“The Close Encounters Man”–Mark O’Connell on J. Allen Hynek – Journal of a UFO Investigator

The always-thoughtful David Halperin pens an elegant review of the first biography of pivotal figure in UFO history Dr. J. Allen Hynek, hired by the U.S. Air Force to explain away UFO reports. Hynek was converted into a believer by the significance of such reports, and, eventually and more dramatically, in some sort of physical reality and perhaps even intelligence behind them. He left a legacy of outstanding books and papers, a Center for UFO Studies and disciples to continue his work, and an imprint on popular culture that biographer Mark O’Connell emphasizes. Hynek also contributed a great deal to astronomy, championed collective and cooperative international scientific efforts, and educated many college students. Halperin is blunt and perhaps a trifle over-zealous though accurate in recounting flaws in this important work, to the detriment of mentioning its numerous strong points. But David Halperin’s special perspective leads him to pose questions that others so far have missed. Does Halperin make too much of the “mystical Hynek” and of the possible influence his parents’ death exerted upon the still-young man? With UFOs and Their Limited Crews of Two Rich Reynolds focuses upon an even smaller element in a new book, Nick Redfern’s 365 Days of UFOs: A Year of Alien Encounters. Whatever the ultimate nature–or natures–of UFOs, is there an “ideal” number of reported UFO occupants–dictated by average “nuts-and-bolts” craft size or the capacity of the human mind to conjure or note? Has any study tried to total and compare actual numbers of entities reported per CEIII? Rich’s follows up that story today with An Odd Two-Man UFO Crew? (WM)

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