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Nothing But Swamp Gas? – The J. Allen Hynek Story

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posted on Mar, 4 2016 @ 07:31 PM
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The labelling of the Michigan UFO sightings in 1966 as “swamp gas” seem to be the one thing that J. Allen Hynek is always remembered for. Yet it is now, half a century since he uttered those words and 30 years since his passing.

This post is going to look not just at the ‘swamp gas’ story but also at the man himself, his approach to studying UFOs and the accusation by some that he was working for the intelligence services.

Hynek was part of official government investigations into the mysterious “Flying Saucer Phenomenon” not long after the beginning of the modern UFO era. Starting with Project Sign in 1948 until Project Blue Book was wrapped up in 1969. He continued his research until he passed away in 1986.

There are also numerous links provided for further reference within the post.


Background

Josef Allen Hynek was born in 1910. He completed his Ph.D. in astrophysics at Yerkes Observatory; specializing in the study of stellar evolution and identification of spectroscopic binaries, in 1931. He joined the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Ohio State University in 1936 and during World War II helped design the proximity fuse at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory.

After the war ,Hynek returned to academia, where he became a professor at the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Ohio State University and continued to both study and teach.

However he is best known for his work in the UFO field which is the main topic of this thread.

Projects Sign & Grudge

In the early post war years reports of ‘flying saucers’ were increasing rapidly. Of concern to the United States, and its allies, was that military pilots began to report them. Project Sign was conducted under a veil of secrecy by the US Air Force. After initial analysis of early cases it was decided that consultants would be required to offer vital expertise that the Air Force was lacking. Hynek was first contacted in 1948 to request that he act as a scientific consultant for Project Sign.


In his own words he said...



Before I began my association with the air force, I had joined my scientist colleagues in many a hearty guffaw at the psychological post-war craze' for flying saucers that seemed to be sweeping the country and at the naïveté and gullibility of our fellow human beings who were being taken in by such obvious nonsense’.

lt was thus almost in a sense of sport that I accepted the invitation to have a look at the flying saucer reports – they were called flying saucers' then........

Source : Hynek – The UFO Experience (1972)




Project Sign began with admirable intentions but soon became an exercise in futility. Operational processes and intelligence gathering were inconsistent. Information was taken from letters, verbal reports and newspaper clippings. But it was rare for site investigations to take place and scientific principles were infrequently applied. Instead the project became less about analysis and evaluation and more about shuffling paper. With this lack of clarity personnel assigned to the project were left to promote their own theories and follow their own agendas.

Despite this some major cases were investigated under Project Sign.

Incident Number 33 - The Mantell Case
On Jan 7th 1948, Air Force Captain Thomas Mantell crashed his aircraft chasing a UFO described as “a metallic object ... of tremendous size”. In his report of the incident Hynek suggested that the UFO may have been Venus. But later admitted it would have been too faint in the daylight sky. Another theory of his was that Mantell had pursued a Skyhook balloon. But the Sign case file left the cause of the crash as undetermined.

Incident Number 144 - The Chiles-Witted Incident
Captain Clarence S. Chiles and co-pilot John B. Whitted, flying a DC-3 for Eastern Air Lines DC-3 from Houston to Boston reported seeing a 100ft. rocket-shaped UFO. It featured a bluish white light emitted from portholes and a red coloured exhaust emission approaching them on a collision course. Sign concluded that the craft was a secret Soviet or American experiment although many of the staff thought it was interplanetary.

Incident Number 172 - The Gorman Incident or “UFO Dogfight over Fargo”
On October 1st 1948 2nd Lieutenant Gordon went in pursuit of a UFO engaging in combat manoeuvres for nearly half an hour. With the object making rapid angular turns.

Sign concluded that UFO's were interplanetary and led to the now legendary and elusive “Estimate of the Situation” document. Unexplained sightings were quoted as proof. However Hynek’s report in 1949 ended Project Sign as he considered it did little more than “answer letters from kids and little old ladies in tennis shoes”. He claimed that 80% of UFOs could be explained away as natural phenomena. The other 20% he believed could be explained with further study.

