Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Abduction Enigma

(Note: Russ Estes, Bill Cone and I published a book called The Abduction Enigma about a decade ago. We saw it as a way of changing abduction research for the better by pointing out the weaknesses in the field. Of course we were attacked for our heresies and our suggestions were ignored. Instead other researchers asked for our demographics and wanted to know our methodologies. The following, originally published in The Anomalist, provided that specific information.)

In July 1996, at the MUFON Symposium held in Greensboro, North Carolina, Budd Hopkins was disturbed by my paper about pop cultural influences on the imagery of alien abduction. He approached me and said, "You’re not an abduction researcher." I reminded him that he used information about an abduction I had investigated in his first book on the topic. I have been investigating alien abductions since the mid-1970s and apparently before Hopkins started.
Four years later, that same comment was made, even after having published a number of articles on the topic, and having written two books about abduction. The second of those books, The Abduction Enigma, written with Russ Estes (seen here) and Dr. William P. Cone, has created something of a fire-storm, with many attacking without attempting to understand the reason the book exists.

Before moving on, it is necessary to provide some background information on both Estes and Cone. Estes, as a documentarian, has been investigating UFOs, and by default, alien abductions, since the late 1960s, which puts him ahead of most in the field today. He has interviewed and video taped literally hundreds of abductees and was responsible for some of the insights published in The Abduction Enigma.

Dr. Cone is a licensed psychological clinician with more than twenty years experience in the field. He has worked with, again literally, hundreds who believe that they have been abducted. Some of those believed the abduction was at the hands of worshipers of Satan, but dozens of others believed that they had been abducted by alien creatures. When we begin to talk of experience, as a psychologist and an abduction researcher, Cone has credentials that are as impressive as any of those working in the field today. Unlike some who gained their experience in the ivory towers of academia, Cone gained his experience in the field working with real people who had real problems.

Of course none of that means anything to the critics of our book. They simply begin attempting to pick apart some of our basic assumptions. For example, those believing that alien abductions are taking place have asked what is our definition of an abduction. They are attempting, I suppose, to understand the process we used to select the participants in our survey. The flip answer would be that we used the same definition that they used and the same people they used. It allows us to dodge the question without answering it.

The real answer is that our sample was taken from those who had been identified as abductees by others. That means that our sample was made up of those who were accepted as abductees and that we identified no one from the general population who hadn’t been accepted by the "mainstream" of abduction research. It means that the abductees were those identified by Hopkins, John Mack, John Carpenter, Yvonne Smith, Richard Boylan and so on. It means that we did not identify them as abductees but relied on the definition used by those others and the identification of those others. Therefore, as mentioned, abductees in our sample are the same as the abductees used by the other researchers.

The interesting thing here is that there seems to be no universal definition of who is an abductee. Jerry Clark, in the second edition of his The UFO Encyclopedia wrote, "Abduction reports concern alien entities who capture humans from their bedrooms, vehicles, or open air, transport their captives inside a UFO, and subject them to a bizarre, sometimes painful physical examination before returning them to the capture site." That seems to define the abduction event but not who, or what, an abductee actually is.

David Jacobs, in Secret Life provided a description of the typical abduction. He wrote, "An unsuspecting woman is in her room preparing to go to bed. She gets into bed, reads a while, turns off the light, and drifts off into a peaceful night’s sleep. In the middle of the night she turns over and lies on her back. She is awakened by a light that seems to be glowing in her room. The light moves toward her and takes the shape of a small ‘man’ with a bald head and huge black eyes. She is terrified. She wants to run but she cannot move. She wants to scream but she cannot speak... This is the typical beginning of an abduction." Again, this addresses, more closely, what an abduction is as opposed to who is an abductee.

Raymond E. Fowler, in The Watchers, also tells us what an abduction is and provides a few clues about who the abductee is. He wrote, "...credible witnesses who claim not only to have observed but to have been taken abroad a UFO by alien creatures ...the alleged abductee claims to have been examined and operated upon with foreign instruments. Almost always, communication is accomplished by telepathy." By the way, I have seen no complaints about Fowler’s suggestion that communication is telepathic, and I have seen no one howling for demographic data to prove this bold assertion.

