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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1997 > Oct > Oct 18

Re: Questions for Abductees

From: clark@canby.mn.frontiercomm.net [Jerome Clark]
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 1997 20:03:10 PDT
Fwd Date: Sat, 18 Oct 1997 09:18:35 -0400
Subject: Re: Questions for Abductees

Hi, Duke and everybody,

For some damn reason I can't get into Duke's recent
posting.  When I tried to print it out just now so to
have it at hand while responding, it wouldn't print out, either.
So I'm going to proceed from memory of what I saw there,
and let me expresses all due apologies beforehand.

I respect Duke's intelligence and good humor (the latter
not always apparent here) while thinking he's wrong about
many things ufological.  Which will not stop me, by the way,
from recommending his books, which are well written, smart,
and stimulating even when I disagree -- and we often agree.
As I've told him, his treatment of Dark Side mythology in the
recent UFO: The Government Files is the best I've seen
anywhere.  (A plug here: I deal at length with the same
subject in my just published The UFO Book [Visible Ink
Press], a 700-page trade paperback in your bookstores
this week.)

Some, even much, of what Duke says in his posting is
sensible enough, and no thoughtful abduction proponent
or agnostic would take issue.  And if I misrepresented his
views in any way, I apologize.

Still and all, it's easy to read Duke as an all-or-nothing type.
When you have a credible multi-witness abduction story,
it's pretty hard to argue that you're dealing with a subjective
phenomenon.  The first two abduction cases I investigated,
long before anybody in ufology had ever heard of Budd
Hopkins, were incidents that involved more than one person.
All who participated had conscious memories of UFO sightings;
they were also aware of missing time.  This fact impressed me
at the time and still does.

What impresses me even more, in retrospect, is how much what
these people reported anticipated what was to come.  The Sandy
Larson case, which seems to have unleashed Duke's full fury,
is one of these.  See Eddie Bullard's discussion in UFOs: The
Measure of a Mystery.  Not long ago, moreover, I was surprised
to come upon an obscure CE3 in which an entity identical to the
one reported by Larson figured.

Duke wants to believe, and wants us to believe, that ufologists
lead abductees.  No one would say that never happens, or that we
shouldn't be concerned about it,  but there is no empirical
evidence -- for all critics like Duke would have us believe to
the contrary -- that this is the usual course of action, or that
it's even, so far, a measurable problem.  Again, go to Bullard's
The Sympathetic Ear (1995).  Unlike his critics, Bullard frames
falsifiable hypotheses and investigates them empirically.  The
empirical evidence so far indicates that whatever an
investigator's predisposition, abduction accounts end up sounding
pretty much the same.  So (as Bullard showed in an earlier JUFOS
paper) do hypnotically elicited and consciously recalled
accounts.  As a rule, as investigators have long insisted,
abductees are not leadable.

Here's a story about my other early abduction investigation: The
couple who had the experience went separately to a psychiatrist
who thought the idea of UFOs was nonsensical.  He'd never heard
of UFO abductions until the psychologist who referred the couple
to him explained the concept (this was in 1974).  On hearing it,
he expressed incredulity and even contempt. Thus he was shocked
out of his skull when, separately, the two reported an abduction,
with -- yes -- little gray men.  He was so visibly startled that
he actually scared his subjects.  He told them he did not want to
see them again.  I think it's safe to say he wasn't leading

The couple, incidentally, had no interest in UFOs and no
knowledge of the subject.  Neither did Sandy Larson, her
daughter, or her daughter's boyfriend.  Duke can rant all he
wants about what he sees as our failings.  I don't claim to be
perfect, and this was, after all, 1975-76.  I do feel sanguine
about this much: the story stands up, and we investigators did
not shape it.

In fact, had we done so, it would have been a different kind of
story.  From Budd Hopkins and others, we now know of the
"switching- off" procedure.  We hadn't a clue about it in 1975.
Yet that's precisely what Jackie, Sandy's daughter, reported: a
state of paralysis and diminished consciousness while the
abduction was going on.  Leo Sprinkle was certain that this was
simply a block, that she was really a participant in the incident
but was shutting it out.  He did everything in his power,
including the asking of blatantly leading questions (which I
recall feeling most uncomfortable about at the time), to break
through (as he conceived it).  Jackie withstood all the pressure
and stood by the story.  Meanwhile, Sandy said she did not see
Jackie while inside the UFO.  She said she did see Terry, the
boyfriend, who (as I mentioned in an earlier posting) refused to
undergo hypnosis, though he did confirm the UFOs, the missing
time, and the inexplicable change in seating in the car.

Something happened.  What was it?  That's what abduction research
is about: trying to answer that question, however hard it may be.
 The usual answers -- which, for all  his protestation to the
contrary, Duke keeps coming back to -- don't work, as Stuart
Appelle and others have shown.  In the most puzzling cases (e.g.,
Hill, Allagash, et al.) interaction with ETs is a reasonable
hypothetical explanation.  Right now, in fact, it's hard to
imagine another one.  Which doesn't mean another one couldn't
come along at some point.  All I know is that we haven't seen it
yet.  In the meantime, agnosticism is not, as Duke foolishly
implies, craven cowardice but perhaps the only truly
intellectually honest response. What it says is that we don't
have the answers yet, that we're going to have to do a hell of a
lot more work before we do.  Why should that make Duke so mad?

I was JOKING, Duke, when I cracked wise about abductees burying
themselves in obscure folklore texts.  Okay?  I was poking fun at
psychosocial theorists who act as if the mere existence of some
obscure folklore parallel to a modern abduction report deflates
the latter.  Let me quote Bullard here:

"In most other efforts to establish media or cultural influences,
standards of evidence are most conspicuous by their absence.
After fishing expeditions amid folklore, science-fiction
literature, and movie imagery, psychosocial theorists satisfy
themselves to draw isolated motifs out of context, select
favorable examples but ignore the rest, and never worry about
whether the obscurity of sources limits the likelihood that an
abductee might have seen them. Movies are a plausible source
because they enjoy mass exposure, but why abductees choose the
same narrow selection of movie elements when Hollywood has
offered so much variety remains an unanswered question."

And then there's Martin Kottmeyer with his spurious claim about
the "Bollero Shield" Outer Limits episode and its supposed effect
on Barney Hill's testimony.  The connection can be rejected on
other grounds (see High Strangeness, p. 250), but what is
particularly striking is that Kottmeyer was content simply to
draw the connection without bothering to ask Betty Hill if she
and Barney were in the habit of watching Outer Limits.  (I did
ask her; they weren't.) Kottmeyer's theory, on its face at least,
is less goofy than many to which we are subjected in the
psychosocial literature, but still, Kottmeyer proves to be as
indifferent to empirical investigation as his colleagues. That's
why Bullard is so uniquely valuable: a believer in empiricism in
this field is to be treasured.  No wonder he drives the critics
nuts.  He doesn't play by their rules and, in his own gentle,
understated way, shows that their rules get us

Duke, I am going to do you the favor of assuming you are joking
when you imply that you take New Age speculationist Peter
Rojcewicz seriously.  Or if you do, I'll do you the further favor
of assuming you have not read his Ph.D. dissertation, a fairly
amazing document.  For the rest of you, see pp. 379-80 of High
Strangeness.  Suffice it to say Peter is an educated John Keel,
except with rose-colored glasses and a pleasant personality.
Keel even confided to me once that Peter was going to carry on
his work.

Cheers to all, most of all my friend and fellow Forrest City Joe

Jerry Clark

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