Msg#: 600                                          Date: 10-03-96  08:15
  From: Don Allen                                    Read: Yes    Replied: No 
    To: All                                          Mark:                     
  Subj: 01:FI Guide Bk1 [01/05]
URL - http://www.iufog.org/spotlight/book-1.html


The OMNI Open Book Field Investigator's Guide: Part One

(Vol. 17, No. 6, March 1995, pp. 47-53) 

By Dennis Stacy 


Editor's note: This is the first of twelve chapters in the OMNI Open 
Book Field Investigator's Guide, the ultimate tool kit for hunting UFOs. 
In his first installment, Dennis Stacy tells UFO hunters how to locate 
"prey"--in other words, a UFO worth investigating at all. 


The Need for a Guide

On November 2, 1957, at about 10:00 p.m.--long before the world at large 
knew of it--the Soviets launched their second dog-carrying Sputnik. An 
hour later, on the flat plains of the Texas panhandle, near the 
otherwise unremarkable town of Levelland, ranch hands Pedro Saucedo and 
Joe Salaz encountered something that forever changed their lives. 

According to Saucedo's signed statement, "I was traveling north and west 
on Route 116, driving my truck. At about four miles out of Levelland, I 
saw a big flame, to my right front. I thought it was lightning." The 
white and yellow torpedo-shaped object, Saucedo went on to say, 
apparently made his truck's motor stop and the headlights fail. 
Traveling at some 600 to 800 miles an hour, he estimated, the object 
generated so much heat he "had to hit the ground." 

Over the next two hours, Patrolman A. J. Fowler would receive at least a 
dozen more calls, all of them from independent witnesses reporting much 
the same thing. For instance, at 12:05 a.m., a 19-year-old Texas Tech 
freshman said he was driving his car nine miles east of Levelland when 
the motor suddenly "started cutting out like it was out of gas." The 
headlights dimmed, then went out altogether after the car rolled to a 
stop. The student raised the hood but could find nothing obviously wrong 
with the engine or electrical wiring. Returning to the driver's seat, he 
now noticed an egg-shaped object, flat on the bottom, sitting astride 
the highway in front of him. It glowed bluish-green, he reported, and 
looked to be 125 feet long and made of an aluminumlike material with no 
visible details or markings. Frightened, he tried turning the motor over 
again, but the car would not start. Shortly, the UFO rose "almost 
straight up," disappearing "in a split instant." He tried the ignition 
again; the car started, and the lights came on, and he drove home, 
although he did not report the incident to Fowler--"for fear of 
ridicule"--until the following afternoon, after his parents told him he 

Nationwide, the Levelland sightings garnered almost as much press 
attention as the new Soviet satellite, eventually forcing the Air 
Force's Project Blue Book to send an investigator to the site. (Project 
Blue Book, first under the auspices of the Air Technical Intelligence 
Center, or ATIC, and later run out of the Foreign Technology Division, 
was the official Air Force agency charged with investigating UFOs. Its 
immediate predecessors, also associated with the Air Force, were Project 
Sign and Project Grudge.) According to the now-deceased astronomer J. 
Allen Hynek of Northwestern University, then Project Blue Book's 
scientific consultant, the Levelland investigation, conducted by a 
member of the 1006th Air Intelligence Service Squadron (AISS) was 
cursory at best. Writing in his now-classic book, THE UFO EXPERIENCE 
(Henry Regnery Company, Chicago, 1972), Hynek states, "I was told that 
the Blue Book investigation consisted of the appearance of one man in 
civilian clothes at the sheriff's office at about 11:45 a.m. on November 
5; he made two auto excursions during the day and then told Sheriff Clem 
that he was finished." 

According to Temple University historian David Jacobs, author of another 
classic volume, THE UFO CONTROVERSY IN AMERICA (Indiana University 
Press, Bloomington, 1975), "the officer failed to interview nine of the 
fifteen witnesses and also erroneously stated that lightning had been in 
the area at the time of the sightings." Indeed, the Air Force and 
Project Blue Book ultimately attributed the incidents to "weather pheno
menon of [an] electrical nature, generally classified as `ball 

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  Msg#: 601                                          Date: 10-03-96  08:15
  From: Don Allen                                    Read: Yes    Replied: No 
    To: All                                          Mark:                     
  Subj: 02:FI Guide Bk1 [02/05]
lightning' or `St. Elmo's fire,' caused by stormy conditions in the 
area, including mist, rain, thunderstorms, and lightning." The engine 
stalls and headlight failures? "Wet electrical circuits," said the Air 
Force. "Privately," Jacobs observes, "Blue Book officers believed the 
Levelland sightings were obviously an example of mass suggestion." 

