High Strangeness: Hynek Hijinks

Friday, September 15, 2017

Hynek Hijinks

A while back I had mentioned that J. Allen Hynek's long-time friend and colleague Jennie Zeidman had promised to send me a document that she had recently uncovered in her files. When she first mentioned this to me, my imagination ran away with me; what if Jennie had discovered some long lost document that blew the whole field of UFO research wide open? What if it was a signed statement from President Eisenhower admitting that he had met with aliens, or a signed affidavit from Jesse Marcel stating that he had made up the entire Roswell story? Or what if it was definitive proof that Project Blue Book really was a sham, and that Hynek himself was running the Air Force's real clandestine UFO study?

When the envelope showed up in the mail I could hardly contain myself! I felt like a kid on Christmas morning opening the biggest, brightest present under the tree, only in my case there was the horrifying possibility that inside this present was proof that Santa Claus didn't exist...

What's Thor got to do with it?
Well, I opened up the envelope and found a 3-page hand-written letter from Dr. Hynek to Jennie Ziedman, from the early 1970s (Hynek only wrote the month and day, not the year). I read through the letter greedily, hoping to find the bombshell... but there was none. Hynek complained about a picture of his that had just run with an article in TIME magazine... He talked about upcoming travel plans, a Hynek "at work and at play" TV special he had just done for the Chicago NBC affiliate... He proudly announced that his two oldest sons, Scott and Joel, now had their pilots licenses... And he announced that "the book she is done."

Aha! So that's what made the letter special! Hynek had just finished "The UFO Experience" and he was blowing off steam... Of course! Just having gone through that experience myself, I could fully appreciate Hynek's feelings. And, indeed, there is a tone of goofiness and elation to the whole letter, and I couldn't help smiling as I read it, especially when I got to the limerick on the last page.

Then I found the small note Jennie had attached to the letter. It read: "this suggests Allen had a long tough day and was enjoying a bit of booze..."

So that was the bombshell... Jennie had found a letter that brought Allen Hynek to life for her, and she thought it was important to share it with me. I appreciate that greatly. And now I'm sharing this little glimpse of the real J. Allen Hynek with you...

Here's his limerick, appropos of nothing:

A Thundergod went for a ride
Upon his favorite filly
I'm Thor, he cried!
His horse replied -
You forgot your thaddle, thilly!

Then, in parentheses, he added: (--it's the heat!)

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