In the past three years, high-level officials have publicly conceded their bewilderment around unidentified aerial phenomena. Above: Four mysterious objects spotted in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1952.Photo illustration by Paul Sahre
On May 9, 2001, Steven M. Greer took the lectern at the National Press Club, in Washington, D.C., in pursuit of the fact about unidentified flying objects. Greer, an emergency-room doctor in Virginia and an outspoken ufologist, believed that the federal government had long withhosted from the American human being its familiarity with alien visitations. He had actually established the Disclocertain Project in 1993 in an attempt to permeate the sanctums of conspiracy. Greer’s reckoning that day featured some twenty speakers. He offered, in assistance of his claims, a four-hundred-and-ninety-two-page dossier dubbed the “Disclocertain Project Briefing Document.” For public officials as well busy to absorb such a large tract of suppressed expertise, Greer had actually ready a ninety-five-web page “Executive Synopsis of the Disclocertain Project Briefing Document.” After some throat-clearing, the “Executive Summary” began through “A Quick Overview,” which included a collection of bullet points outlining what amounted to the best key in huguy history.

You are watching: Help me you idiots the aliens are taking me

Over several years, according to Greer, untold numbers of alien craft had been observed in our planet’s airspace; they were able to reach extreme velocities with no visible indicates of lift or propulsion, and also to percreate stunning maneuvers at g-forces that would certainly turn a huguy pilot to soup. A few of these extraterrestrial spaceships had been “downed, retrieved and also stupassed away since at leastern the 1940s and also maybe as beforehand as the 1930s.” Efforts to reverse engineer such extrasimple makers had caused “significant technical breakthroughs in power generation.” These operations had actually mostly been classified as “cosmic top secret,” a tier of clearance “thirty-eight levels” above that commonly granted to the Commander-in-Chief. Why, Greer asked, had actually such transformative innovations been concealed for so long? This was apparent. The “social, economic and geo-political order of the world” was at stake.


The principle that aliens had actually frequented our earth had been circulating among ufologists considering that the postbattle years, once a Polish émigré, George Adamski, claimed to have rendezvooffered via a race of kindly, Nordic-looking Venusians that were disturbed by the residential and also interplanetary impacts of nuclear-bomb tests. In the summer of 1947, an alien spaceship was shelp to have cramelted near Roswell, New Mexico. Conspiracy theorists thought that vaguely anthropomorphic bodies had been reextended tbelow, and that the crash debris had been entrusted to personal army building contractors, who raced to unlock alien hardware before the Russians could. (Documents unearthed after the fall of the Soviet Union argued that the stress about an arms race supercharged by alien innovation was common.) All of this, ufologists claimed, had been spanned up by Majestic 12, a clandestine, para-governpsychological company convened under executive order by President Trumale. President Kennedy was assassinated bereason he planned to level with Premier Khrushchev; Kennedy had confided in Marilyn Monroe, thereby sealing her fate. Representative Steven Schiff, of New Mexico, invested years trying to acquire to the bottom of the Roswell occurrence, just to die of “cancer.”

Greer’s “Executive Summary” was woolly, but discerning readers might find within it answers to many type of of the the majority of typically asked concerns around U.F.O.s—assuming, as Greer did, that U.F.O.s are helmed by extraterrestrials. Why are they so elusive? Due to the fact that the aliens are monitoring us. Why? Since they are discomfited by our aspiration to “weaponize room.” Have we swarm at them? Yes. Should we shoot at them? No. Really? Yes. Why not? They’re friendly. How do we know? “Obviously, any kind of people capable of regimen interstellar take a trip might terminate our human being in a nanosecond, if that was their intent. That we are still breapoint the complimentary air of Earth is abundant testimony to the non-hostile nature of these ET civilizations.” (One apparent question appears not to have actually developed to Greer: Why, if these spacecraft are so advanced, do they allegedly crash all the time?)

At the push conference, Greer showed up in thin-framed glasses, a baggy, funeactual suit, and also a red tie askew in a starched collar. “I recognize many in the media would certainly favor to talk about ‘bit green males,’ ” he shelp. “But, in reality, the topic is laughed at because it is so major. I have actually had grvery own males weep, that are in the Pentagon, who are members of Congress, and that have sassist to me, ‘What are we going to do?’ Here is what we will carry out. We will see that this issue is effectively disclosed.”

