Down Down Down with Censorship
By Maj. Donald E. Keyhoe
Source: The TRUE Report on Flying Saucers, 1967; Page 12
I'm going to tell you an eerie story, labeled a "rumor" by the Air Force,
which you haven't heard before. The fact that you haven't heard it - haven't
been allowed to hear it - is as frightening as the story itself.
On April 8, 1964, the National Aeronautics & Space Administration launched
from Cape Kennedy the first two-man Gemini capsule, a crucial step in our
effort to land an astronaut on the moon. The capsule went into its planned
orbit around the earth, and sensitive instruments began gathering data that
would reveal flaws and point out possible improvements in the design. This
first test flight was a great success. You read about it next morning in
But there was something you didn't read. This report was given to me
confidentially by two scientists present at the test. The Gemini capsule was
still in its first orbit when four spacecraft of unknown origin flew up to
it. While startled radar trackers watched their screens in openmouthed
amazement, the four took up positions around the capsule - two above it, one
beneath, one aft. Whoever was inside those strange craft appeared to be
inspecting the capsule minutely and with care. They drew close to the
capsule and paced it for a full orbit of the earth. Then, apparently
finished with their scrutiny, they pulled away and vanished into the
What were these four mysterious space travelers? Where had they come from?
What mission had brought them into the earth's space neighborhood? What
people, what beings, were at the controls? I fervently wish I could answer
those questions. And I wish I could satisfactorily answer one other: this
eerie episode, this incident so fraught with implications for all who live
on earth - why was it kept secret?
Washington, DC, itself, has been the location of many sightings,
most of which the Air Force has summarily dismissed.
This much I know: the Gemini episode was not an isolated case. For in the
past three years, unknown to the general public, there has been a tremendous
new wave of incidents in which unidentified flying objects (UFO's) have been
sighted around the world, often near rocket test ranges, satellite orbital
pathways and airfields. The US Government has been aware throughout that
time that enigmatic alien craft of some kind are watching our outer-space
operations. The new wave of UFO appearances fully matches in magnitude the
great "flying saucer" scare of the late 1940s and early 1950s, when it
wasn't unusual for dozens of UFO sightings to be reported in a single week.
UFO activity slowed down somewhat in the late 1950s. But now, suddenly, the
UFO's are back - their numbers greater, their origin as obscure, their
purpose as unfathomable as ever before.
You haven't heard or read anything about this great new wave. No. Back in
the early 1950s the Air Force, charged with investigating UFO's, adopted
the posture of "debunking" flying-saucer stories and ridiculing anybody who
claimed to have seen an alien craft. Now the tactic has changed. The tactic
is total suppression of news. By a strict Air Force order, entitled AFR
200-2, Air Force personnel are forbidden to talk in public about UFO
sightings, and information about UFO's is to be withheld from the press
unless the thing seen "has been positively identified as a familiar or known
object." The US government can also exert indirect pressure on employees
of companies working in missile projects, on airline pilots, and on others
subject to some measure of government control. Result: news blackout.
Why the blackout? I can only guess. Perhaps the government knows something
so startling that it fears the public would be panicked. Perhaps the Air
Force is afraid that the public, fed too many UFO stories, might come to
believe UFO's are unbeatable new Russian war weapons. Maybe the Air Force
now regrets a long-ago decision to hide the true nature of UFO's, but fears
that to admit the long cover-up would bring on a storm of public anger.
I don't know what the Air Force's motives are. But I do know - I know beyond
any possibility of doubt - that a great new wave of UFO's has arrived to
patrol our skies and our space neighborhood. I don't know any more about
these inexplicable craft than anybody else. I know only that they are under
intelligent control and appear to have been produced by some technology more
advanced than our own. They are real. Whether the Air Force admits it or
not, they are definitely, patently, inescapably here.
