High Strangeness: UFO Truth, 1; Roswell, 0

Saturday, July 8, 2017

UFO Truth, 1; Roswell, 0

So, the Rolling Stone article about my J. Allen Hynek bio, The Close Encounters Man, is going gangbusters!

I just Googled "UFO," the first thing that came up was my article. I couldn't be more thrilled, especially since this is happening just days after the 70th Anniversary of the mythical Roswell saucer crash.

Alas, the UFOs in "Close Encounters" are more real than the Roswell saucer.
Think about that: just a few days after the anniversary of the most popular, most enduring, most talked-about and written-about UFO story of all time, a magazine article about my Hynek biography has taken over the top spot in UFO news. Guess what comes up in second place? A measly seven-paragraph wrap-up from WIRED about last week's Roswell UFO Festival (be sure to check out the photos to get your fill of embarrassing alien weirdness). Does this mean that truth is finally trouncing fantasy in UFO World? We can hope.

It just so happens that in virtually every one of the 40 or so interviews I've done in the past few weeks, I've been asked. "What did Dr. Hynek think of Roswell?" I'm always glad to get the question, because it gives me the opportunity to give the interviewer (and his/her readers/listeners) a healthy dose of reality.

"Dr. Hynek was not a fan of 'saucer crash' stories," I tell the interviewer. "In large part, this is because, when you start talking about a crashed flying saucer, that presupposes that a UFO is a solid, physical, constructed, 'nuts and bolts' object that can actually crash. Dr. Hynek was never comfortable with that, because there were no facts to support it. He just wouldn't go there."

In fact, I have two quotes in my book that perfectly illustrate the disdain Dr. Hynek felt for saucer crash stories:

“This story has come up so many times,”Hynek declaimed in 1979 when a TV interviewer brought up the topic of saucer crashes.[1] Because CUFOS had collected “about 30 anecdotal accounts”[2] of such reports, Hynek could not in good conscience completely discount them, but there was, he said, an essential problem with the saucer crash/alien corpses narrative. “People will come to us and say, ‘My uncle was the surgeon who performed the autopsy on the things,’ or ‘My boyfriend or ex-husband was the pilot who brought the cadavers to Wright Field,’” Hynek explained. “But then when I ask them, I say, ‘Would you be willing to sign a statement to that effect?’ and they say oh, no, no, no, of course they can’t; they are under security regulations.”[3] Hynek said that if he were ever to meet President Carter, he would request Presidential immunity for those 30 people, so that they could talk. “Until these people who tell us these things are willing to stand up and be counted and sign an affidavit, to me this is still just a story.”[4]
            “To be honest, I don’t like to talk about crashed saucers because I am in a position to mobilize public belief,” he said in a later interview. “If I came out and held a press conference to say that a saucer has landed and the creatures were in deep freeze at Wright Field, quite a few people would believe me. But it wouldn’t necessarily be true, and it certainly wouldn’t be science... I won’t jeopardize my reputation for the sake of a story.”[5]

[1] “Psychic Phenomena” television interview of Dr. J. Allen Hynek, 1979
[2] Ibid.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Ibid.
[5] “Interview: J. Allen Hynek,” by Pamela Weintraub, OMNI Magazine, February, 1985

Who knows? Maybe in the future we can all pay as much attention to the Socorro Case, or the Tremonton film, or the Pascagoula abduction, or the Coyne Case, or the Father Gill Case as as we do to Roswell. We can hope.

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