THE UFO EVIDENCE, published by the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena, Copyright 1964



The human reactions to UFO reports very nearly have prevented a rational investigation of these phenomena. Neither the rabid "believers" nor the dogmatic skeptics favor a scientific review of the UFO problem. Both think they have the answer. To the neo-religious cultists, largely centered in southern California, UFOs are the vessels of saintly beings from space (or another dimension) come to aid us through troubled times. To the skeptics, UFOs are a figment of the imagination dreamed up by unstable individuals unable to face up to the realities of the day. Neither of these positions is tenable on the basis of the evidence acquired to date.

On the basis of the evidence in this report, NICAP has concluded that UFOs are real, and that they appear to be intelligently controlled [Section II]. We believe it is a reasonable hypothesis that UFOs (beyond those explainable as conventional objects or phenomena) are manifestations of extraterrestrial life. The evidence to date is too sketchy to allow any conclusions about what the pilots of UFOs (if any) look like or what their purposes may be in visiting the earth, if UFOs are in fact spaceships. Once UFOs are accepted as a reality, perhaps it will be possible to obtain some of the answers to these fascinating questions.

The problems of UFO investigation, and the inherent dangers, are discussed below, followed by recommendations for solutions to the problems. The basic problem of UFOs is the lack of attention to something which, if true, could be of very great significance indeed to the whole human race. Most skeptics, in the final analysis, base their conclusions on a seemingly inadequate and highly prejudiced investigation [Section IX]. Quite often, skeptics point to the cultists as (allegedly) the source of the whole UFO problem. Only a superficial analysis of the cultist claims is necessary to make one a skeptic, because it is easy to see that they present beliefs and faith rather than evidence. Ergo, there are no UFOs. Thus the cultists (and opportunists, and con-men) obscure the real issues, and mislead critical-minded people into believing that there is no evidence for UFOs.

The basic danger associated with UFOs is a danger to the very fabric of society if UFOs are in fact real unexplained objects maneuvering in our atmosphere. There is a danger of a reverse delusion - fooling ourselves into believing nothing of any significance is being seen. There is a danger of an unprepared public, and the possibility of widespread panic if an external danger or threat to our way of life is suddenly imposed upon us without some prior knowledge of what has been learned about UFOs. Without psychological preparedness, a sudden confrontation with extraterrestrial beings (for example) could have disastrous results.

If there is deliberate secrecy being practiced by authorities (rather than a semi-conscious failure to face up to facts), this would appear to be inexcusable. Secrecy breeds fear and paves the way for panic, by introducing false fears and causing people to substitute imagination for reality. The danger of continuing such a policy was pointed out by NICAP Adviser Morton Gerla, a professional engineer: "This shortsighted policy results in delaying the solution of the UFO mystery, leaving both military and civilian populations unprepared for whatever steps may eventually have to be taken, whether peaceful or hostile. In the event of action being forced upon our government or people by UFO initiative, public confidence in a government following a policy of secrecy prior to being forced into action would be shattered, perhaps with catastrophic results to morale."


Why are UFOs important? Because if they are real (not explainable as a variety of conventional objects), it is generally conceded that they are most likely space ships. Their presence in our skies would naturally be a matter of utmost concern to all nations on earth.

In spite of the fact that UFOs are not "officially" recognized, it is plain that they - and the general idea of some day encountering extraterrestrial beings - have inspired considerable scientific thought and speculation. As a result of our entrance into the Space Age, the idea of UFOs has rapidly become plausible.

The hypothesis that UFOs are space ships has important implications for humanity. Many questions are raised - philosophical, religious and technological. What effect would contact with extraterrestrials have on our society? What relationship would - or should - we have with such beings? What should our behavior toward them be? What effects would their detection have on our technology and industries?

Of all groups which would have an immediate concern about UFOs, pilots obviously are one of the first whose careers and interests would be affected. To obtain the reaction of this group, we asked two NICAP Advisers their opinions on what pilots would most want to know about UFOs if it was suspected that they were space ships.

Mr. L. Dan Sheridan, Jr., former Marine Corps fighter pilot, replied with these questions:

"What is their performance?"

"Are they controlled and who and what controls them?"

"Are they hostile?"

"Are they responsible for the many unexplained crashes and/or loss of aircraft?"

"What is their mission?"

"Are they subject to destruction and/or death?"

"Is there any basis of contact?"

"Why has the fact of their existence been covered up for so long?"

