Project Blue Book

Blue Book was considered to be as important as a college exam, which were traditionally written in standard blue books. Project Blue Book was the third of a series of systematic studies of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) conducted by the United States Air Force. The previous studies were Project Sign and Project Grudge.


Project Sign:

Ran from January, 1948 to February 1949. Its final report was published in early 1949, stating that while some UFOs appeared to represent actual aircraft, there was not enough data to determine their origin.

Project SIGN supposedly published a document called the Estimate of the Situation, which suggested that extraterrestrials were a possible explanation for UFO sightings. Air Force officials destroyed the document and launched a more skeptical investigation called Project GRUDGE. In the 1960s, Air Force officials denied that the document ever existed. However, several Air Force officers (including Captain Edward J. Ruppelt) and SIGN's scientific consultant Dr. Hynek, claim the report as being a real document that was suppressed.

Project Sign was first disclosed to the public in 1956 via the book "The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects" by retired Air Force Captain Edward J. Ruppelt. The official files of Sign were declassified in 1961.

Project Grudge:

Started in February, 1949. Most cases were evaluated on the premise that UFOs couldn't exist.

Captain Edward J. Ruppelt was the director of Grudge from late 1951 on (he also remained for some time with Project Blue Book). He coined the term "unidentified flying object" (UFO), to replace the terms "flying saucer" and "flying disk". In his 1956 book, Ruppelt described Grudge as the "Dark Ages" of USAF UFO investigation.

American astronomer and professor Allen Hynek acted as scientific advisor to Project Sign, Project Grudge and Project Blue Book.

Grudge formally ended in December 1949, but continued in a minimal capacity for some time. It issued its only formal report in August 1949. Though over 600 pages long, the report's conclusions stated:

"There is no evidence that objects reported upon are the result of an advanced scientific foreign development; and, therefore they constitute no direct threat to the national security. In view of this, it is recommended that the investigation and study of reports of unidentified flying objects be reduced in scope."

"All evidence and analyses indicate that reports of unidentified flying objects are the result of:
  1. Misinterpretation of various conventional objects.
  2. A mild form of mass-hysteria and war nerves.
  3. Individuals who fabricate such reports to perpetrate a hoax or to seek publicity.
  4. Psychopathological persons."

Blue Book

Project Blue Book started in March 1952. Under pressure from Major General Charles P. Cabell, head of Air Force intelligence at the Pentagon, Project Grudge was dissolved to be replaced by Blue Book.

Captain Edward J. Ruppelt was the first director of Blue Book, until late 1953. Next came Charles Hardin, George T. Gregory (1956), Robert Friend (1958 to 1963) and Hector Quintanilla (1963 until closure).

Professor Allen Hynek was Blue Book's scientific advisor.

"Reports of unidentified flying objects which could affect the national security are made in accordance with JANAP 146 or Air Force Manual 55-11, and are not part of the Blue Book system." -

1969 memo by Brigadier General C.H. Bolender, US Air Force
Blue Book started off well. Later on, its approach became directed by a panel formed in late 1952 by the CIA known as The Robertson Panel, that felt that UFO sightings represented a potential danger to national security that could be exploited for propaganda and psychological means by the Soviets. It was this concern that prompted the panel to conclude that the UFO mystery should be demystified. This became the role assigned to Blue Book.

As a result of the conclusions of the Robertson Panel, Blue Book's was reduced from more than ten personnel to three, including its director Ruppelt. On many occasions, bizarre and simply inaccurate explanations were offered to try and resolve as many cases as possible. From then on, Blue Book was nothing more than an exercise in public relations.

As a result of the Condon Report (1968), which concluded there was nothing anomalous about UFOs, an order to terminate Blue Book was given in December 1969. All activity officially ceased in January 1970.