High Strangeness: February 2018

Friday, February 16, 2018

High UFO Hopes


I’ve been guilty of neglecting my blog for the past few months, and I feel bad about it. There are a couple reasons for my neglect, the most immediate one being that I went through a period of fairly serious burnout on UFOs after my book The Close Encounters Man came out. After five-plus years of total immersion in UFO arcana and the life and times of J. Allen Hynek, I’ve felt the need to get away from it all, so I have!


At least, I’ve tried. The goofy New York Times story in early December about the alleged 2007-2012 Secret Pentagon UFO Study made it pretty difficult to keep UFOs at arm’s length. And the fact that absolutely nothing positive has come of that “bombshell” news and that every day that the To The Stars Academy fails to follow up their bombastic PR with any substance of any kind has, from my perspective, cast a pall over UFOlogy that it really didn’t need.


These days I’m neglecting the blog for a fairly positive reason, however. I’ve been developing a new media project based on some of the material in my book (and some of the material that I just wasn’t able to fit into my book). Five years of research into the UFO field, combined with five years of investigating UFO sightings for MUFON, has a way of filling up a lot of filing cabinets and a lot of thumb drives, and I find myself awash in amazing, astonishing and entertaining – and sometimes downright creepy -- UFO stories that deserve to be told.


Whenever I spend any amount of time going through my old files and revisiting some of my experiences in this field, I am struck by the sheer weight of the material. Strange things have been seen by so many people -- so many things that have startled and terrified and changed the lives of witnesses, left them struggling to find ways to communicate their experiences and their resulting inner tumult, because we just don’t the right kinds of words in our terrestrial vocabularies -- that I just can’t let these stories sit there, untold. It would be criminal.


But how to tell them? That is the question.


I can’t share any details about this project, at least not yet, and it will likely take many months to unfold. All I can tell you for now is that I’m having a blast developing this, and that if it succeeds it may change the way the public looks at UFOs and the people who claim to have seen them. As usual, I have pretty high hopes.


Speaking of weird, creepy UFO encounters, I’ve recently found that I may have been very wrong about a certain creepy UFO story. Fortunately, it’s not a story that I wrote up in my book, but it did come up more than once when I was doing publicity interviews. A couple people asked me what I thought of J. Allen Hynek’s involvement in “The Bennewitz Affair,” which, I admit, threw me for a loop. I wasn’t very familiar with it the first time it came up, so I didn’t feel I could give an informed answer, but I read up on it, and when the question came up again, I was able to give what I thought was a fairly solid reply.


For those of you not aware, Paul Bennewitz lived near some US military bases in New Mexico the 1980s. He reported seeing strange aerial craft in the skies near the bases, then claimed that he was intercepting electronic messages emanating from spaceships. At one point, the story goes, Dr. J. Allen Hynek (my hero) said that he was enlisted to deliver a bogus alien signal receptor to Bennewitz, as part of a government operation to discredit the man.


While aspects of this tale seem strikingly believable, I didn’t buy the part about Hynek’s involvement, for the following reasons:
  • There didn't seem to be much need to discredit Bennewitz, a man who was already regarded as somewhat balmy 
  • I had never found any indication that Hynek was still working for the government in the early 1980s
  • It seemed very much out of character for Hynek to take part in such a cruel enterprise
Well, a UFO researcher who I admire and respect a great deal recently told me that the Bennewitz affair was a "lingering shadow" in Hynek's career, and that it needs to be "re-examined."


Maybe I'm the one to do the re-examination...


Stay tuned!




Sunday, February 4, 2018

UFO Secrets in Rubbermaid Bins -- Part V

Ok, I've just solved a mystery that's been puzzling me for the past eight days. First, reader Tim pointed out that a recent comment by Dr. Jacques Vallee had been deleted from this blog, then Dr. Vallee informed me that two of his comments were deleted, and then when I went to check just now I found that there were actually three comments from Dr. Vallee that had gone into hiding.
No, I do not make bad comments disappear into the cornfield!

I do not delete comments; never have, never will. The suggestion that I might be making reader comments disappear into the cornfield (there's a little Twilight Zone reference for you) has been of great concern. As I am the administrator of this blog, it makes sense that I would be able to delete reader comments (while also allowing readers to delete their own comments, of course), but I hadn't deleted anything.

