Sign Historical Group
A T R U E B O O K - L E N G T H F E A T U R E
Photographs of the famous Lubbock Lights, by an 18-year-old
amateur, were "never proved to be a hoax."
OUT ABOUT FLYING SAUCERS
night skies were photographed by a Louisville newspaperman.
AIR FORCE CAN'T EXPLAIN
"We [CSI] don't know exactly what he's [Ruppelt] doing with his book; perhaps he is revising the earlier chapters, but he has definitely written three others to be added at the end. The first of the three describes several sightings since the last ones mentioned in the first book; the second chapter is about the crackpots; and the final one – that will be Ch. 20 if he doesn't change the earlier structure – says he doesn't believe in UFOs, and 'the UFO is doomed' – chiefly because satelite observations haven't produced any UFO observations. He quotes Hynek to this effect, and here's a case that illustrates how the scientists behave; H. [Hynek] is interested in UFOs but daren't say so, so he gives Ruppelt a statement that seems to support disbelief, but when he was asked why he made the statement, said 'Read it carefully and you'll see it doesn't mean what it seems to [Hynek's full statement did not make the final draft].' Nor does it – but the public isn't38going to read it that carefully.
"We have seen the first and the third of the added chapters; ATIC sent Hynek a copy, and Bud Ledwith had them photostated and sent to us, under great vows of secrecy. The only people we've given any advance information to are Dick Hall and yourself, who are trustworthy. I wanted Dick to see Chapter 20 so that he could begin preparing a reply for immediate publication in the Investigator as soon as the book is really out. Apart from keeping Hynek's interest in UFOs quiet, the main reason for restricting circulation of these chapters is of course not to jump the gun on publication. I even sent the chapters to Dick's home rather than to the NICAP office, where despite care they might, fell under some unauthorized and roving eye. He returned them, with his usual scrupulousness, within 48 hours. I know we just have to protect Hynek, and Bud, who works for him, but how MAD it makes me that the situation is like this!"Chapter 20 is a very curious document indeed. He does recant entirely, plops off that fence in plain words — but his reasons as [sic -are?] so feeble and flimsy that I cannot see how anyone who has read the earlier chapters can possibly take them seriously. It's one of the most ineffective expressions of skepticism I've ever read, and almost every statement can be contradicted by sighting reports that he himself has presented in earlier chapters. Possibly, of course, he may edit those earlier chapters to remove the strong cases, although that would be a damaging business in itself. But if he leaves the first 17 chapters unchanged and simply adds these last three, including the quite unconvincing Ch. 20 that we saw, he's going to sound simply silly. Lex has even suggested that Ch. 20 was written with tongue in cheek; that before ATIC would release the cases in Ch. 18 Ruppelt had to say peccavi, peccavi, but purposely made the defense of his disbelief so weak that it will have no effect on the reader. (But it will, of course – the skeptics are bound to hail the book with cries of joy – this is a BIG sinner that repenteth."It is possible, however, that R's [Ruppelt's] skepticism is genuine, and that it was his first book that was hypocritical. You remember that he wrote an article for TRUE magazine, 'What Our Air Force Found Out About Flying Saucers,' before he wrote the book – and there are some very interesting discrepancies between article and book, I might add. John Du Barry, president of CSI, was then working with Keyhoe and TRUE on various aspects of fss [flying saucers], and he helped R. [Ruppelt] with his article. John has told us that Ruppelt then ended his article on a note of complete skepticism, but John suggested that he tone this down a little because some readers would find it more acceptable; accordingly, R. [Ruppelt] ended the article, as later the book, with his famous 'either they don't exist at all or they're interplanetary.' If that's the case – and John is scrupulous practically to skepticism himself – then R. [Ruppelt] is now expressing his real belief all along; this doesn't excuse him, it just redates the hypocrisy and adds to it stupidity – for how could he have given the cases he did and remain skeptical?" (60.)
60 ) Letter: To: Idabel and Marilyn. From: Isabel Davis, 67 Jane Street, New York 14, N.Y.
16 November 59. Photocopy in author's files.