reply to post by chunder
From John Fuller's Book --The Interrupted Journey
Perhaps this will help:
Chapter 3 (page 33) of Fuller’s book the starts off on October 19, 1961, a month after the abduction of Betty and Barney Hill. Walter Webb
(Astronomer) and lecturer on the staff of the Hayden Planetarium in Boston opened his mail to read a letter from Richard Hall, who was then the
secretary and now Assistant Director of the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomenon in Washington. As a Scientific Advisor to NICAP,
Walter Webb occasionally investigated the more serious and puzzling UFO reports in the New England area, drafting detailed document for Washington
when the merits of the case warranted it. Hall’s letter included a copy of a letter that Betty Hill had written to Major Keyhoe and suggested to
Webb that it might be worthwhile to drive the eighty miles north of Boston to their residence in Portsmouth to investigate the case. Webb, who had
joined the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, shortly after his graduation from college in 1956, had been interested
in Unidentified Flying Objects since 1951, when as a counselor at a boys’ camp in Michigan, he had made a sighting while training campers in the use
of a telescope. So now we have an astronomer who has personally seen a UFO.
Page 34: Webb’s first reaction to Richard Hall’s letter was reluctance. It was plain that this case involved a report of the movement of beings on
the craft, and Webb was skeptical of this type of sighting. He drove up to Portsmouth on October 21, 1961, with his skeptical attitude unchanged. In
his mind were thoughts of the sensational nature of the claim, the possibility that the Hills might be seeking publicity, perpetrating a hoax, or
suffering from a mental aberration.
On the other hand he felt that Betty’s letter was extremely literate, an honest and straightforward account of a frightening experience which had
happened to two people. He would reserve judgment until after his interview, which, he resolved, would be thorough and painstaking with special
attention to finding flaws in the story. As an interviewer with a scientific background, he was certain he could create a slip-up if the Hill’s
story was spurious, and he would not hesitate to crack the story if he could. He arrived at the Hill’s house at about noon.
Page 35: The interview began shortly after noon, and continued with little interruption until eight that evening. I was so amazed, impressed by both
the Hills and their account,” Walter Webb said, “that we skipped lunch and went through the afternoon and early evening. During that time, I
cross-examined them together, separately, together, re-questioned them again and again. I tried to make them slip up somewhere, and I couldn’t; I
simply couldn’t.* Theirs was an iron-clad story. They seemed to me to be sincere, honest couple driving home from vacation, late at night on a
lonely road, when suddenly something unknown and un-definable descended on them. Something entirely foreign or alien to their existence.”
*Note: It’s very clear that Sheaffer couldn’t use this. The verbal language that he’s used was borrowed from Webb’s conversation that was
obviously too positive.
Page 36: He (Webb) concluded his lengthy report: “It is the opinion of this investigator, that after questioning these people for over six hours and
studying their reactions and personalities during that time, that they were telling the truth occurred exactly as reported except for some minor
uncertainties and technicalities that must be tolerated in any such observation where human judgment is involved (that is, exact time and length of
visibility, apparent sizes of object and occupants, distance and height of object, etc.) Although their occupations do not especially qualify the
witnesses as trained scientific observers, I was impressed by their intelligence, apparent honesty, and obvious desire to get at the facts and to
underplay the more sensational aspects of the sighting. Mr. Hill had been a complete UFO skeptic before the sighting.
Walter Webb a credentialed Astronomer and Scientific Advisor to NICAP drove up with a skeptical attitude and returned home that night as a believer.
J. Allen Hynek is another example: Hynek's opinions changed in later years, so much that he became, to many, the scientifically respectable voice of
Ufology. He would lament that the Robertson Panel had "made the subject of UFOs scientifically unrespectable, and for nearly 20 years not enough
attention was paid to the subject to acquire the kind of data needed even to decide the nature of the UFO phenomenon."