Among the various other speakers was Clifford Stone, a reexhausted Army sergeant, that purported to have visited crash sites and checked out aliens, both dead and also alive. Stone shelp that he had actually catalogued fifty-salso species, many of them humanoid. “You have actually individuals that look extremely a lot prefer you and myself, that might walk among us and you wouldn’t even notice the distinction,” he shelp.


Leslie Kean, an independent investigative journalist and a novice U.F.O. researcher who had functioned via Greer, watched the proceedings with unease. She had recently publimelted an write-up in the Boston Globe around a brand-new omnibus of compelling evidence concerning U.F.O.s, and also she couldn’t understand also why a speaker would make an unsupported assertion about alien cadavers as soon as he could be talking around tough information. To Kean, the corpus of genuinely baffling reports deoffered scientific scrutiny, regardmuch less of how you felt around aliens. “Tright here were some good civilization at that conference, but some of them were making outrageous, grandiose clintends,” Kean told me. “I kbrand-new then that I had actually to walk ameans.” Greer had hoped that members of the media would cover the occasion, and also they did, via frolicsome derision. He also hoped that Congress would certainly hold hearings. By all accounts, it did not.


*
“Hold on, boys! Consumer trying to boost the neighborhood economy coming through!”
Ufologists have perpetual confidence in the imminence of Disclosure, a term of art for the government’s rapturous confession of its prodiscovered U.F.O. understanding. In the years after the push conference, the expected announcement was apparently postponed by the occasions of September 11th, the War on Terror, and the financial crisis. In 2009, Greer issued a “Special Presidential Briefing for President Barack Obama,” in which he asserted that the inaction of Obama’s predecessors had actually “resulted in an unrecognized crisis that will certainly be the biggest of your Presidency.” Obama’s response remains unwell-known, however in 2011 ufologists filed two petitions via the White House, to which the Office of Science and Technology Policy responded that it might find no proof to suggest that any type of “extraterrestrial presence has actually contacted or engaged any type of member of the huguy race.”

The federal government may not have actually been in constant touch with exotic civilizations, however it had actually been keeping something from its citizens. By 2017, Kean was the author of a best-marketing U.F.O. book and also was recognized for what she has termed, borrowing from the political scientist Alexander Wendt, a “militantly agnostic” technique to the phenomenon. On December 1sixth of that year, in a front-page story in the Times, Kean, in addition to 2 Times journalists, revealed that the Pentagon had been running a surreptitious U.F.O. regime for ten years. The short article included 2 videos, tape-recorded by the Navy, of what were being explained in official networks as “unfigured out aerial phenomena,” or U.A.P. In blogs and on podcasts, ufologists began referring to “December, 2017” as shorthand for the moment the taboo began to lift. Joe Rogan, the well-known podactors hold, has often pointed out the article, pelevating Kean’s work-related as having precipitated a cultural shift. “It’s a dangerous topic for someone, because you’re open to ridicule,” he said, in an episode this spring. But now “you might say, ‘Listen, this is not somepoint to be mocked anymore—there’s something to this.’ ”


Because then, high-level officials have publicly condelivered their bewilderment about U.A.P. without shame or apology. Last July, Senator Marco Rubio, the previous acting chairmale of the Select Committee on Intelligence, spoke on CBS News around mysterious flying objects in limited airarea. “We don’t know what it is,” he said, “and also it isn’t ours.” In December, in a video clip intersee with the economist Tyler Cowen, the previous C.I.A. director John Brennan admitted, rather tortuously, that he didn’t fairly know what to think: “Several of the phenomena we’re going to be seeing continues to be undefined and can, in reality, be some form of phenomenon that is the outcome of somepoint that we don’t yet understand and also that might involve some form of task that some can say constitutes a various form of life.”


Last summer, David Norquist, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, announced the formal existence of the Unfigured out Aerial Phenomena Task Force. The 2021 Intelligence Authorization Act, signed this previous December, stipulated that the government had actually a hundred and also eighty days to gather and also analyze information from disparate agencies. Its report is supposed in June. In a current interview via Fox News, John Ratcliffe, the previous director of National Intelligence, emphasized that the worry was no longer to be taken lightly. “When we talk about sightings,” he shelp, “we are talking about objects that have been viewed by Navy or Air Force pilots, or have actually been picked up by satellite imagery, that frankly connect in actions that are difficult to explain, activities that are tough to replicate, that we don’t have the modern technology for, or are travelling at speeds that exceed the sound obstacle without a sonic boom.”

