James E McDonald
Brief comments to be added on this individual.
As noted in Part 3 of Isaac Koi’s “Best UFO Cases” article (i.e. in the Part entitled “Existing lists by various individuals”), one of the members of the Condon team, Roy Craig, has referred to Dr James McDonald having a list of his selection of the “best” cases. Roy Craig’s book includes the following two references to such a list:
(a) Roy Craig stated that “[Dr James E McDonald] kept a list of the ten or twenty ‘best cases’ which indicated to him that something strange was observed. He discussed those cases in detail at numerous talks to groups of fellow scientists and to political leaders” (see Footnote 3.37).
(b) Roy Craig referred to the endless sparring that would occur if investigators pursued Dr James McDonald’s “twenty best UFO cases”, commenting that “As soon as the investigator showed several of the twenty to have no merit, those were simply dropped from the list and replaced with different cases” (see Footnote 3.38).
I have read quite a bit of McDonald’s material on UFOs, some of which is not easily obtainable and not referred to very often in other UFO literature. However, I have not seen any list within that material which is expressly labelled as referring to the “best cases”.
On the positive side, I have found a numerous different lists within McDonald’s material on UFOs which refer to various different cases. Those lists include:
(a) a list of 41 cases within McDonald's written testimony submitted to a congressional hearing on 29 July l968, i.e. the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science and Astronautics’ “Symposium on Unidentified Flying Objects”, chaired by Congressman J Edward Roush (available free online at Footnote 3.24). However, those lists do not appear to represent an attempt to identify the 41 “best” cases. Instead, those 41 cases comprise several shorter lists addressing, for example, claims that astronomers do not report UFOs and claims that pilots do not report UFOs (see Footnote 3.24). In a letter dated 2 April 1971, McDonald himself referred to the relevant discussion as relating to “over 30 selected UFO cases of scientific significance” (see Footnote 3.39).
(b) A relatively long chronological list of “some UFO cases of interest”, containing approximately 125 cases, dated 13 March 1967 (see Footnote 3.40).
(c) A of “Some Illustrative UFO Reports”, containing a numbered list of 10 reports, to “bring out” the allegedly “essential similiarity” of UFO reports from around the world (see Footnote 3.41).
(d) A numbered list of 18 cases “selected for a variety of reasons” (see Footnote 3.42).
After fairly intense efforts, the closest I have come to short lists of the cases which McDonald viewed as the “best” were, ironically, found in the most easily obtainable of the numerous sources I examined, i.e. in “UFO’s: A Scientific Debate” (1972), edited by Carl Sagan and Thornton Page.
That source contains two relatively short lists by McDonald which appear to reflect his views of the best cases, firstly, considered by the Condon report to be explained, and, secondly, those considered by the Condon report to be unexplained:
(a) Firstly, McDonald has listed several cases considered explained in the Condon Report which McDonald regarded as “both unexplained and of strong scientific interest” (see Footnote 3.43):
(1) Flagstaff, Arizona, 20 May 1950
(2) Washington, D.C., 19 June 1952 (Case 8 in Isaac Koi's “Top 100” article)
(3) Bellefontaine, O., 1 August 1952
(4) Haneda AFB, Japan, 5 August 1952
(5) Gulf of Mexico, 6 December 1952
(6) Odessa, Washington, 10 December 1952
(7) Continental Divide, N. M., 26 January 1953
(8) Seven Isles, Quebec, 29 June 1954
(9) Niagara Falls, N. Y., 25 July 1957
(10) Kirtland AFB, N. M., 4 November 1957
(11) Gulf of Mexico, 5 November 1957
(12) Peru, 30 December 1966
(13) Holloman AFB, 2 March 1967
(14) Kincheloe AFB, 11 September 1967
(15) Vandenberg AFB, 6 October 1967
(16) Milledgeville, Ga., 20 October 1967
(b) Secondly, McDonald has listed several cases “conceded to to be unexplainable in the Condon Report and containing features of particularly strong scientific interest” (see Footnote 3.44):
(1) Utica, N. Y., 23 June 1955
(2) Lakenheath, England, 13 August 1956 (Case 21 in Isaac Koi's “Top 100” article)
(3) Jackson, Ala. 14 November 1956
(4) Norfolk, Va., 30 August 1957
(5) RB-47 case 19 September 1957 (Case 63 in Isaac Koi's “Top 100” article)
(6) Beverly, Mass., 22 April 1966
(7) Joplin, Mo., 13 January 1967
(8) Donnybrook, N. D., 19 June 1966
(9) Haynesville, La., 30 December 1966
(10) Colorado Springs, Colo., 13 May 1967