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Michael Swords

COPYRIGHT DAVID CHERNIACK PROD. LTD.


[00:29:07] SO WHAT WAS GOING ON IN THE IMMEDIATE AFTERMATH OF WORLD WAR 2 SO THAT - IF YOU WANT A SPECIFIC QUESTION -SO THAT THE GHOST ROCKETS OVER SWEDEN BECAME A CONCERN TO THE UNITED STATES?

[00:29:22] To some degree the modern UFO phenomena as far as the United States was concerned was flagged to the intelligence community by an unusual group of sightings in Scandinavian countries which got the nickname the ghost rockets.

[00:29:38] At the time the natural belief was that these must be Soviet technologies, that somehow the German rocketeers had been captured by the Soviets, the technology had been upgraded and that Soviets had found ways of launching devices across Scandinavia.

[00:29:58] Now unfortunately for the simplicity of that ah explanation, it didn't turn out to pan out. And instead it became a mystery that continued to exist for several years.

[00:30:10] The United States was very worried about this and sent several very high ranking military people to Scandinavia to try to find out whether this was a Soviet threat or not.

[00:30:22] It turned out that the mystery remained and that we even received by the 1948 period a top secret document from Scandinavia which said that some of the people in Scandinavia were seriously considering the option that these devices were extraterrestrial technology.

[00:30:43] WHAT EXACTLY WERE THEY? DID ANYBODY SEE ANYTHING OTHER THAN CONTRAILS AND FLAMES BEHIND THINGS? WHAT WERE PEOPLE DESCRIBING IN TERMS OF ACTUAL OBJECTS?

[00:30:57] The kind of reports that you got in from Scandinavia were very often things that looked a lot like meteors or fireballs or things like that. But they weren't always that way.

[00:31:10] Some of them looked very much like there was a cylindrical object in front of a trail of some kind and that's why the idea of rocket was added into the nickname or the idea that it was a Soviet missile.

[00:31:24] There were also some closer sightings of things and that these things sometimes would have kind of a truncated or foreshortened missile type of shape, perhaps with some fins on it. There weren't that many sightings of close-up disks or anything so that the term ghost rocket was the one that stuck.

[00:31:46] WAS ANYTHING EVER FOUND ON THE GROUND? WHERE ROCKETS YOU WOULD HAVE ASSUMED SOMETHING WOULD HAVE FALLEN TO EARTH AT SOME POINT AND SOMEBODY WOULD HAVE SAID, OH, THAT'S WHERE IT FELL. BUT THEY DIDN'T FIND ANYTHING?

[00:31:59] What the military technologists thought should have happened was that any time you have a piece of technology flying over that sooner or later one was going to misfire and crash.

[00:32:11] But as a matter of fact, no evidence of such crashes were ever found. They thought that perhaps the Soviets had very much perfected something and that of course made people even more concerned that they had a perfected technology.

[00:32:26] SO WHAT WAS DONE WITHIN THE CONFINES OF THE AMERICAN INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES AT THAT POINT OR WITH THE ARMY-AIR FORCE. WERE ANY STEPS TAKEN OR WERE THEY JUST INTERESTED IN TERMS OF AN INVESTIGATION AFTER THIS. THE SWEDES DIDN'T FIND ANYTHING. DID THEY JUST LET THE MATTER DROP?

[00:32:47] The United States intelligence groups were very, very concerned about this but they couldn't really do much about it because this was a Scandinavian and specifically a Swedish and Norwegian affair.

[00:33:01] So they were reduced to the idea of collecting intelligence and apparently, and we never have been able to get released the documents on this except for a minor few. Apparently they had a rather large file from Europe about ghost rocket sightings but that simply laid in state until perhaps it would have some other use.

[00:33:25] INTERESTING. SO WE SKIP AHEAD NOW TO LATE JUNE IN 1947. AND I GUESS THE ARNOLD SIGHTING WHICH WAS - AND THE WAKE OF THE ARNOLD SIGHTING WHICH WAS THE 1947 SUMMER FLAP. WHAT HAPPENED THEN INSIDE THE NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY INSTITUTIONS OF THE UNITED STATES?

[00:33:50] Well after the ghost rocket scare the intelligence agencies seemed to relax a little bit when the phenomena seemed to stop. But in the summer of 1947, not really beginning with June but becoming prominent in awareness in June of '47, the so-called flying saucer flap of the United States began.

[00:34:15] Now this was something that the intelligence community took seriously immediately. There was a desk called the collections desk in the Pentagon that was interested in dangerous possible invasions of American air space. And this looked like that well could be what this was all about.

[00:34:34] So Col. George Garrett began collecting cases both as the Kenneth Arnold case which began it all and also cases from military pilots and started to try to figure out an estimate of what this technology and what its threat might be.

[00:34:55] AND WHAT WAS THE RESULT OF THAT?

[00:34:59] The flap as so called in the middle of the summer, the late part of June and the early part of July was very intense. And after about the second week of July it tailed off markedly.

[00:35:16] Col. Garrett was still worried about what this had been all about but he thought, I have on my hands a mystery that doesn't seem to have been solved by anybody and yet no longer am I getting any pressure from my higher ups to try to solve it and yet it seems to me like this is a very dangerous situation.

