A newly released response to one particualr public UFO sighting only increases the notion that the military - which was often forced into looking into "flying saucer" sightings - was exceptionally skeptical about such reports.
The National Archives this week published a letter and photo collected under Project Grudge - an Air Force investigation into flying saucer sightings in 1949. The Archives writes that the document "is a classic example of the skeptical tone taken by the [Air Force and Grudge] study [stating bluntly the letter doesn't even deserve a response]."
Mr. Albert Ehrke, who submitted the letter and the attached photograph to the Air Force, believed firmly that there was an earthly explanation at work: that the image of the "flying saucer" was "fake," and that the Air Force might explain the photo as a "special, research balloon." The balloon suggestion is typical of the explanations offered to the public by Project Grudge, which also include clouds, refracted halos around the sun (sun dogs), and conventional aircraft, the Archives notes.
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According to a Wikipedia entry on the study: Project Grudge issued its only formal report in August 1949 and included the following conclusions:
- 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. Headquarters AMC [Air Materials Command] will continue to investigate reports in which realistic technical applications are clearly indicated.
- It is apparent that further study along present lines would only confirm the findings presented herein. It is further recommended that pertinent collection directives be revised to reflect the contemplated change in policy.
- 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.
Project Grudge was the middle UFO study of three that the government undertook between 1947 and 1969. Project Sign was the first and Project blue Book, arguably the most famous was the last.
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