By Presidential command the UFO hunt is up

John Hamilton

(Investigator # 2, September 1988.
Reprinted courtesy The Advertiser, January 13, 1978)

Reports of fresh sightings of unidentified flying objects are pouring into Government offices in Washington.

The avalanche began in the northern summer when the film "Star Wars" started a whole new science fiction boom.

Then came another movie — "Close Encounters of the Third Kind."

Unlike "Star Wars", "Close Encounters" deals with fictional visits to Earth by space ships from elsewhere.

Then there is President Jimmy Carter. He says he saw a UFO in Georgia in 1973.

To add fuel to the UFO business, a special political committee of the General Assembly of the United Nations decided to debate a proposal that a special UN agency be set up study UFO reports and "establish contact with any alien creatures in spacecraft that might be encountered."

The proposal originated with Mr. Eric Gairy, who is Prime Minister of the 20 by 34 kilometre island of Grenada in the Caribbean.

Mr. Gairy says he saw a UFO two and a half years ago when he was driving home early one morning.

He described it as "a big object, a brilliant light, golden bright, moving at tremendous speed."

As UFO reports began to surge into Washington again a few weeks ago as a result of these various stimuli, the White House decided to ask the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to take on the job of answering letters about UFOs from concerned citizens.

Dr. Frank Press, the White House science adviser to the President, asked NASA's administrator Robert A. Frosch to consider reopening a Government investigation into the "validity and significance of UFO reports."

The US Federal Government has not concerned itself with UFOs since 1969.

It was then that Edward U. Condon, of the University of Colorado, issued a Federally-sponsored report based on more than 30 years of files gathered by the US Air Force as "Project Bluebook".

The Condon report concluded that there was no hard evidence that UFOs were anything but "misunderstood" conventional phenomena.

The massive Project Bluebook files are now stored in the National Archives in Washington and have been declassified.

There are some 12,000 boxes of records containing 15,000 separate sightings of UFOs reported to the Air Force and about 2000 pictures of UFOs sent in by citizens.

One box in the archives contains about 30 bits and pieces — ranging from a chunk of bumper bar to a glass insulator — sent in by people who were convinced that the objects were bits of flying saucers.

The fresh interest in UFOs has spurred the National Archives to start selling copies of its UFO records — including cassettes of interviews with people who claim to have seen UFOs and reels of home movies showing UFOs.

The archives says business is brisk. Americans are now remembering a vague campaign pledge by President Carter that he would start a new investigation of UFOs.

A Whte House spokesman said he vaguely remembered Mr. Carter making the pledge, but could not pinpoint the time or place.

But the president is quite definite about his UFO sighting.

It was when he was the Governor of Georgia and he saw the object near the town of Griffin in Georgia.

He described it as "bluish at first, then reddish, then luminous but not solid.

At the time he said: "I don't laugh at people any more when they say they have seen UFOs because I have seen one myself."

With a believing President backing a new UFO probe, space experts at NASA are bracing themselves for the deluge.