We start out by having Ann recount the series of events which led to her writing Firestorm, including the amazing and unprecedented access she had to James McDonald's research materials. Looking at some of the details of the book, we start at the beginning with a statement by Ann in Firestorm that if James E. McDonald had lived past 1971, the world of Ufology today would be much, much different. We have her extrapolate on that musing and she explains why McDonald was such an important figure in Ufological history. This leads to discussion on McDonald's influence in the scientific community and how he served as a rare bridge between organized science and civilian UFO investigators. Staying within the realm of Ufology history, we talk about the rarely discussed Civilian Saucer Investigation (CSI) organization, based out of NY, that was a major influence on NICAP.

Looking at McDonald's evolution and entry into the field of Ufology, we start by talking about how his original plan (and hope) was to spend the Summer of 1966 studying UFOs and that his research would be enough to convince the scientific community to investigate the phenomenon. Next we talk about McDonald's visits to Project Blue Book in 1966 and his enraged reaction to how the organization was handling UFO reports. This leads to us talking about the first, of many, moments in McDonald's brief UFO research career where he directly influenced the field: acting as a major whistleblower to the unscientific UFO research going on at Blue Book.

This segues into the infamous meeting between McDonald and J. Allen Hynek, which occurred the day after McDonald's visit to Blue Book. Ann discusses the difference of opinion between Hynek and McDonald with regards to the political implications of the UFO phenomenon and why Hynek had a much different approach to the UFO issue, due to his status (and income) as Blue Book's scientific consultant. We also look at Hynek's contributions to the UFO field and why he should not be vilified by the community for his close association with the government.

We look at one of the continuing enigmas of Firestorm, McDonald's "small notebooks" of confidential UFO information, which are referenced in his journals but have yet to be discovered. Ann gives detailed background on this enigma and speculates on what became of them. She also updates us on any progress made towards finding the still-missing "small notebooks" and details her use of "psychic archaeology" to help determine their location.

Then we cover an over-arching theme of the book: James McDonald as Ufology's unspoken leader and we reflect on the UFO field's lack of a leader like McDonald in the years following his death. We then examine McDonald's famous description of the ETH as the "least unsatisfactory hypothesis" and Ann sheds more light on what McDonald meant by this. She also talks about how the radio-visual UFO cases that McDonald uncovered were essential to his theories on UFOs. We reflect on McDonald's first public presentation on UFOs and how he included, and subsequently dropped from all future presentations, an additional hypothesis for UFOs that involved psychic phenomena.

Moving along chronologically in McDonald's life, we then discuss his trip to Australia and the amazing amount of UFO investigation he did down there during a very short visit. Ann points out the unique aspect of McDonald's investigation of the UFO cases in Australia and how the infamous Fr.Gill case made a lasting impression on him. We then talk about how the press coverage in Australia ended up setting the stage for a myriad of problems for McDonald when he returned to America. This leads to some discussion on Phil Klass and his vendetta against McDonald. Ann recounts her personal interraction with Klass and shares her thoughts on what Klass' true motivations for UFO debunking may have been.

We then examine another big event in Ufological history that McDonald was intricately involved with: the 1968 Congressional Hearing on UFOs. Ann speculates on why there was no follow up to the 1968 UFO hearing and gives her take on Jacques Vallee's perspective on the hearing: that it was more of a PR effort rather than a true investigation into UFOs. Looking at the Congressional hearing from a big picture perspective, we find out from Ann what the mood was like in Ufology when Congress finally decided to investigate UFOs.

This line of discussion segues into talk of APRO and the Lorenzens and Ann recounts her interraction with the group during the 1960's. She talks about the philosophical differences between APRO and NICAP regarding humanoid cases and reflects on whether or not that difference of opinion extended throughout Ufology at the time. She also shares details of Jim McDonald's limited interractions with APRO and explains why he was not more involved with the organization.

We then look at another big section of Firestorm, the Heflin photo case, specifically the strange circumstances surrounding the disappearance of the photos and their return 30 years later. Ann speculates on why the stolen photos may have been returned, comments on their condition upon their resurfacing, and reveals where they are today. She also talks about the contemporary studies of the Heflin photos, now that the originals are available.

UFO researcher and author Ann Druffel dates her interest in the UFO question from 1945 when, as a schoolgirl, she viewed a bright yellowish object, very high in clear blue skies over Long Beach, California.

Interested in earth mysteries of all kinds, Druffel has researched various aspects of the UFO question and investigated reports of all kinds since 1957. She was one of the first investigators for NICAP, remaining with that organization from April 1957 to 1973. During the NICAP years she became acquainted with the renowned atmospheric physicist, Dr. James E. McDonald, and participated with him in several UFO cases during his six years of UFO research. After NICAP was destroyed by subversive agents from the FBI and CIA who had secretly penetrated into the higher realms of NICAP, Druffel joined the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) with which she is still actively associated as investigator, frequent contributor to their journals and other official capacities.

She was a U. S. consultant and regular contributor for the British research journal FLYING SAUCER REVIEW (FSR) through 2004. She has authored six books and numerous articles for newsstand magazines on UFOs and other earth mysteries and has contributed 190+ articles and columns for top UFO journals in the field.

Her website is www.anndruffel.com

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1 hr 29 min
Ann Druffel

Part 2 of 3