J. Allen Hynek

Josef Allen Hynek (May 1, 1910 – April 27, 1986) was an American astronomer, professor, and ufologist.[1] He is perhaps best remembered for his UFO research. Hynek acted as scientific advisor to UFO studies undertaken by the U.S. Air Force under three consecutive projects: Project Sign (1947–1949), Project Grudge (1949–1952), and Project Blue Book (1952–1969).

In later years he conducted his own independent UFO research, developing the "Close Encounter" classification system. He was among the first people to conduct scientific analysis of reports and especially of trace evidence purportedly left by UFOs.[2]

Josef Allen Hynek
Allen Hynek
BornMay 1, 1910
DiedApril 27, 1986 (aged 75)
Occupation
Spouse(s)
  • Martha Doone Alexander (m. 1932, div. 1939)
  • Mimi Curtis
Children
  • Scott
  • Roxane
  • Joel
  • Paul
  • Ross

Early life

Allen Hynek Jacques Vallee 1
Allen Hynek (left) and Jacques Vallée

Hynek was born in Chicago to Czech parents. In 1931, Hynek received a B.S. from the University of Chicago. In 1935, he completed his Ph.D. in astrophysics at Yerkes Observatory. He joined the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Ohio State University in 1936. He specialized in the study of stellar evolution and in the identification of spectroscopic binary stars.

Career

During World War II, Hynek was a civilian scientist at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, where he helped to develop the United States Navy's radio proximity fuze.

After the war, Hynek returned to the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Ohio State, rising to full professor in 1950. In 1953, Hynek submitted a report on the fluctuations in the brightness and color of starlight and daylight, with an emphasis on daytime observations.[3]

In 1956, he left to join Professor Fred Whipple, the Harvard astronomer, at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, which had combined with the Harvard Observatory at Harvard. Hynek had the assignment of directing the tracking of an American space satellite, a project for the International Geophysical Year in 1956 and thereafter. In addition to over 200 teams of amateur scientists around the world that were part of Operation Moonwatch, there were also 12 photographic Baker-Nunn stations. A special camera was devised for the task and a prototype was built and tested and then stripped apart again when, on Oct. 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched its first satellite, Sputnik 1.

After completing his work on the satellite program, Hynek went back to teaching, taking the position of professor and chairman of the astronomy department at Northwestern University in 1960.

Evolution of opinion on UFOs

Skepticism

In response to numerous reports of "flying saucers", the United States Air Force established Project Sign in 1948 to examine sightings of unidentified flying objects. Hynek was contacted to act as a scientific consultant to Project Sign. He studied UFO reports and decided whether the phenomena described therein suggested known astronomical objects.

When Project Sign hired Hynek, he was skeptical of UFO reports. Hynek suspected that they were made by unreliable witnesses, or by persons who had misidentified man-made or natural objects. In 1948, Hynek said that "the whole subject seems utterly ridiculous," and described it as a fad that would soon pass.[4]

In his 1977 book, Hynek said that he enjoyed his role as a debunker for the Air Force. He also said that debunking was what the Air Force expected of him.

Change of opinion

Hynek's opinions about UFOs slowly changed. After examining hundreds of UFO reports over the decades (including some made by astronomers, pilots, police officers, and military personnel), he concluded that some of the evidence was empirical.

Another shift in Hynek's opinions came after conducting an informal poll of his astronomer colleagues in the early 1950s. Among those he queried was Clyde Tombaugh, who discovered the dwarf planet Pluto. Of 44 astronomers, five (over 11 percent) had seen aerial objects that they could not account for with established, mainstream science. Most of these astronomers had not widely shared their accounts for fear of ridicule or of damage to their reputations or careers (Tombaugh was an exception, having openly discussed his own UFO sightings). Hynek also noted that this 11% figure was, according to most polls, greater than those in the general public who claimed to have seen UFOs. Furthermore, the astronomers were presumably more knowledgeable about observing and evaluating the skies than the general public, so their observations were arguably more impressive. Hynek was also distressed by what he regarded as the dismissive or arrogant attitude of many mainstream scientists towards UFO reports and witnesses.

