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Project Blue Book unexplained cases summaries with witness names:

Year 1947:

The following paragraphs relate to Project Blue Book's unexplained case listing. For the USAF who conducted Project Blue Book, these are the cases that had no conventional explanation.

Introduction:

Along with a short summary, the location and dates, the witness or witnesses name are given. This may surprize many readers, as these names have been censored from the files before they were archived and later available to the public under the FOIA.

Please read the reference information at the end of the page to learn how I found out the witness names. Please refer to my main page on Project Blue book for more information on this USAF project.

Navigation help:

The cases which I have further studied or documented are accompanied by links to the supplemental information. To keep the browsing time reasonably short, I have split the summaries in one file for every year, you need to click on the years underneath to read all the summaries:

Choose: 1947 1948 1949
1950 1951 1952 1953 1954
1955 1956 1957 1958 1959
1960 1961 1962 1963 1964
1965 1966 1967 1968 1969

Cases of the year 1947:

July 3, 1947, Harborside, Maine. 2:30 p.m EDT:

Witness: astronomer John Cole of South Brooksville, Me.

Watched 10-15 seconds while ten very light objects, with two dark forms to their left, moved like a swarm of bees to the northwest. A loud roar was heard.


July 4, 1947, over Emmet, Idaho. 8:17 p.m PDT:

Witnesses: United Air Lines Capt. E.J. Smith, First Officer Ralph Stevens, Stewardess Marty Morrow.

Watched for 12-15 minutes while four objects with flat bottoms and rough tops moved at varying speeds, with one high and to the right of the others.


July 6, 1947, Fairfield-Suisan Air Base, California. Daytime:

Witnesses: Army Air Forces Capt. and Mrs. James Burniston.

Watched for 1 minute while one object having no wings or tail rolled from side-to-side three times and then flew away very fast to the southeast.


July 8, 1947, Muroc Air Base, California. 9:30 a.m PDT:

Witnesses: 1st Lt. Joseph McHenry, T/Sgt Ruvolo, S/Sgt Nauman, Miss Janette Scotte.

Watched for an unstated length of time while two disc-shaped or spherical objects - silver and apparently metallic - flew a wide circular pattern, and then one of them later flew a tighter circle.


July 8, 1947, series of sightings over MUROC AFB and Rogers Dry Lake, secret test base, California

Morning:

Two spherical or disc-like UFOs joined by a third object. Crew of technicians saw a white-aluminum UFO with distinct oval outline descending, moving against wind.

Afternoon:

Thin "metallic" UFO climbed, dove, oscillated over field, also seen by test pilot in vicinity. F-51 pilot watched a flat object "of light-reflecting nature" pass above his plane. No known aircraft were in the area.

See my page devoted to the Muroc AFB events, including the declassified testimonies of the witnesses.


July 9, 1947, Meridian, Idaho. 12:17 p.m PDT:

Witness: Idaho statesman aviation editor and former (AAF) B-29 pilot Dave Johnson.

Watched for more than 10 seconds from an Idaho Air National Guard AT-6 while a black disc, which stood out against the clouds, made a half-roll and then a stair-step climb.


July 10, 1947, Harmon Field, Newfoundland, Canada, Between 3 and 5 p.m local time:

Witnesses: three ground crewmen, including Mr. Leidy, for Pan American Airways.

Watched briefly while one translucent disc- or wheel-shaped object flew very fast, leaving a dark blue trail and then ascended and cut a path through the clouds.


July 29, 1947, Hamilton Air Base, California. 2:50 p.m PDT:

Witnesses: Assistant Base Operations Officer Capt. William Rhyerd, ex-AAF B-29 pilot Ward Stewart.

Watched for unknown length of time while two round, shiny, white objects with estimated 15-25 foot diameters, flew 3-4 times the apparent speed of a P-80, also in sight. One object flew straight and level, the other weaved from side-to-side like an escort fighter.


A declassified report on this incident is here.

August 13, 1947, Snake River, 09:30 a.m.:

Witnesses: A. C. Urie and his two sons.

A sky blue flying saucer slides fast at the bottom of the canyon where the witnesses were fishing. It follows the contours of the ground and its description is that of a structured machine which cannot be of terrestrial origin.

This case is documented here.


Sept. 3, 1947, Oswego, Oregon. 12:15 p.m PDT:

Witness: housewife Mrs. Raymond Dupui.

Watched for unknown length of time as 12-15 round, silver objects flew an unstated pattern.


Oct., 1947, Dodgeville, Wisconsin:

11 unnamed civilian man.

Watched for 1 hour while an undescribed object flew counterclockwise circles.


Oct. 14, 1947, 11 mi. NNE of Cave Creek, Arizona. Noon MDt:

Witnesses: ex-AAF fighter pilot J.L. Clark, civilian pilot Anderson, third man.

