The Public's Perception Of
The UfO Phenomenon
By Frank Warren
© 2001 Frank Warren

In order to understand how the average person perceives the "UFO phenomenon today, we must go back to the "reporting of such events" in recent history.
The day after Pearl Harbor, air raid sirens in the San Francisco Bay Area went off for the first time in U.S. history. A black out was ordered, Army personnel rushed to get anti-aircraft guns into place, air wardens rushed from door to door darkening lights in their areas, and several auto accidents were reported during the pandemonium. People huddled in fear in there homes awaiting the bombs to fall from the "enemy planes" reported approaching the west coast.
Although trained Army personnel, as well as many civilian witnesses reported anywhere from 15 to 60 aircraft, and the Navy sent ships out to investigate, as well as the Army putting Interceptor planes in the air to chase the "enemy aircraft," nothing was ever found. The so-called "enemy aircraft" disappeared out to the sea. [ General William Ord Ryan of the Forth Interceptor Command, who said a large number of "unidentified aircraft" were turned back at the golden gate. He said the invading planes vanished to the southwest over the sea. When asked whether he thought they were Japanese bombers he replied, " well they weren't army planes, they weren't Navy planes, and you can be sure they weren't civilian planes."] Front page of The Times Union, December 9th, 1941.
Similar events took place on the east coast during the same time period. On each occasion defensive forces were put into play. Ships were dispatched and interceptor aircraft were sent aloft. Not once were any aircraft identified, or supporting vessels found, i.e., aircraft carriers etc. In fact, although the "unidentified aircraft" were visible to radar, there was never any reports of "enemy ships" at sea confirmed by the same. Moreover, I think a military strategist would find it difficult to believe that an enemy who just started World War II with a first strike to Pearl Harbor, with such devastation would take the time to fly dozens of bombers to his opponents home land for a sight seeing mission.
Although the commanding Generals on both coasts took these "sightings" very seriously and said so publicly, Washington was quick to "deny" both events. [ Washington authorities stated the two alarms were only tests. ] Front page of The Times Union, December 9th, 1941.
One has to remember that during that time period the phrase "UFO" or "flying saucer" didn't exist. The "unidentified aircraft," were simply labeled that, and were assumed to be planes. The interesting thing that took place during these events is how Washington handled "explaining them." They lied! In fact, this could be the first "blatant attempt" to cover-up a UFO sighting. What ever their motivation, the fact remains the same, they denied what the commanders on site reported to the press. In all fairness, it could be that officials in Washington didn't want to panic the public by thinking there was going to be a "repeat performance" of Pearl Harbor here in the contiguous United States. Or they could have been simply be trying to stifle "any reports" of those events, because they didn't know what the "unidentified craft" were, whether enemy or otherwise. The point is, here is the first "cognizant action" ( by Washington ) concerning "unidentified flying objects" that would have a direct effect on how the public would perceive a current event, and how it would be viewed for years to come.
In the years to follow, during the war, allied pilots would begin to report sightings of unidentified flying objects "tailing" their aircraft. Soon these things were dubbed "Foo Fighters," An animated character at the time named Smokey Stover used to say "Where there's foo there's fire," so someone nicknamed the craft Foo Fighters. Sightings were varied. Some sightings were lights. Others were silver discs.
The sightings of these UFO's during war time, as one might imagine caused quite a stir. The Army Air Force put a lid on their discussion by pilots and the OSS investigated all sightings, as it was thought at the time that the "Foo Figfhters" could be a new weapon by the Axis Powers.[The OSS also investigated possible sightings of German V-1 and V-2 rockets before their operational use during the war.] Jacobs, UFO Controversy, p. 33
Although these UFO's were seen throughout the war, the "perception" of what they were was controlled by the military, as personnel and eye witnesses were ordered not to discuss these sightings for fear they could be a "superior technology" or "weapon" of the enemy. In fact there wasn't any mention of these sightings in the media until 1944. Later it was learned that Japanese and German pilots had been seeing the same things during the war, and speculated that they were the product of "allied technology."
