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Come join the investigation...

PROJECT NOTEBOOK

by

JASON J. MCCUISTON

Available in paperback and on Kindle

June 21, 2020

Cover by Greg Chapman

"McCuiston does not shy away from the trauma of WWII and uses the social complexities of America in the years leading up to the Cold War to inform the character dynamics. The high stakes and rich, atmospheric prose makes for a thoroughly satisfying alternative history."

Publishers Weekly

"Project Notebook transported me back to an overcast late summer day in 1977, when, looking up at the trees across our rural road, I saw something saucer-shaped and shadowy rotate through the mist for all of one second that has stayed with me since. Like that memory, McCuiston delivers an unforgettable page-turner. Moody, gorgeously written, Notebook reads like a dark dream and deserves a place on every bookshelf."

Gregory L. Norris, author of the Gerry Anderson

Into Infinity novels

"In Project Notebook, author-to-watch Jason J. McCuiston has mined some long-standing UFO conspiracies, made them his own, then set a masterfully realized cast of complex characters on a wild ride through a flying saucer-haunted Seattle of the 1950s. Highly recommended!"

Philip Athans, NY Times Bestselling Author of Annihilation

and the Fantasy Author's Handbook blog

"What really won me over was the characters and characterisation. The main trio are all fully-rounded, flawed characters...with a compelling tension between them, and they leap off the page...Another great strength is the pacing, combining the character moments and backstory/flashbacks excellently with the more action-driven sequences. There's an emotional core to the proceedings - McCuiston knows his characters and cares about them."

Trevor Kennedy, Editor of Phantasmagoria Magazine

"McCuiston has delivered a fast-paced and richly-textured debut novel; a noirish sci-fi mystery steeped in UFO lore and oozing post-WWII paranoia.

Highly recommended."

Tom English, Editor of Black Infinity Magazine

"A tight, taut, tense thriller packed with action and ominous overtones sure to cast shadows on the world as we know it."

Christine Morgan, The Horror Fiction Review

and Author of White Death

The Maury Island Incident

The elite team of WWII veterans in Project Notebook are dispatched to investigate the Maury Island Incident in Washington. The incident was very real, having taken place on June 21, 1947, before the famous crash in Roswell, New Mexico.

Harold A. Dahl and Fred Crisman were harbor patrolmen on Maury Island in Puget Sound of Washington State. Dahl, along with another worker, his son Charles, and their dog, witnessed four to six donut-shaped flying objects hover above the boat. The objects dropped debris onto their boat, burning Charles' arm and killing the dog. Dahl further claimed that a strange man in a black suit visited him the next morning and warned him not to speak of the encounter. This was the first report of the mysterious "Men in Black" in UFO history, and helped coin the term itself.

At first, Crisman didn't believe Dahl's claim, even after Dahl provided photographic evidence. It wasn't until when Crisman went back to the site and saw the UFOs himself that he believed. The men sent a package with metal fragments from the debris to publisher Ray Palmer in Chicago, who contacted Kenneth Arnold, who had begun investigating UFOs and had coined the term "flying saucers". Arnold met with the men to discuss the incident. Later, Captain Lee Davidson and First Lieutenant Frank Brown from the U.S. Army Air Force met with Arnold, Dahl and Crisman. They believed there was something to the story and wanted to further investigate, but were killed in a suspicious B-25 bomber crash. Arnold included the encounter in his book The Coming of the Saucers, published in 1952.

For more information, you can visit these websites:

MUFON - Maury Island Incident - 1947

History.com - The UFO Sightings That Launched "Men in Black" Mythology

Weird U.S. - Weird Washington - The Maury Island Incident

Ripley's Believe it Or Not! - From Maury Island to Burien: Washington's UFO Craze Continues

Image from Weird U.S.

Jason J. McCuiston - Author

Jason J. McCuiston was born in the wilds of southeast Tennessee, where he was raised on a carnivorous diet of old monster movies, westerns, comic books, horror magazines, sci-fi and fantasy novels, and, of course, Dungeons & Dragons. He attended the finest state school that would have him with the intention of becoming a comic book artist. This, however, did not pan out. Following his matriculation and a brief and unprofitable stint as an illustrator of tabletop RPGs, he embarked upon a whirlwind tour of spectacularly underpaid and uninspired career paths. Half a lifetime later, he came to his senses, realizing he was meant to be a professional storyteller.

Publishing his first story about zombies, kung fu, and family ties in Parsec Ink's 2017 Triangulation: Appetites anthology, Jason has been a semi-finalist in the Writers of the Future contest and has studied under tutelage of best-selling author Philip Athans. His stories of fantasy, horror, and science fiction (and even a few crime dramas) have appearned in numerous anthologies, periodicals, websites, and podcasts (including Colonel Staff's origin story in Pole to Pole Publishing's Not Far From Roswell anthology). Several of his yarns can be found in the Tell-Tale Press's website libraries and in their themed anthologies. While Project Notebook is his first novel, more tales are forthcoming.

