Insight

Air Force Almost Admitted UFOs Are Real

Dr. Bruce Maccabee writes, Fifty years ago, during the most amazing flap of flying saucer sightings in the USA (and the world), the Air Force almost admitted that at least some sightings of UFOs/saucers were sightings of objects not made here. However, when that opportunity arose during a large press conference in late July, instead of admitting that the Air Force couldn't explain all sightings and that some high officials were seriously considering the interplanetary hypothesis, the Air Force (General Samford) said everything could be explained as natural phenomena, effectively slamming the lid down on the UFO subject. But what the Air Force said privately was a different matter.

Maccabee goes on to say, The world became aware of flying saucer sightings in the summer of 1947 with the nationwide/worldwide publication of the report by Kenneth Arnold on June 24. In the subsequent weeks hundreds to thousands of sightings were reported in the local press throughout the USA and in other parts of the world. The Air Force quickly became involved because some of the AF pilots (and many commercial pilots) were also witnesses. The Air Force quickly and publicly denied having any secret projects that could account for UFO sightings. This denial was made privately to the director of the FBI at a time when the AF asked the FBI to investigate sightings.

By the fall of 1947 the Air Force Air Materiel Command (AMC) at Wright Field (Wright Patterson Air Force Base) had concluded that flying saucers were real and not visionary and required a special investigation group to determine what they were and where they came from. In early 1948 the investigation group, called PROJECT SIGN was set up.

During the summer of 1948 the SIGN investigators analyzed the 1947 and 1948 sightings to determine if they could be evidence of technology created on earth. They rejected the ideas that the saucers were our own secret projects or new developments of the Soviets and concluded that the only reasonable explanation for some of the sightings was that the witnesses saw flying craft from an interplanetary source... This explanation, proposed by the Air Force's own experts in understanding technological developments in aeronautics, was rejected by the top AF General, Hoyt Vandenberg, who essentially said Sorry, wrong answer. That meant that the analysts had to find some other answer.

Eventually, Projects Grudge and Bluebook assigned all sightings to one of 2 categories: misidentification of known phenomena or hoaxes and delusions. Some cases were left unexplained with the qualifier that these, too, could have been explained if there had been more information.

In late 1949 the Air Force issued a final report (the GRUDGE Report) which claimed that all sightings to that time had been explained In the fall of 1951 General Cabell became aware of a publicized sighting (at Fort Monmouth, NJ) which interested him because it involved radar. When he asked for a briefing, he found that evidence was being debunked and ignored. Cabell ordered the project to be reorganized under new management.

This reorganization, which began in the fall of 1951. In 1952 it became known as Project Bluebook. From 1951-53, it was first under the direction of Capt. Edward Ruppelt. In those days, Maccabee says, It was the most unbiased, scientifically-oriented and publicly known UFO investigation by the Air ForceThe Air Force officers and personnel who continued Project Blue Book after Ruppelt were not as unbiased as Ruppelt and the scientific quality of the project deteriorated in the following years. (BLUE BOOK was formally closed in 1969 after collecting and about 13,000 sightings of which about 700 were left as unexplained.)

Maccabee calls 1952 The Year of the UFO because the Air Force received over 2,000 sighting reports that year. He says, We are left asking, what really happened and why did the Air Force cover it up

On January 3, 1952, Brig. Gen. William M. Garland, Assistant for the Production of Intelligence, wrote a secret memorandum for General Samford with the title Contemplated Action to Determine the Nature and Origin of the Phenomena Connected with the Reports of Unusual Flying Objects. This memorandum said, in part, The continued reports of unusual flying objects requires positive action to determine the nature and origin of the phenomena. The action taken thus far has been designed to track down and evaluate reports from casual observers throughout the country. Thus far, this action has produced results of doubtful value and the inconsistencies inherent in the nature of the reports has given neither positive nor negative proof of the claims."

Despite such memorandums, during this period the Air Force consistently said publicly that all UFO sightings had been explained.

General Garland wanted UFOs investigated because he thought they might be secret Soviet technology. However, Maccabee says, information contained in a memorandum written by Capt. Ruppelt and contained within his private papers, suggests that Garland may have had an ulterior motive, a hidden reason for wanting a better UFO investigation. According to Ruppelt, Gen. Garland was my boss at ATIC from the fall of 1952 until I left. He was a moderately confirmed believer. He had seen a UFO while he was stationed in Sacramento, California.

