Catalog of 1,600 Project BLUE BOOK UFO Unknowns
Work in Progress
(Version 1.16, Oct. 2, 2009)
Compiled by Brad Sparks, ©
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.
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
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.
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).
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.
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.
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Catalog of 1,600 Project BLUE BOOK UFO Unknowns