Because its codename had been compromised ‘Sign’ was succeeded by Project Grudge, the name change , went almost unnoticed by Hynek . Ed Ruppelt claimed that ‘Grudge’ was a ufological ‘dark age’ .

continues below>>>


edit on 4/3/16 by mirageman because: tidy up




posted on Mar, 4 2016 @ 07:31 PM
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Project Grudge was short lived and issued only one report. It was little more than a re-evaluation of the sightings studied by Project Sign with J. Allen Hynek merely adding detailed comments on the astronomical aspects of these reports. By December 27th 1949, the USAF issued had issued a press release stating that Project Grudge was closed.

The report made the following recommendations:



. ...There is no evidence that objects reported upon are the result of an advanced scientific foreign development; and, therefore they constitute no direct threat to the national security. In view of this, it is recommended that the investigation and study of reports of unidentified flying objects be reduced in scope. Headquarters AMC [Air Mobility Command] will continue to investigate reports in which realistic technical applications are clearly indicated.

NOTE: It is apparent that further study along present lines would only confirm the findings presented herein. It is further recommended that pertinent collection directives be revised to reflect the contemplated change in policy.

B. All evidence and analyses indicate that reports of unidentified flying objects are the result of:
1. Misinterpretation of various conventional objects.
2. A mild form of mass-hysteria and war nerves.
3. Individuals who fabricate such reports to perpetrate a hoax or to seek publicity.
4. Psycho-pathological persons.




The end of Project Grudge moved the problem back to AMC [Air Mobility Command]. ‘Flying Saucer’ reports began declining in volume between 1949 and 1951 just as private organizations began to develop interest in the phenomena. People like Donald Keyhoe fired the imaginations of many individuals and gave more publicity to the ‘Flying Saucer’ topic with books like “The Flying Saucers Are Real”.

This unnerved the military and a new Air Force study would emerge....

Project Blue Book

Running until its closure on 17th December 1969, more reports and sightings of UFOs, were studied under Project Blue Book. Blue Book investigated over 12,000 UFO sightings of which 701 of those sightings have remained ‘unidentified’ to date.

After Project Grudge had been closed Lt. Jerry Cummings became the solitary investigator of ‘flying saucers’. His retirement in 1951 led to the appointment of Captain Edward Ruppelt. Ruppelt took the role seriously. He clarified reporting procedures, set up liaisons with other agencies and sped up the receipt of reports.



In 1952 flying saucer reports once again peaked and clearance was given for all intelligence officers at USAF bases to send their reports by teletype directly to Blue Book. Then came the famous July 1952 UFO flap over Washington DC which included visual and radar sightings. The incidents spooked the whole nation.

Hynek explained how he was recruited to assist with Blue Book in one of his last interviews.




UFOs didn't seem to get too much publicity for a while. Then, in July 1952, civilians on the ground and airline pilots flying into Washington Airport reported lights cavorting over the White House. This sighting created quite a stir, stealing a lot of newspaper space from the Democratic convention. And it put the spotlight back on the Air Force, which, under pressure, started Project Blue Book.

That's when they called their great debunker “me” out of mothballs.

Source : Hynek – Omni Magazine Feb 1985



Unfortunately Ruppelt’s efforts were quickly dampened when in January of 1953 the Robertson Panel decided that ‘UFO reports’ were not a threat themselves. But they could be obscuring the real threat from Soviet spy missions over the United States. So the panel recommended a policy of debunking sightings in order to reduce the massive public interest in the phenomenon. We’ll also come back to the Robertson panel a little later in the thread.

Hynek also said of Project Blue Book




..the national security agencies take immediate steps to strip the Unidentified Flying Objects of the special status that they have been given and the aura of mystery they have unfortunately acquired;



Blue Book deteriorated from that point on. It had become a vehicle for explaining away most sightings with a mundane explanation wherever it could. Not long afterwards Edward Ruppelt left active duty in August of 1953 and penned his book “The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects”.

By 1958 the Air Force were looking to close down Blue Book or transfer its' responsibilities elsewhere.

Hynek said in his book :



The popular impression through the years was that Blue Book was a full-fledged, serious operation. The public perhaps envisioned a spacious, well-staffed office with rows of file cabinets, a computer terminal for querying the UFO data bank, and groups of scientists quietly studying reports, attended by a staff of assistants. The actual situation was unfortunately the opposite.

