Close encounter

Close encounter

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In ufology
Ufology
Ufology is a neologism coined to describe the collective efforts of those who study reports and associated evidence of unidentified flying objects . UFOs have been subject to various investigations over the years by governments, independent groups, and scientists...

, a close encounter is an event in which a person witnesses an unidentified flying object
Unidentified flying object
A term originally coined by the military, an unidentified flying object is an unusual apparent anomaly in the sky that is not readily identifiable to the observer as any known object...

. This terminology and the system of classification behind it was started by astronomer and UFO researcher J. Allen Hynek
J. Allen Hynek
Dr. Josef Allen Hynek was a United States astronomer, professor, and ufologist. He is perhaps best remembered for his UFO research. Hynek acted as scientific adviser to UFO studies undertaken by the U.S. Air Force under three consecutive names: Project Sign , Project Grudge , and Project Blue Book...

, and was first suggested in his 1972 book The UFO Experience: A Scientific Inquiry. He introduced the first three kinds of encounters; more sub-types of close encounters were later added by others, but these additional categories are not universally accepted by UFO researchers, mainly because they depart from the scientific rigor that Hynek aimed to bring to ufology.

Sightings more than 500 feet (160 m) from the witness are classified as "Daylight Discs," "Nocturnal Lights," or "Radar/Visual Reports." Sightings within about 500 feet are subclassified as various types of "close encounter." Hynek and others argued a claimed close encounter must occur within about 500 feet to greatly reduce or eliminate the possibility of misidentifying conventional aircraft or other known phenomena.

Hynek's scale achieved cachet with the general public when it informed elements of the 1977 film Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Close Encounters of the Third Kind is a 1977 science fiction film written and directed by Steven Spielberg. The film stars Richard Dreyfuss, François Truffaut, Melinda Dillon, Teri Garr, Bob Balaban, and Cary Guffey...

, which is named after the third level of the scale. Posters for the film recited the three levels of the scale, and Hynek himself makes a cameo appearance
Cameo appearance
A cameo role or cameo appearance is a brief appearance of a known person in a work of the performing arts, such as plays, films, video games and television...

 near the end of the film.

First


A sighting of one or more unidentified flying object
Unidentified flying object
A term originally coined by the military, an unidentified flying object is an unusual apparent anomaly in the sky that is not readily identifiable to the observer as any known object...

s:
  • Flying saucers
  • Odd lights
  • Aerial objects that are not attributable to known human technology

Second


An observation of a UFO, and associated physical effects from the UFO, including:
  • Heat
    Heat
    In physics and thermodynamics, heat is energy transferred from one body, region, or thermodynamic system to another due to thermal contact or thermal radiation when the systems are at different temperatures. It is often described as one of the fundamental processes of energy transfer between...

     or radiation
    Radiation
    In physics, radiation is a process in which energetic particles or energetic waves travel through a medium or space. There are two distinct types of radiation; ionizing and non-ionizing...

  • Damage to terrain
  • Crop circle
    Crop circle
    A crop circle is a sizable pattern created by the flattening of a crop such as wheat, barley, rye, maize, or rapeseed. Crop circles are also referred to as crop formations, because they are not always circular in shape. While the exact date crop circles began to appear is unknown, the documented...

    s
  • Human paralysis
    Paralysis
    Paralysis is loss of muscle function for one or more muscles. Paralysis can be accompanied by a loss of feeling in the affected area if there is sensory damage as well as motor. A study conducted by the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, suggests that about 1 in 50 people have been diagnosed...

     (Catalepsy)
  • Frightened animals
  • Interference
    Electromagnetic interference
    Electromagnetic interference is disturbance that affects an electrical circuit due to either electromagnetic induction or electromagnetic radiation emitted from an external source. The disturbance may interrupt, obstruct, or otherwise degrade or limit the effective performance of the circuit...

     with engines or TV or radio reception.
  • Lost time
    Missing time
    Missing time is a proposed phenomenon reported by some people in connection with close encounters with UFOs and abduction phenomena. The term missing time refers to a gap in conscious memory relating to a specific period in time. The gap can last from several minutes to several days in length...

    : a gap in one's memory associated with a UFO encounter.

Third


An observation of what Hynek termed "animate beings" observed in association with a UFO sighting. Hynek deliberately chose the somewhat vague term "animate beings" to describe beings associated with UFOs without making any unfounded assumptions regarding the beings' origins or nature. Hynek did not necessarily regard these beings as "extraterrestrials
Extraterrestrial life
Extraterrestrial life is defined as life that does not originate from Earth...

