High Strangeness

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Cavalcade of UFOs!

Wow, has it really been three months since I've blogged? Yes, it has, and I'll tell you why. I've been busy with some special UFO projects related to my book that I can't talk about just yet, and I knew that if I kept blogging regularly, I might want to talk about one of my secret projects... so, to ensure that I wouldn't talk about them, I decided to stay away from High Strangeness for the duration.

Dr. J. Allen Hynek: Is he thinking about stars, or UFOs?
Well, the time has come to take the wraps on Project #1: I've been invited by the amazing Atlas Obscura to give a presentation on Dr. J. Allen Hynek and all things UFO this December 1st. I'll be talking about the trajectory of Dr. Hynek's career, from celebrated astronomer to bad boy on the Air Force's Project Blue Book to culturally-significant UFO authority -- and, yes, I'll be talking about the real Dr. Hynek, not the make-believe Dr. Hynek in the upcoming History Channel soap opera about Project Blue Book.

The folks at Atlas Obscura have really outdone themselves, booking the Dearborn Observatory on the Northwestern University campus, the very place from which Dr. Hynek gazed at stars when he taught at NWU! And as a bonus, after my talk we'll have some time to check out the night sky through the Dearborn's 18.5-inch refracting telescope.

Can you tell I'm psyched for this?

Here's where to find out more about the event, and to reserve tickets if you'll be in Chicago that night:
https://www.atlasobscura.com/events/close-encounter-j-allen-hynek

As for the other secret projects, well, I'll be writing about them when the time is right!


Thursday, August 16, 2018

My Favoritest UFO Case

A few days ago I came across some great news: Calvin Parker, one of the two men who claim to have been abducted by "robotic" beings that took them aboard a UFO and examined them before letting them go, has just published a book about his experience!

Do not ever let anyone who looks like this take you aboard his UFO.
I am psyched because, as the title of this post tells you, this case, the Pascagoula, Mississippi abduction of Parker and his friend Charlie Hickson, is pretty much my favorite UFO case of all time. I was 13 when the abduction made national headlines, and although I had already read a lot of UFO books by that time, the Parker & Hickson abduction was the first UFO case that I was able to experience in real time, as it was being reported in the newspaper and on the nightly news. And, although I didn't know it then, the Pascagoula abduction was an honest-to-God Close Encounter of the Third Kind! AND it was investigated by my UFO Dad, Dr. J. Allen Hynek, who declared that Parker and Hickson had had a real experience, even if he couldn't explain what it was. It was the first UFO case that felt authentic to me, and it made a lasting impression.


Although I failed to score interviews with either Parker or Hickson (who passed away just a couple years ago) for my book, I enjoyed the hell out of researching and writing about the case, and those crazy, crab-clawed beings who "floated" Hickson and Parker into their UFO. It felt just as real to me as it had back in 1973.

And now Mr. Parker has gone and written his own book about his experience, and I can't wait to read it! It's been published by Amazon, and you can order it here.

Congratulations, Calvin! I'm glad you're finally telling your story!




Thursday, July 26, 2018

UFO Dissonance

So, the other day I was mentioned in a tweet from a big UFO fan who had been at Comic-Con over the weekend and had seen the teaser for Blue Book, the new History Channel series about Dr. J. Allen Hynek's UFO investigations for the Air Force. In his tweet, this guy mentioned that the star of the series, Aiden Gillen, claimed in a Comic-Con panel discussion to have read my Hynek bio, The Close Encounters Man, to help prepare for the role...

My response was fairly negative, as I know for a fact that the TV show is going to be utter drek, but the guy who posted the tweet vigorously defended the show -- he seemed to basically accept that it was going to be wildly inaccurate, based on what he had seen in the trailer, but said he intended to watch it anyway when it premieres next winter. He then told me that the show's producers were justified in ignoring historical facts because if they were to show Dr. Hynek spending 1948 sitting at a desk reading UFO reports it would be rather dull. I responded that there were actually a lot of exciting and interesting things going on with Hynek's work in 1948, and that a good writer could dramatize anything (never mind that Hynek was working for Project Sign in 1948, and the Blue Book TV series actually starts its story in 1951).

Next thing I know, this guy is arguing with me over the actual number of UFO files Hynek investigated for Project Sign in 1948. He said one number. I corrected him. He insisted he was right. On it went for the rest of the evening, neither one of us backing down. He got his number from Hynek's book The Hynek UFO Report, I got my number from Hynek's archives, so who are you going to believe? Anyway, the point is, this guy was really, really concerned that we got the number of cases exactly right, because accuracy was really, really important to him. Okay, I can get behind that -- a lot of UFO fans are sticklers for accuracy, and they should be. Accuracy is a big deal in the field of UFOlogy. We need more accuracy.

But here's my issue with that: How does a guy who will argue for hours over the precise number of cases Hynek investigated in 1948 turn around and insist that a TV series that, based on its own trailer, gets virtually every aspect of Hynek's life and work wrong, will be worth watching? Why is a trivial fact treated like a life-or-death matter, but a big lie simply shrugged off?

Does this make sense to anyone?

Monday, July 23, 2018

Blue Book Revealed!