How do I know? I'm going to tell you how. I'm going to submit documented
case histories to you, evidence that can hardly be doubted, reports signed
by sober, reliable men whose very livelihoods depend on their ability to see
things clearly and note facts with minute accuracy. But first let me tell
you a little about myself and the basis on which I ask your credence. I am a
graduate of the US Naval Academy at Annapolis. Before and during World War
II I was a flying officer in the US Marine Corps. My whole life has been
involved with aircraft, either flying them or writing about them. I mention
this to show that I'm in a position to assess the facts when a pilot tells
me about something he has seen in the air. I'm familiar with mirages,
sundogs and other optical phenomena encountered by pilots, and I know which
optical illusions fool you and which don't, and when.
After the war I became a writer on technical aspects of aviation. One day I
was approached by the editor of TRUE. He wanted me to investigate the
so-called flying saucers that were just then beginning to get into the news.
Frankly, I was skeptical. Flying saucers were just illusions. I thought. But
I investigated anyway, out of curiosity. And after talking to scores of
people who had sighted UFO's - government officials, pilots, scientists - I
came away convinced that UFO's are in truth what they seem to be: visitors
from somewhere else in the universe. I was so thoroughly convinced that I
became director of an organization called NICAP, the National Investigations
Committee on Aerial Phenomena, whose sole purpose is to get to the bottom of
the UFO mystery. NICAP now has some 5,000 members in 50 states and 30
The members of NICAP include veteran officers of all the services including
many from the intelligence branches. Other members are pilots, astronomers,
space and rocket experts and scientists. Many top scientific minds are on
the board of NICAP and others serve as advisers to the organization. I
myself have carried on extensive research in the UFO field over the past 15
years and have written a number of books on the subject.
Over the years NICAP has become a kind of central collecting point for UFO
sighting reports. People who are afraid to report to the Air Force or to
newspapers, fearing public ridicule, report to us. People under
news-blackout orders often report to us in secret. This is how we learned
about the Gemini episode, for example. The news cover-up has leaks, and they
often flow quietly in NICAP's direction.
Consider another leak. In our files is a photocopy of an official tracking
log from Cape Canaveral (now Cape Kennedy), covering operations on January
10, 1961. A Polaris missile was fired that day. According to the log, the
missile was on its way up when an "unidentifiable flying object" came in
over the range. The UFO was evidently so big and maneuvered so close to the
Polaris that automatic tracking radar on the ground, set to follow the
Polaris, locked onto the UFO by mistake. The UFO eventually flew out of the
radar's "sight." It took trackers 14 minutes to find the Polaris again. Did
you read about this in your paper? Certainly not.
Nor did you read about the weird events of May 3, 1964. So puzzling were
these events that they caused a flurry in the US State Department, and the
State Department felt it necessary to send a report on the affair to the
Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Army and the Navy. The security
lid clamped down before the facts got to you, but here they are:
Just before dawn that day, near Canberra, Australia, several observers on
the ground saw a large white-glowing object traveling northeast across the
dark sky. It moved with a peculiar wobble as though losing power or partly
out of control. The gaping observers then saw a smaller object, visible with
a faint red light, hovering not far ahead. The big white craft flew right up
to the smaller one and appeared to strike it. Then the large UFO turned, no
longer wobbling, and streaked out of sight. The small red light sputtered
briefly and went out. Judging from the baffled observers' report the
incident could have been either an attack by the big craft on the smaller
object, or else some odd kind of midair refueling or recharging process.
The observers' report was investigated by the Scientific Attache of the
American Embassy at Canberra, Dr. Paul Siple, and two NASA engineers. They
concluded, in the first place, that the observers had indeed seen what they
said they'd seen. They also concluded that the mysterious objects were not
earth-made craft of any known kind. The embassy reported all this to
Washington, DC, in Airgram A-894 - a copy of which was secured and
deposited in NICAP's files.
The Air force has also kept suspiciously quiet about scores of recent
encounters between UFO's and aircraft. In 1962 and again in 1964, the Air
Force alleged in various press releases and press interviews that the whole
UFO investigation was finished: all sightings had been explained as
balloons, hoaxes, illusions and other known phenomena, and the books were
closed. This was a strange thing to say. For the Air Force, in effect, was
denying that the following documented incidents ever happened:
September 21, 1961: A British and an American jet liner, flying over the
Pacific, independently saw a huge round craft fly above them at incredible
May 21, 1962: An Irish International Airlines plane encountered a round,
metallic flying device at an altitude of 17,000 feet over England.