" or "aliens." Additionally, Hynek further expressed discomfort with such reports, but felt a scientific obligation to include them, at the very least because they represented a sizable minority of claimed UFO encounters.

Bloecher subtypes


The UFO researcher Ted Bloecher proposed six subtypes for the close encounters of the third kind in the Hynek's scale.
A: An entity is observed only inside the UFO
B: An entity is observed inside and outside the UFO
C: An entity is observed near to a UFO, but not going in or out.
D: An entity is observed. No UFOs are seen by the observer, but UFO activity has been reported in the area at about the same time
E: An entity is observed. But no UFOs are seen and no UFO activity has been reported in the area at that time
F: No entity or UFOs are observed, but the subject experiences some kind of "intelligent communication"


Subtypes D, E, and F may be unrelated with the UFO phenomenon.

Fourth


A human is abducted by a UFO or its occupants. This type was not included in Hynek's original close encounters scale.

Jacques Vallee
Jacques Vallée
Jacques Fabrice Vallée is a venture capitalist, computer scientist, author, ufologist and former astronomer currently residing in San Francisco, California....

, Hynek's erstwhile associate, argued that a CE4 should be described as "cases when witnesses experienced a transformation of their sense of reality," so as to also include non-abduction cases where absurd, hallucinatory or dreamlike events are associated with UFO encounters.

Fifth


Named by Steven M. Greer
Steven M. Greer
Steven M. Greer is an American physician and ufologist who founded the Orion Project and The Disclosure Project.-Biography:Greer claims that he is a contactee who has coined the term "close encounter of the fifth kind" to describe human-initiated contact with extraterrestrials.-The Disclosure...

's CSETI group, these purported encounters are joint, bilateral contact events produced through the conscious, voluntary and proactive human-initiated or cooperative communication with extraterrestrial intelligence. This is very similar to some "contactees
Contactees
Contactees are persons who claim to have experienced contact with extraterrestrials. Contactees have typically reported that they were given messages or profound wisdom by extraterrestrial beings...

" of the 1950s who claimed regular communication with benevolent aliens.

The nature of this bilateral, deliberate communication between the intelligent source and the subject is generally claimed to be (but does not have to be) telepathic. The subject generally does not claim to be psychic. Contrary to popular belief, not all subjects in this category identify the source as being of extraterrestrial origin, but simply as otherworldly (or as being not of this world).

Sixth


On Michael Naisbitt's website, a sixth proposed CE scenario is described as UFO incidents that cause direct injury or death. This category was not included in Hynek's scale, and is furthermore redundant : a CE2 in Hynek's scale specifically included UFO encounters that leave direct physical evidence of any kind.

Seventh


The Black Vault Encyclopedia Project proposes a Close Encounter of the Seventh Kind as mating between a human being and extraterrestrial
Extraterrestrial life
Extraterrestrial life is defined as life that does not originate from Earth...

 that produces a human-alien hybridisation, usually called a Star Child. This concept similar to ideas promoted by ancient astronauts
Ancient astronauts
Some writers have proposed that intelligent extraterrestrial beings have visited Earth in antiquity or prehistory and made contact with humans. Such visitors are called ancient astronauts or ancient aliens. Proponents suggest that this contact influenced the development of human cultures,...

 theorists like Erich von Däniken
Erich von Däniken
Erich Anton Paul von Däniken is a Swiss author best known for his controversial claims about extraterrestrial influences on early human culture, in books such as Chariots of the Gods?, published in 1968...

, Zecharia Sitchin
Zecharia Sitchin
Zecharia Sitchin was an Azerbaijani-born American author of books promoting an explanation for human origins involving ancient astronauts. Sitchin attributes the creation of the ancient Sumerian culture to the Anunnaki, which he states was a race of extra-terrestrials from a planet beyond Neptune...

 and Robert K.G. Temple, in that extraterrestrials interacted with, perhaps interbred with and influenced ancient human beings in the past.

This concept of CE7 is at odds with Hynek's original concepts, however . Hynek's CE3 specifically avoided describing UFO occupants as "aliens" or "extraterrestrials", contending that there was not enough evidence to determine if beings associated with UFOs had an objective physical reality, let alone to confirm their origins or motives.

See also

  • Extraterrestrial hypothesis
    Extraterrestrial hypothesis
    The extraterrestrial hypothesis is the hypothesis that some unidentified flying objects are best explained as being extraterrestrial life or non-human aliens from other planets occupying physical spacecraft visiting Earth.-Etymology:...

  • First contact (film)
    First contact (science fiction)
    First contact is a common science fiction theme about the first meeting between humans and extraterrestrial life, or of any sentient race's first encounter with another one....

  • List of UFO sightings