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Project Blue Book Revealed

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posted on Aug, 1 2018 @ 07:40 AM

With an upcoming History Channel drama series based on Project Blue Book I thought it was probably a good idea to give a brief glance at the real Project Blue Book and its history for those who don’t know much about it.

Project Blue Book was a classified project in the aftermath of World War II. The objective was to determine what exactly ’flying saucers’ were and whether they posed any threat to the security of the United States and to scientifically study the data.

Between 1947 and 1969 the US Air Force investigated over 12,000 cases. Project Blue Book officially began in 1952 following Projects Sign (1947) and Grudge (1949)). The final winding down order was made in December 1969 and all related activities were ceased in January of 1970. Officially nothing of importance was found. But what was the real purpose of Blue Book?

This thread will give a quick overview of the history of Project Blue Book, look at a handful of some well known cases and point to resources for further study.

Before Blue Book – Projects Sign & Grudge

The birth of the Flying Saucer era is widely accepted as having began in 1947. June 24th 1947 to be exact. The day when Kenneth Arnold, a private pilot was flying over Washington state in the USA. He claimed to have seen nine, shiny unidentified flying objects flying past Mount Rainier, estimating their speed at an incredible (at the time) 1200 miles an hour.

Arnold described these objects as "...skipping like saucers". The media adopted the quote and the flying saucer age was born. The US Air Force’s ‘Project Sign’, was eventually to come to a very mundane conclusion. But during the summer of 1947 it seemed people were seeing flying saucers everywhere. One was even alluded to have crashed in New Mexico for a brief moment in 1947.

Of major concern was that military pilots had began to report flying saucers. This put pressure on the US Government to take some action. The world had entered the ‘atomic’ age and a Cold War had began with the Soviet Union. The US military, fearful it appeared to unable to control its own airspace decided “Flying Saucers” or “Flying Disks” were a mystery that needed investigation.

The Twining memo of September 23rd 1947 became the spark for for official investigations. Authored by (then) Lt. General Nathan F. Twining it is a classified letter to United States Air Force General George Shulgen.
In the letter General Twining is requesting investigations should be made into the wave of Flying Saucer sightings and confirmed that saucer shaped UFOs were “real and not visionary or fictitious”.

In his report Twining clearly made the case that these objects existed and were possibly under intelligent control.

But there is also another comment from Twining. He confirms there is a ‘lack of physical evidence in the shape of crash recovered exhibits which would undeniably prove the existence of these subjects’. Which begs the question. What really came down near Roswell for Twining to dismiss any mention of it?

By late December, Project Sign was established as a secret official project, with the directive

“ collect, collate, evaluate and distribute to interested government agencies and contractors all information concerning sightings and phenomena in the atmosphere which can be construed to be of concern to the national security.

In 1948 J.Allen Hynek was appointed as a scientific consultant. Project Sign began with the best of intentions but descended rapidly into an exercise in futility. Operational processes and intelligence gathering was inconsistent. The majority of information was taken from letters, verbal reports and newspaper clippings. It was rare for staff to conduct site investigations. Scientific principles were rarely applied. Resources were meagre and the project lacked focus. Personnel assigned to ‘Sign’ were left to promote their own theories and follow their own agendas.

Project Sign concluded that UFO's were interplanetary and led to the now legendary and elusive “Estimate of the Situation” document. Unexplained sightings were quoted as proof of interplanetary spacecraft.

However J.Allen Hynek’s assessment was different. His report in 1949 ended Project Sign with his damning judgement that little was achieved other than to “answer letters from kids and little old ladies in tennis shoes”. At some point its codename was compromised. So ‘Sign’ was succeeded by Project ‘Grudge’, the name change, went almost unnoticed by Hynek .

Project Grudge was short lived and issued only one report. It was little more than a re-evaluation of the sightings studied by Project Sign. J. Allen Hynek adding his own comments with astronomical aspects related to report.

By December 27th 1949, the USAF issued had issued a press release concluding that UFOs were the misinterpretations of known objects, mass hysteria or hoaxes. Despite 23% being left as ‘unknown’. Effectively ending Project Grudge and leaving Lt. Jerry Cummings as the solitary investigator of ‘flying saucers’ in the US Air Force.

