Hi. This is Kerry Cassidy from Project Camelot. We had the good fortune a while back to interview Ann Eller, who worked for six months with J. Allen Hynek, and was good friends with him until his death in 1986.
We haven’t released the interview for quite some time due to a problem with synchronizing the sound to the picture, because of what seemed to be an electromagnetic pulse that was sent to the camera during the interview. We are now releasing just the audio, because we feel that the content is so fascinating that - I think you’ll agree - it’s worth salvaging.
Because of her time with Hynek, she has a completely different take on what he might have thought about UFOs as well as what might have occurred during the consultation he did with Steven Spielberg on Close Encounters of the Third Kind. He may have been the one to suggest the scene that you see at the end of the movie, in which you see Richard Dreyfuss and a group of scientists boarding an alien craft.
This is reminiscent of the Serpo Project. (Serpo.org is the website in case you want to do more research about this.) As much as Serpo may be a lot of disinfo, there is a grain of truth having to do with the Secret Space Program, which is being investigated at this time by Richard C. Hoagland.
I think you’ll enjoy this interview and we’re really pleased to be able to present Ann Eller to you at this time. This is Kerry Cassidy from Project Camelot.
Ann Eller: I got up and spoke at that first conference. Leo asked me to say a few words. So I told everyone that Dr. Hynek sent his best to all of them, and also went on to talk a little bit about the research. And I happened to say: We don’t think you’re crazy. The government is in cahoots with the aliens.
Kerry Cassidy: After that bombshell of a statement, we will get into the actual body of the interview. She made that statement during our interview as an outtake, and I just couldn’t resist putting it up front here...
Start of interview
K: Could you tell a little bit about how we got in contact with each other? Because you actually found us, which is a little unusual.
A: Yes. I don’t know how I got to Project Camelot on the internet, but, you know, one link lead to another, lead to another, and I found your link and started reading about your project. And I thought, Well this is extremely worthy.
I have felt most of my adult life that it was important to get this information out to the general public and to blow the whistle on the government and everything that they’ve kept under wraps for all these years.
And so I signed up, giving my support to you, and in, I think that initial contact, I said, Oh, and by the way, I worked with Dr. Hynek for six months as his personal assistant when he moved out to Arizona. And then you got in touch with me. This was in 1985.
A: I think I started around March of 1985 and my tenure there ended in October. I went back to the hospital in October. I was a nurse at the time and left nursing for six months to do this with Dr. Hynek, because I thought it was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up.
K: OK. You told us that, actually before this ever happened, you’d been having some dreams.
A: Yes. That’s how I first contacted Dr. Hynek. Along about… Well, my whole history started in 1960 when I read the article in the Readers’ Digest about Betty and Barney Hill. And at the end of that article, the author said: Well, fact or fiction? We’ll leave it up to the reader to decide.
And my reaction was one of being incensed. I thought, Of course it’s real. How I knew it was real, I have no idea, but I knew it was real.
So I was interested in aliens, UFOs, since 1960. But it was in, probably 1976, I started having dreams, constant dreams, night after night after night, for about 4 years, of aliens, spacecraft, UFOs, other planets, other worlds, government involvement, helicopters, hidden bases… was all part of my dreams. And it was just about ready to drive me crazy, like I told you, a little bit like the guy in Close Encounters of the Third Kind with the mashed potatoes. [Kerry laughs].
But I started reading everything there was to read about UFOs. But in every book I picked up was Dr. Hynek’s name. And I decided, Well this is the guy that knows, that has all the answers, so I’m going to write to him and ask him just what’s up, and could he at least point me in a direction, introduce me to somebody in Arizona that I could talk to about these dreams.
So I wrote to him and didn’t hear a word from him for about nine months. And then all of a sudden one night the phone rang and I picked it up.
And he said, I’d love to speak with Ann Eller.
And I said, Speaking.
And he said, This is Dr. Hynek.
Well you could have knocked me over with a feather at that point. [Kerry laughs].
But he said, I’m interested. He said, I just found your letter. It had dropped behind my desk and I just found it.
And that was very typical, to lose the letter and find it nine months later. He had a quality of being sort of an absent-minded professor.
And so he said, I’m very interested in your dreams. And so we chatted about those for a while.
And he wanted to know if I’d kept a log of them. And I said, Well, sort of. I could probably pull it together. And he said he had a colleague -- and it was either Switzerland or Sweden; I think it was Switzerland -- that was doing a research project on these dreams, because they were worldwide. It was a worldwide phenomenon.
