Friday, June 10, 2005

Blame the Navy?

Rich Reynolds and Chris Jay, over at the RR Group blog (, chastised ufologists today for ignoring the possibility that the US Navy and Army might also have been involved in the UFO phenomenon, and secret projects run under their auspices may have been responsible for some (all?) UFO sightings, particularly in the early days of the phenomenon.

Ignoring for the moment that all ufologists - a diverse group if ever there was one - are lumped into one pile by Rich and Chris (many ufologists, I suspect, could care less about Roswell, or the history of the phenomenon), their contention is flat out wrong. Ufologists have not, as Rich and Chris suggest, restricted their attention to the efforts of the Air Force with respect to UFOs, including as a possible explanation for sightings. Neither has the media.

For example, this article from the New York Times, 4 April 1950, puts forward the notion (first reported in US News and World Report) that UFOs (or "flying saucers" as they were called then) were the result of top secret Navy research and development programs, some stemming back as far as 1942.

So, was it the United States Navy?

Who knows?

If it was, however, someone seems to have forgotten to tell Secretary of the Navy Dan Kimball, and Admiral Arthur Radford, who had their own, still unexplained, sighting in 1952 while flying - in separate planes - over the Pacific Ocean (on their way to Hawaii). They were both at a loss to explain what they saw, and certainly didn't write it off as "just another one of our experimental craft."

Still, my point isn't that the Navy shouldn't be looked at as a source of possible explanations for UFO sightings / reports of crashed saucers, but rather that ufology has been well aware of the Navy's potential role for decades now, even as they have been unable to pin it down. If Rich and Chris have something to offer with respect to the latter, then good for them, and I look forward to reading it when they make it available.

Who knows - it may actually be something that no-one has ever seen before (in which case I'll be the first to applaud)?

But I think they would be better served making their case, and not using the Navy angle as a cover to take another gratuitous shot at ufologists, and, by extension, ufology. There's plenty of legitimate reasons to question ufology, without accusing it of a dereliction that is simply not the case.

Paul Kimball


RRRGroup said...


Our point was that the Navy (and Army) connections to UFOs have been sidelined by ufologists. We noted that nothing of consequence appears in the popular UFO materials.

But a review of the NASA archives shows the Navy all over the place, which we say may acccount for some UFO sightings and events.

The phenomenon is far-reaching, ubiquitous, and fraught with all kinds of possibilities, even making Jerry Clark reconsider calling the category UFO phenomena,

Mac Tonnies addresses this aspect also, and in a highly intellectual and creative way.

My point, our point (the RRRGroup), is that some of the major cases can be scuttled because they offer prosaic explanations -- maybe.

Lets move on to really obtuse sightings, events, episodes, and incidents in the UFO panoply, and see what we can uncover.

Let's really separate the wheat from the chaff, instead of dogpaddling around MJ-12, Socorro, Aztec, Roswell, et cetera.

I know you agree...


MEC said...

This sounds good but unfortunately its also sounds like more of the same, somewhat pointless, "our stuff is real, your stuff is stupid" song the ufology has been rife with for the past few years. New blood, new insights, less dogma...good. Wasting that trying to show who is smartest by pouring over the past. Not so much.

Maybe it would be better to devote some of this energy AWAY from musty papers and out into the field to look over...and admittedly, mostly explain...the things that are going on today.

Just a thought,

Paul Kimball said...


Thanks for stopping by. I don't completely disagree with you. However, I would note that, as the saying goes, those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. The study of the history of the phenomenon may help us understand what it is (there are some great, old cases that have not garnered much attention or investigation, for example). There's room for both the study of what's going on today as well as what happened before. Indeed, I would suggest that you can't succeed with the former unless you truly understand the latter.

Paul Kimball

MEC said...


I agree as well. And it wasn't meant as a blanket critiscm of your work as well as theirs as much as just a minor point that there is a LOT of looking backward right now. Some of it very useful. Some of it pretty much hairsplitting.

For instance this US NAVY reponsible for UFO's thing. A number of them...Almost certainly. The ones where what was observed made radical manouvers and judged to be larger than a toy...not so much. Is "ufology" served by going much deeper than that? Is it a stunning revalation? I am not so sure.

Putting MJ-12 to rest. More relevant if only because the issue still eats up lots of time that could be going towards "less paper/more event" based research. The sad truth is that given modern tech a set of documents could be put together saying Christ had tea with nixon and they would be even harder to pick apart than the sometimes sloppy MJ-12 stuff. Would hate to see a field tied down for 20 years over more power to you if you can put it to bed for good.

Sorry to blather, was just trying to point out that when you have been looking over the field for a long time, the "lets go in and tilt some cows" is as tired really as dogmatic the ranting. Sorry RRR's, I respect your enthusiam but have seen this movier before.
Without a doubt there is something a bit odd out there. Be it aliens, delusions, sidesteppers or timetravelers...I have no real idea which. All I know is that whatever truth and deeper science is out there, its probably not going to be found in an old document;)

MEC said...

lol but one more comment to be fair. I do very much agree with Rich's sentiment to get down to the truely obtuse and interesting stuff. Especially without editing the data for any specific theory or agenda.

I just think this can be done WITHOUT spending too much energy shooting down famous but dubious cases. Heck there are whole magazines that do that for us;) Let's get on to the good stuff ourselves.