Zohn spotted the
object traveling north at about 10,000 feet. He said it was bright and silver
with no protuberances visible and was elliptical in shape.
pointed it out to the others, so that all four of them saw the object. The disc
was moving away from them at a uniform rate of speed. He said, “It was clearly
visible and then suddenly, it wasn’t there.”
had access to this information. According to a letter dated July 16, Major
William P. Mellen, wrote, “At the request of Lt. Col. G. D. Garrett, the
undersigned has interviewed this date Mr. [name redacted] Administrative
Assistant in Rocker Sonde Section NRL, who had previously released information
to the press regarding an aerial object which he stated he saw at White Sands,
New Mexico, 29 June.”
went into greater detail about the sighting. The trouble here is that with the
names redacted, there is no real way to know which of the witnesses said what.
between 1:00 and 1:30 p.m. Sunday 29 June 1947, [names redacted] was proceeding
along Highway 17 in a North-Easterly direction from Las Cruces, New Mexico to
White Sands V-2 firing grounds in an automobile… At some time between those
given and about one-third of the distance from Las Cruces [name redacted, but
probably Kauke] who was driving the car, noticed the subject device and called
attention to the other occupants. Mr. [name redacted] opened the window nearest
him and observed the object moving at an unknown rapid velocity at an unknown
altitude, which he estimated at about 10,000 feet, and which Mr. [name
redacted], who also observed it through an open window, estimated at between
8,000 feet and 10,000 feet, although the former puts little credence in the
first sighted the object was to the right and forward of the automobile at an
unstated elevation and was apparently moving horizontally in a Northerly
direction such as to cross the highway from right to left. The object was
observed by all persons in the automobile. Mr. [name redacted] stated that he
could not observe any details of the object other than its shape was uniform.,
with no protuberances such the wings of an airplane. It was too distant to
enable stereoscopic visualization. Thee was apparently some solar specular
reflection which seemed to change in intensity as the object receded until it
was lost from sight after an estimated 30 seconds from the time first noticed. He
could not explain how it disappeared except perhaps that the reflection angle
may have changed abruptly. There were apparently no clouds or visibility
obstructions at the time. The sun was to the rear of the automobile. Mr.
[redacted] thought that at one time he saw vapor trails.
Blue Book file on the case mentioned that Zohn had been in New Mexico to
observe V-2 launches, but that the sighting had nothing to do with that. This
was mentioned as a way of establishing that Zohn and the others were familiar
with the rocket tests, and it was noted that one of the men had recently been
discharged from the Navy. It was suggested that his Naval training meant that
he was familiar with various types of aircraft.
an entry that is thin, almost nonexistent, is a sighting from July 1. A
civilian pilot on the ground in Bakersfield, California, saw something.
Garrett’s report provides no additional information and the case was not found
in the Project Blue Book files under that date. Although Garrett suggested that
other information would be found later, there is no evidence that such is the
case. Without additional information it seems strange that Garrett would
include it in his estimate, even if the witness was a pilot.
pilots were responsible for the next sighting that Garrett quoted. Captain E. J.
Smith was piloting a United Airlines plane when one of the flying saucers
appeared coming at them. The first officer, Ralph Stevens, reached down to
blink the landing lights, and Smith asked what he thought he was doing. Stevens
responded that another plane was coming at them. As it closed, they realized
that it wasn't another aircraft but one of the flying disks.
They could see no real shape but did say
the craft was flat on the bottom, very thin, and seemed to be irregular on the
top. The object appeared to be at the same altitude as the airplane and
followed them for ten to fifteen minutes.
|Captain E.J. Smith (right) Ken Arnold and Ralph Stevens (left)|
Moments later four more appeared on the
left of the aircraft. Smith was quoted in the newspaper saying, "We
couldn't tell what the exact shape was except to notice that they definitely
were larger than our plane (a DC-4), fairly smooth on the bottom and rough on
Although the case was thoroughly
investigated, the Air Force found no solution for it and in the Project Blue
Book files, it is still carried as “Unidentified.”
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. The
Air Force would suggest that the sighting was caused by a sunshine reflection
on the windshield. (Bloecher 1947)
next reported that Captain James H. Burniston, on July 6, 1947, while at
Fairfield-Suisun Army Air Base saw one of the flying disks. According to the information
observed an object traveling in a southeasterly direction at an estimated
height of 10,000 feet or more and at a speed in excess of that of any aircraft
he had ever seen. The object was in his view for approximately sixty seconds
during which time it travelled over three-quarters of the visible sky.
