The Hynek UFO Report begins where he began. He worked as a consultant for the Air Force on Project Sign, Grudge and the famous Project Blue Book studying the phenomenon of UFOs. Like his peers, his job was as a debunker and to propose natural reasons for any UFO sightings. As time went on, he began to realize that these sightings were more than just meteors, balloons or hallucinations. His account of Project Blue Book is steeped in criticism. According to Hynek, the commanding officers were typically low ranking junior officers who couldn’t requisition a car half the time to investigate a sighting. The filing and record keeping system was in such total disarray that a huge collection of the program’s files were missing. The most telling and sure sign for Hynek was the unwritten rule amongst Air Force Intelligence concerning a UFO sighting; as Hynek put it, “it can’t be, therefore it isn’t.” In simple terms, the three projects designed to investigate the phenomenon were lacking funding, integrity and proper scientific method and inquiry.
The book outlines his time at Blue Book and he consistently presents a dry comedic criticism of the project as a whole. He discusses his personal rating system of the UFO phenomenon, the most famous of which are the Close Encounters. He provides many specific and often dramatic cases that fall into the various ratings and provides good examples of each kind. His primary message, the theme of his book, is that the UFO phenomenon needs proper scientific study due to the significant amount of evidence collected and that Project Sign, Grudge and Blue Book were not, in any way, adequate.
He covers a lot of ground in this book, but I would like to discuss three overall concepts that exist in the text and I believe to be important to ufology today. First, I’d like to discuss the reports themselves made by UFO observers that are present in his book. Secondly, I will dig into the professions and education of the observers, many of which were experts in science, astronomy and aviation. This is a key aspect in modern ufology investigations and has significant implications for the field. Finally, Hynek’s personal belief (which he touches on very briefly) that many sightings did not cross his desk because they were made by citizens or military personnel with security clearances higher than his, resulting in potential government cover-up.
These three points will hopefully answer the question as to why new ufologists entering the field should read Hynek’s work as well as provide some potential insight as to the current cultural paradigm that exists in modern ufology.
Stay tuned for Part 2 coming out tomorrow morning!