The Life of J. Allen Hynek

Hosted byGeorge Noory

The Life of J. Allen Hynek

About the show

Appearing for the full four hours, investigative journalist Paola Harris was joined by Ann Eller for a discussion on the life of the late Ufologist J. Allen Hynek, who was the scientific advisor to Project Blue Book and the technical advisor for the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind. "I think we would be very naive to think that he didn't know just about everything that happened in this field," Eller opined about the bredth of UFO knowledge possessed by Hynek.

Eller, who was Hynek's assistant during the final year of his life, remembered her tenure working with the legendary Ufologist. She described him as a "very quiet, private, and soft-spoken man," possessing a "twinkle in his eye" and a fondness for "a good joke or a good story." As a researcher, she said he was "a true scientist" who wanted "tangible proof" and was troubled by the "esoteric aspects of this phenomenon" because they were too subjective. Based on her time working with Hynek, Eller said that she sensed he "was close enough, for twenty years, to the inner sanctum that he had a certain amount of fear" for the safety of his family and himself.

Some revelations shared by Eller included that Hynek was a "closet Rosicrucian" who was "very spiritual" and that he also had a remarkable letter, received in 1954, from someone at Ohio State's Astronomy Department. This letter, she said, was documenting the fact that "intelligent signals were being received, by their radio telescope, from the vicinity of Venus." According to Eller, when she showed it to Hynek, he merely put it away and "it was never spoken of again." She also claimed to have seen a list containing the original members of MJ-12 in his office and voiced suspicions of the origins of the cancer which ultimately cost Hynek his life.

Harris, who was a friend and colleague of Hynek from 1980 until his death in 1986, recalled how his passing impacted both Ufology as well as her career as a UFO researcher. She stressed that the loss of Hynek created a void in the field of UFO studies, since he was such a highly respected scientist. She cited the still-used classification system that Hynek created for alien encounters as just one area of the field which he impacted. Originally inspired to research UFOs after seeing Close Encounters, Harris shared her profound reaction to Hynek's death. "I cried my eyes out when he died," she recalled, "I stopped every part of my research after he died. I did not want to do anything."

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