Flying Saucer’ reports declined between 1949 and 1951. But then people like Donald Keyhoe fired the imaginations of many individuals and gave the ‘Flying Saucer’ topic more publicity with books like “The Flying Saucers Are Real”.

This unnerved the military and a new Air Force study would emerge....

edit on 1/8/2018 by mirageman because: tidy up

posted on Aug, 1 2018 @ 07:40 AM

The Project Blue Book Era

In March of 1952 Project Blue Book replaced ‘Grudge’ and Captain Edward J.Ruppelt was placed in charge after Lt. Cummings retirement. Ruppelt took the role seriously. He clarified reporting procedures, set up liaisons with other agencies and sped up the receipt of reports. He added a touch of professionalism but his efforts were not always appreciated.

In 1952 flying saucer reports once again peaked. In fact the number of unknowns recorded (242) was by the far the largest of any given year and makes up over a third of all Blue Book unknowns. Ruppelt had ensured clearance was given for all intelligence officers at USAF bases to send their reports by teletype directly in to Blue Book.

1952 was a peak year for ‘Unidentified’ cases.

Then came the famous July 1952 UFO flap over Washington DC which included visual and radar sightings. The incidents were eventually explained away by Air Force Major Generals John Samford (USAF Director of Intelligence) and Roger Ramey (USAF Director of Operations) as temperature inversions in a packed press conference on July 29th 1952. But some radar controllers and pilots involved were not convinced. The public too remained doubtful of the Air Force’s conclusions.

Of concern to the military was that the Soviets could flood the U.S with false UFO reports leaving the nation open to a surprise attack. In January 1953, the Robertson Panel was formed, consisting of leading scientists examining the "best" UFO cases collected by Project Blue Book.

The panel reported that there was no basis for UFOs being extraterrestrial in nature. Over 90% of the sightings, were hoaxes, astrological or meteorological activity, or misidentification of aircraft, balloons or searchlights. The Robertson Panel concluded that ‘UFO reports’ were not a threat themselves. But they could be obscuring a real threat from Soviet spy missions over the United States. So the panel recommended a policy of debunking UFO sightings in order to reduce the massive public interest in the phenomenon.

On recommendations from the Robertson Panel, in February 1953, the Air Force ordered air base officers to only discuss solved UFO cases with the public and media. Unsolved cases were to be kept out of the public eye. A ‘public education’ campaign to reduce the enthusiasm of people for the subject would commence. Civilian UFO groups were to be monitored. Air Defence systems were not to be compromised chasing reports of UFOs from crazy people. None of these decisions were ever known to the public while Blue Book was operational. Thus fuelling the long held rumours of a cover-up by the military where UFOs were concerned.

Above : The Robertson Panel

At the same time, UFO investigations by the newly formed 4602nd Air Intelligence Squadron (AISS) commenced. The 4602nd AISS would investigate all UFO cases with intelligence or national security implications. A ploy that left Blue Book as little more than a PR desk dealing with the more trivial reports.

Project Blue Book unquestionably deteriorated from that point on. It had become a vehicle for explaining away most sightings with a mundane explanation wherever it could. Not long afterwards Edward Ruppelt left active duty in August of 1953 and penned his book “The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects”.

In March 1954, Captain Charles Hardin was appointed as head of Blue Book; however, the 4602nd AISS conducted most of the UFO investigations during his tenure. He seemed happy to let them do so.

By 1955, the USAF changed Blue Book’s prime objective from investigating UFO reports, to reducing the number of unidentified UFO reports. By late 1956, the number of unidentified sightings had dropped from the 20-25% of 1952 to less than 1%.

Captain George T. Gregory became Blue Book's director in 1956 and he too cooked the books to eliminate unidentified cases. Possible cases became probable. Probable cases became certainties. If a report came in of a balloon shaped object then it would be explained away as a balloon.
By 1958 the Air Force were looking to close down Blue Book or transfer responsibilities elsewhere. Major Robert J. Friend was now head of Blue Book and tried to shift direction a little. Under public pressure budgets were increased. Yet by 1963 Major Friend was moved on and felt Blue Book could no longer serve its purpose.