In April 1953, Hynek wrote a report for the Journal of the Optical Society of America titled "Unusual Aerial Phenomena," which contained one of his best-known statements:

Ridicule is not part of the scientific method, and people should not be taught that it is. The steady flow of reports, often made in concert by reliable observers, raises questions of scientific obligation and responsibility. Is there ... any residue that is worthy of scientific attention? Or, if there isn't, does not an obligation exist to say so to the public—not in words of open ridicule but seriously, to keep faith with the trust the public places in science and scientists?[5]

In 1953, Hynek was an associate member of the Robertson Panel, which concluded that there was nothing anomalous about UFOs, and that a public relations campaign should be undertaken to debunk the subject and reduce public interest. Hynek would later lament that the Robertson Panel had helped make UFOs a disreputable field of study.

When the UFO reports continued at a steady pace, Hynek devoted some time to studying the reports and determined that some were deeply puzzling, even after considerable study. He once said, "As a scientist I must be mindful of the lessons of the past; all too often it has happened that matters of great value to science were overlooked because the new phenomenon did not fit the accepted scientific outlook of the time."[6]

In a 1985 interview, when asked what caused his change of opinion, Hynek responded, "Two things, really. One was the completely negative and unyielding attitude of the Air Force. They wouldn't give UFOs the chance of existing, even if they were flying up and down the street in broad daylight. Everything had to have an explanation. I began to resent that, even though I basically felt the same way, because I still thought they weren't going about it in the right way. You can't assume that everything is black no matter what. Secondly, the caliber of the witnesses began to trouble me. Quite a few instances were reported by military pilots, for example, and I knew them to be fairly well-trained, so this is when I first began to think that, well, maybe there was something to all this."

Regardless of his own private views, Hynek was, by and large, still echoing the post-Ruppelt line of Project Blue Book: There are no UFOs, and reports can largely be explained as misidentifications.

Hynek remained with Project Sign after it became Project Grudge (though he was far less involved in Grudge than he had been in Sign). Project Grudge was replaced with Project Blue Book in early 1952, and Hynek remained as scientific consultant. Air Force Captain Edward J. Ruppelt, Blue Book's first director, held Hynek in high regard: "Dr. Hynek was one of the most impressive scientists I met while working on the UFO project, and I met a good many. He didn't do two things that some of them did: give you the answer before he knew the question; or immediately begin to expound on his accomplishments in the field of science."[7]

Though Hynek thought Ruppelt was a capable director who steered Project Blue Book in the right direction, Ruppelt headed Blue Book for only a few years. Hynek has also stated his opinion that after Ruppelt's departure, Project Blue Book was little more than a public relations exercise, further noting that little or no research was undertaken using the scientific method.

Turnaround

Hynek began occasionally disagreeing publicly with the conclusions of Blue Book. By the early 1960s—after about a decade and a half of study—Clark writes that "Hynek's apparent turnaround on the UFO question was an open secret."[5] Only after Blue Book was formally dissolved did Hynek speak more openly about his "turnaround".

By his own admission, the soft-spoken Hynek was cautious and conservative by nature. He speculated that his personality was a factor in the Air Force keeping him on as a consultant for over two decades.

Some other ufologists thought that Hynek was being disingenuous or even duplicitous in his turnaround. Physicist James E. McDonald, for example, wrote to Hynek in 1970, castigating him for what McDonald saw as his lapses, and suggesting that, when evaluated by later generations, retired Marine Corps Major Donald E. Keyhoe would be regarded as a more objective, honest, and scientific ufologist.[8]

It was during the late stages of Blue Book in the 1960s that Hynek began speaking openly about his disagreements and disappointments with the Air Force. Among the cases about which he openly dissented with the Air Force were the highly publicized Portage County UFO chase, in which several police officers chased a UFO for half an hour, and the encounter of Lonnie Zamora, a police officer who reported an encounter with a metallic, egg-shaped aircraft near Socorro, New Mexico.

In late March 1966 in Michigan, two days of mass UFO sightings were reported, and received significant publicity. After studying the reports, Hynek offered a provisional hypothesis for some of the sightings: a few of about 100 witnesses had mistaken swamp gas for something more spectacular. At the press conference where he made his announcement, Hynek repeatedly and strenuously stated that swamp gas was a plausible explanation for only a portion of the Michigan UFO reports, and certainly not for UFO reports in general. But much to his chagrin, Hynek's qualifications of his hypothesis were largely overlooked, and the term swamp gas was repeated ad infinitum in relation to UFO reports. The explanation was subject to national derision.

