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Project Bluebook Unknowns
UFO Mind Project Bluebook


                      Project Bluebook

                      In the features Project Sign, and Project Grudge, we saw that, after
                      General Hoyt Vandenburg rejected the conclusions of Project Sign's 1948
                      "Estimate of the Situation" as being unfounded, the attitude of the Air Force
                      toward UFOs changed. The name change of its official agent for UFO
                      investigation changed on 16 December 1948 from Project Sign to Project
                      Grudge reflected this change in attitude, as did the final report of Project
                      Sign. On 27 December 1949, a year after its creation, Project Grudge was
                      officially closed and its final report was issued shortly thereafter. It was
                      claimed that the 23 percent of UFO reports that could not be explained by
                      ordinary phenomena could be explained by psychological phenomena.

                      Project Grudge, however, while "officially" closed, was still functioning at a
                      reduced level. This reduced level consisted of a solitary investigator, Lt.
                      Jerry Cummings. The Project might have faded away altogether except for
                      a series of sightings at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, which resulted in the
                      military itself criticizing the Air Force for its poor investigation of something
                      that seemed to be a threat to national security.

                      As a result, when Lt. Cummings left the Air Force in 1951, Captain
                      Edward Ruppelt, an Air Force intelligence officer, was appointed to take
                      over the project, which was renamed Project Bluebook. Ruppelt took the
                      task seriously and completely reorganized the project. He established
                      means for speeding the receipt of reports, established liaisons with other
                      agencies, systematized reporting procedures, and obtained the services of a
                      scientific consultant in the person of astronomer Dr. J. Allen Hynek. A
                      standard reporting form was developed by Ohio State University, and the
                      Battelle Memorial Institute was commissioned to do a statistical study
                      known as Project Stork. By April, 1952, after an increase in sighting
                      reports, clearance was given for all intelligence officers at all U.S. Air
                      Force bases to send reports directly to Bluebook by teletype. It seemed
                      that at last the Air Force was truly serious about UFOs. It was just in time
                      for the "flap" of 1952.

                      The "Flap of 1952" was a huge increase in sightings peaking in July with
                      massive sightings both visual and on radar over Washington, D.C. These
                      sightings were so numerous that they became known as the Washington
                      Nationals. Even the CIA became concerned, so much so that they ordered
                      the Office of Scientific Intelligence to review the data collected by
                      Bluebook and the Air Technical Intelligence Center at Wright-Patterson
                      AFB and to make recommendations based on their findings.

                      The OSI review of the existing data resulted in a recommendation,
                      predictably, that the phenomena required more study. The main concern of
                      the CIA was not that UFOs were a direct threat to the U.S., but that they
                      were an indirect one. During this period, they heyday of the Cold war, the
                      fear was that the many UFO sighting reports might obscure a very real
                      threat from the Soviet Union. One example was that, during a wave of
                      UFO sightings, a Soviet attack or an overflight by a Russian
                      intelligence-gathering aircraft might not be recognized as such until it was
                      too late.

                      So, the CIA asked a Cal-Tech physicist, Dr. H.P. Robertson, to assemble
                      a panel of respected scientists to study the UFO phenomenon. These
                      included Dr. Samuel A Goudsmit, a nuclear physicist with the Brookhaven
                      National Laboratories, geophysicist Dr. Lloyd V. Berkner, radar &
                      electronics expert Dr. Luis Alvarez of the University of California, and
                      Johns Hopkins University astronomer Dr. Thornton L. Page. Astronomer
                      and Project Bluebook consultant Dr. J. Allen Hynek and Frederick C.
                      Durant, president of the International Astronautical Foundation, were
                      associate members of the panel.

