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Re: Alien Abduction - What's Left?

From: Steven Kaeser <steve.nul>
Date: Mon, 28 Feb 2011 09:37:17 -0500
Archived: Mon, 28 Feb 2011 12:29:16 -0500
Subject: Re: Alien Abduction - What's Left?

>From: Rick Nielsen <nilthchi.nul>
>To: post.nul
>Date: Sun, 27 Feb 2011 13:03:42 -0800 (PST)
>Subject: Re: Alien Abduction - What's Left?

>>From: Steven Kaeser <steve.nul>
>>To: <post.nul>
>>Date: Sat, 26 Feb 2011 15:28:06 -0500
>>Subject: Re: Alien Abduction - What's Left?


>>I think it's a mistake to believe that the scientific foundation of
>>this area of study was solely based on the research of Jacobs and

>I do appreciate the response Steve.

>First let me apologize for not reading the MIT results you
>reference. I do not have quick access to a copy.

>I also need to apologize for not making my main point clearer.
>I wanted to stress that until we have more, in the way of good
>evidence from repeatable >experiments, rendered good by real
>peer review, we're just groping in the dark. Until then we're
>just a majority of muttering men, mainly mulling meaningless
>and mundane minor minutiae of maybe meddled memories.

There are many scientific 'facts' that are accepted only because
of theory, and not direct experimentation. Peer review is
something that this genre lacks, and it would interesting to see
some organizational structure evolve to focus the quest, but
finding qualified volunteers to initiate that effort is

But there are many who have been involved in the study of Alien
Abduction and those that have published their findings is likely
just a slice of those who have sought to help others with
similar experiences.

For me, it's an inability to look someone in the eye and say
their accepted reality is in error. Like you, I've not found
proof in the sense of evidence that cannot be refuted, but as
Friedman points out, "the absence of evidence is not the
evidence of absence". I have several close friends that view
their experiences from different perspectives, and in many ways
it helps to form who they are.

But, as I had mentioned, Alien Discussions is probably one of
the better collections of papers on the subject. Used copies
appear to be selling for a high price on Amazon, so it would be
good to check the local library system. Jonathan Archer wrote a
good review that can be found at:


but this site is filled with Popups and I suggest it

C. D. B. Bryan also wrote a book on the Conference entitled,
Close Encounters Of The Fourth Kind, which is available for a
very reasonable price.



The Abduction Phenomenon At MIT*
by Stuart Appelle

C.D.B. Bryan, Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind: Alien
Abduction, UFOs, and the Conference at M.I.T.
New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1995.
476p. $25.

During June 13-17, 1992, a conference on the alien abduction
experience was held at the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology. Co-chaired by David Pritchard, physics professor at
MIT, and John E. Mack, professor of psychiatry at the Harvard
Medical School, this invitation-only conference was designed to
bring serious investigators and clinicians together to assess
commonalties and differences in their findings, interpretations,
and approaches to the abduction experience.

A number of writer-journalists were also invited, including
C.D.B. Bryan. His own perceptions of the conference, as well as
an extensive presentation of abduction accounts, and his
assessment of abduction and UFO phenomena in general, represent
the content of Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind.

Bryan's book follows close on the heels of Alien Discussions:
Proceedings of the Abduction Study Conference, edited by Andrea
Pritchard, David E. Pritchard, John E. Mack, Pam Kasei, and
Claudia Yap (Cambridge, Mass.: North Cambridge Press, 1994).
Discussions is 684 pages' worth of the complete Abduction Study
Conference proceedings. Readers interested in a blow-by-blow of
the conference will need to read that volume. Those willing to
settle for a somewhat selective summary will find Bryan's
coverage of the conference quite satisfactory.

Bryan begins his review of the conference with Mark Rodeghier's
definition of an abduction experience. Thomas E. Ballard, Bud
Hopkins, Keith Basterfield, David M. Jacobs, John Carpenter,
Jenny Randles, Joe Nyman, and others each elaborate on this
definition by describing the contents and structure of the
abduction experience according to their own individual

The review continues with John Miller's discussion of
conventional explanations for "missing" pregnancies. He examines
what conventional medical procedures may tell us about reputed
alien abductions. Richard F. Haines discusses multiple abduction
evidence. The infamous Roper poll on the prevalence of the
abduction experience is hotly debated. And Bud Hopkins unveils
details of the Linda Cortile case.

The conference then turns to the psychological dimensions of the
abduction experience. This is discussed by a number of mental-
health practitioners who have worked with experiencers and by
investigators who have assessed the characteristics of
experiencers using standardized personality inventories.