[00:35:38] So what he did was he collected his best cases together, about 16 of them, and he made a set of criteria out of them as to what the technology that was over flying the United States seemed to be. And it was the typical thing that we're all aware of - metallic disk shaped low aspect aircraft, seemed to be very technological, flying very fast and much more manoeuvrable than anything that at least Col. Garrett knew that we had.

[00:36:05] So he sent around an inquiry to the army, to the air force, to the navy, any place that he could find that was an R&D centre saying are these our technologies? He was very, very surprised to get back the answer, no we are developing nothing like this.

[00:36:27] WOULD HE HAVE HAD ACCESS ON HIS LEVEL WITHIN THE PENTAGON TO THE TOP SECRET PROJECTS THAT AH - IN OTHER WORDS COULD THEY HAVE LIED TO HIM?

[00:36:37] We have good reason to believe that Col. Garrett was getting straight answers from these various areas of military intelligence because at the collection desks which was the highest level of intelligence collection in the United States air force intelligence sector of the Pentagon, George Garrett was the second highest in command there.

[00:37:01] There was no reason why he could not contact personally all the chiefs of research and development, which is what he did and get back a straight response from them.

[00:37:14] SO ALRIGHT, WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? WHAT'S THE NEXT DEVELOPMENT?

[00:37:18] Well the next development is that Garrett sends the thing to Wright Patterson Air Force Base. Mac McCoy responds in kind and they shift the investigation to what becomes Project Sign.

[00:37:31] PROJECT SIGN. OKAY LET'S LAUNCH INTO THAT THEN AND TAKE IT UP TO THE ESTIMATE OF THE SITUATION.

[00:37:39] Okay. When Garrett got back his answer that it did not look like this was any form of U.S. research project, he decided to give it one last try because the top of American high tech development at that time was Wright Patterson Air Force base.

[00:37:59] So he sent to the leader of intelligence at Wright Pat at air materiel command, Col. Howard McCoy the same request he had sent to the other R&D branches. And McCoy took his request very seriously. Brought together all of his heads of engineering and his intelligence community and they made their counter estimation which basically said Col. Garrett, you're right.

[00:38:27] This is a high technological thing that is over-flying our country and we don't know what it is and we don't have anything to do with it.

[00:38:36] WHAT WAS THE CONCERN, THAT IT MIGHT BE RUSSIAN? WAS THERE ANY CONCERN OF THAT?

[00:38:41] At the time, because this was so new and because it wasn't possible to have a bulk of reports that had a lot of detail in them, the natural belief was that this must be Soviet technology. The idea that it was extraterrestrial did not really come up there at the very beginning

[00:39:04] But the fact that the Soviets could have come up with a glider or a rocker plane or something like that due to the fact that say captured German aeronautical technicians had been so far in advance of everybody else in the world, that was a viable thought at the time.

[00:39:24] So McCoy felt that Wright Patterson was the proper place to study this because they had the leading aeronautical technologists in our country and had access to many of those same German technologists.

[00:39:40] If we needed a collection point to make sense out of this, something at Wright Pat should be the place.

[00:39:46] Now what they began to do was that Col. McCoy took ah several high quality engineers plus a captain in the intelligence group and made them into an investigating team.

[00:40:01] He applied to the Pentagon for a formal project name and it was ultimately given the name Project Sign. These particular individuals went about collecting UFO reports for the rest of 1947 and into approximately the summer of 1948 when they came across information that they thought convinced them that not only was the subject real, not only was the subject technological but it was impossible for the objects to be constructed by human technology.

[00:40:34] THIS WAS CHILES-WITTID.

[00:40:36] You want me to talk about Chiles-Wittid?

[00:40:38] IT'S A CRITICAL CASE… FOR THAT REASON.

[00:40:44] The case that turned the corner for Project Sign has gone by the name of the Chiles-Wittid case out of the two airline pilots that were the prime witnesses in the case.

[00:40:55] What Chiles and Wittid had seen was an object approaching their plane. This was a commercial aircraft. They saw an object approaching their plane that looked like it was perhaps a modern styled jet aircraft, to begin with.

[00:41:12] As it got closer to the plane, they were concerned a bit that they were going to have a head on collision with this. And it began looking more and more like a wingless rocket but which had windows all along the side, kind of in two-tier parallel windows.

[00:41:29] It rushed on by them completely staggering their mind as to what this could possibly be other than as Chiles said, a modern jet job. And when they landed in Atlanta, they immediately reported this to their superiors and the word got out into the newspapers.

[00:41:52] The Pentagon was so interested in the report that it had gotten from the newspapers that it ordered Wright Patterson to send their two best investigators immediately to Atlanta to get separate reports from Chiles and Wittid and to report directly back to the Pentagon on what this was.

[00:42:11] The reason why Project Sign saw this case as being extraterrestrial was that this was an object flying freely and apparently manoeuvrable in our environment that had no wings. So where would the lift for a piloted craft of some kind come from?

