Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Kathleen Marden - Commonalities Study Final Report

I received an email from Kathleen Marden (which is not to say that it came just to me, but one that she had sent to many of us interested in UFOs), niece of Betty Hill, about a statistical study she and Denise Stoner had been working on. “The Marden-Stoner Study on Commonalities Among UFO Abduction Experiencers,” as it is called, was a multiple-choice survey of those who believe they have been abducted by aliens, and a core of non-abductees as a control group.

Kathleen Marden
According to Marden, “Nearly a year ago, Denise Stoner and I met to discuss the commonalities that alien abduction experiencers share. As longtime abduction investigators/researchers, we were aware of certain repeating patterns of information and characteristics. The pertinent literature, the academic social science studies and the works of David Jacobs, PhD, Thomas Bullard, PhD, and the late Budd Hopkins, John Mack, MD, and others had identified several commonalities among abduction experiencers. But we had not been able to locate an academic study that was specific to our particular interests.”
This is something that should have been done years ago, after it was clear that something was happening to these people. It is not necessarily alien abduction, but there is something going on there. When Russ Estes, Bill Cone and I conducted our research in the mid-1990s, we had noticed some trends and wondered if there was any significance to them. If a trend could be spotted, then we might learn something that would help understand this aspect of UFOs or, at the very least, the people who were reporting it.
As Kathleen noted, other abduction researchers had also noticed some of this, but there had been no attempt to gather statistics about it. Although a long time in coming, this is the sort of scientific research that needs to be conducted, and it seems that Kathleen has the background to attempt it, based on her academic and work experience.

The study, as it stands, has had about 50 participants, and some of those are self-reported. She wrote, “Participants for our study were solicited via the MUFON UFO Journal and several alien abduction and UFO oriented websites. We also appeared on several radio shows and invited listeners to participate. Last, there were questionnaires at my vendor table at several UFO conferences and at Denise’s meetings. I posted the questionnaires, a letter of explanation, and an informed consent notice on my website at We communicated to participants that all questionnaires would be kept in a locked and secure location and destroyed at the end of the study. All personal identifying information that was volunteered would remain confidential. As a cautionary measure, we advised all potential participants that they should only complete the questionnaire if they could do so without feeling uncomfortable.”
After analyzing the data, there were a couple of interesting conclusions drawn. Marden wrote:

The vast majority was revisited—some more than 10 times—and was taken from their homes to an alien craft. Often the abduction experiencers sensed an impending visitation by alien entities before it occurred. The mode of communication between alien entities and humans is almost entirely telepathic. A new psychic awareness has emerged in the majority of experiencers and about half have found that they now have new healing abilities.
Immediately before or soon after a visitation they become aware of paranormal activity in their homes, such as light orbs, objects flying through the air or from walls, doors opening and closing without assistance, etc. The majority noticed malfunctioning electrical equipment, appliances, watches, computers, TVs, radios, cameras, etc.
Slightly more than half developed a new sensitivity to light and now crave salt. They feel a foreign object in their body and are fearful of being abducted again. Most have difficulty falling asleep and remaining asleep throughout the night. Those who have resolved their fearfulness are more likely to sleep restfully.
Finally, we want to express our sincere gratitude to those who participated in this study. It wasn’t an easy task. We asked them to visit my website and copy the 45 question or 16 question form. Then we requested that they fill in the multiple choice questions and add their comments and accounts of their personal experiences that would elucidate us regarding their specific information. They were then asked to mail their questionnaires to me or to return them via email. Although it required some effort on their part, it reduced the possibility that hoaxers would intentionally sabotage the study. In the end, we were very pleased with the knowledge we gained and the opportunity it gave us to support abduction experiencers and expand the UFO research community’s knowledge of the alien abduction phenomenon.
Those who wish to read the entire report, who want to see the statistical breakdown and the questions addressed, should visit her web site, address noted above. It is under the tab labeled “Commonalities Study Final Report,” directly under the banner (at the end of a list of places on the site). It is an interesting read.


Frank Stalter said...

