A few days ago, April 27th marked the twentieth anniversary of the death of Dr. J. Allen Hynek, perhaps the most respected scientist to have ever researched the UFO phenomenon. He was certainly one of the first to take it seriously.
In commemoration, here is one of my favourite stories from Jim Moseley's book, Shockingly Close to the Truth (pp. 224 - 225), about a meeting he and Gray Barker had with Hynek at the 1971 APRO convention in Baltimore:
"Gray and I had somehow persuaded him to meet with us privately after his talk, which he gave during the last, 'secret' session of the con. Not being among Coral's favored few, Gray and I were excluded from this session. Naturally, having had a 'few' drinks, we tried to crash it. This led to a very loud argument with a couple of APRO minions, who were guarding the meeting room door. In short order, Coral joined the fray and things got very nasty. I decided not to risk putting Hynek off by continuing the argument and persuaded Gray that discretion was the better part of valor.
We retreated and waited for Hynek across the hotel lobby - in the bar, of course. When the good doctor emerged from the meeting room, he was surrounded by fans, whom we had to escape if we were to have any privacy for our talk. I think it was I who suggested that we go off the premises.
I didn't know the area, but was aware there were a couple of bars within a block of the hotel. It was a somewhat seedy neighborhood, and the place we went to turned out to be a B-girl joint, with loud music and all the other usual charms of such an establishment. The three of us went to a corner table, hoping not to be noticed and where Gray and I could hear Hynek, who spoke very softly.
Unfortunately, business was slow. As we talked, Hynek smoked his ever-present pipe, and I was somewhat horribly embarrassed when one of the girls sauntered over and, when she couldn't get our attention, sat down in Hynek's lap. I immediately wondered how on earth he, or we, would deal with this, but thanks to Hynek, it turned out well.
There was no scene, no indignant outcry from the distinguished astronomer-ufologist. Hynek just kept puffing on his pipe and talking quietly, as if nothing unusual were going on. The woman finally shot him a puzzled and shocked look - as if to say, 'My God! Are you dead?' - and flounced away in a huff."
Hmm... I wonder if I could arrange a similar "meeting" with Stan Friedman the next time he's in Halifax?
Not if I ever want to speak to my Aunt Marilyn again!