In his reply dated October 7, 1968, to a request for scientific recommendations regarding Blue Book from Colonel Raymond Sleeper, commander of the USAF Foreign Technology Division, Hynek noted that Blue Book suffered from numerous procedural problems and a lack of resources, which rendered its efforts "totally inadequate". Hynek also noted that one wag had bestowed upon Blue Book the epithet of "Society for the Explanation of the Uninvestigated".[9]

Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS)

Hynek was the founder and first head of the Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS). Founded in 1973 in Evanston, Illinois (but now based in Chicago), CUFOS advocates for scientific analysis of UFO cases. CUFOS's extensive archives include valuable files from civilian research groups such as NICAP, one of the most popular and credible UFO research groups of the 1950s and 1960s.

Speech before the United Nations

In November 1978, Hynek presented a statement on UFOs before the United Nations General Assembly on behalf of himself, Jacques Vallée, and Claude Poher. The speech was prepared and approved by the three authors.[10] Their objective was to initiate a centralized, United Nations authority on UFOs.

UFO origin hypotheses

At the MUFON annual symposium in 1973, held in Akron, Ohio, Hynek first expressed his doubts regarding the extraterrestrial (formerly interplanetary or intergalactic) hypothesis, in a speech titled "The Embarrassment of the Riches". He was aware that the number of UFO sightings was much higher than was reflected in the Project Blue Book statistics. "A few good sightings a year, over the world, would bolster the extraterrestrial hypothesis—but many thousands every year? From remote regions of space? And to what purpose? To scare us by stopping cars, and disturbing animals, and puzzling us with their seemingly pointless antics?"[11]

In a paper presented to the Joint Symposium of the American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics in Los Angeles in 1975, he wrote, "If you object, I ask you to explain—quantitatively, not qualitatively—the reported phenomena of materialization and dematerialization, of shape changes, of the noiseless hovering in the Earth's gravitational field, accelerations that—for an appreciable mass—require energy sources far beyond present capabilities—even theoretical capabilities, the well-known and often reported E-M (sc. electro-magnetic interference) effect, the psychic effects on percipients, including purported telepathic communications."[12]

In 1977, at the First International UFO Congress in Chicago, Hynek presented his thoughts in his speech "What I Really Believe About UFOs". "I do believe", he said, "that the UFO phenomenon as a whole is real, but I do not mean necessarily that it's just one thing. We must ask whether the diversity of observed UFOs ... all spring from the same basic source, as do weather phenomena, which all originate in the atmosphere", or whether they differ "as a rain shower differs from a meteor, which in turn differs from a cosmic-ray shower." We must not ask, Hynek said, simply which hypothesis can explain the most facts, but rather which hypothesis can explain the most puzzling facts.[13]

Regarding hypotheses of extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI) and extradimensional intelligence (EDI), Hynek continued, "There is sufficient evidence to defend both". As evidence for the ETI hypothesis, he mentioned the cases involving radar as good evidence of something solid, as well as the cases of physical evidence. Then he turned to defending the EDI hypothesis: in addition to the observations of materialization and dematerialization, he cited the "poltergeist" phenomenon experienced by some people after a close encounter; the photographs of UFOs, sometimes in only one frame, and not seen by witnesses; the changing of form in front of witnesses; the puzzling question of telepathic communication; that in close encounters of the third kind, the creatures seem to be at home in Earth's gravity and atmosphere; the sudden stillness in the presence of the craft; levitation of cars or people; and the development by some of psychic abilities after an encounter. "Do we have two aspects of one phenomenon or two different sets of phenomena?" Hynek asked.[14]

Finally, he introduced a third hypothesis. "I hold it entirely possible", he said, "that a technology exists, which encompasses both the physical and the psychic, the material and the mental. There are stars that are millions of years older than the sun. There may be a civilization that is millions of years more advanced than man's. We have gone from Kitty Hawk to the moon in some seventy years, but it's possible that a million-year-old civilization may know something that we don't ... I hypothesize an 'M&M' technology encompassing the mental and material realms. The psychic realms, so mysterious to us today, may be an ordinary part of an advanced technology."[15]

In Hynek and Vallee's 1975 book The Edge of Reality, Hynek published a stereoscopic photograph of a UFO he took during a flight. According to the book, the object stayed in sight long enough for Hynek to unpack his camera from his luggage and take two exposures.[16] UFO researcher Robert Sheaffer writes in his book Psychic Vibrations that Hynek seemed to have forgotten the photographs when he later told a reporter for The Globe and Mail that he had never seen a UFO.[17] The article states that in all the years he had been looking upward, Hynek "has never seen 'what I would so dearly love to see. Oh, the subject has been so ridiculed that I would never report a UFO even if I did see one—not without a witness'".[18]

