High Strangeness: A UFO Bestiary

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

A UFO Bestiary

Now that I've sent the manuscript of my J. Allen Hynek bio off to my editor, it's time to get back to blogging at my favorite blog! For my comeback, I thought it might be fun to sit down and tally up all the UFO cases that I wrote up in the book, because now that I'm done with the book I suspect it may be a pretty substantial number.

Not every case gets a huge write-up, of course: some get entire chapters while others may only rate a small paragraph or even just a sentence. And none of them are safe from my editor's red pencil, so who knows how many may survive?

Many cases cited in my book come from the files of the Air Force's Project Sign and Project Blue Book (Hynek never worked for Project Grudge, the one that came between Sign and Blue Book). Most, but not all, were investigated by Dr. Hynek, either for the Air Force or as an independent investigator.

The first two cases that appear in the book are not surprising. First up are the Great Airship Mystery of 1897 (this involves multiple sightings but for convenience I will group them together as one), and the June 24, 1947 Kenneth Arnold sighting in Washington state, the one that kicked off the so-called "modern era" of UFOs.

Next up are a series of sightings reported in the summer of 1947: a June 28 sighting of a bright light zig-zagging across the sky, a July 3 report of wingless objects in the sky, a July 6 sighting of an object in the sky going 500 to 700 miles an hour, a multiple sighting of bright spheres and discs on July 7 and 8, and a group of objects in a triangular arrangement moving across the sky at a terrific speed on August 19 (the witnesses in those last two were army observers and police officers, not "nuts").

That gets us up to seven in short order.

Number eight is the January 7, 1948 Mantell case, in which an Air National Guard pilot crashed his plane and died while pursuing a gigantic glowing object in the sky. Number nine took place in July, 1947, involving a disc-shaped object moving at a very high velocity. Number 10 was a sighting of a yellow-orange oval over an Army Air Base in March, 1948. Number 11 took place in November, 1948, and involved a weather observer in Central America who watched spherical object in the sky for 40 minutes. An August, 1947 sighting in which a father and his two sons in Idaho saw a metallic disc fly past their house brings us to an even dozen.

In the first half of the book alone, there are 41 UFO events. And some of those, like the "Washington Merry-Go-Round" of 1952 and the case of the "Levelland lights" of 1957, and the previously-mentioned Great Airship Mystery, involve multiple sightings, so, technically, I could say there are more like 60 or 70 sightings. 

No wonder I'm so exhausted...
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