Project Blue Book case review: July-August 1965
This is the latest edition of the Project Blue Book case review covering July and August 1965. Like the previous evaluations, I tried to examine each case to see if the conclusion had merit. I added comments to help clarify the explanation or if I felt it was not correct or adequate. There are three sightings that are marked with an asterisk. They contain multiple sightings which are examined in separate tables.
As I expected, this time period was going to be challenging to evaluate. There were many sightings over a brief period of time, which swamped the Blue Book staff. Many have probable explanations and it is hard to say exactly why there was a sudden flurry of UFO reports. I suspect it had a lot to do with the beginnings of the Gemini space program and other space activities. Adding that to the normal summer peak of UFO sightings, could explain the massive influx of reports.
There is a lot to say about these cases. Some were interesting and challenging to examine. I decided that the Cocoa Beach, Florida event (August 3) would be reclassified as “UNIDENTIFIED”. I just could not see a reflection producing the effect described and I could not come up with a potential solution. These were some lights, in a diamond formation, that hovered for quite some time and, after fifteen minutes, the police officers stopped watching them. Nobody knows what happened to the objects! I thought they might be stars in the constellation Delphinus but they are fairly faint and would not be prominent under city lights. It is too bad the police officers did not bother to see what happened to the UFOs. It is almost as if they were not that unusual or did not care to figure out what happened to them.
There continued to be reports filed by teens and tweens. One report was filed by an 8-year old. Some of these reports have to be looked at skeptically when reading them. A few of the reports are pretty good and the witnesses did a good job presented the data. However, like the adults, these are a minority of the reports. Many of the youth reports appear to be more imagination than objective observation.
Last issue I complained about how Blue Book was taking multiple sightings and placing them in a single case file. Little did I realize that local UFO officers were making this a bad habit. Pittsburgh submitted multiple reports, which involved nothing more than a typed summary with dates and brief descriptions of each sighting. There were some report forms but the rest had very little information about the sighting. The area around Houston, Texas had two case files with a total of 104 individual sightings! A good percentage of those were missing. To their credit, they did use some type of local reporting form. Some of these did have most of the pertinent information for analysis. Others had missing information.
Then there was the “Midwest flap”. There was no distinct case file but there seemed to be indications that they were in a folder at some point. These files were spread out and out of order to the point that, after a week of on-and-off examination, I grew frustrated and chose to just summarize the main events that marked the flap. Blue Book’s listed explanation for the “flap” as “inversion effects” was not sufficient (it might explain some radar targets) but they received little help from the various bases collecting the reports. Very few, if any, formal UFO reports were filed. What was presented were very short paragraphs describing each sighting. Many of them were missing pertinent information. It seems that a significant number of these involved misperceptions of stars, planets, satellites, aircraft, and meteors. Despite dozens of reports being made from the area of Cheyenne, Wyoming (the location of FE Warren AFB), nobody managed to record any UFO on film or provide any triangulation maps from the various observations. It seems to me that what happened was that once a few airmen started reporting UFOs, others around the base joined in and started seeing them as well. Once that happened, just about anything in the sky was suddenly a UFO. The local UFO officer just did not seem up to the task to collect the information.
Satellites continue to be a source of UFO reports. Echo 1 and Echo 2 are the primary source of these. The Echo satellites were not the only UFO report generators. The Pegasus series was producing reports as well. In a May 1965 letter to Hynek, there was a list of 34 satellites that reached magnitude 3.0 or brighter. Among that list were several Russian satellites and rocket bodies. It listed Cosmos 54 as “debris” from Cosmos 56. Below is a breakdown of satellites and the number of sightings they probably produced:
This is 107 total sightings produced by Satellites. That is almost 24% of the sightings from this time period.
Next issue, I will be taking on the last four months of 1965. I can already see having to examine the Houston area separately again as I have seen case files with multiple reports in September.
Quelle: SUNlite 3/2022