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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1997 > Oct > Oct 17

Re: Solved abduction cases?

From: DevereuxP@aol.com [Paul Devereux]
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 1997 02:15:28 -0400 (EDT)
Fwd Date: Fri, 17 Oct 1997 21:29:17 -0400
Subject: Re: Solved abduction cases?

Dear Jerry,

In response to my mild concerns about your 1 October attack on
the Duke of Mendoza, you wrote on Monday 6 October:

>From: clark@canby.mn.frontiercomm.net [Jerome Clark]
>Date: Mon, 06 Oct 1997 10:38:50 PDT
>To: updates@globalserve.net
>Subject: RE: UFO UpDate: Re: Solved abduction cases?

>Paul,

>You're in your mind-reading mode, I'm afraid, my friend.  You
>don't know me well, so -- in defense of a not particularly
>persuasive argument -- you feel free to attribute personality
>and motivation to me.  The phrase "the folklore that calls itself
>'abduction research'" still makes no sense, and I am surprised
>that you would try to defend it.  In doing so, you rephrase the
>argument -- you'd have to, for the sake of coherence -- to recycle
>the usual jumble of claims, long effectively refuted by the one
>academically trained folklorist participating in the discussion,
>Eddie Bullard; see, for but one of many examples,his "Folkloric
>Dimensions of the UFO Phenomenon," JUFOS 3(1991).  I also see
>the inevitable North America bashing, a
>particular obsession of yours.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but
>don't you actually live here at least part of the time?

<snip>

>Though I think you are wrong about the UFO phenomenon
>(though more interestingly so than most, except in the above-
>expressed; I trust that the full treatment in your and Peter's
>forthcoming book is more substantive), I respect the intellectual
>processes that led you to the conclusions you espouse.  Anybody
>who knows me would find immensely hilarious the suggestion that
>I hold  views out of some craven need to conform with fashion.
> I would appreciate your extending the courtesy to me of respecting
>my own thinking even when you disagree with it.

>My views (which you don't understand in any case) of the
>abduction phenomenon are complex and evolving. I have grave
>reservations about the excesses of both camps; see, for
>one example, my piece on John Mack (IUR, March/April 1994).
>Those who are interested in understanding why I have come to
>the particular conclusions I have about the UFO phenomenon are
>invited to read my UFO Encyclopedia, where the reasons, right
>or wrong, are laid out in full and, if you disagree, you will not
>be forced to bring my personality into the discussion.

>I find the debunking literature (which is what we're discussing
>here) mostly shallow and vacuous; it would never pass muster
>in other areas of scholarly discourse, and it does not deserve to
>be taken seriously until its standards improve. (Please don't
>now insist that I'm therefore arguing that abductions are true
>unless proven otherwise.  Give me a break.)  I see more evidence
>here of traditions of disbelief (as David Hufford would call
>them) than of traditions of scholarship.  But one is allowed
>free rein when the target is something presumed to be both absurd
>and contemptible,such as the UFO experience.  For a revealing
>survey of the logical and evidential inadequacies of alternative
>explanations to abduction phenomena, see Stuart Appelle's "The
>Abduction Experience: A Critical Evaluation of Theory and Evidence,"
>JUFOS6 (1995/1996).

>It seems to me that we needn't be frantic for conclusive answers
>when such manifestly are unavailable.  I simply don't understand
>your need to bash all to whom Ultimate Truth is not so apparent
>as it is to you.  A few abduction cases strike me as impressive
>and truly puzzling, and more plausibly (albeit tentatively and
>undogmatically) interpreted as interactions with nonhuman
>intelligences than as hallucinations generated by immersion in
>obscure folklore texts.  Most abduction stories are not evidential,for
>all sorts of reasons, and I see no reason to believe that abductions
>are happening to untold millions.  But there is a phenomenon
>here in search of an explanation.  I feel perfectly comfortable
>as an agnostic here. Anybody who seeks to persuade me that he
>or she has that explanation would do well to use good arguments,
>which I always am happy to hear.  No effort
>to bully -- or caricature -- me, or any of the rest of us who
>remain open-minded about this most difficult and contentious
>of subjects,into submission is going to do the job.

