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Michigan swamp gas was a UFO, USA, 1966:

This article was published in the daily newspaper Hillsdale Daily News, of Hillsdale, Michigan, USA, on April 3, 1967.

Also check other files on the Michigan 1966 swamp gas story.

Local UFO Case Still Open Air Force Consultant Says

By Nancy Kubinski

"Investigation of the Hillsdale sighting is not really closed," according to Dr. J. Allen Hynek, scientific consultant to the Air Force on Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO).

Dr. Hynek, speaking at Hillsdale college Wednesday evening as part of the "Adventures in Ideas" series, was the chief investigator into the report of a UFO sighting at the college exactly one year ago.

At that time, 90 coeds and Civil Defense Director William (Bud) Van Horn watched for more than three hours as "something with lights" moved in the Arboretum.

Upon investigation, Dr. Hynek said, "Swamp gas could have been what the witnesses saw," a theory hotly contested by Van Horn.

According to a five point grading system based on the ease of explanation Hillsdale's UFO reports rate three. This is the top of the easily explainable classifications. Ratings four and five are very hard to explain, he said.

"If conditions were not right for swamp gas there, it is something that needs furtherstudy," Dr. Hynek said. He added that the report would have "a high credibility rating because of the number of people who saw it and their credibility."

Dr. Hynek lamented the fact that a camera was not used during the three-hour sighting,which would give him something more concrete to work with. He said, "I cannot understandwhy more people were not awakened, pictures taken and the area of the sighting investigated."

He added that a scientific examination was almost impossible at the time because of"a tremendous, almost circus-like atmosphere."

Hynek, a scientist with a sense of humor, spiced his presentation of UFO investigations with slides of cartoons, published since the first UFO reports began in 1947. The majority of them dwelled on little men from space, which, Hynek said, is one of four explanations for UFO's.

Hynek said, "The hardest thing in the world is to estimate the likelihood of habitants in other places because of the millions of systems of galaxies. It is provincial of usto think that we are the highest beings in the universe."

It is entirely possible that there are other living beings in the universe for whom the three score and ten years is not the allotted life span, he said. There may be intelligent life which has a life span of as much as 50,000 years. If this is true, he said, then it might be possible for such beings to surmount the difficulties posed by the great length of time that would be required for a trip from another planet to earth.

Dr. Hynek said explanations for UFO reports include: "Everything is sheer nonsense;they are secret devices being tested by the United States or Russia; we are beingvisited by other planets; or they represent some physical phenomena heretofore unknown."

He said people want desperately to believe that other civilizations exist. "We needsomething to believe in - a scientific substitute for God," he stated.

He added, however, that the concept is as hard for some to believe as the idea of air travel would have been 100 years ago.

Dr. Hynek said: "UFOs may be the result of a completely unknown phenomenon which we don't know about today, in the same way that 100 years ago we didn't know about nuclear energy."

Dr. Hynek, who said he "most seriously wants to investigate the UFO's that remain unexplained," pointed out that all sightings must be referred to as "reports" until they are conclusively proved.

According to Hynek's calculations, 95 percent of all reports have been explained as birds, balloons, lights, swamp gas and other things. The remaining reports have been unexplained and are classified as UFO's rather than Identified Flying Objects, as Hynek referred to them.

During his investigation, Dr. Hynek has established certain criteria on which to judge the credibility of photographs of UFOs.

To consider a picture as authentic, he said he must have access to the original negative, know the camera settings at which the picture was taken and have signed affidavits from two persons who saw the photographer take the picture.

Almost meeting Hynek's criteria is the incident in February in St. Clare County, where two youths snapped a picture of a UFO. The matter is still being investigated and, he said, a report will be forthcoming soon.

Dr. Hynek, who answers, "Hell, no," when asked if he would be afraid if he ever saw a UFO, said he does not take his subject lightly.

Presently he is studying the controversy from Northwestern University where he is director of the Dearborn Observatory, built especially for observing UFOs. They have yet to see one he added.

He is also consultant to the Condon Committee at the University of Colorado which has been given $350,000 by the Air Force to conduct a study of UFOs, which he maintains are "any reported visual sighting or radar return that remain unexplained after scientific study by competent men."

Dr. Hynek was pelted with questions from college students who saw the Hillsdale UFO last year.

Several including Barbara (Gidget) Cole of New York once again explained what she saw, and charged: "We all told you what we saw, but you make a hypothesis without taking all the facts into consideration."

Hynek answered that "we may have to reconsider the whole thing if more information becomes available on the sighting" leaving room to believe that "the investigation of the Hillsdale sighting is not really closed."

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