So I finally had a chance to look into it this morning, and guess what? The comments weren't deleted. Blogger put three comments by Dr. Vallee dated January 23, 2018 into my spam box. That's eight days ago. Apparently they have been sitting there in my spam box for eight days, which means I would have had ample time to delete them if I had wanted to, but I didn't, because I don't do that kind of thing.

I have no idea what it could have been about these three comments that would flag them as spam. This has never happened before on High Strangeness to the best of my knowledge, but I think we've all learned something here today...

So... I have "unspammed" Dr. Vallee's comments and they are there for all to see, but if you're too lazy to go looking for them, I will paste them here. Enjoy!



In an email to Mark on 22 December 2017 I reminded him that Allen Hynek (who once honestly thought the character was based on Poher, as he told me himself) had not been aware of many developments that occurred during the filming of Close Encounters and of the way characters evolved. As Mark correctly points out, "Lacombe" was initially an American. Steven Spielberg clarified the issue in person during one of our meetings in Hollywood at a lunch with Marcia Seligson, who reported on it in a 1977 article ("Not Alone" in New West, 7 Nov. 1977) that I submitted to Mark, so I am surprised the misunderstanding continues. I can post that article again if that can help clarify the issue further. Not only did Steven Spielberg tell Marcia and me that the character was based on me, but he added that he had read my book Anatomy of a Phenomenon (1965) when he was a young cinematographer and that he had been intrigued by the character of a Frenchman investigating UFOs in the US, as I did. To now on UFO Secrets in Rubbermaid Bins -- Part II


Hi Tom, Thanks for pointing out that my comment was deleted by some technical glitch. I obviously have a primary right to comment on this issue, so I am posting it again: "In an email to Mark on 22 December 2017 I reminded him that Allen Hynek (who once honestly thought the character was based on Poher, as he told me himself) had not been aware of many developments that occurred during the filming of Close Encounters and of the way characters evolved. "As Mark correctly points out, "Lacombe" was initially an American. Steven Spielberg clarified the issue in person during one of our meetings in Hollywood at a lunch with Marcia Seligson, who reported on it in a 1977 article ("Not Alone" in New West, 7 Nov. 1977) that I submitted to Mark, so I am surprised the misunderstanding continues. I can post that article again if that can help clarify the issue further. "Not only did Steven Spielberg tell Marcia and me that the character was based on me, but he added that he had read my on UFO Secrets in Rubbermaid Bins -- Part II



I don't understand why my prior entries were deleted. I am re-posting this comment to Mark O’Connell: ============== "In an email to Mark on 22 December 2017 I reminded him that Allen Hynek (who once honestly thought the character was based on Poher, as he told me himself) had not been aware of many developments that occurred during the filming of Close Encounters and of the way characters evolved. "As Mark correctly points out, "Lacombe" was initially an American. Steven Spielberg clarified the issue in person during one of our meetings in Hollywood at a lunch with Marcia Seligson, who reported on it in a 1977 article ("Not Alone" in New West, 7 Nov. 1977) that I submitted to Mark, so I am surprised the misunderstanding continues. I can post that article again if that can help clarify the issue further. "Not only did Steven Spielberg tell Marcia and me that the character was based on me, but he added that he had read my book Anatomy of a Phenomenon (1965) when he was a young on UFO Secrets in Rubbermaid Bins -- Part II

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Finally, a UFO Koozie That I Can Get Behind!

As always, there are a million things we can talk about in UFO world, and lately I've barely had time or energy to keep up with current UFO affairs here at High Strangeness. That's why it was so reassuring to be reminded yesterday that UFOlogy is in good hands, and that good work continues to be done by dedicated researchers.

I got this important reminder by way of an email from serious UFO research group "To The Stars Academy" with this killer subject line:


😎Keep It Cool With a Free Koozie😎

I know what you're thinking: Too Good To Be True!

I thought the same thing at first. How can they afford to give away Koozie promotional products? But it IS true! Free Koozies for everyone!!

How can you not get excited about a free Koozie promotional product? Koozies are cheap, they keep your beer relatively cool for 2 or 3 minutes, and just look at the groovy UFO-themed designs available:

Can a simple Koozie do what decades of research has failed to do?
And all you have to do is purchase a To The Stars Academy t-shirt, book, lapel pin or guitar strap. And you can feel good knowing that your money is going to strengthen UFO research.

It is, isn't it?