Tuesday, September 4, 2007

NICAP Convulses in 1967 - A Love Story

The National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP) had enjoyed a steady and sometimes dramatic spurt in membership since 1964, when the Socorro, NM UFO landing case thrilled and enticed the nation's newspapers and broadcast news outlets. Nor did the years 1965 and 1966 disappoint. In fact, from 1964 through 1966 a bounty of impressive UFO cases from around the world received widespread press coverage, and organizations such as NICAP were the recipients of previously unseen funding and membership support.

However, by way of a very short leap to 1967 the situation quickly began to alter. The sightings continued, but the media had moved on to other matters, such as the horrible Vietnam conflict and related unrest in the U.S. Further, Dr. Edward Condon and his Air Force-financed Colorado UFO project appeared to be hard at work investigating UFOs, probably satisfying media and public concerns that, at long last, a capable independent research entity with government backing would get to the bottom of the UFO issue. Whatever series of events gathered to lessen interest in UFOs, NICAP was the first to suffer -- maybe, in some ways, because its resources were supposedly being shared with Colorado, and a faulty perception came about that NICAP likewise shared in government funding (which was never the case).

By August of 1967, the NICAP economic situation was dire, and director Maj. Donald E. Keyhoe (USMC, ret.), proud military veteran, accomplished writer, former aide to and biographer of famed aviator Charles Lindbergh (see his book, Flying With Lindbergh, 1928, since reprinted), was forced to beg for NICAP's life as if holding a tin cup on a street corner. NICAP survived, but from that point on funding was always tenuous, and once the "Condon Report" emerged NICAP's internal operations started to unravel with occasional strange twists over a period of several years until the organization's demise. Details are abundantly presented at the nicap.org Web site.