Dr. Harry Willnus' addendum
concerning Dr. Hynek's "swamp gas" explanation
for the 1966 Michigan Case

by Jerry Cohen


Dr. Willnus was one major investigator of this case. He was kind enough to provide me his data regarding same.

For a discrepency regarding Hynek's explanation for the case, click HERE.

However, for at least one reason for that discrepency, it is important to note County Sheriff Doug Harvey's description of an incident that occurred in his office when Hynek came to investigate.

Here is what appears to be Hynek's own description of this in his 12/17/66 Saturday Evening Post article

My comments regarding Dr. Willnus' comment re: government coverup are located below.

At 01:21 PM 12/29/2005, he wrote me:

Jerry, re: the Michigan "swamp gas" case of 1966, I'd like to add  the following note.  There has been speculation as to where Allen Hynek, scientific consultant for Project Blue Book, came up with the possible explanation of swamp or marsh gas as to what was seen on successive nights in Dexter and Hillsdale, Michigan, (March 20, 21, 1966).

  Some reports suggest Hynek got the idea from a University of Michigan botany professor or that Hynek became informed about the phenomenon through reading.  However, in my research for an article titled "Swamp Gas Revisited",  published in the February, 2004, issue of UFO Magazine (UK), a much different explanation was revealed to me.

  In interviewing Washtenaw County Sheriff Doug Harvey for the article, the former Sheriff explained how he had taken Hynek to the Frank Mannor farm near Dexter for some on site investigation.  The sheriff described how Hynek interviewed witnesses and sloshed around in the swamp for a time in an attempt to determine what the many witnesses had seen a few nights earlier.  The Sheriff then brought Hynek back to the Sheriff's headquarters located in Ann Arbor.

  According to Harvey, they talked for a time about the sighting and Hynek admitted he didn't know what the witnesses had seen on the Mannor farm. "That's when the phone call came in," Harvey told me. 

"What phone call I asked?"

Harvey said, "it was a call for Hynek and it was from Washington."

"How did you know it was from Washington," I replied.

"Because the dispatcher stepped into the office and said, 'Dr. Hynek, you've got a call from Washington.'"

  Harvey told me that Hynek stepped out of the office to take the call and then returned in a few minutes looking a bit perplexed.  And then, according to the sheriff, Hynek said, "it's swamp gas they saw, swamp gas."

  It was a short time later that Hynek held the infamous press conference at the Detroit Press Club and suggested that a possible explanation for the recent sightings might have been marsh or swamp gas.  The explanation became a front page story the next day in papers across the country and Hynek became the butt of jokes and cartoons.  He was ridiculed to such an extent that Michigan Congressman Gerald Ford (later President Ford) asked for a Congressional investigation. It was one of Hynek's worst moments.

The important thing here is that if the Washington phone call actually took place, and I believe it did, then Hynek was receiving direction from a high government source. The whole thing smells of more UFO governmental coverup. ( jc: 7/6/2009 - Click HERE for proof of this call from Hynek himself. His statement was made in his 1966 Saturday Evening Post article.)


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My response to Harry's "governmental coverup" comment (but expanded from the original to give a historical viewpoint):

Harry, from what's been shown on TV concerning why the military began down-playing cases, Project Sign came into being in response to the UFO wave of 1947. The people who wrote the Sign report eventually believed the disks were real and possibly even extraterrestrial, but USAF Chief of Staff Hoyt Vandenburgh rejected the hypothesis and eventually disbanded the project. In 1948 a second AF study, Project Grudge, sought to explain them away as misidentifications of natural phenomena and/or illusions. They hired J. Allen Hynek to be their "civilian astronomical consultant." This eventually led to Project Blue Book.

Back on Oct. 30, 1938, Orsen Wells "War of the Worlds" broadcast had caused a panic with a decent number of people and some had even shot at water towers, etc. Nine years later we had the previously mentioned 1947 UFO flap. Then, only five years after that, in 1952, the Washington, D.C. sightings caused people to start calling in droves concerning UFO's and the military felt communication channels were being clogged to the point where it was having a detrimental effect on their role in our national defense.

Although Dexter was fifteen years after the 1952 Washington sightings, if one thinks about it, the preceding points I mentioned may also be reason enough for them to have continued down-playing the whole thing. Add to that the fact they most likely had plenty of gun camera film, radar, etc. on UFOs by 1966. Again, this would be more than enough reason to keep the whole subject under wraps. They most likely finally figured out it is real. The various military cases like Kirtland, Malmstrom, Rendlesham, Belgium NATO, etc. seem to indicate there is a good chance this is so. For whatever it's worth, that's my take on the military end of it. (However, this is not my expertise.)

Add to that the fact that _if_ this whole thing is real (and I really know what I saw), then it would certainly have to scare the hell out of people. I was paranoid for years after having my own two sightings. It's one thing speculating about this kind of thing when you've only read about it but, it's another thing entirely when you actually see one, or have it proved by other means that it is "real." It becomes scary as the dickens. A person can start thinking deeply into every abduction case he/she ever read and it is no longer an exercise in speculation as to whether someone is _visiting_ us but rather, "what else are they doing?" I can guarantee that some think-tank(s) somewhere has considered this and recommended a course(s) of action regarding same to protect all of us from ourselves. Getting caught in negative circular thinking can be a devil of a thing and not to be taken lightly.

. . . for what it's worth, in a succeeding exchange with Harry, I added the following:

When you look at the history of our world concerning primitive cultures interacting with "more advanced" cultures, in many if not most instances, the primitive cultures have wound up disintegrating or being absorbed into the newer culture. Add this as yet another valid reason for various people's great resistance to acquiring any knowledge regarding possible alien interaction with our civilization. (Any doubt who would be the "primitive" ones in this interaction?)

This certainly could explain the actions of people like Philip Klass, not to mention the military's (& our government's) approach to same. My view is it may simply be the collective, protective intuition of humanity at work. I think we all should realize this and try a little harder to understand where they (the military/government/Klass-types) are coming from. I have to say it took a lot of years for me to develop a better understanding concerning this. Our guts tend to send us a different message, but it isn't necessarily the best message.


Jerry Cohen

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