The upshot of the ball lightning pronouncement was an angry spate of 
criticisms by editorial writers and the growing legion of civilian UFO 
organizations, charging the Air Force with ignorance or incompetence at 
best and a purposeful cover-up of the UFO phenomenon at worst. The 
outrage was exacerbated when 500 more UFO cases poured into Project Blue 
Book over the next couple of months, making it the most explosive UFO 
year since 1952. 

In response to all the brouhaha, the Air Force launched an investigation 
of its own UFO operation. The recommendation? That some 20 men be 
assigned to a UFO detail. What's more, suggested the Air Technical 
Intelligence Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, 
where the study was done, the Air Force would do well to create a 
standard UFO kit containing an operating procedure manual and other 
tools necessary for investigating the mysterious, alleged craft. That 
way, when the 20 UFO experts went out on assignment, there would be no 
more foolish errors. They'd know what to do. 

The report also recommended that the Air Force investigate press reports 
and not just those reaching Project Blue Book through direct channels, 
including Air Force pilots or radar operators. It was assumed that such 
actions might deflect civilian criticism and at the same time 
drastically reduce the number of reports classified "unknown" or 
"insufficient data." Indeed, as of November 1958, these two categories 
were accounting for 20 percent of all UFO reports received to date. 

Unfortunately, the staff recommendations were never implemented. The 
notion of a UFO tool kit was quickly quashed, along with any idea of a 
rapid deployment team. Instead, Project Blue Book limped along much as 
it had before, understaffed and underfunded. Press clippings were 
stuffed into boxes and later thrown away. Letters and reports from the 
general public generally went unanswered and uninvestigated. 

Even so, from the summer of 1947 until December 19, 1969, Air Force 
representatives amassed 12,618 official case reports of UFOs, defined by 
the Air Force as "any aerial object or phenomenon which the observer is 
unable to identify." (Hynek would later amend the definition of a UFO to 
refer to any flying objects which "remain unidentified after close 
scrutiny of all available evidence by persons who are technically 
capable of making a common-sense identification, if one is possible.") 
Of the 12,000-plus cases studied, 701, or almost 6 percent, were 
classified "unknown." 

Those cases that were investigated--like Levelland--were typically 
looked into lackadaisically when they were looked into at all. The Air 
Force also indulged in a little creative bookkeeping. Those cases 
classified as "probable" or "insufficient data" were counted on the 
solved side of the ledger instead of the unsolved side, skewing the 
percentage of true unknowns. A growing number of critics contended that, 
far from being an investigative agency, Project Blue Book amounted to 
little more than a public relations ploy, one designed to downplay the 
phenomenon's prevalence and possible importance. 

Even Hynek himself was ultimately disillusioned by his experience as 
scientific consultant. "I can safely say that the whole time I was with 
the Air Force, we never had anything that resembled a really good 
scientific dialogue on the subject," he said shortly before his death in 

Project Blue Book's death knell was sounded in the spring of 1966, in 
the wake of another Air Force boondoggle. At a press conference in March 
of that year, Hynek attributed some intriguing Michigan sightings to 
"swamp gas"--the spontaneous ignition of methane. The resulting 
editorial uproar pictured the Air Force team more as buffoons than 
villains. If the ball lightning and mass hysteria explanation of almost 
a decade earlier had been the first straw in the public's negative 
perception of the Air Force's handling of UFO investigations, swamp gas 
was the straw that broke the camel's back. 

Before the decade was up, the Air Force would be out of the UFO business 
for good. One driving force: a controversial University of Colorado 
study directed by physicist Edward U. Condon. Condon's largely negative 
report summary concluded that chasing UFOs was a waste of time. Indeed, 
UFOs seemed shrouded in secrecy, Condon declared, only because the Air 

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  Msg#: 602                                          Date: 10-03-96  08:15
  From: Don Allen                                    Read: Yes    Replied: No 
    To: All                                          Mark:                     
  Subj: 03:FI Guide Bk1 [03/05]
Force resisted "premature publication of incomplete studies of reports." 

