Site menu:

History of the Fund for UFO Research


            The origins of the Fund for UFO Research can be traced back to the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP), in the 1960’s, the world’s leading private UFO organization.  Most of the Fund’s organizers had been part of NICAP: staff members, volunteers, scientific advisors.  Several years after the fall of NICAP, these men and women gathered for a reunion and remained in touch.  The eventual outcome was the formation of the Fund.


            The first formal meeting was held on January 20, 1979, at the office of the International Fortean Organization (INFO), 7317 Baltimore Ave., College Park, Md.  The draft purposes and by-laws, prepared by Richard Hall, were discussed as the first step in filling an obvious gap in the UFO field: money to support serious scientific research.

            A second meeting to organize the Fund was held June 2, 1979, at the INFO office.  The Executive Committee was established and consisted of Chairman Dr. Bruce Maccabee (U.S. Navy physicist, Silver Spring, Md.), Vice Chairman Craig Phillips (director, U.S. National Aquarium, Silver Spring, Md.), Dr. John Carlson (professor of astronomy, University of Maryland, College Park), Dr. David Schwartzman (Professor of History, Howard University, Washington, D.C.), And Lt. Cdr. Thomas Deuley (U.S. Navy).  Alternate members were Isabel David (Washington), Don Berliner (Alexandria, Va.), Treasurer Richard Hall (Brentwood, Md.) and Fanny Phillips (Silver Spring).

            Plans were discussed to invite a wide variety of experts to membership on the National Board, and to proceed with the formalities of incorporation, including a post office box, incorporation and IRS non-profit status.  The Articles and By-Laws were approved on June 24, 1979, and submitted to the District of Columbia government.

            On August 1, the Fund for UFO Research, Inc., became incorporated and was ready to begin business in 1980.  The Fund got a big financial boost in the form of a $6,000 contribution from Barbara Mathey, following a special meeting with her on October 20.  She promised similar donations on an annual basis, but soon died.

            Meetings were held twice monthly to continue the process of getting organized, with a shift on location in August to the residence of Richard Hall, 4418 39th St., Brentwood, Md.

            On November 10, the Fund launched its first publicity effort, with public service announcements and literature sent to 500 radio stations by Fred Whiting, of Alexandria, Va., an aide to a Congressman who had volunteered his help.  On November 28, the IRS awarded the Fund tax-exempt status and ID #52-1164176.
            By the final meeting of 1979, the National Board had taken shape, with acceptances from Dr. Eugenie Clark (University of Maryland), Charles Gibbs-Smith (British Museum, London), Dr. Richard Haines (NASA), Dr. Richard Henry (Johns Hopkins University), Lou Purnell (National Air & Space Museum), Ward Kimball (Walt Disney Productions), Dr. Peter Rank (University of Wisconsin) and Dr. Ron Westrum (Eastern Michigan University).



            Early in 1980, two more Board members were added: Rev. Dr. Barry Downing (Endwell, N.Y.) and Herb Roth (United Airlines).  At about the same time, the Fund appointed Fred Whiting as Publicity Director, and adopted a logo designed by Tom Deuley.

            In May, the Fund approved and funded its first grant, to Bruce Maccabee for the publication in the Journal of Applied Optics of a paper on his investigation of the December, 1978, air-to-air sighting and filming of a UFO over New Zealand.

            In August, the Fund supported a talk at The American University by Dr. J. Allen Hynek, followed by a press conference at the National Press Club with Maccabee, Hynek, Stanton Friedman, attorney Peter Gersten and William Startup, pilot in the New Zealand case,



            The Fund got off to a very public start in 1981, with the two-hour appearance of Dr. Maccabee, Richard Hall and Don Berliner on the Mutual Radio Network’s Larry King interview program, heard by an estimated six million listeners.  By the end of the First Quarter, Fund spokesmen had been interviewed on 21 radio stations, for a total of 13 hours.

