For as many people out there who believe in UFOs and that they are something beyond our current ability to understand, there are probably just as many skeptics who seek to debunk it all and explain it away. This might be because they really believe there are mundane answers, or in some cases it may be because they are trying to hide something and keep it from public scrutiny, but whatever the reasons, what happens when one of these skeptics sees something themselves that changes their mind? What if that person was an official with the government charged with being a skeptic and debunker as his profession? Here we have a wild story of an alleged former military official, whose job it was to create cover-ups and sweep away the truth, only to admit years later that the truth was not that clear or easy to dismiss.
Back in the 1950s the main driving force behind the U.S. government’s efforts to investigate the UFO phenomenon and one of the most well-known of a series of such projects was a little something called Project Blue Book. Started in 1952, it was conducted by the United States Air Force with the aim of scientifically analyzing UFO data and determining if UFOs posed any sort of threat to national security. Up until its closure in 1969, the project would investigate thousands of reports of unidentified flying objects, and while they were ostensibly set up to try and figure out what was going on, mostly it seemed that their job was to find whatever mundane explanation they could find to stuff any given report into. At times they seem to have been almost damage control with the public, to sweep it all away in order to avoid panic, and they would officially claim to have never found any evidence at all of these objects representing a national threat or of consisting of any sort of extraterrestrial vehicles or proof of some anomalous advanced technology. They spent a lot of time debunking, in other words, and one of their chief debunkers was supposedly a man by the name of Lieutenant Colonel Richard French.
French’s main job with Project Blue Book was to allegedly explain away any and all UFO reports in digestible ways that the public could handle. He not only shot down fakes, but also managed to sweep away any reports that were not convenient or were annoyingly difficult to explain, and you can bet that Venus, Jupiter, and swamp gas were in his bag of tricks. What makes French’s story so interesting is that while his job was to downplay or outright dismiss these reports, he at one point had his own astounding experience that was not so easy to explain away, and wouldn’t be uncovered until long after he had retired.
In 2013, French was part of a Citizen Hearing on Disclosure in Washington D.C. where he testified on his experiences in Project Blue Book, along with a panel of six former members of Congress, and he had some interesting things to say. His own experience apparently happened in the early 1950s, when he was a young man out off the coast of St. John’s, in Newfoundland. At the time he had been called to investigate what was being called a “UFO crash,” and made his way to the location to find a crowd of people bunched up together on a wharf looking out over the grey water. French would explain of the situation:
They said, ‘We have a UFO report and we want you to investigate it,’ and that was standard for what I was doing. They told me there were two of them involved and that they were deep under the water, after entering the water doing roughly 100 miles an hour. There were a lot of people assembled on the wharf, at least 100 standing around just looking in amazement at the water, including several local policemen.
Considering he had spent his career up to that point debunking such reports and had been very good at it, French didn’t really expect to see much. Yet, when he looked out across the relatively clear waters, he said he could notice that there was definitely something weird going on. There under the surface about 20 feet from shore he says he could see two disc-shaped craft about 18 feet in diameter and approximately 3 feet thick, both of which seemed to just be hovering there as the gawking bystanders watched on in bafflement. In addition to the two objects, he also says that he then noticed that there were two diminutive humanoid beings also there in that frigid water, who seemed to be in the process of trying to repair the downed craft. French would say of these creatures and the scene playing out before him:
They were about 2 or 3 feet tall, light grey in color, very thin, long arms with either two or three fingers. The top of their heads was much wider than their jaw line, their eyes were very slanted and you couldn’t see pupils in them. They looked the way [aliens] have been depicted in motion pictures. The first thing I saw was the UFOs, and it was apparent to me that they were doing something to the craft, and I couldn’t really tell what because they were on the bottom side of it and not visible to me except when they would occasionally get over to the side where I could see them. The water was fairly clear and I could see without any trouble. They weren’t down at the bottom of the [seabed] — they were about half way down.
When it hit the [surface], it was going about 100 miles an hour. It then accelerated to somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,500 to 3,000 miles an hour and disappeared. It returned about 20 minutes later, slowed down to nearly a stop before it entered the water, then went down, and the two [beings] worked together. It took them about 20 minutes and then the two ships departed together, again slow when they exited the water, and immediately they sped up to a very high speed. I believe they were repairing [the ship] and tested that the repairs had been adequate, and then away they went.
He says that despite what he saw he would keep it to himself and even tried to downplay the whole even that he himself had witnessed. According to him, he used evasive terminology and sort of brushed it off, even though he knows what he saw, and he says of what he was told to tell the public:
If someone had a UFO sighting, I and another agent would try to come up with some logical explanation for this strange aerial appearance. We gave our analysis and tried to debunk [sightings] by saying it was swamp fog or that the thing they saw was actually hanging on wires. Needless to say, it was a fictitious report, as all of them were. I didn’t really say that they were UFOs — I said that there was something we didn’t know — some type of foreign or unrecognizable vehicle there. In other words, I weasel-worded it. But Oh, I think without a doubt it (the Newfoundland object) was a UFO and I think there were aliens aboard it. There’s no question in my mind that was exactly what it was, and my duty was to debunk the story, so I did my best to do so.
Is any of this for real? It must be noted that French has a bit of a history of making bold UFO claims. He is also on the record as claiming that the famed 1947 UFO crash in Roswell, New Mexico, was actually way weirder than even most people think. According to him, there was not one alien spacecraft crash, but two, with one apparently shot down by a U.S. plane using experimental technology a few days after the first crash. French has said of this to the Huffington Post:
There were actually two crashes at Roswell, which most people don’t know The first one was shot down by an experimental US airplane that was flying out of White Sands… and it shot what was effectively an electronic pulse-type weapon that disabled and took away all the controls of the UFO, and that’s why it crashed. When they hit it with that electromagnetic pulse– bingo!– there goes all their electronics and, consequently, the UFO was uncontrollable. It was within a few miles of where the original crash was. We think that the reason they were in there… was to try and recover parts and any survivors of the first crash. I’m [referring to] the people from outer space– the guys whose UFO it was. It had inscriptions on it that looked like it was in an Arabic language– it was like a part number on each one of them.
Of course, the Roswell crash is famous for having been explained away as a downed weather balloon after the military backtracked from initially stating that it was a crashed disc, but it has been debated and picked apart ad nauseum ever since. How does French’s own testimony on all of this fit in, if at all? Is he telling the truth or is this just another delusional supposed witness coming forward with tall tales and fictitious ramblings? It certainly seems that his credentials are impressive so what are we to think of all of this? Why would someone go from a professional skeptic and debunker to a believer unless there was a very good reason? Is he the real deal or a loon? Whatever side of the fence you fall on and whatever one may think, it certainly is at the very least a very strange and wild ride.