This Project Blue Book review contains spoilers.
Project Blue Book Episode 4
Project Blue Book episode 4 takes a nosedive into the rabbit hole, but the wild storylines follow real conspiracy and UFO mythologies that are popular on the web. It also presents an intriguing alternate theory to the idea that UFOs have anything to do with aliens at all.
Take an odd part of history, add a bit of conspiracy mythology, then sprinkle with magic Hollywood dust and up sprouts a huge, beautiful tree of fantasy. That would sum up my feelings on “Operation Paperclip.” I am a student of history, so I relish in historical accuracy. However, I am also a sci-fi buff, and this latest episode frustrated the history buff in me while exciting my sci-fi side.
Let’s get into it. The show begins with Hynek on an airplane. The first mystery presented was that the passenger cabin of the aircraft looked more like a train with curtains over the windows and seats that faced one another. However, in a tweet, show creator and writer David O’Leary wrote: “Yes, these old 1950s planes really did have train-like booths that faced each other. And lots more leg room!” Score one for historical accuracy! Granted, it’s one of the few points that I will award in this category for this particular episode.
Hynek then sees a UFO flying around the airplane. We are lead to believe Hynek is experiencing this sighting, but then he wakes from a dream. He was dreaming about his most recent UFO case – a sighting by the passengers and crew of a commercial aircraft near Huntsville, Alabama.
Quinn feels certain he knows who is responsible for this UFO incident and he is not very happy about it. Quinn explains that after World War II, German scientists were snatched up by the U.S. as part of Operation Paperclip. He says Huntsville was set up to house German scientists working on rocket technology, led by Werner von Braun. Having fought in World War II, Quinn is with the situation.
Hynek and Quinn travel to Huntsville to find out what the Germans are up to. Quinn is convinced that the UFO that buzzed the airplane was a rocket built by the former German scientists, who he believes were not concerned with endangering the lives of the passengers.
Security denies Hynek and Quinn access to the base, but Quinn crashes through the barricades anyway. This does allow them an audience with Von Braun but also lands Quinn a suspension. Von Braun says he is familiar with Hynek’s work, shows them a secret rocket launch and offers Hynek a job. He admits it was one of his rockets that buzzed the airplane, but Hynek doesn’t believe him.
To make a long story short, after leaving, Hyenk and Quinn break into the base again. This time they sneak around and find a body floating in a suspended animation container. It looks like an alien. The base alarms sound, so the two race off, only to be caught. Von Braun tells them what they saw was a monkey that had been sent into space and was undergoing testing as to the effects of space on its body. Hynek tells him he is suspicious of their project because the rocket explanation for the UFO sighting did not fit the witness testimony. There is something von Braun is hiding.
At the end of the show, we see what that is. After Quinn and Hynek have left, General Harding, Quin’s boss, shows up to join von Braun on a tarmac. A large saucer-shaped object is then wheeled out of a hangar, and a pilot in a flight suit is put into the craft. This pilot is complaining he doesn’t want to do this, but he seems drugged and unable to struggle. The craft looks like human technology, but when it is started up, a weird field surrounds it, then it disappears.The show is mostly full on science fiction with modern UFO and conspiracy mythologies expertly weaved into the story. The visuals are also stunning. It all makes for a fun and exciting show.
Project Blue Book, the TV show, is getting more exciting, and maybe that is due to its divergence from reality. Many feel the show does not need to move away from the real Project Blue Book investigations to be exciting, and that may be the case. I know first hand proving that to a producer is near impossible. However, I find this particular journey into conspiratorial sci-fi is intelligent in that it is expertly incorporating the UFO and conspiracy mythologies while making the viewers think about alternate explanations to the UFO mystery.
The Project Blue Book Files
Huntsville is a city built by rockets. It is the home of NASA’s Marshall Space Center, but before NASA was created, the military had been testing missiles in the area since World War II. After the war ended, rocket testing continued. Operation Paperclip was real, and Werner von Braun was a real rocket scientist brought to the U.S. The U.S. first brought the German rocket scientists to Fort Bliss, Texas, but in the ‘50s, von Braun and his team were moved to Huntsville.
Von Braun’s popularity was primarily due to his involvement in the development of the V-2 rocket. This rocket terrified the allies during the war because it was the first ballistic missile. While the space program was a real thing, the real importance to the military was the development of bigger and better rockets. Especially with the prospect that a ballistic missile would be the ideal delivery system for the newly developed atom bomb.
In UFO circles, there have been many rumors about von Braun. From the belief that he had to be in the know regarding alleged crashes of alien spacecraft such as Roswell, to a rumor that he knew the government was faking emergencies to distract the public and that one day a UFO scare would be used for that purpose.
The Nazi’s also have a UFO history according to many conspiracy theories. It is believed they communicated with aliens and were able to develop technologies based off of alien technology. You can even find pictures online of saucer-shaped craft with Nazi symbols and guns mounted on them. It is rumored that the Nazi’s tried to mount weapons on alien spacecraft and it disrupted the propulsion systems and would not work. There are also rumors that the Germans were developing anti-gravity. In particular, a bell-shaped craft creatively named The Bell. The propulsion system consisted of two cylinders filled with a mercury-like substance that spun in opposite directions.
The way the craft disappeared at the end of Project Blue Bookis reminiscent of another conspiracy theory, one known as the Philadelphia Experiment. This mythology was first brought forth in a UFO book, although the author did not find the story credible. Despite the author’s opinion, this theory has a wide following. The story was that the U.S. developed technology that could render a ship invisible. Allegedly in 1943, the USS Eldridge, a 300 ft long Navy destroyer, was used to experiment with the technology. When the invisibility machine was enabled, the ship disappeared. When it reappeared crewmen reported feeling sick, and some were killed by somehow being embedded into the steal of the vessel.
In reality, the Germans were undoubtedly ahead of their time. At the time, technology such as jet propulsion and rockets were very advanced, and the Germans were way ahead of the U.S. in these areas. They even had a jet shaped like a stealth bomber that did partially inspire some of the stealth bomber’s characteristics. However, beyond rumors, there is no evidence they developed anti-gravity or canoodled with aliens.
The end of this Project Blue Bookepisode seems to suggest UFO sightings are actually due to experimental aircraft. The CIA has suggested this as well. In a CIA report regarding the development of aircraft at Area 51, there is a section titled “U-2s, UFOs, and Operation Blue Book.” In this section, they claim that many UFO reports were due to unwitting civilians spotting test flights of the U-2 spy plane. The report claims, “This, in turn, led to the Air Force’s Operation Blue Book.” The problem with the last statement is that the U.S. Air Force began investigating UFO sightings in 1947 with Project Sign and Project Blue Book began in 1952. The U.S. did not conduct test flights of the U-2 until the mid to late 50s. It is highly likely U-2 test flights did cause UFO reports, but it is not possible for the U-2 test flights to have caused the creation of Project Blue Book.