December 22, 1962: At Ezezia International Airport, near Bueno Aires, a
curious round machine appeared shortly before dawn and put down at the end
of Runway 1-0-2-8, blocking a Panagra DC-8 jet that was preparing to land.
After a while it took off and sped out of sight.
July 18, 1963: Near Sunnyvale, California, four Air force jets tried to
intercept a disc-shaped UFO in the air. According to a report signed by a
qualified ground observer and filed at NICAP, the strange craft was much too
fast for the jets. It "pulled up in a short arc and shot up out of sight in
an estimated three seconds."
This kind of thing has been going on throughout the 1960s. The Air Force
persists in denying it, even though - as in the 1963 Sunnyvale incident -
observers have clearly seen the Air Force's own planes chasing UFO's. The
fact is, the Air Force seems seriously concerned about UFO's and is still
investigating them intensively. The Air Intelligence group that is charged
with checking up on UFO reports (its code name is Project Blue Book) is
still in existence and still active, despite protestations that the book is
The truth is, there is no longer any reasonable doubt that alien spacecraft
are visiting the earth. The statement may sound startling at first, but when
you think about it, it actually becomes quite mundane. It is not much more
startling than the statement that, if you stand on a street corner, sooner
or later somebody will pass by. In the light of recent scientific
calculations, it seems likely that several million of them have planetary
systems, and at least some of these planets must support life. It would be
arrogant of us to suppose that we are the only intelligent beings in the
galaxy, and just as arrogant to think that we are the first to develop space
travel. Civilizations far older than ours may have orbited their first
satellites when humankind was just learning to light fires. Such a
civilization would eventually send its astronauts out to explore nearby
space, and if they found a planet that harbored intelligent life - a planet
such as our own - they would undoubtedly hang around and study it at length.
The Air force is aware of all this. Back in 1949, in fact, before the
decision was made to keep UFO facts secret, the Air Force issued a
fascinating document called the Project Grudge Report. Project Grudge was
the predecessor of Project Blue Book, and the 1949 report dealt with UFO
sightings after World War II. The report pointed out that intelligent beings
might conceivably exist on Mars or Venus. It speculated on the possibility
that a civilization on one of those planets might have begun its
technological advance thousands of years before ours did, and that the
people of that civilization might now be interested in watching our own
advance - out of scientific curiosity, perhaps, or out of fear of future
aggression. "Such a civilization might observe." Said the report, "That on
earth we now have A-bombs and are developing rockets....We should expect at
this time above all to behold such visitations."
As, in fact, we are. The alien visitors are evidently interested in anything
we send up off the ground - airliners, missiles, satellites. When our first
astronauts travel to the moon and planets, they will almost certainly see
UFO's following them, watching, studying.
The Air Force, of course, no longer talks in these terms and no doubt wishes
it had never published the Grudge Report. The official Air Force attitude
now is one of scoffing at all that was said in the 1949 report. Anybody who
talks about UFO's today is a "crackpot" or is "misguided." When the news
can't be suppressed, the Air Force hopes, it can be laughed away.
We at NICAP are aware, of course, that not all UFO sighting reports are
genuine. We know there are crackpots and publicity-seekers in our field of
inquiry, as in all fields of human endeavor. We are not strangers to the
elaborate hoax, the alcoholic hallucination, the bizarre mental aberration.
When a man comes to us and says he has taken a flying-saucer trip with nude
maidens from Venus, or his back yard is swarming with little green men
smoking purple cigars, we nod politely and go our way. We screen all
sighting reports with care, for our position is a ticklish one. The Air
Force would laugh us out of business if we published reports of UFO
incidents that later turned out to be demonstrably hoaxes or illusions.
But there are reports every month that come through the screening process as
unarguably genuine. Reports from airline pilots, for example. Consider the
position an airline pilot is in. Here is a man who, in the first place,
guards his health carefully. He must be in top physical condition to hold
his job. His eyesight and other health parameters are checked repeatedly. At
the first sign of lapsing health he will be grounded. No airline carrying
passengers could afford to be careless about this. Thus it can safely be
assumed that a pilot is not subject to visual or other aberrations that will
make him see things which aren't there. With literally millions of miles of
flying behind him, he is not likely, either, to misidentify things he sees
in the air.