Thrilled by Condon's publicized pronouncements--few reporters were about 
to wade through a 965-page report in search of any UFO gems--the Air 
Force seized the offered brass ring. On December 17, 1969, in the wake 
of the Colorado/Condon study, Secretary of the Air Force Robert C. 
Seamans, Jr., announced the closure of Project Blue Book, saying that 
its continuance "cannot be justified either on the ground of national 
security or in the interest of science." 

Hynek was one of several scientists who saw the situation differently. 
"When the long-awaited solution to the UFO problem comes," he said, "I 
believe that it will prove to be not merely the next small step in the 
march of science, but a mighty and totally unexpected quantum jump." 

A Civilian Blue Book?

With the Air Force out of the picture since 1969, the burden of 
investigating the UFO phenomenon has largely fallen on the shoulders of 
individuals and a handful of civilian UFO organizations. While 
individuals are hardly hampered by bureaucratic rules, public relations 
considerations, and other policy requirements, they can only do so much 
on their own. Moreover, the weight of their public pronouncements is 
linked, directly or indirectly, to their personal and professional 
credentials. It's one thing for an established astronomer, such as 
Hynek, to speak out about the phenomenon in general; it's another thing 
altogether for, say, an advertising executive or fast-food clerk to 
claim that Earth is being invaded by genetic engineers from another 
planet or galaxy. 

The same is also true of UFO organizations, which are only as good and 
efficient as their collective members. One overripe member may not spoil 
the whole barrel, but he or she can certainly detract from the overall 
respectability of the subject by his or her unbridled comments about 
what the UFO phenomenon does or does not ultimately mean. As Hynek and 
others have been quick to point out, the U in UFO stands for 
"Unidentified," not necessarily for extraterrestrial spaceships and 
alien abductors in that order. All three may or may not be related. Some 
UFOs, however, are almost certainly unrecognized or little understood 
natural phenomena, swamp gas and ball lightning very possibly included. 

The one undeniable truth about the UFO phenomenon--Air Force 
pronouncements aside--is that further investigation is still required. 
According to one Gallup Poll, some 15 million adult Americans have at 
one time or another in their lives witnessed what they believed to be a 
UFO. Compare that figure with the 12,618 UFO reports the Air Force 
collected over 22 years, extrapolate it worldwide, and it's painfully 
clear that the UFO phenomenon represents both the most prevalent and 
underreported anomalous phenomena of this or any other century. Even if 
UFOs aren't a three-dimensional, solid, physical object, any student of 
human psychology or sociology worth his or her salt should be suitably 
intrigued as to why humans continue to report UFOs in vast numbers in 
the absence of any unusual stimuli. To say that the best interests of 
science will not be served by further study of the UFO phenomenon--in 
all its myriad, mysterious manifestations--is to say that science should 
concern itself only with things humans don't do, as one of the things 
they do do is report UFOs--even in the face of peer and public ridicule 
for doing so. If human behavior isn't of scientific interest, then we 
might as well drop the soft science disciplines of anthropology, 
perceptual psychology, and social interaction from the academic 

In installments to follow, OMNI will provide you with the UFO tool kit 
the Air Force never produced. The Project Open Book tool kit will allow 
you to conduct your own investigation of the persistent UFO phenomenon. 
It will contain tips and techniques about locating and classifying UFO 
reports. It will tell you, precisely, how to investigate UFO reports. 
And, it will tell you how to report and then investigate a sighting of 
your own. You'll learn how to interview witnesses, how to collect 
physical evidence (where indicated), and how to sniff out potential 
hoaxes. You'll be instructed in the finer arts of audio and photographic 
analysis, both still and video. And you will be provided with the names 
and numbers of information sources, both print and electronic. Ho
pefully, when your own research is done, you'll share it with your 
colleagues. Collectively, we may be able to do what the Air Force 