[00:42:30] What they knew as technologists at Wright Pat was the only way such an object could fly is if it had a tremendously powerful energy source. And the only thing they could think of would be something like nuclear. But they knew that they had nothing nuclear and no one else did either.

[00:42:48] They were stuck with the conclusion that this was an extraterrestrial device.

[00:42:53] NOW THEY DID A SERIOUS INVESTIGATION. BUT AT THE SAME TIME WASN'T - DIDN'T DONALD MENZIL COME ON THE SCENE AND EXPLAIN WHAT THEY HAD SEEN AS A … AND AT THAT SAME TIME YOU DO MENTION IN THE PAPER AND YOU CAN GO INTO THIS, IS THAT THERE WERE OTHER FORCES AT WORK WITH OTHER BELIEF SYSTEMS ABOUT THE WHOLE PHENOMENON WITHIN THE PENTAGON.

[00:43:20] Menzil does not try to explain away the Chiles-Wittid case until later.

[00:43:24] UNTIL LATER, OKAY.

[00:43:26] So maybe I'll continue the historical line. Maybe I'll say about the Pentagon thing and then we can get to Menzil.

[00:43:40] The people at Wright Patterson Air Force Base then felt that they had enough information to do what really is the duty of any project and that is to ultimately inform higher command what they think the problem is and this is called an estimate of the situation.

[00:43:59] So they wrote this particular document citing the Charles Wittid case and several other pieces of information that they thought did not necessarily prove their case but made very strong indication that what we were dealing with was an extraterrestrial phenomenon.

[00:44:16] The Pentagon knew what their attitude was and there were divided thinking going on in the Pentagon. There were a group of people who felt that perhaps the people at Project Sign knew what they were talking about.

[00:44:31] But the majority of the people in the Pentagon at the time thought that this was too far to go for them. They thought that they didn't want to completely dispense with the Soviet technology idea and there were a group - a third group of people who felt that even if these people at Project Sign were correct, this was not a message that they wanted to send out into the world or even into the military community itself, that this was just too strange and too dangerous.

[00:45:03] It was like an unknown wild card that they didn't want to let psychologically loose within their people. So there were the majority of the people at the Pentagon at the time did not look upon the conclusion of the estimate of the situation favourably and they wanted to do something to block it.

[00:45:22] They did. Members in the estimates - the estimate section of the Pentagon was the area of the Pentagon that wrote things like policy, how we're going to deal with things. And people in the estimate section of the Pentagon decided that we need to have a counter report to this thing and to get rid of the estimate of the situation.

[00:45:45] And so air force intelligence in combination with naval intelligence co-wrote an alternative document which said we don't believe that there's anything to this extraterrestrial idea. We think that there's probably not really too much to this flying disks idea.

[00:46:07] But if there is anything to do with a flying disk idea, it's probably Soviet and we recommend a very serious study be done as to whether Soviet technology with the help of German genius might still be behind this. And they were the winners of that.

[00:46:23] The estimate of the situation went down. Project Sign was broken up and ultimately you got a attitude in the Pentagon that ah UFOs, extraterrestrials, wasn't very welcome at the time.

[00:46:38] SO THE WAY THE STORY IS USUALLY TOLD IS THAT IT BOUNCED UP TO HOYT VANDENBURG AND HE WAS THE ONE WHO DID THE ULTIMATE REJECTION. BUT IS THIS TRUE OR NOT? AND DID HE ORDER ALL COPIES OF THE ESTIMATE BURNED AND IS IT NOT TRUE THAT NOBODY - THE ONLY REASON WE KNOW IT EXISTED IS BECAUSE OF RU…

[00:47:00] The situation with the estimate of the situation as exactly what happened with it is still a little bit mysterious, as one might imagine for a top secret document going through intelligence circles.

[00:47:13] A head of the air force flying saucer project, later in time in 1952 was Captain Edward Ruppelt. And what he said was in his book, was that this particular estimate was passed all the way up through the Pentagon until it reached the desk of the chief o the air force, General Hoyt Vandenburg and that it was Hoyt Vandenburg who personally, as he says, slapped it back down.

[00:47:44] In other words that was a rejection with kind of a vengeance. Now Ruppelt said that he knew that because he was told that by other members of the intelligence community that were still on the scene when he arrived at Wright Patterson, which there were many from the original Project Sign still there.

[00:48:05] They just weren't working the flying saucer beat anymore. Whether thought it was Vandenburg's own idea or whether it was his chief of intelligence, General Charles Cabel that decided that you couldn't do this, is not for sure.

00:48:22] Now again, according to the story, all the copies of the estimate of the situation were destroyed but that couldn't have been true. Because as a matter of fact, we have several people who said they saw one including Captain Ripalt himself and the Pentagon's major person at the so-called UFO desk in 1952, Major Dewey Fournet.

[00:48:48] Both those individuals say that they saw and read copies of the estimate of the situation and that it was what you would expect, a somewhat thick monographic document with details of cases in it.

[00:49:01] I GUESS AT THIS POINT THEN - WE HAVEN'T COVERED THAT SIGN HAS BEEN DISBANDED AND GRUDGE IS -

[00:49:07] I just briefly mentioned that Sign was broken up. But I can overlap back on to that.

