Keyhoe, Donald Edwards (1897–1988)
Prominent figure in early UFO controversies. Keyhoe was
born on June 20, 1897, in Ottumwa, Iowa. He was a graduate
of the U.S. Naval Academy (1919) and was commissioned a
lieutenant in the marines. After an accident in 1922, he resigned
from the marines. He held several jobs through the decade
and emerged in 1928 as a successful freelance writer. Keyhoe
returned to the marines during World War II and served
with a naval aviation training division. He rose to the rank of
major by the end of the war. He began writing about unidentified
flying objects in 1949 when he was commissioned to write
an article for True, a popular men’s magazine. His article, ‘‘Flying
Saucers are Real’’ (True, January 1950), caused a sensation
with its claim that the U.S. Air Force was covering up evidence
that proved flying saucers were real. He continued that theme
in the three books that soon followed The Flying Saucers Are
Real (1950), Flying Saucers From Outer Space (1953), and The Flying
Saucer Conspiracy (1955).
It was some years later that a memorandum discovered
through the Freedom of Information Act revealed that Keyhoe
was right about the air force’s covering up its real investigation
of UFOs with a public relations activity called Project Blue
In 1956 Keyhoe founded National Investigations Committee
on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP). Prominent military men
and politicians on the board of governors included Senator
Barry Goldwater. During his period of leadership in NICAP,
Keyhoe wrote one more book, Flying Saucers Top Secret (1960).
He could not solve NICAP’s persistent financial situation over
the years, and after a stormy meeting in 1969 Keyhoe retired
as director, although he remained on the board.
After he left NICAP Keyhoe wrote one last book, Aliens From
Space (1973), in which he continued his cover-up theme but
shifted primary responsibility to the CIA (Central Intelligence
Agency). He served on the Mutual UFO Network board
through the 1980s but was never really active in ufology again.
Keyhoe died November 29, 1988.
Clark, Jerome. The Emergence of a Phenomenon UFOs from the
Beginning through 1959. Vol. 2 of The UFO Encyclopedia. Detroit
Omnigraphics, 1992.
Hall, Richard. ‘‘Major Donald E. Keyhoe An Appreciation.’’
MUFON UFO Journal (February 1989) 12–13.
Keyhoe, Donald E. Aliens From Space The Real Story of Unidentified
Flying Objects. Garden City, N.Y. Doubleday, 1973.
———. The Flying Saucer Conspiracy. New York Henry Holt,
———. The Flying Saucers Are Real. New York Fawcett Publications,
———. Flying Saucers From Outer Space. New York Henry
Holt, 1953.
———. Flying Saucers Top Secret. New York G. P. Putnam’s
Sons, 1960.s

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