The operation was generally headed by an officer of lesser rank. In the military the importance attached to a mission is usually in direct proportion to the rank of the commanding officer.........

This was not exactly a first-line, high priority operation. Blue Book had much too small a staff to do justice to a phenomenon that so often greatly concerned the public. Compounding the problem, the staff was able to devote only part of its time to the technical problem at hand. During my regular visits to Blue Book across the years I observed that much of the work in the office was devoted to peripheral matters all done at a leisurely pace.

Further, Blue Book's low-ranking officers had no leverage to initiate the type of investigations that were needed and for which I frequently asked...... Blue Book was a "cover-up" to the extent that the assigned problem was glossed over for one reason or another. In my many years association with Blue Book, I do not recall ever one serious discussion of methodology, of improving the process of data gathering or of techniques of comprehensive interrogation of witnesses.

Source : The UFO Experience - A Scientific Inquiry" - J. Allen Hynek



However Hynek defended his position of not making waves and choosing to remain with the Project claiming he could bide his time and it gave him access to the store of data (no matter how poorly organised it was). At first Hynek had seemed as hard-line a debunker as they come. But a number of cases slowly changed his mind that there was more to UFOs than he’d first thought.


continues below>>>

edit on 4/3/16 by mirageman because: tidy up



posted on Mar, 4 2016 @ 07:32 PM
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The Cases that Changed Hynek’s Mind about UFOs

Hynek,privately, seemed to have been having second thoughts on his dismissive attitude to UFOs as early as the 1950s. An example is the Levelland, Texas case in 1957 where independent reports came through of a 200ft long UFO disrupting power to vehicles as it flew over head.

Officially Blue Book explained the sightings away by speculating that ‘ball lightning’was the cause. Hynek was unable to focus much attention to it as the Soviets had recently launched Sputnik and most of his time was taken up tracking the satellite at the time.

However he later disputed the explanation:




"I am not proud today that I hastily concurred in Captain Gregory's evaluation as 'ball lightning' on the basis of information that an electrical storm had been in progress in the Levelland area at the time. That was shown not to be the case”.

Besides, had I given it any thought whatsoever, I would have soon recognized the absence of any evidence that ball lightning can stop cars and put out headlights."



The next mind changing case was the now famous UFO landing involving Police Officer Lonnie Zamora. The Socorro Incident included trace evidence, sightings of a landed craft and human looking beings in New Mexico on April 24th 1964.

Lonnie Zamora was a solo patrol chasing a speeding motorist in his squad car when he suddenly heard a roar and noticed a flame in the sky to the southwest. He estimated at half a mile or a mile. He broke off the chase of the speeding car and went to investigate.Pulling over Zamora spotted an egg-shaped, “aluminum white” object with legs that extended to the ground, and he noticed two white-cloaked figures nearby.

He first thought it was an "overturned white car ... up on radiator or on trunk", two people , one of whom seemed unsettled by his presence and gave a start, were standing close to the craft. Having stopped for a couple of seconds, Zamora assumed the people may need help and approached the craft which appeared to be sitting on legs.

Zamora only caught sight of the two people for a few seconds. They were dressed in white coveralls . There was little else he remembers about them. "I don't recall noting any particular shape or possibly any hats, or headgear. These persons appeared normal in shape — but possibly they were small adults or large kids."

He then heard a loud roar, and saw a bluish flame shoot out of the underside of the object. Afraid that it was going to explode, he fell to the ground to protect himself.

Next, he saw the object lift off the ground, and head southeast, flying in a straight line for about 10-15 miles. The legs noted earlier had disappeared or retracted into the craft. Having overheard Zamora's earlier radio transmission to dispatch, State Police Sergeant Sam Chavez arrived just after the craft disappeared into the sky. Zamora and Chavez noted the evidence left behind...a half burned bush, four angular impressions in the sandy soil where the "legs" had been, and several small footprints and other impressions. Interestingly as well Zamora noticed an insignia or logo on the side of the craft.