Burniston could distinguish no definite color or shape. It appeared to roll
from side to side three times during his observation and one side reflected
strongly from its surface while the other side gave no reflection. He estimates
the size to be about that of a C-54 and states that between the time the top of
the object was visible and the time it rolled over … the bottom became very
difficult to see and almost disappeared.
the next two reports seem to be related, Garrett broke them into two separate
incidents, one from Koshkonong, Wisconsin and the second from East Troy,
Wisconsin. The Blue Book files corrects this, listing them both on the same
“Project Card.” Both sightings lasted under a minute, and in both sightings the
witnesses were members of the Civil Air Patrol, an official auxiliary of the
Air Force, that is a civilian volunteer organization. The first of the
sightings was reported at 11:45 (CST) in the morning and the second at 2:30
(CST) in the afternoon. Both were made on July 7, 1947.
to the Blue Book Project Card, “Saucer descended vertically edgewise through
clouds, stopped at 4000’ and assumed horizontal position and proceeded in
horizontal flight from a horizontal position for 15 seconds covering 25 miles,
again stopped and disappeared.”
two cases were marked, “Insufficient information for proper analysis.” This
begs the question of what Garrett thought was so important about them that he
included them in his analysis, or what information was left out of the reports
now available that Garrett had in 1947. It wouldn’t be the first time that
information in the Project Blue Book files was altered or reevaluated.
his theory of who might make the best witnesses, the next case involved an Army
Air Corps National Guard pilot flying near Mt. Baldy, California, on July 8,
1947. 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.
police officer, among others, in Grand Falls, Newfoundland, reported an
egg-shaped object with a barrel-like leading edge about thirty minutes before
midnight on July 9, 1947, in the next case reported by Garrett. There were four
objects that had a phosphorescent glow.
next day, and next on the list there was a series of sightings in Newfoundland.
Garrett used the sighting that took place about four in the afternoon, and was
seen by a “TWA Representative and a PAA Representative [identified as J. N.
Mehrman, A.R. Leidy and J.E. Woodruff] on the ground.” The object was “circular
in shape, like a wagon wheel,” and was bluish-black with a fifteen-foot-long
trail. The object “seemed to cut clouds open as it passed thru [sic]. Trail was
like beam seen after a high-powered landing light is switched off.”
case took on added importance because there were color photographs of the disk
as it cut through the clouds. Dr. Michael Swords reported in the Journal of UFO Studies:
bluish-black trail seems to indicate ordinary combustion from a turbo-jet
engine, athodyd [ramjet] motor, or some combination of these types of power
plants. The absence of noise and apparent dissolving of the clouds to form a clear
path indicates a relatively large mass flow of a rectangular cross section
containing a considerable amount of heat.
report reached General Schulgen on July 16 with a more detailed version on July
21. The updated information was sent on to the Pentagon. Schulgen ordered T-2,
part of the intelligence function at Wright-Patterson, to take a top team to
Harmon to investigate.
response, in 1947, provides a hint as to what Garrett and the others were
thinking. They believed that the solution rested in terrestrial technology, or
in other words, this was something of Soviet manufacture. Given the sightings,
first in Canada and then in Alaska, the theory was that the Soviets were flying
something along the great circle route. While the sighting itself is
interesting for the photographs, it was important because it seemed to suggest
the Soviets rather than aliens.
original investigation had excluded meteors or fireballs as the possible explanation.
Later, as Blue Book officers became more interested in solutions than facts,
the case was written off as a meteor.
final case that Garrett cited was from Elmendorf Field in Anchorage, Alaska, on
July 11, through Garrett dated it July 12. Colonel Bruce H. Perry and Major
William E. Geyser, both in the Army Air Forces said that they watched an object
that resembled a grayish balloon as it followed the contours of the mountains
some five miles away. They said the object was small, maybe two to three feet
in diameter, or maybe as much as ten feet. It was traveling at high speed, at
three to four thousand feet, based on the cloud cover at ten thousand feet.