August 1963 saw the appointment of Major Hector Quintanilla. A man who many ufologists felt was not qualified to do the job. They also claimed a huge cover-up was in place to hide the truth from the public.

By 1964 even J.Allen Hynek was beginning to doubt his own sceptical stance after the Socorro sightings by Police patrolman Lonnie Zamora. In 1966 he was later to admit being embarrassed by dismissing some of the “Michigan Sightings” as swamp gas after feeling under pressure to explain away the sightings.

The End of Project Blue Book

The Air Force saw an opportunity to end Project Blue Book and Professor Edward V. Condon at the University of Colorado was appointed to head up what became a whitewash in many researchers opinions. Hynek agreed with that stance too.
Condon chose 75 reports to analyze from the Blue Book files. Hynek felt the majority were poor choices and easily explainable cases. However he pointed out that the report still classified around 25 cases as unexplainable. These were tucked away in the main body of the report and left out of the summary which dismissed the UFO topic as nonsense.

Nonetheless when the Condon Report came out in 1969 it was the kiss of death. The great Condon and his committee had spoken, the boys in his club, the National Academy, of Sciences had concurred, and Blue Book was closed..........

After 22 years Project Blue Book officially closed on December 17th 1969 although some winding up activity continued until January 30th 1970.

Did Blue Book fail completely?

From a government point of view it failed to establish concrete proof of what the UFO phenomenon was. Then when they changed the objectives to reduce public interest in UFOs it worked to a degree.

But the subject never went away did it...?

edit on 1/8/2018 by mirageman because: tidy up

posted on Aug, 1 2018 @ 07:40 AM

Blue Book and Historic Cases

There were a large number of popular historic UFO cases that occurred whilst Project Blue Book was active. Obviously any small selection is subjective amongst the 12000+ cases on file. But here are a handful of them that occurred during the time of Sign/Grudge and Blue Book.

1947 -Kenneth Arnold Sightings
As discussed earlier. Pilot Kennet Arnold saw 9 crescent shaped objects while flying near Mount Rainier in Washington state. Arnold’s sightings were dismissed as a mirage.

1947 - Roswell
There are no files relating to any investigation of the Roswell incident. Make of that what you will. It would appear that the Air Force considered there was no case to answer and maybe they knew exactly what it was.

1948 - The Mantell Case
On Jan 7th 1948, Air Force Captain Thomas Mantell crashed his aircraft chasing a UFO described as “a metallic object ... of tremendous size”. In his report of the incident Hynek suggested that the UFO may have been Venus. But later admitted it would have been too faint in the daylight sky. Another theory of his was that Mantell had pursued a Skyhook balloon. But the Sign case file left the cause of the crash as undetermined.

1948 - The Chiles-Witted Incident
Early hours of July 24, 1948 - Captain Clarence S. Chiles and co-pilot John B. Whitted, flying a DC-3 for Eastern Air Lines DC-3 from Houston to Boston reported seeing a 100ft. rocket-shaped UFO. It featured a bluish white light emitted from portholes and a red coloured exhaust emission approaching them on a collision course. Sign concluded that the craft was a secret Soviet or American experiment although many of the staff thought it was interplanetary.

1950 – The Great Falls Montana UFOs
August 1950 - On a clear morning in Great Falls Montana, Nick Mariana, captured film of two strange objects in the presence of his secretary Virginia Raunig. The film was handed to Project Grudge investigators. They told him they were reflections of fighter jets that had passed by. When the film was returned to him, Mariana claimed that the most important frames of the film were missing

In 1952 Captain Ruppelt, one of the men who studied the footage was quoted as saying "We drew a blank on the Montana Movie, it was an unknown".

In 1966, as part of the Condon report analysis, Doctors Roy Craig (Physicist) and David Saunders (Psychologist) studied the footage and interviewed both Mariana and Raunig. Saunders was convinced that Mariana's footage served as proof that alien beings had visited our planet, even going as far as saying that it "was the one sighting of all time that did more than any other single case to convince me that there is something to the UFO problem."

Craig disagreed. He believed Mariana was a fraud and was shocked that his colleague could be so convinced that Mariana's grainy footage represented evidence of extraterrestrial visitation.