[00:49:15] YEAH OVERLAP A BIT BACK ON TO IT AND THEN WE'LL JUMP STRAIGHT TO 1952, SUMMER OF '52.

[00:49:24] When the estimate was rejected and was rejected with a certain degree of emotional prejudice, they broke up the Sign research team. And so the captain that was head of the project was reassigned and probably just by accident even the chief of intelligence and his assistant director of intelligence happened to be moving in a rotation at that time as well.

[00:49:52] So even the supportive higher administrators left Wright Patterson and the people who were brought in to replace them were some of the most negative people in the history of UFO research. General, at that time Colonel - Harold Watson was brought in as chief of intelligence and he was known as the great saucer basher.

[00:50:18] So any time you wanted a real negative comment about UFOs you stuck a microphone in front of Harold Watson and he gave you something that was printable.

[00:50:27] Now they even changed the name of the project from Sign to Grudge. And everybody who knows about that says that was not an accidental shift. That was meant to convey something, basically to the intelligence community, as to what the attitude of the Pentagon was now to take toward UFOs.

[00:50:49] Well they really went too far. Because what happened is it created confusion out there among the bases as to whether to bother to report UFO sightings anymore. And very prominent bases like the Far Eastern air force were very upset with this because they were having strange things going on in the Far East. And they wanted to now, are you guys taking this seriously or not?

[00:51:13] So they wrote - people like them wrote to the Pentagon and said what are we supposed to do? We want you to take this seriously. And at that time, Chief of Intelligence, General Charles Cabel said, yes we've gone too far. And he sent directives back out to the very bases including Wright Patterson, start taking this more seriously.

[00:51:38] As far as the public is concerned, pretend that we're not. But as far as the bases are concerned, take it more seriously.

[00:51:46] THAT I THINK LEADS INTO THE FIRST … ARTICLES IN TRUE.

[00:51:51] Yeah it does. Do you want me to say something about them?

YES.

[00:51:55] One of the very unusual things that created huge trouble for the air force in years following was that they decided that they were going to have a, a press conference really or a document and one of the main saucer bashers they had was going to lead the press conference. His name was Major Gerry Boggs.

[00:52:18] And he was going to say all kind of negative things about UFOs. But at the same time there was as reporter from the Saturday Evening Post who wanted to go to Wright Patterson and write a story about the flying saucers.

[00:52:36] He seemed to be supported in this by ah very high up people in the Pentagon and so there was no way to refuse him of this. And so he ended up showing up almost by surprise in the lapse of the new very negative people at Wright Pat including Harold Watson and they tried to bluff him.

[00:53:01] And he could tell that they weren't taking it seriously and he was very upset with the way in which the UFO problem was being handled.

[00:53:09] But he was going to come out with now a major magazine story in the United States and the air force was really worried about what he was going to say.

[00:53:19] And so they decided that they needed to not only have a Gerry Boggs type counter press release but also a physical object, a little monograph statement saying something to counter the Saturday Evening Post article.

[00:53:36] That was a thing that ended up being titled Project Saucer. And somehow a tremendous snafu went on in the Pentagon and they allowed the guys from Wright Pat, the old holdover guys from Project Sign to write the document that was supposed to be the negative counter to the Saturday Evening-.

[00:53:57] It turned out to be more positive to UFOs than what Sidney Shallet's article in Saturday Evening Post was.

[00:54:06] Well one of the guys reading this, both Shallet's Post article and Project Saucer report was Donald Kehoe. And Donald Kehoe became probably the most important person in the history of UFOs.

[00:54:22] Because in the midst of - where everyone else was trying to debunk UFOs or make them a laughing stock he was the absolute bulldog that insisted on holding everybody's feet to the fire, asking all the hard questions for all the rest of his life and keep the subject alive.

[00:54:41] And Kehoe was sitting there reading these two documents, saying what is going on here?! Here's the private guy not talking as positively about UFOs as the air force is. There must be something going on here. What is this mystery?

[00:54:58] And that got him started. Led him to his famous first book, The Flying Saucers Are Real, and his even better second book, The Flying Saucers from Outer Space and the air force had problems on their hands for two decades.

[00:55:12] THE FIRST THING WAS THE TRUE MAGAZINE ARTICLES WHICH I IMAGINE KIND OF HIT - THEY WERE THE SHIT THAT HIT THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL FAN. IS MY READING CORRECT? BECAUSE SUDDENLY YOU HAVE THIS VERY POPULAR MAGAZINE POPPING UP WITH THIS WHOLE IDEA THERE'S AN AIR FORCE COVER-UP AND THESE THINGS THAT PEOPLE HAVE BEEN REPORTING FOR THE LAST 2 AND A HALF YEARS, EXTRATERRESTRIAL SPACECRAFT. WAS THIS REALLY THE DAWNING OF THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL HYPOTHESIS TAKING FORM IN THE PUBLIC'S MIND, A VERY CONCRETE FORM WITH THOSE ARTICLES? I'M JUST WONDERING ABOUT THEIR ACTUAL HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE BECAUSE THEY DID PRECEDE THE BOOK, RIGHT?

[00:55:54] Yeah.