The closest that anyone comes, at least in the literature search I made, was from the "Abduction Code of Conduct" published in the Journal of UFO Studies. The authors wrote, "As there exist a number of possible causes for a reported abduction experience, investigators and MHPs [Mental Health Professionals] may work with individuals whose reported experiences stem from a variety of factors... abduction experiencer... simply indicates someone who reports experiences in their (sic) life which are consistent with, suggestive of, or thought to be associated with being ‘abducted’ (i.e., ‘carried or led away... in secret or by force,’) by apparently nonhuman entities." What this suggests is that an abductee is anyone who reports that he or she is an abductee. It tends to validate our sample because those we used were those who reported they were abductees.

Unlike most of those other researchers, we did not advertize in the backs of books, or in magazines, or on radio programs, suggesting those with specific types of symptoms to write or call to expand our database. Those used in our survey were those who had been identified by other, the "true" abduction researchers. They were the ones who attended the UFO conferences, the symposiums, and the local, small meetings, and those who had joined one of the many abduction groups whose purpose was to gather to discuss abduction. Many of them were names that would be recognized by the UFO community including those who have appeared on television, those who have written their own books, and those who have been featured in the books of the abduction researchers. We defined our sample by who they were and who had hypnotically regressed them. The flippant answer turns out to be accurate because "our" abductees were the same as those interviewed by Hopkins, Mack, Jacobs, Carpenter and many of the other, lesser known researchers.

I might point out here that, somehow, the selection of abductees has been turned on its head. We used those only identified as abductees, yet the other researchers advertize for their clients. Their abductees are "self-selected." Their sample is not random, by the strictest definition and that could skew their results.

The size of our sample was 316 individuals. They were selected because they claimed to have been abducted and "true" researchers had validated their claim. Today, for some reason, everyone is screaming for our demographics, though in the past no one really cared about these numbers, random sampling or even the scientific method.

In the last few months I read again that there is no psychopathology in the abduction population because Hopkins tested for it. What is rarely remembered is that Hopkins selected the sample, so it doesn’t seem to be random and it was only nine individuals. Hopkins has said that he has interviewed hundreds and hundreds of abductees since he began his research. This would mean that the data he presented about nine individuals who were not randomly sampled are invalid. The sample size was too small and not properly selected. Somehow those facts get missed most of the time.

In fact, Dr. Thomas E. "Eddie" Bullard pointed out that the Hopkins’ test was of people who had "achieved a high educational level." He also noted that "In this sense the group is neither adequate in size or suitably representative to indicate what abductees are like... Abductions may still have a psychological explanation, but it belongs in some branch of the field other than abnormal psychology." Bullard agreed that the sample was too small for the results to have any validity, yet champions of alien abduction continue to cite these data.

Our sample was drawn from all parts of the United States and several foreign countries. Each individual was video taped, and each was asked the same questions in approximately the same order. We, or rather I should say Russ and Bill because they did the lion’s share of the interviewing, asked all questions that seemed relevant. We did not limit ourselves by our preconceived notions, nor did we worry about privacy issues because we do not plan to release the names of those who participated in the interviews. In our sample, all those asked sat down in front of the video camera. Some asked to have their faces in shadow, or to be backlit so that it would be impossible to recognize them. Unlike Hopkins, Mack and the others, everyone agreed to go on camera in some respect. In our sample we had one hundred percent cooperation. Each of those interviewed signed a release, each had the right to refuse to answer any specific question, and each had the right to refuse the interview on camera. This too negates the privacy issue that is now so important to some of these researchers.

Here again there are some interesting twists. Yes, when I first approached Pat Roach (who, by the way was self-selected), she asked that I use a pseudonym for her. I called her Patty Price to protect her identity. Within months, she had agreed to go on a syndicated television program and used her real name. So much for the privacy issue here.

The story of Sherry, as related in The Abduction Enigma, is also illustrative. Sherry wanted her identity protected. She wanted to remain in the shadows and have her facial features obscured, up to point. That point seemed to be Disney and the opportunity to appear on a program that would be aired nationally. On television she told a story that was somewhat different than that she had been telling her abduction researcher and that she had told Estes. Not only that, she dragged her daughter into the tales, telling how she had stood by helpless, paralyzed, as the aliens had medically examined her child. Sherry had appeared in front of the camera to tell her horrifying tale.

