The Willard J. Vogel Study was established in 1997 as a Washington State Nonprofit Corporation.  The organization has Federal nonprofit status as a 501(c)(3) entity.  The corporation was established to fund field work and disseminate data on Anomalous Luminous Phenomena (ALP) research being conducted on the Yakama* Indian Reservation and in other locations worldwide.  The organization is dedicated to making quality scientific measurements and accumulating reliable data for researchers studying the ALP/Nocturnal Light (NL) enigma.

     The Study is NOT a "UFO Organization", since the current use of the acronym "UFO" is almost invariably equated with extraterrestrial origins of the phenomena.   When the term is used on this site, it is used in its classical sense - meaning Unidentified Flying Object.

     The Study is named in honor of the late Willard J. "Bill" Vogel, a supervisor in the Fire Control Division on the Yakama Indian Reservation, near Toppenish, Washington USA. Although NL observations on the Yakama Reservation and surrounding areas had been reported for many years, Mr. Vogel was the first to recognize the nocturnal lights and other unidentified phenomena on the Reservation as a physical reality and legitimate subject for more careful study.  He supported his arguments for a serious inquiry with numerous photographs, log books, and eyewitness reports from a number of credible observers.

     Reported NL and other events reached a peak on the Yakama Reservation in 1972, when the objects actually became a problem for fire fighting crews in the area.   Law enforcement personnel also had several unnerving encounters with the lights during the same period.   Mr. Vogel contacted Dr. J. Allen Hynek, a former consultant to the US Air Force and then director of the Center for UFO Studies in early 1972.   The decision was made to dispatch a trained researcher to the Reservation to do a field study and make scientific measurements.

     David Akers, an electrical engineer from Seattle, was selected to perform the field work by virtue of his specialized knowledge of electronics, photography, and his earlier work in UFO report investigation.   A short field study was planned and executed in August of 1972 by Mr. Akers.   Several observations of ALP, measurements, and photographs were made during the two week study period.   Monitoring of the activity has continued to the present time (Please see the Archives page for the reports).

     New field research and theories regarding the physical basis of nocturnal light phenomena spurred renewed interest in further study of ALP on the Yakama Indian Reservation in 1996.   In particular, the work done by Professor Erling Strand, at Hessdalen, Norway, and hypotheses put forth by John Derr, Paul Devereaux, and Michael Persinger were instrumental in suggesting new research strategies.

     In February of 1996, David Akers contacted the Yakama Indian Tribal Council to inquire about the possibility of conducting further research on the Yakama Reservation.  In October of 1997, the Tribal Council very generously granted permission to do the research on their sovereign lands.   In return, Mr. Akers promised to perform his work with respect for Tribal laws and with as little disruption as possible to normal operations on the Reservation.  The Willard J. Vogel Study was incorporated a short time later to fund the research.

     Current research projects center on the establishment of automated instrument stations to measure the physical properties associated with ALP.  A second goal of the work is to correlate human observations with instrument measurements, in order to identify electronic "signatures" for the phenomena.  The third mission of the Study is to disseminate research information and educate the general public about ALP.  This Web site is one of the ways the latter goal is accomplished.  Contacts with the press and public speaking engagements are others.

     A number of volunteers currently report visual observations through the Study's Observer Network.  Strict confidentiality for the volunteers and careful evaluation of their reports is essential to establishing a reliable database of human observations.

     The work of the Study is supported by charitable contributions from individuals and companies interested in discovering the source and physics of these elusive objects. Further information regarding help in support of the Study or participation in the Observer Network can be obtained by contacting:

David W. Akers, P.E.
Executive Director
Willard J. Vogel Study
E-mail: director@vogelstudy.org

* The Yakama Indian Nation Tribal Council adopted the historical spelling of its name in the mid-1980's. Thus the difference in spelling between "Yakama" (the Nation) and "Yakima" (the place).

Return to Home Page.