Geyser said that the object paralleled the course of a C-47 that was landing on
these sixteen reports, and two added later, Garrett composed his study. It
might be said that he drew on these specific cases because he, along with General
Schulgen, believed they most accurately described the objects seen, the
maneuvers they performed, and they would most likely lead to the conclusion
that these sightings were of a classified project then in development in total
secrecy. They thought they would be told to end their investigation because of
that. The answer they received, after they had forwarded their report to the
Air Materiel Command and to Lieutenant General Nathan F. Twining, must have
surprised them. It was not at all what they had expected.
today’s environment, there is access to so much more information than was available to those working in 1947. These
cases, in Garrett’s Mini-EOTS, that seemed so strange then, aren’t particularly
interesting today, except for the context in which they were made. One of them
has virtually disappeared from any known database. All that is known about it
is that a civilian pilot, on the ground in Bakersfield, California, apparently
saw something he couldn’t identify. Garrett had no other information which
seems curious that he thought enough of it to include it in his Estimate. There
is no record of it in the Project Blue Book files, and no one seems to know
anything more about it. As evidence, it is useless.
there is another aspect to this case. There is a Blue Book file labeled June
14, 1947, from Bakersfield. Included in it at a number of newspaper articles
that mention a “veteran pilot,” who saw a formation of objects over Bakersfield
on June 23. Several of the newspaper clippings are dated as July 1 or July 2,
though in the text they all report the June 23 date.
witness, Richard Rankin was described as having over 7000 hours of flight
experience, but didn’t provide any information about his training or if he had
been a commercial or military pilot. It did mention that he had been a stunt flyer
in the past.
said that he couldn’t see wings or propellers on the craft and thought they
were almost round. He saw ten objects heading to the north. They turned,
heading south but there were only seven. He thought he was looking at the
Navy’s XFU51, known as the “Flying Flapjack” because of its bizarre shape, but
the “Flapjack” had only flown on the east coast. At the time of the sighting
there was only one in existence.
than the date, this fits the description of the sighting that Garrett had
reported. It is single witness, but one with flying experience, and to Garrett
that was an important factor. The Air Force later explained the sighting as
first case in Garrett’s Estimate which has almost no information, is from
Colorado, again something of a bare bones report can be looked at again. The
names were printed in the local newspaper. Garrett didn’t include names and his
Estimate mentioned only three witnesses. They watched it maneuver, but
importantly, observed it through binoculars which would tend to rule out
conventional aircraft. It was in sight for twenty minutes, which mean all seven
of the witnesses, had the opportunity to get a good look at it. Blue Book had
no information on it, and it wasn’t reported until after Arnold made his
sighting, which weakens it somewhat.
reflects the sort of sightings that Garrett favored. Those that were multiple
witness, and those sightings where the object, or objects, were under
observation for more than a minute. The sightings were those that were not
fleeting flashes of light or indistinct blobs. The one thing that sticks out is
that most of the witnesses had flight experience of some kind, including
military officers, commercial pilots, Civil Air Patrol pilots, or who had some
other connection to the military and aviation.
same thing can be said for the next case from Oklahoma City. Garrett provided
little about it, but other sources were able to expand on the information. In
the end, it was single witness, but importantly, Savage’s wife thought that he
might have seen a flash of lightning. From the available information, it seems
that this report was included because the man was a civilian pilot.
next case, that is from Massachusetts, might have been included because FBI
Special Agent Reynolds had “secretly” investigated the case. The information
about the sighting isn’t all that spectacular when it is examined in a
dispassionate way. It is a small, silvery object that seemed to be moving
faster than a jet at about a thousand feet. Again, it is single witness and
there is very little information about witness’s background or education.
real take away here is that the case was secretly investigated by an FBI agent
at a time when the FBI was questioning the importance of these sightings. J.
Edgar Hoover might have wanted to “empire build” by adding this dimension to
the FBI’s responsibilities, but he was being cautious about it. This wasn’t the
only indication that the FBI wanted in, but didn’t want anyone to know about.
photographic case that did not make Garrett’s Mini-EOTS, but relevant to the
discussion of FBI involvement in UFO investigation, happened on July 7, 1947. William
Rhodes, a somewhat self-employed inventor, said that he had taken two pictures
of something in the sky over his Phoenix, Arizona home. The point here is that Rhodes
was visited by an Army officer, identified as George J. Fugate, and a man in
civilian clothes. According to documents in the Project Blue Book files, the
FBI agent, identified as Special Agent Brower, didn’t want to flash his FBI credentials,
and just accompanied Fugate on the investigation. He was introduced to Rhodes
as a government agent, but no mention was made of his connection to the FBI.