Finally, before we leave this area, and in contrast to what other researchers claim, Estes noticed that the abductees were often eager to appear on camera. The reason given was that the abductee seemed to believe that sharing the tale might help others and if that was the outcome, then the exposure to possible ridicule was well worth it. If Hopkins and others are having trouble finding people to appear on television programs to help advertize their latest books, then they simply are asking the wrong people. It has not been difficult for us.

One other point about the our sample is important. The range of ages is from 26 to 47. We all decided not to deal with children because the memories of children are easily manipulated as shown by a number of scientific studies. When you begin to interview children under five, the things you learn from them are colored by their sense of wonder and by "magical" thinking. They don’t understand causal relationships and everything is new and wonderful for them.

As children grow, they learn more about the world around them and their view of the planet changes. They learn that some of the myths of childhood have no validity, but they are still confronted by things that are new to them and information that is often difficult to grasp. An authority figure, whether a parent, a teacher, a police officer, or an abduction researcher, can lead them, often without intension, into arenas that are far from the literal truth. We eliminated this problem by dealing solely with adults.

Now, in what has become the strawman of our research, we found a disproportionately high number of homosexuals in our sample. One hundred and seventy-four of them expressed homosexual tendencies. That can be broken down into those who were bisexual (23%) and those who had expressed a homosexual preference but who had not engaged in sexual activity for more than five years (29%). Before anyone claims the percentages do not add up, remember that those who said they were bisexual could also be in the group who abstained. And no, we did not investigate to learn the accuracy of their claims. We accepted, at face value, their reporting of their sexual preferences and activities, just as the other abduction researchers have accepted at face value many of the self-reported facts.

Before we proceed, it might be illustrative to discuss how this discovery was made. It wasn’t a question of sitting down to decide to talk about homosexuality, but an outgrowth of the interview process. Russ Estes had asked about the gender of the alien creatures. He was told, by the females, that most of the abductors were male, but that the leaders seemed to be female. In early discussions, as these distinctions were being made, Estes asked the natural follow-up question which revealed the pattern of gender identity. Once the preliminary observation had been made, the question about sexual orientation, as an outgrowth of an attempt to learn the gender of the alien creatures, was added to the survey.

The statistic became important, not because it deals with homosexuality, but because homosexuals are over represented in our abduction sample. Depending on which psychological or sexual study is cited, the representation of homosexuals in the general population is between 2 and 10 percent. This means their representation in our sample is between six and thirty times what it should be. Given that there is no accurate way to identify a homosexual individual by outward appearances, it would seem that an alien race grabbing people at random would end up with a sample that is statistically within the norms of the general population. This is not the case, based on our findings.

Maybe it should be pointed out here that African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asians are vastly under represented in the abduction population. Again, you would expect that all racial and ethnic groups would be represented as they appear in the general population, but this doesn’t seem to be the case. Yes, Hopkins, Mack and Jacob all say that the representation of these groups is normal but the individuals in these sub-groups simply do not report their abductions. Of course, if they don’t report them, then we can’t know for certain that they are properly represented but I see no one suggesting that abductions researchers explain this abnormality. No one is asking for proof that these other racial and ethnic groups are properly represented in the abduction populations. Instead the pronouncement that these other groups are properly represented but don’t report their abductions is accepted at face value without questioning the validity of the claim.

All of this leads to a number of other statistical surveys that could be made. By changing the variable from sexual preference to college education, or incident of divorce, or religious choice, or right and left handedness, further statistical abnormalities might be identified, and that might provide clues about the nature of alien abduction. If another population, one which has no outwardly visible signs is overly represented, then we would have learned something about those who report abductions and that might provide clues about abductions in general.