Jason lives in South Carolina, USA with his college-professor wife (making him a Doctor's Companion) and their two four-legged children, Grendel and Winky. He can be found on the internet on Facebook, and he occasionally tweets about his dogs, his stories, his likes, and his gripes @JasonJMcCuiston.

UFO Timeline for the U.S.A.

This timeline highlights some of the more well-known and most important incidents of UFO encounters in the United States.

1896-1897

The Airship Wave

 Various sightings around the United States of America of UFOs began in the 1880s. However, a strange, frequent wave of "mysterious airships" were reported quite regularly from 1896 to 1897, starting in California and ending in Kansas.

 April 17, 1897

UFO Incident in Aurora, Texas

 According to locals, an airship crashed into a windmill on a small farm owned by Judge J.S. Proctor, fifty years before the Roswell Incident. It was said the pilot was "not of this world", and it was buried in the local cemetery. The gravestone has since been removed. The wreckage was said to have been thrown into a well near the windmill and some buried with the pilot.

 1940s

Foo Fighters

 Though not specific to the United States, metallic shapes and orbs were repeatedly reported and occassionally photographed by American bomber crews during WWII. They were said to have engaged in pursuing aircraft in aggressive manners. The word "foo" is a nonsense word coined by cartoonist Bill Holman. Radio operator Donald J. Meyers, a fan of Holman's work, and in an agitated state, called the objects "f**kin' foo fighters", and it stuck. Bob Wilson from the Associated Press picked up on the term and used "foo fighters" when he investigated and wrote about the incidents.

 1941

Cape Girardeau UFO Crash

 The Reverend William Huffman was called by the local sheriff to deliver last rites at a plane crash. He arrived at the wreckage of a UFO with two alien bodies inside, one dead, one that seemed to be dying. The Reverend saw inside the ship and the bodies quite clearly, and decided he really couldn't give last rites. The Army Air Corps arrived at about the same time, cordoning off the area and swearing everyone to secrecy.

February 4, 1942

Battle of Los Angeles

 UFO sightings triggered a ground-to-air "battle" over the city of Los Angeles, where the 37th Coast Artillery Brigade began an anti-aircraft artillery barrage on what was believed to be a Japanese air attack. However, Japan had not launched an aerial attack. The excuses used by the government have ranged from weather ballooons to psychological wariness from the attack on Pearl Harbor a few months earlier. Several buildings and vehicles were damaged and five civilians were killed as an indirect result of the barrage.

June 21, 1947

The Maury Island Incident

 The incident that prompts the start of our story in Project Notebook and helped coin the phrase "Men in Black". See above for more information.

June 24, 1947

Kenneth Arnold UFO Sighting

 Private pilot Kenneth Arnold reported to have seen nine shiny UFOs flying past Mount Rainier in Washington State. He estimated they were traveling at at least 1,200 mph. They traveled in a long line and erratically flew about his plane. He described them as saucer shaped, or looking like disks. The newspapers that reported his story then coined the term "flying saucers".

July 1947

The Roswell UFO Incident

Probably the most famous UFO incident of all time. According to the Roswell Daily Record dated July 9, 1947, the U.S. Army Air Forces reported a UFO had crashed on a ranch near Roswell, New Mexico. The debris was originally found by a foreman working on the J.B. Foster ranch. He reported it to the local sheriff, who reported it to the Roswell Army Air Field. While the RAAF originally thought it would be a weather balloon, they didn't find all the mechanics necessary for a balloon. They officially reported they had found a "flying disc". The material was said to be able to be crushed in one's hand, but then would flatten on its own when released. There were also strange hieroglyphs etched on the metal parts of the object. The pieces were moved to Fort Worth Army Air Field by the FBI and the Eighth Air Force. After a time, the previous RAAF statements were retracted and the claim changed to the object being a weather balloon. This incident has been studied and questioned ever since, including talk about aliens that had died in the crash, and no concrete answers as to what really happened have been found.

 January 7, 1948

Thomas Mantell Incident

Captain Thomas F. Mantell was killed in the crash of his P-51 Mustang while he pursued a UFO. The UFO had appeared over Madison, Kentucky, and the Godman Army Air Field at Fort Knox witnessed it as well. Four planes were already in the air and were instructed to investigate. Capt. Mantell's plane was low on fuel, so he came back and picked up his P-51 Mustang. He lost control of his plane when he quickly climbed over 25,000 feet to pursue the object, blacked out from lack of oxygen, and the plane crashed.

 July 24, 1948

Chiles-Whitted UFO Encounter

Two commercial pilots, Clarence S. Chiles and John B. Whitted, witnessed a "glowing object" pass by their plane at high speed before it "pulled up with a tremendous burst of flame out its rear" and traveled into the clouds out of sight. They reported the sighting to the U.S. Air Force after landing. They were interviewed by personnel from Project Sign, the first Air Force research group to investigate and record UFO sightings. 

