Thursday, January 21, 2010

Aerospace companies and UFOs 2

Hi readers

A thought had been sitting in the back of my mind about the contents of some of my early posts concerning Jacque Vallee's diaries. Last night I went back to the two volumes of his diaries to take another look, and worked long in to the night.

Firstly, back to 17 May 1965 (Page 135 of "Forbidden Science" Volume 1. 1992. North Atlantic Books. Berkeley, CA.) "There are rumours that many aerospace companies are conducting their own secret studies of UFOs." Vallee reported on an incident which occurred when a Martin Marietta engineer visited Vallee and the engineer became upset when someone present saw some of his papers which they should not have.

On to 23 Jul 1966, page 198. "The observatory has received a letter from an aerospace engineer, the same man who was so secretive when he visited us last year. He is asking us to send him our "twenty best cases," a request already made recently by a mysterious group of scientists from Wright Field...Is this man working for some intelligence agency? or simply for the secret study McDonnell-Douglas is rumoured to be starting?"

In 1973/74 Vallee wrote in his diary about a conversation he had with Dr Kit Green. Green ran the Life Science desk in the CIA's Office of Strategic Intelligence. (Source: Smith, P H. 2005. "Reading the Enemy's Mind." New York. Tom Doherty Associates. Page 64.)

Vallee wrote (2008. "Forbidden Science" Volume 2. Documentica Research, LLC Page 237.)
Vallee: "Don't you agree there must be a secret effort somewhere?"

Green: "Yes...I do agree with that statement. In my group we've wondered if it wasn't being run within private industry."

In an entry dated 16 Mar 1974 Vallee noted:
"In an hour I'll have dinner with Pohr, who has flown from Paris for the joint meeting of the AIAA's UFO sub committee and Allen Hynek's CUFOS...the former group is directed by Dr Joachim Kuettner...with him are...Bob Wood of McDonnell-Douglas."

Later, on page 277 dated 10 Dec 1974:
"Kit reluctantly confirmed there was a group of 15 engineers in the midwest (I assumed it was McDonnell in St Louis) secretly doing UFO research for CIA under cover of "aeronautical research.""

Page 310 dated 27 Sep 1975:
"At the AIAA I spoke after Bob Wood, a Douglas aircraft engineer of the "nuts and bolts" school who flatly equated all psychic phenomena with hallucinations."

Page 412 dated 5 Jan 1978
"Yesterday I received a phone call from a fellow who works with McDonnell-Douglas Astronautics. He told me that "on a private basis" he was compiling a new close encounter database. I am not stupid enough to believe that his company has no corporate interest in the matter. They have an on-going secret project, well funded, with the blessing and official monitoring of the CIA and they're discretely connected with major UFO groups, all of which love the secret intrigue of a link to the spooks even as they vilify "the government coverup" in their public announcements."

The final relevant entry appeared on page 439 dated 15 Oct 1978:
"McDonnell Douglas is continuing their quiet but well funded study with John Schuessler also monitored by the agency. They seem to be looking for exotic alloys."

Well, that's the material from Vallee's dairies.

Who was it?

I wondered who might have been conducting UFO research inside aeronautical/aerospace companies? Then, purely by chance, I came across an article in the October 2008 issue of the MUFON Journal which revealed that the McDonnell Douglas company had been researching UFOs in the 1960's! Who headed the project, a Dr Robert M Wood.

The McDonnell Douglas study

The following is a summary of Wood's article.

In 1966 Dr Robert M Wood was working for the McDonnell Douglas aviation company. His boss Raymond W Hallett was scheduled to provide the USAF with a response to the question of how to get to Earth orbit and return. Wood suggested looking at how UFOs did it.

Wood was later asked by senior management about how to generate new business. He voiced the opinion that UFOs had "...figured out some sort of gravity the ONLY question in my mind is whether we are going to figure it out how they work before or after Lockheed!"

Management approved establishing a small project "Advanced Projects." Wood hired Chan Thomas, "...because he was a psychic who claimed to be in contact with ETs sometimes." "I had counsel from Dr Darrell B Harmon-who was already knowledgeable and interested in the UFO topic..."

In June 1969 Wood hired Stanton Friedman to read the UFO literature full time. Dr Joseph M Brown was employed to look at physics theory. Later, a private detective Paul Wilson was hired to interview UFO witnesses.

Brown, Thomas, Wilson and Friedman were full time. Other McDonnell personnel were seconded to the project as needed. Wood spent about 10% of his time managing the Project.

In summary staff were:

Joe Brown-focused on theoretical works.
Chan Thomas-"...his value to me was his tremendously innovative mind."
Paul Wilson-interviews. Also took a company outfitted van with state of the art equipment to a UFO prone area for a week to look to make direct observations.
Stanton Friedman-"identify specific clues that would help us decide which technologies should be pursued."
Darrell Harmon-Part time PhD Physics consultant.
Leon Steinert-Mathematician.
Harvey Bjornlie-experimentalist.

Re Allen Hynek - "...I don't believe I ever exposed the total scope of our program to him."

