Sign Historical Group

Resources & Projects


NEW - June 22, 2014

William B. Nash

One of the most discussed UFO incidents of 1952 was the sighting of eight objects over Chesapeake Bay, Virginia, on July 14, 1952, by Pan American Airways pilots William B. Nash and William H. Fortenberry.  Nash was deeply affected by his experience and was determined to research the phenomenon and try to foster a wider acceptance for the reality of it.

Nash and Fortenberry collaborated on an article detailing their sighting for the October, 1952 issue of:

TRUE Magazine - We Flew Above Flying Saucers

Some skeptics had suggested that Nash's sighting was an optical illusion caused by "reflections" or some sort of atmospheric anomaly. 

The September, 1953 issue of "The Air Line Pilot," the official magazine of Nash's pilot union, contained an article by Captain Joe Hull entitled, "The Obituary of the Flying Saucers" which advocated that all "flying saucer" sightings could be explained scientifically using the logical approach of noted skeptic Dr. Donald H. Menzel.

Captain Joe Hull - The Obituary of The Flying Saucers

William Nash wrote a rebuttal to Hull's article and submitted it for publication.  It was rejected because well-known author Major Donald E. Keyhoe had already been approached to write a response to Hull.  We present William Nash's original unpublished article:

William B. Nash - The Flying Saucers Are Still Alive

Donald Keyhoe's article for "The Air Line Pilot" was a devastating rebuttal to Captain Hull's advocacy of Donald Menzel's explanations.  Using extensive sources developed in the writing of his books, Keyhoe was able to ask military experts at Project Bluebook to comment directly on Menzel's theories and methods:

Donald E. Keyhoe - Flying Saucer Fact or Fancy?

William Nash's unpublished article was forwarded to Captain Hull for comment.  This resulted in a lengthy correspondence and ultimately formed the basis for a strong friendship between the two.  The letters provide an evocative insight into the state of UFOlogy in the early 1950s, and document Hull's acceptance of the reality of the "flying saucer" phenomenon.  Several years later Captain Hull experienced his own extraordinary UFO sighting which is documented in this collection:

The Nash-Hull Letters - William Nash - Joe Hull Letters

William Nash corresponded and shared leads to other incidents with Major Donald E. Keyhoe.  We present a small selection of these letters taken from Nash's files:

The Nash-Keyhoe Letters - William Nash - Donald E. Keyhoe Letters

Nash also exchanged information with noted Washington columnist, Robert S. Allen:

Nash-Allen Letters - William Nash - Robert S. Allen Letters

Thomas Tulien, co-chair of the Sign Historical Group and founder of the Sign Oral History Project revisits the Nash-Fortenberry sighting and includes some personal insight based on his interview with William B. Nash:

Revisiting One of the Classics: The 1952 Nash/Fortenberry Sighting

Edward J. Ruppelt is best known for his role as chief of the U.S. Air Force's Project Blue Book from 1951-53 and as the author of the classic work The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects (1956).  Prior to writing The Report, Ruppelt produced a "book-length feature" article for the May, 1954, issue of TRUE Magazine entitled, "What Our Air Force Found Out About Flying Saucers

Captain William B. Nash, one of the witnesses in the well-known "Nash-Fortenberry" sighting of 1952, wrote a "Letter to the Editor" of TRUE disagreeing with Ruppelt's overtly skeptical viewpoint and challenged him on several points.  His letter was published but heavily edited.  The complete text has been reproduced here from Nash's files.

Nash also discussed Ruppelt's article as well as other contemporary UFO cases in a 1954 letter to his friend and fellow pilot, William J. Hull.

With the imminent publication of a revised edition of Ruppelt's The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects, Isabel Davis of CSI New York managed to obtain copies of two of the three new chapters.  She shared her concerns in a November 16, 1959, letter to her colleagues in CSI Los Angeles.

  UK UFO Documents

The United Kingdom Government started investigating unidentified flying objects beginning in 1947.  According to press accounts the Royal Air Force accumulated a large number of reports.  Unlike the Project Blue Book files, the corpus of these UK government investigations between 1947 and the early 1960s was allegedly destroyed as a matter of official policy.

Jan Aldrich provides a brief overview of the UK Government's handling of UFO reports and presents some interesting UK UFO documents that were found among the papers of the U.S. Airforce's scientific adviser on UFOs and founder of CUFOS, Dr. J. Allen Hynek. 

  Updated CFI/Research Proposal

Several years ago the SyFy Channel, with the aid of John Podesta, former Chief of Staff for President Clinton, started a campaign to press for the release of government documents dealing with UFOs under the title of the Coalition for Freedom of Information (CFI).

CFI solicited proposals from UFO researchers for a list of key UFO documents that might be secured via research or FOIA legal action.  The Sign Historical Group produced a proposal which was not accepted within the tight deadline allowed for submissions.  However, many of the proposed avenues for research have since produced new information and opened up new research opportunities. 

The original proposal with updated findings and potential leads can be read here.

Dr. Frank B. Salisbury

Frank Boyer Salisbury was born in Utah in 1926. He graduated from the University of Utah with a B.S. (1951) and M.A. (1952) and received his Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology (1955).  He served as head of the Department of Plant Science at Utah State University from 1966 to 1970, when he resigned to devote more time to research and textbook writing.  He retired in 1997 after leading a project to grow wheat in the Russian space station Mir.