In 1946 there were reports of what was called "ghost rockets" in Scandinavia and the Baltic Sea. The West assumed that the Soviets were testing some new secret weapon, although the Kremlin flatly denied this was the case. [ Then on 22nd August 1946, the British Daily Telegraph stated "The discussion of the flight of rockets over Scandinavia has been dropped in the Norwegian newspapers since Wednesday. On that day the Norwegian General Staff issued a memorandum to the press asking it not to make any mention of the appearance of rockets over Norwegian territory but to pass on all reports to the Intelligence Department of the High Command In Sweden the ban is limited to any mention of where the rockets have been seen to land or explode."] Daily Telegraph, 22nd August 1946. Once again we see an example that "information isn't reported, but rather regulated by the powers that be."
Then the following summer an event occurred that was to become known all over the world and would trigger the modern day UFO phenomena. Businessman and experienced pilot, Kenneth Arnold while flying his plane across the Cascade Mountains from Chehalis to Yakima in Washington, he saw a tremendously bright flash, which lit up the surfaces of his aircraft. Although initially startled, Arnold quickly concluded that the light was simply a reflection from some other nearby plane. Then he saw another flash. He observed far to his left and to the north, a formation of very bright objects coming from the vicinity of Mount Baker, flying very close to the mountain tops and traveling at tremendous speed.
In the months that would follow there would be sightings witnessed in almost every state in the Union and in several countries all over the world. The "Central Intelligence Group" (the predecessor to the CIA) had monitored reports of the "ghost rockets" in Sweden and the Counter Intelligence Corps or CIC of the Army along with FBI were investigating reports in this country. There were literally hundreds of "flying saucer" sightings being reported in newspapers across the nation. Then it finally happened. One of the "flying saucers" had finally fallen from the sky, and the Army had possession of it! This was the first week of July in 1947, outside of Roswell New Mexico.
Although the wreckage was examined by trained Army personnel from the only authorized nuclear attack squadron in the world, located at Roswell Army Air Field, shortly after the report that was sanctioned by the base commander went out, it was put to sleep by the "cover-up report" that the craft was not a "flying saucer" at all, but only a "weather balloon as verified by a a lowly warrant officer, Irving Newton. The higher-ups at the time were trying to convince the public that these very qualified Army personnel, who witnessed launchings of "weather balloons" almost on a daily basis, could not recognize one after it came down from its flight.
The cover-up reports following the "Roswell event" were, and still are quite ludicrous. They would be comical if the subject matter wasn't so serious. The direct results of those actions, that is, "the manipulation of the facts or data if you will," concerning those events had a direct effect on the "public's perception" at the time, and the results can still be seen today. Remember, back in those days people in general didn't question their government. Americans just went through a world war, and were very patriotic in regards to the country and what it stands for. People believed what their government said, and they had no reason not to.
Had it not been for the work of Nuclear Physicist, Stanton Friedman who first interviewed Jesse Marcel in 1978, the information pertaining to "The Roswell Incident" would probably have been "swept under the rug" forever. Because of that first phone call, back in February of that year to Marcel, the "public's perception" of the event was changed once again.
From a military and or government perspective, things were getting out of hand. "Flying saucers" were being seen all over the country, and were all over the headlines. Also, lets don't forget the "flavor of the times" the intelligence communities were being established, along with all the factions of military being merged together. The National Security Act was passed, Europe and Japan were being rebuilt, and we were in the middle of a cold war with the Soviets. All this was going on while unidentified flying objects were being seen around the country, and being reported around some very sensitive areas.
We've seen the evidence of manipulation of information on a case by case basis, but given the overwhelming amount of activity from unidentified objects, it wasn't long until the government took a "concentrated" effort to control what was being said about them. The newly formed Air Force took on the role of discrediting people who sighted strange flying objects, and took to explaining what was being seen as swamp gas, mass hysteria, hallucinations, ball lightening, or heat inversions etc.
