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Project Blue Book case review: January - April 1966

This is the latest edition of the Project Blue Book case review covering January through April 1966. 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.

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Summary

The bulk of the cases in the late March/April time period were probably inspired by the media reports surrounding the March 20/21 sightings in Michigan. This was the case that had Hynek present the swamp gas explanation to the press. I read Hynek’s report on this sighting and I think he made a convincing argument that the lights in the woods could have been produced by swamp gas. The two Hillsdale and Dexter sightings were the only cases in the file. There is also the mention of the Moon and Venus photograph that appeared in the media but the main cases in the file were the two that Hynek explained as swamp gas. 

I added one UNIDENTIFIED case because I just could not find a good explanation for the sighting. This was the March 17th event from Milan, Michigan. It involved an individual who saw a craft on three different occasions. One sighting lasted 90 minutes while another involved a landed craft seen from a distance that took off. I could have called these all aircraft but the reports were detailed to the point, I felt I could not simply put that label on them. The only information about the case was a report from July of 1966, so one has to wonder how much of an influence all the media reports of the time period had on this witness. 

Another interesting sighting happened in California on April 21. Reports described a large cloud to the northeast that drifted westward. Blue Book thought it was produced by a meteor but nobody saw a meteor. It turns out it was an aeronomy launch from Tonopah, Nevada. It was explained as such in the media from Northern California but it seems that was missed in the area around Los Angeles. Blue Book, on the east coast, never got this explanation in the reports filed by the UFO officers handling these observations. 

The bright fireball of April 25th produced quite a few UFO reports. Some were misidentified by Blue Book as insufficient information or aircraft. This is because the witnesses distorted their sightings to the point that they did not sound like meteors. The important point with those sightings were that were made at the same time and general area of the sky the fireball was visible. This type of erroneous observations of such events became more evident two years later with the Zond IV sightings. 

Satellites continue to produce UFO reports but at a reduced rate. I counted 32 satellite observations, which computes to only 8% of the sightings. The last two evaluations of Blue Book files had satellites in the 20% range. It is possible that observers were getting better at identifying satellites.

In an amusing twist, a witness in the April 28 Rochester, Michigan case requested they been sent “a copy of Blue Book” in their letter/report! It sounded like they thought it was a book of some kind you could purchase. I wonder if Major Quintanilla obliged him by sending them copies of all the record cards? 

Next issue, I will be only evaluating the months of July and August of 1966. There are roughly 400 cases for those two months and it should take some time to sift through that collection. 

Quelle: SUNlite 5/2022

 

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