Hynek, Joseph Allen

J. Allen Hynek
J. Allen Hynek

Dr. Josef Allen Hynek (May 1, 1910 – April 27, 1986) was a United States astronomer, professor, and ufologist. He is perhaps best remembered for his UFO research. Hynek acted as scientific adviser to UFO studies undertaken by the U.S. Air Force under three consecutive names:

For decades afterwards, he conducted his own independent UFO research, developing the Close Encounter classification system (see below), and is widely considered the father of the concept of scientific analysis of both reports and, especially, trace evidence purportedly left by UFOs. (wikipedia)

Initially, Hynek was skeptical of UFOs and dismissed most sightings as misidentifications of natural or man-made phenomena. However, as he encountered more cases that defied conventional explanations, he became more open-minded and curious about the UFO phenomenon. He developed the "Close Encounter" classification system, which distinguished between different types of UFO sightings based on their proximity and interaction with witnesses. He also advocated for more rigorous and scientific research on UFOs, criticizing the Air Force for its lack of objectivity and transparency.

Hynek's views on UFOs changed over time, from skepticism to agnosticism to cautious belief. He wrote several books and articles on the subject, such as The UFO Experience: A Scientific Inquiry (1972) and The Edge of Reality: A Progress Report on Unidentified Flying Objects (1975). He also founded the Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS) in 1973, a non-profit organization dedicated to collecting and analyzing UFO data. He died in 1986, leaving behind a legacy of scientific inquiry and public education on UFOs.

Dr. J. Allen Hynek is well-known for his Close Encounter Classification System:

- Distant Encounters:

- Close Encounters (I, II, and III):

Hynek did NOT consider contact experiences cases of CE-III:

"In these cases [CE-III] the presence of 'occupants' in or about the UFO is reported. Here a sharp distinction must be made between cases involving reports of the presence of presumably intelligent beings in the 'spacecraft' and the so-called contactee cases. In general, the latter reports are "stopped at the gate" by the screening process…. Such persons not only frequently turn out to be pseudo religious fanatics but also invariably have a low credibility value, bringing us regular messages from the "space men" with singularly little content" [Hynek, The UFO Experience, p. 29.]