The Debunking Continues
The project had lost a lot of credibility over the years, and this downward trajectory would only get steeper under the leadership of Major Hector Quintanilla. He took over the project in 1963 and led several high-profile investigations in 1965.
In the midwestern United States, there was a huge boom in UFO sightings in the summer of 1965. In Tulsa, Oklahoma in August of 1965, one of the most hotly contested UFO photos was taken by a 14-year old boy named Alan Smith.
In response to this photograph, the project aimed to prove that the photo was a forgery. They attempted to recreate the photo in a laboratory using small metal objects.
During this wave of sightings, scientists and other government entities were busy tracking the reported claims. For example, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol tracked four supposed UFOs, noting that the aircraft they investigated clearly moved more quickly than any aircraft that could be made with the day’s technology. The project largely dismissed this testimony.
Some sightings that summer occurred as far west as Santa Ana, California. The day after Alan Smith snapped his iconic photo, Orange County highway inspector Rex Heflin took another of the most famous and most fiercely debated UFO pictures in history.
As with the Tulsa photo, researchers for the project concluded that Heflin’s photo was a hoax. However, modern photo-enhancement technology has never been able to identify signs of tampering.
A few years later, in 1967, another famous UFO photograph came into the hands of Quintanilla’s team, this time from New Clemens, Michigan.
The researchers at the project investigated this photo as well. However, when the photographers refused to provide their original negatives, the researchers stated that they had insufficient data to make a firm conclusion on the authenticity of the photo.
The Project’s Demise
The beginning of the project’s demise came in the form of a court hearing in 1966, once again the result of a string of UFO sightings, this time in New England. The project concluded that the sightings could be explained by military training happening in the area, but critics refused to accept this explanation. Witnesses to the sightings brought the matter to court, claiming that the project’s attempts to debunk their claims ruined their reputations.
That same year, the United States established the Condon Committee to help counter some of the criticism of Blue Book. The committee was intended to be a purely neutral group of scientists who would study UFO activity. This committee quickly concluded that there was no evidence of extraterrestrial activity in any of the sightings investigated by Blue Book.
This conclusion led to the decision to close the project altogether. The records of the project were stored in archives in Alabama where they remain to this day.
Much to the chagrin of proponents of alien life, Blue Book ultimately concluded that supposed UFO sightings could all be explained by misidentification, hoaxes, mass hysteria, and delusions.
Well there’s our look at the history of Project Blue Book. Do you think some of these UFO sightings are evidence of extraterrestrials? Let us know in the comments below or on any of our socials.