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FOREWORD

 

 

            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 overall phenomenon.

 

            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.

 


 

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            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.

 

 

Jacques Vallee

San Francisco