John F. McLeod (Major, USAFR, active in Civil Air Patrol Search & Rescue Squadron, graduate of Harvard University in the field of psychology) replied:

"Because of their special training and experience, pilots in general are better able to report and evaluate aerial phenomena, including possible UFO sightings, than most other groups. A pilot would normally be more exposed to conditions in which such phenomena might occur, he would be more likely to be able to report the details of such phenomena accurately, and he would be more likely to be able to judge the true nature of conditions pertinent to such phenomena.

I believe that, in general, pilots would want to know the following basic data about any report to the effect that UFOs were actually spacecraft:

1. Their type and source of motive power

2. Their origin

3. Their speed and other performance characteristics

4. The nature of their occupants

In short, the average experienced pilot would, I believe, be more interested in the technical facts of such a situation than in any sensational effect it might have. . ." Commenting on pilots as observers of UFOs, Mr. McLeod added, "An experienced pilot's ability to adapt to an unusual situation in the air should enable him to retain an objective attitude after his initial surprise, and his interest should stimulate physical thresholds of awareness regarding the data to be learned from the situation . . -


From the viewpoint of religion, Rev. Albert Baller (German Congregational Church, Clinton, Mass.), a NICAP Board Member, had this to say:


"What our fate will be [if we come into contact with extraterrestrial beings] will depend upon whether there will ever be close enough contact with intelligences from extraterrestrial realms to matter. The very possibility, however, is certainly being envisaged by some scientific experiments now being made. For example, various experiments being carried out at public expense to invent a means of communication between humans and porpoises! The main purpose of these experiments is said to be to prepare ourselves for the time when our interplanetary vehicles shall take us to other worlds and other intelligent beings. Not, of course, that we anticipate that such other beings will confront us speaking the language of porpoises. But to have broken the "porpoise speech code" will give us some insights into breaking other completely foreign speech codes.

"What will such contact mean, if it comes, to our thinking? The question asserts itself especially if you are, as I am, a minister of religion. What will such contact do to our theological conceptions? What will it mean in terms of our beliefs about God, Christ, Salvation, the unique nature of Man? Here, again, one can only guess. But based on the record of man's reaction to other such challenges over the centuries, we may expect this one to be taken in stride too. For this will not have been the first time, by any means, that humankind has had to stretch its thinking and feeling to encompass the wider revelation.


Mr. Robert Purdy, Metallurgical Engineer, through a NICAP member suggested what a few of the effects on technology, industry and science would be if we establish contact with an advanced race of beings:

"In my certain field, metallurgy, of course the first problem most likely to be solved would be a metal so strong, so light, so heat resistant, it could only be dreamed of before this event. The present space programs could be speeded up such that we might be taking our first trip to Mars within several months. Our present corrosion problem which costs this country over 8 billion dollars a year could be reduced to practically nothing. Perhaps another method of obtaining pure metal other than from its ore would be discovered. These suggestions are only a few of the vast number of possibilities such an event would bring into focus."

Dr. Fred C. Fair (professor emeritus of engineering, New York University) a NICAP Adviser, commented on the technology displayed by UFOs, deduced from reported observations:

"Astronomers and chemists agree that the only metallic elements found on stars and planets are the same as the ones that occur on earth. No planet has a supply of a super metal foreign to the earth. Consequently, if the metallic materials used in the construction of the body of the UFO and of the machinery and mechanisms within it are more durable than alloys produced on earth, it would indicate that the art and science of Metallurgy at the source of these UFOs is in advance of the corresponding art and science on earth.

"Without the opportunity of inspecting a UFO, we can infer that the metal parts are superior to any alloy now produced on earth, as shown by the durability and superior performance of the vehicle and the machinery within it. The mechanism of these objects is so nearly perfect that all of them, or at least almost all of them have functioned perfectly while in the area of visibility from the surface of the earth, or while within the earth's gravitational field. Malfunctions of a very few of these objects may account for some of the green fireballs and space explosions that have been reported from time to time.

"UFOs have been clocked by competent observers using adequate equipment at speeds in excess of 17,000 miles per hour. This is beyond the speed that an earth-made controllable and steerable vehicle can attain. Nor is it expected that such speeds may be developed in the foreseeable future. Much has been written concerning the type of organisms that must be within a UFO that can withstand the huge G forces that occur when such objects abruptly change their course through ninety or more degrees while maintaining high velocity. The extreme maneuverability of these huge craft operated at high velocity has been a source of wonder from the time of the earliest observations. Why does a UFO seem to be not subject to the law of inertia? How, without collision, can the forward motion of any object be stopped immediately; and instantaneously assume a new and at times a directly opposite direction? The momentum of any solid body, having mass, would seem to make such a tactic impossible.

