'Project Blue Book' Season 2 Episode 6 shows the true story of the Robertson Panel's aftermath
The Robertson Panel, even though very much conducted by the CIA and headed by physicist Dr H P Robertson, aimed at addressing the overwhelming public interest in UFOs
Spoiler alert for Season 2 Episode 5: 'Closed Encounters'
On the latest episode of 'Project Blue Book' Season 2, we are allowed a glimpse into Dr J Allen Hynek's future after the culmination of the titular investigation. Aidan Gillen as Hynek can be seen in the sets of what looks like a film called 'Closed encounters of the Third Kin' where he and his wife, Mimi, speak to a reporter about the Robertson Panel that they claim tried to shut down the entire investigation, exactly the way things unfolded for the titular project in real life.
On the show, in Season 2 Episode 6 titled 'Close Encounters', we see Hynek and his partner Captain Michael Quinn (Michael Malarkey) receive information that the government is looking to shut down the investigation, with the CIA establishing a panel of scientists to examine the legitimacy of the aliens and UFO investigative program.
On the show we see a mysterious man approach Hynek via Mimi, claiming he has been contacted by the aliens who want to communicate with Hynek via him. The man also undergoes some sort of possession when he, Hynek and Quinn investigate the site of the UFO landing. Somehow the two members of the investigation present his testimony on the day of the panel hearing and succeed in not shutting down the investigation.
In real life, however, things are a tad bit different. The Robertson Panel, even though very much conducted by the CIA and headed by California Institute of Technology physicist Dr H P Robertson, aimed at addressing the overwhelming public interest in UFOs. Involving a highly esteemed group of physicists, meteorologists and engineers, the only astronomer onboard being Hynek.
The Robertson Panel met for the first time on January 14, 1953, and there Edward J Ruppelt — the author of the titular book and one of the characters the show's Captain Quinn is based on, accompanied the real-life Hynek in presenting their top tier evidence, especially movie footage collected by the investigation.
Twelve hours and six years of data later, the panel concluded that most of these reported UFO and alien sightings can be explained by science and logic, through further investigation which they didn't consider worth the effort.
Their final report claimed that these low grade and unverifiable UFO reports were burdening intelligence channels, creating an atmosphere where genuine threats to the US might get buried in the barge of reports coming in. Their final decision was to recommend the US Air Force take all credibility away from the concept of UFOs and instead aim at a debunking campaign to decrease public interest.
On the show, we see Quinn, in his closing speech, address the burning need for the CIA and the Air Force to cooperate with each other in debunking these claims. However, in real life, it was the panel itself that suggested the move through mass media, movie projects, psychologists, astronomers and even celebrities to mock and ridicule the whole concept while stressing on the explanations behind the reports. The panel also asserted that civilian UFO groups, as we come across on the History show, "Should be watched because of their potentially great influence on mass thinking... The apparent irresponsibility and the possible use of such groups for subversive purposes should be kept in mind."
Many researchers are of the opinion that the panel was nothing but a government executed propaganda to control public opinion on the topic through active spying. The recommendations are also believed to have shared the Air Force's policies panning UFO study up till at least two decades after the conclusions were issued.
'Project Blue Book' Season 2 airs on Tuesdays at 10 pm only on History.