Leslie Kean is a self-possessed woguy via a cautious demeanor and also a nimbus of curly graying hair. She stays alone in a light-filled corner apartment close to the north too much of Manhattan, wright here, on the wall behind her desk, there is a framed black-and-white photo that looks choose a sonogram of a Frisbee. The photograph was offered to her, along with chain-of-custody documentation, by contacts in the Costa Rihave the right to government; in her estimation, it is the finest photo of a U.F.O. ever made public. The initially time I visited, she wore a black blazer over a T-shirt advertising “The Phenomenon,” a documentary from 2020 through strikingly high production values in a genre well-known for grainy footage of dubious provenance. Kean is stubborn but unassuming, and also she often tends to speak of the impact of “the Times story,” and also the new cycle of U.F.O. attention it has inaugurated, as if she had not been its major instigator. She told me, “When the New York Times story came out, tbelow was this feeling of ‘This is what the U.F.O. human being have wanted forever before.’ ”

Kean is constantly assiduously polite toward the “U.F.O. people,” although she stands apart from the ufological mainstream. “It’s not necessarily that what Greer was saying was wrong—possibly tbelow have been visits by extraterrestrials since 1947,” she shelp. “It’s that you have to be strategic around what you say to be taken seriously. You don’t put out someone talking around alien bodies, also if it might be true. Nobody was prepared for that; they didn’t also know that U.F.O.s were genuine.” Kean is particular that U.F.O.s are actual. Everything else—what they are, why they’re below, why they never alight on the White Housage lawn—is speculation.

Kean feels the majority of at house in the borderlands in between the paranormal and the scientific; her latest task examines the controversial scholarship on the opportunity of consciousness after fatality. Until freshly, she dreaded the inescapable dinner-party moment when other guests asked around her line of work and she had actually to mumble somepoint about U.F.O.s. “Then they’d kind of giggle,” she said, “and also I would certainly have to say, ‘There’s actually many significant information.’ ” Her blunt, underdeclared method of talking around incomprehensible information provides her an air of probity. Throughout my visit, as she peered at her substantial library of canonical ufology texts—with such titles as “Extraterrestrial Contact” and “Above Top Secret”—she sighed and also sassist, “Unfortunately, many of these aren’t very excellent.”

In her best-selling book, “UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and also Government Officials Go on the Record,” publiburned in 2010 by an imprint of Random Housage, Kean created that “the UNITED STATE government routinely ignores UFOs and also, when pressed, concerns false explacountries. Its indifference and/or dismissals are irresponsible, disrespectful to credible, often skilled witnesses, and possibly dangerous.” Her book is a sweeping reminder that this was not always the situation. In the years after the Second World War, about half of all Americans, including many type of in power, welcomed U.F.O.s as a matter of course. Kean sees herself as a custodian of this lost background. In her apartment, a peaceful space decorated through a Burmese Buddha and bowls of pearlescent seashells, Kean sat dvery own on the floor, opened up her file cabinets, and also disshowed up right into a drift of declassified memos, badepend legible telekinds, and also yellowing copies of The Saturday Evening Post and also the Times Magazine featuring flying-saucer covers and also lengthy, significant treatments of the phenomenon.


Kean prospered up in New York City, a descendant of one of the nation’s earliest political empires. Her grandfather Robert Winthrop Kean offered ten terms in Congress; he traced his ancestry, on his father’s side, to John Kean, a South Carolina delegate to the Continental Congress, and, on his mother’s, to John Winthrop, among the Puritan founders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. She speaks of her family’s tradition in fairly abstract terms, other than as soon as mentioning the abolitionist William Lloyd Garriboy, her grandfather’s great-grandfather, whom she regards as a motivation. Her uncle is Thomas Kean, that offered 2 terms as New Jersey’s governor and also went on to chair the 9/11 Commission.

Kean attended the Spence School and also checked out college at Bard. She has actually a modest household income, and also spent her beforehand adult years as a “spiroutine seeker.” After helping to discovered a Zen center in upstate New York, she functioned as a photographer at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. In the late nineteen-nineties, after a visit to Burma to intersee political prisoners, she stumbled right into a career in investigative journalism. She took a project at KPFA, a radio terminal in Berkeley, as a producer and also on-air host for “Flashpoints,” a left-wing drive-time news regime, where she spanned wrongful convictions, the death penalty, and other criminal-justice problems.

