Silent Wonder

     In June of 1947, Kenneth Arnold, a civilian pilot and businessman, on a business flight from Chehalis to Yakima, Wash., reported seeing nine objects flying at a high rate of speed over Washington’s Mount Rainier.  The objects were glowing bright blue-white and were traveling between 1,200 and 2,000 kilometers per hour at the time of the sighting.  They were of crescent shape and estimated to be 140 to 280 feet in length.  The length was determined by the collaboration of other observers who viewed the objects from the ground looking up. 

Once Arnold’s encounter hit the media, other similar sightings were reported across the United States.  The U.S. Air Force, alarmed by the quantity of sightings, delegated the task of emergency studies on “flying disks” to Wright Patterson Air Force Base’s intelligence division, which later became formally known as “Project Sign.”

     The investigative team collected reports, did on-site investigations and interviews.  About a year into Project Sign, the team members decided they had reached a conclusion: the flying-disk phenomenon was due to extraterrestrial agencies.  Authorities at the Pentagon were not willing to accept the findings, and it resulted in quashing of documents and denial to the public it ever existed.

     In February of 1949, the Air Force, wanting to downplay the issue of flying saucer reports, transferred or reassigned the staff of Project Sign.  New staff members and a new name of “Project Grudge” were developed to conventionally explain the reports.  Six months later, they issued a technical report concluding:

1. Reports of unidentified flying objects are the result of:

a. Misinterpretations of various conventional objects.

b. A mild form of mass hysteria and war nerves.

c. Individuals who fabricate such reports to perpetuate a hoax or to seek publicity.

d. Psychopathological persons.

2. Planned release of unusual aerial objects coupled with the release of related psychological propaganda could cause mass hysteria.

a. Employment of these methods by or against an enemy would yield similar results.

     In 1952, Gen. Charles Cabell dismantled Project Grudge because, along with several other top U.S. Air Force generals, he was dissatisfied with the careless treatment of the subject.  Gen. Charles Cabell and Gen. William Garland started the new “Project Blue Book” in an attempt to create a serious investigation.

     Capt. Edward Ruppelt was the first head of Project Blue Book and “flying disk” or “flying saucer” became known as Unidentified Flying Objects.

     Between 1952 and 1969, Project Blue Book compiled 12,618 UFO sightings.  It classified 90 percent of these as “identified,” which meant caused by astronomical, atmospheric or manmade phenomena.  What remained, 700 incidents, were “undefined,” which meant there was insufficient information to assign a known cause.

     The U.S. Air Force formed a committee to look into the details of 59 UFO sightings that Project Blue Book investigated.  Dr. Edward Condon headed the committee, which was based at the University of Colorado.  What became known as the “Condon Report” examined sightings and showed no evidence of any unusual activity.  It recommended that the Air Force stop investigations into UFO-related incidents.  In 1969, the Air Force, in response to the report and declining UFO sightings, closed Project Blue Book.

     Closing Project Blue Book didn’t affect the continued sightings of UFOs across the United States and elsewhere.  Many skeptical civilians are unwilling to rely on the findings of the projects and feel there is a UFO conspiracy and a cover-up to
what the actual truth is.

     In regards to sightings in Maine, there are a few connected with Loring Air Force Base, which is located in Limestone, Maine.  Some Air Force personnel who were stationed at Loring in the Strategic Air Command have since come forward to describe their encounters.

Lt. Col. Joe Wojtecki, during his early career years, spent a great portion in the Strategic Air Command at Loring Air Force Base.  In April of 1969, while flying to obtain his night certification accompanied with his instructor, the tower radioed their aircraft and asked them if they had seen anything peculiar north of the base.  Wojtecki was too busy tending to the aircraft instruments and trying to impress his instructor to notice, but his instructor responded to say he had seen a flash of light north of the base.

     A half hour later, both men were back on the ground and returning to the housing area on Loring.  Getting out of the car, the instructor was looking toward the northeast, toward the runway area, and asked, “What the ‘bleep’ is that?”

     Looking up toward the sky in the area of the runway, they could see three bright lights in a triangular formation.  The lights were coming from the direction where the instructor had earlier seen a flash of light.  The formation of lights was completely silent, moving slowly in a perfect altitude, perfect velocity and in a constant direction from north to south.  Both men watched the lights for about 10 minutes.

     The next morning at 6:30 a.m., Wojtecki reported to the wing command post: a normal routine.  But it was unusually active and well-staffed.  The activity began the night before around the time Wojtecki and his instructor had seen the lights.

     Informed by other personnel about the evening activities, Wojtecki learned that when aircraft were returning to base from exercises, these lights would act erratically, rapidly accelerating or changing in direction, and then returning to the point of interest, which was the B52s.  By early morning, the UFO finally left and didn’t return.

     Wayne Selfridge was stationed at Loring as security police but not until 1976.  At that time, there still was a lot of talk about the UFO sighting.  Selfridge explained that the security police and other personnel who would be working where there were nuclear munitions had to go through a Personal Reliability Program and receive a secret or top-secret clearance.  “Truthfulness and credibility of these security police I hold in high esteem and believability.”  Mr. Selfridge is one who believes in what is realistic, so for him to say that says a lot of those individuals.

     In 1976, a year after the Loring sightings, there was a well-published documentary about the “Allagash Abductions.”  Four men–Jack Weiner, Jim Weiner, Chuck Rak and Charlie Foltz–were on a camping trip in northern Maine.  After the camping trip, one of the men continued to have recurring nightmares.  It wasn’t until years later, around 1989, that they all participated in regressive hypnosis.  This is when they claimed they were abducted by aliens.

     According to Rak, the group did witness unidentified flying object on Big Eagle Lake on the night of the abduction and two days earlier on Chamberlain Lake.  Rak said, “I had an uncomfortable feeling of being stared at.  I turned around and saw this very, very bright globe of light in the sky, changing color from white to red to green in a liquid kind of melding motion.”  Rak has gone on to say that the abduction was made-up, but the other three still insist that the event happened.

Sarah Archer, a local Native American, said, “I believe they did see something because the stories of the lights stayed consistent.”

     Whether you believe or not it doesn’t change what people have testified to seeing.  Keep your eyes open, be aware.  You may be the next person to experience a silent wonder.