Page last updated: November 9, 2011 11:22 PM

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To: Original NICAP

Concerning the All-Academic published paper titled "The Air Force Versus NICAP. Pyrrhic framing devices in the Formation of Conspiracy Organizations":

It is to be noted, what the above paper's author has presented is simply another social movement theory, inherent with the limitations of thinking only from within a sociological context. He has written his thesis with the presumption there were no other major forces, other than those proposed, which influenced both NICAP's relationship with the U.S. Air Force, and NICAP's rise and fall. He additionally assumes that the forces he proposed are primary, a significant error on his part . He has arrived at his conclusions without dealing with any of the factual case material NICAP examined in-depth over the years, and without deciding for himself whether or not NICAP's charges concerning the U.S. government were justified.

Although the majority, if not all, of what he said is historically accurate, the omission of the preceding details above, combined with the author's use of the word"narrative", (along with other generalizations he made concerning "conspiracy organizations" ) immediately tends to paint NICAP in the negative, and basically little more than a *story teller.* An approach of this type which uses external generalization and inference while ignoring solid cases and data, is a modus operandi which can easily lead a lesser-knowedgable reader to erroneous conclusions, since it overlooks additional important, non-sociological factors (unmentioned in his "conspiracy" paper) which clearly influenced NICAP, and most likely the U.S. Air Force as well.

Serious researchers should be careful of allowing anything to dissuade one from perusing both actual case data prior to 1980, and those more recent, as well as performing their own review of the Air Force's Project Blue Book data, examining the Air Force's own chief civilian scientific consultant's role with, and accumulated views concerning UFOs, reading the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) data releases, realizing that some of the people involved in those released cases are presently part of the group at this link, and then incidentally noting a prominent ufo skeptic's July 2007 analysis which conclusively demonstrates that UFO flaps were not caused by the movie media.

Additionally, before arriving at his/her own, hopefully, well-reasoned conclusions regarding NICAP and the Air Force, one might also look at this elucidating information from Dr. Harry Willnus and then examine the whole 1966 Michigan "Swamp Gas" case in its entirety. Having performed these tasks, one should also read this important article from Richard Hall detailing both the inner workings and history of NICAP, and follow that with Dr. James McDonald's analysis of the November 4, 1957 Kirtland Air Force base case which also reveals a critical omission of the Condon Study, corrected by Dr. McDonald in _his_ detailed re-examination of that case. NB: It is also most important to note, the Air Force paid for the Condon Colorado Study, an obvious conflict of interest. (UFO Investigator, May-June 1968) All of the aforementioned were extremely important influences on NICAP, some of them eventually prompting NICAP to write this.

After reading all of the preceding, one will then have enough additional information to be able to arrive at a more balanced, knowledgeable judgment concerning NICAP and its interaction with the U.S. Air Force; a judgment which will then be based upon a more well-rounded totality of causes and events rather than a few pre-chosen all-academic ones.

_ _ _ _

National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena

Original NICAP - Some highlights *

CohenUFO comments: (and this only scratches the surface of NICAP)

In 1966, I decided to subscribe to NICAP's journal (UFO Investigator) to see what they had to say concerning the entire UFO situation. NICAP was a relatively conservative UFO group. 1 It had an excellent staff composed of impressive people of quite varied educational disciplines, some of whom had been fairly high up in military echelons. 2 They were not quick to claim any sightings were valid and their journal provided an excellent place to record these unusual events when they were reported. My participation in their organization was solely that of a thoughtful reader of its journal. NICAP felt that they had ample reason to believe that the Air Force might be hiding something and their ex-military personnel supported this view.

NICAP was also the most well-organized and well-respected UFO group on the East coast and probably in the United States, until 1973 when CUFOS (Center for UFO Studies - Dr. J. Allen Hynek, director) came into existence. NICAP rarely published "abduction" cases unless the case was nationally famous, had extremely strong merits and discussion could not be avoided. (ex. "Betty and Barney Hill) Those that were published were never confirmed nor denied but rather simply reported and discussed. 3


1st Board of Directors (partial listing)

Brig. General Thomas B. Catron, retired Army officer
Col. Robert B. Emerson, physicist
Rear Admiral Delmer S. Farhney, retired Navy officer & pioneer in missile development
Frank Edwards, radio-TV personality


1957 - 1969

In 1957, Major Donald E. Keyhoe became head of the organization. He wrote several books and was a strong leader who adjusted NICAP's major goal to direct the organization to become a pressure group to force disclosure of Air Force records on UFOs. The pressures applied contributed to the government's decision to hold public congressional hearings in 1968 4 ..and to declassify some UFO reports in 1969, and to place same in the National Archives for public viewing in 1976.