1951 - The Lubbock Lights
An unusual formation of lights was seen over the city of Lubbock, in Texas in July & August of 1951. Photos above were taken. The USAF said that these lights were most likely caused by birds (plovers), whose white breasts could reflect lights from the city below.Ed Ruppelt however mysteriously claimed in his 2nd edition of his book “The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects” that the objects were;

...night flying moths reflecting the bluish-green light of a nearby row of mercury vapor street lights.

See : The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects (Second Edition) By Edward Ruppelt

1952 - The Washington DC UFO Flap
Statistically speaking - the 1952 Flying Saucer flap was one of the largest in the United States. But the two consecutive July weekends of major UFO sightings in 1952 were global news. Unidentified flying objects supposedly buzzed Capitol Hill , the White House and the Pentagon forcing interceptors into the skies over the American capital and panic into the hearts of the military top brass. Despite the modern misperception, that these were mass sightings, only a handful of military personnel and civilian pilots and radar operators actually witnessed the incidents. Most people were tucked up in bed when the events occurred. However the incidents were international headline news and created massive public interest in flying saucers.

President Truman wanted answers as to whether these things were hostile. The official response was that “temperature inversions” had caused the flaps. But the public interest was too much to bear and this was the beginning of the end for Blue Book. The ‘cover-up’ was recommended by the Robertson Panel to dampen down any public interest in flying saucers.

1955 - The Aliens of Kelly, Hopkinsville
One of the most bizarre cases on record. A UFO landing and a bunch of goblin like aliens attacking a family home in Kelly, Hopkinsville. Shots were fired by the frightened inhabitants. Police investigated. Yet no official Air Force report was produced at the time. According to Project Blue Book files, in response to a magazine article in August 1957, someone in the Air Force decided they should "investigate”. First Lieutenant Charles N. Kirk, an Air Force officer at Campbell Air Force Base was given the task. Using unofficial notes and news clippings from 2 years previous he dismissed the case saying :

"It is felt that the report cannot be substantiated as far as any actual object appearing in the vicinity at that time.”

1957 – Engine Killer UFO – Levelland, Texas
Multiple reports of a cigar shaped UFO landing in the Levelland area of Texas during November 2nd and 3rd 1957 that could cause vehicles to stall. The Air Force sent a solitary officer to investigate. He spoke to just six witnesses and left within 24 hours. The Air Force then issued a press release claiming the sightings to be a weather phenomenon of electrical nature generally classified as ball lightning. At the time ball lightning was not even proven to exist.

1961 - The Hill Abductions
Allegedly captured by aliens in 1961, Betty and Barney Hills’ case was initially reported the day after their encounter to Pease Air Force Base. Although Betty Hill claimed to have withheld details to avoid seeming ‘eccentric’ the Air Force officer surmised the Hills had misidentified the planet Jupiter before forwarding a report to Blue Book. This was later changed to "optical condition", "inversion" and "insufficient data".

edit on 1/8/2018 by mirageman because: tidy up

posted on Aug, 1 2018 @ 07:41 AM
1964 – Socorro, New Mexico UFO Landing

April 24th 1964 – Police officer Lonnie Zamora sees a landed craft with two small human figures in Socorro, New Mexico. They appear to spot him, board the craft and fly off. Trace evidence was found such as fused sand, burning scrub and landing marks .Blue Book left the case open after initial investigations.

However Major Hector Quintanilla later told the CIA in a memo:

"There is no doubt that Lonnie Zamora saw an object which left quite an impression on him. There is also no question about Zamora's reliability. He is a serious police officer, a pillar of his church, and a man well versed in recognizing airborne vehicles in his area. He is puzzled by what he saw and frankly, so are we. This is the best-documented case on record, and still we have been unable, in spite of thorough investigation, to find the vehicle or other stimulus that scared Zamora to the point of panic."

Source :

Socorro was the case that changed J.Allen Hynek’s mind about UFOs...

1965 -The Kecksburg UFO Crash
Dec. 9, 1965. Something appears to have crashed into woodlands close to Kecksburg, Pennsylvania. Phone lines are jammed as local police tried to cope with the volume of reports. Soon after the military reportedly arrive and the area is closed off. A strange acorn like object had allegedly crashed in the woods. Some witnesses claim something was removed from the woods and taken away on a military truck. A three man team from Oakdale radar station was sent to investigate on behalf of Blue Book. No report as to what the personnel found appears to have surfaced.

