Klass, Philip J.

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Philip J. Klass has published widely in the field of scientific explanation of UFOs.

From the description of Papers, [ca. 1965-1982]. (American Philosophical Society Library). WorldCat record id: 122474135

American author of science and fantasy fiction; b. 1919.

From the description of Philip J. Klass collection, 1968. (Boston University). WorldCat record id: 70968410

Philip J. Klass was born in Des Moines, Iowa on November 8, 1919 to Raymond and Ann Klass, and was raised along with his younger sister in Cedar Rapids. Attending Iowa State University, Klass graduated in 1941 with his bachelors of science in electrical engineering and went to work that same year as an engineer at General Electric's facility in Schenectady, NY.

In 1952 Klass became a technical journalist for Aviation Week & Space Technology (AWST) magazine, one of the leading publications for the aerospace industry. He remained with the magazine for 34 years, eventually becoming senior avionics editor. Taking semi-retirement in June 1, 1986, he continued on as a contributing editor working from home. During his time with the magazine, Klass kept a workaholic schedule putting in over forty-plus hours a week researching and writing articles. He wrote some of the first articles on inertial guidance technology, infrared missile guidance and detection, and the development of microelectronics. As a result of his work at AWST, he earned the distinction of being only one of two journalists to be named a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). He received awards from the Aviation/Space Writers Association in 1972, 1974, 1975, 1977, and 1986; and the Lauren D. Lyman Award in 1989 for his distinguished career. From the Royal Aeronautical Society (London) Klass received the Boeing Decade of Excellence Award for lifetime achievement in 1989.

In addition to his distinguished career as an aerospace journalist, Klass developed a career investigating UFO sightings. Klass began investigating UFOs in 1966 after participating in a panel discussion for the IEEE. Unfamiliar with the subject, he read John G. Fuller's Incident at Exeter: the Story of Unidentified Flying Objects Over America Today (New York: Putnam, 1966), which contained reports of glowing fireballs near high-tension power lines, and began looking at the possibility that UFOs could be nothing more then freak atmospheric electrical phenomenon such as ball lighting. When he entered the field of UFO investigation he held the premise that people were honestly reporting what they believed they saw. He soon learned that people sometimes held ulterior motives when reporting UFO sightings. His first investigation in 1966 of a sighting two years earlier near Socorro, NM showed that the report was merely a hoax in an attempt to bring tourism to the economically depressed town.

Klass has gone on to investigate numerous UFO sighting and abduction cases, including the 1975 Travis Walton "UFO Abduction" case, which he concluded was a hoax. Klass also investigated the MJ-12 Papers, which alleged that President Harry Truman created a top secret group called Majestic-12 to deal with the 1947 saucer crash. Klass' investigation demonstrated that the documents were counterfeit. In return Klass has been accused of being an agent of the U.S. government disseminating disinformation in a UFO cover-up, however, Klass doubts the ability of the government to cover up something as large as a crashed saucer in light of the failure to maintain secrecy around events such as Watergate and the Iran-Contra Affair. Admitting that if he obtained information that UFOs did exist he would not hesitate to write the article himself. Klass has the distinction of being labeled one of the leading UFO skeptics, along with Edward Uhler Condon and Donald Howard Menzel.

Out of his investigations, Klass has published seven books, his first being UFOs-Identified in 1968. He has also participated in UFO lectures and programs sponsored by both skeptics and pro-UFOlogists. In 1976 Klass was a founding member of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP) along with Carl Sagan, Isaac Asimov, Paul Kurtz, Ray Hyman, James Randi, Martin Gardner, and Sidney Hook. The purpose of CSICOP is to support the analytical investigation of paranormal and fringe-science claims from a responsible, scientific point of view, and provide information to the general public.

Klass began donating his papers to the APS in 1988 with the view that the collection would one day help historians of pseudo-science understand how UFOlogy became so popular in the late-Twentieth Century. Philip Klass died on August 9, 2005 in Cocoa, FL.

