70 YEARS AFTER THE ARNOLD CASE - The UFO theme in perspective

70 YEARS AFTER THE ARNOLD CASE - The UFO theme in perspective

The context

In order to fully understand the scope of a given event, it is necessary and inescapably to establish its context.

Without it, the event is suspended in the air, arising out of nothing, and can’t be properly considered.

The observation of civilian pilot and businessman Kenneth Arnold, on June 24, 1947, in the foothills of Mount Rainier, Washington State, USA, when he sees 9 objects moving in a diagonal column, making waving movements, and who has no doubt that these are presumably military devices to which it awards a speed of 2,735 kilometers per hour, is the case that began with the UFO theme.

This is the first event historically recorded in the United States, where it is  realized that there is a different type of aerial device, and it is the one that is going to promote the creation of the "Project Sign" by the USAF, the Air Force of that nation.

But the Arnold case must necessarily be framed within the historical context of its time to understand it.

World War II had ended with the surrender of Japan, on September 2, 1945. Previously, on May 7 of that same year, Germany had surrendered.

22 months after the end of the war, the Arnold case takes place, when the so-called Cold War is already declared. Because of that, there can’t be sidestep the extensive telegram of US Ambassador George Kennan issued on February 9, 1946; Winston Churchill's speech at Fulton, delivered on March 5, 1946; and President Harry S. Truman's address to the Congress on March 12,1947.

In the meantime, and prior to a declared opposition from the West to the USSR, from 1945 onward Operation Paperclip will be carried out, whereby more than 1,600 first-line German scientists and technicians and their families will be taken to the United States. They will be offered  accommodation, and work in different official agencies and private companies.

However, none of these scientists belonged to an ultra-secret group, that working on their own budget in underground facilities, under the orders of the civil engineer and SS General Hans Kammler, --whose final destination remains uncertain until now-- was able to develop a Physics other than that known until then, and to achieve technological advances in aeronautics, nothing related to Peenemünde.

Arnold, an experienced pilot-aviator, declares his observation to the media, and states: “I am convinced in my own mind that they were some type of airplane, even though they didn't conform with the many aspects of the conventional type of planes that I know.”

But more importantly, he added: "Even though I openly invited an investigation by the Army and the FBI as to the authenticity of my story or a mental or a physical examination as to my capabilities, I have received no interest from these two important protective forces of our country; I will go so far as to assume that any report I gave to the United and Associated Press and over the radio on two different occasions which apparently set the nation buzzing, if our Military intelligence was not aware of what I observed, they would be the very first people that I could expect as visitors.”

It is worth bearing in mind this final part of Arnold's statement, as it will be confirmed by another event that I will point out later.

Arnold was just officially interrogated on July 17, 1947.

Taking steps obviously determined by the Cold War, President Truman, on the same day, on September 18, 1947, decided the creation of the US Air Force. (USAF), and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Just 3 months after the Arnold case, and only 5 days after the USAF was created, the Joint Chief of Staff of the Army, General Nathan F. Twining, sent a letter to the Commander General of the USAF, Brigadier General George Schulgen at his request.

Said document indicated first the general characteristics of the objects sighted:
(1)  Metallic or light reflecting surface.
(2)   Absence of trail, except in a few instances where the object apparently was operating under high performance conditions.
(3)  Circular or elliptical in shape, flat on bottom and domed on top.
(4) Several reports of well kept formation flights varying from three to nine objects.
(5) Normally no associated sound, except in three instances a substantial rumbling roar was noted.
(6) Level flight speeds normally above 300 knots are estimated.

And attention to the following, which I consider extremely important:

It is possible within the present U.S. knowledge -- provided extensive detailed development is undertaken -- to construct a piloted aircraft which has the general description of the object in sub- paragraph (e) above which would be capable of an approximate range of 7000 miles at subsonic speeds.

The same Tte.Gral. Twining expands below:

"Due consideration should be given to the following:

--The possibility that these objects are of domestic origin - the product of some high security project not known to AC/AS-2 or this Command.

 -- The possibility that some foreign nation has a form of propulsion possibly nuclear, which is outside of our domestic knowledge.

