Regression Hypnosis: Should Ufology Take A Stand?
From: Jenny Randles <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 16:17:28 +0100
Fwd Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 13:50:44 -0400
Subject: Regression Hypnosis: Should Ufology Take A Stand?
As a newcomer to the net, please excuse me if I do not follow
proper etiquette. I am still learning. But I wanted to issue a
comment on a major policy in force in the UK, which does not
seem to have been adopted by any other country in the world
(save, to some extent, parts of Scandinavia). That is the
banning of the use of regression hypnosis as a viable way to
explore alleged abductions.
I appreciate how this seems to work like a magic key unlocking
the secrets of a case and making a light in the sky into a
fantastic alien contact. That is part of the problem, in fact.
It has, of course, made a few reputations and fortunes as well.
But is it what proper UFOlogists should be doing? Are we not, in
fact, putting self interest ahead of what ought to be our
primary duty - witness responsibility? As a community should we
not be more willing to consider taking stands that may be tough
on some but necessary?
There are many sound reasons for having doubts about the value
of hypnosis as a tool for uncovering the facts. Many of the
pioneers of the field recognised this and issued warnings that
were rarely heeded. From my point of view there are several key
things that decided me against this matter.
Firstly, I underwent regression myself - to both a UFO event and
other events that could be checked factually (as the UFO
sighting - no big deal by itself - could not). Under hypnosis I
saw images and described them but at least half the checkable
facts (like day of week and reason for being in a certain town)
were proven wrong. As a result any testimony on a completely
unverifiable story like a UFO contact will provide at least some
evidence that is false - and perhaps a lot of it. Yet we as a
community are treating it all as reality. Moreover we are
encouraging witnesses and society to do so on dubious grounds.
Secondly, witnesses told me more than once they felt worse after
undergoing regression than they did before. It did not clarify
their memory but created new, conflicting images about which
they could not make fair judgements. It also triggered many
nightmares they did not have before. One classic abductee (Alan
Godfrey - November l980 - Todmorden, Yorkshire) is in the list
of top CE 4s compiled by Eddie Bullard. But he told me that he
could not vouch for his testimony under hypnosis. This is a
confusing mix of abduction imagery and stuff about Biblical
figures and black dogs. There is no doubt where some of this
came from if you probe into Alan's past. The point is that he -
as a witness - could not be sure that this was a real memory or
just a fantasy based on books he had read between the sighting
and the hypnosis. I doubt he is alone but I also doubt few
UFOlogists create a climate with witnesses in which they feel
they can express any such reservations. A lot of people are
swept along by a tide of belief.
Thirdly, there are too many people with no medical
qualifications doing regression - sometimes on children. In one
UK case a witness I know had an epileptic seizure during
regression to a childhood sighting. Nobody present had medical
backgrounds. Luckily the witness was okay, but the point was
surely made that in our zeal to get exciting stories the proper
importance of witness welfare is being neglected.
There were other important issues beyond these that persuaded me
but these alone were enough to convince me that we needed to
take a step back from this mad dash towards using regression
everywhere. That is why in l988 BUFORAs investigation team took
a free vote and issued a moratorium banning the use of hypnosis
in its cases. I was forced out of BUFORA council and my Director
of Investigations job 4 years ago (another sad story of UFO
politics being far more important to UFO groups than doing the
job we supposedly exist to do!). But the policy happily remains
in force and I find it odd that BUFORA have never had the
recognition due for taking what was a very important stand on
behalf of the UFO community. Moreover, that nobody out there
seems willing to follow this lead and do what I believe to be
the right thing by the public at large and the witnesses who put
their trust in us. I would be interested to know why UFOlogists
consider 'benefits' of hypnosis to outweigh potential detriments
to a witness to such a degree that a similar ban on hypnosis has
not even been freely discussed, to my knowledge, by any of the
world's major groups. I accept my view could be the wrong one
here - but I am far from alone in the UK. I do feel that events
since BUFORA took our stand - such as the rise in understanding
of false memory syndrome and the lawsuit potential of regressing
children - has done nothing but prove that we were right.
Comments requested, please,