Dr. James E. McDonald – What Might Have Been – 1/6
One of my heroes in this UFO business is Dr. McDonald, who committed suicide (so it is said) in 1971. Beginning in 1968 and continuing up to his death only three years later, McDonald was a scourge of the complacent ufology of his day. He blasted the Air Force, Hynek, Menzel, Condon and anyone else doing a second-rate job in the UFO arena. He was a first-rate intellect and a world-famous atmospheric scientist, this last very important since UFOs are mainly reported in the atmosphere, not in outer space. This put the astronomers (Hynek & Menzel) on the spot when they tried to challenge McDonald. You see, he was IN his field, THEY were NOT. This would often cause Menzel acute embarrassment.
I will not presume to speak for this great gentleman, I will rather let him speak for himself. We will begin with selections from his testimony before Congress twenty-seven years ago, in July of 1968.
Let’s look first at his bio as of that date.
Biographical Information: Dr. James E. McDonald
Born: Duluth, Minnesota, May 7, 1920.
B.A., Chemistry, University of Omaha, 1942.
M.A., Meterology, M.I.T., 1945.
Ph.D., Physics, Iowa State University, 1951.
U.S. Navy, Intelligence & aerology, 1942-45.
Instructor, Physics, Iowa State University, 1946-49.
Assistant Professor, Physics, Iowa State University, 1950-53.
Research Physicist, Cloud Physics, Univ. of Chicago, 1953-54.
Associate Prof., Physics, Univ. of Arizona, 1954-56.
Full Professor,, Physics, Univ. of Arizona, 1956-57.
Senior Physicist, Inst. of Atmospheric Studies, 1958 – present.
Member, Weather Modification Panel, NAS, 1965 – present.
Member, Navy Stormfury Advisory Panel, 1966 – present.
Member, NSF Weather Modificationh Panel, 1967 – present.
Member, AAAS, American Meteorological Society, Sigma Xi, American
Geophysical Society, American Society of University Professors.
Married, Six Children.
Yes, I would say this is a candidate for suicide, wouldn’t you? We are talking about the real deal here, Ph.D. to Full Professor in, what, FIVE YEARS. Yes, it was the post-war world but this guy was not your average academic. He was at the top of his field by the late 1950s and as you will later see he left no stone unturned once he set his mind to a project. It has been said that genius is the capacity for infinite pains and by that standard James E. McDonald certainly qualified. We will now move on to selections from Dr. McDonald’s testimony –
“I have been studying now for about two years, on a rather intensive basis, the UFO problem. I have interviewed several hundred witnesses in selected cases, and I am astonished at what I have found. I had no idea that the actual UFO situation is anything like what it appears to be.”
“About two years ago I became more than casually curious for several reasons that are not too relevant here, and began to spend much more time and very quicly changed my notions about the problem. I visited Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, saw their very impressive and surprising UFO files, the pattern of which is entirely different from what I imagined.”
“Let me turn briefly to my experience, In the last two years I have been able to devote a substantial part of my time to this problem. I have also had a chance to interview 75 or 80 witnesses in Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania, when I was down in that area last summer.”
“I have investigated, personally, on the order of 300 cases dealing with the key witnesses and I have looked as carefully as I can at all the reasonable explanations.”
Now, let’s look at the above four paragraphs. For some reason, not specified, a top-notch scientist begins to look into UFOs in a big, big way, talking to SEVERAL HUNDRED people in just a couple of years!!! Now, this is news, folks. We have been hearing from the skeptics for years and years about how they need this and need that but, let me tell you, James McDonald gave them everything they needed in 1968, and it did NO good. And let me tell you further, if they didn’t believe Dr. McDonald it means that they had NO INTENTION of believing ANYONE, no matter what evidence was presented. By the time this series is over you will see what I mean and you will be through with the so-called skeptics forever. You will pay them no further attention because they are irrelevant to our situation and to the UFO.
“I wish to emphasize that we must very quickly have very good people looking into this problem, because it appears to be one of very serious concern. We are dealing with inexplicable phenomena, baffling phenomena, that will not be clarified by any but the best scientists.”
“We (scientists) have tended to ignore it (the UFO) because we didn’t think it made sense. It definitely defies any explanation and hence the situation has evolved to where we can’t get going because we aren’t already going.”
“Why don’t we have instrumental data? Because no one takes it seriously enough to get the scientific data. It is like the 20-year-old who can’t get a job because he lacks experience, and he lacks experience because he can’t get a job.”
McDonald was asking Congress to consider funding a program to study UFOs properly. He doesn’t say that but that’s what he was doing. He would soon find that this proposal had about as much chance of success as a Milky Way candy bar in a Bessemer furnace.
“In New York City, on November 22, 1966, a total of eight witnesses of the staff of the American Newspaper Publishers Association, were witnesses in a good case. This was at 4:20 in the afternoon. It was kind of cushion shaped, as described, and had no wings. It was rocking a little from time to time, blinked in the afternoon sun (over the U.N. building) and had an orange glow. All eight were watching, and after it hovered for several moments it rose vertically and then took
off at high speed. Here is an example of a midtown sighting in New York where the witnesses are staff members of a responsible organization and (one of them) had been trained in intelligence, in World War Two. There was no report published in any New York paper and no one from the Air Force would investigate. It came to my attention because one of the members of the staff knew of NICAP and sent that organization a report.”
And here we see why the “Air Force” was doing nothing — they were just cover. Keyhoe’s NICAP was carrying the ball, weren’t they? And Hynek had plenty of money to follow up.
“Meteorological optics is a subject that I enjoy and that I have looked into over the years rather carefully, and I must express for the record my very strong disagreement with Dr. Donald H. Menzel, former director of Harvard Observatory, whose two books on the subject
of UFOs lean primarily on meterological explanations. I have checked case after case of his, and his explanations are very far removed from what are well-known principles and quantitative aspects of meteorological optical objects. He has made statements that simply do not fit what is known about meteorlogical objects. I should be prepared to talk all day on specific illustrations but time will not permit.”
This is a scientific and professional skewering of the first magnitude and Menzel was not, shall we say, pleased. But Menzel was WRONG, terribly wrong, and the fact that he would use bogus methodology is a dead giveaway to his lack of scientific motive.
“I would have to answer you in terms of case after case that I and others have investigated, to make all of this clear. It is this very large body of impressive witness testimony, radar tracking data on ultra-high-speed objects sometimes moving at over 5,000 miles per hour, combined radar-visual sightings, and just too much other consistent evidence that suggests we are dealing with machine-like devices from somewhere else.”
Yes, I will bite on this, and so should everyone else almost THREE DECADES ago. But they didn’t and their reasons why are mostly horse-hockey. More to come.
*** End, Part 1/6 ***
From UFO Digest… http://www.ufoupdateslist.com/digest/DIGEST30.TXT…
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Germannvh)
Subject: James E. McDonald — What Might Have Been — 1/6
Date: 17 Jul 1995 00:46:42 -0400
Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)