"What little we know at present of the Unknown Flying Objects indicates a technology in several fields which has reached a state of development far beyond that attained on earth."


In 1963 a NICAP member posed a hypothetical question to the U. S. Department of Justice: "If a human being killed a space man, in a moment of panic and fear, would this be murder? Or could the person defend his action on the legal ground that he had not committed homicide since the being was not 'human'?"

On July 11, Assistant Attorney General Norbert A. Schlei replied: ". . as a matter of information, it does not seem likely that present criminal laws against homicide would play a primary role in restraining attacks by excited citizens if the situation you describe were to arise. Since criminal laws are usually construed strictly, it is doubtful that laws against homicide would apply to the killing of intelligent, man-like creatures alien to this planet, unless such creatures were members of the human species. Whether killing these creatures would violate other criminal laws - for instance, the laws against cruelty to animals or disorderly conduct - would ordinarily depend on the law of the particular state in which the killing occurred. . until it is clearer what problems of safety, health or commerce such creatures might bring, there is little basis for describing the kinds of laws which might prove appropriate."

Replying to the same question, Professor James P, Whyte, School of Law, College of William and Mary, agreed with Mr. Schlei. Assuming for discussion that UFOs are occupied, he said, the question is whether they are occupied by human beings sufficiently similar to homo sapiens.

"The intelligence of these occupants might or might not be a factor," said Prof. Whyte. "It is just as much homicide to kill an idiot as it is to kill a genius."

Another problem of making contact with, and attempting to communicate with, extraterrestrial beings has been suggested by NICAP Adviser, Dr. Robert L. Hall (social psychologist), and others. That is the possibility of such beings not having a form similar to ours. Our earth-bound analogies (and our egos) tend to make us think in terms of the human form. Some anthropologists and biologists, in fact, have argued that extraterrestrials would very likely have to resemble us in some ways, because of certain physical structures of the human body which led to the development of human intelligence. But, again, this development could have been only one of many possible ways in which intelligent life can develop.

It has been suggested that intelligent life forms might, for example, be of microscopic size - or amorphous blobs. If extraterrestrials who traveled to earth were not humanoid in form, it is conceivable that man could come "face to face" with a space being and not recognize him as an intelligent creature. The question is often asked, "If UFOs are real (i.e., space ships carrying intelligent beings), why haven't they landed?" The answer is that no one knows for sure whether any beings from other planets have landed on earth and, if they did, whether they would be recognizable as such.

Commenting about space travel and extraterrestrial life, Dr. Edward Teller in a lecture at the University of California said, "Where is everybody? It is possible that it's a form of life that we may not recognize as such, and isn't it even more possible that we in our galaxy may just be suburbans living on a God- forsaken outpost?" [1]

In a discussion of the necessary training, and expected behavior, of men who will travel through space, Dr. Harold D. Lasswell (Yale social scientist) states in his concluding remarks:

"All the foregoing rests, of course, on the assumption that earth's inhabitants will be able to execute programs of the kind under discussion, which is no foregone conclusion. The implications of the unidentified flying objects (UFO) may be that we are already viewed with suspicion by more advanced civilizations and that our attempts to gain a foothold elsewhere may be rebuffed as a threat to other systems of public order." [2]


Problems of Scientific Investigation

The atmosphere of ridicule surrounding the subject of UFOs, largely due to the activities of the cultists, has prevented many of the best qualified analysts from lending their talents to a meaningful scientific investigation. Also, a myth has developed in some scientific quarters that there is nothing in UFO evidence that scientists can come to grips with; no quantitative data or concrete evidence. This position is based on quicksand, since no real scientific effort has been made to acquire such data. It is, in fact, not a reasoned position at all, but a presumption. How can these skeptics be so sure until someone tries to obtain better data with instruments? The evidence presented in this report strongly suggests that an organized and instrumented study of UFOs would be very fruitful. If not, then these skeptics would have a solid basis for their currently illogical position.