So I typed up all the dreams and got them off to him, with the help of a dear friend, and I never heard anything more from him.
And it was probably six years later, I opened up the Phoenix paper and here the headline’s on the second page: Dr. J. Allen Hynek Brings UFO Research to Arizona. I couldn’t believe it! And it was practically in my back yard. It was just down the street, up Indian School. So I decided I had to be involved.
I was working at the hospital, nights. But one morning when I got off from work, I drove over there and met Tina and Bryan, who were the couple that brought… were instrumental in bringing Hynek to Arizona, along with a couple of other people. And they were living in this condo. And they were going to have the research project there in their condo. And they needed somebody to set up an office.
So I said, Well, I’ve gotta be involved. Whether I feed the cat or take the trash out, I didn’t care. I had to be involved. So I came… I would work nights, come mornings, and set up the office and set up the filing system and take calls. People were calling already. I mean, they hadn’t hardly gotten settled but people were calling, reporting sightings.
K: Now, this was during the time when Hynek was already, was through… theoretically, through… working with the Air Force and no longer working on Bluebook and all that, right?
K: That was all behind him.
A: That was all behind him. That project ended in 1969. So at that time, then, he left, and went to Northwestern University where he was a professor of astronomy and set up CUFOS in Chicago. That was his UFO research project in Chicago. So for those years, that’s what he was doing as a civilian.
And these people were able to convince him that he needed to come to the southwest. And I suppose the weather in Chicago, somehow, had a little to do with it, too. [Kerry laughs]. So they moved out.
And it was probably 2 weeks after I had started at the center before I met him. And then I met him and I told him who I was, that I was the person that had sent him the dreams. Of course, I imagine that there were a thousand people that had done that.
But about a week later he asked me if I would come be his assistant and set up his office. All his office supplies and furniture were coming soon. And he said, I can’t pay you much. He said, I’ll pay you $100 a week and we’ll try to get funding. And if we can get the funding in, then maybe we can make it a permanent thing.
So I did it. I quit nursing and I went to work for him. And it was a great relationship. We had a very warm and very respectful friendship. I liked him a lot personally.
I spent some time being very angry with him, but this was mostly after he died, that he had, during his years at Project Bluebook, had hindered or injured so many people and their lives by explaining away their experiences and telling them that, no, they didn’t see what they saw. It was Venus chasing the moon. It was the swamp gas. It was an airplane. It was a weather balloon. Whatever. But he was hired to be the debunker and he was doing his job and he did a good job.
K: Mm hm.
A: But I was very angry about that. Because at the end of his life, the last thing he said to me was: I have had my own experiences.
Now during the six months, I would periodically ask him: Have they contacted you yet? Have you seen a ship yet? [Kerry laughs] You know, just kidding around. And we’d just joke about it.
But he was very serious at this point. And when he looked at me, he had that knowing look in his eyes: I’ve had my own experiences. And he took it to his grave. You know? Nobody else knew that, that I know of. Maybe Mimi knew it, his wife.
K: So, to back up a little bit, he sent you out to cover a conference in Laramie, Wyoming, is that right?
A: Yes. It was a UFO conference of contactees and investigators. And it was held at the University of Wyoming, and Leo Sprinkle was the host. He was professor of psychology at the university. He was also a hypnotist. He would put people under hypnosis and take them back and see if they’d had any contacts, if they’d had any abductions. There had been a little bit of criticism about the way in which he did this and they weren’t sure whether it was “totally professional.”
He said, Why don’t you just go up there and meet Leo? Check it out. Meet some of the other people. He said, I think you’ll enjoy it. Because I enjoyed the personal side of the whole UFO scenario, and the metaphysical and the spiritual aspect of it too. So I went.
K: What you said before was, that Hynek was very into the nuts and bolts?
A: Oh, yes. Very definitely. Very concerned about his credentials. Didn’t want those being marred in any way, so was very tight-lipped -- very tight-lipped -- played everything very close to his chest. And if we had an opinion, he’d keep it to himself pretty much, unless it had to do with the nuts and bolts. He wanted tangible proof. He had to either see the ship, take a picture of a ship, touch the ship, have some kind of radiation from the ship… those kinds of nuts and bolts.
K: Uh huh. And when you were working for him, did you ever see pictures or photographs of UFOs cross your desk?
A: Yes. A lot of them.
