J. Allen Hynek
American astronomer, professor, and ufologist
Although J. Allen Hynek passed away in 1986 we are privileged to bring several of his important books back into print through our MUFON (Mutual UFO Network) Imprint and co-venture with Red Wheel Weiser. J. Allen Hynek was a scientific advisor to UFO studies undertaken by the US Air Force. He worked with Project Sign from 1947-1949 right after the Roswell incident, Project Grudge from 1949 to 1951 and the famed Project Blue Book from 1952 to 1969. Later he created his own independent UFO research and developed a classification system for reported encounters.
Hynek was originally a debunker for the airforce and didn’t see anything to support non-natural anomalies. However later he said: “As a scientist, I must be mindful of the lessons of the past; all too often it has happened that matters of great value to science were overlooked because the new phenomenon did not fit the accepted scientific outlook of the time.”
In 1977, at the First UFO Congress in Chicago, Hynek presented his thoughts in his speech “What I Really Believe About UFOs”. “I do believe”, he said, “that the UFO phenomenon as a whole is real, but I do not mean necessarily that it’s just one thing. We must ask whether the diversity of observed UFOs … all spring from the same basic source, as do weather phenomena, which all originate in the atmosphere”, or whether they differ “as a rain shower differs from a meteor, which in turn differs from a cosmic-ray shower.” We must not ask, Hynek said, simply which hypothesis can explain the most facts, but rather which hypothesis can explain the most puzzling facts
As mentioned in Wikipedia when interviewed in 1985 and asked what caused his change of opinion, Hynek responded, “Two things, really. One was the completely negative and unyielding attitude of the Air Force. They wouldn’t give UFOs the chance of existing, even if they were flying up and down the street in broad daylight. Everything had to have an explanation. I began to resent that, even though I basically felt the same way because I still thought they weren’t going about it in the right way. You can’t assume that everything is black no matter what. Secondly, the caliber of the witnesses began to trouble me. Quite a few instances were reported by military pilots, for example, and I knew them to be fairly well-trained, so this is when I first began to think that, well, maybe there was something to all this.”