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Are We Alone?
J. Allen Hynek & UFOs

Michael Aisner presents a vintage slice of history, science, and skepticism about UFOs in this interview he recorded in 1966 with UFOlogist Dr. J. Allen Hynek, his photo analyst cohort Fred Beckman, and then repackaged in the early 1970s with contributions from Sherman J. Larson, of the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomenon. Listen to Part 1 and 2 of the radio show below. Image above: J. Allen Hynek in Unidentified: Inside America’s UFO Investigation (2019) [Source]


It was 1966 and I was working at my high school 10 watt FM radio station. Radio was a childhood passion and finally I had my own show, and even was the board operator recording shows like the monthly 15-minute update, Your Congressman Speaks, with our local congressional rep … yes, the Donald Rumsfeld. I also was enraptured by astronomy and space and created an hour-long radio special called Are We Alone?, a look at the question of extra-terrestrial life and UFOs.

In March of that year Dr. J. Allen Hynek, Chair of Astronomy at Northwestern came to national prominence as a lead investigator of mysterious sightings in Michigan when he introduced the notion that swamp gas could be the culprit for the illusion. Hynek had a storied career as the globally respected UFOlogist, consulting the famed Project Blue Book, the US Air Force and NASA, and founded CUFOS, The Center for UFO Studies. While he was very much sought after then, Hynek granted this 17 year-old an hour plus with himself and colleague Fred Beckman, a renowned University of Chicago photo analyst to dig into this subject.

In the early 70s, I worked for a Denver radio station and created an updated version of this show with new content, interviews and highlights of the original Hynek/Beckman interview from ’66, including a discussion with Sherman J. Larson, the President of the Chicago affiliate of NICAP — the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomenon.

Now after 50+ years, this historic content has been restored from badly deteriorating reel to reel tapes.

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