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

In his first book, Hynek published the "Close Encounter" scale that he had developed to better catalog UFO reports. Hynek was later a consultant to Columbia Pictures and Steven Spielberg for the popular 1977 UFO movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind, named after a level of Hynek's scale. He made a cameo appearance in the film[19] (at the end of the film, after the aliens disembark from the "mother ship", he can be seen, bearded and with pipe in mouth, stepping forward to view the spectacle).

Personal life

Hynek and his wife, Miriam (Curtis) had five children. Hynek's son Joel is an Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor. He oversaw the design of the camouflage effect for the movie Predator, and won the Best Visual Effects Oscar for his work on What Dreams May Come .

Death

On April 27, 1986, Hynek died of a malignant brain tumor, at Memorial Hospital in Scottsdale, Arizona.[20] He was 75 years old, and was survived by his wife Mimi, children Scott, Roxane, Joel, Paul, and Ross, and his grandchildren.[20]

Books

  • The UFO Experience: A scientific enquiry (1972) ISBN 978-1-56924-782-2
  • The Edge of Reality: A progress report on the unidentified flying objects, with Jacques Vallée (1975) ISBN 978-0-8092-8150-3
  • The Hynek UFO Report (1977)
  • Night Siege—The Hudson Valley UFO Sightings, with Philip Imbrogno and Bob Pratt (1987)
  • UFO Fact or Fiction - circa 1970

References

  1. ^ "The J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies". Retrieved 2008-02-10.
  2. ^ J. Allen Hynek (1972). The UFO Experience: A scientific inquiry. Henry Regnery Company. ISBN 0-8094-8054-9.
  3. ^ Starlight Fluctuation Studies - The Defense Technical Information Center
  4. ^ Schneidman and Daniels, 1987, p. 110
  5. ^ a b Clark, Jerome (1998). The UFO Book: Encyclopedia of the Extraterrestrial. Visible Ink. p. 305. ISBN 1-57859-029-9. Emphasis in source.
  6. ^ Schneidman and Daniels, 110
  7. ^ "Chapter Three: The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects". NICAP. Retrieved 2007-08-27.
  8. ^ Druffel, Ann (2003). Firestorm: James E. McDonald's Fight for UFO Science. Wildflower Press. p. 155. ISBN 0-926524-58-5.
  9. ^ Hynek, 1972, pp. 167-180
  10. ^ "Dr. J. Allen Hynek Speaking at the United Nations, Nov. 27th 1978". Retrieved 2007-08-27.
  11. ^ Stringfield, 1977, pp. 40–42
  12. ^ Stringfield, 1977, p. 44
  13. ^ Fuller, 1980, pp. 156–157
  14. ^ Fuller, 1980, pp. 157–163
  15. ^ Fuller, 1980, pp. 164–165
  16. ^ Hynek and Vallee (1975). The Edge of Reality. Chicago: Henry Regnery. p. 125.
  17. ^ Sheaffer, Robert (2011). Psychic Vibrations. Charleston: Create Space. p. 39.
  18. ^ Michael Tenszen (1982-07-05). "Close Encounter Still up in Air for UFO Expert" (PDF). The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2011-10-19.
  19. ^ "The J. Allen Hynek IMDb". Retrieved 21 May 2010.
  20. ^ a b "J. Allen Hynek (1910-1986) Papers". Archival and Manuscript Collections. Northwestern University Library. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  • Fuller, Curtis (1980). Proceedings of the First International UFO Congress. New York: Warner Books.
  • Schneidman; Daniels (1987), The UFO Phenomenon, Mysteries of the Unknown, Time-Life Books, ISBN 0-8094-6324-5
  • Stringfield, Leonard (1977). Situation Red. Fawcett Crest Books. ISBN 0-449-23654-4.

External links

Aerial Phenomena Research Organization

The Aerial Phenomena Research Organization (APRO) was an UFO research group started in January 1952 by Jim and Coral Lorenzen, of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.The group was based in Tucson, Arizona after 1960. APRO had many state branches, it remained active until late 1988.