Hynek was totally puzzled by this incident. But there was one case which made him consider UFOs may be truly unexplainable''''

Swamp Gas



On March 20th 1966 glowing objects hovering over a swamp near Ann Arbor, Michigan, were reported by dozens of witnesses . Frank Mannor and his son spotted a strange object in the nearby swamp from their farm house. They told Hynek they’d shot at it and heard the bullet ping off of the craft. Locals gathered to watch what they perceived as a craft with an array of lights in multiple colours having trouble lifting off. The object would rise in the air to about 500 feet then start to descend again whilst making a lot of noise.




A night later, 87 students from Hillsdale College, Michigan, claimed to have observed strange red, white, and blue lights. Media coverage of the Michigan sightings was intense and Hynek got the call from, the then head of Blue Book, Major Quintanilla to investigate on site.



Hynek went to Michigan immediately and was faced with a near hysterical atmosphere. He was hampered by reporters and cameramen as they followed his every move. After interviewing more than 30 witnesses and several University of Michigan professors, Hynek stated at an Air Force press conference that at least two of the Michigan UFOs were likely to have been manifestations of swamp gas. His full explanation fell on deaf ears.

The swamp gas he theorized had come from the decaying vegetation in the swamps of Michigan during early spring. The local citizens were in uproar and saw it as an insult to their intelligence. Hynek was derided by the media and then Congressman, Gerald Ford, ordered a hearing on the subject. Hynek and others suggested setting up a UFO commission at several universities. It was the beginning of the Condon Committee and the beginning of the end for Project Bluebook.

Hynek himself later reflected that the ‘swamp gas’ fiasco was the low point of his career.

continues below>>>


edit on 4/3/16 by mirageman because: tidy up



posted on Mar, 4 2016 @ 07:32 PM
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The Condon Committee



The Air Force saw an opportunity to end Project Bluebook and Professor Edward V. Condon at the University of Colorado was appointed to head up what became a whitewash in Hynek’s opinion.In fact this was not based without foundation. Bob Low, an assistant dean of the university's graduate program, sent a letter to the Trustees of Colorado University.





.....Our study would be conducted almost exclusively by nonbelievers who, although they couldn't possibly prove a negative result, could and probably would add an impressive body of evidence that there is no reality to the observations.
The trick would be, I think, to describe the project so that, to the public, it would appear a totally objective study but, to the scientific community, would present the image of a group of nonbelievers trying their best to be objective but having an almost zero expectation of finding a saucer.
One way to do this would be to stress investigation, not of the physical phenomena, but rather of the people who do the observing - the psychology and sociology of persons and groups who report seeing UFO's. If the emphasis were put here, rather than on examination of the old question of the physical reality of the saucer, I think the scientific community would quickly get the message.

Source : www.nicap.org...


Condon chose 75 reports to analyze from the Blue Book files. Hynek felt the majority were poor choices and easily explainable cases. However he pointed out that the report still classified around 25 cases as unexplainable. These were tucked away in the main body of the report and left out of the summary which dismissed the UFO topic as nonsense.



lt almost seemed to me as if Dr. Condon had not read his own report. It was after all really written by underlings. The report itself presented real mysteries. To illustrate my point after the report came out I received a visit from a French space scientist working with NASA . By the way what got
you interested in UFOs? I asked him

'Well I read the Condon report.’ he said. Noting my surprise, he added. ‘You know if you really read that report from cover to cover. You realize there's a problem. Nonetheless when the Condon Report came out in 1969 it was the kiss of death. The great Condon and his committee had spoken, the boys in his club the National Academy, of Sciences had concurred, and Blue Book was closed..........

Source : Hynek Omni Interview – Feb 1985


Life After Blue Book....

With Blue Book closed down Hynek founded CUFOS ("The Center for UFO Studies"). Although he often struggled to acquire funding. Hynek became a minor celebrity and often appeared on TV to comment on his UFO studies. He achieved an ambition and managed to meet Father Gill who had claimed to have seen UFO occupants waving back at him in Papua New Guinea in the late 1950s.

In 1972 Hynek had his book “The UFO Experience: A Scientific Inquiry “ published.

This introduced us to Hynek's “UFO Encounter” classification system for sightings :


"Nocturnal Lights” – unidentified lights in the night sky
“Daylight Discs" - disc, oval, egg shaped objects see in daytime skies.
"Radar/Visual Reports” - UFO sightings with radar confirmation.

