increase of radiation was indicated. The radiation remained high for a few seconds, then dropped back to normal. The increase over normal was not sufficient to be dangerous, but it definitely was unusual. All indications pointed to equipment malfunction as the most probable explanation. A quick check revealed no obvious trouble with the gear, and the two scientists were about to start a more detailed check when a third member of the radiation crew came rushing into the lab.
Before they could tell the newcomer about the unexplained radiation they had just picked up, he blurted out a story of his own. He had driven to a nearby town, and on his return trip, as he approached the research lab, something in the sky suddenly caught his eye. High in the cloudless blue he saw three silvery objects moving in a V formation. They appeared to be spherical in shape, but he wasn't sure. The first fact that had hit him was that the objects were traveling too fast to be conventional aircraft. He jammed on the brakes, stopped his car, and shut off the engine. No sound. All he could hear was the quiet whir of a generator in the research lab. In a few seconds the objects had disappeared from sight.
After the first two scientists had briefed their excited colleague on the unusual radiation they had detected, the three men asked each other the $64 question: Was there any connection between the two incidents? Had the UFO's caused the excessive radiation?
They checked the time. Knowing almost exactly when the instruments had registered the increased radiation, they checked on how long it took to drive to the lab from the point where the three silver objects had been seen. The times correlated within a minute or two. The three men proceeded to check their radiation equipment thoroughly. Nothing was wrong.
The rumor stopped here. Nothing that I or anyone else on Project Blue Book could find out shed any further light on the source of the story. People associated with projects similar to the research lab that was mentioned in the rumor were sought out and questioned. Many of them had heard the story, but no one could add any new details. The three unknown scientists, at the unnamed lab, in an unknown part of the United States, might as well never have existed. Maybe they hadn't.
Almost a year after I had first heard the UFO-radiation story I got a long-distance call from a friend on the west coast. I had seen him several months before, at which time I told him about this curious rumor and expressed my wish to find out how authentic it was. Now, on the phone, he told me he had just been in contact with two people he knew and they had the whole story. He said they
would be in Los Angeles the following night and would like very much to talk to me.
I hated to fly clear to the west coast on what might be a wild-goose chase, but I did. I couldn't afford to run the risk of losing an opportunity to turn that old recurrent rumor into fact.
Twenty hours later I met the two people at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. We talked for several hours that night, and I got the details on the rumor and a lot more that I hadn't bargained for. Both of my informants were physicists working for the Atomic Energy Commission, and were recognized in their fields. They wanted no publicity and I promised them that they would get none. One of the men knew all the details behind the rumor, and did most of the talking. To keep my promise of no publicity, I'll call him the "scientist."
The rumor version of the UFO-radiation story that had been kicking around in Air Force and scientific circles for so long had been correct in detail but it was by no means complete. The scientist said that after the initial sighting had taken place word was spread at the research lab that the next time the instruments registered abnormal amounts of radiation, some of the personnel were to go outside immediately and look for some object in the sky.
About three weeks after the first incident a repetition did occur. While excessive radiation was registering on the instruments in the lab, a lone dark object was seen streaking across the sky. Again the instruments were checked but, as before, no malfunction was found.
After this second sighting, according to the scientist, an investigation was started at the laboratory. The people who made the visual observations weren't sure that the object they had seen couldn't have been an airplane. Someone thought that perhaps some type of radar equipment in the airplane, if that's what the object was, might have affected the radiation-detection equipment. So arrangements were made to fly all types of aircraft over the area with their radar in operation. Nothing unusual happened. All possible types of airborne research equipment were traced during similar flights in the hope that some special equipment not normally carried in aircraft would be found to have caused the jump in radiation. But nothing out of the ordinary occurred during these tests either.
It was tentatively concluded, the scientist continued, that the abnormally high radiation readings were "officially" due to some freakish equipment malfunction and that the objects sighted visually were birds or airplanes. A report to this effect was made to military authorities, but since the conclusion stated that no flying saucers were involved, the report went into some unknown file. Project