In 1999, a journalist friend in Paris sent out her a ninety-web page report by a dozen retired French generals, researchers, and area professionals, titled “Les OVNI et la Défense: À Quoi Doit-On Se Préparer?”—“U.F.O.s and Defense: For What Must We Prepare Ourselves?” The authors, a group well-known as COMETA, had analyzed countless U.F.O. reports, along with the connected radar and photographic evidence. Objects observed at close range by army and also commercial pilots appeared to defy the laws of physics; the authors listed their “quickly supersonic speed via no sonic boom” and also “electromagnetic effects that interfere through the procedure of nearby radio or electrical apparatus.” The substantial majority of the sightings can be traced to meteorological or earthly origins, or might not be studied, owing to palattempt proof, yet a tiny portion of them appeared to involve, as the report put it, “totally unknown flying makers via outstanding performances that are guided by a herbal or fabricated knowledge.” COMETA had actually refixed, through the procedure of elimination, that “the extraterrestrial hypothesis” was the a lot of logical explanation.

Kean had read Whitley Strieber’s “Communion,” the 1987 cult best-seller about alien abduction, but till receiving the French findings she had never had even more than a mild interemainder in U.F.O.s. “I had actually spent years at KPFA reporting on the horrors of the human being, injustice and also oppression, and offering voice to the voicemuch less,” she rereferred to as. As she acquainted herself with the plenitude of odd episodes, it was as if she’d watched past our own dismal fact and the limitations of standard reasoning, and caught a glimpse of an enchanted cosmos. “To me, this simply transcfinished the endmuch less struggle of humans,” she told me, throughout a lengthy walk approximately her community. “It was a planetary issue.” She stopped in the middle of the street. Gesturing toward a greatly overactors sky, she sassist, “Why need to we assume we currently understand every little thing tbelow is to recognize, in our insophisticated here on this planet?”

An editor of the Boston Globe’s Focus section, that had admired Kean’s writing on Burma, tentatively agreed to work-related via her on a story around U.F.O.s. Kean chose not to discuss it with her KPFA colleagues, apprehensive that they would consider the topic, at best, frivolous. She was particular, though, that anyone provided access to the French report’s information and also conclusions would certainly understand why she had actually dropped whatever else. She refoffered to encompass any type of ironizing asides in the post, which was publimelted on May 21, 2000, as a straightforward summary of the COMETA investigations. “But then, of course, nopoint happened,” she shelp. “And that was the start of my education and learning in the power of the stigma.”


*

“Why have to we assume we already understand also everything?” Leslie Kean says.Photograph by Tonje Thilesen for The New YorkerSome aficionados think that U.F.O.s have been recorded since Biblical times; in “The Spaceships of Ezekiel,” published in 1974, Josef F. Blumrich, a NASA engineer, said that the prophet’s heavenly vision of wheels within wheels was an encounter not with God but through an alien spaceship. In “The UFO Controversy in America” (1975), David Jacobs created around a series of “airship” sightings across the country in 1896 and also 1897. Spaceships, in our descriptions, have constantly presented capabilities just past our technological horizon, and via our own wartime advancements they thrived staggeringly superior. It’s generally agreed that the modern U.F.O. era started on June 24, 1947, when a private aviator named Kenneth Arnold, while flying a CallAir A-2, experienced a loose development of nine undulating objects near Mt. Rainier. They had the shape of boomerangs or tailmuch less manta rays, and in his estimation they relocated at two to 3 times the speed of sound. He defined their motion as that of a “saucer skipped over water.” A newspaper headline conjured “flying saucers.” By the finish of the year, at least eight hundred and also fifty similar residential sightings had actually been reported, according to one independent U.F.O. investigator. At the same time, scientists asserted that flying saucers didn’t exist bereason they couldn’t exist. The Times quoted Gordon Atwater, an astronomer at the Hayden Planetarium, who attributed the flurry of reports to a combination of a “mild case of meteorological jitters” and “mass hypnosis.”

Within government circles, the worry of just how seriously to take what they renamed “unfigured out flying objects” provoked a deep conflict. By September of 1947, incoming reports of sightings had become too profuse for the Air Force to disregard. That month, in a classified communiqué, Lieutenant General Nathan F. Twining advised the commanding basic of the equipped forces that “the phenomenon reported is something actual and also not visionary or fictitious.” The “Twining memo,” which has actually given that acquired ecclesiastical stature among ufologists, articulated involves that some international rival—say, the Soviet Union—had actually made an unimaginable technological breakvia, and it initiated a classified study, Project Sign, to investigate. Its officials were evenly separation in between those that believed that the “flying discs” were of plausibly “interplanetary” beginning and those that chalked up the sightings to rampant misperception. On the one hand also, according to a memo, a complete twenty per cent of U.F.O. reports lacked plain explacountries. On the other hand, tbelow was no dispositive evidence—the wreckage of a crashed saucer, perhaps—and, as a scientist at the RAND Corporation reasoned, interstellar take a trip was ssuggest infeasible.