Project Blue Book Unknowns

You may have heard the figure 701 applied to the volume of unknown cases in the Project Blue Book files. In reality there are probably thousands of such cases. The official US Air Force count of 12,618 case and 701 unknowns has been disputed for years.

They are documented here for posterity: Link to NICAP List

Researchers believe over 15,000 cases were reported and many cases were labelled as “insufficient data for a scientific analysis” to avoiding labelling cases as unidentified.

However the Air Force also pointed out that there was no evidence to substantiate that any of the cases in the unidentified category were proof of a technology beyond the range of modern scientific knowledge or that they were extraterrestrial vehicles.

A comprehensive cataloguing of Blue Book Unknowns is available here courtesy of researcher Brad Sparks: PDF File Download

Project Blue Book Archives/Photos

There are a number of web sites that contain files from Project Blue Book.

The Project Blue Book Archive contains over 50,000 pdf files. The search facility is rather rudimentary. The browse function is slightly more useful. But there is no real organisation of case files to bring them together.

Fold 3 Project Blue Book - UFO Investigations contains almost 130,000 pdf files but searching for specific cases and navigating can be a pain. When searching the text is not always rendered accurately and worse still you can only download one page at a time as a jpg file. Files are also not collected together to make research easy.

The BlackVault – Files from the Desks of Project Blue Book
John Greenwald’s Blackvault hosts a large number of archive Blue Book files and photos courtesy of Rob Mercer. Many of these reports and photos are not available elsewhere.

The above video contains captures of some of the more interesting photos in the files.

Some are clearly marked and have an accompanying report.

For example

Others were discovered with no identification markings or accompanying descriptions :

Below are a few examples. If you recognise any of them then contact the Blackvault where credit will be given. This is just a tiny taster. There are many more photos at that link to scour through.

The above photo appears to be the tail of a B47 and whatever it is in the top left.

Project Blue Book in Popular Culture

Although Blue Book had ended the TV series “Project UFO” aired in the late 1970s inspired by the case files generated. The Project UFO centred around two. US Air Force officers investigating UFO sightings. It ran for 27 episodes but has not appeared officially on DVD and has seldom been repeated on TV. Stories were very loosely based on real events.

Twin Peaks, which originally aired in the 1990s and revived recently, also introduced a Blue Book storyline. It features a character called Major Garland Briggs who worked at Project Blue Book and uncovered evidence of something extra-dimensional in the forest that surrounds Twin Peaks.

This short video explains it better than I can.

And so we come to the new upcoming series...Which I guess will only very loosely be based on real life.

edit on 1/8/2018 by mirageman because: tidy up

posted on Aug, 1 2018 @ 07:49 AM
Nicely done Mirageman. Too much info to go through now, so will take a peruse through later. Items of much interest here and within Project Blue Book. Some of the big cover ups started within this project as well in my opinion, but will look through it later my friend.

posted on Aug, 1 2018 @ 08:29 AM
Very well put together thread. s & f

I can't wait to see this program.

Commenting to mark this thread.

posted on Aug, 1 2018 @ 08:30 AM
A note on the Lubbock Lights. The witnesses went on record saying the Hart pictures did not resemble what they had reported, and that they doubted that the lights were bright enough to show up in a photograph.
Witnesses' Letter to Life magazine, April 28, 1952

There are really two sets of Lubbock Lights, the birds/moths and the hoaxed photos.

posted on Aug, 1 2018 @ 08:40 AM
a reply to: mirageman

Must be one of the most intricate & detailed threads I have seen here.

Well done ! 👍

Govt. Says no. That must be it then ...


edit on 1-8-2018 by Timely because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 1 2018 @ 08:40 AM
edit on 1-8-2018 by Timely because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 1 2018 @ 09:38 AM
a reply to: mirageman

I don't wish to dispute anything you've said here but I just don't believe that Project Blue Book was really ever about flying saucers or aliens. I think that was an example of mission drift. Right after WWII we saw jets and rockets. Who knew what would come next? I believe Project Blue Book was formed to investigate military threats from other countries and when it became obvious there was nothing there and its' main function had become investigating reports of alien spacecraft it was terminated.

posted on Aug, 1 2018 @ 10:13 AM
Great stuff, MM!

