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started the Center for UFO Studies?
The Center for UFO Studies was started by Dr. J. Allen Hynek, who
was a professor of astronomy at Ohio State University, and later, chairman of the
astronomy department at Northwestern University. During the 1950s and 1960s, he served as
the astronomical consultant to the United States Air Force's Project Blue Book.
Essentially, his responsibility was to determine whether there was an astronomical
explanation for a UFO sighting. Professor Hynek would study a UFO report and decide if its
description of the UFO suggested a known astronomical object. That is, did the witness see
the planet Venus or a meteor instead of a genuine UFO?
At first, Dr. Hynek was skeptical of the whole UFO business, but
after examining hundreds of UFO reports by credible witnesses, he became convinced UFOs
were worthy of serious study. With the closing of Project Blue Book in 1969, he began
to seriously consider forming a private, scientific UFO organization composed of
scientists and other highly-trained technical experts, who would work together to solve
the UFO enigma. In 1972, Hynek published his classic book, The UFO Experience: A
Scientific Study, in which he presented his categories for grouping UFO sightings and
coined the phrase, "Close Encounters." In 1973, he started the Center for UFO
Studies and served as its scientific director until his death in 1986. Before he died, Dr. Hynek appointed Mark Rodeghier to succeed
him as scientific director. The Center for UFO Studies continues to honor Hynek's legacy
through its serious study and examination of the UFO phenomenon.
What does the
Center for UFO Studies do?
The Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS) has three principal activities. First, it maintains
a library and archives of UFO-related materials. These materials include books, articles,
documents, and sighting reports. Second, the Center publishes reliable information about
the UFO subject through its quarterly magazine, the International UFO Reporter (IUR),
and its annual scholarly publication, the Journal of UFO Studies. CUFOS also
publishes books, such as Encounter at Buff Ledge and Examining the Earthlight
Theory, as well as monographs that examine specific cases or other aspects of the UFO
phenomenon. Third, the Center supports and conducts investigations into areas of
particular interest and concern to contemporary ufology. Currently, some Center associates
are investigating the alleged crash of a UFO near Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947, while
others are developing a psychological profile of individuals who claim to have been
abducted by aliens. Of course, the Center for UFO Studies continues to investigate UFO
sightings and to collect and evaluate UFO reports from around the world. This sighting
information is summarized in a computer database called UFOCAT, available only to serious
scholars and researchers. Some of the volunteers at CUFOS are shown below . Click on
picture for transcript of interview (under construction) with staff members.
Left to right: Dr. Mark Rodeghier, Scientific Director;
Dr. Michael Swords, Western Michigan University; George Eberhart, CUFOS Publications
Left to right: David Boras, CUFOS Assistant to the
Scientific Director; Jerome Clark, Editor, International UFO
Reporter; John Timmerman, CUFOS Financial Officer
Left to right: CUFOS History Consultant Frank J. Reid makes use of the
extensive holdings in the CUFOS Library; (click on Frank's picture to see his Inspiring
Thought for the month). Visitors to the library often find just what they are looking
for. The case files housed at CUFOS contain UFO reports, clippings, and investigations
going back to the 1940s.