High Strangeness: UFO Fever

Friday, May 26, 2017

UFO Fever

Has the world suddenly gotten UFO fever? Or even J. Allen Hynek fever??

That seems to be the case, as the History Channel has just announced a new dramatic TV series based on the U. S. Air Force's controversial Project Blue Book UFO study that lasted from 1952 to 1969. The new show, tentatively titled Blue Book, "chronicles the real top secret United States Air Force-sponsored investigations into UFO-related phenomena in the 1950s and ’60s," according to the report in yesterday's Variety.

Unfortunately, the article then says, "It will focus on college professor Dr. J. Allen Hynek, who is recruited by the military to spearhead the project."

Uh... Hynek spearheaded Project Blue Book? Seriously? That's about as wrong as you can get. I know this is just PR copy designed to make the TV show sound dramatic and exciting, and most people reading the article wouldn't know the difference, but Hynek was hired as a consultant and nothing more. For his entire 17-year tenure with Project Blue Book (and for a time with one of Blue Book's predecessors, Project Sign), Hynek was under the command of a series of Air Force officers. He didn't "spearhead" anything.

1978's "Project U.F.O." was also based on Project Blue Book, and it was pretty bad, mostly because the UFOs always turned out to be airplanes and comets and other stupid, boring stuff. On the other hand, it did star M*A*S*H's Colonel Flagg, so it had that going for it.
Meanwhile, I've been getting some nice comments today from friends saying the producers of this new show should hire me as a writer and/or consultant. That's really flattering, and it would be great if it happened, if only so I can inform the producers that Hynek didn't spearhead Project Blue Book.

On another matter, someone pointed out to me today how cool it is that the Library Journal recommended The Close Encounters Man to school science programs! Is this possibly the first time that a "pro-UFO" book has been recommended by librarians to school science programs? If so, that would be quite feather in the ol' cap.

And on yet another matter, there's been some weird stuff going on with MUFON lately. Weirder than usual, I mean. As far as I can tell, it started a few weeks ago when one of MUFON's more visible officers, John Ventre, wrote a racist rant on Facebook. Many who read it commented on it, and some demanded that MUFON Executive Director Jan Harzan reprimand Mr. Ventre and remove him from his leadership position at the organization. Mr. Harzan issued a statement that defended Ventre's right to voice his opinions, pointed out that those statements were not related at all to Ventre's MUFON work, and then criticized the "haters" for hating on Ventre and MUFON.

I had already been distancing myself from MUFON after my experience last winter with my new State Director who kept changing all my case reports to show that an orb had been sighted, regardless of the evidence. It was getting harder and harder to pretend that there was anything remotely scientific about MUFON's work, but then when I heard about Ventre's comments I decided I had had enough. I had been in conversation with Jan Harzan about selling my book on MUFON's online store, but the other day I sent this letter to Mr. Harzan:

Hi Jan,
I regret to say that I will not be doing business with MUFON in light of the recent racist comments of John Ventre, and your subsequent defense of Mr. Ventre. I am part of one of those interracial couples who Mr. Ventre claims are "attacking" him, so I take his remarks rather personally.

I don't believe MUFON is at heart a racist organization, and I recognize that Mr. Ventre has made many contributions to UFOlogy, but because he is such a prominent "public face" of your organization his repulsive public comments about "F'ing blacks" plotting "white genocide" should not be tolerated by anyone associated with an organization such as MUFON that claims to embrace the wonder of diverse life forms. For this reason I will not be selling my book through your online store, or at your events.

Mark O'Connell


Unknown said...

Being that this proposed upcoming TV program is from the History Channel, we should expect much like the NatGeo Channel that there will be a spin on the real history of Project Blue Book. The TV program should focus on J. Allen Hynek's frustration with being coerced, lied to, mislead, misinformed and denied access to the really amazing UFO accounts by the USAF, as well as being the fall-guy for the infamous Swamp Gas Theory of those Michigan UFO sightings!
This another classic example of TV networks re-writing history ((much like the extremely biased supposed investigation by a former FBI agent into the Kennedy assassination by Lee Harvey Oswald, where Oswald is still considered the lone gunman but he supposedly had help from the KGB, Cuba, etc. while ignoring the iron-clad evidence (there are photos of these other men) of multiple gunmen)) to convince the public of their particular brand of historic truth. Wake up people and do your own investigations, don't rely on other people's perception of truth!

Mark UFO'Connell said...

I don't know much about the JFK assassination, but I agree with you for the most part about Blue Book. The series has the possibility of being good if they concentrate on Hynek's slow-motion conversion from eager Air Force debunker to intrigued and open-minded UFO sleuth!

Curious Fellow said...

Kevin Randle has a new (June 3rd) post up that covers the Ventre affair at his blog, A Different Perspective.

See: http://kevinrandle.blogspot.com/2017/06/john-ventre-mufon-and-racism.html

It's rather damning of both Ventre and the hypocritical Harzan.

The MUFON circus of delights continues its wayward journey into irrelevancy and eventual disintegration.

It's good you're no longer associated with MUFON, IMHO.

Mark UFO'Connell said...

That was a good post by Kevin. Thanks for pointing it out to me.