This just in from my fellow ET compatriot, Joan Bird. (See this, for an example of her reports on UFO presentations.) Joan is writing a book about UFO encounters in Montana. Below her intro I include the excerpt from the Writer’s Almanac of December 17th to which she refers.
UFO List – Following is Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac for Dec. 16, 2011 [which includes] an excellent summary of the government investigations of UFOs. I am (still) working on a chapter about the 1950 Mariana UFO film, whose story is interwoven with Projects Grudge and Blue Book, so I was delighted to see this piece.
I am also amazed to see this story in G.K.’s writer’s almanac, though it fits for me. Maybe he is priming other writers to pay attention. When Garrison Keillor starts inserting this kind of information into his public offerings, I believe it says something about where we as a society are in the acceptance of the UFO phenomenon, regardless of the U.S. Government’s official position. (Many other governments are much further along in public disclosure.)
I find it incredibly encouraging that the truth is being disseminated in places I never would have guessed, and through widely distributed, highly trusted, and publicly beloved sources. — Joan
The United States government officially closed “Project Blue Book” on this date in 1969. It was the latest in a series of Air Force projects established to study unidentified flying objects. The first of these, Project Sign, began in 1947 after a succession of high-profile UFO sightings began to worry the military. The investigators’ official report, published in the summer of 1948, concluded that UFOs were real craft, and were quite possibly extraterrestrial in origin. Project Sign was followed by Project Grudge at the end of 1948. Because of the lack of physical evidence, Grudge’s mandate was to debunk any UFO reports. The investigators were unable to explain almost a quarter of the sightings; the rest were almost all ruled “natural phenomena.” Project Grudge was closed at the end of 1951, to be replaced by Project Blue Book in 1952.
Project Blue Book’s original mission was two-fold: first, to determine whether unidentified flying objects were a threat to national security; and second, to analyze the reports scientifically in an attempt to explain them. Edward Ruppelt was the first leader of the project, and he required his staff to take all reports seriously. He developed an objective questionnaire to give to all witnesses, fired people if they became too entrenched in a particular theory or viewpoint, and established a Blue Book officer at every U. S. Air Force base. His investigators were not required to follow the standard chain of command, and could interview anyone at any rank. The project received so many reports that investigators became bogged down; alarmed at the volume, the Central Intelligence Agency formed an oversight committee of scientists to evaluate the project. The Robertson Committee’s report advised the Air Force to back off and not only work to debunk the reports that came in, but also actively use the media and scientific experts to ridicule the mere idea of UFOs. They also recommended treating civilian UFO groups with extreme suspicion. Ruppelt soon found his staff cut by 80 percent, and all unsolved cases became classified. By 1955, Project Blue Book was no longer an investigative body, but a debunking and public relations one. By the mid-1960s, the project was trying so hard to debunk any sightings that they became an object of public ridicule. In one case, several police officers in Ohio reported chasing a low-flying, lighted object for 30 minutes and over 85 miles, only to be told that they had probably been confused by the Moon, or possibly Venus. The project was finally formally closed in 1969, and its case files — more than 12,000 in all — were sent to storage at an Air Force base in Alabama.