In the summer of 1967 some curious-minded teenage guys formed a new UFO group at Brother Rice High School in Evergreen Park, Illinois.
The leading man of the group, Barry van Deman, was elected president of DISCAP, which was to become the acronym for Delegation of Inquiry – Scientific Council on Aerial Phenomena. A short-lived group with high ambitions. “Through scientific research and evaluation of all reports that we receive we come one step closer to discovering what these aerial phenomena are”.
The groups idols seem to have been Allen Hynek (who was being attacked by everyone after the Michigan swanp gas affair) and Jacques Vallée. Hyneks predicament in connection with the Michigan ‘marsh gas affair’ was nicely defended in the first issue of the group’s newsletter.
To get UFO reports for the group Barry van Deman decided to write a letter to the editors of Fate Magazine (on the right):
Now, 50 years later, the remaining files of DISCAP have appeared through an eBay auction. No one was interested to buy the files (at least not for USD 500). Except for AFU’s Clas Svahn. The eBay seller had found the files in a storage locker room he had bought, without knowing anything about DISCAP whatsoever. We offered him the 500 bucks if that also included shipping cost to Sweden. A deal was made & below you can see the files here as they arrived in Sweden:
We have now put some order to the files, which will form a single DISCAP volume for preservation in our archives. The files will probably also be digitized as an early example of a typical small college UFO group from the “golden era” of American ufology.
In the files are the minutes of a March 22, 1968 meeting so we know the group lived on for at least one year, maybe more. The files include introductions and documents (written by van Damen) sent to new members, application forms, membership cards, various questionnairies used, copies of DISCAP Bulletin and the Saucerities newsletter. There are carefully filled out information sheets on about 45 wellknown cases from the 1944-1966 era, and also 24 yellow folders of – mostly personal letters by UFO sighters – written to Barry & the group as a result of the letter-to-the-editor in Fate. The collection also has a probably rare issue of ink-duplicated Saucer Grapevine newsletter published by Chicago’s Organization on Aerial Phenomena (COAP).
A really nice archive well worth preserving!