Rhodes was free to assume that the man was just another Army officer wearing
included the Arnold case in his analysis, treating it as he had all other. Just
the bare facts about it. What is lost here is the possible corroboration by
Fred Johnson, and even more importantly, the electro-magnetic effects that he
reported. If Johnson was telling the truth, and if his compass did begin to
spin wildly, then this would be an important bit of evidence.
importantly, the two Fourth Air Force officers who investigated the Arnold
sighting, were also involved with Arnold later. What is relevant here is that
Arnold asked Lieutenant Brown about other sightings. Brown mentioned,
specifically, the Rhodes’ photographs, suggesting that the object looked like
those Arnold had seen. Brown drew a picture of it for Arnold, and then
of this would suggest Arnold had seen something more than a mirage as the Air
Force eventually claimed, or a flock of birds that some of those in the
skeptical community believed. However, it should be noted that Robert Sheaffer
at his Bad UFOs website, posted a
picture of pelicans in a “V” formation seen from a distance. Their shape does
seem to match the stylized shape of the objects Arnold reported. It makes for
an interesting comparison, though birds do not fit with everything that Arnold
reported. This information was not available to Garrett when he wrote his
Arnold, Garrett moved back to military personnel that included two pilots and
two intelligence officers. There is nothing overly interesting about the case,
other than it was a report from four military officers, each with some training
in identifying thatthings seen in the sky. This seemed to be an appeal to the
expertise of the officers as well as a suggestion that they wouldn’t be making
up the sighting for some personal reason or publicity.
next case, from the White Sands area of New Mexico, was probably included
because Garrett himself had requested additional information about it. There
were four witnesses that included a rocket scientist. The credibility of the
witnesses, along with the data collected at the request of Garrett probably
explains the inclusion of this case in his Mini Estimate.
4 sighting from near Emmet, Idaho, was important because it was made by the
civilian flight crew of an airliner. They all saw the object and made their
observations known. Another important factor is that the Air Force would later
determine that there was no solution for the sighting. It was labeled as
unidentified in the Blue Book files.
is surprising, over that same long, July 4 weekend, there was a series of
sightings in and around Portland, Oregon, that involved various law enforcement
officers and civilian observers. Given the number of independent reports made,
and that some of them were trained individuals, it seems odd that Garrett did
not include it in his report. It would have added another level of
corroboration for his concern about what was happening and more importantly,
provided more independent observations of what might have been the same
next cases are more or less the same as many of those that came before them.
Pilots reporting objects in the sky that they couldn’t readily identify. These
included the sightings from the members of the Civil Air Patrol and later a
member of the National Guard.
fact, most of these cases are simply witness statements about what they had
seen and how they interpreted it. He did mention two cases that involved
photographs, but in the first, the pictures were not received and in the
second, though the pictures were in color, there was nothing extraordinary about
them. The pictures demonstrated that something had been in the air but provided
no clues about the nature of that something.
the additional information that has been added here, there is nothing other
than people, mostly pilots, seeing something that they are unable to identify.
Given what Garrett, and by extension Schulgen believed, it would seem that they
provided some of the more interesting sightings, made interesting by the
witnesses and not what they had seen. Garrett, Schulgen and Reynolds, believed,
by the time the Mini Estimate was submitted, their bosses, higher in the chain
of command knew what was being seen. They believed that the answer was
classified, and they would be told that further investigation was unnecessary
and could lead to compromise. That, of course, was wrong.
Schulgen, Garrett and Reynolds believed they would be told to shut down the
investigation, the opposite happened. On September 23, 1947, they received a
reply to their Mini Estimate of the Situation. Lieutenant General Nathan F.
Twining sent them a letter, which I think of as Twining 1.0. It was not the
response they expected.
|Lieutenant General Nathan F. Twining|
on the evidence, correspondence of the time, and other factors, it is believed
that Howard McCoy was the author of the letter for Twining’s signature. The
AMC Opinion Concerning
Army Air Force
Washington 25, D.C.
ATTENTION: Brig. General
1. As requested by AC/AS-2 there is presented below the
considered opinion of this command concerning the so-called "Flying
Discs." This opinion is based on interrogation report data furnished by
AC/AS-2 and preliminary studies by personnel of T-2 and Aircraft Laboratory,
Engineering Division T-3. This opinion was arrived at in a conference between
personnel from the Air Institute of Technology, Intelligence T-2, Office, Chief
of Engineering Division, and the Aircraft, Power Plant and Propeller
Laboratories of Engineering Division T-3.
2. It is the opinion that:
a. The phenomenon is something real and not visionary or fictitious.
Basic Ltr fr CG, AMC, WF
to CG, AAF, Wash. D.C. subj “AMC Opinion Con- cerning “Flying Discs”.
b. There are objects probably approximating the shape of a disc, of such
appreciable size as to appear to be as large as man-made aircraft.
c. There is a possibility that some of the incidents may be caused by natural
phenomena, such as meteors.
d. The reported operating characteristics such as extreme rates of climb,
maneuverability (particularly in roll), and motion which must be
considered evasive when sighted or contacted by friendly
aircraft and radar, lend belief to the possibility that some of the objects are
controlled either manually, automatically or remotely.
e. The apparent common description is as follows:-
(1) Metallic or light reflecting surface.
