Page last updated: October 24, 2008 8:38 AM



DR. HYNEK & THE NATIONAL ENQUIRER (1974)
(one researcher's observation)

Revised after excellent
conversations with Bob Pratt

jc 10/21/2008 Note: To the unethical, dishonest person who might take any one statement that I have written on this page out of context (without even reading the rest) in the attempt to make the bogus claim that every UFO article that has ever appeared in the National Enquirer has been totally contrived and not a real event:

This page is NOT a general endorsement of the myriad articles that have appeared in the National Enquirer concerning UFOs, nor Enquirer summations concerning same, before or after the short period described on this page.

To properly understand the significance of this website, one must read Dr. J. Allen Hynek's book, "The UFO Experience." Dr. Hynek is the main, central stabilizing figure in this UFO "controversy/mystery" and the one person who, by virtue of being in the right place at the right time, had probably the deepest insight into this enigmatic topic. Click here for biographical info. His scholarly writings and discussion concerning the subject were "competent," cautious and basically conservative. He is also the specific reason why I deemed certain articles from the "National Enquirer" accurate and certified for analysis. (No, I am not usually an Enquirer reader or fan!) The cases I gravitated towards were pre-screened by NICAP, APRO, MUFON. At the moment I do not know if Hynek personally screened any for submission. Back then, NICAP was the largest and most conservative of all the UFO groups. (Click here for NICAP history)

Dr. Hynek's book, "The UFO Experience" explained how and why Hynek became involved with the study of "UFOs" and why after many years as a "debunker" of UFO reports for the Air Force, he began to realize that there were a number of cases that truly defied any rational explanations he could devise. His history making treatise was written after the later discredited "Condon Study" had pronounced its negative conclusions concerning whether anything useful could be learned from studying UFO reports. Although the Condon Study's data did not support its negative conclusions and many scientists and engineers eventually disagreed with its findings, the Air Force was given a political "lever" to allow it to close Project Bluebook, its own "study" of UFOs. This effectively disengaged Dr. Hynek from his primary data source concerning the topic.

At this point, Dr. Hynek still had his reputable job as Chief Astronomer for Northwestern University (and pursued other scientific projects), but he now felt an obligation to present the anomalous data he had found to both other scientists and the general public in some way. At the same time, he had a fervent desire, highly stimulated by that data, to see the subject studied in greater depth and in an honest scientific manner. This led to both his publishing of "The UFO Experience" and the eventual founding of CUFOS (Center for UFO Studies) in 1973.

Hynek's Relationship with the National Enquirer

Beginning in early 1974, UFO articles published in the National Enquirer were submitted by NICAP, APRO and MUFON. The three groups prescreened UFO cases submitted to the paper. Reporters were sent out to confirm a number of the cases. Dr. Hynek was part of that panel.

(Click here for an important meeting and the criteria
used to select articles: 2/74 NICAP journal)

Discovery of an important web site:


Bob Pratt

In June of 2002, I discovered an incredible web site created by Bob Pratt, a man who I remembered had written many of those UFO articles for the National Enquirer in the 1970's. So, I decided to write and ask him what he remembered concerning the days when several UFO groups and Dr. Hynek had come to them several years after the Air Force's Project Blue Book had closed. His remembrances caused me to revise some of what I had originally written concerning Hynek's role with the Enquirer. Our conversations did, however, solidify my contention that Hynek was extremely serious about obtaining funding for the further study of UFOs and getting what information he had gathered during his tenure at "Blue Book" out to the public.

jc 10/24/2008: I later discovered that some of the actions the Air Force had taken had put Hynek's reputation in jeopardy, and that Hynek had to get this information out to the public to protect himself.

The last paragraph in the preceding 2/74 NICAP journal concerning a historic meeting between NICAP, APRO, and "decision makers" of the National Enquirer confirms that both groups were expecting the Enquirer to help complete the investigation of various cases if their funding was running low. Evidentially, Hynek was hoping to obtain funds for serious research.

"The meeting attended by decision makers of the National Enquirer, APRO and NICAP accomplished more than the stated purpose of evaluating reports. It is well known that data gathering and analysis can be an expensive task. In some cases the cost of analysis is beyond the scope of the APRO or NICAP budget allocations. Cases which are submitted for the Enquirer's UFO panel evaluation will now receive funding from the National Enquirer to insure complete analysis. Of equal importance is the resolve by both Mr. Lorenzen and Mr. Acuff to continue to seek means for mutual cooperation between NICAP and APRO."