It was just on the basis of this letter that Brig. Gral. Schulgen wrote on September 28, 1947, a Memorandum of which I would like to emphasize paragraph 4 and the beginning of paragraph 5.

"4. This strange object, or phenomenon, may be considered, in view of certain observations, as long-range aircraft capable of a high rate of climb, high cruising speed (possibly sub-sonic at all times) and highly maneuverable and capable of being flown in very tight formation. For the purpose of analysis and evaluation of the so-called "flying saucer" phenomenon, the object sighted is being assumed to be a manned aircraft, of Russian origin, and based on the perspective thinking and actual accomplishments of the Germans.

"5. There is also a possibility that the Horten brothers' perspective thinking may have inspired this type of aircraft - particularly the "Parabola", which has a crescent plan form.

Schulgen continues his memorandum with precise instructions regarding investigations and interrogations to be carried out, with a strong emphasis on the German aeronautical development of the Germans (especially the Horten brothers) and how much the Russian may be taking advantage of.

Thus, under the title Research and Development, Brigadier General Schulgen states:

"What German scientists had a better-than-average knowledge of the Horten brothers' work and perspective thinking; where are these scientists now located, and what is their present activity? Should be contacted and in- terrogated.”

It is almost unnecessary to point out that during all this time the talk has been about airplanes of advanced-technology, generated by German scientists and technicians, on the fear that it might have been exploited by the Soviet Union.

On December 13, 1948, (after a year and a half of the Arnold case and numerous other cases) Dr. James E. Lipp, an analyst in the Missile Division of the Rand Corporation, sends an extensive letter to Brigadier General Donald Putt, Director of Research and Development of the US Air Force, in which he first makes a special disquisition relative to the possibilities of being visited by aliens, which confines them to come from Mars, and the characteristics that should be the beings and their devices.

But, finally, Dr. Lipp expresses the following:

 "The distribution of flying objects is peculiar, to say the least. As far as this writer knows, all incidents have occurred in the United States ... ..The small covered area strongly indicates that flying objects are of terrestrial origin, whether physical or psychological. "

At the moment, it was still thought of airplanes or flying objects of terrestrial origin.

Reigning Thought: Secret Weapons

In some USAF circles, since the "flying saucers" were not their own or Soviet, they came to think of the possibility that they were coming from the Space.

The prospect and very certain possibility that they were the product of German ingenuity is simply relegated, without entering to analyze that finished the 2nd. World War, however, there could be a group with the ability to operate in and from other countries that would no longer be Germany.

That is precisely the group that the historian Joseph Farrell calls the "breakaway civilization", a split civilization. A group that will develop a psychological war (the idea of ​​the extraterrestrial) backed up by the use of advanced technology that is presented in what people call "flying saucers."

At this point I find it particularly important to share a view expressed by Captain Edward J. Ruppelt, who was the foremost Blue Book Project leader.

Ruppelt said: "When the 2nd World War ended, the Germans had several radical types of planes and guided missiles in development. Most were in the most preliminary stages, but they were the only known devices that could even approach the performance from objects denounced by UFO observers."

To cover this activity and the development of prototypes and aircraft that will spy on the USSR, the USAF intelligence will disseminate the idea of ​​extraterrestrial visitors.

But, since the Arnold case and until 1950, no one in the U.S. thinks even of attributing to the "flying saucers" an extraterrestrial origin.

Robert E. Bartholomew
, a sociology researcher at James Cook University in North Queensland, Australia, and George S. Howard, a professor of psychology at the University of Notre Dame in the United States, wrote a relevant book which, - however - very few ufologists (if any) take into account.

The book is entitled "UFOs & Alien Contact - Two centuries of Mystery", Prometheus Books, New York, 1998, 408 pages. The title is certainly misleading, but the position of its writers is scientific.

And what these authors make known is very clear about when the myth begins and how it is gestated.

On page 191, the authors say:

"On August 15, 1947, a Gallup poll revealed that 90 of the Americans surveyed were aware of the flying saucer sightings and that most believed that US or foreign secret weapons, hoaxes, and balloons were responsible.”  "Nothing was said about 'alien visitors', not even a measurable 1 percent toyed with the concept." The underscore is mine.