And while we’re attacked for not providing precise demographic data, other abduction researchers are not asked similar questions. Using Budd Hopkins again, he has said that 20 to 30 percent of the abductees have conscious memories of their abductions so that hypnotic regression is not a factor. No one has asked any specific questions about this information. For example, what exactly does Hopkins mean by conscious recall? Does this mean a vague feeling of unease, the memory of awaking paralyzed and the belief that something is in the room with them, or is it just the memory of a vivid dream?

Hopkins reported that "Steve Kilburn" had a conscious recall of a vague feeling of dread about a segment of highway. Under hypnotic regression, this feeling of dread was expanded into an abduction experience. Is Kilburn counted in this 20 to 30 percent?

Does the conscious recall include what is properly termed sleep paralysis? Depending on the study used, as many as half the people in the general population have experienced an episode of sleep paralysis. The symptoms match, exactly, those Jacobs outlined as his typical abduction experience cited earlier. No one has asked if the abduction researchers have taken care to separate the abduction experience from that of sleep paralysis.

In fact, abduction researchers have claimed that sleep paralysis does not explain alien abduction. They cite differences such as those who were allegedly abducted while fully awake. That does not mean that a percentage of those now identified as abductees did not have, as the precipitating event, an episode of sleep paralysis.

I should point out here that we attempted to gain the cooperation of a number of abduction researchers in a general survey of sleep paralysis in their abductee populations. It seemed to us that such a statistical analysis would provide some independent corroboration of some our findings. Of our 316 individuals, nearly half reported an episode that mimicked sleep paralysis and seemed to be the event that caused them to search for additional answers. None of the abduction researchers were courteous enough to even respond with a negative answer. Instead they ignored our requests for assistance and this was long before the book was published.

We can expand our database by searching through the abduction literature. Hopkins’ tale of a man he called Philip Osborne provides us with some clues. Hopkins wrote, "I noticed his interest in the subject [UFOs] had a particular edge to it. It was almost as if he accepted too much, too easily." Hopkins believed "that someone with a hidden traumatic UFO experience might later on be unconsciously drawn to the subject."

Osborne called Hopkins after an NBC UFO documentary and said that he had been struck by Steve Kilburn's remark that anyone could be the victim of abduction. According to Hopkins (seen here), Osborne had been searching his memory for anything in his past that would indicate some sort of strange experience. Then, one night after the NBC program, Osborne awoke in the middle the night, paralyzed. He could not move, turn his head or call for help. The experience was over quickly, but it reminded him of another, similar event that happened while he was in college. That earlier event had one other, important addition. He felt a presence in the room with him.

Hopkins, along with others, met Osborne a few days later to explore these events using hypnosis. During the initial hypnotic regression, Osborne gave only a few answers that seemed to direct them toward an abduction experience. According to Hopkins, Osborne told them that he "had more or less refused to describe imagery or events that seemed 'too pat,' too close to what he and we might have expected in a UFO encounter."

During the discussion after the hypnosis, Osborne told Hopkins that "I would see something and I would say to myself in effect, 'Well, that's what I'm supposed to see.'"

And, in a second hypnotic regression session held a few days later, while under hypnosis, Osborne said, "I'm not sure I see it... I think it's my imagination... It's gone now."

Osborne, it seems, had recognized one of the problems with abduction research, had communicated it to Hopkins, and then had it ignored. Osborne was wondering if the "memories" he was seeing under hypnosis were real. Hopkins believed they were so took no notice of Osborne's concern. Hopkins believes in the reliability of hypnosis as a method for uncovering the truth. We, however, see those statements by Osborne as extremely important in attempting to understand the context of alien abduction.

The fact that seemed to be overlooked, once again, is that Osborne's initial experiences are classic forms of sleep paralysis. Even the belief that an entity is in the room happens in about eighty percent of the cases of sleep paralysis. While Osborne certainly has some form of conscious recall of an event, it wasn’t until hypnosis was introduced that the memories moved from those that sound suspiciously like sleep paralysis to those that are now a complete and full blown abduction. The key here, with Osborne, as it has been with so many others, is the use of hypnosis and the validation provided by the abduction researcher.