Close Encounters of the 1st Kind - Sightings from less than 500 yards away.
Close Encounters of the 2nd Kind - UFO events where there is physical trace evidence.
Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind – UFO event were a biological or artificial life form is also seen.


In 1973 NBC News asked him investigate a supposed abduction of two fishermen in Pascagoula, Mississippi, by robotic beings that emerged from a glowing UFO.



This was also the year that CUFOS investigated the Coyne Incident. A case where a US military helicopter nearly crashed after a close encounter with a cigar-shaped object.

1975 saw the release of Hynek’s second book, “The Edge of Reality” with Jacques Vallee in which Hynek expressed regret at his early debunking of the UFO phenomenon and his genuine confusion over some cases.

In the latter half of the 1970s Hynek’s Close Encounter classification was given global publicity when Steven Spielberg used the professor as his Technical Adviser for his sci-fi spectacular film “Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind”.



The movie was massively successful, and whilst being science fiction, seemed to provide a finale to a more innocent era of Ufology.

continues below>>>

edit on 4/3/16 by mirageman because: tidy up



posted on Mar, 4 2016 @ 07:33 PM
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The Pentacle Memo

Hynek’s friend, and fellow UFO researcher, Jacques Vallee,revealed in his 1992 book “Forbidden Science” that during June of 1967 he had been given permission to organize Hynek's jumbled UFO-related files.

Vallee discovered a two-page, typed memo dated January 9th 1953, and marked in red ink "SECRET - Security Information”. Vallee referred to it as the "Pentacle Memorandum”

Vallee felt the memo was highly significant. It detailed that, somebody had analysed thousands of UFO cases on behalf of the US government, and they were against the formation of the 1953 Robertson Panel until their own conclusions had been formed. The document referred to Project Stork (something he had previously been unaware of). This Project would pre-determine what the panel would discuss and thus lead them to a pre-determined conclusion as well.

Project Stork had also located areas of high UFO activity and the memo was talking about large-scale, undercover simulation of UFO flaps controlled by the military.

Pentacle was proposing :



“....that a controlled experiment be set up by which reliable physical data can be obtained. .... we recommend that one or two of these areas be set up as experimental areas. This area, or areas, should have observation posts with complete visual skywatch, with radar and photographic coverage, plus all other instruments necessary or helpful in obtaining positive and reliable data on everything in the air over the area. A very complete record of the weather should also be kept during the time of the experiment.....

Coverage should be so complete that any object in the air could be tracked, and information as to its altitude, velocity, size, shape, color, time of day, etc. could be recorded. All balloon releases or known balloon paths, aircraft flights, and flights of rockets in the test area should be known to those in charge of the experiment. Many different types of aerial activity should be secretly and purposefully scheduled within the area...........

Source : www.philipcoppens.com...



Vallee had been assured by Hynek that if a secret study had been conducted then the American public would be outraged. The memo clearly implicated that the Roberston panel had been manipulated. Although he did not reveal that he had seen the memo Vallee challenged Hynek. He found that Hynek was contracted, not to the Air Force Project Blue Book , but to one called “Golden Eagle”. Furthermore Hynek revealed that the predecessor to this Project was called “White Stork”. Hynek also confirmed that 8 of the people appearing in the memo were all involved with Project Stork.

Vallee felt this pointed to a conspiracy that UFOs were actually something being created by the government.

Hynek & the CIA Connection

Richard Dolan in his book “UFOs and the National Security State” and website took this further. Dolan challenged the the common view that Hynek went from debunker to believer and Hynek’s own claim that “..in order to retain access to official UFO reports, he could not afford to risk an open confrontation with the Air Force”.

Dolan believes that Project Blue Book was simply a public front and Hynek knew this all along. Citing Vallee’s suspicions, by pointing out that Hynek’s fees came from the Dodge Corporation not the Air Force. He also infers that Hynek’s close association with Donald Menzel (senior member of the U.S. intelligence community and an alleged MJ-12 member)meant he was in the pocket of the US Intelligence services. Dolan also claims that, despite his monthly visit to Wright Patterson Air Force Base, he almost never saw Blue Book Chief Hector Quintanilla. Instead he would be entertained personally by the base commander, with lunch at the officer's club.

