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Project Blue Book unexplained cases summaries with witness names:

Year 1955:

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 1955:

Jan, 1, 1955, Cochise, New Mexico. 6:44 a.m:

Witnesses: instructor and student pilot in USAF B-25 bomber/trainer.

A metallic disc, shaped like two pie pans face-to-face, and 120-130' in diameter, paced the B-25, showing both its edge and its face, for 5-7 minutes. Only item in case file was summary form.


Jan. 26, 1955, Lakeland, Florida. 6:15 p.m:

Witness: J.M. Holland.

A black smoke trail made a circle. There was an explosion and some objects fell. No further information in file.


Feb. 1, 1955, 20 miles east of Cochise, New Mexico. 7:55 p.m:

Witnesses: Instructor Capt. D.F. Ritzdorf, aviation cadet F.W. Miller in TB-25 bomber/trainer. One red and white ball hovered off the left wing of the TB-25 for 5 minutes, then made a very fast climb. Total time of sighting was 8 minutes.


Feb. 2, 1955, Miramar Naval Air Station, California. 11:50 a.m:

Witness: USN Cmdr. J.L. Ingersoll.

One highly polished sphere, with reddish-brown coloring, fell, then instantly accelerated to 1,000 - 1,500 m.p.h.

Original witness statement here.


Feb. 10, 1955, Bethesda, Maryland. 10:03 p.m:

Witness: E.J. Stein, model maker at U.S. Navy ship design facility.

One object, shaped like a small portion of the bottom of the Moon, with a radiant yellow color, hovered for 30 seconds. Its bottom changed to a funnel shape. Total sighting lasted 1.5-2 minutes.


April 30, 1955, Travis County, Texas. 7:30 a.m:

Witness USAF Wing Intelligence Officer Maj. L..J. Pagozalski.

Four black objects in a cluster made a whooshing sound like a zephyr. Sighting lasted 2-3 seconds.


May 4, 1955, Keflavik, Iceland. 12:38 p.m:

Witnesses: Lt. Col. E.J. Stealy, 1st Lt. J.W. Burt.

About 10 round, white objects, one of which left a brief smoke trail, flew in an irregular formation, some of them making erratic movements during the 5-8 second sighting.


May 23, 1955, Cheyenne, Wyoming. Midnight:

Witnesses: USAF Airman/Basic I.J. Shapiro and E.C. Ingber.

During a 5 minutes period, two slender, vertical rectangles were seen low on the horizon, and two ovals with tops (dark, with dark blue illumination) flew higher.


July 29, 1955, Columbus, Nebraska. 10:45 p.m:

Witness: Morrice Raymond.

Four orange flashing lights and one white flashing light moved up and down like yo-yos for 5-6 minutes.


Aug. 11, 1955, Iceland. 11:45 a.m:

Witness: 2nd Lt. E.J. Marlow.

Twelve grey objects, from cigar to egg-shaped, varied their formation from elliptical to wavy line to scattered to straight line to trail formation. Speed varied from hover to 1,000 m.p.h. Sighting lasted 3-4 minutes.


Aug. 23, 1955, Arlington, Virginia. 10:45 a.m:

Witness: G.M. Park, using a 400x telescope.

Several orange lights moved singly or in groups, circling and stopping during 30 minute sighting.


Sept. 3, 1955, Bellingham, Washington:

Witness: observer Saunders for Ground Observer Corps.

One white pinhead moved slowly across 30 degrees of sky in 15 minutes. No further information.


Sept. 7, 1955, Washington, D.C.:

Witnesses: two photographers, one plate maker for the Army Map Service (one named Smith).

One glowing round object flew an arc for 1 minute.


Sept. 9, 1955, near Alcoa, Tennessee. 12 noon:

Witness: M.N. Dawkins, using binoculars.

One brown, almost square object flew with a circular motion for 10-15 minutes.


Oct. 8, 1955, Loogootee, Indiana. 4:38 p.m:

Witnesses: R.D. Prather, H. Ahern.

One round, silver or white object flew straight and level at more than 1,000 m.p.h. for an unstated length of time.


Oct. 11, 1955, Pt. Lookout, Maryland. 4 p.m:

Witnesses: B. Hale, A. Ostrom.

One round object which looked white in the daylight and turned red with sparks toward the end of the 2.5 hour sighting, made a deep roar, unlike an aircraft.


Nov. 17, 1955, St. Louis, Missouri. 6:10 a.m:

Witness: J.A. Mapes.

Twelve round, flat objects, silver on top and dark on the bottom, flew in 4-deep formation, tipping in pitch and roll, for 45 seconds.


Nov. 20, 1955, Lake City, Tennessee. 5:20 p.m:

Witnesses: Operations Officer Capt. B.G. Denkler and five men of the USAF 663rd AC&W Sqdn. Two oblong, bright orange, semi-transparent objects flew at terrific speed and erratically, toward and away from each other. Observed by various persons form 4 to 15 minutes.


Nov. 25, 1955, La Veta, Colorado. 10:30 a.m:

Witness: State Senator S.T. Taylor.

One dirigible-shaped object (fat front, tapered toward the tail) object, which was luminous green-blue and jellylike, appeared overhead diving at a 45' angle, then reduced angle to 30'. Object seen for 5 seconds.


Dec. 21, 1955, Caribou, Maine. 111 p.m:

Witness: Roberta V. Jacobs.

One round, very bright gold, domed disc made a short climb, rotated, hovered and then accelerated during the 6-8 minute sighting.

Case file here.


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 March 27, 2008