[00:55:57] The first thing that Kehoe did after reading the Project Saucer report was that he went to True Magazine and he got himself on kind of almost a detective beat on the subject.

[00:56:10] And he went around collecting all this information as best as he could from outside the secret walls of the Pentagon and he became more and more convinced that what he had thought originally was true.

[00:56:22] The air force knew a lot about this subject and yet when you would hear spokesmen like Boggs or Watson talk, they were claiming that it was all nonsense. It just didn't add up.

[00:56:34] Well by the time the end of the year 1948 came, Kehoe had collected enough information that was able to write kind of a watershed article in True Magazine about the flying saucers being real.

[00:56:48] That article which came at the very end of the year was sort of a psychological bomb for many people. Because it seemed to expose a hypocrisy in air fore intelligence. And not only that, seemed to rather clearly point to the extraterrestrial hypothesis.

[00:57:10] Now even though Kehoe somewhat oversteps in his enthusiasm abut the extraterrestrial hypothesis at the time, most of us think that he really was basically on the right track and that the air force was forced then to respond again to him with negative press conferences in order to try to get some of the pressure out of the situation.

[00:57:34] AM I CORRECT IN ASSUMING NOW THAT IN TERMS OF THE THEME WE'RE TALKING ABOUT, NOT NECESSARILY - WELL NO, 1950 WE GOT THE TRENT PICTURES, WE GOT THE TREMONTIN UTAH FILM. I DON'T THINK WE HAVE TO COVER THOSE IN GREAT DETAIL. BUT THINGS ARE KICKING ALONG MORE OR LESS IN THE SAME VEIN OF THE EARLY DAYS OF PROJECT -WELL MAYBE WE SHOULD COVER THE EARLY DAYS OF PROJECT BLUE BOOK GETTING SET UP BEFORE WE HIT WASHINGTON. BECAUSE BLUE BOOK WAS SET UP IN '49 RIGHT?

[00:58:12] Ah - you don't actually get the name change until ah early '52. But it is, but Grudge is reactivated essentially in about 1950 or so. So actually that little game - there are certain aspects of that game that are interesting but ah let me wade through something and you can decide whether there's a hole to fill, okay?

[00:58:45] I'VE GOT THREE MINUTES LEFT ON THE TAPE BEFORE I HAVE TO CHANGE TAPES.

[00:58:49] One of the things that happens because of the furor that Kehoe's True article kicks up and ultimately his book that's published later in that year is that there are some high tech naval observers of balloon launches that have some very interesting things that they spot.

[00:59:09] And the naval commander named MacLachlan, at the time he doesn't have very much respect for this hypocritical stance that the air force has been taking and he goes public also.

[00:59:21] Now all of a sudden you have a major military person and a technologist, the persons that should know the absolute difference between balloons and other kinds of things that this could be, reporting that they have seen UFOs and taking photo theotolight pictures of them.

[00:59:40] This thing convinces the public because it gets into the newspapers and in True magazine ultimately that something is real and the air force is forced to start taking the subject more seriously.

[00:59:53] So General Cabel gets back to his people and says, I want these things taken seriously. Start ramping the project back up.

[01:00:07] '52?

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[00:00:09] SO THIS, I THINK, LEADS PROPERLY TO THE SUMMER OF 1952. BUT MAYBE WE SHOULD PREFACE THAT. THERE WAS A LIFE MAGAZINE ARTICLE IN THE SPRING AND THAT WAS FOLLOWED BY A BIT OF A FLAP, WAS IT NOT?

[00:00:23] Yeah. The big flap was really ah due to a ah - a case that occurred in New Jersey and that was the thing that ah really changed a lot of people's attitude at the highest levels.

[00:00:40] THIS WAS … YOU CAN TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THAT.

[00:00:45] When ah General Cabel decided that everybody should become more serious about this, one of the things that had happened at Wright Patterson was that there was a change then made there from the person who was more or less just taking in cases, laughing at them and throwing them in the waste can to a young man named Gerry Cummings who thought this was a serious subject and wanted to do the right thing.

[00:01:14] And on his watch very early in the game there was a case report that came in from Monmouth, New Jersey, that something unusual had happened associated with not only something seen in the sky but also on radar.

[00:01:31] Wright Patterson was not the first one to hear about that. But instead the Pentagon was the one that got that information. And General Cabel's office called Wright Patterson and told them, get somebody out there immediately; I want to know what's going on.

[00:01:48] Well Gerry Cummings left and he found out as best he could and he reported back to General Cabel in the Pentagon and all the other big brass were sitting around listening to this.

[00:02:01] Well, at one stage in the game, General Cabel looked Gerry Cummings in the eye and he says, well how is the project really going back there?

[00:02:10] And Gerry Cummings was a hotshot young aeronautical engineer who was just about to leave the air force anyway and go to Caltech and he didn't care anymore. And he was rather angry with the way it was going and he told the General all about it.

[00:02:22] Well the General went through the roof. And he stormed around pointing at various people who were also there in his audience saying, I've been lied to, and lied to and lied to. He said, I demand that this subject be taken seriously!