Some skeptics base their position on the alleged fact that modern tracking instruments have not detected UFOs. On the contrary, UFOs have been tracked with theodolites and filmed at White Sands, N.M. [Section VIII; Photographs], tracked on radar at Cape Kennedy, and by Air Force and civilian radar all over the world. [Section VIII; Radar]. There has been a tendency to rationalize, or suppress, any puzzling data. Interpretation of unexplained objects detected by instruments has been left to guess work.

In the summer of 1963, Richard Hall (NICAP Assistant Director) and Walter N. Webb (NICAP astronomy Adviser) visited a mutual friend in Columbus, Ohio. A. B. Ledwith, engineer and former member of the Smithsonian Institution satellite tracking program, provided some information which illustrates one of the problems of UFO investigation.

While on the satellite project, Ledwith had made a particular point of studying reports of unidentified flying objects which came from the Nunn-Baker camera sites around the world. In particular, he carefully checked each photograph showing an unidentified light source to see if the "UFOs" could be explained in conventional terms. Many, he found, could not. Several of the photographs showing unexplained objects tracked by the Smithsonian cameras were turned over to NICAP.

Ledwith emphasized that the photographs did not prove anything; often it was impossible to completely rule out a stray aircraft, which conceivably could have been captured on film. But the images, nevertheless, were unexplained and no one had reported aircraft in the area. Ledwith also ran into the common skeptical tendency to assume the images must be aircraft, or something conventional.

The Smithsonian teams were tracking satellites. If something else which did not fit the satellite track showed up on the film, it was ordinarily assumed to be a film defect, a meteor, or aircraft. Very little careful checking was done to determine the likelihood of these explanations.

Japanese Site Photograph: UFO?

On April 14, 1959, the Nunn-Baker camera site at Tokyo Mitaka, Japan, was attempting to track Vanguard 2 (launched February 17, 1959). The developed film showed a bright unexplained object, in the wrong position for the satellite. This was Smithsonian observation number SC5-498 (data on file at NICAP). Photograph reproduced here shows prominent trail left by object.

Landings and Near-Landings

The most controversial aspect of the UFO subject is the question of the validity of claims that UFOs have actually landed, in some instances, and that occupants have been seen. On one extreme are fantastic science-fiction sounding claims of sojourns through space with noble beings who have come to aid earthmen through fearsome times. (Such claimants have been labeled "contactees.") Dr. Carl Jung [3] and other psychologists have pointed out the cultist aspect of these claims, the apparent wishful thinking, and formation of a neo-religion which espouses the "New Age" philosophy. On the other extreme are reports from seemingly reliable people, with no obvious ax to grind, who claim to have witnessed the landing or near-landing of strange craft (usually of general elliptical or circular shape).

Although there is a vast difference between the types of people who have made the claims on either extreme, and in the types of experience they depict, the confusion around the UFO subject in general makes it nearly impossible to distinguish between the types. If you seem to treat seriously any of these cases, you seem to be accepting all of them. The most ardent believers and the most severe skeptics both tend to assume that either all such stories are true, or all who claim they are true are crack pots. Unfortunately, life is not that simple and it is not possible at this stage of investigation to make any sweeping judgments.

As long as UFO reports are not investigated scientifically, not quickly and thoroughly checked out, doubt will remain. The confusion also leaves an open field for opportunists and charlatans who, it should be noted, are very active in "contactee" circles.

Since NICAP has concentrated on investigating factual reports of straight forward UFO observations by reputable people, our investigation of landing, near-landing, and "contactee" reports has not been exhaustive. However, it has been more extensive than many people realize. Our policy has been to quietly investigate the controversial cases to the best of our ability without engaging in polemics about them. When facts about these cases have, in our estimation, been fairly conclusively established, we have reported them. In so doing, we have not passed judgment on the whole spectrum of landing claims. Some cases have proved to be fairly obvious hoaxes, others have involved key "witnesses" of dubious background and engaged in dubious activities.

One of the most famous "contactees" made a claim in 1958 which NICAP thoroughly investigated, and disproved. One of this person's alleged "witnesses" masquerades as a Ph.D. and a knowledgeable anthropologist. He is neither. One self-styled evangelist "contactee" engaged in blatant misrepresentation of himself while relating a wild tale of contact with spacemen. Later he was convicted in Los Angeles of selling Doctor of Divinity degrees, mainly to other "contactees." Another was convicted in California of stock fraud. All four, perhaps significantly, claimed meetings with the idealized human-type "spacemen."

