Tag: Project Sign

Meet J. Allen Hynek, the Astronomer Who First Classified UFO ‘Close Encounters’

by Greg Daugherty                      November 19, 2018                      (history.com)

• In 1947, a rash of reports of UFOs had the public on edge. The Air Force created Project Sign to investigate these UFO sightings. But they needed outside expertise to sift through the reports and come up with explanations for all of these sightings. Enter J. Allen Hynek.

• In 1948, Hynek was the 37-year-old director at Ohio State University’s McMillin Observatory. He had worked for the government during WWII developing new defense technologies for the war effort with a high security clearance. The Air Force approached him to be a consultant on ‘flying saucers’ for the government. “I had scarcely heard of UFOs in 1948 and, like every other scientist I knew, assumed that they were nonsense,” Hynek recalled.

• Hynek’s UFO investigations under Project Sign resulted in twenty percent of the 237 cases that couldn’t be explained. In February 1949, Project Sign was succeeded by Project Grudge, which said Hynek, “took as its premise that UFOs simply could not be.” The 1949 Grudge report concluded that the phenomena posed no danger to the United States, and warranted no further study.

• But UFO incidents continued, even from the Air Force’s own radar operators. The national media began treating the phenomenon more seriously. The Air Force had little choice but to revive Project Grudge under a new name: Project Blue Book. Hynek joined Project Blue Book in 1952 and would remain with it until its demise in 1969. But he had changed his mind about the existence of UFOs. “The witnesses I interviewed could have been lying, could have been insane or could have been hallucinating collectively—but I do not think so,” he recalled in 1977. Hynek deplored the ridicule that people who reported a UFO sighting often had to endure, causing untold numbers of others to never come forward, not to mention the loss of useful research data.

• “Given the controversial nature of the subject, it’s understandable that both scientists and witnesses are reluctant to come forward,” said Jacques Vallee, co-author with Dr. Hynek of The Edge of Reality: A Progress Report on Unidentified Flying Objects.

• On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union surprised the world by launching Sputnik, a serious blow to Americans’ sense of technological superiority. Hynek was on TV assuring Americans that their scientists were closely monitoring the situation. UFO sightings continued unabated.

• In the 1960s, Hynek was the top expert on UFOs as scientific consultant to Project Blue Book. But he chafed at what he perceived as the project’s mandate to debunk UFO sightings, and the inadequate resources at his disposal. Air Force Major Hector Quintanilla, who headed the project from 1963 to 1969, writes that he considered Hynek a “liability.”

• Hynek frustrated UFO debunkers such as the U.S. Air Force. But in 1966, after suggesting that a UFO sighting in Michigan may have been an optical illusion created by swamp gas, he became a punchline for UFO believers as well.

• In his testimony for a Congressional hearing in 1966, Hynek stated, “[I]t is my opinion that the body of data accumulated since 1948…deserves close scrutiny by a civilian panel of physical and social scientists…”. The Air Force established a civilian committee of scientists to investigate UFOs, chaired by physicist, Dr. Edward U. Condon. In 1968, Hynek assailed the Condon Report’s conclusion that “further extensive study of UFOs probably cannot be justified.” In 1969, Project Blue Book shut down for good.

• UFO sightings continued around the world. Hynek later quipped, “apparently [they] did not read the Condon Report”. Hynek went on with his research, free from the compromises and bullying of the U.S. Air Force.

• In 1972, Hynek published his first book, The UFO Experience. It introduced Hynek’s classifications of UFO incidents, which he called Close Encounters. Close Encounters of the First Kind meant UFOs seen at a close enough range to make out some details. In a Close Encounter of the Second Kind, the UFO had a physical effect, such as scorching trees, frightening animals or causing car motors to suddenly conk out. In Close Encounters of the Third Kind, witnesses reported seeing occupants in or near a UFO.

• In 1977, Steven Spielberg released the movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Hynek was paid $1,000 for the use of the title, another $1,000 for the rights to use stories from the book and $1,500 for three days of technical consulting. He also had a brief cameo in the film, playing an awestruck scientist when the alien spacecraft comes into view.

