No, Project Blue book is not some crazy government conspiracy theory – during the 50s and 60s, the U.S. Air Force really conducted a series of studies on UFO sightings around the world. Below are 6 facts you’re probably not familiar with, given that the program has long been shrouded in secret.
#6. It got its name from the college essay requirement.
Ugh, remember having to bring your own blue book for an exam? Project Blue Book earned its name because Air Force officials at the time equated studying people’s UFO “sightings” with preparing for a college exam.
#5. They made so many mistakes Congress had to get involved.
The mistakes were scientific in nature, like claiming witnesses must have see Jupiter on nights the planet would not have been visible in the night sky. Robert Riser, Oklahoma’s planetarium director at the time, said “the Air Force must have had its star finder upside-down during August,” and similar occurrences led to a congressional hearing.
#4. The government had a specialized protocol for dealing with reported sightings.
The Air Force had a standard questionnaire that included prompts like “draw a picture that will show the shape of the object or objects,” “what was the condition of the sky,” and “did the object suddenly speed up and rush away at the time? Change shape? Flicker, throb, or pulsate?”
For a time, they even designated an officer whose job was just to collect UFO reports.
#3. It wasn’t the government’s last study on UFOs.
A new study, called Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program, cost the government $22 million between 2007 and 2012. Fun fact: they’ve re-branded UFOs as UAPs (Unidentified Aerial Phenomena).
#2. The collected thousands of reports.
Some of the 12,618 collected reports were never explained – 701 were never closed. Nearly half of the reports were filed in 1952…and in 1953, it became a crime for military personnel to discuss classified UFO reports with the public.
#1. It wasn’t the government’s first study on UFOs, either.
Pilot Kenneth Arnold reported 9 UFO’s over Washington’s Mount Rainier in 1947, prompting the formation of Project SIGN. The goal was to determine whether the objects were a threat – in 1948, the project allegedly published a document titled “Estimate of the Situation,” which suggested aliens were a possible explanation. The project was scrapped and then replaced by a more skeptical Project GRUDGE, all before Project Blue Book.
The truth really is out there, my friends.