In April 1962 he published an article entitled “Martian Biology” in Science magazine, outlining the possibility of life on Mars  He received many letters pointing him towards the growing body of UFO literature.  This led Salisbury to consider that if life was likely on other planets, perhaps extraterrestrial visitation was also a possibility.

In January 1967 Salisbury published The Scientist and the UFO in Bioscience.

On July 29th, 1968, Salisbury submitted a written statement to the U. S. House of Representatives' Committee on Science and Astronautics Symposium on Unidentified Flying Objects.

After a talk on the possibility of life on Mars to the Association of Utah Science Teachers, Salisbury was approached by Joseph Junior Hicks, a junior high school science teacher from Roosevelt, Utah. Hicks informed him of his research into a localized UFO wave in the Uintah Basin which further piqued Salisbury's interest in the subject.

In August, 1975, Salibury published another article in Bioscience, Recent Developments in the Study of UFOS

We are pleased to present these articles with permission of the author.

The Sign Oral History Project has an in-depth interview with Dr. Salisbury:

  Julian J. A. Hennessey, British UFO Researcher

Julian Hennessey's two decades of UFO research in Europe and Great Britain resulted in an impressive network of official contacts, case reports and documents.  As chairman of NICAP's European Investigative Subcommittee #1 he instigated contact with airline pilots, agencies, and military personnel which brought to light many UFO reports that otherwise might have remained unknown.

Jan Aldrich presents an overview of Julian's work in this introduction to the previously unpublished essay The U.K. Goverment and UFOs in which Julian outlines his dealings with British government officialdom and some significant historical British UFO events during his own involvement with UFO research in the 60s and 70s.

  Sign Oral History Project

"Following the UFO History Workshop and the subsequent formation of the Sign Historical Group in 1999, it became evident that one area lacking in the preservation of the history of the UFO phenomenon was the archiving of spoken memories and personal commentaries of historical significance through recorded interviews..."

The Sign Oral History Project began in 1999 to record recollections of UFO witnesses, investigators officials, scientists, and other individuals associated with UFO history.  SOHP records interviews with a cross section of individuals involved with UFOs on archives quality video media.

The founder of SOHP, Tom Tulien, has conducted well over 100 interviews with the assistance of a number of UFO historians.  A partial list of interviewees is here, and includes witnesses from a number of important UFO cases, former Project Blue Book officials, UFO investigators and aviation and ballooning experts.

  Inventory of Material From the Files of Dr. Olavos T. Fontes

Included in the material Dr. Willy Smith recently donated to the Sign Historical Group was his collection of items from the files of the renowned Brazilian UFO researcher, Dr. Olavos T. Fontes.  An inventory of this material, along with Fontes-related items provided by other researchers, can be read here.  A selection of Internet links referring to Fontes-related cases is also included.

  Civilian Saucer Investigation-LA

In late 1951 several scientists, aeronautical engineers and interested persons established a UFO study group in California which they called "Civilian Saucer Investigation-Los Angeles" (CSI-LA).

In just a few years, CSI-LA's dedication and science-based methods of research and investigation attracted the attention of other UFO researchers, mainstream media outlets such as LIFE Magazine, and government organizations ranging from the US Air Force, to the Office of Scientific Investigation (OSI) and the CIA.

The Sign Historical Group is pleased to present a collection of items and publications detailing the brief but influential activities of Civilian Saucer Investigation-LA .

Index of CSI-LA material.

Introduction and background of CSI-LA   by Jan. L. Aldrich.

September 7, 2002

Introduction and background by Tom Tulien regarding new Condon-related material on the Sign Historical Group website:

Politicking and Paradigm Shifting, the Ph.D. dissertation of Dr. Paul McCarthy.

Final Report of the Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects, a.k.a. The Condon Report.

United States House of Representatives, Committee on Science and Astronautics, Symposium on Unidentified Flying Objects, July 1968. Washington, D.C.  

— A detailed collection of Links and Articles providing background, critiques and commentary on Dr. Edward U. Condon, the Condon Report, and the House Committee on Science and Astronautics Symposium on Unidentified Flying Objects, July, 1968.


Updated 8 February, 2002

The Barry Greenwood Archives

Updated 8 November, 2003

Barry Greenwood's Articles Database  

Updated 8 November, 2003

The Jan Aldrich Archives - UFO File Folder Headings

The Ray Fowler Archives

NEW - 3 March, 2002

The Wendy Connors' Archives

Wendy's extensive Audio Disc and Photo Archive Listings


Thanks to the efforts of PROJECT 1947 archivist Candy Peterson, an alphabetical listing of UFO-related materials donated to Ohio State University (OSU) by William Jones is now available.

The Collection is housed at the OSU Library, Rare Books and Manuscripts Department. The OSU library provides a secure holding area, national access and complete public services subject to the policies of the Rare Book and Manuscripts Department, (e.g., materials do not circulate; can only be viewed under staff supervision; etc.)

OSU has a particular interest in preserving materials relating to Popular Culture. In the words of Geoffrey Smith, head of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Department, "UFO studies enter all areas of contemporary culture: literature, film, TV, science, religion, etc. which contributes to OSU's interest in maintaining and enriching its UFO Collection."

Contact Details:-

If you have any material you would like to donate to the OSU collection, please contact Tom Tulien -

Click here for: Rare Books and Manuscripts - The Ohio State University Libraries

The OSU collection can be viewed online here.   For browsers with no frames, please click here.

The OSU listing is also available for download as a plain ascii file -

These listings reflect the current holdings at OSU and have been recently updated to incorporate new additions.

June 2, 2012


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