And on pages 192 to 193 they say:

"The common notion that flying saucers represented a US or foreign secret weapon continued to dominate popular opinion through May 1950, when a Public Opinion Quarterly poll appeared. Of the 94 percent of Americans surveyed who had heard of "flying saucers", most (23 percent) believed them to be secret military devices. Only 5 percent placed them in the category of ‘comets, shooting stars, something from another planet.’ Later in 1950 the secret weapon explanation dramatically shifted to an extraterrestrial explanation, and has remained so ever since.”

Gestation of the extraterrestrial myth

The same authors are responsible for explaining how public opinion was changed. It can be read on page 193 of the referred book.

"The primary reason for this attitude change was the publication of several popular books and magazine articles advocating the extraterrestrial hypothesis. The bestselling book "The Flying Saucers Are Real" of 1950, by retired Marine Major Donald Keyhoe, is one example. Frank Scully's "Behind the Flying Saucers" (1950) claimed that extraterrestrials from a crashed saucer were being held in a secret U.S. military installation. The book sold sixty thousand copies and was later revealed has a hoax. In "The Riddle of Flying Saucers: Is Another World Watching?" science writer Gerald Heard, claimed that extraterrestrial "bees" were responsible for the sighting reports. As a result of these books and continued  press accounts of sightings, numerous popular articles soon appeared in such magazines  as Life, Look, Time, Newsweek and Popular Science, typically emphasizing  the extraterrestrial hypothesis. From the standpoint of popular literature,  it is interesting that between 1947 and January 9, 1950, The Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature lists eight magazine articles on flying saucers. However, reflecting the period’s popular belief, these articles were listed under the headings of "Illusions and Hallucinations," "Aeronautics," "Aeroplanes", and “Balloons-Use in Research". Beginning in 1952 and continuing to the present, extraterrestrial theory was solidified as the dominant motif in UFO movie and television portrayals. "

But this intense barrage of books, articles in newspapers and magazines beginning in 1950, has a common point of origin: the Pentagon, and more precisely, the Intelligence of the USAF, as witnessed by Donald Keyhoe himself in his book "Flying Saucers From Outer Space "(1953), translated into Spanish as" Platos Voladores de Otros Mundos ", printed in Mexico by Populibros La Prensa.

On pages 289 and 290 of the Spanish version, Keyhoe recounts how a piece of material was delivered by Al Chop, then in charge of the USAF Press Office. And he was told: "The Air Force wants this document to be advertised," provided the source is not disclosed. The document consisted of a series of cases, and was entitled "Planet Earth host of the Extraterrestrial Life".

Keyhoe will follow the footsteps and directions of an eminent journalist, Ken Purdy, then Director of True magazine and several others. It will be Purdy who will encourage Keyhoe and give him clues to continue publishing "UFO" cases. 

But the historical researcher Jan Aldrich, at the head of Project 1947, specifically reveals who was the source from which Purdy watered. To do this, just see the Document published at http://www.project1947.com/fig/49docdex.htm

The facts are as follows:

On April 29, 1949, journalist Sydney Shalett published the first part of an article about flying saucers in "The Saturday Evening Post."

USAF Major General Charles P. Cabell was dissatisfied with what Shalett reported, and as Aldrich testifies:
“Cabell's sense of fair play may have helped Keyhoe and Purdy obtain the information which convinced them that UFO's were extraterrestrial.  The desired effect of Shalett's article was soon overtaken by Keyhoe’s articles and his subsequent best-selling book, The Flying Saucers Are Real

The E.T. idea as a cover for military activities

In my book "UFOs: The Secret Agenda" (December 2005, Fundación Anomalía, Spain, 398 pages, March 2007, Tradinco, Uruguay, 408 pages) I give detailed and documented account of how the military used the idea E.T. to conceal the experimental and operational flights of aerial devices used for espionage purposes.