So, I hear that the History Channel put on a big presentation the other day at ComicCon about the upcoming Blue Book TV series, including a big panel discussion with the lead actors, writers and producers. Apparently Aiden Gillen, the actor portraying Dr. J. Allen Hynek in the show, read my Hynek bio The Close Encounters Man, to "prepare" for the role.

While I guess it's great that a semi-famous actor claims to have read my book, and I got a free plug in front of the Comic-Con crowd, I'm still PO'd that one of the producers of the show tied to poach research material from me last summer.

And now the show itself looks to be absolute drek. What a shame.


Tuesday, July 17, 2018

UFO Pride!

As I've mentioned here before, the true measure of any portrayal of Dr. J. Allen Hynek's groundbreaking UFO research comes down to one question: "Would Dr. Hynek be proud of this?"

Well, that question is being put to the test by the story posted at SYFY.com this week previewing the History Channel's upcoming TV series Blue Book, about Dr. Hynek's work with the Air Force's UFO research project. The article includes an amazing image that I just have to comment on...

Take a good look at the photo below. Did this ever happen to Dr. J. Allen Hynek in real life?


The answer is no. Dr. Hynek never found himself in a dark government lab, staring at an alien "grey" floating in a tank. Not even once. But, this is how the producers of Blue Book have decided to "jazz up" the true story of Dr. Hynek's UFO work with the Air Force.

"We were pretty good about sticking with history," declares the show's creator in the SYFY.com article.

Oh, okay, that's reassuring. Because when I saw this picture of Hynek meeting an alien, I thought maybe they had been pretty bad about sticking with history. Nice to know I was wrong!

I bet Dr. Hynek would be proud as heck.


Tuesday, July 10, 2018

A Ton of UFO Debris!

This is why things never change. This is why UFO research never goes anywhere.

I was at a bookstore over the weekend and spotted a great looking book titled "Aliens," by Ron Miller (Watkins Media Limited, 2017). The book is a huge, beautifully-illustrated history of the human race's fascination with alien beings from other planets, and I immediately wanted to buy it.

But then, as I always do when I find a new UFO book, I flipped to the back and looked at the index to see if Dr. J. Allen Hynek was mentioned in the book. He was. Miller wrote that Dr. Hynek was a proponent of the "Extraterrestrial Hypothesis" (ETH), which is absolutely not true. Hynek considered it a possibility that UFOs had an extraterrestrial origin, but he didn't consider it likely. In fact, ETH was only one of many possible hypotheses that Hynek considered possible, but the important point is that Dr. Hynek did not favor any one of these possibilities over any of the others. Ten minutes of research would have shown Miller that Dr. Hynek was never a proponent of ETH.

I put the book back on the shelf.

Then today I read the news on the Coast to Coast AM newsletter that about 200 attendees at last week's "Roswell Fest" in Roswell, NM were given the chance to visit the alleged Roswell "crash site." This, of course, is the barren stretch of ranch land where a flying saucer was alleged to have crashed in early July, 1947. Up until now, only alleged "UFO researchers" have been given access to the site where rancher Mac Brazel claimed to have discovered some debris that he couldn't identify. He put some of the alleged debris in the back of his truck and took it to the sheriff, and you probably know how things went from there...

The C2C story had a link to a local New Mexico TV news report, and it's here that things really go off the rails. First, the reporter immediately claims that she is at the "UFO crash site," forgetting to add the modifier "alleged," which I have done above. Then she states, "...a man by the name of Mac Brazel says that this is where he saw a UFO crash." 


That's a big LOL right there. Brazel never claimed to have seen a UFO crash. In fact, no one has ever claimed to have seen anything at all crash on that ranch, because no one ever saw anything in the sky above that ranch, because it's a remote stretch of Godforsaken dirt and rocks some 75 miles away from Roswell. Nobody saw anything in the sky above the ranch, ergo, nobody saw anything crash into the ranch.

The rest of the news report, which you can watch here, is just as ridiculous. After claiming that Mac Brazel saw a UFO crash, the reporter says that "they found a ton of unearthly debris." A ton? Really? And who are the "they" who found this "ton" of "unearthly" debris? And by what standard was it ever deemed "unearthly?" A little proof, please!

Throughout, the reporter and the Roswell tourists she interviews simply take it as a given that an alien spacecraft crashed on this random spot on the ranch in 1947. "It really did happen," says some guy from Toronto. "It's almost spiritual."

Yeah, "almost."

"You can see where the craft landed, and where the alien bodies were found," says another guy from Los Angeles who at least didn't travel as far to waste his $250 as the guy from Toronto.

Of course, all of this this begs the question, "Which alleged 'crash site' did these tourists visit?" According to no less an authority as MUFON, the Mutual UFO Network, there are said to be as many as eleven Roswell "crash sites." So, which one did these people see? I think they're entitled to at least a partial refund, if not an explanation. I mean, by my calculations, the promoters of this tour grossed around $50,000 on the event.

So, yea, these are the reasons UFO research never seems to go anywhere. These are the reasons I get discouraged. If you're going to be doing UFO research or UFO journalism, for God's sake get it right. It's not that hard to do.

And, please... decide how many alleged crash sites there really are.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

UFO Dreams

I just had a very fun talk last night with Gary & Michael at Night Dreams Radio. Guess what we talked about?


WARNING: This is a full 2 hours of yours truly sharing amazing stories about our "UFO Dad."