After a period of low activity, the mystery of unidentified flying objects
is back in the news. Along with a large number of curious readers it is now
attracting a new generation of serious students. Many of them are young
people who have taken an interest in the most recent American books, films
and stories about the phenomenon, without much knowledge or appreciation
for its earlier phases. As they start digging into the past and as they
gather documentation to feed their curiosity they will find that UFOs have
been around for a very long time and that they have been seen not only in America but
all over the world.
Good knowledge of these earlier patterns is essential to place current
events in the proper perspective.
The period covered in this book, namely the first half of the Decade of the
Fifties, should be of special interest to such readers. Dr. Haines has
taken the intriguing and unusual vantage point of the Korean War, a
conflict that placed thousands of Americans in a faraway land. Will we find
that their experiences with flying disks of unknown origin matched those of
the folks back home? With the enormous detection and tracking power at
their disposal, what did the U. S. Armed Forces learn about the elusive
objects? The answers are clearly important for our understanding of the
Dr. Richard Haines was the right person to document this period and to ask
such questions. An expert in the psychology of perception and a skilled
investigator of UFO events, he is as comfortable testing the reactions of
pilots to visual stimuli in the laboratories of NASA as he is interviewing
witnesses of unusual aerial sightings on a windswept mountaintop. He is one
of the few true scientists in this difficult field. He brings to this study
an impeccable methodology and he is always careful to separate observation
and measurement from illusion and speculation.
A French physicist named Laplace once
observed (in his 1812 book Analytic Theory of Probability):
We are so far from knowing all the agents of
nature that it would be unphilosophical to deny the existence of phenomena
simply because they are unexplained in the current state of our knowledge.
However, we must examine them with a degree of scrutiny which is all the
more intense that it seems more difficult to admit them.
It is to such "intense scrutiny" that Dr. Haines has subjected
the UFO reports made during the Korean War.
Many of the cases he cites are fascinating, but the reader will want to
study with special care the sighting near Chorwon in the Spring of 1951
mentioned in Chapter Two, an event in which an entire artillery unit fired
at a hovering disk displaying remarkable properties. In my opinion it is
one of the most significant reports in the entire literature because of the
rich combination of physical and physiological facts it provides.
Many other periods in the tumultuous history of UFO reports should be
analyzed in the manner used here by Dr. Haines. Now that he has shown us
how to conduct such an analysis, it is my hope that others will undertake
this interesting and rewarding task.