K: A lot of them. OK.
A: Old ones, you know, from years and years back, where the film was bad, very grainy. Oh yes, lots of UFO pictures.
K: And did you ever… because you would file documents for him, is this right?
K: So did you ever come across, I don’t know, information about Roswell or, you know, that kind of thing?
A: Well, we came across a lot of documents that were declassified, had been at one point Top Secret. But about 7/8 of the document would be blacked out, inked out, and you’d get maybe a half a sentence here and a half a sentence there. So it really didn’t mean a heck of a lot. I did see a list of the names that were in Majestic 12.
K: Do you recall those names?
A: Well, one of them was Rockefeller. That was a name I recognized. I might recognize some names. It seems to me there some admirals. And maybe Brzezinski was one of the names. But we knew that President Eisenhower had had a meeting with the aliens at one of the Air Force bases. I think it was Holloman.
K: When you say you “knew”… meaning you and Hynek? Or Hynek made you aware of this? Or, how did that work?
A: I’m very reluctant to say that Hynek ever said anything like that. It was more Tina and Bryan and me, and all the people that came through the center, all the information that we picked up from people that came through the center.
We were aware that Eisenhower had met with the aliens, and I believe it was at Holloman Air Force Base, and that was back in the ‘50s.
If you’ve read Alternative 3, that’s enough to put a crack in your cosmic egg [Kerry laughs] about the government, you know, being a benevolent government.
K: So was Alternative 3 something that Hynek would have also been aware of?
A: Oh, I think very definitely. Because in 1960 -- and he was very much involved with the Air Force then -- in l960, that’s when Alternative 3 took place. All those scientists got together, of which he was a scientist. Now, whether he was actually involved in any of their deliberations, I’m not sure.
K: Now what about Jacques Vallee? Because you said, is this right, he was one of the people that visited Hynek?
A: Yes, he did. They were very good friends.
K: Do you think that he was, you know, I don’t know, maybe sort of …
A: I don’t know about Jacques. Jacques was very prominent in the UFO field. He did a lot of writing; very personable, very important in France. Of course he was French but living in the United States. And they did go to a high level UFO conference in Paris that summer of ‘85, he and Hynek. And it was the United States, the French, the Japanese, and the Russians that met that summer. I was never told anything dramatic that came out of that meeting.
But the French were way ahead of us. They had already put out a booklet to the civilian population, what to do if you come across a UFO parked, you know, in the field. So…
K: Now you told us an anecdote about Jacques Vallee. Can you repeat that for the camera? In other words, something about that he was upset with Hynek over the swamp gas situation?
A: Yes. The story went -- and this came during a conversation with Dr. Hynek, and I was sitting there -- was that they were reminiscing about the swamp gas episode. And that Jacques was upset with Hynek because he had gone on camera and had said, This is swamp gas. And he said, Why didn’t you call me? Why didn’t you? I would have come and we could have, you know, we could have done this thing together.
K: In other words, he could have thought of something differently? Was that the implication?
A: That was the implication, that it would have been done a lot better than it had been.
K: The swamp gas was a poor excuse for … OK.
A: So that was one incident.
K: And then, some of the other people that came to visit Hynek while you worked for him. Can you remember anything in relation to these people?
A: Dr. Willard Smith came and he was a very dear friend of Dr. Hynek’s. They were old and close friends and they looked like cosmic twins. They were about the same height, stature, looked just alike. He was from Florida. He was an astrophysicist. And they just, they were just good fellows, you know?
Dr. Smith, I understand, got some of Dr. Hynek’s files when Dr. Hynek died. They were very close. And he did visit him that summer and Dr. Hynek went to Florida to visit him also. They would work together in cahoots all the time.
K: OK. So, both of them were involved in investigating… I’m assuming “the work,” when you say “work,” it was investigating UFO reports?
K: What about crashes? Did you ever see information about crashed disks? Did he ever…
A: We saw... There was a film that we got into the center that we looked at that was supposedly a crashed UFO in Canada. I remember the lights flashing, the red and white lights on top of this craft. And that’s all I remember about that, about a crash. So there was one in Canada that we saw.
But you have to … People don’t stop to ask themselves this question. Dr. Hynek was the civilian chief astronomer for the United States Air Force for 20 years, from 1948 to 1969. He had top level clearance, secret clearance. So for 20 years -- and this was all in the area of unidentified flying objects -- for 20 years he was on the front line of what was happening. He has to have seen the alien bodies, the crashed craft.
