UFO UpDates
A mailing list for the study of UFO-related phenomena
'Its All Here In Black & White'
Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2011 > Oct > Oct 25

Hynek's Photos - Date And Simple Info?

From: Isaac Koi <isaackoi.nul>
Date: Tue, 25 Oct 2011 17:19:22 +0100
Archived: Tue, 25 Oct 2011 12:41:59 -0400
Subject: Hynek's Photos - Date And Simple Info?

I am currently finalising my notes for an item on Astronomers
and UFOs, which mainly focuses on some of the statistical issues
involved (i.e. the surveys by Sturrock, Gert Herb, Hynek and
Pittella) but also includes information on a few examples of
relevant sightings (including by Tombaugh, Menzel and - the
reason for this email - Hynek).

In the item I'm drafting, I would like to be able to provide
some simple (?) data regarding Hynek's photos - including the
year during which they were taken.

Information about Hynek's "UFO" photos is frustratingly sparse.

One of several ironies relating to these photos is that I've
found it much easier to get hold of primary source material in
relation to the sightings by Tombaugh and Menzel.

I've included some further information and references below
(including from two of Hynek's own books, Volume 1 of Vallee's
journal, an article by Richard Dolan, plus emails from Timmerman
of CUFOS and emails from Jenny Randles) - but that information
merely highlights the frustrating lack of details (which - as
mentioned below - has caused at least one researcher, Richard
Dolan, to imply that Hynek was involved in some sort of

I've been in touch with Mark Rodhegier and Mary Castner at CUFOS
and they kindly responded to my query very promptly.
Unfortunately, they were unable to add anything to the
information I'd gathered from the meager sources summarised
below. There is no relevant file within CUFOS. When CUFOS
retrieved Hynek's papers and files from his widow, they looked
information about these photos. But they found nothing.

I know that several members of this list had considerable
contact with Hynek and presumably discussed the photos with him
and can add some information.

Any futher information (or a copy of a sighting report form
completed by Hynek...) would be most welcome.

Kind Regards,


Further information and references in case you are interested:

A fairly good copy of one of the relevant photos by Hynek is
included on the webpage below:


The images are ALMOST attributed by Hynek to himself in the
hardcopy of "The UFO Experience".  The photos appear (on the
unnumbered photographic inset, opposite page 53) with the
following caption:

"Finally, I include two photographs, Figures 8 and 10, taken
from the window of an aircraft at 30,000 feet, of an object that
I have been unable to identify. Perhaps some reader can identify
it as a natural object. If so, I would appreciate knowing the
solution. These are two photographs for which I can absolutely

Jenny Randles refers to that caption in her discussion (in her
book "UFOs and How to See them" (1997) at page 135 of the Barnes
& Noble hardback edition) and states that she too can vouch for
them following her discussion with Hynek. Ironically (in the
light of the fact that Vallee has complained that Hynek did not
record the date or time of the sighting) Jenny's discussion is
beneath a section entitled "Making a record".

By the time he co-authored "Edge of Reality" (1975) with Vallee,
Hynek appears to have become less coy. He includes the photos on
an unnumbered page in the middle of the book, with this caption:
"10 & 11 These photos were taken by one of the authors (Hynek)
from an airliner at cruising altitude. The object was in sight
long enough for the camera to be unpacked from a suitcase stored
under the seat and for two exposures to be taken. This time
requirement at a speed in the vicinity of mach .8 rules out many

Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos has provided to me with several
emails exchanged with Timmerman at CUFOS at various points since
2002 - but they provide little additional information. V-J's
email to me included this quote from Timmerman's email of 29
December 2002 "In a long conversation with Jacques Vallee
several years ago, I asked him if he had this information (date,
etc.) and he said he had attempted to secure this from Allen and
the publishers in an attempt to locate the negatives, as well. I
had, in the early 1980's contacted the publishers with the same
request, with the same results. " In another email, dated April
19, 2006 to V-J, Timmerman wrote: "I attempted to get access to
the negatives involved from the publisher. They replied that it
was not available, partly due to the time elapse between the
photograph and my request, in the 1980's...During the 1980's I
had a private dinner conversation with Jacques Vallee, during
which we discussed these photos and he, also, had attempted to
locate the negatives, with no success. My opinion is that
"someone" (sic) made sure the negatives disappeared from the
public domain. Allen never indicated in any way that this may
have happened. I don=B4t recall if Jacques and I discussed this
possibility, but I believe we both must have thought of it."

Vallee discusses the photos in his "Forbidden Science", Volume 1
towards the end of the entry for Sunday 14 September 1969, Page
410 and in footnote 21.

Vallee's account is summarised in the article by Richard Dolan
at the link below:


Dolan's article includes the following, in which Dolan implies
that he believes that Hynek's actions in relation to these
photos demonstrate he was part of a cover-up (an allegation I
think is rather undermined by the fact that he shared his photos
with others and included some of them in two of his books... - I
think his actions simply show he was not overwhelmed by his own

[quote from Dolan's article at the link above]

... rumors had abounded through the 1960s that Blue Book was a
public relations facade, and that there was a "secret study" of
UFOs going on. Vallee, too, had his suspicions, and broached
this subject with Hynek every so often. Hynek inevitably
rejected such opinions without reservation. Blue Book, Hynek
maintained, was the real thing, albeit a project that was being
done incompetently.