• In 1978, Hynek retired from teaching. In 1973 he had founded the Center for UFO Studies which continues to this day. Hynek died in 1986, at age 75, from a brain tumor.

 

It’s September 1947, and the U.S. Air Force has a problem. A rash of reports about mysterious objects in the skies has the public on edge and the military baffled. The Air Force needs to figure out what’s going on—and fast. It launches an investigation it calls Project Sign.

By early 1948 the team realizes it needs some outside expertise to sift through the reports it’s receiving—specifically an astronomer who can determine which cases are easily explained by astronomical phenomena, such as planets, stars or meteors.

For J. Allen Hynek, then the 37-year-old director at Ohio State University’s McMillin Observatory, it would be a classic case of being in the right place at the right time—or, as he may have occasionally lamented, the wrong place at the wrong one.

The adventure begins

Hynek had worked for the government during the war, developing new defense technologies like the first radio-controlled fuse, so he already had a high security clearance and was a natural go-to.

“One day I had a visit from several men from the technical center at Wright-Patterson Air Force base, which was only 60 miles away in Dayton,” Hynek later wrote. “With some obvious embarrassment, the men eventually brought up the subject of ‘flying saucers’ and asked me if I would care to serve as consultant to the Air Force on the matter… The job didn’t seem as though it would take too much time, so I agreed.”

Little did Hynek realize that he was about to begin a lifelong odyssey that would make him one of the most famous and, at times, controversial scientists of the 20 century. Nor could he have guessed how much his own thinking about UFOs would change over that period as he persisted in bringing rigorous scientific inquiry to the subject.

“I had scarcely heard of UFOs in 1948 and, like every other scientist I knew, assumed that they were nonsense,” he recalled.

Project Sign ran for a year, during which the team reviewed 237 cases. In Hynek’s final report, he noted that about 32 percent of incidents could be attributed to astronomical phenomena, while another 35 percent had other explanations, such as balloons, rockets, flares or birds. Of the remaining 33 percent, 13 percent didn’t offer enough evidence to yield an explanation. That left 20 percent that provided investigators with some evidence but still couldn’t be explained.

The Air Force was loath to use the term “unidentified flying object,” so the mysterious 20 percent were simply classified as “unidentified.”

In February 1949, Project Sign was succeeded by Project Grudge. While Sign offered at least a pretense of scientific objectivity, Grudge seems to have been dismissive from the start, just as its angry-sounding name suggests. Hynek, who played no role in Project Grudge, said it “took as its premise that UFOs simply could not be.” Perhaps not surprisingly, its report, issued at the end of 1949, concluded that the phenomena posed no danger to the United States, having resulted from mass hysteria, deliberate hoaxes, mental illness or conventional objects that the witnesses had misinterpreted as otherworldly. It also suggested the subject wasn’t worth further study.

Project Blue Book is born

That might’ve been the end of it. But UFO incidents continued, including some puzzling reports from the Air Force’s own radar operators. The national media began treating the phenomenon more seriously; LIFE magazine did a 1952 cover story, and even the widely respected TV journalist Edward R. Murrow devoted a program to the topic, including an interview with Kenneth Arnold, a pilot whose 1947 sighting of mysterious objects over Mount Rainier in Washington state popularized the term “flying saucer.” The Air Force had little choice but to revive Project Grudge, which soon morphed into the more benignly named Project Blue Book.

Hynek joined Project Blue Book in 1952 and would remain with it until its demise in 1969. For him, it was a side gig as he continued to teach and to pursue other, non-UFO research, at Ohio State. In 1960 he moved to Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, to chair its astronomy department.

As before, Hynek’s role was to review the reports of UFO sightings and determine whether there was a logical astronomical explanation. Typically that involved a lot of unglamorous paperwork; but now and then, for an especially puzzling case, he had a chance to get out into the field.

There he discovered something he might never have learned from simply reading the files: how normal the people who reported seeing UFOs tended to be. “The witnesses I interviewed could have been lying, could have been insane or could have been hallucinating collectively—but I do not think so,” he recalled in his 1977 book, The Hynek UFO Report.

