J. Allen Hynek

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Dr. Josef Allen Hynek (May 1, 1910 – April 27, 1986) was a United States astronomer, professor, and ufologist. wiki

The "professor’s apparent trans­formation from skeptic to UFO proponent was not quite the conversion event that it appeared on the surface. Since his teens Hynek had been an enthusiastic though closeted student of the occult. The French-born Jacques Vallee, a computer scientist and UFO author, was one of the few persons who knew Hynek’s secret. Hynek once told Vallee that he had become an astron­omer in order to discover “the very limitations of science, the places where it broke down, the phenomena it didn’t explain” (Vallee 1996, 232). Nonethe­less, the scientist’s public U-turn gave a big boost to the UFO movement, lending it a measure of credibility, and made Hynek into a celebrity as the nation’s “foremost expert on flying saucers” (O’Toole 1966). For two decades people could point to Hynek and say, “He’s a trained scientist, an astronomer no less: if even he believes in this UFO stuff then there must be something to it.”...

"Maybe astronomy textbooks didn’t give him the answers he wanted, and so, as a bookish teenager, Hynek began to study what he called “esoteric subjects.” After reading widely in the occult, he developed a particular fondness for the writings of the Rosicrucian secret societies, with their tantalizing promises of hidden ancient knowledge, and those of the so-called hermetic philosophers, especially Rudolf Steiner. The high schooler spent over $100—roughly $1,300 in today’s dollars—to purchase the Canadian mystic Manly Hall’s massive, richly illustrated tome An Encyclo­pedic Outline of Masonic, Hermetic, Qabbalistic and Rosicrucian Symbolical Philosophy: Being an Interpretation of the Secret Teachings Concealed within the Rituals, Allegories and Mysteries of All Ages, better known simply as The Secret Teachings of All Ages. “All my student friends thought I was crazy: why didn’t I buy a motorcycle instead, as they all did,” Hynek later told Jacques Vallee (Vallee 2010, 64–65)...

"Hynek’s true views on UFOs were still unknown to the public when the astronomer, now teaching at North­western University, first met Jacques Vallee in the fall of 1963. Taking a job as a computer programmer at North­western, Vallee became a close friend of Hynek and soon they formed a UFO discussion group: The astron­omer would eventually nickname this group “the Invisible College” (Vallee 1996, 270)—a term first used by the Rosi­crucians in the early 1600s. " [1]



  • J. Allen Hynek. The UFO Experience: A scientific enquiry (1972).
  • J. Allen Hynek, Jacques Vallée. The Edge of Reality: A progress reports on the unidentified flying objects, (1975).
  • J. Allen Hynek. The Hynek UFO Report (1977).
  • J. Allen Hynek, Philip Imbrogno, Bob Pratt. Night Siege – The Hudson Valley UFO Sightings (1987).


  • Vallee, Jacques. 1996. Forbidden Science: Journals 1957–1969. New York: Marlowe & Company.
  • Vallee, Jacques. 2010. Forbidden Science: Journals 1970–1979. 2nd ed. San Francisco: Docu­matica Research.

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch


  1. csicop The Secret Life of J. Allen Hynek, organizational web page, accessed July 22, 2013.