During a "flap" in the North East area, the project decided to study the feasibility of fielding an investigation in the area with maximum instrumentation. The objective was to obtain instrumented observations of UFOs and, if possible, to correlate sightings with nightly exposures made by an all-sky camera. Although UFO reports continued at high frequency during the feasibility study, less than 12 of 9,000 all-sky camera exposures contained images not immediately identifiable. Only two of these coincided in time and azimuth with a sighting report. Study of one negative suggests that the image is either that of a meteor whose path was at or nearly at a right angle to the focal plane or that an emulsion defect or impurity is responsible for the image. The other negative's image was identified as a probable aircraft.
During the summer of 1967, more than 80 sightings were reported in this North East area. The project decided to field an investigation in the area in the hope that the wave of sightings would continue and could be directly observed and measured by an array of instruments. The investigator was equipped with a car having a radio-telephone, still and motion-picture cameras, two U.S. Army infra-red detectors, and a Geiger counter. When on patrol the investigator was in frequent communication with a telephone answering service which had been retained to accept sighting reports and record them on Early Warning report forms. The number of the answering service was widely publicized throughout the region.
An all-sky camera (see Section VI, Chapter 10) was mounted in an undisclosed location, on the well-guarded roof of a local hospital dominating the area. It was hoped that if the frequency of reports was maintained, some of them could be correlated with all-sky camera exposures. The camera was operated during 17 nights. The camera made 9,000 exposures each covering a considerable area of the night sky over a period totalling some 150 hr.
No occasion arose in which it was possible to use any of the instrumentation with which the project investigator had been equipped.
One UFO was seized. It was a plastic bag made into a hot air balloon by mounting candles across its mouth and launching the device.
More than 100 sighting reports were filed, of which 50 were readily explainable as natural or man-made phenomena, 17 were judged to be identifiable, and 14 seemed to require further investigation. Attempts to acquire sufficient additional information regarding the last category were unavailing, so that no conclusion was drawn regarding them.
Study of the two all-sky camera negatives that contained images not immediately identifiable and that approximately coincided in time with reported sightings was undertaken by project experts and others. These were exposures made on two separate nights at 8:57 p.m. and 9:57 p.m. EDC.
The first frame contains a strong, elliptical spot. No adjacent frames show any image of similar intensity. Examination of the spot under 120X magnification shows near its center a minute defect or contamination that could have caused spurious development, but otherwise the spot shows the gradation of density normal to an exposure caused by light. The image's ellipticity could indicate motion of the light source during the exposure. Because the image appears on a single frame, it is regarded as either an emulsion or
development defect or as caused by a meteor whose path was almost directly perpendicular to the focal plane of the camera.
The second frame contains a light trace resembling an airplane track and is identified as a probable aircraft. The sighting report that coincides in time with this exposure, however, is so fragmentary as to make impossible any firm identification of the object reported as being the trace shown on the film.
A third frame for 4 September at 00:32 EDT was also deemed worthy of further study by the field investigator, but project experts report that it and adjacent frames contain only the images of stars.
This investigation was of particular importance because it offered an opportunity for study of UFOs at the time they were reported, and for measurement of their properties using sophisticated instrumentation, including the all-sky camera. The fact that even though scores of UFOs were reported during that time, the investigator could find nothing to examine with his instruments and nothing remarkable on thousands of all-sky camera exposures with the exceptions noted above is highly significant. We conclude that the expectation that it might be possible to place a trained, equipped investigator on the scene of an UFO sighting has a probability so low as to be virtually nil.