I think even more than that, the other operations that were going on that we’ve heard about, like Serpo and also… Because if you remember, in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, of which Dr. Hynek was a technical advisor, there was a group of chosen military people who went into the craft that were being exchanged to go to the planet.
K: So in other words… Often we have wondered where Spielberg might have gotten his information to include that in the screenplay. And what you’re basically saying here is that it’s possible that he got it from Hynek.
A: It’s possible. Or it could have been… More the scenario would be, Spielberg would imagine to Hynek that, What if we had some kind of an exchange program going on with the aliens, and we put that into the movie? Would that be OK? And then Hynek might say, Well, yeah. You could explore that or maybe put that in.
I think that’s a little more realistic. Dr. Hynek was going to be very careful about what he said to anybody because… Well, the dragon was breathing down his neck, too, during all that time.
K: When you say “the dragon was breathing down his neck,” was there any evidence that he was visited by people or that any pressure was brought to bear? Did he ever receive phone calls or, you know, were you aware of any kind of surveillance upon him?
A: No, I wasn’t. I can’t tell you that I was. We knew that all of our phones were bugged. We knew that to be a fact. And right after I first started working there, I developed migraine headaches, which I’d never had before, and they lasted for 10 years. Now, whether that had anything to do with any psychotronics or anything, I have no idea. But as far as I know, there were no Men in Black. There were no rough-‘em-up guys that I was aware of ever coming.
K: But he never crossed any lines, from the sound of things.
A: No. He didn’t.
K: He basically bought into the entire party line, so he wasn’t a threat in any way, so it’s unlikely he would be pressured, at least overtly.
K: What about his death? Did you think that his death was a completely natural occurrence?
A: There was a lot of speculation in the center that it was not. But how do you know? And how do you prove that? Certainly a man of his age – and I want to tell you about Haley’s Comet, so don’t let me forget.
A: But certainly a man of his age, 76, it’s a very natural thing for him to develop prostate cancer. But it didn’t get better. And he sought specialists in St. Louis at Barnes Hospital, and also in San Francisco. And it just metastasized and then he eventually died in March of ‘86.
But what I want to tell you is, Hynek was convinced that he would die at the age of 76 in 1986. He was born in 1910, the year of Haley’s Comet and he knew that when Haley’s Comet came back around again, 76 years later, that he’d be ushered out.
K: Really? Did he tell you this?
A: Yes, he did. He told me that.
K: That’s fascinating.
A: I thought that was interesting, too. And in fact that’s exactly what happened.
K: So, just to wrap up, what else can you tell us? Are there any other pieces of information that you think might be useful to the public in relation to Hynek?
A: Well, I would like to mention the log that he had. One day I discovered, on the bookshelf as I was tidying up, this log that he had written in every day and it was in code. And I thought to myself, Why in the world would he be keeping a daily log in code? And the code looked something like Morse Code, like dot-dot-dash kinds of things. There were no words written. There were just the dates and then this type of code.
And of course, you know, we’re always suspicious of everything in this UFO field. And I thought, Is it possible that he could be working both sides of the street? But until that time, I would not have ever guessed it. He played it very straight the whole time I was there.
There was one other incident. It was a letter that I found that was unopened, and it was postmarked 1954. And you know, Hynek was professor of astronomy at the Ohio State University for a while. And this came from an Asian or oriental. It was an oriental name. It was either like Wong or Ling or something like that.
And it said, basically, that this person -- he could have been a student, he could have been a colleague at the university -- had discovered these signals in their radio telescope. They had identified these signals coming from the area of Venus and that they were “intended,” or they were transmissions, or they were… there was an intelligence behind these transmissions. It wasn’t just something that was happening in the weather.
K: And so this letter had remained unopened until you saw it and decided to open it. Is that right?
A: That’s right. I was the secretary and I thought, Good grief, there’s a letter from… And it wasn’t hard for me to imagine he just forgot to open it.
A: So I opened it and I was shocked. And then I realized that this was probably sent to Hynek for Hynek to hold in case, at such time somebody else discovered these transmissions and declared life on Venus and got the credit for it, that this guy had done it first. So I showed it to Dr. Hynek and he just made light of it and took it and I never saw it again.
K: I hope you enjoyed this interview. This has been a Project Camelot production. And this is Kerry Cassidy. Produced by Bill Ryan and Kerry Cassidy. Thank you.
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