Suffice it to cite Dr. Gerald K. Haines, who in his article entitled “CIA's Role in the Study of UFOs, 1947-90 – A Die-Hard Issue" (reproduced in its entirety and with commentaries, in an exclusive translation into Spanish in my book) says:

"By checking with the Agency's U-2 Project Staff in Washington, BLUE BOOK investigators were able to attribute many UFO sightings to U-2 flights. They were careful, however, not to reveal the true cause of the sighting to the public.” (Emphasis mine).

"According to later estimates from CIA officials who worked on the U-2 project and the OXCART (SR-71, or Blackbird) project, over half of all UFO reports from the late 1950s through the 1960s were accounted for by manned reconnaissance flights (namely the U-2) over the United States.”- [emphasis mine].

And even more: “This led the Air Force to make misleading and deceptive statements to the public in order to allay public fears and to protect an extraordinarily sensitive national security project.”

Subsequently, and in recent years, the CIA has reiterated such a criterion publicly, and this has been reported in the international press. By way of example, the supplement of Science of the ABC of Madrid of June 20, 2015, published an article under the title: "The CIA admits that the increase of UFO sightings was his fault".

Scientists and military plus instruments

A UFO report acquires importance if multiple witnesses participate, if they are qualified, and if simultaneously the phenomenon observed was recorded by instruments.

Professor Charles B. Moore has been singled out as the primary responsible for the then ultra-secret Mogul Project, which has been used by some to attempt to explain the Roswell case.

Well, this outstanding scientist, meteorologist, witnessed two observations classified as "unknown" by the Blue Book.

The first occurred on April 24, 1949 in Arrey, New Mexico. The Blue Book notes that "witnesses were: the meteorologist and balloon expert C.B. Moore and others from a team of balloon launches." And what they saw was a white object, round ellipsoid shape, whose length was two and a half times its width.

And on October 11, 1951, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the annotation of the Blue Book is as follows:

"6:30 a.m. Witnesses: General Mills balloon researchers, including aeronautical engineer J.J. Kaliszewski, airbrush C.B. Moore, pilot Dick Reilly in the air, and Dough Smith on the ground. The flight crew saw the first object, which glowed with a dark part below and a halo around it. The object came high and fast, then slowed down and circled upwards for about two minutes, and finally went speeding eastwards. Soon they saw another one, confirmed by observers on earth who used a theodolite, that passed swift by the sky. The total time the first object was sighted was 5 minutes, the second was a few seconds. "

A case that until today remains unknown, is the one happened on July 17, 1957, which involved the most sophisticated aircraft of the time for electronic intelligence tasks, the Boeing Stratojet RB-47, equipped with three ELINT stations on board, whose mission was to conduct electronic countermeasure exercises.

The crew was composed of six officers specializing in electronic warfare. Visual observations, captures by ELINT teams and radars on land, reported the presence of an object that followed and maneuvered around the plane during a journey of almost two hours, across the states of Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.

Dr. Joseph Allen Hynek, an astrophysicist who investigated UFO reports working for the US Air Force, and considered then the maximum authority in the matter, carried out in 1952 a small survey among 45 astronomers to know how many had seen a UFO. Among them, 5 (11%) admitted to having observed one of these objects.

The UFO Center for the Study of UFOs (CUFOS), founded by Hynek, conducted a more comprehensive survey in 1980, which included 1,800 members of various amateur astronomy associations. Twenty-four percent said they "observed an object that resisted the greatest efforts to identify it."

When the cases of the first years reviewed, it is noticeable that an effort is clearly made by the intelligence that is behind the unidentified objects, to appear, to make itself known, to be taken into account.

A key conference

On July 29, 1952, it took place the most important press conference ever held at the Pentagon.

In front of a room full of journalists, Major General John A. Samford, Director of Intelligence of the United States Air Force, gave a brief speech that has left a memorable phrase: "Credible people have seen incredible things."

And when he was finally asked what was his opinion about UFOs, he said:

"I think that the highest probability is that these are phenomena associated with the intellectual and scientific interests that we are on the road to learn more about but that there is nothing in them that is associated with material or vehicles or missiles that are directed against the United States.”