“Their standing in the community, their lack of motive for perpetration of a hoax, their own puzzlement at the turn of events they believe they witnessed, and often their great reluctance to speak of the experience—all lend a subjective reality to their UFO experience.”

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Aliens At the Pentagon: Does the Government Know We Are Not Alone?

by Susan Leighton                  October 14, 2018                   (1428elm.com)

Aliens at the Pentagon, a documentary video just over an hour long and released by Reality Entertainment, features the former UFO anomaly researcher for the UK’s Ministry of Defence, Nick Pope, guiding the viewer through an examination of the U.S. Pentagon’s Advanced Aerial Threat Identification Program (AATIP), which the Department of Defense disclosed in December 2017, on a quest to determine whether Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon (UAPs) are real.

• The documentary begins with the AATIP’s historical roots in Project Sign, which became Project Grudge, which became Project Blue Book, all purportedly searching for the truth behind UAPs (the hip new term for UFOs). Thirty-eight years after Blue Book was terminated, Nevada Senator Harry Reid created the AATIP at the behest of his friend and government contractor, Robert Bigelow. The AATIP covertly studied UAPs between 2007 until 2012.

• The person heading up the AATIP was former DIA and DoD employee Luis Elizondo. Elizondo’s mission was to determine what these UFOs were, whether they posed a threat to national security, and to discover the advanced technology behind them. He was responsible for the release of the Tic-Tac and Gimble UFO videos to the New York Times which ran an article on it in December 2017. Elizondo also stated that there were “meta materials” originating from “beyond earth” that were being tested at Bigelow Aerospace.

• The AATIP concluded that UFOs are capable of “metric engineering” space and time. Their exotic propulsion systems warp the continuum creating a “bubble” effect which enables the craft to fly incredible distances. The program developed a list of identifiable characteristics that were inherent in all reported encounters with UFOs:
– The craft travel at hypersonic velocities.
– They have a low observability factor.
– UAPs have sudden and extreme acceleration capabilities.
– Trans-medium travel abilities such as able to fly into the ocean or out of the ocean.
– Positive lift or what is known as anti-gravity propulsion.

• But was the AATIP itself a deliberate distraction intended to keep us from discovering the real truth? Is there a Majestic 12 Group running things behind the scenes which even the AATIP couldn’t identify? And is MJ-12 in the business of recovering and reverse engineering extraterrestrial craft? By releasing bits and pieces of information, videos and photographs, is the government acclimating the public to the existence of life beyond the Earth? Is it all a distraction while the Illuminati cabal institutes a subversive “New World Order”?

• According to Elizondo’s resignation letter to his DoD superiors, there is evidence that these UAPs pose a potential “existential threat to our national security.” Is Elizondo aware of a deep government secret that these visiting extraterrestrials harbor ulterior and malevolent motives? Aliens at the Pentagon presents this as a very real scenario.

 

Aliens at the Pentagon is a deep dive documentary focusing on the Advanced Aerial Threat Identification Program which was the U.S. government’s secret UFO operation that was disclosed in 2017. Join Nick Pope, Britain’s “Fox Mulder” as he takes us on a tour of discovery.

Small Beginnings

Aliens at the Pentagon is the type of documentary that anyone who loves science fiction, The X-Files and anything to do with the exploration of the universe will find fascinating. With a run time of 1 hour and 6 minutes, this video from Reality Entertainment wastes no time in hitting the ground running and exposing you to multiple sources of information out of the gate.

       Documentary Host, Nick Pope

Nick Pope who is a familiar face to fans of the program, Ancient Aliens is our guide on this tour of one of the Pentagon’s most secretive efforts, the now famous Advanced Aerial Threat Identification Program or AATIP for short.

Mr. Pope was an employee with the Ministry of Defense in the United Kingdom for over 20 years. He actually spearheaded their government UFO investigative unit and is known as the “real-life Fox Mulder.” One thing is for certain, Nick is very knowledgeable when it comes to military strategy and the behind the scenes protocol of public offices.