Some landings and near-landing cases are more plausible than others. Some may eventually prove to be honest mistakes of some kind. But as long as it is considered a reasonable hypothesis that some UFOs are space ships, it is logical to suppose that some form of contact with extraterrestrial beings is possible. For the moment, we are ignoring other problems which might prevent or delay contact, such as total dissimilarity between us and extraterrestrials, different psychological make-up, etc.

If our hypothesis to explain UFOs is correct, then landing and near-landing reports from seemingly reputable people become the most important cases of all; and this extraterrestrial hypothesis is based on a considerable accumulation of solid evidence presented in this report. But lack of recognition even to solidly established, straightforward UFO sighting reports of a less sensational nature makes objective investigation of these potentially sensational ones nearly impossible.


Some UFO investigators, impatient with NICAP's "conservative" policy of starting from the beginning and building up a solid case, have argued that investigation of the landing reports may be the only way to conclusively prove the extraterrestrial hypothesis. Perhaps they are right, but we believe that such an investigation will not be possible until the UFO problem generally attains scientific recognition.

Some borderline cases which have neither been proved nor disproved, are worth mentioning as possibly authentic close-up observations of seeming vehicles or craft. They are selected solely as examples of cases in which preliminary investigation turned up no derogatory information about the witnesses, and no glaring errors in their stories. We readily concede that cases of claimed contact with, or close-up observation of, beings in landed vehicles demand the closest scrutiny and the most painstaking investigation, which has seldom been possible to date.

These cases should not be taken out of context and used to imply either that NICAP accepts them at face value, or that we are gullible. On the contrary, we have been criticized by other UFO groups for our often voiced skepticism and demand for strong objective evidence in landing cases. It is a fact of human nature, we believe, that the more sensational or unorthodox a claim is, the stronger the evidence will have to be to convince people generally of its truth. We do not uncritically accept all reports without careful investigation and meaningful evidence. Rather, when the reports come from seemingly reputable people and are made with reasonable objectivity, we believe only that they deserve serious attention and far more thorough investigation.

Close-up Observations:

June 27, 1959 New Guinea
Witnesses: Rev. William B. Gill and local natives
Color: Brightly lit, shaft of blue light shining upward from center.
Dimensions: About 35 feet diameter.
Distance: About 450 feet.

July 13, 1959 New Zealand
Witness: Mrs. Frederick Moreland
Color: Silhouetted, orange and green body lights.
Dimensions: About 20 feet diameter, 4-5 feet high.
Distance: About 40-50 yards.

September 20, 1961 New Hampshire
Witnesses: Mr. & Mrs. Barney Hill
Color: Silhouetted, bluish-white fluorescent glow from windows, red light on each side.
Dimensions: About as large as a 4-engine airliner.
Distance: About 100 feet.


Summarizing the main problems and dangers associated with the UFO phenomenon, these points stand out:

* Doubt about the scientific adequacy of the Air Force investigation; lack of access to the specific detailed cases in Air Force files.

* The dangers of having a basically military organization responsible for overall evaluation of a scientific problem; the intrusion of military secrecy preventing the scientific community from reviewing the methods of investigation and reasoning employed by Air Force investigators.

* The possibility of ignoring, or rationalizing away, facts which may have important effects on the human race, for good or ill.

* As previously pointed out by NICAP, the danger of accidental war resulting from misinterpretation of objects on radar scopes, a possibility made more likely by the general confusion and doubt surrounding the subject of UFOs.

* Continued exploitation of the public by con-men and opportunists who thrive because of the confusion and doubt.

* The threats to society posed by an unprepared and ill- informed public; the psychological preparation, and general planning for any eventuality needed if UFOs are in fact manifestations of extraterrestrial life.

One solution to all these problems would be a scientific and political review of the entire UFO situation. The main purposes would be clarification of the facts, and evaluation of those facts. This would require a program designed to (1) study the accumulated facts to date (including the detailed reports in Air Force files); (2) taking steps to insure that future reports are quickly and scientifically evaluated (encouraging citizens, and particularly scientists, engineers and pilots, to make immediate and full reports without fear of ridicule or reprisal; frank and full reporting of all data and evaluations to the public; open and serious treatment of UFO reports generally, as phenomena worthy of careful scientific attention).

The framework for a scientific review of UFOs could take many forms, and would not necessarily require huge appropriations of funds. (Some government grants to encourage specific evaluations might prove to be desirable.) Judging by public interest in UFOs displayed in letters to NICAP, there are hundreds of competent personnel who would almost certainly contribute their talents to a program of this nature.

