Jacque Vallée (right) and J. Allen Hynek.
Along with his colleague, astronomer J. Allen Hynek, Vallée carefully studied the phenomenon of unusual aerial sightings and close encounters with humanoids on the ground for many years.
Vallée served as the real-life model for the character Lacombe, portrayed by François Truffaut (shown above, middle) in Steven Spielberg’s film Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
His first three highly thoughtful books, Anatomy of a Phenomenon (1965), Challenge to Science: The UFO Enigma (1966), and Passport to Magonia: From Folklore to Flying Saucers (1969) are classics in the field. A correspondent of mine for decades, I was able to spend some time with Vallée and his wife for the first time only a few years ago when we both spoke at a Virginia Beach, Virginia conference on unexplained phenomena.
Therefore, it was good to hear from my associate, the French-born and now California-based intellectual, ufologist, venture capitalist, computer scientist, and former astronomer, who sent along his thoughts, regarding John A. Keel passing away:
I did hear about John's death. Although this was expected, given his long fight with illness the past few years, it is very sad to realize that his voice is now silent in the debate about the nature of the phenomena that continue to fascinate us.
As you know, his writing and mine have followed a parallel course (I wish I had written JADOO, a delightful book!) as we were among a small number of "heretics" who have consistently questioned the "first-order" extraterrestrial theory. He realized very early that UFOs could not be understood apart from other, terrestrial paranormal phenomena, which put him decades ahead of most researchers. He deserves to be recognized as one of the most creative, independent thinkers in the field.
I know you had a close friendship with John, and send you all my sympathy.
Mon Jul 6, 2009 7:08 pm PDT