One significant trend I see is the similarity between the prototypical abductee cycle and Joseph Campbell's Hero's Cycle.

Anthony Mugan said...

An interesting if very complex subject. Another commonality is how frequently people reporting CE4 type experiences also describe a UFO report. I took a look at that a while ago and found, surprisingly, a statistically significant excess of UFO reports from other witnesses in the area and time frame of CE4 reports. The paper was in the Journal of Frontier Science, 2011.
Whilst I suspect REM atonia and range of other factors may well account for a lot of reports, and a correlation does not establish a causal link, this was an interesting finding. Persinger's tectonic strain light theory may well be a factor here but I'm not convinced as there isn't any evidence of enhanced frontal lobe lability in CE4 experiences. This is an area that needs further, particularly given Puthoffs paper in the JBIS in 2010 which seems to predict many of the 'oz' effect characteristics from space-time modification

calliebuddy said...

I look forward to reading the full report.

A study like this is long overdue. More important, the investigators are sharing the results with the public. This is greatly appreciated because, as you mention in your post, it opens the door toward new comparisons and connections.

Tyler Kokjohn

Gilles Fernandez said...


Kevin (and friends here), did you read Susan Clancy's books and mainly "Abducted: How People Come to Believe They Were Kidnapped"? as her several articles with McNally,?

That's a serious mainstream counter-ton of the "Fringe Science" approach regarding the so-called "abductions".



KRandle said...

Gilles -

Did you read my book, The Abduction Enigma, which covered all this ten years before Clancy even thought about it?

KRandle said...

Gilles -

Not only did Clancy bring anything new the the table, her research was out of date. For some reson, most skeptics have missed The Abduction Enigma. But, had you taken the time to look at what Marden wrote, you would have found that Clancy's book was cited in the bibliography.

We, Russ Estes, Bill Cone and I found several statistical anomalies among the abductee populations. We thought these should be explored. We also suggested that other such anomalies might exist and if found, might tell us something about alien abduction. Marden did this... and we should all applaud her for her work in the area... it beats sitting around an explaining why no research should be done.

Gilles Fernandez said...

Dear Kevin,

It was not my humble question.

Susan A. Clancy is a mainstream cognitive psychologist, and one the few in Mainstream interrested by this "topic" of the so-called "alien abduction".

Sorry to have read her and "fan of" her approach, before any "ufologists" one(s).

Sorry to have asked you about your feed-back or own regard regarding her work (with McNally)...

As cognitive psychologist myself, I focuse on Mainstream works first, a look to "fringe" one(s) after... Pardon...
I ignored you have writted a book too, as "ufologist", regarding the so-called "Alien Abduction" ;)

I noticed in your blog entry you didn't mentionne Susan Clancy's works, and I was "surprised" by your no mention, as cognitive psychologist.

That's all or that's ufology.


KRandle said...

Gilles -

This was a post to point people to Kathleen Marden's research into trends and not really a disccusion of abduction research. You might have noticed that I didn't mention my own book on the topic, one that Clancy seemed to have missed... and, of course, didn't mention that Bill Cone is a clinical psychologist either.

I have surveyed the literature from all perspectives... which means I have read the various works including some of the more outrageous claims of David Jacobs and his hybrid ideas.

I also knew that someone would have to bring this up, though the posting was there to point those interested to Marden's work... which, I note here, included the citation of Clancy's work on the question of alien abduction.

Gilles Fernandez said...
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Gilles Fernandez said...
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JAF said...

Only 10% of Susan Clancy's subjects actually claimed to be abductees! Strange that she would be drawing conclusions about a population so poorly represented in her study.

Susan Clancy wrote on page 57 of "Abducted: How People Come to Believe They Were Kidnapped by Aliens":

Though I didn't attempt to quantify the differences in degree during the data-collection process, there seemed to be a continuum of confidence. At one end: "Could I possibly have been abducted?" At the other end: "I was abducted." The latter group comprised about 10 percent of the abductees who called in response to my ads. Why were they so confident? For a good reason: their belief was not based solely on symptoms and feelings. They had detailed and terrifying memories of what had happened to them.