Overcoming the Ridicule Factor

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  Msg#: 603                                          Date: 10-03-96  08:16
  From: Don Allen                                    Read: Yes    Replied: No 
    To: All                                          Mark:                     
  Subj: 04:FI Guide Bk1 [04/05]
In order to investigate a UFO case, you must, of course, first find one. 
Despite the perceived plethora of sightings, this is not always as easy 
as it seems. For one thing, the overwhelming majority of UFO sightings 
are never reported. The reason for this reluctance is fairly 
straightforward: fear of ridicule. Hynek lamented this situation in a 
letter written to the magazine Physics Today, in which he solicited UFO 
reports from scientifically trained observers. "It has been my estimate 
over the past 20 years," Hynek noted, "that for every UFO report made, 
there were at least 10 that went unreported. Evidence for this comes 
from the Gallup Poll, the many UFO reports I subsequently learned of 
that were not reported to the Air Force, and from my own queries. There
 has always been a great reluctance to report in the face of almost 
certain ridicule. It would seem that the more trained and sophisticated 
the observer, the less prone he is to report unless he could be assured 
of anonymity as well as respect for his report." 

Many respondents only reinforced Hynek's fears. One report, from a man 
who is now a professional astronomer, had gone unreported for 11 years, 
precisely because of a reluctance to face ridicule or embarrassment by 
peers--and this despite the fact that his own sighting was corroborated 
by several other credible witnesses, including at least two police 

In the summer of 1960, near Walkerton, Ontario, the story went, the man 
had observed a ball of light hovering near a tree. As he and several of 
his relatives approached to take a picture, "it noticed us, and 
noiselessly accelerating at a very high rate, headed almost directly 
south, disappearing over the horizon in about two and a half seconds." 

Yet another astronomer had failed to report a pertinent observation out 
of embarrassment as well. To sustain his self image as the ultimate 
scientist, he "preferred to regard his sighting as being of an unusual 
physical phenomenon," according to Hynek, "rather than admit the 
possibility, perhaps even to himself, that it was a genuinely new 
empirical observation." 

Given the embarrassment that seizes the best, most respectable UFO 
witnesses, any investigator worth his or her salt must learn to cope 
with the "ridicule factor" before an investigation in earnest can begin. 
But given the right circumstances, the right individual, and the right 
approach, the curtain of ridicule can be overcome, as the large response 
to Hynek's letter in Physics Today clearly indicates. For this to 
happen, the witness/reporter must have confidence in his or her 
confidante, as Physics Today respondents clearly did in Hynek after 
seeing his credentials. Even with such confidence, moreover, the UFO 
witness often must still be drawn out. Few of those embarrassed by a 
close encounter, after all, will volunteer the information unless asked 
to do so. 

Given the ridicule factor, the UFO hunter in search of a case to 
investigate must follow two basic rules: First, to learn about someone's 
UFO experience, it's best to ask. Even a lifelong friend may be 
reluctant to broach the subject of a UFO sighting unless drawn out. And 
second, when you do ask, ask those who have the most confidence in 
you--your family members and closest friends. A complete stranger is 
likely to react with serious reservation when another stranger arrives 
suddenly on his doorstep, asking questions about UFOs. (The stranger the 
UFO experience this subject has had, moreover, the higher his or her 
resistance will be.) 

An example from my own experience may be instructive. In the early 
1980s, I was hired to write a weekly column for the San Antonio 
Express-News about unusual events that had taken place in the state of 
Texas over the years. The first six months or so went well enough, but 
inevitably the scramble for material, or at least significantly 
different material, set in. By October (the series had begun the 
previous December), I was asking friends and acquaintances--except for 
"Rudy"--if anything strange or unusual had ever happened to them. 

My reasons for not asking Rudy were obvious. He taught history at a 
local community college, and the shelves of his personal library in a 
prominent neighborhood on the north side of town were overburdened with 
straight literature, including some 10,000 historical biographies. I had 
worked with him on several occasions and was well aware of his disdain 
for anything unusual--typified by his attitudes toward mysticism, 
astrology, and anything else that remotely smacked of the occult. I 
assumed this would naturally include flying saucers and UFOs, too. But I 
also knew that he had been a B-24 bombardier during World War II and the 
heyday of the so-called "foo-fighter" phenomenon, in which glowing balls 
of light had perplexed both Allied and Axis aircrews during the closing 

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  Msg#: 604                                          Date: 10-03-96  08:16
  From: Don Allen                                    Read: Yes    Replied: No 
    To: All                                          Mark:                     
  Subj: 05:FI Guide Bk1 [05/05]
nights of the war. 