            In February, the Fund agreed to coordinate the selection of the winner of the annual Alvin P. Lawson Award for scientific publications.  In March, an International Scientific Achievement Award, including $500, was presented to the Italian UFO Phenomenon International Annual Review (UPIAR). 

In the Second quarter, Alan Hendry was supported in his field investigation of the Cash/Landrum UFO injury case.  Tom Deuley resigned from the Executive Committee upon retiring from the U.S. Navy and moving to Texas.  During the Quarter, Fund spokesmen did 17 radio interviews for a total of 14 ½ hours on the air.

In the Third Quarter, the Fund published its first set of recently-declassified U. S. Government documents, secured through the Freedom of Information Act, and began selling 200 pages of mainly CIA and FBI material.  This was the beginning of a major program to publish otherwise unavailable material for the press and the public, which became one of the most important moves in the Fund’s early history.

The Fund entered the “alien abduction” mystery in late 1981, supporting the psychological study of a group of “abductees”, conducted by Ted Bloecher, Budd Hopkins and Dr. Aphrodite Clamar, with psychologist Dr. Elizabeth Slater.  The conclusion—that the reports could not be explained by victim psychopathology—became one of the first important indications that “abductions” could be real.

Also in late 1981, the Fund purchased a set of microfilms of the files of the Air Force’s Project Blue Book for reference and research purposes. On October 27, the Fund, along with Citizens Against UFO Secrecy (CAUS) held a press conference at the National Press Club dealing with the CAUS suit against the National Security Agency for refusing to release a large number of UFO-related documents.

During 1981, Fund representatives took part in 9 radio interviews, for a total of 34 hours.



            The planned announcement of the 1982 Lawson Award was cancelled when no suitable recipient could be found, and the 1982 award was increased to $2,000.  In the Third Quarter, Tom Deuley replaced the late Charles Gibbs-Smith on the National Board.

            On the weekend of November 19-21, a special, limited-attendance meeting was held to discuss the latest information on reports of UFO crashes and retrievals.  Participants included  Fund Board and Executive Committee members, and investigators Leonard Stringfield, Bill Moore and Stanton Friedman.  Further support of their efforts was anticipated.

            During the year, the Fund did 6 radio interviews for 7 hours.



            In the First Quarter, the Fund published a second set of declassified U.S. Government documents: 200 pages from the CIA, Air Force and State Department, mainly from the 1970’s.  Monthly meetings of the Executive Committee were moved to the auditorium of the Heritage Foundation building, where Fred Whiting was executive director of the American Space Foundation.

In the Second Quarter, the Fund made the first awards in the name of Alfred P. Lawson: $500 to UPIAR, and $1,500 to John Schuessler for his work on the Cash/Landrum case.

By the second half of the year, the Fund had sold more than 200 copies of the first set of government documents, and more than 150 of the second.   For the year, the Fund did four radio broadcasts for almost four hours.



            In the First Quarter, plans were being developed to share the cost of a partial reenactment of the New Zealand radar/visual/video case with the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP), but the latter failed to cooperate.  The Fund was also looking into a cost-sharing arrangement for a computer bulletin board.

In the Second Quarter, the Fund embarked upon a major direct-mail promotion campaign, using mailing lists from Omni Magazine and    .  The UFONET computer system proved too expensive and was dropped.

            On June 19, founder/member Isabell Davis died after a long illness.

            In the Third Quarter, meetings were moved to the home of Fred Whiting, 3848 Brighton Ct., Alexandria, Va.  A third set of government documents was published.


            In early 1985, the Fund supported an effort in Puget Sound, Wash., concerning the report of a UFO under water.  The lack of positive results was at least partly due to the inability to move fast enough, which led directly to establishment of a special “Rapid Response Fund” for the prompt investigation of cases with physical evidence that could be lost. 

            In the middle of the year, the Fund became involved in a second attempt to create a computer network to communicate UFO information: COMPUFON.

            For the year, the Fund participated in three radio broadcasts for two hours.



