Former reporter: UFO interest was considerable – Monroe Evening News

Mark Farris: You got it wrong. In your UFO opinion column on Monday, June 7, you were so obviously wrong on one part of your opinion column, it makes me wonder how true the other “facts” are that you offer elsewhere. 

You wrote that there was so little interest in the Monroe-area visit of Project Bluebook director J. Allen Hynek some 40 years ago that no media attended, nor did the college newspaper, Agora, cover it. I can’t speak for the Agora but I can speak for the media because I covered it. In person, for the then-Monroe Evening News. 

And the story was on the front page the next day. I know — I wrote it. The interest in Hynek’s visit was so “small” that Monroe County Community College brought him back again a year or so later and had another good-sized crowd. In fact at his first talk, the cafeteria was packed. Booking a speaker more than once is a real rarity but there was considerable interest. Each time. By the way, the second visit produced another somewhat shorter story, although the presentation was basically the same.

As part of Hynek’s first visit to Monroe, I interviewed him at the then-Holiday Inn where he was staying. The interview was fascinating and took nearly two hours, which went by very quickly. I interviewed him in the hotel lobby and, unknown to me, over the course of the interview a small crowd of people had formed behind me, listening to the interview. like watching a live TV show. No interest? Please.

During my 10 years as a reporter, I interviewed a number of people who “saw something” and their lives were affected. Most did not want their names used including the half-dozen police officers who confided in me what they saw. 

Later in my career when I worked at the Fermi 2 power plant, I was regularly contacted by representatives of the Michigan chapter of the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) because of the number of sightings near the plant. The jump in the number of sightings roughly corresponded with the scheduled refueling outages we had. No one can tell me there is not much interest in Monroe County’s UFOs. 

One of the quotations from Hynek at MCCC that night still echoes in my memory — “UFOs are incredible tales, told by credible people.”

Bobb Vergiels

Carleton



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