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The UFO Experience: A Scientific Inquiry
J. Allen Hynek

Dr. J. Allen Hynek's "UFO Experience" probably does qualify as the most important study of the UFO phenomenon ever written. Cited by the "New York Review" as "the best brief for visitation", this classic study presents an analysis of UFO reports and concludes that many sightings cannot be easily dismissed.

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Further information, reviews, & details

Perhaps the Bible of Ufology, July 12, 2003
Reviewer: Tom Bowden (see more about me) from Gresham, OR, USA

Anyone interested in learning about UFOs must read this book. It is a primary starting point for understanding ufology. If you have already read a few other books on UFOs, you still need to read this book to gain a grounded foundation in the study of UFOs.

Everyone in the world should read this book at least once in his or her lifetime. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title


Perhaps the most important UFO Book ever published, April 21, 2001
Reviewer: A reader from Winston-Salem, NC USA

It isn't often that any book can be considered the "most important" or "most influential" in the field that it studies, but Dr. J. Allen Hynek's "UFO Experience" probably does qualify as the most important study of the UFO phenomenon ever written. Why? Unlike most UFO books, which are written by "true believers" who look uncritically at UFOs and whose authors have little or no scientific expertise, Hynek's "UFO Experience" has both the credentials and the objectivity to be taken seriously. Hynek was a respected astronomer at Northwestern University in Chicago and spent over twenty years (1948-1969) as the chief scientific analyst for the US Air Force's Project Blue Book, the government's official study of the UFO phenomenon. What makes Hynek especially credible is that he started out as a debunker - he thought UFO's were "nonsense" and helped the Air Force to debunk most sightings. But as the years passed Hynek gradually became convinced that some UFO reports were not hoaxes or weather balloons or stars or some other "normal" phenomena and that they might represent something extraordinary - even ET visitation from other planets. In the late 1960's he became openly critical of how Blue Book's staff was handling the UFO reports it was receiving. (In many cases Blue Book's staff didn't make even a brief investigation of a UFO sighting - they simply made up an explanation and filed it away). When the Condon Report was published in 1969 and stated that the UFO phenomenon was "useless" to science, Hynek decided to set up his own organization - with as many credible scientists as possible - to continue to study UFO reports in a serious and scientific way. In 1972 he published the "UFO Experience" in part as a rebuttal to the Condon Report's dismissal of the UFO phenomenon. He points out that although the Condon Report claimed that there was no evidence that UFOs represented anything other than hoaxes and/or misidentifications of known aerial objects, the Report couldn't find "normal" explanations for nearly one-third of the UFO incidents it examined, and had to list them as "unsolved". The "UFO Experience" still makes what many people believe to be the strongest scientific argument that UFOs deserve serious study by qualified scientists. Much of the book discusses the "Close Encounter" UFO sightings which clearly fascinated Hynek. A "Close Encounter of the First Kind" was a UFO observed at extremely close range - within 500 feet. Hynek notes that the closeness of the object helps eliminate the possibility that the witness saw an "ordinary" object - an airplane or a star, for example. A "Close Encounter of the Second Kind" is one in which the UFO physically interacts with the witness - their car shuts off, the UFO leaves burn marks on the ground, etc. And a "Close Encounter of the Third Kind" is one in which the witness actually sees "UFOnauts" either inside or outside the UFO. This last category was used as the title of Steven Spielberg's famous 1978 movie - Spielberg was an admirer of Hynek and gave him a cameo role in the movie. The book is well-written, but it is a "scientific" work and the reader should know that it sometimes contains technical and scientific language and theories. Dr. Hynek pulls no punches in his criticism of the Condon Report or other scientists who choose to ignore the evidence he cites. In short, although nearly 30 years have passed since it was published, Hynek's "UFO Experience" remains one of the best-argued scientific examinations of the UFO phenomenon. If you're interested in learning about UFOs, then this book is a good place to start. (A good "companion" volume to this book is the "Hynek UFO Report", published five years after the "UFO Experience" and which discusses actual UFO cases taken directly from the files of Project Blue Book). --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title

Credible, April 17, 2001
Reviewer: A reader from Manchester, United Kingdom

Another peoples champion with partial insider knowledge trying to work out why the establishment are covering up/avoiding the UFO issue. This ordered thesis is a slice of UFO investigation from 30 years ago - have we moved on? not really. Very much along the lines of Donald Keyhoe and his crusade to highlight the circus that was called the Condon Report. This is someone who sounds credible, more so than our governments. Another essential for Ufoligists --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title