 October 1, 1948

Gorman Dogfight

George F. Gorman, a pilot with the North Dakota Air National Guard, was flying a P-51 Mustang over Fargo, North Dakota. He saw an object that appeared to be a blinking light as he flew over a high school football game. Air traffic control said there were no other aircraft in the area other than him and a Piper Cub plane. He pursued the object, yet it was going too fast for him to catch up to it. He and the UFO engaged in aerial maneuvers until it made a vertical climb out of reach. The object was also observed by the Piper Cub pilot and the air traffic controller at Fargo Airport. 

 May 11, 1950

McMinnville UFO Photographs

Paul and Evelyn Trent witnessed a UFO fly near their farm in Sheridan, Oregon, approximately nine miles outside of McMinnville, which was the nearest large town. The photographs Paul took were of "flying saucers", and therefore were the first photos taken since the phrase was coined. They were printed in Life magazine and hundreds of American newspapers, making them probably the most famous UFO photographs in the world.

 August 15, 1950

Mariana UFO Incident

 Nick Mariana and his secretary, Virginia Raunig, were inspecting the empty Legion Stadium in Great Falls, Montana before a minor-league baseball game, Mariana being manager of one of the teams. He saw two bright, silver objects flying over head. He ran to his car and retrieved his 16 mm color camera and filmed the UFOs. His film was sent to Wright-Peterson Air Force Base. They were dismissed as reflections off two aircraft in the area. Mariana insisted that when the film was returned to him, the first thirty-five frames of the film that clearly showed rotating disks were missing.

August 25, 1951

Lubbock Lights

Lights in several V-formations were seen flying over Lubbock, Texas. The lights were first witnessed by three professors from Texas Techological College. They reported the sightings to the local newspaper, which sparked three women and another professor to confirm their sighting. The men along with two other professors saw the lights again on September 5, 1951 over one of the professor's front yard. On August 30, 1951, Carl Hart, Jr., a freshman at Texas Tech, witnessed the lights and took photographs with his 35-mm Kodak camera. The incident was investigated by Project Blue Book, founded in 1948 as Project Sign. They determined it was a natural phenomenon, but never gave a clear explanation.

 July 12 - 29, 1952

Washington, D.C. UFO Incident

A series of UFOs were sighted from July 12 to July 29, 1952 over Washington, D.C. It was the most UFO reports that Project Blue Book and the Air Force ever received. Witnesses include air traffic controllers, Andrews Air Force Base personnel, jet pilots, and commercial pilots. The UFOs even flew over the U.S. Capitol and the White House. 

 November 2 - 3, 1957

Levelland UFO Case

A very large number of people reported an egg-shaped object, about 200 feet long and brilliantly lit. The witnesses claimed their vehicles completely stalled out with nothing working. Once the UFO moved on, their vehicles restarted and were working just fine. The sightings were called in to the local police department, including witnesses Sheriff Weir Clem and Fire Chief Ray Jones. There were a total of fifteen separate reports. These incidents inspired some of the scenes in the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977).

 September 19, 1961

The Betty and Barney Hill Abduction

The Hills witnessed a UFO flying over their car as they were driving home to Portsmouth, New Hampshire from being on vacation. After stopping to observe a large UFO, it seemed to follow them, and they hurried along an isolated road to try to get away. They lost 35 miles of distance and could not remember driving along that length of road. Both Barney and Betty experienced odd sensations, impulses and dreams after their encounter. They underwent hypnosis, of which the sessions were audio recorded. While they initially reported their encounter to the Pease Air Force Base, they did not publicly come forth with their story until March of 1963. Their case is highly detailed and is probably the most famous of all UFO abduction encounters.

 December 9, 1965

Kecksburg UFO Incident

A fireball was reported by thousands of people in both the U.S. and Canada over Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Canada. It caused grass fires and sonic booms, and hot metal debris was scattered over Michigan and Ohio. Some people in the town of Kecksburg, Pennsylvania reported something crashing in the woods. They claimed it was shaped like an acorn and was about as large as a Volkswagen Beetle. There were hieroglyphs written on the surface. The object was removed by a secret military operation. Witnesses claimed they were visited by Men in Black and warned not to speak of the incident. The incident has been analyzed in many documentaries and docuseries, including Unsolved Mysteries and UFO Hunters.

 January 6, 1969

Jimmy Carter UFO Sighting

Jimmy Carter filed a report of having seen a UFO while in Leary, Georgia to give a speech at a Lions Club meeting. He was Governor of Georgia at the time. He was preparing to start when one of the members in attendance called his attention to a straight bright white object hovering above the horizon. The object changed color from white to blue to red then back to white before receding into the distance. The incident was not investigated until seven years later.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. We chose these specific incidents to highlight some of the most important UFO encounters in the history of the United States and as included in the timeline of Project Notebook. More can be found at the below links. This list was compiled from the following references:

History's Most Infamous UFO Sightings of the Modern Era - History.com

List of Reported UFO Sightings - Wikipedia

75th Anniversary of alleged UFO crash in Cape Girardeau - KFVS 12 News

Book trailer music credit: The Anomaly by Tristan Lohengrin | https://www.tristanlohengrin.com

Music promoted by https://www.free-stock-music.com

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/deed.en_US

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