That is why he is the perfect individual to lead this excursion into finding out if Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon are real or bogus. First of all, we dive right into the history of AATIP which has its roots in Project Sign which morphed into Project Grudge which ended with Project Blue Book.

Blue Book was discontinued in 1969 but ended up getting a reprieve years later in another form when Senator Harry Reid created AATIP at the behest of his friend government contractor, Robert Bigelow. AATIP looked into UAP sightings from 2007 until 2012.

Enter the Seeker

During that time, the man at the center of the agency was Luis Elizondo. Luis was a veteran and a Department of Defense employee who worked with the Defense Intelligence Agency to investigate UFO encounters. For several years, Elizondo ran the program.

In that time, his mission was to determine what UFOs were and what was the technology behind them. Notice who or what was flying the craft never really came into play. Elizondo believed that these vehicles were a viable threat to our national security with good reason.

His tenure saw various bits of information emerge. He was responsible for the Tic-Tac and Gimble videos. These were provided to the New York Times who featured an article that blew the cover of AATIP wide open in December of last year.

The most famous one featured two Navy F-18 fighter jet pilots who had an encounter with an object not of this world. Elizondo also stated that there were “meta materials” that were being tested at Bigelow Aerospace. The conclusion was the fact that based on ionization and exposure to cosmic rays, the materials’ origins were deemed as originating from “beyond earth.”

1:33 minute movie trailer for Aliens at the Pentagon

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When a U.S. Fighter Pilot Got Into a Dogfight With a UFO

by Colin Bertram                 July 19, 2018                  (history.com)

• On October 1, 1948, a 25-year old former World War II fighter pilot named George F. Gorman (standing at left in  above photo) had a 27-minute encounter with a white orb UFO at high altitude above Fargo, North Dakota. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” Gorman told a local newspaper following the event. “If anyone else had reported such a thing I would have thought they were crazy.” The incident was recorded both on the ground and in the sky by numerous reputable sources, and investigated by the U.S. Air Force under Project Sign, a precursor to Project Blue Book.


• Gorman was serving as a second lieutenant in the North Dakota Air National Guard, and was taking part in a cross-country flight in a P-51 Mustang alongside other National Guard airmen. When the other pilots landed at Fargo’s Hector Airport, Gorman stayed in the air in order to get in some night-flying time in the cloudless conditions. Having circled over a lighted football stadium, he was preparing to land at about 9 pm when he saw the taillight of another craft passing on the right, though the tower had no other object on the radar.

• Gorman closed to within 1,000 yards to see a white orb “…about six to eight inches in diameter, clear white and completely without fuzz at the edges.” “It was blinking on and off. As I approached, however, the light suddenly became steady and pulled into a sharp left bank. I thought it was making a pass at the tower.”

• Gorman tried in vain to catch up with the object, and got behind it at around 7,000 feet when it made a sharp turn and headed straight for his P-51. Almost at the point of collision Gorman dived and said the light passed over his canopy at about 500 feet before cutting sharply once more and heading back in his direction. Then the object shot straight up in the air in climb so steep that his plane stalled. The object was not seen again. Gorman had been engaged in aerial maneuvers with the UFO for 27 minutes by the time he brought his plane in to land.

• Gorman reported that he noticed no sound, exhaust trail or odor from the object. And while he had reached speeds of up to 400 m.p.h. while in pursuit—he couldn’t keep up with whatever it was.

• “I’m convinced that there was definite thought behind its maneuvers,” Gorman said in a sworn statement to his commander. “I am further convinced that the object was governed by the laws of inertia because its acceleration was rapid but not immediate… [and] followed a natural curve.” “The object was not only able to out-turn and out-speed my aircraft… but was able to attain a far steeper climb and was able to maintain a constant rate of climb far in excess of my aircraft,” said Gorman.