Dolan asserts that many of the early UFO reports were unusual and yet Hynek did nothing and towed the party line until the ‘Swamp Gas’ incident. It seems that was the moment when Hynek’s usefulness had ended and Blue Book came to a disappointing end 3 years later.

It’s nothing more than circumstantial evidence. Hynek had no proof of what genuine UFOs were. So as a scientist he could only eliminate cases where the facts fit conventional explanations, theorize and demand further study. And why, if Hynek was such a stooge, did he carry on his work into the phenomenon long after Blue book had closed?



In 1985 J.Allen Hynek gave a final interview in Omni magazine detailing much of his work. Hynek may have moved to a ‘believer’ stance by then. However his views on the UFO phenomenon were a long way from the people believing they were aliens in spaceships. He had come to a conclusion that our current science could not explain the phenomenon. He considered that it was both physical and psychological but something beyond our understanding....



I realised we don’t have UFOs....

.... only UFO reports.....


Hynek had come into the world in as Halley’s comet passed the earth on its 76 years journey. On April 27th 1986, as the comet returned to our skies Hynek passed away from from a brain tumour at Memorial Hospital in Scottsdale, Arizona after his own 76 year journey.

J.Allen Hynek may not have solved the UFO mystery in his lifetime but he gave us a lot more than Swamp Gas.........

edit on 4/3/16 by mirageman because: tidy up



posted on Mar, 4 2016 @ 07:48 PM
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a reply to: mirageman

Absolutely spectacular presentation.

Sometimes we have to look into the past to understand the present.

I can't wait to dig into all this.

I'm ashamed to admit that I find myself waiting for the next idiotic YouTube UFO video.



posted on Mar, 4 2016 @ 08:12 PM
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a reply to: Spader

All I can say is to you, and everyone else, still left interested in this mystery.

Please do really dig into the past and look at the many "Easter Egg" links in this thread.

No matter where we all stand in our beliefs on this topic I think Hynek was probably right to look beyond the "aliens in spaceship" theory. It should not be dismissed entirely but seems less and less likely as our own science develops.....



posted on Mar, 4 2016 @ 09:10 PM
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Hynek himself later reflected that the ‘swamp gas’ fiasco was the low point of his career.

No kidding.

Kind of ironic that the guy infamous for the 'swamp gas' explanation had a serious, vested interest in researching the phenomenon more thoroughly and scientifically. Who knew he was actually at odds with the debunking attitude of the projects he worked on.

I had a nice glass of wine while pouring over this. Fantastic! What an engaging and informative thread. It saved my evening.


edit on 4-3-2016 by NarcolepticBuddha because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 4 2016 @ 09:31 PM
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a reply to: mirageman



An excellent thread on Dr. Hynek. I was extremely fortunate to attend a conference in Chicago in 1973 put on by something called The Institute for the Understanding of Man in which Dr. Hynek lectured on his views about UFOs. He was followed on the program by none other than Dr. Carl Sagan. Hynek argued the relevancy of physical cases for UFOs and Sagan argued with formal Science rules why UFOs were more or less fool's work.


Hynek was a man of science that was convinced by common experiences and common data that UFO were actually something. Sagan on the other hand, once a fanatical UFO believer as he worked for his Ph.D,, was turned to reciting the basic rules of science for not accepted what seemed self evident to the layperson. As Hynek was "turned" with the "swamp gas" case so Sagan was "turned" when he was asked by Condon to join his whitewash committee.



Mirageman, how about doing a thread on Sagan and how he seemed to be a tool of the establishment all of the way across the UFO spectrum, promoting a modern cosmology (and himself) while constantly downplaying the reality of the reported phenomena with strict, even obscene, scientific rules that simply did not apply to the real world situation. His spiel was the standard of the government from the days of "The Estimate of the Situation," deny and ignore, but Science (big "S") rules.

Did Sagan play his role straight to his personality and love of the limelight or did he willfully put aside earlier and true feelings about UFOs aside and honestly sacrificed his life to be a double agent, working obliquely to bring the world up to speed toward a more modern view of what eventually had to be accepted?