Vallee was never quite convinced. He noticed Hyneks cagey
attitude about UFOs, that he seemed to know much more than he
usually let on about the subject, that he often appeared to be
more interested in self_promotion than actual study of the
problem, and that his personal records were in a state of

Then Vallee found the infamous "Pentacle Memorandum" in Hynek's
office. This was a highly classified document from January 1953,
proving the existence of a separate study group of UFOs, and
which urged that the Robertson Panel be delayed until they had
come to their own conclusions. Very strong stuff. In the
mid_1960s, there was still no inkling among the wider public
that there was any such study as this.

On another occasion, a colleague of Vallee and Hynek showed
Vallee "some very interesting photographs taken from an
airplane." Here is the relevant passage:

"Do you know who took these? Allen did! But he hasn't recorded
the place, the date or the time ..." It turns out Allen was
aboard an airliner when he suddenly noticed a white object at
his altitude, seemingly flying at the same speed as the plane.
He made sure it wasnt a reflection and he convinced himself it
must be some faraway cloud with an unusual shape. He pulled out
his camera to see how fast he could snap pictures. In all he
took two pairs of stereoscopic photographs and gave it no more

The photographs themselves appeared in a book authored by Hynek
and Vallee in 1975, The Edge of Reality. They may or may not be
of a flying saucer, but they are certainly not clouds. The
importance of stereoscopic photographs cannot be overemphasized.
Such a camera is of outstanding evidentiary value. Hynek, in
effect, had captured a possible Holy Grail on film. But what

Vallee continues:

Fred only learned about this a few weeks later. But then Hynek
had lost the negatives and one shot from every pair was missing.


Naturally the loss of the negatives makes it impossible to
determine whether it was really a cloud or not. Fred is
indignant: "Sometimes I have the feeling Allen doesn't want to
know," he says.

Hynek, who had headed document security for the proximity fuse
project, "lost" one (and only one) negative from such a set as

One might well wonder, to whom did he actually pass this

[/quote from Dolan's article at the link above]

[quote from first email to me from Jenny Randles]

Yes, I did talk to Allen about these photos whilst travelling
across the US with him in 1983.

But I do not recall him saying specifically when they were

He was clearly intrigued by the images and had kept reference to
a minimum, I felt, for a number of reasons.

He wanted to see if anyone could come up with a solution without
them being too mixed up in a debate over the identity of the

Allen was aware that UFO photographs stood on their own merit
and can often be deciphered using deductive techniques in a way
UFO sightings, per se, cannot be as they depend inherently on
the witness and their testimony. I was unaware that he had not
openly documented the necessary details.

He (I think) genuinely was baffled by what he had seen from that
aircraft but was mindful of some unusual effect of atmospherics
or optics that might be familiar to someone but that he had
never come across.

I recall we discussed the case of the movie footage taken on a
British aircraft where the optics of the design of the window
had created a seemingly detached, floating cigar shape that was
both seen and filmed. So I think he was wary that some obvious
answer like that which he had never come upon might be

So I got the impression he had put the images 'out there' hoping
someone would come up with an explanation but as of then nobody

I also suspected that his role within UFOlogy was still the
source of banter with other famed astronomers with whom he
interacted beyond UFO research as he was still a professor
emeritus at Northwestern.

One incident came whilst we were at a diner in the mid west on
route to Colorado and I discovered how James Van Allen (as in
the radiation belts) had a gentle dig at Allen. He took it in
good stead (Allen was a huge Monty Python fan) but I could see
why he might have felt it would complicate any possible
identification of what was on the photos if he championed them
too openly.

Image and reputation was very important to Allen and whilst I
was there he turned down a lucrative TV offer to film a
commercial endorsing beer because he was concerned that the
beer/UFO connection would hurt the credibility of the subject.

That is why I was cagey in how I chose to describe the photos. I
think Allen always expected that someone might come up with the
answer as to what he saw and did not want to appear to be
pinning his reputation as an investigator around a case that had
to be looked at by others on the merits of what the photographs
themselves revealed.

I could be mistaken, of course, but that is how I interpreted it
back then as a young and pretty starstruck UFO enthusiast.

[/quote from first email from Jenny Randles]

[quote from second email to me from Jenny Randles]

What I meant was that he felt that if this blob was some
atmospheric or optical effect that can be filmed from an
aircraft then someone in the know would recognise that from
viewing the image and would not need to know the intimate
details of who, what, where or why to say - hey, this is a neat
photo of a Googleplex Mirage, or whatever.

Allen clearly had his reasons for not wanting to go the usual
route and felt that if the photos could be resolved (as I think
he expected they probably would be one day) then the photos
would tell the story enough to allow someone to identify the

As noted we talked of other photos from aircraft where odd
effects had occurred such as the one I referred to (with the
aircraft tailfin distortion images).

And, as I said, I had always presumed that the full details are
on record at CUFOS and so the photos could be investigated by
anyone who wanted to take it further if they thought they
recognised what was on the pictures.

Indeed I would be shocked if this were not true even if Allen
had not wished to go public for his own reasons. I cannot
imagine why he would not have documented the details with CUFOS
in some form.

Mark Rodhegier will presumably know or Jerry Clark?

[/quote from second email from Jenny Randles]

Listen to 'Strange Days... Indeed' - The PodCast



These contents above are copyright of the author and
UFO UpDates - Toronto. They may not be reproduced
without the express permission of both parties and
are intended for educational use only.

[ Next Message | Previous Message | This Day's Messages ]
This Month's Index |

UFO UpDates Main Index

UFO UpDates - Toronto - Operated by Errol Bruce-Knapp

Archive programming by Glenn Campbell at Glenn-Campbell.com