The Hierarchy Ponders
By early January 1953 the scientists who were to be members of our panel of experts had been contacted and had agreed to sit in judgment of the UFO. In turn, we agreed to give them every detail about the UFO.
We had our best reports for them to read, and we were going to show them the two movies that some intelligence officers considered as the "positive proof"-- the Tremonton Movie and the Montana Movie.
When this high court convened on the morning of January 12, the first thing it received was its orders; one of three verdicts would be acceptable:
All UFO reports are explainable as known objects or natural phenomena; therefore the investigation should be permanently discontinued.
The UFO reports do not contain enough data upon which to base a final conclusion. Project Blue Book should be continued in hopes of obtaining better data.
The UFO's are interplanetary spacecraft.
The written verdict, the group was told, would be given to the National Security Council, a council made up of the directors of all U.S. intelligence agencies, and thence it would go to the President of the United States--if they should decide that the UFO's were interplanetary spacecraft.
Because of military regulations, the names of the panel members, like the names of so many other people associated with the UFO story, cannot be revealed. Two of the men had made names for themselves as practical physicists--they could transform the highest theory for practical uses. One of these men had developed the radar that pulled us out of a big hole at the beginning of World War II, and the other had been one of the fathers of the H-bomb. Another of the panel members is now the chief civilian adviser to one of our top military commanders, and another was an astronomer whose unpublished fight to get the UFO recognized is respected throughout scientific circles. There was a man who is noted for his highly theoretical physics and mathematics, and another who had pioneered operations research during World War II. The sixth member of the panel had been honored by the American Rocket Society and the International Astronautical Federation for his work in moving space travel from the Buck Rogers realm to the point of near reality and
who is now a rocket expert.
It was an impressive collection of top scientific talent.
During the first two days of the meeting I reviewed our findings for the scientists. Since June 1947, when the first UFO report had been made, ATIC had analyzed 1,593 UFO reports. About 4,400 had actually been received, but all except 1,593 had been immediately rejected for analysis. From our studies, we estimated that ATIC received reports of only 10 percent of the UFO sightings that were made in the United States, therefore in five and a half years something like 44,000 UFO sightings had been made.
Of the 1,593 reports that had been analyzed by Project Blue Book, and we had studied and evaluated every report in the Air Force files, we had been able to explain a great many. The actual breakdown was like this:
Type Known Probable Possible Total
Balloons 1.57% 4.99% 11.95% 18.51%
Aircraft 0.98% 7.74% 3.04% 11.76%
Astronomical Bodies 2.79% 4.01% 7.40% 14.20%
Other Searchlights on clouds, birds, blowing paper, inversions, reflections, etc 4.21%
Hoaxes - 1.66%
Insufficient Data In addition to those initially eliminated 22.72%
Unknowns - 26.94%
By using the terms "Known," "Probable," and "Possible," we were able to differentiate how positive we were of our conclusions. But even in the "Possible" cases we were, in our own minds, sure that we had identified the reported UFO.
And who made these reports? Pilots and air crews made 17.1 percent from the air. Scientists and engineers made 5.7 percent, airport control tower operators made an even 1.0 percent of the reports, and 12.5 percent of the total were radar reports. The remaining 63.7 percent were made by military and civilian observers in general.
The reports that we were interested in were the 26.94 percent or 429 "Unknowns", so we had studied them in great detail. We studied the reported colors of the UFO's, the shapes, the directions they were traveling, the times of day they were observed, and many more details, but we could find no significant pattern or trends. We did find that the most often reported shape was