High Strangeness: UFO Book Review

Thursday, May 18, 2017

UFO Book Review

A couple months ago I received a box full of galleys of my J. Allen Hynek bio, The Close Encounters Man, with instructions from my editor to get them in the hands of people whose opinions are  important to me. So, I did, and since it was a very big box with a very large number of galleys I sent out a lot.

One of the people I sent a galley to had given me permission to use her late brother Anthony Ranfone's artwork in the book. The artwork in question was a fantastic drawing of one of the Pascagoula, Mississippi "crabmen" reported to have taken Charles Hickson and Calvin Parker aboard their UFO in October, 1973. The Pascagoula abduction has always been one of my favorite cases, and I'm trilled to have Mr. Ranfone's work in my book, and eternally grateful that his sister has given me permission to use the drawing.
You can find this critter on P. 270 of my book

What's equally thrilling is the letter I received from her the other day...

Hello Mark,

I have just finished your book.  Very interesting to say the least. I learned a lot, was surprised more than expected, disappointed often (in what you report, not in the book), and in awe of Hynek’s work and integrity.  You laid out a solid account of the development of the study of UFOs, those who pioneered it and the battles they faced, with Hynek in the forefront of course.
As I previously noted, my position regarding UFO/Extraterrestrials is open to the possibilities and leans more towards the probabilities.  There has just been too much evidence to ignore, once the “noise” is sifted out.

I am impressed by Hynek the scientist and Hynek the man.  He presented a true, honest scientist with depths of integrity that, against the odds, blazed his trail towards the truth of the unknown.  It is certainly risky to be that public and stick to what you believe regardless of repressors.  He did not state emphatically one way or the other but only impressed that the questions be asked without prejudice. So much credible evidence to understand.

I knew of Project Blue Book but not of the reality of its mission.  I always understood it to be a credible investigative entity using sold scientific methods.  How enlightening to now know that it’s intent was to dismiss and downplay. Also, I did not know of its predecessors with the same mission.   I applaud Hyneks attempt to steer the work forward, without a bias hypothesis or predetermined theory, assessing the evidence as presented and reaching a solid scientific conclusion (even though most scientific investigations propagate more questions.  It’s what moves investigation forward).

Questions it prompts:  was this the governments true intent or were the efforts a cover for a sincere covert investigation into the phenomenon?  If so, was this done to save us from the fear of knowing the reality?

I knew about the Betty and Barney Hill incident.  Being from New Hampshire, I am also familiar with the locale.  I read and watched all that I could about what they knew they experienced.  Fascinating.  I found all accounts presented them to be very credible.

I’ve also been aware of some of the other incidents you recount and well as others reported in various documentaries.  Again, if we can dismiss the “noise” and focus on the valid reports, I can’t imagine that all of these witnesses, through the ages and worldwide, were/are hysterical.  There are just too many credible reports.

I was terribly disappointed with the report regarding Carl Sagan.  As a true scientist, I can’t believe that he could be so dismissive of Hynek and his work to the point of applying public humiliation.  On the other hand, he was a founder of SETI.  A bit hypocritical. If you’re searching for intelligent life you must have a hypothesis that it might exist.  If intelligent, doesn’t that leave the door open for their ability to reach us?  After all, we’ve been in space.  Then again, he was also founder of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.  I just can’t equate the two, unless of course he wanted to be the “Hynek”.  Professional jealousy?

For me, your book and Hynek’s work lent more credence to the topic.  It was a pleasure to read.

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