APRO stressed scientific field investigations, and had a large staff of consulting Ph.D. scientists. A notable example was Dr. James E. McDonald of the University of Arizona, a well-known atmospheric physicist, and perhaps the leading scientific UFO researcher of his time. Another was Dr. James Harder of the University of California, Berkeley, a civil and hydraulic engineering professor, who acted as director of research from 1969-1982. McDonald and Harder were among six scientists who testified about UFOs before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science and Astronautics on July 29, 1968, when they sponsored a one-day symposium on the subject.Astronomer J. Allen Hynek cited APRO and NICAP as the two best civilian UFO groups of their time, consisting largely of sober, serious minded people capable of valuable contributions to the subject.In 1969, a sizable portion of APRO's membership elected to form a new group named the "Midwest UFO Network"; this soon expanded and became the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON), still active today.

Anomalistics

Anomalistics is the use of scientific methods to evaluate anomalies (phenomena that fall outside current understanding), with the aim of finding a rational explanation. The term itself was coined in 1973 by Drew University anthropologist Roger W. Wescott, who defined it as being the "serious and systematic study of all phenomena that fail to fit the picture of reality provided for us by common sense or by the established sciences."Wescott credited journalist and researcher Charles Fort as being the creator of anomalistics as a field of research, and he named biologist Ivan T. Sanderson and Sourcebook Project compiler William R. Corliss as being instrumental in expanding anomalistics to introduce a more conventional perspective into the field.Henry Bauer, emeritus professor of science studies at Virginia Tech, writes that anomalistics is "a politically correct term for the study of bizarre claims", while David J. Hess of the Department of Science and Technology Studies at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute describes it as being "the scientific study of anomalies defined as claims of phenomena not generally accepted by the bulk of the scientific community."Anomalistics covers several sub-disciplines, including ufology, cryptozoology, and parapsychology. Researchers involved in the field have included ufologist J. Allen Hynek and cryptozoologist Bernard Heuvelmans, and parapsychologist John Hayes.

Center for UFO Studies

The Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS) is a privately funded UFO research group. The group was founded in 1973 by J. Allen Hynek, who at the time was Chair of the Department of Astronomy at Northwestern University in Illinois.

Close encounter

In ufology, a close encounter is an event in which a person witnesses an unidentified flying object. This terminology and the system of classification behind it were first suggested in astronomer and UFO researcher J. Allen Hynek's 1972 book The UFO Experience: A Scientific Inquiry. Categories beyond Hynek's original three have been added by others but have not gained universal acceptance, mainly because they lack the scientific rigor that Hynek aimed to bring to ufology.Sightings more than 500 feet (150 m) from the witness are classified as "Daylight Discs," "Nocturnal Lights," or "Radar/Visual Reports." Sightings within about 500 feet are subclassified as various types of "close encounters." Hynek and others argued that a claimed close encounter must occur within about 500 feet to greatly reduce or eliminate the possibility of misidentifying conventional aircraft or other known phenomena.Hynek's scale became well known after being referenced in a 1977 film, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, which is named after the third level of the scale. Posters for the film featured the three levels of the scale, and Hynek himself makes a cameo appearance near the end of the film.

Crane High School (Chicago)

Richard T. Crane Medical Prep High School (formerly known as Crane Tech Prep or Crane Tech High School) is a public 4–year medical prep high school located in the Near West Side neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois, United States. The school is operated by the Chicago Public Schools district. Crane is named for businessman Richard T. Crane. For the 2012–13 school year, the school became a medical preparatory high school; Partnering with Rush Hospital, City Colleges Of Chicago, and University of Illinois at Chicago.

Interdimensional hypothesis

The interdimensional hypothesis (IDH or IH), is an idea advanced by Ufologists such as Jacques Vallée that says unidentified flying objects (UFOs) and related events involve visitations from other "realities" or "dimensions" that coexist separately alongside our own. It is an alternative to the extraterrestrial hypothesis (ETH).

IDH also holds that UFOs are a modern manifestation of a phenomenon that has occurred throughout recorded human history, which in prior ages were ascribed to mythological or supernatural creatures.Although ETH has remained the predominant explanation for UFOs by UFOlogists, some ufologists have abandoned it in favor of IDH. Paranormal researcher Brad Steiger wrote that "we are dealing with a multidimensional paraphysical phenomenon that is largely indigenous to planet Earth". Other UFOlogists, such as John Ankerberg and John Weldon, advocate IDH because it fits the explanation of UFOs as a spiritistic phenomenon. Commenting on the disparity between the ETH and the accounts that people have made of UFO encounters, Ankerberg and Weldon wrote "the UFO phenomenon simply does not behave like extraterrestrial visitors." In the book UFOs: Operation Trojan Horse published in 1970, John Keel linked UFOs to folkloric or supernatural concepts such as ghosts and demons.