Thus, in a single sentence, General Samford summarized three fundamental concepts:

1) These are phenomena associated with intellectual and scientific interests - hence, human.

2) They were on the way to know more - that implies that they already knew something, enough to affirm that:

3) There is nothing in them that is associated with material or vehicles or missiles that are directed against the United States - which obviously discarded the Soviet Union.

This final concept will be reiterated by different authorities and agencies throughout history.

For example: At the same time that CIA was conducting this latest internal review of UFOs, public pressure forced the Air Force to establish a special ad hoc committee to review BLUE BOOK. Chaired by Dr. Brian O'Brien, a member of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board, the panel included Carl Sagan, the famous astronomer from Cornell University. Its report offered nothing new. It declared that UFOs did not threaten the national security and that it could find "no UFO case which represented technological or scientific advances outside of a terrestrial framework." (From the same study by Gerald K. Haines).

The closure of the Blue Book, as well as the closure of the RAF's official investigation in the United Kingdom, clearly indicate that UFOs do not endanger air navigation, so the issue goes directly to the scientific area and the military considers have been able to duly rule out any implications for the aviation security of their respective countries.

It is impossible that --in a time of so many leaks of official documents and of such technological development as the present one-- some nation would not have officially declared that the UFOs represent the unequivocal presence of an intelligence coming from the Space.

This has not happened. The publication of official archives by several countries, most notably the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Spain, have not provided any evidence of extraterrestrial presence.

Such a fact can’t be hidden for decades, nor is it possible that there were an agreement of silence between totally antagonistic nations. 

On the contrary, there are societies more affected than others by rumor, myth, fantasy, ideas about concealment and conspiracies, and the commercialization of the theme as entertainment. The most complete example is the History Channel and all its endless series of pseudo-documentaries on "ancient astronauts".

Neither the renewed crew of the International Space Station, nor the infinity of artificial satellites, nor entities like the NORAD that scrutinizes the smallest particle that flies around the Earth, have captured nothing coming from Space.

It is also inconceivable that the whole population of the planet would be left without warning and totally defenseless in front of what would be an invasion, according to the nonsense that the most enthusiastic believers in the myth or fabricators around it proclaim.

Recently, a distinguished Chilean colleague said "UFOs have dried up" because there are no more reports of observations, as in those remote times.

And except for cases of photos or videos (for which there is the total capacity to solve them) there is no other type of event related to flying objects of strange characteristics (except the Anomalous Luminous Phenomena, which in itself constitutes a totally separate category).

What seems logical is that a human technology that could be different and cutting edge in the 40s and 50s, has finally become obsolete, as well as - to give an example - the use of space shuttles.

That does not mean that some group - particularly military, or paramilitary, or acting under contract - using current technology, could shield itself using the UFO-extraterrestrial myth, to carry out some clandestine operations. On this last one, one must be always alert!

But, I think that in the effort to totally banish the extraterrestrial myth, it falls into the trap of considering it as the only possible alternative. Then it is concluded erroneously that if there are no aliens, there are no UFOs, which is to fall into the networks of the same myth.

To discard therefore an extraterrestrial origin of the UFOs, does not have necessarily to take to discard these by themselves. It is as if to thoroughly clean an apartment, we decided to demolish the whole building in which it is. Or as others would say: "throw the child with the water to bathe".

Milton W. Hourcade 

June 24, 2017

At the end of 1957, Milton W. Hourcade had the idea to create an institution to investigate and study UFOs. On April 29, 1958, together with other people started the Unidentified Flying Objects Investigation Center (C.I.O.V.I.) which remained active during 50 years. 

The Center was pioneer in Uruguay and one of the older in Latin America accumulating a vast experience in the field investigation, study, analysis and conclusion of original UFO reports. 

In 2008, at the end of a public lecture at the Planetarium of  Montevideo, he proposed the creation of the UAPSG-GEFAI.

 Hourcade dealt with the most prestigious investigators at the international level, and have given countless lectures mainly in scientific institutions and universities in different countries. He is also the author of four books on the UFO subject, the last one in English. One of his books obtained the Zurich International Prize extended by the Fundación Anomalía of Spain.