High Strangeness: Still Wrong After 47 Years

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Still Wrong After 47 Years

This really burns my toast. I subscribe to a twitter feed called something-something-UFO-something that spits out the occasional interesting bit of UFO news. It's often interesting, but tonight it really, really bugged me. Tonight it tweeted some UFO news that is not only 47 years old, but is also completely misleading.

"Astronomer Dr J.Allen Hynek proposed 'swamp gas' as a possible source of the Hillsdale MI 1966 UFO sighting" said the first tweet, with a link to a YouTube video. It was followed moments later by a second tweet that said, "And here is he (Dr Hynek) again years later, admitting that USAF's Project Blue Book had misled the public," again linking to a YouTube video.

See what they're trying to do? By sending these two tweets out one after the other, they're trying to portray Dr. Hynek as having willfully misled the public with his 1966 "swamp gas" theory and then "admitting" to fraud years later.

It's complete rubbish. I've done enough research on the 1966 Hillsdale sighting to know. I've read countless eyewitness accounts as well as Hynek's own case notes and Project Blue Book report, and the man said and did the right thing. He was not trying to mislead anyone. He was being completely honest; his swamp gas theory fit the facts in 1966 and it still does today.
The girls of Hillsdale College, pointing out where they saw their UFO. Eighty-seven witnesses, but Hynek was only allowed to interview two of them, neither of whom ever saw the UFO in the air.
Imagine being ordered to investigate close to a dozen UFO sightings that have taken place over the past two weeks, and being given only 2 1/2 days to do it. Imagine that the media circus makes it next to impossible for you to conduct a thoughtful, thorough investigation. Then imagine this: some sightings have many witnesses; some have only one or two. What's more, many of the sightings display general consistencies, but eyewitness descriptions of the details vary wildly from one another. This is what Hynek was facing when the Air Force sent him to Hillsdale, MI, in March of 1966, and after sizing up the situation he made a fateful decision: He would only investigate the two sightings with the most witnesses, and he would only consider evidence that two or more witnesses agreed on.

Based on those two decisions, and the meager facts they left him with, the swamp gas theory was not at all unreasonable, and may very well have been right. And he never said for a fact that it was swamp gas; he merely said that these two sightings could have been swamp gas, but that he couldn't prove it in a court of law.

So, give my man J. Allen a break, you stupid twitter feed, you. Don't just go off repeating 47 year-old stories that aren't even true, and don't try to besmirch the reputation of a man you should be revering.

And read my Hynek bio when it comes out. Then you'll know. Then you'll know.

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