Project Blue Book Special Report #14
In late December 1951, Edward J. Ruppelt met with members of the Battelle Memorial Institute, a think tank based in Columbus, Ohio. Ruppelt wanted their experts to assist them in making the Air Force UFO study more scientific. It was the Battelle Institute that devised the standardized reporting form. Starting in late March 1952, the Institute started analyzing existing sighting reports and encoding about 30 report characteristics onto IBM punched cards for computer analysis.
Project Blue Book Special Report No. 14 was their massive statistical analysis of Blue Book cases to date, some 3200 by the time the report was completed in 1954, after Ruppelt had left Blue Book. Even today, it represents the largest such study ever undertaken.
Battelle employed four scientific analysts, who sought to divide cases into “knowns”, “unknowns”, and a third category of “insufficient information.” They also broke down knowns and unknowns into four categories of quality, from excellent to poor. E.g., cases deemed excellent might typically involve experienced witnesses such as airline pilots or trained military personnel, multiple witnesses, corroborating evidence such as radar contact or photographs, etc. In order for a case to be identified as being a “known”, only two analysts had to independently agree on a solution. However, for a case to be called an “unknown”, a unanimous decision was required – all four analysts had to agree. Thus the criterion for an “unknown” was quite stringent.
In addition, sightings were broken down into six different characteristics color, number, duration of observation, brightness, shape, and speed and then these characteristics were compared between knowns and unknowns to see if there was a statistically significant difference.
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