I recommend anybody that has a real interest in Sagan to read William Poundstone's biography of Sagan. Was he a creature of old science ignoring in-your-face reality, or a undercover hero that sacrificed himself for a cause that few can imagine. Someday, if done appropriately, there will be an important movie for the masses made about his life. It is time. I can feel it perking. After absorbing Poundstone's work on Sagan, I recommend all of Sagan's books including his novel Cosmos.



posted on Mar, 5 2016 @ 12:23 AM
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Thank you for an outstanding UFO thread, MM. I knew some of this but not all of what you've presented. I am a bit confused here, "Vallee felt this pointed to a conspiracy that UFOs were actually something being created by the government."

Is the conclusion drawn that Hynek was purposely misleading the public knowing these were military craft or hysteria created by the military - but his mind was changed to believe in alien UFOs after the Michigan swamp gas incident? I guess I'm confused on if Hynek ever believed in non-military UFOs or if he was always a non - believer.



posted on Mar, 5 2016 @ 02:27 AM
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Great work mirageman, although noticing your tag, I cant help but feel like it's all just an ellaborate scheme of disinfo to disinfo all the info that's already been disinfo'd.



posted on Mar, 5 2016 @ 05:01 AM
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a reply to: Jason88



I am a bit confused here, "Vallee felt this pointed to a conspiracy that UFOs were actually something being created by the government."

Is the conclusion drawn that Hynek was purposely misleading the public knowing these were military craft or hysteria created by the military - but his mind was changed to believe in alien UFOs after the Michigan swamp gas incident?


Not quite. Jacques Vallee found the 'Pentacle memo' at Hynek's home. Vallee suspected that a secret military group was controlling the UFO topic and creating these UFO flaps. Perhaps also suspecting Hynek knew of this and was playing along.

I suggest you read the article "A Missing Pentacle" for a clearer picture. This also has the text of the memo at the bottom of the page.The Pentacle Memo would be a whole thread on its own!

In my opinion, Vallee misinterpreted a lot of it and the memo is not of the significance he placed on it.



posted on Mar, 5 2016 @ 05:10 AM
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originally posted by: rexsblues
Great work mirageman, although noticing your tag, I cant help but feel like it's all just an ellaborate scheme of disinfo to disinfo all the info that's already been disinfo'd.


You couldn't handle the truth.



Think Chilean action comedy and you'd be closer to it though!



posted on Mar, 5 2016 @ 08:49 AM
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Great thread on a key figure in UFO history. It's interesting that Hynek was taken in by several hoaxes, which may indicate that he wanted to believe, or maybe he wasn't a very good judge of character.
Another thing about Hynek that's mostly forgotten is that he did not support the extraterrestrial hypothesis. He believed that witnesses were reporting genuine things, but thought that alien space ships were not the answer.



posted on Mar, 5 2016 @ 10:07 AM
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originally posted by: mirageman
a reply to: Jason88



I am a bit confused here, "Vallee felt this pointed to a conspiracy that UFOs were actually something being created by the government."

Is the conclusion drawn that Hynek was purposely misleading the public knowing these were military craft or hysteria created by the military - but his mind was changed to believe in alien UFOs after the Michigan swamp gas incident?


Not quite. Jacques Vallee found the 'Pentacle memo' at Hynek's home. Vallee suspected that a secret military group was controlling the UFO topic and creating these UFO flaps. Perhaps also suspecting Hynek knew of this and was playing along.

I suggest you read the article "A Missing Pentacle" for a clearer picture. This also has the text of the memo at the bottom of the page.The Pentacle Memo would be a whole thread on its own!

In my opinion, Vallee misinterpreted a lot of it and the memo is not of the significance he placed on it.

Thanks for the clarity! I'll check out the Pentacle article for more details. Cheers.



posted on Mar, 5 2016 @ 12:22 PM
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originally posted by: CardDown
Great thread on a key figure in UFO history. It's interesting that Hynek was taken in by several hoaxes, which may indicate that he wanted to believe, or maybe he wasn't a very good judge of character.
Another thing about Hynek that's mostly forgotten is that he did not support the extraterrestrial hypothesis. He believed that witnesses were reporting genuine things, but thought that alien space ships were not the answer.


I've often wondered how self-aware he was? There's something so reflective about the UFO phenomena that makes it hard to see past ourselves. I wonder if he questioned his own ideas and scrutinised them as closely as he was able to?

