William B. Nash
One of the most discussed UFO incidents of 1952
was the sighting of eight objects over Chesapeake Bay,
Virginia, on July 14, 1952, by Pan American Airways
pilots William B. Nash and William H. Fortenberry.
Nash was deeply affected by his experience and
was determined to research the phenomenon and
try to foster a wider acceptance for the reality
Nash and Fortenberry collaborated on an article
detailing their sighting for the October, 1952 issue of:
TRUE Magazine - We Flew Above Flying Saucers
Some skeptics had suggested that Nash's sighting was
an optical illusion caused by "reflections" or
some sort of atmospheric anomaly.
The September, 1953 issue of "The Air Line Pilot," the official
magazine of Nash's pilot union, contained an article
by Captain Joe Hull entitled, "The Obituary of the Flying
Saucers" which advocated that all "flying saucer" sightings
could be explained scientifically using the logical
approach of noted skeptic Dr. Donald H. Menzel.
Captain Joe Hull - The Obituary of The Flying Saucers
William Nash wrote a rebuttal to Hull's article and submitted it for
publication. It was rejected because well-known author Major Donald E.
Keyhoe had already been approached to write a response to Hull.
We present William Nash's original unpublished article:
William B. Nash - The Flying Saucers Are Still Alive
Donald Keyhoe's article for "The Air Line Pilot" was a devastating
rebuttal to Captain Hull's advocacy of Donald Menzel's explanations.
Using extensive sources developed in the writing of his books, Keyhoe was
able to ask military experts at Project Bluebook to comment directly
on Menzel's theories and methods:
Donald E. Keyhoe - Flying Saucer — Fact or Fancy?
William Nash's unpublished article was forwarded to Captain Hull for comment.
This resulted in a lengthy correspondence and ultimately formed the basis for
a strong friendship between the two. The letters provide an evocative insight into the
state of UFOlogy in the early 1950s, and document Hull's acceptance of the
reality of the "flying saucer" phenomenon. Several years later Captain
Hull experienced his own extraordinary UFO sighting which is documented
in this collection:
The Nash-Hull Letters - William Nash - Joe Hull Letters
William Nash corresponded and shared leads to other incidents with Major Donald E. Keyhoe.
We present a small selection of these letters taken from Nash's files:
The Nash-Keyhoe Letters - William Nash - Donald E. Keyhoe Letters
Nash also exchanged information with noted Washington columnist, Robert S. Allen:
Nash-Allen Letters - William Nash - Robert S. Allen Letters
Thomas Tulien, co-chair of the Sign Historical Group and founder of the
Sign Oral History Project revisits the Nash-Fortenberry sighting and includes some personal insight based on his interview with William B. Nash:
Revisiting One of the Classics: The 1952 Nash/Fortenberry Sighting
Edward J. Ruppelt is best known for his role
as chief of the U.S. Air Force's Project Blue Book from 1951-53
and as the author of the classic work The Report on
Unidentified Flying Objects (1956). Prior to writing
The Report, Ruppelt produced a "book-length feature" article
for the May, 1954, issue of TRUE Magazine entitled, "What Our Air Force Found Out About Flying Saucers.
Captain William B. Nash, one of the witnesses in the
well-known "Nash-Fortenberry" sighting of 1952, wrote a "Letter to
the Editor" of TRUE disagreeing with Ruppelt's overtly
skeptical viewpoint and challenged him on several points.
His letter was published but heavily edited. The complete
text has been reproduced here from Nash's files.
Nash also discussed Ruppelt's article as well as other contemporary
UFO cases in a 1954 letter to his friend and fellow pilot, William J. Hull.
With the imminent publication of a revised edition of
Ruppelt's The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects, Isabel
Davis of CSI New York managed to obtain copies of two of the
three new chapters. She shared her concerns in a November 16, 1959, letter to her colleagues in CSI Los Angeles.
UK UFO Documents
The United Kingdom Government started investigating unidentified flying objects beginning in 1947. According to press accounts the Royal Air Force accumulated a large number of reports. Unlike the Project Blue Book files, the corpus of these UK government investigations between 1947 and the early 1960s was allegedly destroyed
as a matter of official policy.
Jan Aldrich provides a brief overview of the UK Government's handling of UFO reports and presents some interesting UK UFO documents that were found among the papers of the U.S. Airforce's scientific adviser on UFOs and founder of CUFOS, Dr. J. Allen Hynek.
Updated CFI/Research Proposal
Several years ago the SyFy Channel, with the aid of John Podesta,
former Chief of Staff for President Clinton, started a campaign
to press for the release of government documents dealing
with UFOs under the title of the Coalition for Freedom of Information
CFI solicited proposals from UFO researchers for a list
of key UFO documents that might be secured via research
or FOIA legal action. The Sign Historical Group
produced a proposal which was not accepted within the tight
deadline allowed for submissions. However, many of the
proposed avenues for research have since produced new
information and opened up new research opportunities.
The original proposal with updated findings and
potential leads can be read here.
Dr. Frank B. Salisbury
Frank Boyer Salisbury was born in Utah in 1926. He graduated from
the University of Utah with a B.S. (1951) and M.A. (1952) and
received his Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology
(1955). He served
as head of the Department of Plant Science at Utah State University from
1966 to 1970, when he resigned to devote more time
to research and textbook writing. He retired in 1997 after leading
a project to grow wheat in the Russian space station Mir.
In April 1962 he published an article entitled
“Martian Biology” in Science magazine, outlining
the possibility of life on Mars He received
many letters pointing him towards the growing
body of UFO literature. This led Salisbury to
consider that if life was likely on other planets, perhaps
extraterrestrial visitation was also a possibility.
In January 1967 Salisbury published The Scientist and the UFO in Bioscience.
On July 29th, 1968, Salisbury submitted a written statement to the U. S. House of
Representatives' Committee on Science and Astronautics Symposium on Unidentified Flying
After a talk on the possibility of life on
Mars to the Association of Utah Science Teachers, Salisbury was
approached by Joseph Junior Hicks, a junior high school science
teacher from Roosevelt, Utah. Hicks informed him of
his research into a localized UFO wave in the Uintah Basin
which further piqued Salisbury's interest in the subject.
In August, 1975, Salibury published another article in Bioscience,
Recent Developments in the Study of UFOS
We are pleased to present these articles with permission of the author.
The Sign Oral History Project
has an in-depth interview with Dr. Salisbury:
Julian J. A.
Hennessey, British UFO
Julian Hennessey's two decades of UFO research in Europe
and Great Britain resulted in an impressive network of official
contacts, case reports and documents. As chairman of NICAP's European
Subcommittee #1 he instigated contact with airline pilots,
agencies, and military personnel which brought to light many UFO
reports that otherwise might have remained unknown.
Jan Aldrich presents an overview of Julian's work in
to the previously unpublished essay The U.K.
Goverment and UFOs in which Julian outlines his dealings
with British government officialdom and some significant historical
British UFO events during his own involvement with UFO research in the 60s
Sign Oral History Project