• The small white orb UFO was also witnessed by air-traffic controllers Lloyd D. Jensen and H.E. Johnson, who were manning the Hector Airport tower. According to Johnson, the object was “travelling at a high rate of speed” and was “fast enough to increase the spacing between itself and [Gorman’s] fighter.” Johnson described the object as appearing to be “only a round light, perfectly formed, with no fuzzy edges or rays leaving its body.”

• Dr. A. E. Cannon, the pilot of the Piper Cub also flying in the vicinity, and his passenger also viewed the object both in the sky and upon their return to the airport where they immediately joined the traffic controllers in the tower. Two Civil Aeronautics Authority employees on the ground also reported seeing the object.

• Back in Fargo, after the Air Weather Service revealed it had released a lighted weather balloon 10 minutes before Gorman first saw the object, Air Force investigators pounced, proclaiming the balloon the likeliest explanation for the object seen. They determined that Gorman’s own maneuvers and high speed gave the balloon the appearance of moving in opposite directions as he passed by. Investigators also noted the bright appearance of Jupiter on that date, and that Gorman had been attempting to chase the bright dot of the planet at the same time the weather balloon was in range. This became the official government explanation.

• Gorman returned to the Air Force full-time, retiring at the rank of lieutenant colonel in 1969. He never spoke publicly about the encounter again, though he did tell friends “he was never convinced that he had been dueling with a lighted balloon for 27 minutes.” Gorman died in 1982.

 

In the words of Captain Edward J. Ruppelt, the man who investigated unidentified-flying-object reports for the U.S. Air Force in the early 1950s, the Gorman Dogfight remains one of the “classics” among UFO sightings.

                     newspaper account

The incident, which still lacks an airtight explanation, involved a 27-minute air encounter between a veteran World War II fighter pilot named George F. Gorman and a mysterious white orb at high altitude above Fargo, North Dakota. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” Gorman told a local newspaper following the October 1, 1948 event. “If anyone else had reported such a thing I would have thought they were crazy.”

Captain Ruppelt operated Project Blue Book, which continued the work of Project Sign and Project Grudge, a series of hush-hush studies conducted by the U.S. Air Force between 1947 and 1969. His mission: to determine if UFOs were a threat to national security and to scientifically analyze UFO-related data.

What makes the Gorman Dogfight unique in the now-declassified pages of Project Blue Book is not only the length of the encounter, but that it was recorded both on the ground and in the sky by numerous reputable sources.

Chasing—and being chased by—a light

At the time of the incident, Gorman, a 25-year-old former fighter pilot, served as a second lieutenant in the North Dakota Air National Guard. It was this role that placed him behind the flight controls of a P-51 Mustang on Oct. 1, 1948, taking part in a cross-country flight alongside other National Guard airmen.

George F. Gorman in later years

While the other pilots landed at Fargo’s Hector Airport, on that fateful evening Gorman stayed in the air in order to get in some night-flying time in the cloudless conditions. Having circled his P-51 over a lighted football stadium, he was preparing to land at about 9 P.M. Advised by the control tower that the only other plane in the vicinity was a Piper Cub (which Gorman could see about 500 feet below him), he witnessed what he believed to be the taillight of another craft passing on the right, though the tower had no other object on the radar.

Deciding to take a closer look at the unidentified object, Gorman pulled his plane up and closed to within about 1,000 yards. “It was about six to eight inches in diameter, clear white and completely without fuzz at the edges,” he said of the object in his report. “It was blinking on and off. As I approached, however, the light suddenly became steady and pulled into a sharp left bank. I thought it was making a pass at the tower.”

Deciding to follow, Gorman tried in vain to catch up with the object, reporting that he finally got behind it at around 7,000 feet, where it made a sharp turn and headed straight for the P-51. Almost at the point of collision Gorman dived and said the light passed over his canopy at about 500 feet before cutting sharply once more and heading back in his direction. Just as collision seemed imminent once again, Gorman said the object shot straight up in the air in a steep climb—so steep that when he tried to intercept, his plane stalled at about 14,000 feet. The object was not seen again, but according to Gorman he had been engaged in aerial maneuvers with it for 27 minutes by the time he brought his plane in to land.

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