Watched 45-60 seconds while one 3-foot "flying wing"-shaped object, which looked black against the white clouds and red against the blue sky, flew straight at an estimated 380 m.p.h., at 8-10,000 feet, from NW to SE.


Short discussion and comments:

"Unidentified" says a great deal... and it says almost nothing.

Probably the most controversial aspect of the entire Air Force investigation of UFOs was its handling of individual cases.

The means by which one case was determined to be "identified" and another "unidentified" has no doubt fueled more arguments about Project Blue Book than anything else it did.

For many years, Blue Book's most vocal opponents have insisted that the standards by which cases were allegedly explained were grossly unscientific. Blue Book's goal, according to those who held it low esteem, was to attach some explanation to every case, regardless of logic or common sense. Examples of Blue Book saying a violently maneuvering disc was an aircraft, or of blaming a puzzling radar tracking on a supposedly malfunctioning radar set which it never bothered to check out, are numerous in the popular UFO literature.

And they are even more numerous in the files of Project Blue Book. The urgency with which Blue Book officials tagged answers onto cases without having done the proper investigation is obvious, though not proven. But if the Air Force was so eager to label cases "identified", despite the lack of supporting evidence, then those few cases which it labeled "unidentified" presumably withstood every attempt to apply every other kind of label. And so it may be that those cases are truly unidentifiable in familiar terms.

Indeed, the Air Force defines "unidentifiable" cases as those which "apparently contain all pertinent data necessary to suggest a valid hypothesis concerning the lack of explanation of the report, but the description of the object or its motion cannot be correlated with any known object or phenomenon."

To meet such criteria, a report must obviously come from a reputable source, and it must not bear any resemblance to airplanes, balloons, helicopters, spacecraft, birds, clouds, stars, planets, meteors, comets, electrical phenomena, or anything else known to frequent the air, the sky, or nearby space.

Unfortunately, the Air Force failed to stick to its own rules. Some of the "unidentifiable" cases most certainly can be correlated with known objects or phenomena. But most of them cannot. Moreover, many of the so-called "identified" cases cannot honestly be so correlated. But we are primarily concerned here with those cases which Project Blue Book openly admits it tried to explain and failed.

The amount of detail in these cases varies enormously. Some cases - frequently those which were well publicized at the time of the event - contain considerable information, while others are vague and seriously incomplete. Project Blue Book generally placed the blame for such incompleteness on the witnesses, but it should take its own share of the responsibility. In thousands of cases, there is no completed questionnaire in the Project files, nor even any indication that one was sent to the witness. And in most of the instances where a questionnaire was filled out, it was never followed up to get more complete answers to questions which the witnesses failed to deal with properly. For much of the life of Project Blue Book and its predecessors, there was no satisfactory questionnaire at all. And one of those used for a lengthy period was so badly organized that a witness should not be held to blame for giving incomplete answers.

Yet, despite all the roadblocks, many reports are sufficiently complete to tell a pretty clear story of a puzzling experience. With this data now available, anyone can look at Project Blue Book's "unidentified" UFO reports and make up his own mind.

References:

The above case summaries are from the work of Don Berliner, who compiled a listing of the Project Bluebook "unknowns". In January, 1974, he visited the U.S. Air Force Archives at Maxwell AFB, Montgomery, Alabama, to review the files of Project Blue Book as the first step toward writing a book on the subject.

In a full week, he read all the "unexplained" cases in the original files and made extensive notes, including the names and other identifying information on all witnesses where given. The cooperation of the staff of the Archives was excellent, and no restrictions were placed on his work.

A few months later, the files were withdrawn from public view so they could be prepared for transfer to the National Archives in Washington, D.C. This process involved making a Xerox copy of almost 30 file drawers of material, blacking out the names and other identifiers of all witnesses, and then microfilming the censored Xerox copy. The microfilm has been available to the public at the National Archives since 1976. The original Project Blue Book files remain under lock and key at the Archives.

On almost every page of the 12,000+ case files, there are big black marks where information that could be used to cross-check Project Blue Book's controversial work has been censored.

This includes the names of witnesses to widely-publicized cases, and even names in newspaper clippings!

As it was perfectly legal for him to copy witness' names when he visited the Air Force Archives, those names can be found in this report of 585 (less 13 missing) unexplained cases. And since the Privacy Act, which motivated the Air Force to censor the files in the first place, does not apply to reporters or anyone else outside the Government, they can be used as the reader pleases.

Inasmuch as the book he planned to write has never further than the manuscript stage, he saw no reason to keep this information under wraps any longer, thinking that perhaps it will encourage others to re-investigate cases and make the results known.

This is why I published here all the summaries of these more than 700 cases, and publish a French translation for the French speaking UFO researchers.

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This page was last updated on November 13, 2003