I recently became aware of the late ‘70s show you mentioned, I hope this show learns from the intervening 40 years what the difference in UFOtainment and educational are, lest we find time really isn’t linear and we get a reset.

That was the first I’ve seen of the Twin Peak’s character, but those 3:52 he dictates is one of the best summaries I have heard particularly, the part about our linear existence in ‘time’.

Again, great stuff

posted on Aug, 1 2018 @ 01:49 PM
a reply to: toms54

I don't wish to dispute anything you've said here but I just don't believe that Project Blue Book was really ever about flying saucers or aliens. I think that was an example of mission drift. Right after WWII we saw jets and rockets. Who knew what would come next? I believe Project Blue Book was formed to investigate military threats from other countries and when it became obvious there was nothing there and its' main function had become investigating reports of alien spacecraft it was terminated.

Although the slant changed over the years Blue Book's objectives were

See : Project Blue Book pdf

So I don't think you are disputing anything I've said. The prime focus was always national security and secondly if any interesting technology could be gleaned from studying them.

Flying saucers represented an unknown threat. Going back to 1947 you also have to consider that the term 'flying saucer' was introduced in late June of 1947 after the Arnold sightings. People did not associate the term with aliens or alien spacecraft as many do now. The military would be very suspicious that these flying objects were from a hostile power like the Soviet Union.

Once the Robertson Panel had made their recommendations in 1953 then Blue Book was effectively little more than a propaganda exercise to discourage the public from reporting flying saucers. Although some interesting, baffling cases like the Socorro one remain something of a mystery to do this day.

posted on Aug, 1 2018 @ 01:54 PM

originally posted by: CardDown
A note on the Lubbock Lights. The witnesses went on record saying the Hart pictures did not resemble what they had reported, and that they doubted that the lights were bright enough to show up in a photograph.
Witnesses' Letter to Life magazine, April 28, 1952

There are really two sets of Lubbock Lights, the birds/moths and the hoaxed photos.

Yes thanks for adding this. For anyone wanting to delve even deeper The Lubbock Lights also has a separate thread here by Karl12 : The Lubbock Lights

posted on Aug, 1 2018 @ 03:45 PM
According to Mark Frosts Twin Peaks books there is another character linked to project blue book ( he played only a minor role in the tv series) :

posted on Aug, 1 2018 @ 04:00 PM
a reply to: BeefNoMeat

Oh that Twin Peaks video is very compelling viewing for just under 4 minutes.

I know it's only fictional speculation. But it sends a chill down your spine listening to it.

Is there any truth in it all? I really don't know. But for anyone interested in the topic it's really worth 4 minutes of your time as it explores some interesting stuff in a very short period of time.

posted on Aug, 1 2018 @ 04:14 PM

originally posted by: TheMadScientist2
According to Mark Frosts Twin Peaks books there is another character linked to project blue book ( he played only a minor role in the tv series) :

Thanks for that. I'll be honest I was never a big fan of Twin Peaks. I just stumbled upon the references to Blue Book (and the video) at the last minute. Maybe I need to watch it?

posted on Aug, 1 2018 @ 04:33 PM
The Blue Room
Then we have BlueRose cases. Thanks Mr Lynch!

Excellent thread Mirage. That Project UFO show is weird.

Fun fact, one of the people who worked on Project UFO was friends with John Lear, worked for Lear's father, then was an associate producer on UFO CoverUp Live.

Imagine if a Twin Peaks 'Lodge' existed in Rendlesham Forest, what would people think? Unconnected, or the mother of all 'Other'?
edit on 1-8-2018 by ctj83 because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 1 2018 @ 04:40 PM
a reply to: ctj83


posted on Aug, 1 2018 @ 05:36 PM
S & F my good sir!

posted on Aug, 1 2018 @ 05:36 PM
Double post, terrible work WiFi.
edit on 1-8-2018 by Neechavela because: (no reason given)

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