No, I didn't interview Allen Hendry, although one of you seems to be actively encouraging me to stalk the man, which is getting to be really creepy...
No, the big news is that I recently had the pleasure of interviewing one of Dr. Hynek's children, Paul Hynek, for the book, and it was a fantastic experience. Paul gave me a mountain of wonderful material about his dad's personal and professional lives, and I'm happy to say that I was able to share a few things I've learned about his dad that he didn't know.
We talked for about 90 minutes, and have corresponded a bit since then, so it's going to take me a while to make sense of all the new information and to decide how to use it.
Here are a few highlights:
Paul still owns the astronomy textbook that his father read in 1917, and that is said to have inspired young Josef Allen Hynek to become an astronomer. With Paul's help I was able to look the book up on the Library of Congress' website and flip through the very pages Dr. Hynek had read as a child...
To my surprise, Paul had a lot of vivid memories of the famous Father Gill sighting (illustrated above), a genuine Close Encounter of the Third Kind that took place in Boianai, New Guinea in 1959. He had a chance to meet Father Gill on one occasion, and he said that Gill stood out among all the UFO witnesses he had met as being among the most genuine and believable.
I told Paul about a conversation I had recently peeked in on at a UFO chat forum, in which the central theme was Hynek's alleged craven need to be in the limelight. Some people still really think that Hynek was the ultimate media whore, and I was interested in Paul's take on that. Not surprisingly, he disagreed with that portrayal, saying that while his dad rarely shied away from interviews or media coverage where his UFO work was involved, he never went out chasing publicity. In fact, Paul recalled many times when reporters would call or drop by for an interview and his dad would shoo them away. This all gibes with what my research tells me, and maybe people will actually believe it if it comes from a family member.
So, it's been a very good week for the book, but not such a good week for Allen Hendry lovers. But their day will come.