Clancy's book was a disappointment to me because she drew conclusions about abductions based on a population of 90% non-abductees.

In Kevin's book "The Abduction Enigma" is the case of Sherry whose abductions stopped once she started taking Prozac (page79).

Another abductee commented that her abductions stopped completely when she entered menopause. This might be Debbie Tomey aka Kathie Davis, but my memory is too vague to be sure. I should add that not all abductions stop at menopause.

Gilles Fernandez said...
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Gilles Fernandez said...

Sorry I deleted my previous post (I posted to fast without sources).

Dear JAP,

Prozac (fluoxetine) is a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI)and it is used to reduce serious cases of Sleep Paralysis. Some searchor thinks that Sleep Paralysis is in reality the cause of why people believes to have been abducted.

An hypothesis here could be that the patient suffered in reality Sleep Paralysis episodes and believed such episodes to be "abductions". The prozac could have stopped such possible S.P. episodes? That's an hypothesis of course.

Menopause decrease ostrogen and ostrogen is impotant in the cycle of serotonine secretion. Such low level of serotonine participates to explain why some menopaused women suffer "depression".

Some argue that "hallucination" during sleep are due to high level increased of serotonine during sleep this time : ie
Here, the low level of serotonine or an important chage of serotoninergic cycle due to the menopause could have stopped possible S.P. episode or sleep troubles. Again, that's an hypothesis, of course.



Anthony Mugan said...

I think you are right to highlight the clear evidence for neurological effects such as REM atonia, variations in seratonin etc. tahy appear to account for a proportion of CE4 type reports. As I mentioned before however, there does seem to be evidence for an excess of CE4 reports that occurr in areas / times in which other people are reporting UFO sightings. This is not consistent with a purely neurological or pyschological set of explanations but implies at least some are related in some way to external phenomena.
That may not mean aliens, of course. Electromagnetic phenomena may be related to both UFO sightings and CE4 experiences if Persinger is on the right lines, but that remains to be established in terms of how significant a contribution tectonic strain lights are to the overall UFO question, and if it is actually a valid mechanism for generating CE4 experiences at all outside of the lab
This seems to be leading me to suggesting that the CE4 dataset may be made up of several different types of experiences with some superficial similarity in their symptoms. Classic waking dreams, for example, seem quite similar to typical CE4 experiences for the early stages (e.g. paralysis except for the eyes, a sense of presence etc.) but, seem to deviate in the later stages. This all needs much more work to unpick properly I suspect, but I would just throw in the thought that if (and it remains a big if) the ETH is correct for some cases then it seems unlikley that they would be simply here to enjoy the sightseeing, but rather for some operational purpose.

Kitty said...

I work with a psychologist and her treatment team, rather like a clearing house for people that have been had an abduction experience. It should be noted, the lead psychologist refers to patients as "Betty" and "Barney" types. A "Betty" being one that adjusts well and thrives from the experience, a "Barney" one that is traumatized and has great difficulty dealing with the abduction experience. (They refer to it as "Abduction experience" rather than "Abduction" because they try to not prove or disprove anything, rather to help the person that is often indeed suffering from what can be seen in the study mentioned here as severe problems such as sleep issues and fear.). It should be noted Dr.Simon, who treated Betty and Barney Hill, was not convinced they had been abducted, but he did indeed help Barney, who seemed most effected, to a sense of peace and stability again. Even with their disagreement about just what had happened, therapy helped. Currently the psychologist (a Canadian) is working on a book for therapists and psychologists based on her long term work with these patients, and what has worked the best for her team as far as treatment. (She's conducting a long term study, following patients over a course of 10 years to see how they do. She is in year 4 of the study). This is a legitimate problem that mainstream doctors, psychologists and therapists treat, and the hopes are for a book that will indeed give relief to those that believe they have been abducted by aliens. (Also, no disrespect is meant at all to Betty and Barney Hill by the "nicknames" for those they treat, simply respect for the couple that were the first highly reported case of abduction and one most people are familiar with.)