Special Advisors to NICAP 1964 (partial listing) 5

Dr. James C. Bartlett, Jr., astronomy, Baltimore, Maryland
Mr. Jack Brotzman, physics, Naval Research Laboratory, Washington D.C.
Mr. Frank Halstead, astronomy, former curator Darling Observatory, University of Minnesota.
Dr. Leslie K. Kaeburn, biophysics, University of Southern California
Mr. Delbert C. Newhouse, former Naval Aviation Photographer, Coronado, California
Mr. Walter N. Webb, astronomy, Charles Hayden Planetarium, Boston Massachusetts



In 1966/67, NICAP supplied UFO information to the only major University study of UFOs at that time (N.B. funded by the Air Force); The Colorado University UFO project, led by Dr. Edward U. Condon.6 They monitored the project and eventually broke with it when it was discovered that many of the major cases they had submitted weren't being used and that the definition of "UFO" had been changed by the Air Force just prior to the study. They felt the project was a "whitewash" by the Air Force.

NICAP board in 1968 (partial listing)7

Col. J. Bryan III USAF (retired); Writer & author, Richmond, Va. Former special assistant to Secretary of Air Force (1952-3), assigned to staff of Gen. Lauris Norstad, NATO (1959), editorial staff of national magazines

Col. Robert Emerson USAR; research chemist, Emerson Testing Lab., Baton Rouge, La. Member American Chemical Society Speaker's Bureau, graduate Chemical Warfare School, Edgeweed Arsenal, General Staff Colonel (Fort Leavenworth), and other military schools.

Mr. Dewey J. Fournet: former Maj USAF (intelligence); monitor of official UFO program; Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Mr. J.B. Hartranft Jr.: President, Aircraft owners and Pilots Assn.,former Army Air Corps. Lt. Col., founder of U.S. Air Guard (now Civil Air Patrol), graduate University of Pennsylvania.

Rear Admiral H.B. Knowles, USN (retired): Eliot, Maine. Veteran of both World War I and World War II. Held important submarine commands. Graduate U.S. Naval Academy.

Dr. Charles P. Oliver: President American Meteor Society, Narbeth, Pa. Professor Emeritus of Astronomy, University of Pennsylvania, former director of Flower & Cook Observatory. Contributor to Encyclopedia Britannica & Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, reports on meteors.

Dr. Bruce A. Rogers: Emeritus Professor of Mechanical Engineering, A&M College of Texas, PhD (Physics & Metallurgy), Harvard University; M.S. (Physics), University of Chicago, Member, American Nuclear Society; American Institute of Mining, Metallurgy & Petroleum Engineering; & Electrochemical Society.

NICAP closes its doors (1980)

Richard Hall has written me (3 Dec. 99) with the following comment concerning my highlights regarding NICAP:

"I disagree with your 'Brief Overview of NICAP.' It was a totally different organization at the end, led by totally different people motivated in totally different ways. This needs to be made clear. See my article about 1993 in the MUFON symposium proceedings on this question."

I am in the process of searching for this material to post herein. J.C.

11\10\03: Think I finally found it at the new NICAP web site. (see below)

Important paper by Hall detailing the history of NICAP,
Condon Committee, etc. (written by Hall and published in 1994)

The Quest for the Truth About UFOs (a very important historical document (from someone who lived it.)

Also see: Richard's "positive" comments concerning CohenUFO: "What Readers Have Had to Say"

Where to get Richard Hall's "UFO Evidence"

or here or here.



jc 1/12/2007: I guess I'll have to re-write this next part. (N.B. Not accomplished. It is very important to read Richard's paper "The Quest for the Truth About UFOs" above. It details what happened back then.)

The leadership of NICAP had changed over the years. In 1978-81 when nine government agencies began revealing and conclusively verifying the existence of UFOs as technologically superior craft operating freely in our airspace, it became time to ask who or what was in these craft. 8 Perhaps because they were not convinced as of yet, NICAP's leadership refused to publicly acknowledge the amazing but certified reality of these vehicles. Therefore, intellectual contemplation as to what was in them was certainly out of the question.

