Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Slow Death in Washington (Part Three)

The sixties departed and 1970 spewed forth a reinvented NICAP, though by then not even administrative plastic surgery could hide the blemishes. The board of directors had moved quickly to authorize significant changes, the most dramatic being the removal of Major Keyhoe and Gordon I.R. Lore, Jr. The shakeup was not a pretty sight.

For a brief period, board member and former Air Force Col. Joseph Bryan III became acting president, with the addition of G. Stuart Nixon as secretary-treasurer. The new NICAP also rolled out a new logo, the one shown in the accompanying letter and reflected in my series here (I added the colors myself). Almost overnight, members were computerized, given membership cards, individual numbers and new renewal rates for the UFO Investigator, NICAP's journal. The black and silver logo was even sold as a tie tack, a curiosity which I purchased and still keep as a shining memento to a part of NICAP left untarnished as administrators, computers and prettying up replaced NICAP's core values.

The "very promising future" indicated by Bryan at the end of his letter may have had legs for a time, but a succession of problems took a toll. Nothing I write here could take the place of two particular articles available on the home page at nicap.org -- one by the late NICAP assistant director Richard Hall and the other by associate Don Berliner (Berliner's older piece covers NICAP up to the early seventies). To fully understand the history of NICAP's rise and decline, these must be read. Even now, knowing the importance of the organization's impressive accumulation of UFO case files involving witnesses of often extraordinary observational backgrounds, I find it astounding that as a society we are where we are regarding UFO investigations. And where are we? Maybe I'm not astounded after all.

As 1971 crept in, only a few months after Bryan's optimistic letter to members, yet another letter went out to the membership, and this time options didn't appear quite so hospitable, as we'll see in Part Four.