But Hynek had left an indelible mark on UFOlogy. His 1972 book “The UFO Experience: A Scientific Inquiry”, had set down the three kinds of ‘close encounters.’
First: visual within 500 feet.
Second: Physical trace of its presence
Third: Direct interaction
Steven Spielberg hired Hynek as a consultant and insisted on a cameo in 1977′s ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind,’ a fantasy the ‘Grand UFOlogist’ must have wished had been real.
Then came Stanton Friedman. The ‘Grand UFOlogist’ of the New Millennium started his UFO crusade in 1958, and since 1967 has lectured at more than 600 colleges and 100 professional groups in all 50 states, 9 Canadian provinces and 16 other countries. He has published more than 90 UFO papers and has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV programs and many documentaries, and twice at the United Nations.
A nuclear physicist with multiple degrees, Stanton Friedman spent 14 years working in highly advanced, and highly classified programs, including nuclear aircraft, fission and fusion rockets, and compact nuclear power-plants for space and terrestrial applications.
Like Hynek, Friedman wore glasses and had a beard. But brazen and outspoken, he would boldly take ‘flying saucers’ where no UFOlogist had gone before.
Even while involved with ‘Close Encounters’, Hynek had avoided describing UFO occupants as “aliens” or “extraterrestrials,”; there was not enough evidence to determine if beings associated with UFOs had an objective physical reality or to confirm their origins or motives.
Near the end, Hynek was critical of the popular extraterrestrial hypothesis. “I have come to support less and less the idea that UFOs are ‘nuts and bolts’ spacecraft from other worlds. There are just too many things going against this theory. To me, it seems ridiculous that super intelligences would travel great distances to do relatively stupid things like stop cars, collect soil samples, and frighten people. I think we must begin to re-examine the evidence. We must begin to look closer to home.”
Throughout his tenure as ‘Grand UFOlogist,’ Hynek had been frustrated and belittled by the Air Force’s logic on ‘flying saucers’: “It can’t be, therefore it isn’t.”
Stanton Friedman took a new tack: “It could be, therefore it is.”
‘Problem’ or ‘phenomena’, UFOs had become a market, but lacked a brand name, a flagship and a Mecca. Friedman would change that in 1978, when he called up the Air Corps intelligence officer who handled the ‘wreckage’ at Roswell.
“It was not a weather balloon,” said the retired officer Friedman found himself in the right mind-set at the right time. In 1964, the Warren Commission submitted its final report to put the JFK assassination to sleep; instead it awakened a spate of ‘conspiracy’ books blaming the Mob or the Russians. One ‘theorist’ had the CIA killing JFK because the president demanded to see its complete UFO files, which, of course, could not be permitted.
The ‘Pentagon Papers’ made the front page of the New York Times in 1971, detailing how the Johnson Administration had systematically lied, not only to the public but also to Congress, about US involvement in the Vietnam War.
“I am not a crook,” declared President Nixon in 1973.
In September 1977, Ground Saucer Watch (GSW) a UFO group, filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the CIA requesting all UFO documents. A search conducted by the Office of General Counsel produced 355 documents totaling approximately 900 pages. On 14 December 1978, the Agency released all but 57 documents of about 100 pages, withholding 57 documents on ‘national security grounds’. GSW then sued for the release of the withheld documents, claiming that the Agency was still holding out key information.