He isn't likely to mistake a star, a balloon or another plane for a flying
saucer. Alcohol is absolutely out of the question If he were to report for
duty drunk, he would be fired on the spot. In fact most airlines forbid even
a glass of beer for flying crews for at least 12 hours (often 24 hours)
before takeoff. Moreover, a pilot is not likely to perpetrate a
flying-saucer hoax. Even when he genuinely sees a UFO he hesitates to report
it. He risks being ridiculed and being identified as a man who sees what
isn't there. He risks his very job. A pilot pretending he'd seen a UFO would
be like a surgeon pretending he had shaking palsy.
Despite all this, the Air force still tries to raise doubts about the
occasional pilot who defies the news blackout and tells his UFO story to the
public press. For example, there was the famous Killian Case of 1959 - an
incident that occurred before the hush-up seemed to be fully in effect. On
the night of February 24, 1959, an American Airlines DC-6 was flying across
Pennsylvania toward Detroit. At the controls were Capt. Peter W. Killian and
First Officer John Dee, and the passenger cabin was well filled. Suddenly
three large, brilliantly lighted, round or disc-shaped craft appeared in the
air nearby. One of them maneuvered close to the DC-6 as though for a brief
inspection, then went back to join its companions. Eventually the three
streaked off into the blackness from which they'd come.
Captain Killian, a man with 15 years and 4 million miles of airline flying
behind him, told the curious story to the press. The Air Force instantly
jumped on him. What he'd really seen, said the Air force, was a group of
three stars appearing and disappearing behind scattered clouds.
Impossible, replied Killian. "The sky was absolutely clear above us. Federal
Aviation Agency records show we were flying at 8,500 feet. The clouds were
at 3,500. Let the Air force explain how we saw stars through clouds 5,000
feet beneath us."
American Airlines then got behind its man and announced that other pilots
had often encountered UFO's in the same area. The argument grew hotter. In
an interview with a New York Herald Tribune reporter, an Air force spokesman
remarked that some UFO witnesses "were so drunk they couldn't remember what
they saw." This harpoon wasn't aimed directly at Killian, but it was a hell
of a nasty implication to make under the circumstances.
Other people now began to jump into the debate. In Washington, Congressman
Sam Friedel of Maryland offered Captain Killian a "day in court" if he
wanted to come to the Capital. Evidently seeing that the "star" theory
wouldn't hold up if this happened, the Air force hastily came up with a new
explanation: Killian had seen a KC-97 tanker refueling three B-47 jets. This
was nonsense too. All aircraft flights in the US, including refueling,
are reported to both the FAA and the Air Defense Command. If there had been
a refueling operation that night over Pennsylvania, the fact would have been
known and released at once - not "discovered" two weeks later. In any case,
it is inconceivable that a veteran pilot would fail to recognize a familiar
aircraft when he saw it.
And there were other facts in the case that the Air Force could not explain
First Officer Dee and the passengers also saw the alien craft. They
corroborated Captain Killian's story.
Two other American Airlines crews, flying in the vicinity, were alerted by
radio. They saw the UFO's too.
Three United Air Lines planes were plying the airways in that sky
neighborhood that night. They had no contact with Captain Killian or the
other American Airlines crews. But they, too, saw and privately reported
All this might have come out in a public debate. But then, abruptly, Captain
Killian stopped arguing. In a statement to NICAP, his wife said that
American airlines had been instructed by the Air Force to muzzle him. As of
mid-1964, he was still forbidden to say anything more in public about that
strange night in 1959.
The Air Force has other means of shutting people up. As an example, consider
the infamous Stokes Case. This occurred in November, 1957. James Strokes, an
engineer at the Air Force Missile Development Center close to Alamogordo,
New Mexico, was driving his car down a highway when a gigantic oval-shaped
machine flew overhead at an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 mph. Other witnesses on
the highway also saw the enigmatic craft. Stokes' car radio failed and his
engine stalled when the device passed over him, and he sat and stared in
amazement as it streaked over the horizon.