On the labwork, Joe Brown took the lead.

Labwise-"Since the observed UFO phenomena so often indicated large magnetic fields, an obvious question is whether the speed of light could be influenced by a large magnetic field."

Paul Wilson and Joe Brown, in Aug 1968, interviewed a 1958 abductee and Paul interviewed other witnesses to sightings.

On field observations- "Both Allen Hynek and Jim McDonald were excited about the possibility of our developing a mobile van to be used for going out to the sites of UFO reporting."

"All of our employees involved knew that Bob Wood thought that the UFOs were ET craft, and most of them knew that our gaol was to find out how their travel system worked."

On Government contact - "The only contact with the Government about the Project came towards the end in the spring of 1970, when there was interest expressed by one of the intelligence agencies." The McDonnell Douglas group submitted a proposal for Project Skylite. To Wood' knowledge no such contract was ever given to McDonnell Douglas.

The total expenditure on the project was $500,000. Basically at the end, the Project "...had no clues about how close we might be getting to any breakthrough" and the Project was closed.

The McDonnell Douglas documents

I went off in search of more information on this project. I found a website (click here) which appeared to display scans of 275 pages of McDonnell Douglas UFO study papers. The information shown there is consistent with the general desciption of the project and specifics given in the MUFON Jopurnal article's reference section.

Perhaps, for the purpose of this post, the most interesting page was page 130 out of the 275, (Page 56 of a file "Advanced vehicle concepts research")headed "Competitors efforts" dated 2 May 1968.

"Hughes (10 men at Fullerton under Meiers.)
Lockheed Sunnyvale.
RAND has proposed project.
Martin had (has) gravity project
(as have several other companys)
Several companys have UFO related efforts
Raytheon (has had computer project for Condon U of Colo)"

Wow, what a lot of information to absorb! Many questions come immediately to my mind:

1. If the McDonnell Douglas study headed by Wood was between 1966 and 1970, who was conducting the research mentioned in Vallee's diary entry of 10 Dec 1974? Was it McDonnell Douglas as Vallee thought, or someone else? If it was MCDonnell Douglas it would seem that Wood did not know about it. If not McDonnell Douglas, then who?

2. Vallee's diary entries for 1978 mentioned above, speak of McDonnell Douglas as continuing a "...quiet but well funded study..." Who in the company was conducting the work? Vallee speaks of it being "..with the blessing and official monitoring of the CIA..."

3. A "big" question is "Are any aerospace companies conducting research today?"

Well, that's probably enough for now, my brain is spinning and I need to go away and think some more. However, I need to leave you with one more thought.

Another piece of the puzzle may be found in Nick Cook's 2002 book titled "The hunt for zero point" ISBN 0 09 941 498 8.After finding a 1956 article, written by one Michael Gladych on anti-gravity research, Cook tried to track down a George S Trimble mentioned in the article. Cook found that Trimble was "...head of Advanced Martin Aircrfat " company. In 1961 Martin became Martin Marietta-the same company mentioned in Vallee's 1965 diary entry! Cook found that Trimble was then still alive and asked through Lockheed Martin (in 1994 Martin Marietta merged with Lockheed) to interview him. Although this intially looked promising, Trimble eventually declined to be interviewed by Cook. Did Martin Marietta also have a UFO study on the go?

I welcome comments on this post, or any additional information you may be able to share.


  1. I worked with Dr. Darrell Harmon back in the early 90's. Very interesting person. He gave us several briefs on his UFO propulsion theories and how it was based on the ether theory of physics. It explained the relationship between gravity and magnetism. Also gave detailed times of travel between earth and other destinations. Lots of cool info:)

  2. And he did say that they tried to replicate the propulsion, but in his words, "it failed miserably". They used permanent rotating magnets, he didn't get into exact details, only that materials technology wasn't ready at the time they tried it. I wish I had gotten a copy of his briefings, but it would have bored most people. They were purely scientific, he and only a few others were still dabbling in the ether theories. He thought that scientist/physicist took a wrong turn when they accepted quantum physics over other theories...

  3. Great blog Pauline! Glad I found it!

  4. Having caught up with the McDonnell Douglas UFO project rather late in the day, a number of points present themselves: (1) In the 1956 Electrogravitics reports Douglas is mentioned as having an interest in such research but not to the extent of having a test rig or relevant department, it seems. So the 1960s-70s project came somewhat out of thin air. The theoretical discussion makes no mention of T. T. Brown or other early pioneers. (2) While the basic idea of making deductions about possible mechanisms of field propulsion from a careful study of UFO reports is good, a lot of attention was also given to dubious contactee claims and efforts to contact alien intelligences using a kind of ouija board! (3) There was clearly no awareness of the Nazi disc research studied by Nick Cook, Henry Stevens et al. If UFOs were the product of black projects or Antarctic Nazi bases, the basic approach would still work, of course. (4) Searching for antigravity on the internet makes clear that many different approaches and paradigms (charged condensers, rotating magnets, etc) are all making significant advances. I get the impression that breakthroughs are getting closer...

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