The April 7, 1952, issue of LIFE Magazine shocked the world when it said, There is a case for interplanetary saucers. This was an article written by H. B. Darrach, Jr. and Robert Ginna titled Have We Visitors from Space It said, The Air Force is now ready to concede that many saucer and fireball sightings still defy explanation; here Life offers some scientific evidence that there is a real case for interplanetary flying saucers.

Maccabee writes, The authors discussed an analysis of 10 previously unpublished UFO sightings and concluded that Russian weapons, atmospheric phenomena, Skyhook balloons, secret weapons, hallucinations and psychological aberrations could not explain these cases. According to the authors, These disclosures, sharply amending past Air Force policy, climaxed a review by LIFE with Air Force officials of all facts known.... and The Air Force is now ready to concede that many saucer and fireball sightings still defy explanation. Furthermore, they quoted Dr. Walther Reidel, a German rocket scientist, as saying that, in his opinion, these objects have an out-of-this world basis. To top it off, the authors quoted an intelligence officer (Ruppelt) as saying that The higher you go in the Air Force the more seriously they take the flying saucers.

In a Secret monthly Status Report on the activities of Project Blue Book, dated April 30, 1952, Capt. Ruppelt wrote It should be noted here that the conclusions reached by LIFE are not those of the Air Force. No proof exists that these objects are from outer space. [But]as he admitted in his 1956 book, The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects, other high level Air Force officers did endorse that conclusion. According to Ruppelt, some high ranking officers in the Pentagon - so high that their personal opinion was almost policy did believe the saucers were extraterrestrial and expressed that opinion to Mr. Ginna. At least one of these high ranking officers was none other than General Garland.

Maccabee describes the UFO sighting flap that was inspired by the article in Life magazine: The monthly numbers starting with September, 1951, and going through June, 1952 (were): September-16, October-24, Nov.-16, Dec.-12, Jan.-15, Feb.-17, Mar.-23, Apr.-82, May-79, June-148The locations of the sightings read like a geography lesson. Then UFOs appeared over Washington, D.C. At least, Maccabee says, thats the way it appeared to the experienced radar controllers at National Airport the night of Saturday, July 19 and again a week laterDuring the sightings F-94 jets were scrambled from Newcastle Air Force Base in Delaware.

An FBI memorandum written on October 27 reads as follows: Air Intelligence advised of another creditable and unexplainable sighting of flying saucers. Air Intelligence still feels flying saucers are optical illusions or other atmospheric phenomena but some military officials are seriously considering the possibility of interplanetary ships. You will recall that Air Intelligence has previously kept the Bureau advised regarding developments pertaining to Air Intelligence research on the flying saucer problem.

Maccabee writes that FBI reports during this period clearly show the confusion about UFOs that existed within the Air Force. Experts in film analysis had ruled out optical illusions or atmospheric phenomena as an explanation for this film, and subsequent analysis has proven that optical illusions and atmospheric phenomena could not have explained this sighting. Nevertheless the Air Force couldn't get to the point of admitting what was obvious. Instead, it was holding out the hopethat saucer sightings could be explained as optical illusions and atmospheric phenomena.

1952 was also the year that the top secret Central Intelligence Agency decided to join the fray. In previous years the Agency had paid only slight attention to the saucer/UFO sighting reports. They noted that such reports occurred in other countries and sometimes forwarded foreign sighting reports to the Air Force. They also noted the large number of sightings reported in the USA (the Air Force collected over 500 in July alone). But the Washington, DC flap was too much. They figured that something must be going on.

A CIA memo from that period reads, "Notwithstanding the foregoing tentative facts, so long as a series of reports remains unexplainable (interplanetary aspects and alien origin not being thoroughly excluded from consideration) caution requires that intelligence continue coverage of the subject."

Maccabee concludes, It has long been my opinion that if we knew what really happened 50 years ago (1947-1952), we wouldknow much or most of the flying saucer story. However, during the first 5 years the Air Force established a tradition that UFO sightings were of nothing new, represented no danger, etc., and the press followed right along helping to solidify this tradition. Very few scientists had either the time or access to the raw data in order to form their own opinions and the sightings (raw data) were not discussed in science or technology journals, so the scientific community also generally agreed with the Air Force, helping to further establish the tradition. To a large extent this tradition is still with us preventing us from finding out what we would/could/should have known 50 years ago.

We have wasted a lot of time trying to find absolute proof, when sufficient evidence has been available since 1952.

What does the military know about UFOs To find out watch History Denied and listen to Insider and learn about Sgt. Clifford Stones personal experiences with UFOs in the military,click here.

To read Bruce Maccabbees entire article,click here.

NOTE: This Insight, previously published on our old site, will have any links removed.


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