Getting back to Bob Pratt:
Bob began researching UFO cases for the Enquirer in May of 1975. From some emails we exchanged I discovered that a third UFO group, MUFON, (which is probably the largest group today) was involved as well. Bob says that during the course of his research and cooperation with the three groups, sharing information, etc., he developed a friendship with Dr. Hynek and informs us that Hynek eventually left the Enquirer panel in 1976 or '77 because he realized the publisher of the Enquirer was not serious about providing funds for this endeavor.

Click here for my conversations with Bob :

They are fascinating, as is Bob's web site. (A site I am convinced is another very important source of UFO data. - Now hosted at the MUFON website since Bob's passing.)

If you missed it at the top of this page:
"Accuracy to source" confirmed regarding one Enquirer article


Regarding Dr. Hynek's remarkable book, "The UFO Experience"

Dr. Hynek's book was a major step towards his goal of notifying both his colleagues and the public of what he had found during his tenure at "Blue Book." In it, he described what kinds of people make UFO reports, the puzzling reports, people's reactions to both the reports and the people that report them, delineated various genre to enable discussion of each type (nocturnal lights, daylight discs, radar-visual, radar, close encounters of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd kind, etc.) He also showed that "science" is not always what scientists do (politics, etc. get in the way) and then step by step refuted the Condon Study's conclusions, giving solid support for each item mentioned, including a letter of resignation from Mary Louise Armstrong, administrative assistant to Edward Condon. This letter gave authenticated witness to the problems in the project and supported the discovery of Saunders and Levine, two project members, that the heads of the project never intended to do an "honest" study of the subject because they thought it might be political suicide. (i.e. The head administrators were afraid that their reputations might have been ruined had they approached the topic seriously.) Saunders and Levine had discovered this in a letter written to University officials by Robert Low, the project's coordinator.

Also of fascinating interest in Hynek's book, was his own letter of criticism to Colonel Raymond Sleeper regarding the lack of scientific methodology utilized in "Project Blue Book." Upon reading his letter, the average person should realize that the main Air Force project, to study UFOs during a 20 year period, was likewise a "non-study." Blue Book's only official civilian scientist who had legitimately attempted to study the phenomenon had come to the startling conclusion that "something very strange, and so far unexplained, does exist." Furthermore, other than the poorly run Colorado Study, no other scientist(s) he knew of had been funded to study the subject adequately in a serious manner.

Liner notes from "The UFO Experience" state:

"...Dr. Hynek, currently the Director of the Lindheimer Astronomical Research Center at Northwestern University and Chairman of Northwestern's Astronomy Department, has served as Associate Director of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Mass., as well as heading its NASA-sponsored satellite tracking program. With such credentials and experience Professor Hynek does not lightly challenge the official UFO line. But to him the evidence is irrefutable. The UFO thesis has not been disproved."

His relationship with the Enquirer, a "Necessity of the Times"

With these things firmly in mind, Dr. Hynek's death has not altered the historical "facts" he presented to both the public and his colleagues. Knowledge of these facts is still vital to a full understanding regarding UFOs. Thus, reading his book is still integral to the acquisition of same. It will also help one understand his "relationship" with the National Enquirer as being a "necessity of the times;" a relationship under ordinary circumstances he probably would never have undertaken due to its virtually certain negative impact on his reputation. But Hynek needed a place from which to publish and was also in the process of seeking out funding for his research. Although all accumulated data to that point indicated it was sorely warranted, proper research could never be funded or the results published through normal scientific channels, since the negative conclusions of the Condon Study precipitated both the closing of Blue Book and the closing of many a scientific mind in regards to UFOs. Yet, he felt the important data in his possession was worth the risk and was certain that there were other "high strangeness" cases sitting out there that had never been reported to the Air Force due both to its flippant handling of UFO witnesses and its anti-UFO stance. Therefore, publishing cases in the Enquirer and attempting to draw out other "high strangeness" cases not reported to the Air Force, and those which might lend themselves to further study, became the agreed upon order of the day for all concerned. The uniting of Blue Book's only major scientist/consultant with leaders from the three major UFO groups demonstrated solidarity as well as a determination to keep the study of UFOs moving in as positive a direction as could be expected at that moment in time.


To: 

Questions and Answers
Author's Select Cases


Page from the website of: CohenUFO.org

Website Master Index