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Comprehensive Catalog of 1,600 Project BLUE BOOK UFO Unknowns

Work in Progress (Version 1.25, Jan. 2, 2014)  
Compiled by Brad Sparks, © 2001-2014

The main purpose of this catalog at present is to help identify and fill in where possible missing or difficult-to-obtain U.S. Air Force documentation on better quality Unexplained UFO cases, not to present here the "proof" of UFO reality nor to discuss possible IFO identifications, subjects reserved for later analysis once full files can be examined.  Here the goal is preliminary and to compile more complete documentation, not the perfection of the analysis or categorizations. This catalog will be used eventually to produce another catalog of UFO Best Evidence after a screening process based on Hynek's and other criteria and for that reason columns for data on Duration, No. of Witnesses, Angular Size and "Instrumentation/Scientists etc." have been separately presented from the available case data and/or calculated where possible. 

When Project Blue Book (BB) closed down on Jan. 30, 1970 (it was not on Dec. 17, 1969, which was merely the announcement date by the Secretary of the Air Force) the total number of Unidentified sightings was thought to be 701 and this is the number given on all subsequent press releases and so-called "fact sheets."  However, based on the review by Hynek and the CUFOS staff of the released sanitized BB microfilm and Hynek's personal records which included many missing (and unsanitized) BB documents, the final number was determined to have been approximately 587, apparently reflecting an IFO elimination process carried out on old historical cases by the next-to- last BB Chief, Major Hector Quintanilla in the 60's (and of dubious scientific validity based on examples McDonald studied), which must have reduced the number of Unexplained cases by 114.  Evidently the AF did not update its annual historical UFO statistics to reflect this gradual winnowing process, not realizing it could improve upon its anti-UFO PR position by reducing the perennially embarrassing number of Unidentifieds. 

However, in reverse, Hynek re-evaluated 53 Blue Book IFO cases as Unexplained UFO cases, bringing the total partially back, up to 640, unfortunately a complete list identifying these is not available, though some of the worksheets have been copied by Jan Aldrich from CUFOS-Hynek files.  A number of the re-evaluated cases have been included in The Hynek UFO Report book published in 1977. 

Much more disturbing are the indications from my limited review of BB cases that there may be as many as possibly 4,000 Unexplained UFO cases miscategorized as IFO's in the BB files.  McDonald similarly stated in 1968 at his CASI lecture that from his review of BB cases he estimated that 30-40% of 12,000 cases were Unexplained, or about 3,600 to 4,800.  These are mostly military cases and many involve radar.  McDonald argued with Hynek on a number of occasions from 1966 onward that the number of Unknowns in the BB files was in reality “about an order of magnitude” greater than what the AF claimed (so instead of 500-600 Unidentifieds possibly as many as 5,000-6,000). 

The BB files total some 13,134 cases altogether, UFO and IFO, according to the Hynek-CUFOS revised statistics, or about 14,613 when 1,558 "info only" cases are included, per the FUFOR Index. Many cases are actually multiple incidents filed under one date/location.  For simplicity I am therefore rounding up to 15,000 as the approximate total number of UFO incidents in the BB files. 

This catalog is based primarily on the outstanding catalog prepared by Don Berliner of the Fund for UFO Research (FUFOR) from his exhaustive review of the then unreleased Project Blue Book (BB) files at Maxwell AFB (Air Force Base), Alabama, in Jan. 1974, which included many witness names that were later sanitized out ("blacked out") of the public release of the BB files by the Air Force in 1974-5.  Berliner's effort ought to be supplemented with the tremendous intelligence coup by William Weitzel and FUFOR in early March 1998 in discovering and later securing copies of the unsanitized pre-redaction record copy 16 mm Maxwell AFB microfilm of the BB files that the National Archives inadvertently made available (at the College Park, Maryland, NARA II facility in Record Group 341 / 190 / 68 / 08 / 03, boxes 1-6, 70 films numbered 30,362 through 30,431), but no resources are available for such a large-scale research project.  All of UFOlogy owes an enormous debt of gratitude to FUFOR for this lasting contribution to the preservation and disclosure of this vast treasure of priceless military UFO records. 

Due to the large size of this pdf file (2 MB) those with a dial up connection may find a dialog box opening to save for download. Adobe Reader 9.0 or a later version is required to read this file.

Comprehensive Catalog of 1,600 Project BLUE BOOK UFO Unknowns


 

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