* A simple directive to scientists and engineers at White Sands, Cape Kennedy and other government establishments could require personnel manning tracking equipment to attempt to track and record on instruments any UFOs observed in the vicinity. If something unexplained is tracked accidentally, this too should be reported. (Reports could be sent to some central office, such as the NASA Office of Life Sciences, or a university science department, and made available to any interested scientists).

* Cooperation of existing astronomical societies, and such instrument programs as Smithsonian Institution's meteorite camera network in the western U S., could be requested.

* All reports from military sources, particularly pilots, could be sent to the central agency after deletion of legitimately classified portions of the intelligence reports.

* Commercial airlines; General Mills, Inc., balloon trackers; etc., all could be encouraged to report sightings.

The Air Force, of course, has a legitimate interest in anything that flies or anything with a threat potential to the country. Air Force liaison with this program would be desirable, and in fact civilian scientists (perhaps a special panel for the particular purpose) could assist the Air Force in an immediate evaluation of threat potential - in secret if necessary

However, once it is determined that a given UFO report is not evidence of an attack on the country, all except legitimate security data on the case should be made public immediately. If the object or phenomenon is definitely explainable, the explanation and all evidence and reasoning leading thereto, should be reported. If the phenomenon is not immediately explainable, the report should be released as unevaluated data which any and all investigators could then evaluate independently.

Interpretation of the accumulating unexplained reports could then be accomplished (without any "aura of mystery") through the normal channels of scientific endeavor: scientific journals and papers. (A "special status" is given to UFO reports when they are not evaluated through normal scientific channels). Perhaps this program would cause a 24-hour sensation in the popular press, but it would soon become a matter of routine. Any conclusions reported by an individual scientist, or scientific agency, would then be the responsibility of that individual or agency and subject to the review (for accuracy and sound logic) of the entire scientific community.

If the evidence mounted, and a scientific consensus gained sway indicating UFOs might be space ships, initiation of a full government program - indeed an international program - would be fully justified.


In addition to putting existing tracking equipment to work to help provide a final solution to the UFO problem, precedents exist which would make civilian participation feasible (and desirable in restoring confidence that the problem is receiving serious attention and is being adequately investigated). A program, which NICAP could organize to supplement the investigation, could be patterned after the Ground Observer Corps aircraft spotting and Moonwatch satellite tracking networks - manned by civilian volunteers. Minimum standards of experience and/or training could be established. A Moonwatch telescope grid, sound detection equipment, field investigation units, etc., could be manned 24 hours a day.

If existing government and military facilities, combined with a civilian volunteer network, were coordinated in a positive effort to gather and evaluate reliable data, this would be a crucial scientific experiment. The data gathered very likely would prove or disprove the reality of UFOs as a unique phenomenon. Regardless of what the answer proved to be, the data no doubt would be extremely useful to science (atmospheric physics, meteorology, etc.) and national defense (a constant watch on the sky, and no doubt - with experience - ability to more rapidly identify and weed out reported phenomena which are not enemy weapons).

Politically, it would be necessary to examine and review the current UFO program and to take any action or pass any legislation necessary to give a legal foundation to this, or a similar program designed to end the UFO controversy and establish the facts.

Contact and Communication

As we come nearer to making manned space voyages, the question of communicating with extraterrestrials takes on increasing importance. NICAP therefore endorses such programs as an enlarged Project Ozma (attempt to intercept intelligent communications from space), and studies of the language system of porpoises as a model for efforts to translate the language of alien beings.

In general, a great deal more thought should be given to such questions as Space Law; moral questions such as raised in the Justice Department letter involving behavior toward extraterrestrial beings; and problems raised by the increasing likelihood of eventual contact with extraterrestrial societies.

By our standards, these societies might be "advanced" or "backwards" technologically, politically, morally, or any combination of these parameters. In some cases, physical and intellectual contact might be disastrous, either to our society or theirs. In other cases, contact might be unilaterally or mutually beneficial. Some might lead to interplanetary war, others to association with extremely intelligent and wise beings who could help us solve our problems of war, hunger and ignorance. In short, the possibilities are endless. But they are well worth exploring for many reasons -- including the possibility that the first such contact may be imminent.

Detection of UFOs

Dr. James C. Bartlett, Jr., (experienced amateur astronomer, member of Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers) a NICAP Adviser, was asked to suggest ways in which scientists might be able to determine the extent and nature of UFO activity:

"It seems to me that an important first step would be a willingness to recognize the UFO problem for what it really is, namely a universally reported phenomenon for which an impartial scientific investigation is required.