[00:02:41] And so Gerry Cummings goes back to Wright Patterson and they actually had done an early wire tape recording of the thing at the time and it was played for all the naysayers back there at Wright Patterson and that changed the attitude, both in the Pentagon and at Wright Pat to now becoming more friendly, if you wanted to say, towards UFO reports and their observers.

[00:03:06] Well what happened then fairly quickly was General Cabel moved on and he was replaced by a man named John Sanford. And John Sanford had an old-time buddy that he really trusted and as true a lot of times in military, and military intelligence specifically, that when a person gets a very big job he will reach out to his old buddies that he really trusts and bring them on as his chief assistants.

[00:03:34] And this is what he did with Brig. Gen. Garland. Well William Garland was a rather amazing choice at the time because he had seen a UFO himself and was totally convinced that the UFO phenomena was legitimate.

[00:03:50] And so when Major Gen. Sanford, now chief of air force intelligence wanted to know, well what about this UFO stuff, Bill, Bill said it's serious and we've got to have a serious Pentagon looking at this.

[00:04:04] At that time the structure of intelligence gathering and analysis about UFOs in the Pentagon completely changed. And people who were UFO friendly were either put into jobs new or if they were already in those jobs were informed that this is now the positive, sympathetic attitude that you need to take.

[00:04:28] And at time probably the most sympathetic Blue Book chief at Wright Patterson Air Force base was installed and that was Captain Edward Ruppelt.

[00:04:37] Well, here just before the flap of the summer of 1952 by magic almost both Wright Patterson Air Force base and the Pentagon are set up to handle the 1952 UFO flap in a sympathetic way.

[00:04:57] AND WHAT HAPPENED?

[00:05:00] So there they all are behind their desks and the UFOs start really flying and they -

… VERY SENSITIVE AREA.

[00:05:10] And they are - They are flying ah all up and down the east coast and some people actually predicted, because of the way they were doing it, that they would probably show up in Washington, D.C.

[00:05:26] And there in the middle of July they did. So one evening in late July, UFOs seemed to be invading the nation's most sensitive air space over the Pentagon, over the national airport, over the White House and they were all over the radar screens.

[00:05:50] Now people thought, we've got terrible trouble here and they scrambled jets. I think the jets came from Andrews, so it took them a little while to get there and this peculiar thing happened. When the jets would show up on the radar screen, the UFOs would go.

[00:06:09] And then the jets would fly around and go back and the UFOs would come back and a little dance went on for a couple of times and it boggled everybody's mind.

[00:06:18] Well this was a source of terrific concern to a lot of people including the press in the United States. Well it even got worse because it happened exactly like it had happened before the very next weekend.

[00:06:33] This is an interesting fact because one of the counter explanations you can make for the Washington, D.C. merry-go-round as it's called is that the equipment was faulty.

[00:06:47] Well you can just imagine how that equipment was checked after that first weekend. Well that equipment was sharp for the second round the next weekend.

[00:06:57] And so there's no question of equipment failure here. There's also no question that somehow these radar operators are incompetent. These are radar operators at the most important place in the United States. These guys swore that these were hard contacts. They're very little testimony of what the thing actually looked like.

[00:07:24] It was like a ball of light, one pilot would say. Or people on the ground who were looking at 'em through photo theotolights from a distance away said it looked like kind of a ball of light that was flying around in some of these cases.

[00:07:40] But nevertheless, an unexplainable something or another repeating itself over Washington, D.C. Well President Truman - a lot of people don't realize this but President Truman had a personal military advisor from the army named General Robert Landry.

[00:08:01] And one of the things he had asked Robert Landry to do way before Washington merry-go-round was to give him monthly reports on the status of the UFO situation.

[00:08:11] And President Truman called General Landry in the midst of this activity and said, you've got to find out what's going on here. And when they did and Captain Edward Ruppelt from Wright Patterson Air Force base just happened to be in town for the second round of this, Ruppelt was on the other end of the phone and he told him and he told him that they didn't know what they had on their hands.

[00:08:42] Well it took Harry Truman one day to order Landry to go to the Joint Intelligence Committee and to order a study of this, because we can't have things like this in sensitive air space over the nation's capitol.

[00:08:58] THERE WAS ANOTHER ASPECT YOU SHOULD BRING IN, THE TIE-UP OF THE COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK.

[00:09:06] Yeah, I can do that now. That's something in my mind flows in a little lat- but I can do that now. That's no problem.

FINE.

[00:09:17] One of the things that people who didn't live in Washington, D.C. but were very concerned about military security were worried about was that it was not just that these things were flying over the Pentagon. It was that they were flying over every place practically in the country at the time.

[00:09:40] And our people, our public knew it and they wanted to do the right thing and they were calling and they were calling air force bases and they were calling every place they could imagine that they thought was the right thing for a concerned citizen to do.

[00:09:56] The amount of clogs that occurred in the communications channels in this country due to this outpouring of public responsibility cost them at least 45 minutes if not two hours worth of delay in terms of response time.

[00:10:15] Now what does that mean if you're a person in the military worried about national security? The last thing you want is all your lines of communication tied up for an hour before you can even figure out what's going on.