>And finally, as to the Dylan quote/paraphrase at the end of
>your posting: it seems to me, my friend, that you, too, ought
>to take heed.

>Jerry Clark

Well, Jerry, I'm positively amazed that my gentle and brief
comments should provoke such a screed from you! Forgive me for
thinking that you are being a little over-defensive. But, well,
if that's the way you want it ....

I'll excerpt a few quotes from your stern stuff in order to try
to clarify my corner.

JC: "You're in your mind-reading mode, I'm afraid, my friend.
 You don't know me well, so...."

PD: I don't need to be a mind-reader, just a reader, to see you
getting narky. And I know you well enough to have seen you in one
of your little paddies, so I know enough as far as this
particular matter is concerned.

JC: ".....the usual jumble of claims, long effectively refuted
by the one academically trained folklorist participating in the
discussion, Eddie Bullard...."

PD: It's getting very "old", Jerry, the way you always wheel old
Eddie out. Eddie's OK, but he isn't God, and he hasn't refuted
anything worth mentioning.(Indeed, do please see the full boxing
match in our forthcoming book.)In any case you are wrong, plain
and simple. Bullard is NOT the only academically trained
folklorist in this discussion. I won't embarrass the innocent
party with "outing" him in this regard, unless he chooses to do
so himself. Also, one of the key British earth lights researchers
has a Ph.D in folklore. Further, I'm no folklore virgin myself -
I'm a fully paid-up member of the British Folklore Society these
past many years. You aren't dealing with rookies, my lad. I'll
stick to what I said.

We aren't talking Hansel and Gretel here, y'know. Folklore is a
dynamic that is always being generated. The whole of ufology can
genuinely be considered as folklore, and that goes double for the
abduction scene.You seem to think the good Duke and I are somehow
saying the UFO experience in general, and the UFO abduction
experience in particular, is untrue, absurd, etc etc. This is not
the case. I'll speak for myself: what I am saying is that the
response to and treatment of such experiences is folklore. It's
not the experients, its the goddam investigators and the milieu
they operate in, Jerry. You've got what we are saying ass
backwards. I DO think there is hoax, lying and crass
self-delusion in ufology and abduction accounts, but I think
there are also people who have experienced something unusual that
demands explanation. My concern is that experients are all too
often TOLD what it is they have experienced, and/or that the
folkloric milieu they are introduced to will inculcate that
explanation in them.

JC: "I also see the inevitable North America bashing, a
particular obsession of yours.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but
don't you actually live here at least part of the time?"

PD: You aren't thinking clearly, Jerry. I am not North America
bashing at all. (And how dare you lump Canada in with the USA?
The fact that Chris RutKowski lives in Canada shouldn't malign a
whole nation.) I love the USA, and I think it has many strong
points, its people are generous, I love the energy the US has, I
truly do love NYC, I have many dear US friends, and much, much
else. No, I am not bashing the United States, I am being highly
critical of the dominant, ET-literalist paradigm that infects
nearly all of US ufology. Those two things are not the same.
However, there is a literlaist tendency in US society as a whole,
and that finds its microcosm in US ufology - a ufology that has
been exported so that it is virtually international at the
popular level.

And yes, indeed, I spend at least half my time here in the States
- we have a home on both sides of the Atlantic. You make my point
for me. THAT IS PRECISELY WHY I AM IN A UNIQUE POSITION TO OFFER
MY CRITICISMS. It is a fact, plain and simple yet again, that in
British ufology, and I'm sure in the ufology of many other West
European countries, the literalist view is balanced more
effectively by alternative approaches than it is in the US. It is
a healthier research climate in British ufology, notwithstanding
that at the tabloid pop end of the business (and business it is)
it is still  literalism based on imported Americana.

You simply cannot take the cultural influence out of this thing,
Jerry. I stick absolutely to my claim that you have been affected
by the cultural milieu in which you live, move, think and have
your being. You can't see it, because you are in it. I can see
it. You may play fancier footwork than most, but you are still in
the ET-literalist ballpark of US ufology. Let me mix metaphors:
the dominance of the ET-literalist paradigm within 'mainstream'
ufology turns it into a conceptual ghetto. Mixing on, I'd say
that the ET-literalist approach is a sort of rest home for the
intellectually lazy. You may be the librarian at the rest home,
Jerry, and look out of the windows more often than most, but you
are still an inmate.

