The first things people think of when they think of government’s role with UFOs are of intimidating men in black suits, denial and excuses that make little to no sense. The last two images have their roots in Project Grudge.
UFO Information According to Project Grudge
The short lived Project Sign is Grudge's predecessor. This initial project was founded in 1947, shortly after the Air Force became a separate military department.
In 1949, Project Sign had put together its report, dubbed “Estimate of the Situation” and submitted it to Air Force General Hoyt Vandenberg. This report had stated that 20% of the sightings investigated were unable to be unidentified. It stated that there these UFOs were extraterrestrial in origin.
At least one of those sightings resulted in the death of a pilot who had been trying to chase a UFO, but rose to too high of an altitude. He blacked out and his plane spiraled into a free fall. Investigators found evidence that he had regained consciousness shortly before his vehicle broke up in midair.
Perhaps out of fear of a repeat of this performance, Vandenberg refused to accept the report’s conclusions. He ordered all copies to be destroyed and Project Grudge was born. In 2011, all documents from Grudge were declassified.
The entirety of the Estimate wasn’t destroyed, but the fact that those documents were ordered to be disposed of makes one why they upset high ranking military officials into taking such drastic action.
Grudge was created to discount the existence of UFOs and discredit any claims of alien involvement under the guise of investigation.
The Grudge Report
The only report that the project had officially released was 600 pages, and made public in 1949. Unsurprisingly, it stated that UFOs were not evidence of advanced scientific development, of extraterrestrial origin or a threat to national security.
It went on to state that all sightings were either cases of misidentification, hoaxes, “war nerves” and people with mental conditions.
Shortly afterwards, it was stated that Project Grudge would soon be disbanded, which didn’t happen until two years later.
UFOs in the Newspaper
Not long after its creation, the US Air Force backed an article in a news outlet for the first time. It was written by Sidney Shallet and published in the Saturday Evening Post, which was one of the more popular papers of the time, titled "What You Can Believe About Flying Saucers".
The article echoed what was stated in The Grudge Report. However, it used more derogatory, somewhat overbearing language and was blatantly biased. It also provided misrepresentation of select information and blamed the media for sensationalizing the sightings.
Instead of quelling public interest in the topic, as the Air Force had hoped, the article instead sharpened it. The public wondered why officials would go to such lengths to deny the existence of alien phenomena but still continue with its investigation.
Internally, Grudge’s investigations became little more than jokes. UFOs were seen as silly, and that attitude had taken root in the infrastructure of the Air Force itself. As a result, many officers in charge of finding solutions to mysterious, and often distressing, sightings weren’t motivated to take the work seriously.
It wasn’t until mid 1951 that serious investigation again took the spotlight.
Flying Saucers Over Fort Monmouth
On September 10th, 1051, numerous discs were seen visibly by pilots in the area and picked up on radar. As procedure dictated, Project Grudge was notified.
Lieutenant Gerry Cummings, who was one of the last officers working at Grunge in an official capacity and Lieutenant Colonel N R Rosegarten were assigned to the matter.
They spent the 13th interviewing witnesses and gathering evidence in New Jersey. In the end, they agreed that the discs seemed to be moving as if under intelligent control and unidentifiable as any earthly origin.
At the time, Major General Charles P. Cabell had been in charge of the section governing Grudge. When Cummings and Rosegarten arrived at the meeting they were to disclose their findings in, they discovered it was already in session and the atmosphere was a heavy one.
Cabell had discovered how lightly the UFO phenomenon was taken by the majority of people, including top brass in the USAF. He was one of the few who still recognized the danger of having unidentified aircraft breaching American airspace for reasons unknown. Worse, there was no way to get in contact with whoever was controlling the crafts to determine motive.
At this same meeting, Cummings was finally allowed to voice his own opinions about the project. Naturally, he was extremely frustrated at how poorly the majority of the investigations were handled.
Eventually, Grudge was passed on to Captain Edward Ruppelt, a man with a long time interest in investigating the strange phenomenon. He was also known as being remarkably organized, and determined to take his investigations seriously. Most importantly, he was open minded enough to avoid letting any prejudices in the way.
Project Blue Book Begins
In 1952, the same year of numerous UFO sightings over the White House and Capital building by officials and on radar, Grudge was replaced by Project Blue Book, founded by Captain Rupelt.
During its short run, Grudge had researched 273 cases, and 23% of those remained unsolved.
Grudge’s greatest flaw was present from its creation. By predetermining that all UFOs could not be of extraterrestrial origin, it only left room for biased, poorly executed investigations.
Although this project was short lived, it still offers us valuable lessons on the damage fear, intolerance and elitism does to the pursuit of truth.
A Chronology of Government UFO Projects
|Project Name||Dates of Operation|
Project Blue Book
Emilie S Peck (author) from Minneapolis, MN on February 20, 2013:
Thank you very much, and thank you for the feedback!
I agree with you completely. Although there's supposedly no "official" investigation going on now, there is still interest in contacting ETs and UFOs.
SETI's still kicking, NASA continues to monitor Kepler (their project to search for Earth-like planets) and has added (or is adding - not sure) a lab to Mars rover Curiosity to explore the potential for past life on Mars.
Pamela-anne from Miller Lake on February 20, 2013:
Very interesting and well researched hub; I believe that it is highly unlikely that we are the only planet in the whole universe with life on it. We must learn to think beyond the box and start looking into the saucers! Thanks for sharing take care!