"Now the primary objection to UFO reports, as most scientists think of such things, is that the raw data almost never permit of measurement. It should be carefully noted, however, that this is not the same as saying that the data are therefore worthless as evidence; though such is the position commonly taken by those scientists who reject them. Rather it is to be expected as the necessary consequence of chance sightings which are completely unpredictable as to time and place.

"Scientists could make a real contribution therefore by working in collaboration with a program designed to eliminate the element of surprise, and at the same time provide means of measuring apparent position, size, and velocity, and especially parallax. Such a program is entirely feasible, though admittedly difficult.

"The suggested technique is the division of the celestial sphere into sectors, each sector to be assigned to a team of qualified observers who would keep watch over their sector for a specified period of time each day or night. Instrumentation adequate to the task might consist of high power prism binoculars, a theodolite, a 3-inch refractor using a straight view with erecting eyepiece, a camera, and a magnetic compass.

"The source of observing personnel, it is suggested, is to be found in the more or less worldwide distribution of astronomical societies and groups which are quite capable of furnishing both the instrumentation and observers qualified to make the necessary measurements. Moreover, memberships are sufficiently large to make the personnel problem manageable.

"Ideally, a 24-hour patrol of all sectors covering 360 degrees of the celestial sphere is indicated; but in practice this would be impossible. Consequently, many UFOs could still go undetected; but in any sustained program of regular observation, as outlined above, it is certain that some would be "caught" and the required measurements obtained.

"The work of professional observatories then would be to scientifically evaluate the measured data, which could hardly be rejected on the commonly assigned ground of vagueness. Perhaps a given professional group could act as evaluation center for the entire project in any given country.

"Such a program is feasible, though it will require immense labor to set up; but certainly the game is worth the candle. It might or might not discover what UFOs really are; but at minimum it could certainly determine what they are not. We could at least hope to be relieved of the profoundly learned nonsense which hitherto has characterized alleged "scientific" evaluations, and which thinks it quite natural that experienced airline pilots should mistake a mirage for a cigar-shaped craft with lighted cabins and jet exhaust."

Discussing ways in which we might attempt to detect extraterrestrial life, Prof. Ronald Bracewell, Stanford University radio astronomer, "suggests that the nearest [intelligent] community may well be over 100 light-years away. In this event, he feels that advanced societies might send probes, instead of just signals, to likely stars. These probes would presumably contain transmitting and receiving apparatus, designed either to listen for us or to make contact with us, and would go into orbit about target stars. Upon some positive detection, a signal with information would be transmitted back to the home star. We might, then, look and listen for probes within our own solar system." [4.]

In any normal situation, no one would question the sanity and reliability of the group of witnesses named in this report. But the UFO problem because it is controversial, and because mystical or crackpot UFO groups are publicized all out of proportion, appears to be a special case. Unthinking skeptics often take the easy way out by assuming that there must be "something wrong" with people who report UFOs. (Another type of skeptic refuses to come to grips with the UFO problem because he unconsciously fears his system of beliefs might be upset if UFOs are real). The notion that UFO reports originate with a small group of cultists, or crackpots, or any other small and uniform segment of our society, is refuted by the reports in this document.

One skeptical school of thought holds that UFO witnesses do not really see what they think they see. Through careless or inexpert observation, they are fooled by conventional objects, or phenomena. The observed performance of UFOs, obviously beyond earthly capabilities if true, is illusory. But radar in many cases has recorded unidentified objects exceeding the performance of earthly devices. Photographs in some cases have shown unidentifiable objects also observed visually. And, perhaps more significant than may be realized at first, reputable persons from all walks of life and all types of backgrounds (technical and non-technical, religious and non-religious, pilots, businessmen, police officers, celebrities, and the man on the street) all have seen and reported very much the same thing consistently for at least the past 17 years. If delusion is the answer to UFOs, then our whole society is deluded.


1. New York World Telegram & Sun; June 23, 1960.

2. Lasswell, Harold D., "Men In Space" Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Vol 72, Article 4; April 10, 1958.

3. Jung, Carl G., Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth Of Things Seen In The Skies. (Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1959).

4. Seybold, Paul G., A Survey of Exobiology; Memorandum RM-3178-PR. (The Rand Corporation, March 1963), ppg 31-32.


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