20 years of extraterrestrial under the tail. History of the program “The Blue Book” on the study of UFOs in the US

Today, almost any reference to the abbreviation of UFOs is associated with aliens and more often causes a grin and a desire to joke about the raging imagination. The stories about evidence of the existence of extraterrestrial life and the statements of eyewitnesses are rarely perceived as serious, although there are quite unusual and even inexplicable phenomena.


  • 1948 year. Project Sign
  • 1949 year. Project Grudge
  • 1952 year. Blue Book
  • Alien Attack
  • UFOs are returning
  • “The commission is correct, but the conclusions are not”

But it was not always so, once the issue was raised at the state level in a number of countries. A lot of money was sent to the analysis of information “from the people”, the search for truth – after all, “the truth is somewhere near.” One of the examples of a serious attitude towards invading from the outside is the Blue Book project, which existed for many years in the United States.

1948 year. Project Sign

The program was launched in 1948, shortly after the so-called Roswell incident. Then it was called Project Sign. One of the starting points was a message in 1947 from businessman and pilot Kenneth Arnold. He told about the nine objects seen in the sky, which were moving at high speed over Mount Rainier in Washington State. The businessman was not the only one who watched unidentified flying objects: there were also reports from military pilots and airbase attendants. The US Air Force was forced to begin an investigation.


“Most likely, it’s the tricks of aliens,” – as experts initially estimated the situation, provided preliminary conclusions. The command rejected them, demanding that they send the materials for revision. At the same time, “the most serious evidence of what happened” was deleted from the report, and without them, it lost its meaning. As a result, the official version sounded trite: eyewitnesses met ordinary flying means (or meteorites, for example), but what for and where, it is not possible to find out.

In later declassified documents, however, it was also pointed out that for observable objects extremely high speeds of movement, sharp changes of trajectories and often absence of characteristic noise were characteristic. The methods and speed of movement, as the authors of the report thought, could not withstand a person. But “was the boy”?


Supporters of the conspiracy theory argue that the existence of extraterrestrial intelligent life is proven, but the information, of course, was concealed. The government, however, as years later became known, the goal was to reduce the degree of panic and not allow to spread groundless rumors.

1949 year. Project Grudge

The next step to the “Blue Book” in 1949 was the “Grudge Project”, officially short-term (closed in the same year), in fact it was in a sluggish state for several years to come. It was assumed that Grudge would continue the project “Sign”. And he confirmed the previously sounded conclusions: UFOs are nothing more than a mistake in interpreting seen atmospheric phenomena or ordinary terrestrial objects; this is a consequence of mass hysteria in the postwar period; someone simply wants to “haypanut”, while others become victims of their own mental illness.


The report published in August 1949 probably pleased the military – there is no direct threat to national security, but it did not satisfy the public – “we are not stupid and see the difference between UFOs and clouds”. However, if you believe the book ufologa Michael D. Swords, and among the military unified opinion did not exist.

So in 1951 the “Blue Book” was ajar. The fact is that exactly at that time an incident occurred, which is often cited as an example of UFO activity. On September 10, a cadet practicing at the Fort Manhattah radar station in New Jersey demonstrated the work of systems to the incoming Air Force officers. He recorded an unknown object moving at a speed of about 1.1 thousand kilometers per hour, after less than half an hour later (supposedly) watched the pilots of the training aircraft Lockheed T-33. According to them, it was a classic silver “plate” with a diameter of 10-15 meters, flying at a speed of 1.5 thousand kilometers per hour. Then the object made a sharp turn for this speed and disappeared from the field of view of the pilots. The next day radar detected “massive” movements of UFOs. Even if it “seemed”, you can not ignore what happened.

There followed an investigation of the incident, but they were skeptical about the information, and the pilots were not laughed at. True, the commanders were unhappy with how the subordinates reacted to reports about unidentified flying objects, ignored the facts and, after a while, took their jobs.

Life magazine from April 7, 1952. It was published material with a review of 10 stories about the eyewitnesses of UFOs. In the conclusions to the article there is an opinion that observations are not the result of hallucinations or mystifications

1952 year. Blue Book

Grudge turned off – not only because of the disagreements, but also to hide from the public the fact of interest in UFOs of the US military and the fact that they refer to the “green men” to some extent seriously. But rather, it’s not so much in them, as, for example, in the Soviets with their super-secret prototypes. Yes, and public opinion is “correct”. In any case, you need to do something.


With the launch of the Blue Book, the number of reports about UFOs has increased dramatically, and in the administration of President Truman was seriously worried about the possible consequences for the country, which was also involved in the Korean War

Alien Attack

The early years were probably the most “productive”. The messages described objects of all colors and shapes, they moved at different speeds. “They were like falling stars, but without a tail”, – said one of the eyewitnesses, a pilot with a 17-year experience. Reports came from everywhere, many from air traffic controllers. Ducks on the radar? Who will say now. Observers claimed that it is unlikely.