(2) Absence of trail, except in a few instances where the object apparently was
operating under high performance conditions.
(3) Circular or elliptical in shape, flat on bottom and domed on top.
(4) Several reports of well kept formation flights varying from three to nine
(5) Normally no associated sound, except in three instances a substantial
rumbling roar was noted.
(6) Level flight speeds normally above 300 knots are estimated.
f. It is possible within the present U.S. knowledge -- provided
extensive detailed development is undertaken -- to construct a piloted aircraft
which has the general description of the object in sub- paragraph (e) above
which would be capable of an approximate range of 7000 miles at subsonic
g. Any development in this country along the lines indicated
would be extremely expensive, time consuming and at the considerable expense of
current projects and therefore, if directed, should be set up independently of
h. Due consideration must
be given the following:-
(1) The possibility that these objects are of domestic origin -
the product of some high security project not known to AC/AS-2 or this Command.
(2) The lack of physical evidence in the shape of crash
recovered exhibits which would undeniably prove the existence of these
(3) The possibility that some foreign nation has a form of
propulsion possibly nuclear, which is outside of our domestic knowledge.
3. It is recommended that:-
a. Headquarters, Army Air Forces issue a directive assigning a
priority, security classification and Code name for a detailed study of this
matter to include the preparation of complete sets of all available and
pertinent data which will then be made available to the Army, Navy, Atomic
Energy Commission, JRDB, the Air Force Scientific Advisory Group, NACA, and the
RAND and NEPA projects for comments and recommendations, with a preliminary
report to be forwarded within 15 days of receipt of the data and a detailed
report thereafter every 30 days as the investi-
Basic Ltr fr CG, AMC, WF
to CG, AAF, Wash. D.C. subj “AMC Opinion Con- cerning “Flying Discs”.
gation develops. A
complete interchange of data should be effected.
4. Awaiting a specific directive AMC will continue the
investigation within its current resources in order to more closely define the
nature of the phenomenon. Detailed Essential Elements of Information will be
formulated immediately for transmittal thru channels.
N. F. Twining
the end of 1947, the military still didn’t know what the flying saucers were.
Twining was telling his subordinates that he didn’t know what they were, and he
wanted them to continue the investigation. It would no longer be the haphazard
collection of data through multiple military organizations, but a concentrated
effort housed at Wright Field. They were given a priority status, their work
would be classified, and would have a staff dedicated to that research. Sound familiar
in today’s environment?
project, known officially as Sign but as Project Saucer to the general public,
would begin after the first of the year. Twining’s order said that they were
interested in learning more about the flying saucers, that they believed the
saucers were real, the letter also said that the panic that had existed when
Garrett put together his Mini Estimate had evaporated. The brass were no longer
worried about Soviet invasion or alien visitation. There seemed to be no threat
to national security. Now this was just a phenomenon to be identified.
today, we learn of a situation not unlike that of 1947. We learn that the
Department of Defense has just announced the formation of the Airborne Object Identification and
Management Synchronization Group. This new organization will be overseen by the
Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, the director of the Joint Staff
and officials from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
Deputy Secretary of Defense
Kathleen Hicks said in a separate statement the presence of unidentified aerial
phenomenon (UAP, or what were once flying saucers and then UFOs or Unidentified
Aerial Objects) in restricted airspace poses a potential safety of flight risk
to aircrews and raises potential national security concerns. Of course, we
all know that she means UFOs, which we were told more than fifty years ago
posed no threat to our national security and that nothing could be learned by
The new group which will succeed
the U.S. Navy's Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force, will work to detect,
identify and attribute objects, assess and mitigate any associated threats, the
Pentagon said which, of course was proceeded by Project Sign, Project Grudge,
Project Blue Book and several classified programs that included Moon Dust. I
will bet that they’ll bring in a bunch of people who don’t know the history of
the phenomenon so that they’ll just make the same mistakes that have been made
for 70 years. They just won’t know a thing about those earlier studies, but
that won’t matter because I suspect this is just more eye wash for the public.
Rather than consult with those of us who do understand the history, and ignoring
that some of us actually had top secret clearances, they follow the same well-trod
path to come to the same conclusions. Five or ten years from now, we’ll learn
that there is nothing to all this and the investigation is just a waste of