et all, Re: Tremonton.
This case is not the first case that I'd choose to go to war with [against the skeptics], but I believe that it is a "good" case to keep a favorable mind-set about. My reasons for this are several:
1). Dewey Fournet sent the film to Wright-Pat for analysis with a cover letter dated September 8, 1952. [three days after his office received the film]. Dewey remarks that they should also be getting another copy from Hill AFB [UT], but he wants to make sure they get right on this. His questions to WR-PAT are very intelligent and professional, and the first two things that he wants them to look into are a} are these light sources or reflections ?, and b} what kind of objects could they be, for example birds? This shows that Dewey is NOT prejudicing the outcome with preconceptions but is merely requesting testing of the most reasonable hypotheses either to support or eliminate them. Aircraft and Balloons immediately follow birds on the list that Dewey suggests they look at. There follow approximately 20 more specific points that he wants them to judge. This seems to be a very thorough and business-like document.
2). In a memorandum [USAF] dated February 11, 1953, concerning the release of the Tremonton film, it is stated that concern existed about releasing the film without the analyses. This is because of what the analyses said. " The Air Force lab analysis concludes that: a} they are reasonably sure that the brightness of the images on the film exceeds that of any bird. b} The objects are not spherical balloons. c} The objects could not be aircraft." Note that this is the Air Force analysis saying this, so previous comment on people doubting the "goodness" of this film as, say, Robertson Panel evidence should be at least modified. More quoting: "The Navy report says the objects are: a} Self-luminous or light sources. b} Could not be aircraft or balloons. c} No bird is known is [sic--replace with "to"] reflect enough light to cause the images shown on the film." And an explanation of this statement follows in the memo. One may disagree with these conclusions, but one needs to recognize that the history of the time points to both Air Force and Navy labs being in sympathy with the film showing anomalous objects. This being said, one feels that it is appropriate to disagree with these allegedly competent professionals, who unlike ourselves actually worked on the primary copy at the time, with some humility.
3). We do have the 20 page Navy report and it seems to be a detailed and serious undertaking, concluding with a very elaborate attempt to isolate separate motions of clusters of objects which apparently serves to support the NAV-PIC analysts in their opinion that the motions themselves are non-bird-like---but it will take a smarter person than I to unravel that part of the document.
4). During the Colorado Project, Robert Low and Mary Lou Armstrong interviewed a former NAV-PIC staff member who was there when the analyses were done. James Chapman told them that he helped in the analysis and that these were his memories: a} "there were ten objects; their movement was in groups of three, with one object moving alone, but not independently. b} The object's movements were synchronized (contrary to the observed flying patterns of seagulls). c} The weather in western Utah was very clear with a bright blue sky as background for the photographing of the objects. d} The light was reflected off the bottom of non-spherical objects. e} The objects were brownish in color. There were synchronized changes in color [document's underlining]. The objects would change from very bright to very dim. Colorado remarked that Chapman believed that the objects were not birds.
5). another person from the period who had kibitzer style involvement was Art Lundahl. Lundahl [at NAV-PIC at the time and essentially the big cheese] had very definite opinions about the film. Lundahl said [to Jim McDonald] that he knew Newhouse personally and had confidence in him. " The internal erratic motions of the luminous objects could not possibly be explained as due to panning motions, too erratic. Also, were too fast and unusual to reasonably be accounted for in terms of sea gulls". Lundahl was also interviewed later by National Enquirer [and so some will want to throw this next part of this out] and made even stronger statements about the quality of the Navy work and that the objects were true UFOs.
6). When Dewey Fournet heard that the Air Force was announcing [in the late 1950s I believe] that many of the old classics were being revisited and found to be bunk--and that this included Tremonton--he erupted. " The Air Force document was apparently written by someone only very superficially acquainted with the Tremonton movie case--someone who obviously didn't bother to study the case history in any detail, or by someone who is purposely distorting the facts of the case." Referring to the two analyses as he read he said:" In neither case was there anything even remotely hinting that birds of any type had been identified in any frame of the movie". Again one may choose to disagree with these people from the time but we should at least admit that they were essentially unanimous in believing that the film represented genuine UFOs.
Each of the above 6 points come directly off of what historians respect as primary documents [AF files; McDonald files; NICAP files]. They should be respected in the creation of hypotheses about things like Tremonton, who believed what, how the case played in important historical issues of the time, etc. One can decide that these people were wrong, but one can not meddle with what they actually are on record as having believed. And, when one decides that they were wrong, one does so with the opinion that ones half-century temporal separation from the events and [usually] total separation from the primary research materials , are somehow overcome by the power and goodness of whatever they've come up with that is new. This procedure is honorable but risky, and, I believe, needs a lot of humility.