There was no way of telling exactly how high it was but if it were at 6,000 feet, as the major estimated, it would have been about 125 feet in diameter.
Working with people from the photo lab at Wright-Patterson, Captain Hardin from Project Blue Book carried out one of the most complete investigations in UFO history. They checked aircraft flights, rephotographed the area from high and low altitude to see if they could pick up something on the ground that could have been reflecting light, and made a minute ground search of the area. They found absolutely nothing that could explain the round blob of light, and the incident went down as an unknown.
Like all good "Unknown" UFO reports, there are as many opinions as to what the bright blob of light could have been as there are people who've seen the photo. "Some kind of light phenomenon" is the frequent opinion of those who don't believe. They point out that there is no shadow of any kind of a circular object showing on the ground - no shadow, nothing "solid." But if you care to take the time you can show that if the object, assuming that this is what it was, was above 4,000 feet the shadow would fall out of the picture.
Then all you get is a blank look from the light phenomenon theorists.
With the sighting from the RB-29 and the photograph, all of the other UFO reports that Blue Book has collected and all of those that came out of the European Flap, the big question - the key question - is: What have the last two years of UFO activity brought out? Have there been any important developments?
Some good reports have come in and the Air Force is sitting on them. During 1954 they received some 450 reports, and once again July was the peak month. In the first half of 1955 they had 189. But I can assure you that these reports add nothing more as far as proof is concerned. The quality of the reports has improved, but they still offer nothing more than the same circumstantial evidence that we presented to the panel of scientists in early 1953. There have been no reports in which the speed or altitude of a UFO has been measured, there have been no reliable
241. What Are UFO's?
photographs that show any details of a UFO, and there is no hardware. There is still no real proof.
So a public statement that was made in 1952 still holds true: "The possibility of the existence of interplanetary craft has never been denied by the Air Force, but UFO reports offer absolutely no authentic evidence that such interplanetary spacecraft do exist."
But with the UFO, what is lacking in proof is always made up for in opinions. To get a qualified opinion, I wrote to a friend, Frederick C. Durant. Mr. Durant, who is presently the director of a large Army Ordnance test station, is also a past president of the American Rocket Society and president of the International Astronautical Federation. For those who are not familiar with these organizations, the American Rocket Society is an organization established to promote interest and research in space flight and lists as its members practically every prominent scientist and engineer in the professional fields allied to aeronautics. The International Astronautical Federation is a world-wide federation of such societies.
Mr. Durant has spent many hours studying UFO reports in the Project Blue Book files and many more hours discussing them with scientists the world over - scientists who are doing research and formulating the plans for space flight. I asked him what he'd heard about the UFO's during the past several years and what he thought about them. This was his reply:
This past summer at the Annual Congress of the IAF at Innsbruck, as well as previous Congresses (Zurich, 1953, Stuttgart, 1952, and London, 1951), none of the delegates representing the rocket and space flight societies of all the countries involved had strong feelings on the subject of saucers. Their attitude was essentially the same as professional members of the American Rocket Society in this country. In other words, there appear to be no confirmed saucer fans in the hierarchy of the professional societies.
I continue to follow the subject of UFO's primarily because of my being requested for comment on the interplanetary flight aspects. My personal feelings have not changed in the past four years, although I continue to keep an objective outlook.
There are many other prominent scientists in the world whom I met while I was chief of Project Blue Book who, I'm sure, would give the same answer - they've not been able to find any proof, but they continue to keep an objective outlook. There are just enough big question marks sprinkled through the reports to keep their outlook objective.
I know that there are many other scientists in the world who, although they haven't studied the Air Force's UFO files, would limit their comment to a large laugh followed by an "It can't be." But "It can't be's"
242.The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects
are dangerous, if for no other reason than history has proved them so. Not more than a hundred years ago two members of the French Academy of Sciences were unseated because they supported the idea that "stones had fallen from the sky." Other distinguished members of the French Academy examined the stones, "It can't be - stones don't fall from the sky," or words to that effect. "These are common rocks that have been struck by lightning."
Today we know that the "stones from the sky" were meteorites.
Not more than fifty years ago Dr. Simon Newcomb, a world famous astronomer and the first American since Benjamin Franklin to be made an associate of the Institute of France, the hierarchy of the world science, said, "It can't be." Then he went on to explain that flight without gas bags would require the discovery of some new material or a new force in nature.
And at the same time Rear Admiral George W. Melville, then Chief Engineer for the U.S. Navy, said that attempts to fly heavier-than-air vehicles was absurd.
Just a little over ten years ago there was another "it can't be." Ex President Harry S. Truman recalls in the first volume of the Truman Memoirs what Admiral William D. Leahy, then Chief of Staff to the President, had to say about the atomic bomb. "That is the biggest fool thing we have ever done," he is quoted as saying. "the bomb will never go off, and I speak as an expert in explosives."
Personally, I don't believe that "it can't be." I wouldn't class myself as a "believer," exactly, because I've seen too many UFO reports that first appeared to be unexplainable fall to pieces when they were thoroughly investigated. But every time I begin to get skeptical I think of the other reports, the many reports made by experienced pilots and radar operators, scientists, and other people who know what they're looking at. These reports were thoroughly investigated and they are still unknowns. Of these reports, the radar visual sightings are the most convincing. When a ground radar picks up a UFO target and a ground observer sees a light where the radar target is located, then a jet interceptor is scrambled to intercept the UFO and the pilot also sees the light and gets a radar lock on only to have the UFO almost impudently outdistance him, there is no simple answer. We have no aircraft on this earth that can at will so handily outdistance our latest jets.
The Air Force is still actively engaged in investigating UFO reports, although during the past six months there have been definite indications that there is a movement afoot to get Project Blue Book to swing back to the old Project Grudge philosophy of analyzing UFO reports - write
243. What Are UFO's?
them all off, regardless. But good UFO reports cannot be written off with such answers as fatigued pilots seeing a balloon or star, "green" radar operators with only fifteen years' experience watching temperature inversion caused blips on their radarscopes; or "a mild form of mass hysteria or war nerves." Using answers like these, or similar ones, to explain the UFO reports is an expedient method of getting the percentage of unknowns down to zero, but it is no more valid than turning the hands of a clock ahead to make time pass faster. Twice before the riddle of the UFO has been "solved," only to have the reports increase in both quantity and quality.
I wouldn't want to hazard a guess as to what the final outcome of the UFO investigation will be, but I am sure that within a few years there will be a proven answer. The earth satellite program, which was recently announced, research progress in the fields of electronics, nuclear physics, astronomy, and a dozen other branches of the sciences will furnish data that will be useful to the UFO investigators. Methods of investigating and analyzing UFO reports have improved a hundred fold since 1947 and they are continuing to be improved by the diligent work of Captain Charles Hardin, the present chief of Project Blue Book, his staff, and the 4602nd Air Intelligence Squadron. Slowly but surely these people are working closer to the answer - closer to the proof.
Maybe the final proven answer will be that all of the UFO's that have been reported are merely misidentified known objects. Or maybe the many pilots, radar specialists, generals, industrialists, scientists, and the man on the street who have told me, "I wouldn't have believed it either if I hadn't seen it myself," knew what they were talking about. Maybe the earth is being visited by interplanetary spaceships.
Only time will tell.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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