[00:10:29] We're sitting there with a clear and present danger from the Soviet Union, having nothing to do with UFOs but a clear and present danger from the Soviet Union and we don't want the Soviet Union to be able to take advantage of one hour communication clog ups.

[00:10:48] So this was not only something that was frightening to Harry Truman because of his own maybe personal safety, this is something that was frightening to the entire military contingent of this country in terms of the Soviet threat.

[00:11:03] FASCINATING. OKAY SO TRUMAN HAS ORDERED A STUDY?

[00:11:08] Yes.

[00:11:10] LET'S GO STRAIGHT TO IT. HANG ON JUST A SECOND.

[00:11:17] When the request at the Joint Intelligence Committee came down to take a look at UFOs the logical place for that request to be studied was some agency other than the one studying it already, which was the air force, and so they picked the CIA.

[00:11:42] And the head of the CIA said, fine, we'll do it. And so it took like less than a day for the CIA to get on the job. Almost immediately CIA operatives were in the Pentagon sitting opposite air force intelligence officers at their desk quizzing them about UFOs and an internal project was being set up in the CIA to try to find out what this was all about.

[00:12:08] To begin with they started taking the thing rather cynically and the very first documents that come out of them say, well you know, we're not sure there's that much to this.

[00:12:20] But it's kind of an interesting set of documents to read because after you get a couple of months into the CIA's own study the chief scientific advisor in the CIA is saying that there looks like there's a lot to this and this is a problem. We have got to take this seriously. It is correct to take this seriously.

[00:12:42] So the momentum begins to build as to what in fact do we really want to do about this? Well there were all kinds of people who wanted to be part of this at the time. And one of the groups of people (phone rings) -

(cut)

[00:13:04] One of the groups that was very interested in taking on this task of studying UFOs was a group called the Beacon Hill group in Boston composed largely of members of MIT, Harvard, high technology and science type guys.

[00:13:18] They were very, very worried about the Soviet threat because we did not have a radar screen yet. We didn't have the so-called DEW line, the Distant Early Warning radar thing set up. There was no way for us to detect penetration of air space before the thing would become very seriously.

[00:13:36] They thought since UFOs already seemed to be doing this at will, if they were going to be the students of this they'd learn something about more effectively protecting the United States. It was a perfectly reasonable response. CIA didn't want to have anything to do with them.

[00:13:52] CIA wanted to keep this as an internal project which they had complete control over. So rather than going to a good high tech science group out of which we might have gotten a rather nice estimate, again, of what the phenomena was, what happened is that they went to internal CIA consultants, the most well known of which and a person who had been chief consulting scientist for the CIA in the past was a guy named Dr. Bob Robertson, H.P. Robertson.

[00:14:30] And he was a nuclear scientist, more or less a mathematician, from Caltech. And they asked him if he would chair a committee to look at the UFO phenomenon and give recommendations as how to deal with it.

[00:14:44] Thus came up what is usually called the Robertson committee. You can think of it in your mind as a CIA committee though chaired by a Caltech scientist. They went about trying to find people who were willing to serve on this committee and it might be of no surprise that almost nobody wanted to bother.

.[00:15:05] But the people they did bring in were willing to spend a little time for the good of national security to do some jobs listening to what UFOs were all about.

[00:15:18] WHY WAS THAT CYNICAL ATTITUDE ALREADY SO PROFOUNDLY ESTABLISHED IN THE SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY DO YOU THINK?

[00:15:26] It is kind of a mystery as to why when the CIA reached out for people to serve on this committee they got as many refusals as they did because it was going to be a top secret committee and there was no reputation to lose. It's the people out there in the dark corridors anyway of science secrecy, the people who would be Pentagon type scientists. They thought that the subject was foolish somehow.

[00:15:56] Now why would that have been at this early stage of the game? I believe that it was associated with Dr. Donald Menzil of Harvard University. Because although Menzil was not active very early in the game in say the late '40s, he became very active by 1952 and began to publish a series of opinions that all of this was somewhere between nonsense, ignorance or in rare cases, a misperception of an unusual natural phenomena.

[00:16:35] But there was nothing of scientific importance in this according to Menzil and there was a lot of foolishness in this, according to Menzil. Because scientists are very busy people and they don't want to bother to look into the thing themself, they're willing to take it from one of their boys.

[00:16:54] And here was one of their boys who was a rather famous one of their boys who was saying, nonsense, foolishness, don't waste your time on it. And that was good enough for them.

[00:17:09] SO DR. ROBERTSON.

[00:17:12] They finally did get enough people to volunteer to be on the committee. But frankly most of them didn't want to be there. And they expressed that not only reluctance but overt irritation from being there right off the bat. And so the attitude wasn't even going to be scientific, to start out with.

[00:17:34] But here they were. They were going to meet in January of 1953 and what was brought in to be presented to them was brought in by the chief people in air force intelligence.

[00:17:48] So Captain Edward Ruppelt came in with his best information from Wright Patterson Air Force base. Dr. Alan Hynek who was the scientific consultant at the time came in to talk about his views of the phenomena.

[00:18:02] They brought in people from the photo interpretation center who were looking at certain films that they thought were extremely strange and unexplainable and they showed the films at the meeting.