On the extremely remote possibility that he might have encountered a 
foo-fighter, I asked Rudy if anything strange had ever happened to him 
during his flying days in the war. "No, nothing ever did," he said 
matter-of-factly, and that, I assumed, was naturally that. After a brief 
pause, though, he said, "but last November, I was driving back from 
Austin...," and promptly launched into his personal UFO story. Rudy had 
a sister who lived in Austin, 75 miles north of San Antonio on 
Interstate Highway 35, whom he frequently visited. He had been returning 
to San Antonio alone late one night, probably after Thanksgiving, and 
was just south of New Braunfels, about 20 miles from his own home. The 
sky was overcast, with a ceiling of about a thousand feet, and traffic 
on the highway was relatively light, although there were other cars and 
trucks in both the north- and southbound lanes of the four-lane highway. 


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  Msg#: 605                                          Date: 10-03-96  08:20
  From: Don Allen                                    Read: Yes    Replied: No 
    To: All                                          Mark:                     
  Subj: 01:FI Guide Bk2 [01/04]
URL - http://www.iufog.org/spotlight/book-2.html


The OMNI Open Book Field Investigator's Guide: Part One (Part 2)

(Continued from The OMNI Open Book Field Investigator's Guide: Part One) 


Rudy first became aware of something visible in the upper portion of his 
windshield, but continued driving while leaning forward to look up 
through the curved glass. To his amazement, he told me, what looked like 
a flying saucer flew into view, traveling slowly southward and directly 
over the righthand lane he was in. He pulled off onto the shoulder--the 
only car to do so--stopped, and stepped outside for a better view. 

The object was underneath the overcast, probably 800 or 900 feet 
overhead. "I can see it clear as daylight now," he said, a year after 
the fact. "It was perfectly circular and just under 100 feet in 
diameter. The outer rim consisted of a broad flange divided into what 
might be flaps or at least individual segments. An antenna hung down 
from the middle of the object, and the central portion, the area inside 
the flaps or flanges, slowly rotated on its own axis as the whole 
continued southward down the highway." 

A short distance away, Rudy told me, the vehicle initiated a sharp 
U-turn and started back up the north side of the highway, slowly rising 
as it did. Eventually it entered the clouds and disappeared from view. 
Rudy waited a few more minutes to see if it would reappear. When it 
didn't, he got in his car and drove home. "All the way home," he said, 
"I kept thinking. Well, that's it. I'll get up in the morning and the 
headline will read `UFO Mystery Solved!"' But if anyone else had seen or 
reported Rudy's UFO it certainly wasn't in the San Antonio papers, and 
it was almost certainly nothing Rudy himself would ever bring up in 
casual cocktail or coffee conversation unless directly confronted. 

Almost as remarkable as the sighting itself, perhaps, was Rudy's 
reaction to it. True, it was unusual and unexpected, apparently a flying 
craft of technology radically different from his old B-24 Liberator--but 
also nothing to lose a night's sleep over. Class was tomorrow night, and 
life went on. Besides, who does the average citizen call to report a 
UFO, especially when that UFO has already disappeared into the clouds? 

One might say, then, that the UFO investigation begins at home. Ask your 
parents, your husband or wife, your aunts and uncles, your cousins, your 
neighbors and acquaintances. Many of these cases may only be anecdotal; 
others may involve data--such as the names of other witnesses and a 
possible paper trail--that can be used to fill in and corroborate the 
historical record, if nothing else. 

If the witness you wish to approach is a total stranger, we suggest you 
do so with kid gloves. It would help if you had some credentials--say, a 
few UFO cases you have investigated in the past--to boost your 
credibility. Otherwise, you should utilize what, in the vernacular of 
the Nineties, we call "networking." For instance, if a friend has 
witnessed something unusual, and then refers you to a second witness, 
the second witness, knowing your connection to the case, may be more 
willing to talk. Above all, do not approach potential witnesses, 
especially strangers, with theories involving aliens and 
extraterrestrial ships. You will be far more likely to gain confidence 
if you say, simply, "I understand the other night you witnessed 
something a bit out of the ordinary. I've been collecting some 
information on this and wonder if I could speak to you as well." (This 
will be covered in greater detail in an upcoming chapter on interviewing 

