High Strangeness: July 2018

Thursday, July 26, 2018

UFO Dissonance

So, the other day I was mentioned in a tweet from a big UFO fan who had been at Comic-Con over the weekend and had seen the teaser for Blue Book, the new History Channel series about Dr. J. Allen Hynek's UFO investigations for the Air Force. In his tweet, this guy mentioned that the star of the series, Aiden Gillen, claimed in a Comic-Con panel discussion to have read my Hynek bio, The Close Encounters Man, to help prepare for the role...

My response was fairly negative, as I know for a fact that the TV show is going to be utter drek, but the guy who posted the tweet vigorously defended the show -- he seemed to basically accept that it was going to be wildly inaccurate, based on what he had seen in the trailer, but said he intended to watch it anyway when it premieres next winter. He then told me that the show's producers were justified in ignoring historical facts because if they were to show Dr. Hynek spending 1948 sitting at a desk reading UFO reports it would be rather dull. I responded that there were actually a lot of exciting and interesting things going on with Hynek's work in 1948, and that a good writer could dramatize anything (never mind that Hynek was working for Project Sign in 1948, and the Blue Book TV series actually starts its story in 1951).

Next thing I know, this guy is arguing with me over the actual number of UFO files Hynek investigated for Project Sign in 1948. He said one number. I corrected him. He insisted he was right. On it went for the rest of the evening, neither one of us backing down. He got his number from Hynek's book The Hynek UFO Report, I got my number from Hynek's archives, so who are you going to believe? Anyway, the point is, this guy was really, really concerned that we got the number of cases exactly right, because accuracy was really, really important to him. Okay, I can get behind that -- a lot of UFO fans are sticklers for accuracy, and they should be. Accuracy is a big deal in the field of UFOlogy. We need more accuracy.

But here's my issue with that: How does a guy who will argue for hours over the precise number of cases Hynek investigated in 1948 turn around and insist that a TV series that, based on its own trailer, gets virtually every aspect of Hynek's life and work wrong, will be worth watching? Why is a trivial fact treated like a life-or-death matter, but a big lie simply shrugged off?

Does this make sense to anyone?

Monday, July 23, 2018

Blue Book Revealed!

So, I hear that the History Channel put on a big presentation the other day at ComicCon about the upcoming Blue Book TV series, including a big panel discussion with the lead actors, writers and producers. Apparently Aiden Gillen, the actor portraying Dr. J. Allen Hynek in the show, read my Hynek bio The Close Encounters Man, to "prepare" for the role.

While I guess it's great that a semi-famous actor claims to have read my book, and I got a free plug in front of the Comic-Con crowd, I'm still PO'd that one of the producers of the show tied to poach research material from me last summer.

And now the show itself looks to be absolute drek. What a shame.


Tuesday, July 17, 2018

UFO Pride!

As I've mentioned here before, the true measure of any portrayal of Dr. J. Allen Hynek's groundbreaking UFO research comes down to one question: "Would Dr. Hynek be proud of this?"

Well, that question is being put to the test by the story posted at SYFY.com this week previewing the History Channel's upcoming TV series Blue Book, about Dr. Hynek's work with the Air Force's UFO research project. The article includes an amazing image that I just have to comment on...

Take a good look at the photo below. Did this ever happen to Dr. J. Allen Hynek in real life?


The answer is no. Dr. Hynek never found himself in a dark government lab, staring at an alien "grey" floating in a tank. Not even once. But, this is how the producers of Blue Book have decided to "jazz up" the true story of Dr. Hynek's UFO work with the Air Force.

"We were pretty good about sticking with history," declares the show's creator in the SYFY.com article.

Oh, okay, that's reassuring. Because when I saw this picture of Hynek meeting an alien, I thought maybe they had been pretty bad about sticking with history. Nice to know I was wrong!

I bet Dr. Hynek would be proud as heck.


Tuesday, July 10, 2018

A Ton of UFO Debris!

This is why things never change. This is why UFO research never goes anywhere.

I was at a bookstore over the weekend and spotted a great looking book titled "Aliens," by Ron Miller (Watkins Media Limited, 2017). The book is a huge, beautifully-illustrated history of the human race's fascination with alien beings from other planets, and I immediately wanted to buy it.

But then, as I always do when I find a new UFO book, I flipped to the back and looked at the index to see if Dr. J. Allen Hynek was mentioned in the book. He was. Miller wrote that Dr. Hynek was a proponent of the "Extraterrestrial Hypothesis" (ETH), which is absolutely not true. Hynek considered it a possibility that UFOs had an extraterrestrial origin, but he didn't consider it likely. In fact, ETH was only one of many possible hypotheses that Hynek considered possible, but the important point is that Dr. Hynek did not favor any one of these possibilities over any of the others. Ten minutes of research would have shown Miller that Dr. Hynek was never a proponent of ETH.

I put the book back on the shelf.

Then today I read the news on the Coast to Coast AM newsletter that about 200 attendees at last week's "Roswell Fest" in Roswell, NM were given the chance to visit the alleged Roswell "crash site." This, of course, is the barren stretch of ranch land where a flying saucer was alleged to have crashed in early July, 1947. Up until now, only alleged "UFO researchers" have been given access to the site where rancher Mac Brazel claimed to have discovered some debris that he couldn't identify. He put some of the alleged debris in the back of his truck and took it to the sheriff, and you probably know how things went from there...

The C2C story had a link to a local New Mexico TV news report, and it's here that things really go off the rails. First, the reporter immediately claims that she is at the "UFO crash site," forgetting to add the modifier "alleged," which I have done above. Then she states, "...a man by the name of Mac Brazel says that this is where he saw a UFO crash." 


That's a big LOL right there. Brazel never claimed to have seen a UFO crash. In fact, no one has ever claimed to have seen anything at all crash on that ranch, because no one ever saw anything in the sky above that ranch, because it's a remote stretch of Godforsaken dirt and rocks some 75 miles away from Roswell. Nobody saw anything in the sky above the ranch, ergo, nobody saw anything crash into the ranch.

The rest of the news report, which you can watch here, is just as ridiculous. After claiming that Mac Brazel saw a UFO crash, the reporter says that "they found a ton of unearthly debris." A ton? Really? And who are the "they" who found this "ton" of "unearthly" debris? And by what standard was it ever deemed "unearthly?" A little proof, please!

Throughout, the reporter and the Roswell tourists she interviews simply take it as a given that an alien spacecraft crashed on this random spot on the ranch in 1947. "It really did happen," says some guy from Toronto. "It's almost spiritual."

Yeah, "almost."

"You can see where the craft landed, and where the alien bodies were found," says another guy from Los Angeles who at least didn't travel as far to waste his $250 as the guy from Toronto.

Of course, all of this this begs the question, "Which alleged 'crash site' did these tourists visit?" According to no less an authority as MUFON, the Mutual UFO Network, there are said to be as many as eleven Roswell "crash sites." So, which one did these people see? I think they're entitled to at least a partial refund, if not an explanation. I mean, by my calculations, the promoters of this tour grossed around $50,000 on the event.

So, yea, these are the reasons UFO research never seems to go anywhere. These are the reasons I get discouraged. If you're going to be doing UFO research or UFO journalism, for God's sake get it right. It's not that hard to do.

And, please... decide how many alleged crash sites there really are.