Many people unacquainted with the complexities of the UFO puzzle assume that all talk of attempts by “the government” to silence certain players in the field is nothing but outright paranoia and lies. Even within Ufology there are those who dismiss such stories as X-Files-like nonsense. How wrong they all are. Published in 2005, Greg Bishop’s book, Project Beta: The Story of Paul Bennewitz, National Security, and the Creation of a Modern UFO Myth, provided the field of UFO research with what was without doubt one if its most important contributions in years.
The subject matter of Project Beta was an unusual one; and while seasoned researchers were already aware of certain aspects of this dark and ultimately tragic affair, those unaccustomed to the events in question might have been forgiven for thinking that they had stumbled upon a high-tech, X-Files-meets-Robert Ludlum-style thriller. But Project Beta told a very real story – one that was as harrowing as it was informative.
In essence, the truth-is-stranger-than-fiction book related the saga of physicist Paul Bennewitz, who, after digging into Air Force and National Security Agency secret projects at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico in the late 1970s that he believed were connected to the activities of sinister extraterrestrials and UFOs, was put under deep surveillance by the US military and intelligence services, and was bombarded by the murky world of officialdom with a mass of disinformation, faked stories and outright lies in order to divert him from his research – which worked. In fact, it worked rather too well, and led to the mental and psychological disintegration of Bennewitz.