UFOs in Print

If you find it hard to get your leads from people, you may be interested 
to learn that a countless variety of fascinating cases--most merely 
reported but not thoroughly investigated--are described in print. 
Coverage of UFO sightings by the nation's major daily newspapers tends 
to vary widely, depending on whether or not UFOs are in vogue at a 
particular time. A much more consistent source of UFO sighting reports 
is the small community daily or weekly newspaper. So many sightings have 
been reported in the Gulf Breeze, Florida, area in recent years, for 
example, that the local paper, The Islander (P.O. Box 292, Gulf Breeze, 
Florida 32562), has been offering mail subscriptions to investigators. 

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  Msg#: 606                                          Date: 10-03-96  08:20
  From: Don Allen                                    Read: Yes    Replied: No 
    To: All                                          Mark:                     
  Subj: 02:FI Guide Bk2 [02/04]
Another excellent source of current UFO sightings in localities around 
the United States is the U.F.O. Newsclipping Service, edited and 
published by Lucius Farish, Route 1, Box 220, Plumerville, Arkansas 
72127. Each 20-page issue consists of copies of newspaper clippings 
submitted by Farish's far-flung web of correspondents and clippers. It 
regularly includes Canadian and English newspaper clippings, as well as 
articles translated from foreign-language papers. 

Numerous annual national and regional UFO conferences also provide a 
rich source of contemporary reports--and often the original witnesses 
themselves. To find out about local conferences and newsletters which 
may alert you to cases open for investigation in your area, you may 

The Mutual UFO Network of Seguin, Texas. MUFON holds an annual symposium 
every July; this year's will be in Seattle. For more information, write 
international director Walter Andrus, Jr., at MUFON, 103 Oldtowne Road, 
Seguin, Texas 78155-4099. For other case material, you can subscribe to 
the MUFON UFO Journal. 

The J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies, 2457 West Peterson Avenue, 
Chicago, Illinois 60659. The center also publishes the annual Journal of 
UFO Studies and the bi-monthly International UFO Reporter. 

The nonprofit Fund for UFO Research at Box 277, Mount Rainier, Maryland 
20712, which sells copies of its reports. 

Finally, for those of you online, the Internet is a great place to learn 
of UFO sightings in your area. As you traipse from one bulletin board to 
the next, you will read the postings of local residents whose stories 
have never been reported before. You can correspond with these witnesses 
through E-mail, gathering potentially interesting data, possibly 
discovering a case you feel is worth further investment of your time. 

Blast from the Past

If you can't find a suitable case in periodical literature, at 
conferences, or online, moreover, you might try digging around in the 
past. "Consult your local library or the major archives," advises Jan 
Aldrich, a UFO researcher recently retired from the military. "You'll 
probably be surprised by the treasure trove of uninvestigated cases." 

With a grant from the Maryland-based Fund for UFO Research, Aldrich is 
presently re-examining UFO press clippings from the year 1947, popularly 
perceived by the public as the year the modern UFO era began, following 
the sighting by pilot Kenneth Arnold of nine silvery, crescent-shaped 
objects near Mount Rainier, Washington, on June 24, 1947. 

Much of Aldrich's present work replicates an earlier 1967 study done by 
investigator Ted Bloecher while with the now-defunct National 
Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena. Bloecher's "Report on the 
UFO Wave of 1947" was, essentially, a collection and analysis of press 
clippings demonstrating that Arnold was hardly alone in his experience. 
In fact, UFOs were being seen and reported in large numbers up and down 
the country, from Washington to Maine. 

But Aldrich's ongoing investigation delves even further. "Good as 
Bloecher's study was," says Aldrich, "it wasn't complete. For example, 
he didn't include any newspapers from Montana or from many provinces in 

By examining the Helena, Montana, Independent Record, Aldrich discovered 
that a local flurry of UFO sightings was just getting underway, even as 
the national flap spurred by Arnold's sighting was fading in other areas 
of the country. Aldrich also discovered that UFOs continued to be 
reported in Canada in great numbers. "In fact," he notes, "the Canadian 
wave was even more pronounced in terms of population density than what 
was happening in the United States." 