Mainstream ufology as we know it is rooted in 1940s and 1950s
Americana. It is American folklore. And you are coloured by it,
and would find it exceptionally difficult to break free from it
-- even though it is long past its shelf life. Ufology needs
reinventing because there is, indeed, something to be understood
within it, at the level of some experiences had by some people.
If we are to understand it, we will have to break out of the
ghetto, the ballpark, the rest home, the tatty conceptual museum
of Americana. The fact that you and others get so defensive on
the handful of occasions anyone suggests another approach, tells
me that you haven't escaped yet. Nor have many ufologists on your
side of the Atlantic (there are notable exceptions). You demand
evidence for this or that. I just demand that you think a bit
harder. The ET-literalist approach is treated as if it were
somehow a proven fact. It is not. Yet when Dennis Stacy published
my "Meeting with the Alien" in the MUFON journal, I understand he
was told that he shouldn't be publishing such material.
Shouldn't! There you have it. Alternative views cannot even be
discussed rationally in US ufology. Anyone who promotes them is
to be treated like a dolt, an imbecile, a criminal, a con-man,or
whatever. Should be attacked or ignored.

If I may invoke a bit more of Dylan - for pity's sake, will you
please lay down your weary tune, if just for a while. See what
else you might think off if you were not always leaning on your
ET-literalist crutch. (I direct that at ETH  US ufolologists in
general.)

JC: "...see, for one example, my piece on John Mack (IUR,
March/April 1994)."

PD: Well of course I read it, Jerry. That's why I perceive you
becoming "softer" now.

I do agree with you, however, in being cautious about both
extremes. I have also had my differences with the over-zealous
"new ufologists". You cannot treat all of us a monolithic whole.
The extreme at the *other* end, however, the ET-literalist end,
now reaches to the centre - nay, the core -  of American ufology.
That is the point of my criticism.

JC: "...read my UFO Encyclopedia..."

PD: Well of course I read it, Jerry.(Reprise.) May I ask you to
read outside the UFO literature much more than you do?

JC: "...hallucinations generated by immersion in obscure folklore
texts."

PD: No one I know has ever claimed that. You are missing a
cognitive link here. The altered mind states involved (see below
or appended file) are not generated by folkore, obscure or
otherwise. But if you are trying to say that the course and
content of dissociated states are not affected by set and
setting, you need to see a psychiatrist (to confirm that your
view is incorrect, I mean...)

As to this little "obscure texts" chestnut you roll out
frequently: the sources people like Hilary Evans and others point
to are not all *that* obscure, but in any case even if a text  is
obscure, it only takes one person to make it less so. You never
know where you pick up information. But I don't consider
mass-media sources, even if old, all that obscure, to be honest.

JC: "...I feel perfectly comfortable as an agnostic here...No
effort to bully -- or caricature -- me, or any of the rest of
us who remain open-minded about this most difficult and contentious
of subjects,into submission is going to do the job."

PD: Oh come on now, Jerry! That's your "reasonable face" you like
to think you wear all the time. Your knee-jerk reaction to
Mendoza, and your notable - shall we say - reticence regarding
other views outside the ET-literalist paradigm, give the lie to
your self-delusion.

I'm not trying to bully anyone - just trying to get heard. And
then listened to. That's the difficult bit. You didn't even refer
to my statement that we are researching lucid dreaming, for
instance. Did you think it didn't matter? Because I really do
care what the UFO abduction thing is about, I'll add the
following outline of what we are doing.

-----------------------
THE ONTOLOGICAL STATUS OF "ALIEN ABDUCTION" REPORTS.


