High Strangeness: UFO Weekend

Sunday, September 23, 2012

UFO Weekend

Do UFOs take the weekend off? Doesn't seem like it, because here it is Sunday morning and I'm drowning in UFO news.

First came the notification yesterday morning that I had won the eBay auction for the December, 1967 issue of Playboy magazine with the article "The UFO Gap" by Dr. J. Allen Hynek. This was huge news because I was the only bidder, I got it for only $4.95 (with free shipping!) and it's the only time in my life that I've ever bought a copy of Playboy. And it's all so respectable... Not only have I been telling everybody -- my wife, my kids, my relatives, you -- that I bought an issue of Playboy, but I'm having it delivered directly and unashamedly to my home mailbox! Just like it was the new issue of Hemmings Motor News!

Speaking of family, yesterday was also the day of the annual O'Connell family reunion, and I had a chance to once again talk with my Uncle Bxx. I asked him if I could conduct a formal interview for my J. Allen Hynek book, since he had taken Astronomy classes with Dr. Hynek at Northwestern University. He agreed to the interview, but he cautioned me that "I might not be able to tell you too much. Dr. Hynek didn't always show up for class."

Kapow! I haven't even interviewed him yet and he's already giving me National Enquirer material on Dr. Hynek. He didn't always show up for class!

It turns out, my uncle wasn't saying that Dr. Hynek was lazy or anything like that. He explained that the astronomy classes were held at a variety of locales, such as the Adler Planetarium in Chicago and the Yerkes Observatory in Lake Geneva, WI, and the teaching duties often fell to the staff of those institutions. So, no scandal after all; I'll have to create some of my own, which I was already planning to do anyway.

Adler Planetarium (above) and Yerkes Observatory (below), two places where my Uncle Bxx suggests that Dr. J. Allen Hynek may have shirked his teaching responsibilities.

Still, now that I've primed the pump, so to speak, I'm pretty sure Uncle Bxx will start recalling all sorts of Hynek stories to tell me. This could be a long interview, which is cool because when my Aunt Cxxxxxxx got wind of the plan she insisted that my wife and I should come and visit her and Uncle Bxx in Dubuque, IA, and stay in their guest room. I didn't know that biography-writing would be so cozy!

As cool as all that is, the best was yet to come.

First, my son Nxxx told me that he had read my earlier post about buying the Playboy magazine and had liked it enough to post a comment on it. This was reassuring, because for a long time Nxxx worried that my writing this blog was an early symptom of dementia, and now he knows better. Of course, this morning I can't find his comment, so maybe he already changed his mind...

Later, Uncle Bxx's daughter, my cousin Pxxxx, thanked me for writing about her dad on my blog after the last family reunion. This really meant a lot to me. Pxxxx said that she and her siblings had heard their Dad's stories so often over the years that they didn't always fully appreciate his experiences, but that my post was a nice reminder of a part of his life that brought him great pride and satisfaction. That alone gives me reason to soldier on.

Finally, at the end of the day I was passing out my Alien Investigations business cards to some of my relatives, and when I gave one to my cousin Bxxxxxxxxx she gasped and said, "No way... I'm a ghost hunter!"

A partnership is already in the works. This could be big.

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