The UFO Experience:
A Scientific Inquiry
By J. Allen Hynek
Henry Regnery Company, Chicago, 1972
|This book was
purchased for only fifty cents at a library book sale for discarded
books. Though it is 25 years old, The UFO Experience still has
value as an educational tool. The author, Dr. Hynek was professor of
Astronomy at Ohio State and later at Northwestern University. He
was an Air Force consultant on the subject of UFOs. Hynek became
disillusioned with the government's debunking of UFOs and became an
independent researcher on the subject.
Some Ohio UFO sightings are mentioned in the book. One of the most famous was in April 1966 involving a Deputy Sheriff in Portage County who chased a UFO he sighted for over 70 miles. At times the police cruiser went over 100 miles an hour. Other people also saw the UFO.
As the book points out many professionals have seen UFOs. Pilots both civilian and military have seen UFOs. It took courage to report the sightings because of the ridicule factor.
Mainstream science has not studied UFOs. Instead it has chosen to ignore or ridicule the subject. Hynek points out it is bad science to ignore such a potentially important subject. He quotes the scientist Erwin Schrodinger who wrote "the first requirement of a scientist is that he be curious. He should be capable of being astonished and eager to find out". Hynek tells of a 1968 summer reception of several hundred astronomers in British Columbia, Canada. Someone said there was a UFO outside the hall. Not one astronomer was curious enough to go outside and look for himself to see if a UFO was there. So much for scientific curiosity.
Hynek points out that throughout history scientists have been reluctant to accept any new theory. On page 8 he writes, "thus for instance, most physical scientists were initially reluctant to admit now accepted theories of meteorites, fossils, the circulation of the blood, bacteria, and in our times, ball lightning, into the area of respectable science". Another example is meteorites as recently as 200 years ago, mainstream science refused to study meteorites because they contended it was impossible for stones to fall from the sky. Only backward peasants saw meteorites concluded the scientists, therefore they don't exit. Even someone as brilliant as President Thomas Jefferson who was an amateur scientist didn't believe in the existence of meteorites. Yet he believed in things which we now know didn't exist in America. When Jefferson sent out the Lewis and Clark expedition he expected them to find wooly mammoths still alive and a lost White Tribe from medieval Wales living amongst the native Americans. So then scientists can be wrong about a subject.
Hynek dispels many misconceptions that the press and scientists have about UFOs. For example, one misconception is that only 'UFO buffs" 5-^UFOs. In reality most people who see UFOs had no prior interest or belief in the subject. Another misconception is that kooks see UFOs. Actually a study by Psychiatrist Berthold Schwartz of mental patients showed the almost complete absence of UFO related events among the patients. So the truth is that educated, sane people who had no prior interest in UFOs tend to be the ones who see UFOs.
The UFO Experience is a good scientific examination of UFOs though in some areas it is somewhat dated.