But unaccountable things kept happening. In 1948, around a year after the Arnold sighting, 2 pilots in an Eastern Airlines DC-3 experienced a huge, cigar-shaped light speed towards them at a tremendous velocity before making an improbably abrupt revolve and also vanishing right into a clear sky. A pilot in a 2nd airplane, and a couple of witnesses on the ground, offered compatible accounts. It was the initially time that a U.F.O. had actually been oboffered at close range: the 2 pilots described seeing a row of home windows as it streaked previous. Project Sign investigators filed a top-trick “Estimate of the Situation” memorandum, which leaned in favor of the extraterrestrial hypothesis. But, adversaries suggested, if they were below, wouldn’t they have actually educated us?

In July, 1952, such a formal notification appeared to virtually take place, when an armada of U.F.O.s reportedly violated restricted airarea over the White House. The Times headline resembled somepoint out of a Philip K. Prick novel: “Flying Objects Near Washington Spotted by Both Pilots and Radar: Air Force Reveals Reports of Something, Perhaps ‘Saucers,’ Traveling Slowly But Jumping Up and Down.” The Air Force, playing dvery own the event, told the newspaper that no defensive procedures had been taken, although it subsequently arised that the armed forces had scrambled jets to intercept the trespassers. Major General John Samford, the Air Force’s director of knowledge, hosted the largest press conference considering that the finish of the 2nd World War. Samford, who had the grave mien of a lawman in a John Ford movie, squinted as he referred to “a details percentage of this volume of reports that have been made by credible observers of fairly tremendous things.”


The complying with January, the C.I.A. privately convened an advisory team of experts, led by Howard P. Robertson, a mathematical physicist from Caltech. The “Robertboy panel” identified not that we were being checked out by U.F.O.s however that we were being inundated through also many kind of U.F.O. reports. This was a real problem: if notices of real attacks over UNITED STATE territory might be shed in a maelstrom of kooky hallucicountry, tright here might be grave after-effects for nationwide security—for circumstances, Soviet spy planes could operate with impunity. The Cold War made it vital that the UNITED STATE government be viewed to have complete manage over its airarea.


To stem the flood of reports, the panel recommended that “the nationwide defense agencies take instant steps to sexpedition the Undetermined Flying Objects of the special standing they have actually been provided and the aura of mystery they have actually unfortunately obtained.” It also suggested that civilian U.F.O. groups be infiltrated and also monitored, and enlisted the media in the debunking effort. The campaign culminated in a 1966 TV distinct, “UFO: Friend, Foe or Fantasy?,” in which the CBS anchorguy Wchange Cronkite patiently consigned U.F.O.s to the oblivion of the 3rd category.

Not all members of the military were content with this stance. Vice Admiral Roscoe Hillenkoetter, the initially director of the C.I.A., told a Times reporter, “Behind the scenes, high-ranking Air Force policemans are soberly concerned about the UFOs. But with main secrecy and also ridicule, many type of citizens are led to think the unknown flying objects are nonsense.”

The federal government maintained one public repository for U.F.O. reports: Project Blue Book, a extension of Project Sign, which operated out of Wright-Patterchild Air Force Base, close to Dayton, Ohio. Blue Publication was a meagcount funded division run by a series of low-ranking police officers that would certainly have actually desired any type of other billet. The program’s only consistent visibility, and also its only in-home scientist, was an Ohio State astronomer named J. Allen Hynek, a U.F.O. skeptic and also a previous member of the Robertchild panel. At first, Hynek assumed a “commonsense” approach; as he later composed, “I felt the lack of ‘hard’ proof justified the handy ‘it simply can’t be’ attitude.” Ninety-5 per cent of intended U.F.O.s really did have a garden-selection derivation: uncommon clouds, weather balloons, atmospheric temperature inversions. Luminous orbs were attributable to Venus; silent triangles might be connected to classified military innovation. (The U-2 spy airplane and the SR-71 Blackbird were frequently reported as U.F.O.s, a confusion taken on by the counterknowledge neighborhood, which was eager to keep these projects key.) But the continuing to be five per cent, despite the government’s ideal initiatives, might not be nicely resolved. Hynek, to his surpclimb, arisen sympathy for the world that witnessed U.F.O.s; they were much even more likely to be respectable, embarrassed citizens than cranks, hoaxsters, and “U.F.O. buffs.”

