High Strangeness: A UFO Bestiary

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

A UFO Bestiary

Now that I've sent the manuscript of my J. Allen Hynek bio off to my editor, it's time to get back to blogging at my favorite blog! For my comeback, I thought it might be fun to sit down and tally up all the UFO cases that I wrote up in the book, because now that I'm done with the book I suspect it may be a pretty substantial number.

Not every case gets a huge write-up, of course: some get entire chapters while others may only rate a small paragraph or even just a sentence. And none of them are safe from my editor's red pencil, so who knows how many may survive?

Many cases cited in my book come from the files of the Air Force's Project Sign and Project Blue Book (Hynek never worked for Project Grudge, the one that came between Sign and Blue Book). Most, but not all, were investigated by Dr. Hynek, either for the Air Force or as an independent investigator.

The first two cases that appear in the book are not surprising. First up are the Great Airship Mystery of 1897 (this involves multiple sightings but for convenience I will group them together as one), and the June 24, 1947 Kenneth Arnold sighting in Washington state, the one that kicked off the so-called "modern era" of UFOs.

Next up are a series of sightings reported in the summer of 1947: a June 28 sighting of a bright light zig-zagging across the sky, a July 3 report of wingless objects in the sky, a July 6 sighting of an object in the sky going 500 to 700 miles an hour, a multiple sighting of bright spheres and discs on July 7 and 8, and a group of objects in a triangular arrangement moving across the sky at a terrific speed on August 19 (the witnesses in those last two were army observers and police officers, not "nuts").

That gets us up to seven in short order.

Number eight is the January 7, 1948 Mantell case, in which an Air National Guard pilot crashed his plane and died while pursuing a gigantic glowing object in the sky. Number nine took place in July, 1947, involving a disc-shaped object moving at a very high velocity. Number 10 was a sighting of a yellow-orange oval over an Army Air Base in March, 1948. Number 11 took place in November, 1948, and involved a weather observer in Central America who watched spherical object in the sky for 40 minutes. An August, 1947 sighting in which a father and his two sons in Idaho saw a metallic disc fly past their house brings us to an even dozen.

In the first half of the book alone, there are 41 UFO events. And some of those, like the "Washington Merry-Go-Round" of 1952 and the case of the "Levelland lights" of 1957, and the previously-mentioned Great Airship Mystery, involve multiple sightings, so, technically, I could say there are more like 60 or 70 sightings. 

No wonder I'm so exhausted...


Dave said...

Mark, I'm sure you don't want to hear this but I am tired of hearing about Dr. Hynek. You haven't posted much and to be honest you haven't received many replies back as of late. I'm quite sure you want to promote your book. Perhaps being interviewed on another UFO program might be a good idea. I always felt Hynek was two faced in his approach to the UFO field. First a debunker for the government, then an open minded believer, so it seemed. I am probably in the minority but I have Hynek fatigue.

Mark UFO'Connell said...

Ah well, you can't please everyone.

Unknown said...

Hi Mark

I listened to your interview at podcast ufo. I realize that it must involve some stress to do an interview like that. I wanted to mention that you made an error in the Pascagoula case. It's actually Pascagoula, Mississippi, not Missouri. My father lived there at the time of the incident and I visited the spot where the event occurred. He worked at the same shipyard but didn't know either man involved.

It's not the kind of place you would take the family for a river side picnic. Pretty much an abandoned industrial site. It's no wonder that this had no other witnesses, it's not even that popular for fishing and you really have to be familiar with the area to even get there.

I wish you the best for your book on a very interesting man.

Mark UFO'Connell said...

Thanks for the input, Neal!