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James E. McDonald

John Collins7/3/2012 5:19:00 PMThere are other threads in this forum that focus on the evolution of the "vision of the blast" that transformed into the "experience of the cloud", some that address WMB's being in Houston, TX when the cloud appeared, and many posts revolving around the many different inconsistencies and fabrications of "The Mysterious Cloud."

What this forum and others lack is a study of the man who introduced William Branham to this cloud, James Edward McDonald.

James Edward McDonald (May 7, 1920 - June 13, 1971) was senior physicist at the Institute for Atmospheric Physics and professor in the Department of Meteorology, University of Arizona, Tucson. Though many MSG followers believe McDonald was spearheading an investigation of this "supernatural cloud" for the purposes of the US Government's investigation to the unexplained, they would be surprised to learn that this is far from the truth.

James McDonald did not earn his fame from his work with the US government and did not work for the FBI as some have claimed. Mr. McDonald was a UFO chaser.

Long before his investigation of the 1963 cloud, McDonald had became well known for investigating unexplained phenomenon in the sky. Everything from unexplained fireballs to lights making high-speed ninety-degree turns were studied and documented by McDonald in preparation for his moment of fame which will be mentioned later in this study.

On February 28, 1963, McDonald thought that he had his ultimate vindication of his beliefs in visitors from another planet. A horseshoe shaped formation in the skies looked to be the entry point for an alien spacecraft, and it was beyond explanation.

After the publication of the article in Science magazine, letters to the editor started pouring in from fellow UFO chasers as well as conspiracy theorists with hypothesis regarding the US government's new aircraft. Many thought it was an enhancement to the X-11, but McDonald did not accept this theory. According to McDonald, his analysis of the formation did not match his data collected about the X-11 aircraft. McDonald had something else in mind.

McDonald was planning on gathering enough evidence that extra-terrestrial life did exist, and that we were not alone on this planet. Several unexplained occurrences were studied and documented by McDonald with the help of others, and McDonald planned to confront the US government with his research.

McDonald tried every way possible to prove that this "supernatural cloud" was completely unexplained, but unfortunately he could not discount all of the evidence. There were simply too many possibilities from aircraft trails and rocket detonations to nuclear blasts. He released more than one study on the cloud formation as an ongoing study, but in the end abandoned the research since a T.H.O.R. missile was the most likely possibility of its origination.

What many MSG followers today fail to realize is that Mr. McDonald was NOT trying to find the cause of the formation so much as he was trying to prove that it was unexplainable. After exhausting every angle of his research, McDonald went on to bigger and better things. He actually did not prove that the cloud was unexplainable, Mr. McDonald claimed just the opposite by abandoning his research.

In 1968, McDonald had gathered enough evidence that there were unexplained phenomenon in the skies that he presented his case to Congress. What initially started as an objection to the Government's plans to develop a supersonic transport (SST) plane quickly became a debate on UFOs. McDonald tried to present evidence that the SST planes would harm the ozone layer, but Congressman Silvio Conte of Massachusetts turned the argument directly against McDonald himself.

Congressman Conte had knowledge of McDonald's UFO studies, and switched the discussion to McDonald's instable mental capacities. Conte bluntly stated that anyone who "believes in little green men" was, in his opinion, not a credible witness.

McDonald defended his UFO research. McDonald appeared before a committee of the United States Congress to present a 53-page assessment on his UFO research, which he thought would prove his stance and vindicate him as the "UFO Expert." Unfortunately, he suffered severe public humiliation. Members of the committee openly mocked McDonald and discredited him as any form of credible witness.

McDonald's research can be found online at What is interesting to note is that there is NO MENTION of the "supernatural cloud" since McDonald had discredited the idea as unexplainable. According to other researchers, his peers claim that his particular cloud was generally believed to be a result of the T.H.O.R. detonation, and there was no solid reason to believe otherwise.

After this event, Mr. McDonald suffered mental anxiety that led into mental instability. He was becoming professionally isolated by his peers that did not consider McDonald to be credible, and was not well liked by his acquaintances. Some studies described him as sometimes forceful and impatient, while others, less charitably, called him blunt and abrasive.

In April 1971 he attempted suicide by shooting himself in the head. He survived the attempt, but was blinded and was crippled into a wheelchair. McDonald was committed to the psychiatric ward of a Tucson, Arizona hospital. He recovered a degree of peripheral vision, and made plans to return to his teaching position, but on June 13, 1971 ultimately took his own life.

His body was found close to a creek next to the bridge spanning the Canada Del Oro Wash near Tucson. A .38 caliber revolver was found close to him, as well as a suicide note.

In his lifetime, McDonald interviewed over 500 UFO witnesses, uncovered many important government UFO documents, and gave key presentations of UFO evidence. McDonald also gave a famous speech called "Science in Default" to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) that was a summary of the current UFO evidence and a critique of the 1969 Condon Report UFO study.