This Project Blue Book review contains spoilers.
Project Blue Book Episode 5
The U.S. Air Force may have some explaining to do when it comes to UFOs, but what is happening to their pilots and crew who spot UFOs in Project Blue Book is downright terrifying.
In “Foo Fighters,” we see the return of Henry Fuller, the pilot who was the witness of the first UFO encounter investigated by Hynek and Quinn. Fuller has gone nuts and has been stalking Mimi, seeking to speak with Hynek. Now she has Russiansanda crazy pilot stalking her.
We also find out that the secret keepers in the Air Force, including Quinn’s bosses, Valentine and Harding, are looking for Fuller because he seems to hold secrets they cannot allow to be revealed.
In one encounter police officers have with Fuller he is stammering incoherently about a string of numbers. Fuller avoids capture, but word gets back to Hynek who recognizes the numbers. They were displayed to him on a screen at the end of the first episode. In that encounter, Hynek chased a man in black to a building in an abandoned amusement park. At the end of the chase, Hynek found himself in a room with a projector that was displaying strange symbols and numbers.
Hynek checked his notes on that encounter, and the numbers matched Fuller’s. He recognized them as a radio frequency, and when he tuned in, he heard a voice with a warning. It repeated a message saying “the arrival is upon us.” Using radio equipment, Hynek tracked where the signal to a photographer’s studio. The photographer says she was paid to set up the radio transmitter by someone she did not know.
It turns out the transmitter was set up by a former Air Force pilot who was part of a group of former pilots who had seen UFOs during World War II. They called the UFOs Foo Fighters – yup, same name as the band. They described the UFOs as glowing orbs of light. They said when they reported the encounters; the Air Force did something to make them forget the incidents and gave them dishonorable discharges. The group eventually banded together and began trying to communicate with the aliens they suspected were flying the Foo Fighters.
Hynek, unsure of what the pilots saw, begins to suspect the Air Force was using mind control on the men to blank their memories. But what is the Air Force hiding?
Hynek had not shared the incident with the man in black to Quinn, but now that he felt he was beginning to piece things together and was comfortable trusting Quinn, he spilled the beans. They decide to investigate the abandoned amusement park, but what Hynek had seen before was removed.
While wandering alone, Hynek finds Fuller. He shows Fuller one of the pictures he had seen on the screen at the park. Fuller had a strange reaction and grabbed a can of fuel and ran off. He stops in an open area and then began pouring the fuel on his head. Realizing what is about to happen, Hynek ran to stop him but was tackled by Quinn. At that moment Fuller went up in flames. The symbol triggered some sort of self-destruct command that someone programmed into Fuller’s mind. Scary stuff.
The more fear-inducing this show gets, the more exciting it gets. Project Blue Book also teeters between suggesting the UFO phenomenon is extraterrestrial to suggesting it is the result of nefarious military research. All of this makes for an exciting show. However, at this point, it is not representing the real Project Blue Book. It’s also becoming very dark. The men in black are jerks, the Air Force are jerks, the aliens – if they even exist – are no help, and every town Quinn and Hynek go to they get threatened by locals portrayed as country bumpkins. Fortunately, the majority of what happened in this episode is made up.
The dark turn this episode has taken made this episode a little less enjoyable for me. I contacted Paul Hynek, one of the real Dr. Hynek’s sons to get his opinion on the show’s portrayal of his mother being embroiled in Russian espionage.
“It’s part and parcel of the show being set smack dab during the middle of the cold war,” Paul wrote via email. “Of course this didn’t happen as far as I know, but it’s part of the show that viewers, should they care, will likely realize to have been dramatized.”
While the suspense of the series has been amped up, the dark conspiracy turn is a bit cliché. The excitement of Project Blue Book and Hynek’s involvement inspires a scientific curiosity into an unknown phenomenon that is wondrous and baffling, which is how the series began. Although I enjoy the references to real mythologies related to the UFO phenomenon, I hope the show does not devolve into yet another dark alien/government conspiracy show.
The Project Blue Book Files
Let’s start with the Foo Fighters. During World War II allied aircraft personnel occasionally reported spotting round aircraft following them, often at their wingtips. Pilots assumed these were weapons, but none had caused any damage. In the daylight they looked like metallic balls, at night they appeared as glowing orbs of various colors. Investigations into the Foo Fighters have mostly been inconclusive, although a couple of them did conclude the Germans must have had a secret remote-controlled weapon.
Pilots who spotted Foo Fighters were debriefed, and several of their stories made it into newspapers. None of the airmen were reprimanded, discharged, or brainwashed. However, there is a case in which an Air Force Colonel believes his men were debriefed and possibly drugged after a UFO encounter.
In 1980, on the evening of December 26, strange lights were seen in the Rendlesham Forest outside the gates of Bentwaters Royal Air Force base. Bentwaters is in the UK who leased the base to the U.S. Air Force at the time. Three security personnel were sent to investigate. They approached a brightly lit object. Fearful, one of the men stayed with the jeep. Another made it close to the object but stopped short of walking up to it. The third walked right up to the object and described seeing a triangular craft about 6 feet long hovering a few feet off the ground. He had time to circle it and take notes before it moved up above the tree line and took off at an incredible speed.
Deputy base commander Charles Halt was skeptical the lights in the forest were unexplainable. He believed there was a mundane answer and planned to investigate personally if the lights should return. He got his chance a couple of nights later. The lights were seen again, and he took some men into the forest. This time he witnessed the lights firsthand. One of the bright lights broke into several lights and flew into the night sky. Another of the lights maneuvered over the base’s weapons storage area and beamed a light into it. The object then moved towards him and his men and shone a light down in front of their feet. Unable to explain what he saw, Halt believes they encountered alien technology that night.
Halt says he learned years later that “OSI [Office of Special Investigations] operatives harshly interrogated five young airmen…who were key witnesses.” Halt says “the agents told them not to talk about the UFO events, or their careers would be in jeopardy.” And that “Drugs such as Sodium Pentothal…were administered during the interrogations…” His concern is that “the whole thing has had a damaging and lasting effect on the men involved.”
Another bit of strangeness in this episode that is reminiscent of a real-life bit of weirdness is the weird radio transmissions Hynek heard. The real version is even more dramatic. In 1977, British television was interrupted by an extraterrestrial message. On November 26, during Southern Television’s evening news the picture “wobbled” and the audio was taken over by a voice with a message from aliens.
“This is the voice of Vrillon, a representative of the Ashtar Galactic Command, speaking to you,” the voice pronounced. “For many years you have seen us as lights in the skies. We speak to you now in peace and wisdom as we have done to your brothers and sisters all over this, your planet Earth.”
The message continued to warn humans that we need to get rid of our weapons and take care of our planet, primarily as the earth was about to enter the Age of Aquarius. The announcement continued for nearly 6 minutes.
The incident is widely regarded as a hoax, but no one has ever claimed responsibility for the event, nor have investigators figured out how it was pulled off. Some, of course, think it was aliens. But if it was, we certainly did not heed their warning.