Bryan concludes his review of the conference with talks on the
ethics of abduction investigation and treatment (David Gotlib,
Stuart Appelle). With this he also concludes the first half of
the book.

The remainder of Close Encounters focuses on post-conference
interviews with a number of personalities, both from ufology
(Mack, Richard Boylan, Pritchard, Miller) and from the group of
experiencers who were in attendance especially two women whose
shared experiences are fleshed out during hypnotic sessions with

For the uninitiated, Bryan's analysis will provide a good
perspective both on ufology in general (Roswell, cattle
mutilations crop circles, black helicopters, MJ-12, and the
sighting classics are all covered along the way) and on some of
the personalities most closely associated with abduction
research. It also allows the reader an excellent glimpse into
the phenomenology of the abduction experience. Indeed, nearly
half the book is devoted to narratives of abduction experiences
as told by its percipients both through conscious recall and
during hypnotic regressions.

Yet, even for those who have closely followed the field, this
book offers items for reflection. For example, the reader is
allowed to listen in on the dialogue between Hopkins and an
experiencer during an actual hypnotic regression. This dialogue
will impress some, in terms of its effectiveness in eliciting
apparently hidden memories. At the same time it may well be
scrutinized by opponents of hypnosis looking for ammunition For
example, Hopkins responds to a traumatized experiencer who is
recalling an alien rape: "Nobody has the right to do this to
you....You didn't give him permission.... You have every reason
in the world to be angry. Every reason to say 'Leave me
alone.... Don't ever do this to me again' " (pp. 373-74).

However skillful, well intended, and perhaps inevitable such
exchanges may be, they will give pause to the researcher
concerned about the interaction between "counseling" and
"investigation." And critics of hypnosis will no doubt see in
these exchanges evidence of practicing therapy without a
license, or of reinforcing in the experiencer a literal
interpretation of the reported events.

The interview with Mack will also be of interest. Compared to
his book Abduction (1994), what emerges here is the more
coherent and accessible (albeit no less assailable) statement of
his reasoning. Mack identifies seven factors which he feels must
be addressed in any explanation of the abduction experience. For
both his detractors and his defenders, this list presents a
sharply focused target at which to aim.

Elsewhere in this interview Mack states that while he might not
be qualified to evaluate certain aspects of the abduction
experience (such as physical evidence), he can certainly
determine if his patients are telling the truth: "Maybe [my
client is] lying. But that's my business... That's where I do
have some expertise" (p. 258). His comment is particularly
poignant given the accusation by Donna Basset that he accepted
the completely concocted story she feigned during the course of
her "therapy" with Mack.

The reader is also treated to a view of ufology as seen through
the eyes of various conspiracy theorists. There is James A.
Harder, sizing up Bryan father's (Joseph Bryan III) as the mole
in NICAP who was responsible for the organization's demise.
Boylan finds evidence of covert research into alien technology
at every military base and government installation he visits in
the Southwest. Linda Moulton Howe shares a private moment with
an Air Force Office of Special Investigations agent who shows
her a secret document describing the government's involvement in
retrieving crashed saucers and dead aliens And then there are
the abduction experiencers themselves. One of them sees an alien
entity (invisible to Bryan) spying on them in the midst of a
daytime conversation on the MIT campus.

For the already indoctrinated, however, the big news from the
Abduction Study Conference will not really be news at all:
Investigators and mental-health professionals working with the
abduction experience disagree in almost every possible way.

This includes the origins of the experience (whether abductions
are real, not real, or something in between), its content (to
what extent the events so carefully delineated by Jacobs do or
do not accurately portray a typical abduction experience), the
apparent motives of the reputed abductors (whether they are here
to serve their own nefarious objectives or to save the earth
from catastrophe), and how investigators and mental-health
professionals should deal with experiencers seeking their
services (for example: what the ethics of abduction-experience
research and treatment should be). These differences of opinion
do not go unnoticed. To Bryan's credit he captures much of the
flavor of abduction research as well as the nature of the
abduction experience itself.

Bryan begins his book by framing the Abduction Study Conference
at MIT in terms of Pritchard's call for "a critical analysis and
an exploration of all the possibilities." Ultimately, both the
conference and Bryan's book can be judged by how well this call
has been met. By the strictest of standards, both may have
fallen short of the mark. But both are among the best
representatives of their kind for objectivity and open-

Ironically, for this very reason both have been and will
continue to be criticized.

*Stuart Appelle, Ph.D., editor of Journal of UFO Studies is
professor of psychology and associate dean, School of Letters
Sciences, State University of New York, College at Brockport.
Article from the International UFO Reporter. July/August, 1995.
Vol. 20, Number 4. pp. 20-21, 24.


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