From the guide to the Philip J. Klass Collection, 1948-2000, (American Philosophical Society)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Papers concerning UFOs, 1952-1976, 1952-1976 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Erskine, Albert, 1911-1993. Albert Erskine papers, 1930-1999. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Menzel, Donald H. (Donald Howard), 1901-1976. Papers concerning UFOs, 1952-1976. American Philosophical Society Library
referencedIn Frederik Pohl Papers, 1917-1968 Syracuse University. Library. Special Collections Research Center
creatorOf Klass, Philip J. Papers, [ca. 1965-1982]. American Philosophical Society Library
creatorOf NICAP Press Conference Denouncing University of Coloradio UFO Study, April 30, 1968 American Philosophical Society
creatorOf Philip J. Klass Collection, 1948-2000 American Philosophical Society
creatorOf Klass, Philip J. Philip J. Klass collection, 1968. Boston University. School of Medicine
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
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associatedWith American Physical Society. corporateBody
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associatedWith Blum, Howard person
associatedWith Bryan, C. D. B. person
associatedWith Canada. Canadian Army corporateBody
associatedWith Canada. National Research Council corporateBody
associatedWith Center for UFO Studies corporateBody
associatedWith Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal corporateBody
associatedWith Condon, Edward Uhler, 1902-1974 person
associatedWith Conroy, Ed person
associatedWith Cronkite, Walter, 1916 - person
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associatedWith Friedman, Stanton T. and Don Berliner person
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associatedWith Hynek, J. Allen, (Joseph Allen), 1910-1986 person
associatedWith Jacobs, David M. (Michael), 1942 - person
associatedWith Johnson, Lyndon B. (Lyndon Baines), 1908-1973 person
associatedWith Jung, C. G. (Carl Gustav), 1875-1961 person
associatedWith Keyhoe, Donald E., (Donald Edward), 1897- person
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associatedWith Littmann, Mark person
associatedWith Maccabee, Bruce S. person
associatedWith Mack, John E., 1929- person
associatedWith McDonald, James E., 1920 - person
associatedWith Mead, Margaret, 1901-1978 person
associatedWith Menzel, Donald H. (Donald Howard), 1901-1976. person
associatedWith National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena. corporateBody
associatedWith North Atlantic Treaty Organization corporateBody
associatedWith Oberg, James E., 1944 - person
associatedWith Patuxent Naval Air Test Center (Md.) corporateBody
associatedWith Pohl, Frederik. person
associatedWith Royal Canadian Mounted Police corporateBody
associatedWith Sagan, Carl, 1934-1996 person
associatedWith Salisbury, Frank B. person
associatedWith Schroth, David A. person
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associatedWith Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained corporateBody
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Place Name Admin Code Country
Soviet Union
American literature
Aerial Phenomena Research Organization, Inc
Aeronautics and Astronautics
Air and Space Magazine
Alien abduction
Apollo 12 (Spacecraft)
Apollo 8 (Spacecraft)
Ballistic missiles
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Combustion, Spontaneous human
Condon Report
Crop circles
Denver UFO Society
Department of Scientific and Industrial Research
Directed energy weapons
Discovering science
Fate magazine
Focus magazine
Fund for UFO Research, Inc
Gemini Project (U.S.)
GEPAN (Unidentified Aerospace Phenomena Study Group)-French Space Agency
Hill Abduction Case, 1961
Journal of Abnormal Psychology
Journal of Scientific Exploration
Life magazine
MARINER 4 (Spacecraft)
Mysteries old and new
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
National Enquirer
New Yorker
New York Review of Books
New York times
Optical illusions
Parade Magazine
Photographic analysis
Press conferences
Project Apollo (U.S.)
Project Blue Book (U.S.)
RB-47 UFO Case, July 1957
Saucer smear
Scholastic Book Services
Second Look
Skeptical Inquirer
Space based weapons
Strategic Defense Initiative
Strategy for Peace Conference
Unidentified flying objects
Unidentified flying objects
Unidentified flying objects
Unidentified flying objects
Unidentified flying objects in motion pictures
Unidentified flying objects in popular culture
Venus (Planet)
Washington Post
World Almanac Book of the Strange
Zond IV (Spacecraft)
Authors, American


Birth 1919-11-08

Death 2005-08-09


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