The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine

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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Thomas Magee
February 22, 2020 2:11 am

I have seen things which would have fooled many people
who would have believed that they were looking at
Freakin’ spaceships but were not.The military has stuff that they use all the time which can easily cause naive
inexperienced people to really believe they just saw something from another world when it was just a military
device in common usage everyday.On the other hand,
however,I saw some things in broad daylight which were
not the things which I have just mentioned.Those crafts
may have been driven by pilots wearing USAF jumpsuits,
though.Or perhaps there were little critters with big heads from the Pleiades or Epsilon Bautes,on their way to cattle country to terrorize and torture some more poor cows to death,as has been going on for nigh unto
sixty years or more,by this time.Feedback?

Brian Battles
February 11, 2020 8:05 am

How can permission be obtained to air this on a noncommercial college radio station?

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