[00:18:15] THIS IS TREMONTIN IN PARTICULAR, CORRECT?

[00:18:16] Tremotin and Great Falls

[00:18:18] GREAT FALLS YEAH.

[00:18:20] So they also had Major Dewey Fournet come in. He had made a study of the motions involved in certain UFO cases including the famous Tremotin film which the ah naval people from the photo interpretation centre were going to show.

[00:18:41] And mainly they had probably the best, at least that the military people had to offer. And they made their presentations one after another taking up approximately half a day each. And then the panel went off supposedly to deliberate.

[00:18:56] Well, it's kind of puzzling because by the very next morning after the evening in which Dr. Robertson said that they should go off to deliberate, he walked in with a completed conclusion on the whole thing.

[00:19:13] It's hard to imagine that the august Dr. Robertson stayed up all night writing that or that that wasn't already written. But nevertheless, the Robertson panel report was basically there for everybody to sign the next day. And it had already been passed to the chief of air force intelligence for his approval.

[00:19:33] So it sounded as though it was almost like they knew what they wanted to say. And what they basically said was nothing about the UFO phenomena itself. There was no science in this science committee report. It was all about national security.

[00:19:53] Well okay, we should give them that. That's what they're worried about is national security. But what they ended up saying was that the UFO phenomena was not in itself a threat to national security but in its possible effects on the American public it was a threat to national security.

[00:20:18] Because of things like that 45 minute communication clogs delay that had occurred which had been very clearly reported to them the very first day of the committee that was right up front. Because of things like that, if you wanted to eliminate a national security problem with this, you needed to change the attitude of the American public to this phenomena. And the only effective way of doing that was to make it be a joke.

[00:20:48] If you could make it be a joke people wouldn't report it as much; you wouldn't have the communication lines problems and we all would kind of go forward, at least unless the phenomena changed its characteristics, a lot safer because the Soviets couldn't use this to their advantage.

[00:21:10] AND THEREIN LIES THE TALE EH?

[00:21:12] It sure does.

BECAUSE IT REALLY HASN'T CHANGED SINCE.

[00:21:16] No.

[00:21:17] …

 



[01:00:08] Okay. How much time have you got?

NOT ENOUGH.

(END)

 

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[00:00:05] IN YOUR OPINION IS THERE SOMETHING THAT IS SYSTEMICALLY BUILT INTO THE WAY SCIENCE EVOLVES AND IS PRACTICED THAT MAKES IT PRONE TO REJECT NEW IDEAS AND SOMETIMES STRANGE NEW IDEAS ALMOST AS A KNEE JERK REACTION?

[00:00:34] Many people have wondered why the scientific community has not taken this subject more seriously. You can imagine why the odd character like Donald Menzil or something acts the way he does. But why is his message effective in any kind of way?

[00:00:53] Well one thing that people need to be aware of upfront is that scientists are busy people. They have very full lives. They don't in fact study things very much other than their own science. And they depend on other sources of information of what they're going to believe.

[00:01:14] A lot of times if that other source of information is a non-scientist, the guy just takes it as to whether it feels good to him or not. He's no different than Joe Public standing on the street corner in terms of his attitude.

[00:01:30] If it seems weird to him then it's weird. And that's the one thing also to remember about scientists. Science has an in-built arrogance about them that a lot of these guys think that whatever it feels like to them is probably right. They don't make many mistakes.

[00:01:49] So the first thing I think what you're dealing with is you're dealing with a ah - a group of people who don't have time to study things outside their field they think because they're so intensely involved with it. They tend to believe, nevertheless, that they see right through everything and they tend to take their own brothers seriously when one of them happens to speak.

[00:02:22] There is a whole other thing though about science and that is that in my years in academia, and I have rubbed up against many, many fellow scientists in the corridors, these guys are essentially cowards. They're intellectual cowards.

[00:02:43] We in academia have it made, after all, especially scientists in academia. We're kind of at the top of the pecking order. And in order to maintain that allusion which is what it is, we've got to not appear the fool.

[00:03:04] And the way to continue to have a happy, successful life with basically no barriers is to take no risks. It's also part of the in training of a scientist to set borders on what that scientist believes is the nature of reality.

[00:03:26] And it's a lot more comfortable if you have the arrogance that you think you're going to explain everything sooner or later to have a rather narrow set of fences. So a typical scientist, it might be surprising for the average public to realize, live in a much smaller universe than almost anyone else does.

[00:03:47] And that means a lot of things that the public experience are on the other side of the fence from what the scientist wants to credit. If you take a phenomena that's on the other side of the fence you'd say, oh my goodness, you know, naturally a scientist would want to explore that, some brand new exciting thing, wonderful meant no way - no way!

[00:04:15] What the scientist wants to do is open a little gate in that fence and move that fence back about six inches. If whatever this thing is is beyond six inches, so he has to actually put both feet outside the fence, there's no way you're going to be able to take him there.

[00:04:37] What I'm saying is not true of every scientist obviously. But the majority of the scientific community is a very non-risk taking group of people that live in a rather small reality and are in fact scared of things which seem to be outside that reality.