I am involved with professional colleagues in studying the
induction, brain-mapping and phenomenology of the "lucid dream"
state. We are even funded (albeit modestly). Lucid dreaming is
not some wishy-washy New Age nonsense, but an altered mental
state (ANS), not at all like dreaming, that is signal-verifiable
on dream laboratory polygraphs. The brain is awake and conscious
when the body is physiologically asleep. To the experient, the
state is indistinguishable from waking reality, except for
possible bizarre content. The experient experiences full 3-D
spatial reality; all senses can seemingly operate: ie. there is
sight, hearing, touch, olfaction and taste. There is an image of
the experient's body (just as we carry an image around with us in
waking life). The ANS can occur spontaneously in a nap, at the
onset of or awakening from sleep, from within the normal dreaming
state, *and from the waking state*, especially while driving,
even walking, and under stress and other circumstances. It can
also be deliberately induced. It is not pathological. There are
various contiguous states of AMS lumped together under the
umbrella heading of "lucid dreaming" (a term first used in
English in 1913).

As part of this research, we are doing a deep and wide literature
search. This spans not only lucid dream material, but ranges
though various other categories, contemporary and historical,
even including certain archaeological and ethnological material.
It is clear without any shade of doubt that THE UFO ABDUCTION
REPORT MATERIAL IS ONLY A SUB-GROUP OF A MUCH WIDER LITERATURE.

Doubtless, the abduction experience is likewise only one form of
a particular set of dissociated AMSs. This even goes down to
factors such as body scars: I have seen anthropological
photographs of tribal trance experients who have markings said to
have been inflicted by spirits while the person was in trance. I
have seen reports of whole batches of Linda Cortile-like
floatings out of windows, but not under the heading of "UFO
abductions". The various categories use differing terminology and
conceptual images to frame the experiences.The experiences are
essentially the same.

****For reasons currently unknown, all groups can meet entities
that seem autonomous and so "real" that it is difficult to
believe that they can be products of the mind. I myself have been
within 20 feet of a non-human being (or "being") - full 3-D, full
colour, astounding detail, totally solid and realistic - with all
my conscious reasoning and senses intact. Some others have had
tactile contact, including "scaley skins".

We hope to be able to arrive at swift and effective induction
methods that will allow investigators to experience this AMS.
There are technical problems with mapping the effects within the
brain while the subject is within this AMS, but we are hoping
to overcome this with new approaches. It is hoped that we may
be able to use a portable device. If this work proves successful,
we would at last have a means of monitoring people subject to
repeated "abduction" experiences. We might also be able to start
to unravel the damage done by those who throw an ET-literalist
strait-jacket over the experience.

This work will take years, and is not being done as UFO abduction
research, because that is actually quite a small sub-category of
the phenomenon as a whole.

I would like to publish a book preparing people for this area,
but so far US publishers have declined, apparently fearing that
it might adversely affect their literalist UFO titles (ie. it
might interfere with the prevailing folklore, which is proving
commercially gratifying.) But I will eventually get some
introductory material out on all this.

-----------------

Finaly Jerry, I do think you are high class as ufologists go, and
I do like and respect you. But please get off your high horse. I
am as keen as anyone to understand what is going on. I leave you
with this observation...

A few years ago Mark Rodiguer (sorry if I haven't spelled that
correctly - it is late, I am tired, and I don't have a reference
to hand) - gave a talk on the UFO abduction experience to the
Society for Scientific Exploration in Santa Fe. It was an
excellent talk, and, indeed, Mark is an excellent fellow. A fine
researcher. However, nowhere in his presentation did he make an
issue of the fact, if he mentioned it at all, that many if not
most reported UFO abductions begin in the bedroom or when someone
is in a quiescent condition, or when they have been driving at
night. I had to bring it up as a question, and then he readily
agreed and made the point to the audience. It wasn't that he was
being biased or underhand. It was just that this incredibly
significant fact about UFO abductions simply slipped past the
cognitive threshold. It did not register as one of the most
important things you could say about the experience. I claim that
is a result of cultural conditioning. The milieu in which you all
work.


If you want to really be open minded, Jerry, I suggest you start
with this fact about UFO abductions, without prejudice, and see
where it takes you. Work on it, and come back and tell me in six
months that it isn't one of the key facts about the matter.

Best wishes,
Paul



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