What follows is a true story.
In 1976 I was a fifth grader at Converse Elementary. We were housed in the old Converse High School, about a decade before they razed that beautiful building in favor of progress and cost reduction. It still doesn’t sit well with me, but that’s another matter.
In that glorious school year we were given the opportunity to ‘test out’ of math for the second semester. Several students were falling behind, so they decided to focus on those lagging by letting those who were getting it to do something else… a research project, the subject of which would be voted on by the group of those separated from those struggling.
In the interest of full disclosure: I cheated on the test. And so I was set free from the constraints of elementary mathematics and thrust into adolescent academia.
I petitioned the dozen or so who tested out of math for us to focus our research on the UFO phenomena. It, along with cryptids, the paranormal, and the occult, was my obsession. The students agreed and I presented my case to our teacher, Mr. Piper.
He agreed and we spent the next six weeks in an abandoned classroom on the third floor mapping out our theories on “flying saucers” and “little green men”. It was an amazing adventure and one I hold near and dear.
My bible was the Brad Steiger edited Project Blue Book. It, along with various UFO magazines and my collection of tabloid and newspaper clippings, made up our source material.
We plotted sightings on two large maps: one of the US and the other of the world. We filled not one, but three chalkboards with info, and then compiled it all into a report that we presented to the school.
Like I said, it was an amazing adventure and a memory I cherish.
Flash forward more than forty years later, and I’m watching Project Blue Book, a History Channel TV series starring Aiden Gillen as J. Allen Hynek, one of my childhood heroes.
The series debut, titled “The Fuller Dogfight”, played fast and loose with the facts. Blue Book was actually Hynek’s third UFO project for the Air Force for starters.
That being said, I loved it. Gillen was remarkable and Neal McDonough realy chewed the scenery whenever he took the screen. all in all, a solid start to a fictitious romp through early Ufology. As an old school X-Files fan, well, I can overlook the inaccuracies and instead allow myself to be immersed in the fantasy of what might have been.
Fox Mulder was fond of the mantra, “The Truth is Out There”. Well, there’s little to no truth in Project Blue Book, but I’m all in. There’s a new “occult detective” in town, and his name is J. Allen Hynek.