FBI Files: Unexplained Phenomenon Files from the FBI's Vault
Unexplained Phenomenon Files from the FBI’s Vault

Unexplained Phenomenon Files from the FBI’s Vault

Larry Holzwarth - September 22, 2021

Unexplained Phenomenon Files from the FBI’s Vault
UFOs have become an industry throughout the Western world, though most have been debunked as hoaxes, misidentified aircraft, or natural phenomena. Wikimedia

20. The FBI’s Unexplained Phenomenon files are mostly bureaucratic give and take

Throughout the Unexplained Phenomenon files, there is a noted absence of unexplained phenomena. Instead, there is a wealth of correspondence and internal documentation describing the bureau’s action or inaction regarding the requests of others. Despite files regarding UFOs making up the bulk of the vault’s contents, the FBI repeatedly states in its records that it does not investigate UFOs. Such activities were entirely the responsibility of the United States Air Force. But the FBI definitely hovered around those investigations, meticulously documenting what they learned from observation, informants, and even the press. J. Edgar Hoover expressed interest in press reports on several occasions, directing his agents to obtain further information and clarification. Often the requests were over articles about UFO sightings, or lectures on the subject given by ufologists.

Hoover’s interest in the activities of all branches of the US government and its supporting contractors is well-documented. It was an obsession. He wanted any scrap of information known by any other branch or agency of the government to be known to the FBI, no matter how small. The result is an unexplained phenomenon file which describes the known activities of other investigators, but very little content of unexplained phenomena. The long flirtation with ESP, mental telepathy, and other parapsychology is just one example. Hoover wanted to know what the CIA and military intelligence were up to, without sharing with them what his beloved bureau was doing in the same fields. As in nearly all things, his highest consideration appears to be protecting his bureau from potential public scorn. For most of his life, he succeeded in that mission.

Where do we find this stuff? Here are our sources:

“To this day, cattle mutilations of 1970s shrouded in mystery”. Tyler Riggs, HJNews. May 3, 2008

“Unidentified Flying Objects and Air Force Project Blue Book”. USAF Fact Sheet. Online

“USAF and the UFOs”. John T. Correll, Air Force Magazine. June 1, 2011

“Project BLUE BOOK – Unidentified Flying Objects”. National Archives. Online

“The Paroptic Illusion, William Foos, Jules Romains, and the US Army”. Stacy Horn, Unbelievable. September 4, 2013. Online

“Secrets of the military’s investigations into ESP revealed!” Dina Temple-Raston, The Washington Post. June 2, 2017

“The secret life of J. Edgar Hoover”. Anthony Summers, The Guardian. December 31, 2011

“ESP: Inside the government’s secret program of psychic spies”. CBS News Report. March 18, 2018. Online

“September 24, 1947: MJ-12 – We Are Not Alone…Or Are We?” Article, Wired. September 24, 2007. Online

“The Truth Has Not Always Been Out There”. Julian E. Barnes. The New York Times. June 24, 2021

“Of Flying Saucers and Fraud: The Silas M. Newton Story”. Chris Root, Denver Public Library. July 16, 2021

“National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena”. Article, Encyclopedia.com. Online

“FBI Records: The Vault Unexplained Phenomenon”. FBI.gov. Online

“FBI ‘flying saucers’ NM memo bureau’s most viewed”. Russell Contreras, Associated Press. March 29, 2013

“FBI destroyed thousands of UFO reports, 1949 memo reveals”. Ian Sample, The Guardian. April 11, 2011