Friday, February 12, 2010

Sacred Object: CSI-NY Tells Hynek About UFOs.

This post arises from a stumbling-upon accident which happens quite frequently if you are privileged to be able to mess about in original UFO files. Turning over a page in a NICAP pile, the next item turned out to be a letter from Alexander [Lex] Mebane to Allen Hynek. This was not your usual letter. Lex was part of the "trinity" of great UFO researchers of CSI-NY [alongside Isabel Davis and Ted Bloecher--Lex is upper left in the photo montage, Isabel is upper right, and Ted is lower right---the other guy is our young and naive Air Force consultant, Allen Hynek]. The letter is from 1956. Hynek, as consultant to the Air Force on a classified project should have no business communicating "on the quiet" with the leading pro-UFO researchers in the country, but here he is. What was this about? -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hynek, a slow learner on this stuff, had a thought dawning on him that was hard to shake: the Air Force was doing a lousy job researching UFOs. Not only that, because of this lousy job, he and Blue Book weren't getting the best cases. Who would want to talk to people who were going to criticize what you saw if not your honesty or sanity itself? But, Hynek was learning, there are people out there who seem to be both intelligent and rational, who are pursuing UFO research with vigor and are collecting good case material from all over--including the 1954 wave from which Hynek was almost completely shut out. So he took a risk. He made contact with CSI-NY and began a careful correspondence. This contact led to a face-to-face meeting in New York, and the exchange [mutually] of a lot of information. This letter, this "Sacred Object", is before the face-to-face and is a lead-up to it---Hynek was denied by the Air Force to give public talks of any kind. In it, Lex tries to teach the slowly opening mind of Hynek how to really think like a scientist--rather amusing in most ways. Our young chemist has obviously not been polluted by over-restrictive "tribal" thought, and he is challenging the [somewhat] older astronomer to get his act very civilized terms. I'll let you read the whole letter, appended below. Holding it in my hand, there is a mysterious "comfort" about it--our history is real, and it is honorable, and it is powerful. Such an object is, indeed, sacred. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------What we learn from this is that Hynek, admittedly the tortoise in the race, was learning. And he was seeing that the Air Force was wrong--at least in terms of its hostility that was being publicly expressed towards the reality of the objects. He knew that much more was "out there" in terms of data, and he was growing nervous about the likelihood that there were living beings attached to the mystery. From this point forward, he was a closet UFOlogist rather than a debunker, although he still couldn't bring himself to confront his military employers. From here on, Hynek sensed the bigness of this mystery, and didn't want to be left out. Lex, and Ted and Isabel were far more "in" than he.


  1. Dear Professor,

    Fantastic stuff as always. Will this be in the upcoming book?

    Mebane essentially asks Hynek a variation of the old 'When did you stop beating your wife?' question in the latter part of the letter (knowing full well that Hynek had to have heard of the occupant reports) in what looks like an attempt to fish for info, and also reads Hynek the riot act concerning the landing reports...all while coming across as a serious scholar of the phenomenon.

    Of course, Mebane was right; the landing reports are either falsified or true with no middle ground.

    When did people like this STOP entering the field? After McDonald?

  2. Because the book is mainly centered on the military side of the mirror [the side we haven't gotten into see enough yet--which the book aims to cure] stuff like Hynek's interactions with CSI-NY are alluded to but not deeply probed. The sort of things that I'm trying to offer everyone here are chimeras--things that owe part of themselves to the book research and part of themselves to other "inside" UFO history. I'm trying to give you stuff that you may not have been able to get before [whether in concrete content or in context and interpretation.] It is not exactly the book but it is in harmony with the book. ---Mebane saw CSI's interaction with Hynek as an opportunity to influence a person in a privileged position regarding UFO study, and, mostly without knowing it, they did. Hynek shortly was involved with the primary investigator of Kelly-Hopkinsville [Bud Ledwith] and got quite impressed with the series of strange cases there and nearby. Probably this pushed him even further away from the ETH, as it all seemed so "paranormally real". Nevertheless, he was fired up enough that he went to France to talk to Michel about the 1954 wave.-------Regarding the "giants" of old: these giants came to the field when it was cleaner than it is now. If you really wanted to, you could quickly sort out the idiots and the incompetents, and focus on people worth listening to and corresponding with. Mebane, Davis, and Bloecher actually joined NICAP and folded CSI, and Ted and Isabel even moved to DC. Today, you guys can't penetrate the fog so easily. I'm sure that there are a number of Mebanes among you--you just don't know who to talk to and trust. With this blog, I'm trying to give some of you a little well-lit beach-head of solid information that you CAN trust, and, within my time allotted, answers to your questions that you can confidence in.



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