>> Mr. Howard is the former Western States Associate Director of the venerable Ground Saucer Watch (GSW).
Forty years! Forty years since the Kenneth Arnold sighting near
Mt. Rainier in Washington state. Forty years since the popular press
coined the term "flying saucer."
An incredible span of time for so little accomplishment in dis-
covering the secrets of the enigmatic UFO. An incredible span of time
for such little scientific headway in explaining the UFO phenomena.
Or has there been little progress?
During this period the Air Force concluded Project Twinkle with
the assertion that the UFO phenomena was not of earthly origin. Some
time later the Air Force repudiated that conclusion and instituted
Project Blue Book to explain away the phenomena.
In the same period the Robertson panel, in essence, concluded
that the American people were not psychologically capable of accepting
the truth of the existence of extraterrestrials. That such informa-
tion could cause mass hysteria and economic collapse.
We've had Adamski and Van Tassel. We've also had hoaxers,
grifters, and scam workers galore, those that sought notoriety,
glamor, fame and money through exploitation of the UFO phenomena.
We, as a nation, have in the same time created a space program
and landed men on the moon. We have created an international telecom-
munications network with man made orbiting satellites. We have creat-
ed electricity through the use of controlled nuclear fission. We have
launched ships and submarines propelled, and spacecraft powered by
that selfsame energy.
For a short time shadowy "men in black" seemed to haunt those
that reported a UFO. And the scientists of our nation took flight
with a great monotonous cry denouncing reported UFO sightings as
misapprehension, reflections from birds, sunlight glinting from high
flying aircraft, swamp gas, hoax, any and everything but an honest
evaluation of the phenomena.
In light of our national accomplishments and great strides in
technology, and despite incredible, even superhuman, efforts by the
debunkers, the UFO phenomena persists. There is a core of inex-
plicable sightings reported by reputable citizens. Inexplicable, in
the sense that they are too well documented by people with nothing to
gain from their reports except, invariably, a big hassle and a desire
for the truth. Inexplicable in the sense that these few reports are
not explained by any known phenomena.
The FOIA has given the serious researchers and investigators a
tool with which, hopefully, to free the UFO phenomena from the
clutches of governmental secrecy. We, additionally, need to continue
the pursuit of "good" sightings. We need to analyze and correlate the
data that we have. We need to establish a working hypothesis or
hypotheses that can and will account for all the cases of reported UFO
What is my axe?, you might ask. I remember my interest as I read
the newspaper account of the Arnold sighting, and my immature specula-
tion regarding the account. Man and boy, for forty years, I have fol-
lowed the continuing UFO reports. I have been air crew and pilot,
back yard astronomer and photographer, professionally involved in
electronics and computers, yet the interest remains. I have been in-
volved with organizations whose goal was the scientific investigation
of the UFO phenomena and I participated in a number of field investi-
gations of purported UFO sightings with no slackening of interest.
Truly it has waxed and waned, with the seasons of my life, occupying
differing degrees of priority as those seasons have passed; yet, the
interest still remains.
What is the explanation of this enigmatic UFO phenomena? For the
unknowns there is, as yet, no satisfactory scientific explanation.
Do I believe in a phenomena, global in nature, respecter of no
person or intellect, seemingly oblivious to national boundaries, cares
nothing for season or belief, and repeats in tantalizing ways? Sure!
I believe that something, as yet unexplained, is happening in the
skies over the planet earth, or in the minds of earth people every-
where, and I would like to live long enough to see this mystery