The development of IDH as an alternative to ETH increased in the 1970s and 1980s with the publication of books by Vallée and J. Allen Hynek. In 1975, Vallée and Hynek advocated the hypothesis in The Edge of Reality: A Progress Report on Unidentified Flying Objects and further, in Vallée's 1979 book Messengers of Deception: UFO Contacts and Cults.Some UFO proponents accepted IDH because the distance between stars makes interstellar travel impractical using conventional means and nobody had demonstrated an antigravity or faster-than-light travel hypothesis that could explain extraterrestrial machines. With IDH, it is unnecessary to explain any propulsion method because the IDH holds that UFOs are not spacecraft, but rather devices that travel between different realities.One advantage of IDH proffered by Hilary Evans is its ability to explain the apparent ability of UFOs to appear and disappear from sight and radar; this is explained as the UFO entering and leaving our dimension ("materializing" and "dematerializing"). Moreover, Evans argues that if the other dimension is slightly more advanced than ours, or is our own future, this would explain the UFOs' tendency to represent near future technologies (airships in the 1890s, rockets and supersonic travel in the 1940s, etc.).IDH has been a causative factor in establishing UFO religion.

Jacques Vallée

Jacques Fabrice Vallée (French: [vale]; born September 24, 1939) is a computer scientist, venture capitalist, author, ufologist and astronomer currently residing in San Francisco, California.

In mainstream science, he began his professional life as an astronomer at the Paris Observatory. Vallée co-developed the first computerized map of Mars for NASA in 1963. He later worked on the network information center for the ARPANET, a precursor to the modern Internet, as a staff engineer of SRI International's Augmentation Research Center under Douglas Engelbart.

Vallée is also an important figure in the study of unidentified flying objects (UFOs), first noted for a defense of the scientific legitimacy of the extraterrestrial hypothesis and later for promoting the interdimensional hypothesis.

Joel Hynek

Joel Hynek is a visual effects artist who has worked on over 30 films since 1980.

Levelland UFO case

The Levelland UFO case occurred on November 2–3, 1957, in and around the small town of Levelland, Texas. Levelland, which in 1957 had a population of about 10,000, is located west of Lubbock on the flat prairie of the Texas South Plains. The case is considered by ufologists to be one of the most impressive in UFO history, mainly because of the large number of witnesses involved over a relatively short period of time. However, both the US Air Force and UFO skeptics have described the incident as being caused by either ball lightning or a severe electrical storm.

Lonnie Zamora incident

The Lonnie Zamora incident was an alleged UFO close encounter which occurred on Friday, April 24, 1964, at about 5:50 p.m., on the outskirts of Socorro, New Mexico. Several primary witnesses emerged to report their version of the event, which included the craft's approach, conspicuous flame, and alleged physical evidence left behind immediately afterward. Lonnie Zamora, a Socorro police officer who was on duty at the time, claimed to have come closest to the object and provided the most prolonged and comprehensive account. Some physical trace evidence left behind—burned vegetation and soil, ground landing impressions, and metal scrapings on a broken rock in one of the impressions—was subsequently observed and analyzed by investigators for the military, law enforcement, and civilian UFO groups.

The event and its body of evidence is sometimes deemed one of the best documented and most perplexing UFO reports. It was immediately investigated by the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, and FBI, and received considerable coverage in the mass media. It was one of the cases that helped persuade astronomer J. Allen Hynek, one of the primary investigators for the Air Force, that some UFO reports represented an intriguing mystery. After extensive investigation, the Air Force's Project Blue Book was unable to come up with a conventional explanation and listed the case as an "unknown".

Michael D. Swords

Michael D. Swords is a retired professor of Natural Science at Western Michigan University, who writes about general sciences and anomalous phenomena, particularly parapsychology, cryptozoology, and ufology, editing the academic publication The Journal of UFO Studies. He is a board member of the J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies.

Project Blue Book

Project Blue Book was one of a series of systematic studies of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) conducted by the United States Air Force. It started in 1952, the third study of its kind (the first two were projects Sign (1948) and Grudge (1949). A termination order was given for the study in December 1969, and all activity under its auspices officially ceased in January 1970.