A large number of their members, who were not constrained by organizational necessities, began to search for other groups that might fill this great void. Therefore, in the final analysis, unfortunately it would seem that NICAP ultimately expired from over conservatism. In 1980, they closed their doors, ironically just one year before another 2,100 documents would become available, conclusively proving beyond a shadow of doubt, what the 1979 governmental releases had indicated. Furthermore, the membership of CUFOS, APRO, MUFON and other UFO groups, in all probability increased, due to NICAP's slowness to publicly acknowledge those original crucial documents.

However, in all fairness to this late, great organization, that fine conservatism had been absolutely necessary to keep the UFO enigma scientifically valid for all researchers and the general public for years. Future organizations could and should most certainly learn a great deal from their general approach to one of the most enigmatic topics of our age.


Some published works of NICAP
(partial listing)

THE UFO INVESTIGATOR: Newsletter to members that detailed sightings as they were received and analyzed.

THE UFO EVIDENCE: Editor, Richard H. Hall, 184 page compendium and analysis of sightings from 1940 to about 1962. (was presented to Congressmen)

STRANGE EFFECTS from UFOs: Chief Researcher and writer, Gordon I. R. Lore, Jr., effects from approximately 1953 - 1969.

UFO QUARTERLY REVIEW: Contributions by various members of NICAP

NICAP (new) REBORN in 1998

Click here for a DIRECT LINK to the "NEW NICAP" Website


Back in MARCH/APRIL 1998, an announcement was made concerning the creation of a website under the name "NICAP"; the site coordinator, Francis Ridge. Some discussions took place. I am using this material herein until Fran is able to return my request for goals of the group and personnel involved. Contributors to the site include Richard Hall, Ted Phillips (Trace cases), Dr. Richard Haines, Dominique Weinstein, and others.

The original posts were titled "Creation of a Website under the name NICAP." and posted to UFO UpDates (Bruce Errol-Knapp, moderator) and archived at UFOMind (Glenn Campbell, moderator)


Letter excerpts relating to the Creation & Goals of the "new NICAP" website

jc  1/12/2007: From my own personal observation in watching the New NICAP website grow, Francis Ridge is to be commended for the excellent job he has done accruing important documented information, both old and new, and making much of it available for interested researchers, etc. on the Internet. His "New NICAP" is a very important source of information for anyone interested in learning more about the NICAP organization, Project Blue Book, The Nuclear Connection Project, and other topics. Although Fran has titled one of the sections on his index page "The 'Real' NICAP", referring to the "original NICAP", his efforts can most definitely be considered the "Real" NICAP of today . . . a very important source of highly credible UFO research for all.


by Richard H. Hall 23 March 98


and so much more . . . Go see Fran's site for yourself.


Back to the Original NICAP


Hall, Richard . CUFOS International UFO Reporter . May/June 1992 . pp 17 & 24 . "NICAP and lessons from the past": also ... NICAP Journal, September 1975 . p 4 . col 1 . "NICAP and Creature Contact"
NICAP UFO Investigator . Oct 1971 . Special Commemorative Issue . p 1 . "Navy Admiral Gives Support to Reports of Flying Saucers": IBID . p 4 . "NICAP Board of Governors 1971"
Those familiar with and having access to the journals can confirm this.
NICAP U.F.O. Investigator . July/Aug 1968 . pp 1-5 . "Congressional Hearings on UFO Problems"
Hall, Richard . "The UFO Evidence" . NICAP . 1964 . inside cover
NICAP U.F.O. Investigator . May/June 1968 . p 1 . "NICAP Breaks with Colorado Project" : Ibid . pp 4-5 . "The Inside Story of the Colorado Project"
NICAP U.F.O. Investigator . Sept./Oct. 1968 . p 2 . "Board of Governors"
First Major FOIA Government releases in 1978
FOIA Government releases in 1981
Fawcett and Greenwood's "The UFO Cover-up" . Fireside books . Simon & Schuster 1984

* Those having NICAP journals in your possession, may also wish to see:

NICAP Journal . May 1974 . p 4
Ibid . June 1974 . "Board of Governors"
Ibid . August 1974 . p 3 . "UFO REPORTS.. AN ANALYSIS"
Ibid . July 1974 . p 2 . Acuff, John L. "EDITORIAL"


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