Diving in and exploring the subject of UFOs is a bit like skydiving out of a plane without a parachute into the middle of the Pacific. To start it
is probably best to skim through the following quick overview "The State of Ufology," accompanied by the author's adjoining essay a "Brief Proof of
UFOs." Then I would strongly recommend reading Leslie Kean's 2002 introductory research paper titled "Science and the Failure to Investigate
Unidentified Aerial Phenomena." For visual learners, an excellent video synopsis can be seen in the documentary "A Brief History of UFOs."
Following that a good scientifically oriented book on the matter is Dr. J. Allen Hynek's "The Hynek UFO Report." Other compelling documents that
lend an air of seriousness to the subject include the French GEIPAN CNES "Cometa Report," the 1976 NSA routing slip describing the Tehran UFO
incident, and Leslie Kean's 2010 monograph "UFOs: Generals, Pilots, And Government Officials Go On the Record."
A thoughtful reading of these texts should provide enough of an overview to give a sense of the gravity of the subject. While there are many
fascinating well researched cases beyond the ones outlined in the texts above. It's important at some point that people see the forest
through the trees and develop some sense of the bigger picture narrative. Getting to this point is a bit of a challenge however, as it
requires a working knowledge of the chronology of major UFO events and a grasp of the history of government sponsored investigations. Lacking this
insight it is difficult to comprehend the enormity of the problem and the amount of research that's gone into searching for answers. Thankfully the
learning process can be somewhat short circuited with a good reading list.
Historically the subject of UFOs started to gain steam in the late 1940's under the direction of United States Air Force (USAF) Project Grudge
director Captain Edward Ruppelt. Once Ruppelt had finished his commission he authored a book titled "The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects."
Following Ruppelt's lead were Capt. Hardin, Capt. Gregory, Maj. Friend, and last in the 60's Maj. Quintanilla. Upon retiring Major Hector Quintanilla
authored an incomplete manuscript titled, "UFOs an Air Force Dilemma."
Throughout these appointments astronomer Dr. J. Allen Hynek, later the chairman of astronomy at Northwestern University, served as the chief
scientific consultant, starting as a junior scientist during the heydays of USAF Project Sign (1947), receiving tenure through Grudge (1949-1951), and
persisting right to the end of Project Blue Book (1969). Over the twenty years of the three studies, Dr. Hynek analyzed and sought to identify some
15,000 individual reports. To better categorize and triage the data outside specialists were occasionally contacted to help with the
identification of bizarre unknown aerial phenomena.
One such case which required additional assistance was the recurring late 1940's green fireball sightings. The perplexing nature of the incidents
compelled scientists Dr. Anthony Mirarchi and meteoriticist Dr. Lincoln LaPaz to consider the possibility that something hitherto unknown was
interacting with Earth's atmosphere. LaPaz went so far as to say, "This is a record ... I'm sure the yellow-green fireballs aren't ordinary meteorite
falls. I've been observing the skies since 1914, and I've never seen any meteoritic fireballs like them." Another academic who took an interest was
senior atmospheric physicist, James E. McDonald, of the University of Arizona.
Dr. McDonald's entrance onto the scene was viewed by many as the start of the golden age of UFO research. His accomplishments were prodigious. In
McDonald's early years, during WWII, he served in the US Navy working in a cryptographic unit in the Pacific area. Later in 1951 he earned his PhD in
physics and meteorology and rose quickly in his field. McDonald's rise was so quick in fact, that after only three short years into his postdoctoral
research, the University of Chicago sent him to establish the new Institute of Atmospheric Physics on the campus of the University of Arizona at
As the institute's co-director McDonald shouldered many of the initial research and administrative duties. Despite the many responsibilities the
position demanded of him. McDonald still somehow found time to investigate many of the highest profile UFO cases of the 50's and 60's, including the
famous 1957 RB-47 radar-visual incident. Dr. McDonald took the subject to be so serious, that in 1959 he even traveled as far as Australia to
investigate Reverend William Gill's mass parish sighting.
The combined findings from the several years of field studies were convincing enough that Dr. McDonald began to make inquiries with the Air Force.
Later through his Office of Naval Research (ONR) contact, McDonald was directed to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base where he held several face-to-face
meetings with Dr. Hynek and Blue Book Director Maj. Quintantilla. These meetings ultimately set in motion events that would later culminate with Dr.
McDonald spearheading the 1968 congressional symposium on UFOs before the U.S. Committee on Science and Astronautics. Dr. McDonald's ideas eventually
even reached the United Nations, where Secretary-General U Thant was particularly, but unofficially, very interested in UFOs. An excellent scholarly
overview of Dr. McDonald's life and research can be found in Ann Druffel's 2003 book "Firestorm, Dr. James E. McDonald's Fight For UFO
From this point on, unfortunately, the history of UFO events starts to branch out rapidly. Other notables who have written on the matter include Drs.
Carl Sagan, Carl Jung, Clyde Tombaugh, Thornton Page, Edward Condon, Donald Menzel, Peter Sturrock, Lincoln LaPaz, John Mack, Joachim
Kuettner, Bernard Haisch, David Saunders, and David Jacobs. A more comprehensive reading list can be found online at the following
=== Notes/Refs ===
. A useful definition can be found online here: www.abovetopsecret.com...
Note: Regular ATS posters who typically contribute interesting UFO material include: ArMaP, Chadwickus, easynow, Gazrok, internos, IsaacKoi,
jkrog08, Kandinsky, karl12, Xtraeme, Skyfloating, Frank Warren, jritzmann, JimOberg, and nablator. The original list was found at
. 2002 - Science and the Failure to Investigate Unidentified Aerial Phenomena - Leslie Kean ( originally found at:
) An archived copy is available at: ufos.homestead.com...
. Also consider watching UFOTV's "The Secret History" --
edit on 6-10-2012 by FooScience because: word