Thursday, October 27, 2005

Clancy-ism Runs Amuck!

Apparently it isn't just Dr. Susan Clancy.

Personally, I've never quite known what to make of the alien abduction claims.

Many of the people who make them are clearly sincere, and obviously believe that they were abducted.

But I have a deeply rooted distrust of hypnosis as a legitimate investigative tool, and many of the abduction researchers don't ring true to me. Their flaws - and the flaws in their methodology - are detailed convincingly in The Abduction Enigma, by Kevin Randle, Russ Estes and William Cone.

Still, who knows? The Hill case is enough to make me keep an open mind. As a certain ufologist of my acquaintance might say, in a different context, "it's in my grey basket."

Part of me is hoping that Clancy et al are wrong, and that it can't all be explained as sleep paralysis, and other psychological causes, that have taken different forms over the centuries.

After all, any society that replaces the succubus legend with little grey aliens clearly has its priorities out of whack!

Paul Kimball

Source: The Western Mail - Wales, UK 26 2005

Close Encounters Of The Mind Kind

Alien abduction is probably all in the mind, according to research presented today. A new study supports the theory that people who claim to have contact with aliens are psychologically vulnerable to false memories.

Compared with other people, they also believe more strongly in the paranormal, and report experiencing more X Files-type activity, made famous by the programme starring Gillian Anderson (pictured) as Dana Scully.

Wales has been a hotspot for UFO sightings, including a spate of reports of extra-terrestrial experiences in 1977, which led to a government inquiry into strange goings-on in the so-called Broad Haven Triangle.

But research by Professor Chris French, head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit at Goldsmiths College in London has suggested that this type of contact with alien life may be all in the mind. Prof French carried out the study by comparing 19 alleged "abductees" and 19 random volunteers. He found that in psychological tests, so-called "experiencers" scored more highly in a number of areas, including belief in the paranormal, a tendency to hallucinate, and "dissociative" tendencies which can lead to altered states of consciousness.

They were also likely to fantasise, and had a history of sleep paralysis. Like other paranormal experiences, such as encounters with ghosts, alien abduction is often associated with sleep paralysis episodes, Prof French says. In this state, a sleeper wakes to find him or herself unable to move but aware of their surroundings. At the same time, dream-like auditory and visual hallucinations may occur.

Prof French, who will present his findings tonight at the Science Museum in London, said, "In the late 20th century, an increasing number of people around the world began to claim that they had had a most bizarre experience." Typically, they would report being taken from their beds or from their cars by alien beings." These beings were often around four feet high, with spindly arms and legs and oversized heads."

The abductees, or 'experiencers' as they prefer to be known, would describe how they had found themselves on board an alien spaceship where they were subjected to (often painful) medical examination, during which sperm or ova might be extracted." Although it is hard to estimate just how many people have conscious memories of this kind it is likely to run into at least several thousand worldwide."

The findings were backed by Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe, director of the Cardiff Centre for Astrobiology, who suggested claims of alien contact were derived from a desire to believe in extra-terrestrial life.

"It's some kind of instinctive need to link up with life outside Earth, but the experiences that are recorded by these people are factors of the imagination. They have had the sensation of an encounter, but it can not be quantified or substantiated."


The Odd Emperor said...

Not having read Ms Clancy’s book yet, It seems premature to characterize all abduction stories as “internal-self delusional” events. Some are, probably most are. I suspect many are caused or triggered externally by stuff in the environment. What that “stuff” might be is an open question.

For example, we know (or suspect) that RF radiation might have subtle effects on thought processes. I believe that there has been a certain amount of laboratory experimentation to support this idea. This so-called RC headset for example. Is it possible that natural RF radiation coming from the Earth itself might trigger hallucinations?


Don Maor said...

Ignoring the physical evidences can lead to many "mind" explanations.