High Strangeness: Catching Up With the UFOs

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Catching Up With the UFOs


I've been pretty quiet here at High Strangeness for many moons, and there have been a couple of reasons for that.

First, the business stuff: In August a UFO TV show I've been pitching since my biography of Dr. J. Allen Hynek, The Close Encounters Man, came out was picked up and put into production by the Travel Channel (Now known simply as TRVL). As you might imagine, that set off a whirlwind of events and activities that have altered my life and my schedule and occupied my thoughts to an astounding degree (just ask my wife!). Once that all started, knowing that I would need to keep the show under wraps for the time being, I made the conscious decision to lay off the blogging, as I knew I would have a very hard time not using the blog to blab about the show and thus getting myself into trouble with TRVL.

Then, the personal stuff: First, my mom passed away in September, which was a blow, but I've been deeply inspired by the beautiful way my dad has dealt with his loss, and that has helped with my entire family's recovery. Second, I've been sick since last summer and in early November was diagnosed with follicular lymphoma, a slow-moving, non-aggressive cancer, and I began a 5-month schedule of chemotherapy treatments. So, I haven't much been in the mood to blog all this fall and winter, as I've had other things on my mind... like mourning, and surviving. Sadly, my illness also meant that I had to cut back my involvement with the production of the new TV show. Happily, I just had my 4th of 6 chemo treatments and they seem to be working. All signs point to remission and as I continue to feel better I'll be more active in the production of the show. And let me tell you, I've never had so much fun with a project as I have with this.

My aim in writing The Close Encounters Man was to bring surprising new voices and new stories to the UFO world. What's the point in interviewing the same old people who say the same old things? I've maintained that approach with the show, and I think viewers will be pleased and surprised by some of the people they'll be seeing and hearing.

So what makes me want to resume blogging? Well, I just had chemo yesterday, so that means I'm not good for much around the house for the next few days, and frankly, I'm bored!

Dr. J. Allen Hynek, not seeking recognition

Also, the return of the History Channel (maybe now HSTRY?) fantasy series Project Blue Book has meant that I'm getting contacts from UFO podcasters to come on their shows to talk about the show and about my book. Anyone who follows this blog knows that I don't hold a very high opinion of the show, as it's about 98% made up and about 2% truth. If you didn't know this, you can listen to the interview I did just last week for Jeremy Scott's Into the Parabnormal podcast in which we spend part of the interview talking about my issues with PBB the TV show.

When the show premiered a year ago, my negative reaction kicked in halfway through the 2nd episode, when Hynek's wife asks her husband why he wants to sign onto this cockamamie UFO study for the Air Force, and he responds, "I want the recognition!" That moment made me howl.... Folks, I researched Hynek's life and work for 5+ years and I can tell you with utter confidence that Allen Hynek did not get into investigating UFO cases for the recognition. Frankly, Hynek was a much stronger, much more confident person than that. He was not the kind of weak character who needed or sought out "recognition." Furthermore, if he was seeking recognition, attaching his name to a fringy, disreputable phenomenon like flying saucers and little green men from Mars would have been a colossally stupid way to achieve it; the chances of becoming a laughingstock to the public and the scientific community were far too high for a little-known college professor to risk.

I was surprised and disappointed that the producers of the show chose to characterize Hynek this way, and I thought, "If they're getting the basic essence of the man so completely wrong, how can I trust them to get anything right?"

On the other hand... I have seen evidence that at least some people watching the PBB TV show are getting curious about this Hynek guy and are finding their way to my book. So, there's that.

But I don't want my return to blogging to be all about my take on Project Blue Book. Mostly, I just want y'all to know that I'm back, I'm still in it, and I'm going to start blogging more because I have a whole lot more to say about UFOs!

Just to help kickstart me, feel free to send questions or topic suggestions. You tell me what to write about....

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