Monday, May 13, 2024

Dr. Bruce Maccabee Passes at 82

Dr. Bruce Maccabee was a retired physicist who spent his working life at the U.S. Naval Weapons Center. He is best known outside his work environment for his research into the nature of UFOs including an in-depth examination in the Kenneth Arnold UFO sighting that sparked the public interest in flying saucers and flying discs. He used his training to examine the McMinnville UFO pictures, the New Zealand film, the Meier contact claims and the Gulf Breeze photos and other sightings with a photographic component.

Dr. Bruce Maccabee. Photo by Randle

He worked with Dr. J. Allen Hynek, was active in the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) and was a leader in the Fund for UFO Research (FUF0R).

He was sought out for his expertise and provided a briefing paper for John Gibbons, President Bill Clinton’s science advisor. He participated in the Smithsonian UFO debate in 1980 and appeared on numerous radio and television programs.

I had the privilege of interviewing on my radio show/podcast. You can read a short synopsis of that interview and listen to it here:

The link to the that interview is embedded in the article.

Like so many others, he requested UFO files from various governmental offices and organizations resulting in the release of many documents including what was once the FBI’s secret UFO file. He also examined the University of Colorado’s UFO investigation, conducted by Edward Condon and sponsored by the Air Force. He concluded that Condon was less than candid about the results of that investigation. Evidence obtained later, including correspondence between the committee and the Air Force proved that this scientific investigation was not very scientific and Condon himself had been less than candid.

He published more than a hundred papers, articles and monographs on the topic. He was well respected in the UFO community. He had just turned 82 when he died. 


Paul Young said...

This is sad news. A great servant to his country and Ufology. RIP Dr Maccabee.

Sky70 said...

Yes, this is an old name in the UFO/UAP community, it sure is. After writing hundreds of UFO/UAP articles, monographs, etc., etc., did it advance ufology knowledge in any way? What were his highlights in ufology? I ask these questions because I don't know, despite the fact I've always heard of him.

Fortean Eye said...

I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Maccabee several times in my associations with MUFON and the UFO community in general. He was a serious researcher and very dedicated to the subject. He will be missed.

David Rudiak said...

Some of Bruce's wisdom applied to UFO case analysis I always enjoyed:

1. To understand a case, first draw a map.

2. Conventional explanations should obey conventional physics. (No time-traveling crash dummies allowed.)

3. Maccabee's first rule of debunking: Try one explanation, and if that doesn't work, try another, and if that fails then try another, and so on. (A good example would be the Kenneth Arnold sighting--pelicans anyone?)

David Rudiak said...

Some more of Maccabee's commentary comes to mind, RE the coverup. There's the official UFO coverup to be sure, but there is also what Bruce called the self-coverup, where most people don't want to believe UFOs to be real because it's too fantastic or terrifying. The subject takes us too far outside of our comfort zone of the world being safe and understandable.

David Rudiak said...

Maccabee may have been the one to coin the term TRUFO, for True UFO, a UFO case even when investigated to death by experts still defies all conventional explanation. (TRUAP just doesn't work.)

He would also get ribbed a lot for his name, people complaining they could never remember whether it was spelled with two C's or two B's.

Sky70 said...

However, it seems that Doctor Maccabee believed in UFOs that were later to be false sightings. He really believed in the Golf UFOs! Yet may the man rest in peace!

KRandle said...

Sky70 -

I think I would be more impressed if you actually knew what you were talking about, Golf UFOs?

You mean the series of sightings in Gulf Breeze in the 1980s?

And, of course, let he who has never made a mistake in this controversial field cast the first stone. We all make mistakes. It happens.