For instance, two graduate astronomy students from a southwestern university started a similar watch, on a modest scale, using a modified standard Geiger counter as their detection unit. They did not build a recorder into their equipment, however, and consequently were forced to man their equipment continuously, which naturally cut down the time they were in operation. On two occasions they reportedly detected a burst of high radiation.
Although the veracity of the two astronomers was not doubted, the scientist felt that the accuracy of their readings was poor because of the rather low quality of their equipment.
The scientist then told me about a far more impressive effort to verify or disprove the findings of the "mineral club." Word of the "rock hounds" and their work had also spread to a large laboratory in the East. An Air Force colonel, on duty at the lab, told the story to some of his friends, and they decided to look personally into the situation.
Fortunately these people were in a wonderful spot to make such an investigation. At their laboratory an extensive survey of the surrounding area was being made. An elaborate system of radiation- detection equipment had been set up for a radius of 100 miles around the lab. In addition, the defenses of the area included a radar net.
Thanks to the flashing of silver eagles, the colonel's group got permission to check the records of the radiation-survey station and to look over the logs of the radar stations. They found instances where, during the same period of time that radiation in the area had been much higher than normal, radar had had a UFO on the scope. These events had occurred during the period from January 1951 until about June 1951.
Upon learning of the tentative but encouraging findings that the colonel's group had dug out of their past records, people on both the radiation-survey crews and at the radar sites became interested in co- operating for further investigation. A tie-in with the local saucer grapevine established a three-way check.
One evening in July, just before sunset, two of the colonel's group were driving home from the laboratory. As they sped along the highway they noticed two cars stopped ahead of them. The occupants were standing beside the road, looking at something in the sky.
The two scientists stopped, got out of their car, and scanned the sky too. Low on the eastern horizon they saw a bright circular object moving slowly north. They watched it for a while, took a few notes, then drove back to the lab.
Some interesting news awaited them there. Radar had picked up an
unidentified target near the spot where the scientists in the car had seen the UFO, and it had been traveling north. A fighter had been scrambled, but when it got into the proper area, the radar target was off the scope. The pilot glimpsed something that looked like the reported UFO, but before he could check further he had to turn into the sun to get on an interception course, and he lost the object.
Several days passed before the radiation reports from all stations could be collected. When the reports did come in they showed that stations east of the laboratory, on an approximate line with the radar track, had shown the highest increase in radiation. Stations west of the lab showed nothing.
The possible significance of this well-covered incident spurred the colonel's group to extend and refine their activities. Their idea was to build a radiation- detection instrument in an empty wing tank and hang the tank on an F-47. Then when a UFO was reported they would fly a search pattern in the area and try to establish whether or not a certain sector of the sky was more radioactive than other sectors. Also, they proposed to build a highly directional detector for the F- 47 and attempt actually to track a UFO.
The design of such equipment was started, but many delays occurred. Before the colonel's group could get any of the equipment built, some of the members left the lab for other jobs, and the colonel, who sparked the operation, was himself transferred elsewhere. The entire effort collapsed.
The scientist was not surprised that I hadn't heard the story of the colonel's group. All the people involved, he said, had kept it quiet in order to avoid ridicule. The scientist added that he would be glad to give me all the data he had on the sightings of his "mineral club," and he told me where to get the information about the two astronomers and the colonel's group.
Armed with the scientist's notes and recorder tapes, I left for my office at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton.
With the blessings of my chief, I started to run down the rest of the radiation information. The data we had, especially that from the scientist's "mineral club," had been thoroughly analyzed, but we thought that since we now had access to more general data something new and more significant might be found.
First I contacted the government agency for which all of the people involved in these investigations had been working, the scientists who recorded the original incident, the scientist and his "mineral club," the colonel's group, and the rest.
The people in the agency were very co-operative but stressed the fact that the activities I was investigating were strictly the extracurricular affairs of the scientists involved, had no official sanction, and should not be tied in with the