Still, he was intended to carry out his project. Beginning on March 14, 1966, more than a hundred witnesses in and about Dexter, Michigan, reported seeing glowing lights and huge footround forms at low altitudes. Hynek arrived to find a neighborhood in a state of “near hysteria.” At a press conference on March 2fifth, under press to avert panic, Hynek attributed some of the sights to the moon and also the stars and others to the spontaneous combustion of decomposing vegetation, or “swamp gas.” The people of Michigan took this as an affront. (“Swamp gas” came to be a widespread ufological metonym for the government’s patronizing obfuscation.) Gerald Ford, a aboriginal of Grand also Rapids and at the moment the Housage Minority Leader, dubbed for congressional hearings, “in the firm idea that the Amerideserve to public deserves a better explanation than thus much given by the Air Force.” In testimony before the Housage Armed Services Committee, Hynek recommended that an independent body be put up to evaluate the merits of Project Blue Publication and ultimately resolve the question of U.F.O. legitimacy. In seventeenager years, Blue Book had reviewed about twelve thousand cases; seven hundred and also among them continued to be undefined.

In late 1966, Edward U. Condon, a physicist at the University of Colorado, was provided 3 hundred thousand dollars to conduct such a study. The task was plagued by infighting, especially after the exploration of a memo composed by a coördinator noting that a truly disinterested strategy would certainly have to enable for the reality that U.F.O.s might exist. That was out of the question—their habits was not commensurable via our expertise of global regulations. The connected scientists, the coördinator proposed, need to stress and anxiety to their colleagues that they were mainly interested in the emotional and social situations of U.F.O. believers. In other words, sightings must be taken as metaphors—for Cold War anxiety or ambivalence around technology.

The thousand-page “Scientific Study of Unfigured out Flying Objects,” or the Condon Report, as it came to be known, was completed in the late fall of 1968. Of the ninety-one Blue Book situations selected for examination, thirty of them continued to be main mysteries. In a “puzzling and unusual” event in 1956, a preternaturally fast object was recorded on multiple radars near a UNITED STATE Air Force base in England also. One of Condon’s researchers composed that “the apparently rational, intelligent behavior of the UFO argues a mechanical gadget of unknown beginning as the the majority of probable explanation of this sighting.” As Tim McMillan, a reworn down police lieutenant who writes around U.F.O.s and also national defense, put it to me, “You didn’t also need the various other salso hundred cases. You just necessary one favor that to say, ‘Hey, we must look into this.’ ”

Condon, that announced lengthy prior to the examine was finish that U.F.O.s were unmitigated bunk, composed the report’s summary and also its “Conclusions and Recommendations” area. He appeared to have actually just a glancing familiarity via the various other nine hundred pperiods of the report. As he put it, “Careful consideration of the record as it is accessible to us leads us to conclude that additionally comprehensive researches of UFOs probably cannot be justified in the expectation that scientific research will be advanced thereby.” Schoolkids, he advised, need to not be offered crmodify for occupational including U.F.O.s. Scientists should take their talents and also their money in other places. Project Blue Publication was shut down in January, 1970.

See more: Industrial Organization Contemporary Theory And Empirical Application

In 1972, Hynek published “The UFO Experience: A Scientific Enquiry,” a scapoint postmortem on Blue Book and also the Condon Report, and a blueprint for systematic study. Blue Book’s remit had not been to attempt to explain U.F.O.s, he wrote; rather, it had been to define them ameans. The Condon Report, which focussed on disproving any kind of conjecture around alien spaceships, was also worse. What was instead required was an agnostic method, one biased in favor neither of extraterrestrial craft nor of the weather or Venus. U.F.O.s were undetermined by interpretation. But, as Kean writes in her book, the Condon Report licensed scientists and officials to look the other way; meanwhile, “the media might gain the ride while making fun of UFOs or relegating them to science fiction.” The Robertkid panel had finally thrived in its mission: “The ‘gold age’ of main investigations, congressional hearings, push conferences, independent scientific research, effective citizen groups, best-selling books, and magazine cover stories had actually pertained to an end.” Hynek founded an independent organization to proceed his research study, but he died, at age seventy-five, in 1986, without having actually transformed the course of public opinion.