                      This distinguished panel, which would become known as the Robertson
                      Panel, spent four days, 14 January, 1953 through 17 January, 1953,
                      reviewing the existing evidence. At the end of this time, they issued a
                      report, known as the "Durant Report", which merely restated that UFOs
                      were not a direct threat to U.S. security , but which reiterated the fears of
                      the CIA that the Soviets might somehow use the phenomenon to mask an
                      invasions of the United States:

                      We cite as examples the clogging of channels of communication by
                      irrelevant reports, the danger of being led by continued false alarms to
                      ignore real indications of hostile action, and the cultivation of a morbid
                      national psychology in which skillful hostile propaganda could induce
                      hysterical behavior and harmful distrust of duly constituted authority.

                      Further, the Panel recommended a policy of debunking UFO sightings in
                      order to quell the growing public preoccupation with the phenomenon:

                      ...the national security agencies take immediate steps to strip the
                      Unidentified Flying Objects of the special status that they have been
                      given and the aura of mystery they have unfortunately acquired;

                      The conclusions of the Robertson Panel, as hasty and obviously
                      disinforming as they were, dampened military and government enthusiasm
                      for the study of UFOs. Captain Ruppelt left active duty in August, 1953,
                      and Project Bluebook was turned over to an enlisted man, Airman First
                      Class Max Futch. Additionally, an order called JANAP-146 was issued in
                      December, 1953, which made the reporting of unidentified flying objects
                      by military personnel a National Security Issue, with possible prosecution
                      for its violation. The Air Force was publicly debunking UFOs, while
                      privately drawing a veil of secrecy around their investigations. Personnel
                      changes at Bluebook over the years reflect the decline in interest of the Air

                      In March of 1954, Major Charles Hardin was put in charge of Project
                      Bluebook, and the 4602nd Air Intelligence Service Squadron began
                      training as field investigators. In 1955, the results of the Battelle Memorial
                      Institute study were finally released as Bluebook Special Report Number
                      14. The study had a number of flaws, and concluded that improved
                      methods of investigation and reporting would result in all UFO sightings
                      being explained as ordinary phenomena.

                      In April, 1956, Captain George T. Gregory took over the helm of
                      Bluebook and he began a concerted effort to "explain" every sighting, even
                      if he had to make wide stretches to fit a sighting into an "explained"

                      In July, 1957, the 4602nd Air Intelligence Service Squadron was
                      disbanded, and the 1006th AISS took over investigation duties. In July,
                      1959, investigative responsibilities were passed on again, to the 1127th
                      Field Activities Group.

                      In October, 1958, Gregory was replaced by Major Robert J. Friend. By
                      this time, the Air Force considered Project Bluebook to be a burden, and
                      tried to find a way to either transfer it out of the intelligence section or to
                      close it down altogether.

                      In 1963, Friend was replaced by Major Hector Quintanilla. Bluebook
                      personnel had dropped to just two: Quintanilla and an enlisted man.

                      The death knell for Project Bluebook was heard in April, 1966, when the
                      House Armed Services Committee recommended that the Air Force
                      contract with a University for a scientific study of UFOs. On October 7,
                      1966, the Air Force announced that a program to study UFOs would be
                      conducted by the University of Colorado and headed by Dr. Edward
                      Condon. In reality, the Condon Committee, as it was called, had one task,
                      and that was to provide a reason for the Air Force to end its official
                      investigation of UFOs.

                      A speech given at the Corning Glass Works by Dr. Condon soon after the
                      study began is revealing:

                      "It is my inclination right now to recommend that the government get out
                      of this business. My attitude right now is that there's nothing to it."
                      "...but I'm not supposed to reach a conclusion for another year."

                      That final conclusion of the "Condon Report", released 9 January, 1969

                      Our general conclusion is that nothing has come from the study of
                      UFOs in the past 21 years that has added to scientific knowledge.
                      Careful consideration of the record as it is available to us leads us to
                      conclude that further extensive study of UFOs probably cannot be
                      justified in the expectation that science will be advanced thereby.

                      On December 17, 1969, Project Bluebook was closed and the veil of
                      secrecy had been completely drawn around whatever investigation of
                      UFOs was being conducted by the military.

May  2000 
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