From a microfilm copy of Project Blue Book files scheduled to be 
destroyed but inadvertently discovered at the last minute by a 
university researcher, Aldrich was able to locate another unpublished 
discovery: 2,000 to 3,000 letters written by U.S. citizens in the wake 
of an April 1952 article about UFOs by Bob Ginna published in Life 
magazine. "Blue Book was swamped at the time," says Aldrich, "and 
then-director Edward Ruppelt apparently didn't care about the letters or 
trying to follow them up. They were just stuffed into a file, which, 
fortunately, someone put on microfilm." The majority of the letters, 
says Aldrich, consist of individual theories or explanations for the UFO 

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  Msg#: 607                                          Date: 10-03-96  08:20
  From: Don Allen                                    Read: Yes    Replied: No 
    To: All                                          Mark:                     
  Subj: 03:FI Guide Bk2 [03/04]
phenomenon, "but about 20 percent were personal case reports, the 
earliest dating back to 1913." 

Interestingly, letters addressed simply "Flying Saucers, Washington, 
DC," eventually found their way into the file. In toto, the letters 
indicate that, while Arnold may have gotten the headlines and generated 
the furor, the UFO phenomenon itself was arguably around much earlier. 
It also proves that one individual, armed with nothing more than a 
microfilm reader, can still make a difference in our eventual 
understanding of what may well be one of this century's most 
misunderstood mysteries. 

Choosing Your Case

As a UFO investigator, you will soon find that, with the right approach 
and the right reading material, you will unearth endless instances of 
reported UFOs. But the truth of the matter is, not all reports are 
created equal. For instance, you may want to delve into the past, but if 
all the witnesses to a given sighting have died, and if there is little 
documentation, there may not be much you can do. A UFO reported by your 
friend, a college student, while drunk and staring at the stars, is not 
as compelling as a UFO reported by three separate individuals--such as a 
policeman, an astronomy professor, and a teacher--while stone sober. If 
the second UFO has left any physical evidence--from a burnt area of land 
to some blips on the airport's radar screen--so much the better. 

As you hunt down UFO cases you wish to investigate, you will also find 
it is better to pursue those closer to home. Indeed, a thorough UFO 
investigation is time-intensive. It often requires multiple interviews 
with multiple witnesses. You may need to visit the site of the report at 
various times of the day and year, sometimes with specialists in tow. 
What's more, the input of those well versed in local habits, history, 
geography, and atmospheric phenomena may be invaluable to your research. 

For instance, a few years back, hundreds of witnesses reported a weird, 
boomerang-shaped UFO over Westchester County and other parts of New 
York. It later turned out that at least some of the reports were made 
when pilot-hoaxers using a local airport in the town of Stormville 
decided to fly in boomerang formation. Someone making a few phone calls 
from London could not have learned about the hoax as easily--if at 
all--as the local investigators on the scene who ultimately did. The 
take-home message is this: If you live in New Jersey, it makes more 
sense to investigate cases in Newark or Asbury Park than in Santa 

Starting a File

This chapter has given you enough material to get started. We suggest 
that you empty a file drawer, get a few folders out, and start 
collecting. We'd like you to spend the next few weeks just keeping your 
eyes and ears open. Speak to friends and relatives. Read the local 
paper. Scour the Internet. Anytime something of interest enters your 
field of vision, clip it, load it onto a disk, or jot it down, and put 
it in your drawer. 

At the end of this period, you may have a case--a completely original 
case, never before investigated by anyone--you feel is worthy of your 
time and effort. 

Next month, in the second installment of the OMNI Open Book Field 
Investigator's Guide, we'll provide you with some tools of the trade, so 
your own investigation may begin. 


Anyone hoping to investigate UFOs must, of course, keep track of 
research that has gone before. The best sources are those classics of 
UFO literature that tell the story of this controversial field, often in 
the words of the researchers who know it best. 

UFO books vary widely in quality and reliability from sober, reflective 
studies such as Hynek's Experience, to the self-promoting personal 
anecdotes typified by the early contactee movement of the 1950s. 

Any list of the best UFO books is highly subjective. Here, however, are 
11 UFO classics recommended for any UFO investigator seeking the right 
reference tools. 


