Thomas Eddie BullardThomas Eddie Bullard was born in North Carolina in 1949 and took an early interest in flying saucers after watching 1950s science-fiction movies. In 1957 he divided his interest between Sputnik and news about the Levelland sightings, and soon began to read everything about UFOs he could find, notably Donald Keyhoe’s books, Richard Hall’s The UFO Evidence, Fate magazine, and Ray Palmer’s Flying Saucers. In the 1960s he joined NICAP and APRO.

He attended the University of North Carolina as an undergraduate and Indiana University for graduate school, where he received his doctorate degree in folklore in 1982, writing his dissertation on UFOs.

His doctoral research included searching numerous newspapers for accounts of the 1896-1897 airships and other pre-1947 sightings. In 1982 he compiled a volume of these reports, titled The Airship File, and published his first article in ufology in Flying Saucer Review, describing an airship wave in Russian Poland during 1892. He continued this UFO “prehistory” research by traveling to newspaper archives around the country, and has now begun to digitize his collection.

The Fund for UFO Research proposed a project to catalogue and carry out a study of UFO abduction reports around 1982 and he took on the job. Completed in 1987, the result was titled UFO Abductions: The Measure of a Mystery. It covered the 300 or so reports available in the literature by the mid-1980s, and comparative study revealed that reliable reports shared numerous details of sequence and content.

Bullard followed this study with articles published in the Journal of American Folklore, Journal of UFO Studies, IUR, the MUFON UFO Journal, and the 1999 MUFON UFO Symposium Proceedings. Much of the argument points out that a surprising consistency characterizes abduction reports, whereas folk narratives, urban legends, and products of fantasy display fluid variations as narrators readily exploit the creative potential that fantastic subject matter has to offer.

He contributed several articles to the Abduction Study Conference held at MIT in 1992. One article treated a comparison of abduction investigators’ findings and he later expanded this study into The Sympathetic Ear, published by the Fund for UFO Research in 1995.

His continued interest in historical and cultural aspects of UFOs led to an article in UFOs and Abductions, edited by David M. Jacobs and published by the University Press of Kansas in 2000. Further work on these themes became a full book, The Myth and Mystery of UFOs, also published by the University Press of Kansas, in 2010. He has also authored several chapters of an upcoming book on the phenomenology of UFOs.