The Michigan Daily-Tuesday, March 13, 1979--Page 9
Center studies 'close encounters'
By BlITH ROSENBERG
Special to the Daily
EVANSTON, Il1.-His truck had
stalled by the side of the road and a
bright light seemed to be moving
toward him from the sky. The wind was
blowing fiercely. A strange force glued
him to the spot and turned his feet into
cement blocks too heavy to move. His
face began to turn bright red from the
strong illumination from the heavens as
the light loomed closer.
That scene from the movie "Close
Encounters of the Third Kind" may
seem far-fetched, but similar reports
occur daily at the Center for UFO
Studies, started by Northwestern
University's prof. J. Allen Hynek.
OPERATING IN conjunction with a
sister station in Australia, the Evan-
ston-based Center-the only one of its
kind in the world-receives from three
to 15 calls and hundreds of mail reports
per day regarding UFO (unidentified
flying objects) sightings.
Estelle Postol, an anthropologist who
works at the Center, said 90 per cent of
the calls turn out to be misiden-
tifications of IFOs (identified flying ob-
"The objects sighted tend to be
natural phenomena such as meteors,
planets and stars, or man-made objects
such as airplanes, balloons, and
satellites," she explained.
THE REMAINING 10 per cent of the
reports are considered UFOs and are
thoroughy investigated by the staff,
which consists of astronomers, an-
thropologists ,psychologists, physicists,
and social scientists.
One recent unproven UFO sighting in
Tyler, Texas, involved an individual
who said he was abducted by strange
The after-effects of the incident
reportedly were a triangular burn five
inches high on the individual's chest,
radiation sickness, and a missing time
high in the sky or close to the ground,
often are reported to hover, and can
seem to disappear in the distance with
astounding speed; and
* Radar-Visuals, which are of special
significance and appear as unidentified
blips on radar screens coinciding with
and confirming simultaneous visual
sightings by the same or .other wit-
Relatively close sighting categories
" Close Encounters of the First
Kind-when the witness observes a
UFO nearby, but it does not appear to
interact with either the witness or the
* Close Encounters of the Second
Kind-in which there is a reported in-
teraction between the UFO and the en-
vironment which may vary from the in-
terference with car ignition systems
and electronic gears to imprints or bur-
ns on the ground and physical effects on
plants, animals, and humans; and
K Close Encounters of.the Third
Kind-where entities generally of a
more-or-less human-like appearance
are reported in or closely associated
with the UFO. Usually no direct contact
or communication with the witness oc-
curs, but some reports of incidents in-
volving very close contact mention
temporary detainment of the witness.
The term "close encounters"
preceded the movie and was coined by
Hynek, who also served as technical
consultant for the film. The scene from
the movie was a composite of many
UFO sightings combined for dramatic
HENDRY SAID over 1,000 physical
traces of evidence have been studied,
including compressed and dehydrated
vegetation, broken tree branches, and
imprints in the ground.
He said $5,000 worth of geophysical
equipment is beind developed at the
Center to study imprints, but research
problems are limited to the observers'
"Imagine you had never seen a car
and found tire tracks in the dirt. Now
try to figure out the internal com-
bustion of the vehicle. The task would
be difficult because you would only
have your perceptions and knowledge
to base your guesses on," Hendry said.
Attempts to explain UFOs, Hendry
said, hinge on collecting mechanisms,
randomness of reportings, validity, in-
terpretation of statistics, and physical
evidence. Only 13-16 per cent of all
UFOs are reported.
In cases of possible UFO sightings,
Hendry recommended that one should
find as many other witnesses as
possible and take a photograph of the
object, taking careful note of its ap-
pearance, its motion, the time and
duration of the sighting, and the direc-
A 3-4 wk. research relaxation train-
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the EMU Psychology Department. If
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in this free program call: 487-1155
DENNIS J. DELPRATO,
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A WITNESS allegedly saw the victim
grow to 71/2 feet tall, turn white, and
then shrink in size and return to nor-
Confirmed UFOs baffle observers'
and cannot be explained by experts, ac-
cording to Allan Hendry, the Center's
chief investigator and editor of the In-4
ternational UFO Reporter.
Hendry, a 1972 University graduate
with a B.A. in Astronomy, said he in-
vestigates UFOs through comprehen-
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possible explanations are exhausted, a
UFO title is awarded.
Hendry said a major problem in UFO
research are people who let their
imaginations run rampant when they
see a flashing object.
"People read into situations like they
do in Rorschach ink blot tests," Hendry
stated. "Most misperceptions are
totally innocent, but images of UFOs
are ingrained by TV and the media.
"THERE IS A pre-anticipated effect
of UFOs. You can't deny there is a huge
sociological effect," the Royal Oak
Six categories have been designed to
define particular types of UFOs.
Relatively distant sightings include:
" Noturnal lights which appear in the
night sky and whose appearance and/or
motions are not explainable in terms of
conventional light sources. They mostly
appear as red, orange or white lights
and form the largest group of UFO
" Daylight Discs, which are
generally oval or disc-shaped metallic-
appearing objects. They can appear
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