Towards the last years, he'd gone to the idea of metaterrestrials as an explanation and even that concept seemed to be at least shaped by his interests in folklore and secret societies. These entities would have been very much of Earth and not travellers from other material worlds. I think he conceived of them as being like spiritual energies with intelligence. Perhaps he was unwittingly interpreting the evidence through the lens of his spiritual beliefs and thereby doing what everyone else does?

This is the reflective side of the phenomena where we can all find a theme or case that supports our beliefs. In Hynek's case, he found what he wanted as a debunker and then what he wanted as a 'believer.' Hardened skeptics find the failings of people, materialists find 'secret technology,' conspiracists uncover sprawling psyops by Intel agencies and so it goes on. Spirits, demons, aliens or people - we can't help seeing what our brains are pre-wired to see.

@ Mirageman - thanks for yet another excellent thread.



posted on Mar, 5 2016 @ 01:21 PM
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a reply to: mirageman



Hynek,privately, seemed to have been having second thoughts on his dismissive attitude to UFOs as early as the 1950s. An example is the Levelland, Texas case in 1957 where independent reports came through of a 200ft long UFO disrupting power to vehicles as it flew over head.


Not sure how much you have looked into the Levelland case, but if you have, what do you consider the most likely explanation?



posted on Mar, 5 2016 @ 01:26 PM
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I knew Hynek casually at Northwestern [I was a grad student 1966-1970], and at later UFO conferences, including the Omni magazine 'UFO Summit' and the event in DC sponsored by Fred Durant at the Air/Space Museum [just after I won the world 'UFO Science Essay' contest sponsored by Cutty Sark London].

As an astronomer, he was an early 'obvious' choice for the USAF in hiring an expert advisor, but that choice was based on a fundamental error in the necessary expertise -- a perceptual psychologist would have had better insights into what was generating the reports, not a scientist whose observations were made using mindless instruments which recorded exactly what they were focused on, unlike human minds. He came to recognize this after years of experience, he was highly intelligent and intellectually disciplined enough.

But this had already led him into subtle biases in assessing eyewitness reports based on the academic training and specializations of the witnesses -- the more like him, the more trustworthy the reports. What I've come to believe in my own lifelong studies is that the more intelligent the witness, the more likely they are to unconsciously edit [and supplement] their perceptions based on past experiences, automatically quickly seeking identifications based on what they expected, taking partial visual cues and filling in gaps from their own knowledge base -- EXACTLY what an evolutionary biologist would recognize as the PROPER function of a visual interpretative system SHOULD have been evolved for, and trained for in each individual's lifetime, that is to maximize success in acquiring uncooperative food items while avoiding becoming a food item for something else.

This is not a FAILURE of the perceptual system, it is the expected result of a process deliberately biased towards 'false positives' because the cost of false negatives can be so high.

His bias toward measuring degree of reliability which correlated to degree of similarity to his own training reached its apex when CUFOS endorsed and republished several reports of USSR UFOs, compiled by Soviet astronomers. Neither he nor his colleague Vallee ever realized these accounts were misperceptions of Soviet military missile and space events, largely because he could not imagine himself being misled by such observations.

He was, as reflected his astronomy training, impressed with statistical methods of extracting insights into a population based on collecting data, some [or all] of which could lack precision, and washing them through mathematical transforms that hopefully suppressed any noises from data error. That worked with stars. But it led him into such questionable analogies as calling the ufo evidence 'like a bundle of sticks -- any one or two might alone be broken, but held together they cannot be broken." Whoa! The integrity of your database requires a lot more stringent care than that.

Still, he introduced a degree of respectability into the subject, and he hired Allan Hendry, a brilliant choice.
edit on 5-3-2016 by JimOberg because: misspelling



posted on Mar, 5 2016 @ 01:29 PM
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a reply to: Kandinsky



Hardened skeptics find the failings of people, materialists find 'secret technology,' conspiracists uncover sprawling psyops by Intel agencies and so it goes on. Spirits, demons, aliens or people - we can't help seeing what our brains are pre-wired to see.


Honestly I hope there is a mundane explanation for all of it, doesn't seem that way to me though. I would think we have all made been mistaken at some point in our lives and subsequently re-adjust our thinking, but I do agree, the pre-wired tendency seems to win much of the time from the posts I see.




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