High Strangeness: Drunken UFO Yahoos

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Drunken UFO Yahoos

This morning as my wife was checking messages on her phone before leaving for work (yes, one of us works!), she said "Oh, my mom just messaged me asking if you had heard the big UFO news."

I knew at once what she was talking about. It wasn't the strange goings on at the International Space Station, which has apparently been single-handedly fighting off an alien attack for the past few weeks. No, the big news this morning was that, thanks to intrepid UFO website The Black Vault, the U.S. Air Force's TOP SECRET Project Blue Book UFO files had just been made available online for the very... first... time... ever!!!!

Project Blue Book officers on the job. And, yes, that's really Col. Flagg from M*A*S*H!
I told my wife to let her mom know that I was on top of it. See, I had just discussed it briefly last night while recording a podcast and knew that the story didn't pass the smell test. I wasn't sure last night just how big a story it would become, but, prompted my my mother-in-law's message, I went online to see how many people were swallowing this load of horse puckey. Turns out, pretty much everyone in the world had fallen for the "big news": as of this writing, Google is listing about 140 articles, all of which seem to have taken the story seriously without doing any actual, you know, double-checking...

  • USA Today says "Air Force UFO Files Hit the Web"
  • Fox News just repeats what USA Today said: "Air Force UFO Files Hit the Web" (or did USA Today copy them?)
  • CNN says "Air Force UFO Files Land on Internet"
  • The New York Post says "Air Force has 701 'Unidentified' UFOs in Records Now Online" (which is pretty funny in a moronic kind of way if you think about it a second)
  • ABC News says "Trove of 130K Air Force UFO Documents Available Online"
  • Even the great io9.com was duped, saying "U.S. Air Force Releases Thousands of Pages Of Declassified UFO Files" (but at least they had the guts to admit that the story was, perhaps... not entirely correct)
  • I heard that the 'Black Vault' guy was even on The Today Show this morning!

My favorite of all is this idiotic video segment from USAToday.com in which two "journalists" discuss the significance of the release of the Blue Book files. They both seem amazed to learn that pilots, scientists and military people have reported UFOs, and one of the guys says this proves that it's not just "drunk yahoos" seeing things in the sky. Now, that's some kind of cracker jack reporting, eh? 
So, anyway, WOW, big news, right? Except for one small thing:

The Air Force's TOP SECRET Project Blue Book files have been available online for years... In a searchable format... At two different websites... For free.

Don't believe me, USA Today? Check it out yourself:

 I'm not going to get into why the proprietor of The Black Vault website has gone this route, because I don't know anything about the guy or his website. All I can say for certain is this: any claim that "new" Blue Book archives now available at The Black Vault are better than the records available at The Blue Book Archive or at Fold 3 should be taken with a grain of salt. 

Here's why: I can only speak for certain about The Blue Book Archive, because that's the site I depend on for my research, but a quick check of the Blue Book file for the 1966 Dexter-Hillsdale, Michigan UFO sightings showed that the "newly" archived document at The Black Vault was redacted, while the very same archived document at bluebookarchive.org was unredacted.

Which site would you rather rely on?

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