High Strangeness: Everything Points to Nuts and Bolts!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Everything Points to Nuts and Bolts!

I just had a pretty odd conversation about UFOs, Dr. J. Allen Hynek, the CIA, Project Blue Book, Roswell, and other related topics, and it's probably going to take me a day or two to sort it all out and make sense of it...

Ostensibly, it was supposed to be an interview for my book about Dr. Hynek, and since the person with whom I had the conversation did actually spend many years working for Hynek's Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS) you'd expect him to be pretty knowledgeable about Hynek. And he was, in some ways, very knowledgeable... But about halfway through the conversation I started feeling that everything he was saying about Hynek was something I could have found out from a dozen different books, and already had. There was just nothing in his talk beyond the most superficial, simplistic descriptions of Dr. Hynek.

He had one or two semi-insightful comments about certain moments in UFO research history that I will have to verify. If they turn out to be true I may be able to use them in the book...

Are you sensing my exuberance? Hard to miss, isn't it?

Let it go, people. Let it go.
The oddest part of the talk -- I really can't call it an interview because I never asked him any questions and I didn't take a single note the whole time -- came at the end when he tried to convince me that in his later years Dr. Hynek became obsessed with the alleged Roswell UFO crash (and many other reputed crashes like it). He further tried to convince me that at this same time in his life, Dr. Hynek had become single-mindedly focused on gaining access to the UFO crash research files of a fellow named Len Stringfield, and had not succeeded. Then he finally told me that the last time he had dinner with Dr. Hynek, Hynek had pounded the table and said, "Damnit, everything points to nuts and bolts! Nuts and bolts!"

So, according to this guy, after years of avoiding any intimation that he believed UFOs to be a physical, technological, "nuts and bolts" phenomenon, Hynek suddenly decided that "everything" points to the very thesis he spent 40 years rejecting for lack of evidence... Uh huh.

I just now flipped open Hynek's 1975 book "The Edge of Reality," co-written with the estimable Dr. Jacques Vallee, and I found this passage on page 67, in which Dr. Hynek discusses UFO crashes with friend Dr. Arthur Hastings:
HASTINGS: "One question that comes up is, if they're around, why aren't they leaving some physical residues? Why haven't they dropped a few nuts and bolts?"

HYNEK:"Ah, that comes up time and again! Why isn't there any hardware left behind? Surely they must crash sometimes, surely they must... Well, I think we should bring these things up. Sure, there are the obvious objections. We don't know the answer to that. Yet, there are a few cases where actual physical remains have been reported--but very few, and these have never been followed through to final proof. Not only would this require very ample funds but, well, what would constitute 'final proof?' On the other hand, if you were a bushman in Australia, how many parts from a Boeing 747 would you be picking up? The bushman might see an airplane fly over his territory for many years and not once be 'fortunate' enough to be witness to an air crash. Think of the thousands of commercial planes flying daily over the U.S., yet years go by without a single crash."
Granted, more than ten years passed between the time Hynek made this statement and the time of his death. So, it's possible that in ten years' time he did a complete 180 and decided that everything points to nuts and bolts. But I find it very unlikely...


Department 47 said...

Leonard Stringfield did make a career of collecting information on crash retrieval cases. From everything I've heard about him (he lived here in Cincinnati), I cannot imagine him refusing an offer to collaborate with Dr. Hynek.

Oddly enough, Stringfield's records ended up with MUFON. The original intent ws to digitize the,m and make them available to researchers. Don't know how far that effort went.

Mark OC said...

I think the intention is still to digitize Stringfield's files. From what I gather Stringfield was understandably protective of his data, but it seems unlikely that he would rebuff Dr. Hynek over and over again, as this person tried to convince me.

Department 47 said...

The guy who might have known was Kenny Young, another well-regarded UFO researcher, based in the Cincy area, who knew Stringfield quite well. Unfortunately, Kenny died of cancer, wow, maybe eight years ago now (Time flies!). Young's files went to Sean Feeney of the Anomaly Response Network. You might touch base with him to see if any of this rings a bell with him.