Subject: The Ruppelt Record, The Montana Films



A single frame from the Montana Film

On Friday morning we presented the feature attractions of the session, the Tremonton Movie and the Montana Movie. These two bits of evidence represented the best photos of UFO's that Project Blue Book had to offer. The scientists knew about them, especially the Tremonton Movie, because since late July they had been the subject of many closed door conferences. Generals, admirals, and GS-16's had seen them at "command performances", and they had been flown to Kelly AFB in Texas to be shown to a conference of intelligence officers from all over the world. Two of the country's best military photo laboratories, the Air Force lab at Wright Field and the Navy's lab at Anacostia, Maryland, had spent many hours trying to prove that the UFO's were balloons, airplanes, or stray light reflections, but they failed - the UFO's were true unknowns. The possibility that the movie had been faked was considered but quickly rejected because only a Hollywood studio with elaborate equipment could do such a job and the people who filmed the movies didn't have this kind of equipment.

The Montana Movie had been taken on August 15, 1950, by Nick Mariana, the manager of the Great Falls baseball team. It showed two large bright lights flying across the blue sky in an echelon formation. There were no clouds in the movie to give an indication of the UFO's speed, but at one time they passed behind a water tower. The lights didn't show any detail; they appeared to be large circular objects.

Mariana had sent his movies to the Air Force back in 1950, but in 1950 there was no interest in the UFO so, after a quick viewing, Project Grudge had written them off as "the reflections from two F-94 jet fighters that were in the area."

In 1952, at the request of the Pentagon, I reopened the investigation of the Montana Movie. Working through an intelligence officer at the Great Falls AFB, I had Mariana reinterrogated and obtained a copy of his movie, which I sent to the photo lab.

When the photo lab got the movie, they had a little something to work with because the two UFO's had passed behind a reference point, the water tower. Their calculations quickly confirmed that the objects were not birds, balloons, or meteors. Balloons drift with the wind and the wind was not blowing in the direction that the two UFO's were traveling. No exact speeds could be measured, but the lab could determine that the lights were traveling too fast to be birds and too slow to be meteors.

This left airplanes as the only answer. The intelligence officer at Great Falls had dug through huge stacks of files and found that only two airplanes, two F-94's, were near the city during the sighting and that they had landed about two minutes afterwards. Both Mariana and his secretary, who had also seen the UFO's, had said that the two jets had appeared in another part of the sky only a minute or two after the two UFO's had disappeared in the southeast. This in itself would eliminate the jets as candidates for the UFO's, but we wanted to double check. The two circular lights didn't look like F-94's, but anyone who has done any flying can tell you that an airplane so far away that it can't be seen can suddenly catch the sun's rays and make a brilliant flash.

First we studied the flight paths of the two F-94's. We knew the landing pattern that was being used on the day of the sighting, and we knew when the two F-94's landed. The two jets just weren't anywhere close to where the two UFO's had been. Next we studied each individual light and both appeared to be too steady to be reflections.

We drew a blank on the Montana Movie - it was an unknown.

Edward J. Ruppelt

Source: The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects, Page 219