Stokes talked to the press. The first result was that an order suddenly went
out to all personnel at the Missile Center. The order, approved by Maj. Gen.
L. I. Davis, the commanding officer, forbade everybody at the Center to
comment publicly on UFO reports from then until further notice. This by
itself indicated that the Air Force was anxious to keep something from the
public. The next step was the issuance of a nationwide press release that
bluntly called Stokes' story a hoax. Muzzled by General Davis's order,
Stokes could not argue with this. The Air Force also took another step, a
very suggestive one. Stokes was quietly promoted two grades.
The Stokes Case and the Killian Affair, and other, similar episodes, have
had the effect of tightening the news cover-up. Pilots report quietly to
their supervisors and to NICAP, but seldom to the press. Understandably,
they fear the consequences of any public statement.
The Air Force's public statements meanwhile, have gone virtually
unchallenged by the public at large. But this state of things can't last
forever. The American public isn't as gullible as some government officials
seem to think. Sooner or later a day has got to come when the public asks a
question that the air force won't be able to answer. "See here," the public
will say, "could it be, could it really be, that every one of those
thousands of UFO witnesses was mistaken?"
Of course it couldn't be. And the air Force knows it couldn't. this was as
much as admitted not long ago by no less a man than Dr. J. Allen Hynek,
eminent astrophysicist who has for a long time been chief Air force
consultant on UFO's. Writing of his thoughts about UFO's in the Yale
University journal, Dr. Hynek stated: "The intelligence of the observers and
reporters of UFO's is certainly at least average, in many cases above
average, in some cases embarrassingly above average."
NICAP knows of two cases in which Air Force fighter planes apparently
tangled with UFO's and lost. There may also be similar events which the Air
Force has kept hidden. One is the famous Capt. Thomas Mantell case, the
other an episode that took place on November 23, 1953. An unknown object was
reported in the sky over Lake Superior. From Kinross Air Force Base in
Michigan, an F-89 jet took off to investigate. At the controls was Lt. Felix
Moncia, Jr., and in the rear cockpit, preparing to track the UFO by radar,
was Lt. R. R. Wilson. An Air Force radar crew followed the whole operation
from the ground. They saw the F-89 follow the UFO for 160 miles over Lake
Superior. There was no advance indication of any trouble. But suddenly the
jet and UFO blips merged on the radarscope.
The rest was silence. Radio calls to Monica and Wilson were unanswered. A
two-day search of the lake turned up not a single piece of wreckage, not a
lifejacket, not a slick of oil. Neither Moncia, nor Wilson, nor their F-89
were ever seen again.
The air force made all kinds of attempts to explain away this weird episode.
At first the UFO was explained as an off-course Canadian airliner, then as a
Royal Canadian Air Force plane. But neither explanation held water. It is a
positive fact, substantiated by the Canadian Air force itself in letters to
NICAP, that no Canadian aircraft of any kind were in the vicinity at the
time. The UFO was quite definitely an alien space vehicle. But precisely
what took place between it and Moncia's plane is a total mystery.
Soon we may find out a little more about such episodes, and a lot more about
UFO's in general. For pressure is building in Washington to make the Air
Force end the secrecy. Particularly in Congress, the feeling is growing that
public hearings should be held to air the entire mysterious subject. NICAP
has submitted to Congress a documented report on its painstaking seven-year
investigation in the hope of spurring action.
"A full explanation of the 'flying saucers' seems due," said Senator Vance
Hartke of Indiana in a letter to NICAP on June 5, 1963. Said Senator William
Proxmire of Wisconsin in 1963: "The very fact that so many inexplicable
incidents have occurred is reason enough for a thorough investigation." Many
other members of congress, of both parties, have also made strong statements
in support of public hearings.
Sooner or later the truth has got to come out. A secret this big, with such
enormous implications for all of humanity, cannot possibly be kept forever.
Congressional hearings are almost bound to be held eventually - probably
within the next year. The basic finding of these hearings - that we are
indeed under surveillance of some kind by visitors from the universe - will
undoubtedly startle and frighten many people throughout the world. But it
shouldn't surprise you at all. The facts, the evidence, are before you right
The PAG Network
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