Although there is evidence that the CIA was involved in the investigation of UFO"s since it's inception, they "overtly" became involved in 1952. [ Although it had monitored UFO reports for at least three years, CIA reacted to the new rash of sightings by forming a special study group within the Office of Scientific Intelligence (OSI) and the Office of Current Intelligence (OCI) to review the situation. Edward Tauss, acting chief of OSI's Weapons and Equipment Division, reported for the group that most UFO sightings could be easily explained. Nevertheless, he recommended that the Agency continue monitoring the problem, in coordination with ATIC. He also urged that CIA conceal its interest from the media and the public, "in view of their probable alarmist tendencies" to accept such interest as confirming the existence of UFOs.] Gerald K. Haines, National Reconnaissance Office Historian. ( once again we see manipulation of information getting to the public )
In 1953 a group was put together by the CIA, called The Robertson Panel, led by its namesake H. P. Robertson, a noted physicist from the California Institute of Technology, and a distinguished panel of nonmilitary scientists to study the UFO issue. It included Samuel A. Goudsmit, a nuclear physicist from the Brookhaven National Laboratories; Luis Alvarez, a high-energy physicist; Thornton Page, the deputy director of the Johns Hopkins Operations Research Office and an expert on radar and electronics; and Lloyd Berkner, a director of the Brookhaven National Laboratories and a specialist in geophysics.
The Robertson panel appeared to be "eye candy" for the public, and the end result of their investigation was another decision to "manipulate information." [ The panel recommended that the National Security Council debunk UFO reports and institute a policy of public education to reassure the public of the lack of evidence behind UFOs. It suggested using the mass media, advertising, business clubs, schools, and even the Disney corporation to get the message across. Reporting at the height of McCarthyism, the panel also recommended that such private UFO groups as the Civilian Flying Saucer Investigators in Los Angeles and the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization in Wisconsin be monitored for subversive activities. ] Robertson Report and Durant Report.
Although the government today claims there is not any "official interest" in UFO's and that there has not been any involvement in the investigation of this phenomenon since the Air Force's termination of Project Blue Book, and concluding it with the "Condon Report" in 1969, and people are no longer ridiculed for reporting strange things in the sky. There is a strange omission by the media of reporting such events.
UFO's are sighted almost everyday some where in the world. With todays technology, they are now being photographed and video taped at an alarming rate. They have been taped by astronauts, and filmed over the Capitol. They have been chased by our aircraft numerous times. High government officials have admiited their existance. Polls have revealed that the majority of the "American public" believes we are not alone.
Most recently because of the efforts of Dr. Steven Greer, a small sample (about 20 witnesses) of a larger group of approximately 400 military, government and corporate witnesses of UFO/extraterrestial events were assembled in Washington on May 9th of this year at The National Press Club. Even though the list of speakers was quite impressive, and they all gave testimony concerning the biggest event in human history, ( the fact that we are, and have been, in contact with "alien races ) and stated that they would repeat their testimony in front of Congress under oath, there was no mention of this on any "mainstream media" venue! It was not on any front page! It wasn't broadcast on any major network! This "non-participation" of main stream media also has an effect on the "public's perception of the UFO phenomenon."
Let's for a moment, "imagine" that all the major networks, and all the major newspapers covered and reported this event in the way it should have been. What would have been the outcome? How would the public "perceive" the UFO phenomenon then? I assure you, that people would have "demanded" answers! The Congressional hearings requested by Greer and all the distinguished witnessed would surely been granted.
In conclusion, the manipulation and dissemination of information to the public, has in the past, and currently, effects directly, the "public's perception" of any event past or present, particulary regarding the subject of UFO/extraterrestial phenomenon. Moreover, the effects of such actions have crossed over generations and it has proven to be an "effective tool" to control the public's thinking.


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