Headed by and named for physicist Edward U. Condon of the University of Colorado, the Condon Committee was a U.S. government–sponsored panel that investigated UFO sightings from 1966 to 1968. The committee was created by Congress in response to public dissatisfaction with the actions of investigators in the U.S. Air Force’s Project Blue Book, who seemed determined to persuade people that UFOs could not possibly be alien spacecraft. When Project Blue Book investigators declared that one cluster of UFO sightings, involving more than eighty witnesses, was due to clouds of phosphorescent swamp gas, the U.S. House of Representatives, at the urging of then-congressman Gerald R. Ford, called on the air force to turn its investigation over to serious scholars.
The air force’s selection of Condon as the head of this new panel was taken by some people to mean that it was still not willing to study UFOs objectively. Condon had made no secret of his belief that UFO sightings were nonsense; moreover, his team members were nonbelievers as well. According to several individuals who served on the committee, its members never intended to examine any evidence that might suggest aliens were visiting Earth. Indeed, in 1968 the committee declared that UFO reports deserved no further study because there was no convincing evidence that UFOs were spacecraft. This statement made it possible for the air force to officially end Project Blue Book, and the government refused to fund any further investigations into UFOs.
Subsequently, many ufologists pointed out that the Condon Committee’s conclusions did not appear justified by the evidence found in its full report, which included information on numerous UFO sightings. Though the Condon Committee found ways to dismiss most of these sightings, its members had been unable to come up with conventional explanations for more than 30 per cent of the sightings, most of which involved credible witnesses. Consequently, the Condon Committee’s efforts did little to quell public suspicion that the government was covering up the existence of alien spacecraft.
- J. Allen Hynek
- Project Blue Book
The Greenhaven Encyclopedia of Paranormal Phenomena – written by Patricia D. Netzley © 2006 Gale, a part of Cengage Learning