The year 1967, as Dick Hall has noted, is often overlooked by ufology, which, at times, seems to be obsessed with 1947, and Roswell. Yet it was one of the busiest years in terms of sightings, and held out great hope - with the Condon committee in the middle of their investigation of the phenomenon - that the mystery of the UFO phenomenon might be getting closer to being solved.
Alas, it was not to be. The Condon Report was a monumental disappointment, and the 1967 sightings are little discussed by mainstream ufology.
Coincidentally, and with a very valuable lesson for ufology, 1967 held out such promise in a far more important area of human affairs that was also left unfulfilled.
The Boston Red Sox went on a magical run that seemed destined to lead, at long last, to a World Series championship. Carl Yastrzemski won the Triple Crown (the last player to do so), and ensured his mythic status among Red Sox true believers (a group to which I happily belong) by almost single-handedly leading the Sox to the American League championship.
And then it all fell apart in game 7 of the World Series, against the Cardinals.
Once more, for Red Sox fans, the rug had been pulled out from under their feet. The Curse of the Bambino lived on, and there was no joy in Beantown.
Not too long afterwards, the Condon Report pulled the rug out from under the feet of ufologists. There was no joy for James MacDonald, or Allen Hynek, or the younger versions of Stan Friedman and Dick Hall.
MacDonald and Hynek are long gone now; Hall and Friedman are now into their 70s, and are the elder statesmen amongst ufologists. And still there are no answers - only more questions. Worse still, we now have Exopolitics, the ufological equivalent of rampant expansion. For a brief while, like the Florida Marlins, or (ugh) the Toronto Blue Jays, they have held the upper hand.
But let the long-time suffering of Red Sox fans be a lesson - good things happen to those who stay faithful to the old school, and who have the patience to wait. Sure, there were the crushing defeats of 1975, and 1978 (damn you, Bucky Dent), and 1986, the first Red Sox disaster that I can remember in full, excrutiating detail.
But then... 2004.
The Impossible Dream had come true. Not only did the Red Sox win the World Series, but they beat the Yankees and the Cardinals to do it. My eyes water up, just a bit, thinking about the comeback against New York, and then the moment of that final out in the sweep of the Cardinals, and what it meant, not only to me, and the fans, and the current Red Sox players, but to former Red Sox players like Jim Rice, and Dewey Evans, and Fred Lynn, and my all-time hero, Yaz.
Recently, in a private e-mail, Rich Reynolds called me an optimist about the UFO phenomenon and the search for the truth.
He's right - I am.
I am convinced that the Red Sox Moment will come, someday, for ufology. What it will mean is unknown. Nevertheless, I sincerely hope that Dick Hall and Stan Friedman are still around to see it.
Like Yaz, they deserve it.
(b. 2 January, 1967)