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  Msg#: 608                                          Date: 10-03-96  08:20
  From: Don Allen                                    Read: Yes    Replied: No 
    To: All                                          Mark:                     
  Subj: 04:FI Guide Bk2 [04/04]
(Doubleday, New York, 1956). For many of today's mainstream UFOlogists, 
interest in the phenomenon was probably sparked by a reading of Captain 
Ruppelt, who was the acting head of the Air Force's Project Blue Book 
from 1951 to 1953. Widely available in used-book stores and libraries, 
Report was published in two controversial versions. The first edition 
ends with Chapter 17, "What Are UFOs?," and Ruppelt's own response, 
"Only time will tell." Subsequent editions contain three additional c
hapters in which Ruppelt seems to recant his earlier stance and casts 
doubt on the phenomenon as one of extraterrestrial origin. 

2. THE UFO CONTROVERSY IN AMERICA by David Michael Jacobs (Indiana 
University Press, Bloomington, 1975). A Temple University professor of 
history, Dr. Jacobs' CONTROVERSY remains one of the few purely 
historical treatments of the subject as it examines how UFOs were 
approached by the American press, government, and public. Jacobs' most 
recent book is a study of UFO abduction cases, SECRET LIFE (Simon & 
Schuster, New York, 1992). 

3. THE UFO EXPERIENCE by Dr. J. Allen Hynek (Henry Regnery Company, 
Chicago, 1972). For 22 years, until its closure in 1969, astronomer 
Hynek served as a scientific consultant to Project Blue Book. EXPERIENCE 
is a thoughtful account of his own experiences and gradual awakening and 
also an examination of the UFO phenomenon more or less in its entirety. 
It's here that Hynek first uses the marquee phrase "close encounters of 
the third kind." 

4. ANATOMY OF A PHENOMENON by Jacques Vallee (Henry Regnery Company, 
Chicago, 1965). A colleague of Hynek's, Vallee remains one of the 
field's most original and prolific thinkers, although some of his most 
recent work has fallen out of favor with the hardcore UFO crowd. In 
(Henry Regnery, 1966), co-authored with wife Janine, Vallee is in fine 
phenomenological form. 

Vallee (Henry Regnery Company, Chicago, 1969). One of the more 
controversial books within UFOlogy as it posits parallels with the 
observed UFO phenomenon and various past legends and lore associated 
with the "fairy folk" and other nonhuman entities. Raises many 
questions, especially about UFO abductions, which remain unanswered. 

6. THE UFO ENCYCLOPEDIA, Volumes 1 and 2, by Jerome Clark (Omnigraphics, 
Detroit, 1990, 1992). Clark's impressive and massive UFO survey is more 
up to date and more comprehensive than preceding UFO encyclopedias. A 
third volume, HIGH STRANGENESS, is expected to be available this year. 

Gilmoor (Bantam Books, New York, 1969). The complete text of the 
controversial University of Colorado, Boulder, study directed by 
physicist Edward U. Condon under contract to the Air Force. Turgid and 
tedious in parts, but still an indispensable reference book. 

8. OBSERVING UFOS by Richard F. Haines (Nelson-Hall, Chicago, 1980). A 
former perceptual psychologist with NASA's Ames Research Center, Haines 
focuses here on perception, particularly the peculiarities of our visual 
field and sense of time, as related to the observation of anomalous 
aerial phenomena. 

9. PROJECT BLUE BOOK, edited by Brad Steiger (Ballantine Books, New 
York, 1976). A wildly miscellaneous grab-bag of odds and ends drawn 
mostly from official (and declassified) Air Force Project Blue Book 
files, including a list of those cases classified "unknown." Contains 
much original source material found nowhere else. 

10. THE INTERRUPTED JOURNEY by John G. Fuller (Dell, New York, 1987). 
The book that first introduced the UFO abduction phenomenon to the 
public, this volume, first published in 1966, examines the case of Betty 
and Barney Hill, who experienced a UFO close encounter which resulted in 
nearly two hours of alleged missing time. 

11. MISSING TIME by Budd Hopkins (Richard Marek Publishers, New York, 
1981). Hopkins is an abstract artist widely recognized as the leading 
proponent of the genetic-engineering theory of UFO abductions. A pioneer 
in UFO abduction research, he gives his theories in this controversial 

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