In ufology, a close encounter is an event in which a person witnesses an unidentified flying object. This terminology and the system of classification behind it was started by astronomer and UFO researcher J. Allen Hynek, 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, 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 near the end of the film.
Hynek's scale 
First kind 
Visual sightings of an unidentified flying object.
Second kind 
Visual sightings plus the accompanying of physical evidence.
Third kind 
Sightings of "occupants" in and around the UFO.
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 to the UFO phenomenon.
Extensions of Hynek's scale 
Jacques Vallee,[unreliable source?] 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.
Named by Steven M. Greer'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" 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 (however this does not have to be) telepathic.[original research?] 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).
The Black Vault Encyclopedia Project proposes a Close Encounter of the Seventh Kind as mating between a human being and extraterrestrial that produces a human-alien hybridisation, usually called a Star Child.[unreliable source?] This concept is similar to ideas promoted by ancient astronauts theorists like Erich von Däniken, Zecharia Sitchin and Robert K. G. Temple, in that extraterrestrials interacted with, perhaps interbred with and influenced ancient human beings in the past.
Breeding with the creature or alien to make a Hybrid Creature.
This concept of CE7 is at odds with Hynek's original concepts, however.[original research?] 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 
- Hynek, Allen J. (1972, 1998). The UFO Experience: A Scientific Inquiry. Da Capo Press. ISBN 978-1-56924-782-2.
- Clark, Jerome (1998). The UFO Book. Detroit: Visible Ink Press.
- Hynek, 1972, 1998, p. 6
- Hynek, 1972, 1998, p. 20; see also the program UFO Hunters episode "Alien Contact" aired on 23 April 2008 on the History Channel.
- Steven J. Dick (28 December 1999). The Biological Universe: The Twentieth Century Extraterrestrial Life Debate and the Limits of Science. Cambridge University Press. pp. 309–. ISBN 978-0-521-66361-8. Retrieved 24 October 2011.
- Donald Goldsmith; Tobias C. Owen (April 2001). The search for life in the universe. University Science Books. pp. 521–. ISBN 978-1-891389-16-0. Retrieved 24 October 2011.
- Hendry, Allan (August 1979). The UFO Handbook: A Guide to Investigating, Evaluating and Reporting UFO Sightings. Doubleday. ISBN 978-0-385-14348-6.
- The UFO Experience: A Scientific Enquiry. 1972. ISBN 978-1-56924-782-2.
- Vallee, Jacques. "Physical Analysis in Ten Cases of Unexplained Aerial Objects with Material Samples." 1998. Journal of Scientific Exploration. Vol. 12, No. 3., pp. 359-375. URL accessed 23 August 2009
- McCarthy, Paul (December 1, 1992). "Close encounters of the fifth kind. (communicating with UFOs)". Omni (magazine). Archived from the original on 2007-05-12. Retrieved 2007-05-12.
- "Defining a "Close Encounter"". October 22 2007.
- "Close encounter". The Black Vault Encyclopedia Project.
- Von Däniken, Erich (1984). Chariots of the Gods. Berkley Pub Group. ISBN 0-425-07481-1.
- "Close Encounters with Extra-terrestrials". BBC - h2g2. 19 May 2003, updated 25 April 2010.
- "C.D.B. Bryan of "Close Encounters Of The Fourth Kind"". Retrieved 2007-02-13.
- "close encounters". Retrieved 2007-03-22.
- "UFOLOGY Resource Center". scifi.com. Archived from the original on 2007-03-21. Retrieved 2007-04-12.
- "UFO.WHIPNET.ORG". Retrieved 2009-11-04.
- "The Black Vault Encyclopedia Project". Retrieved 2009-11-04.
- Däniken, Erich von (1972). Chariots of the Gods. Berkley Publishing Group. ISBN 0-425-16680-5.