Project Blue Book had two goals:

To determine if UFOs were a threat to national security, and

To scientifically analyze UFO-related data.Thousands of UFO reports were collected, analyzed, and filed. As a result of the Condon Report (1968), which concluded there was nothing anomalous about UFOs, and a review of the report by the National Academy of Sciences, Project Blue Book was terminated in December 1969. The Air Force supplies the following summary of its investigations:

No UFO reported, investigated, and evaluated by the Air Force was ever an indication of threat to our national security;

There was no evidence submitted to or discovered by the Air Force that sightings categorized as "unidentified" represented technological developments or principles beyond the range of modern scientific knowledge; and

There was no evidence indicating that sightings categorized as "unidentified" were extraterrestrial vehicles.

By the time Project Blue Book ended, it had collected 12,618 UFO reports, and concluded that most of them were misidentifications of natural phenomena (clouds, stars, etc.) or conventional aircraft. According to the National Reconnaissance Office a number of the reports could be explained by flights of the formerly secret reconnaissance planes U-2 and A-12. A small percentage of UFO reports were classified as unexplained, even after stringent analysis. The UFO reports were archived and are available under the Freedom of Information Act, but names and other personal information of all witnesses have been redacted.

Project Blue Book (TV series)

Project Blue Book is an American historical drama television series that premiered on History on January 8, 2019. The main role of Dr. J. Allen Hynek is played by Aidan Gillen, and the first season will consist of ten episodes. The series is based on the real-life Project Blue Book, a series of studies on unidentified flying objects. On February 10, 2019, History renewed the series for a 10-episode second season.

Rocky Wood

Rocky Wood (19 October 1959 – 1 December 2014) was an award-winning New Zealand-born Australian writer and researcher best known for his books about horror author Stephen King. He is the first author from outside North America or Europe to hold the position of President of the Horror Writers Association. Wood was born in Wellington, New Zealand and lived in Melbourne, Australia with his family. He has been a freelance writer for over 35 years. His writing career began at university, where he wrote a national newspaper column in New Zealand on extra-terrestrial life and UFO-related phenomena and published other articles about the phenomenon worldwide, in the course of which research he met such figures as Erich von Däniken and J. Allen Hynek; and had articles on the security industry published in the US, Canada, the UK, New Zealand and South Africa. In October 2010, Wood was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). He died of complications on 1 December 2014.

The Unexplained (magazine)

The Unexplained: Mysteries of Mind, Space, & Time was a popular partwork magazine published by Orbis Publishing in the United Kingdom, between 1980 and 1983. It ran to 156 issues, with issue 157 being an index to the collection, and dealt with the paranormal and mysteries such as UFOs, the Bermuda Triangle, ghosts, spontaneous human combustion, the Cottingley Fairies, ancient knowledge, sea monsters, the Yeti, weird coincidences, stone circles, contact with the dead, and notable historical characters linked to the occult. The magazine was published as a journal, with page numbering continuing from one edition to the next. When the magazine ceased publication, a refund was offered if the consumer returned the covers.The magazine was edited by Peter Brookesmith, and consultants included Dr. J. Allen Hynek and Professor A. J. Ellison. The editorial director was Brian Innes, who had previously worked on Man, Myth & Magic: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Supernatural.

A complementary version was published in France, entitled L'Inexpliqué, which contained differently written articles. This series was published in 8 to 26 volumes, depending on whether the edition were British or French.The partwork, which debuted on newsstands the same year the British TV series Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World (1980) was first broadcast, was hugely popular. Articles from the magazine were later published in book form during the late 1980s by various publishers, including Black Cat, Caxton, and St. Michael's books. Titles included: When the Impossible Happens (1984) and Out of this World: Mysteries of Mind, Space, & Time (1989).

Ufology

Ufology is the study of reports, visual records, physical evidence, and other phenomena related to unidentified flying objects (UFO). UFO reports have been subject to various investigations over the years by governments, independent groups, and scientists. However, ufology, as a field, has been rejected by modern academia and is considered a pseudoscience.

Unidentified flying object

An unidentified flying object (UFO) is an object observed in the sky that is not readily identified. Most UFOs are later identified as conventional objects or phenomena. The term is widely used for claimed observations of extraterrestrial spacecraft.

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Types of alleged
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