            In June, 1986, at the MUFON Symposium at East Lansing, Mich., the Fund presented the first Isabel Davis Award to a person chosen by MUFON for outstanding long-term achievement.  The Fund had by now sold 400 copies of Volume I of U.S. Government documents, 300 of Volume II and 80 of Volume 3, for a total of almost 800 sets.

            The decision was made to organize the 1987 MUFON Symposium, and so a major fund-raising drive was launched to enable us to bring speakers from all parts of the world.  This took up most of the spare time of Executive Committee members.



            In January, press and public interest in UFOs (especially abductions) suddenly mushroomed, thanks to abduction books by Whitley Streiber (Communion) and Budd Hopkins (Intruders), along with a sighting of a huge UFO by the crew of a Japan Air Lines 747 over Alaska.

            In the Second Quarter, activity continued to increase.  The Fund acquired its own telephone, located in the quasi-official Fund office of Executive Committee member Don Berliner, 1202 S. Washington St., Alexandria, Va.  (703) 684-6032.  A press advisory produced dozens of phone interviews about the 40th anniversary of the 1947 Kenneth Arnold sighting.

            The MUFON Symposium, June 26-28, attracted 500 persons and heavy press coverage for what was called an “International Scientific Symposium”.  In advance, the Fund conducted highly successful briefings for Congressional staffers and the Foreign Press Association.

            In the Third Quarter, the Fund launched major efforts (1) to determine the validity of the MJ-12 documents, and (2) attempt to analyze alleged physical evidence of alien abductions.  A major realignment of the Executive Committee included replacing the inactive John Carlson and Davis Schwartzman with new Board members Fred Whiting and Don Berliner, while Rob Swiatek was made an alternative Committee member.  For the year, the Fund did just two radio interviews for one hour on the air.


            In the First Quarter, the Fund arranged for the analysis of more than 400 replies to Omni Magazine’s abduction questionnaire.  Meetings were moved briefly to the National Aeronautic Association and then to the Touchdown Club, both in downtown Washington.

            In the Second Quarter, the Fund sent out a press advisory to 725 radio talk shows, which resulted in about 100 interviews for an estimated 50 hours on the air.

            In the Third Quarter, the Fund supported a D.C.-area pilot study of abduction investigation and therapy, aimed at eventually providing guidelines for general use.  In order to support a major investigation of MJ-12/Roswell matters, the Fund conducted a fund raising effort keyed to a proposal from Stanton Friedman. We also provided technical support for two TV specials.  Our catalog of materials for sale now covers two pages, with most items being produced either by Fund staffers or those doing research under our auspices. 

            For the year, the Fund participated in 34 radio interviews, for 43 hours on the air.


            41 interviews for 21 ½ hours



            39 interviews for 27 hours.



            18 interviews for 11 hours.



            Bruce Maccabee retired as Fund president, and Richard Hall was elected to replace him.

            1st ½ of year: 11 interviews for 6½ hours



            The Fund joined with the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) and the Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS) to form the UFO Research Coalition to conduct major projects, at the suggestion of Las Vegas builder Robert Bigelow, who promised major funding.



Disagreement over control of the UFO Research Coalition lead to a complete break with Robert Bigelow.  Laurance Rockefeller appeared on the scene, ready to fund major projects through his intermediary, Mrs. Marie “Bootsie” Galbraith.






            In response to the Air Force’s “Crash Dummy” report aimed at explaining reports of alien bodies found near the Roswell wreckage, the Fund conducted a press conference in late June at the National Press Club that was covered live by C-SPAN.  In two weeks, Rob Swiatek, Richard Hall and Don Berliner were interviewed 60 times by newspapers, radio and TV (including CNN, NPR and PBS).



            Richard Hall resigned as Fund President, and Don Berliner was elected to replace him.







            Richard Hall’s UFO Evidence, Volume Two, subsidized by the UFO Research Coalition, is published.