|Many years have passed since I actively pursued the UFO issue, so as a bystander I applaud the efforts of researchers who strain their eyes and miss dinner as they endlessly pore through old government files and tattered private documents. I believe the last time I delved heavily into an inquiry of consequence occurred in the eighties when the late Bob Warth of the Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained (SITU, now long defunct) talked me into exploring documents at a university library for some project whose end-game was best known to himself. In the seventies I spent considerable time in||
By Robert Barrow
Rochester, NY where I researched files at Kodak and the George Eastman House for a firm involved with the production of Kodak’s centennial edition of Studio Light, a favorite of professional photographers.
With that behind me, it’s fair to say that my lack of hands-on involvement with UFO inquiries these days causes me to miss a lot. Yes, I have occasionally run into some minor thing I wrote or was written about me in old files released by private concerns or government agencies, but I tend to happen upon such soon-forgotten things by chance.
Therefore, it was no surprise, yet intriguing, when I stumbled upon something on the Internet last week that made me blink twice, or better make that three times. Apparently, it has been out there since release by the CIA — yeah, that CIA — in 2003 with its own government file number.
As a teenager in the sixties I wrote plenty of letters to editors of numerous newspapers and magazines regarding UFOs, and most of them were printed. A particular newspaper letter, typed out in January of 1967, listed important UFO reports from the previous year, and we all know that 1966 was a stunning year for interesting UFO cases.
Thing is, it seems my comments referencing the CIA perked up official eyes somewhere because the entirety of the letter ended up in CIA files.
I’ve only included a small portion of the newspaper piece here, but as you can see there is a small underlining where I mentioned the CIA. Apparently, somebody making this mark determined the letter-to-the-editor appropriate for filing in the Spook House. For almost 35 years, my teenage composition about UFOs remained concealed in CIA files for reasons best known to the person or persons who made the decision to throw it into the pile.
Why? Simply because it mentions the CIA? Because UFOs in 1966 were of considerable concern officially? A reference to the (not specified at that time) Robertson Panel report? And if one wishes to file away a letter of this nature from a homegrown writer, why not at the FBI? Was I considered a global crackpot? International terrorist? National security threat? Merely a curiosity? Was I Billy the Kid? John Dillinger? Clyde Barrow (sorry, no relation)? Half human and half dog? Was it clipped from the newspaper and just squirreled away for “later,” much like when your grandma cut out pie recipes for pies she never baked?
Really, I don’t comprehend the total picture here because everything I wrote was public knowledge by that time. I’m betting there was increased high-level government concern about UFOs, particularly after 1966 flooded the nation with disturbing sighting reports, so maybe everything in print was fair game. Still. . .
Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. I do so compassionately hope, as somebody in Officialdom was running breathlessly across the floor in 1967 with scissors all sharpened up and poised to clip a newspaper op-ed letter, intended for either the creation or augmentation of a darling little WATCH-FILE NAMED IN MY HONOR, that they didn’t trip over the sports page and sustain an injury.
Of course, a potential complication now is the CIA trolling the Internet, finding this blog page and supplementing the old file with (sigh. . .) a new entry. If only they had stuck with the front page in 1967 and read no further. Argh!