To understand the scale, it is worth looking at the numbers. In April 1952, the “Blue Book” received 82 reports on UFOs. In May – only 79. In June – 148, and in July already 536. Then the activity went to decline, in fact officially that year registered 1501 messages, 303 of them were not qualified.

The operative special commission interviewed the military, who observed unidentified flying objects, and also got acquainted with the photographic materials and films available at the disposal of the authorities. All for nothing, about 90% of the phenomena were easily explained, and money was spent on validating the data incredible. This, it was counted in the commission, leads to a weakening of national security, and not mythical UFOs. However, to the same conclusions came during the work of “Project Sign” and “Project Grudge”.


All the more obvious is that the main goal of the program was to minimize the public interest in UFOs, and not the study of the phenomenon. It is a logical desire for a state that does not want to waste resources. Those who believed in the interest of aliens to Earth, saw everything differently: the government and the military hide the obvious.

Since 1953, the Blue Book project has refused to conduct any investigations, only fixing appeals, and also dealing with “public relations”. They say that the reason lies in the new leader, Charles Hardin, who replaced Edward Ruppelt, the first director of the Blue Book, in this post. Hardin, who did not believe in UFOs, did everything possible to do nothing, – so claimed later Ruppelt.

UFOs are returning

Until 1965, there were no shocks, the Blue Book simply existed, the aliens did not attack the Americans and did not particularly shine (literally and figuratively). But then there was a breakthrough, which decided the fate of the project. Is this connected with the war in Vietnam that has passed into the next phase with the active participation of the United States, or Alexei Leonov’s exit into open space, is unknown. The reasons can be anything. Be that as it may, in late July – early August 1965, the “Blue Book” was flooded with reports of UFO activity. And a scandal broke out.


Astronomers-enthusiasts and ordinary people reported the unusually bright objects seen in the sky, again of different shapes and colors, behaving in a strange way and in no way unlike airplanes. The Air Force quickly found the explanation: “It was Jupiter, Rigel, Capella, Betelgeuse or Aldebaran.”

“But radars do not fix stars and planets,” the reporter for United Press International was perplexed. “These planets and stars are on the other side of the Earth at this time of year,” the scientists backed him. “Enough of making us idiots, ” cried the disgruntled Americans. Did the military make a mistake? Hardly: in an interview in 1968, the last head of the “Blue Book” Hector Quintanilla clarified that the explanations of the Air Force were not relevant for all regions of the States, and the press somewhat altered the information in a wave of excitement. But in the 65th these words did not sound.


UFO landing in Michigan

1966 again set records on observations and reports on UFOs. Dozens and hundreds of people saw the same lights in the sky, moving at high speed. Someone could see the objects closer, there were drawings of alien ships. And again, not a single fallen ship or UFO, from the photograph of which one can confidently state: “It is not of earth origin, it is a ship.”


“Swamp gas is all the fault,” – said in one of the most massive observations of the commission in Michigan. The so-called “wandering lights” did not please the press, some senators and, of course, ordinary people. A hearing was held with the participation of high-ranking military personnel.

“The commission is correct, but the conclusions are not”

The most effective way to resolve disagreements was to create a group of civil scientists – from universities, non-profit organizations and so on. It was led by nuclear physicist Edward Condon, thanks to whose name more scientists joined the study of the UFO phenomenon. True, everything went wrong, as the public would like, and the team split: some felt it necessary to study the actual reports of unidentified flying objects, others – observers and their psychological characteristics. As a result, everyone was displeased, because under the cover of impartiality there could be a serious interest in presenting everything in the right light (again, these conspiracies!). The report for more than 20 years of work, briefly, said: UFOs do not exist; there is no evidence of that, nor is there any sense in continuing.


The project began to wither actively, coincidentally, the number of reports from eyewitnesses decreased. 1969 was the last for the “Blue Book”. During its existence, 12,618 messages were processed, 701 remained without explanation, but today the “Blue Book” may seem unjustified spending of money and man-hours.

By the way, a few years ago, all 130,000 pages of the declassified Project Blue Book, thanks to the efforts of the enthusiast under the pseudonym Xtraeme, appeared freely available online, so if you want, you can get acquainted with them.

And this year the release of the series is expected, the creation of which the History channel inspired precisely the “Blue Book”. The main role in it will play Aidan Gillen, who will appear in the image of Professor Allen Heinek, ufologist and consultant of the project of the American government. Maybe Robert Zemeckis will cope with opening the veil of secrecy?


Source list: BBC , Blue Book Archive , US National Archives , Futurism , FBI , Sign Oral History Project , National Geographic , Hauntist , History , The Huffington Post , UFO Evidence , The Black Vault .

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