And now we reach the reports that can be classified as vivid dreams. Betty Hill remembered nothing of the abduction until she began to dream about it. On the advice of friends, she began to keep a journal of those dreams and when interviewed by UFO researchers about her sighting, told them of the dreams she was having. That aspect of the case, the abduction told through dreams, was virtually ignored until she, along with husband Barney, were hypnotically regressed. Then, because the memories were accessed through hypnosis, they seem to have been validated. The point, however, is that the conscious memories of the abduction surfaced through dreams.

So, there are a number of reports that represent conscious recall. Unfortunately, that conscious recall isn’t of an abduction itself, but of a dream, or possibly sleep paralysis, or of vague anxieties that emerge under hypnosis.

Yes, we know that Eddie Bullard, in his report for FUFOR noted, "Only a minority of cases include hypnosis in their discovery and investigation. For 212 cases the reports include no mention of hypnotic probes, and undoubtedly in most instances no mention means no hypnosis." Of course, this is an assumption on the part of Bullard. Since his report was published in 1987, that situation has changed. But the real point is that we have no demographic information about where Hopkins obtained his 20 to 30 percent suggesting no hypnosis necessary for recall of the abduction event.

But all of this, the demands for demographic data and definitions of abduction are red herrings because they mask the real issue. In The Abduction Enigma we addressed many of these issues, but more of the criticisms focused on either the lack of demographic data or that we had found an anomaly in our statistical sample. That is, the homosexual population was over represented. We thought this strange statistic should be reported simply because none of the other abduction researchers had explored this ground. When questioned about it, they thought nothing of it.

Overlooked, however, are the facts we uncovered about abduction research itself. These facts are mentioned, in passing, by other researchers, but the significance of them is downplayed. Searching the abduction literature, we found, expressed by other researchers, another part of the abduction answer. It was an answer that each of the researchers offered to explain the mistakes of their fellows, but a criticism that did not apply to the researcher making the claim.

Jacobs, in The Threat, wrote, "Many hypnotists and therapists who work with abductees adhere to New Age philosophies and actively search for conformational material. During hypnosis, the hypnotist emphasizes the material that reinforces his own world view. If both the subject and the hypnotist are involved with New Age beliefs, the material that results from the hypnotic sessions must be viewed skeptically, because their mindset can seriously compromise their ability to discern facts."

John Mack (seen here) said something similar. He said, "One of the interesting aspects of the phenomenon is that the quality of the experience of the abductee will vary according to who does their regression."

Mack also told C.D.B. Bryan, "And there’s another interesting dimension to this which Budd Hopkins and Dave Jacobs and I argue about all the time, which is that I’m struck by the fact that there seems to be a kind of matching of the investigator with the experiencer... And the experiencers seem to pick out the investigator who will fit their experience." This is, of course, a ridiculous explanation offered to explain why the investigations of a specific researcher match the data gathered by that researcher, but not necessarily that of another.

Mack then goes on to explain it. He said, "It seems to me that Jacobs, Hopkins and Nyman may pull out of their experiencers what they want to see." Mack has just provided an answer about the abduction experience if he could understand what he implied. He has explained why Jacobs finds hybrid invaders, Hopkins finds alien scientists and Mack finds eastern philosophers. They pull from their experiencers what they want to see.

Evidence of this is seen from the earliest investigations into alien abduction. When I arranged for Dr. James Harder, at the time the APRO Director of Research, to use his hypnosis skills on Pat Roach, there weren’t many people claiming to have been abducted. His motivation was a validation of the Hill abduction. If there were additional abductions in widely separated parts of the country, Harder believed that the testimony would be persuasive evidence of alien abduction.

A close reading of the transcripts of Harder’s hypnotic regression sessions with Roach point to his leading her to the place he wanted to reach. For example, when Roach mentioned that she believed she had been examined by the aliens but didn’t really remember it, Harder asked her if it had been a G-Y-N examination. There certainly was no reason for Harder to limit it to that one specific kind of examination, other than his desire to validate the Hill case.

There is another point that is not evident on the tapes or in the transcripts because the intervals between the hypnosis sessions were not taped. These discussions provided some insight into the researcher methods. At one point, before the session in which Roach revealed she had been examined, Harder (seen here with Pat Roach and her daughter) had told her of Betty Hill’s quasi-medical examination on board the UFO. It was in the very next session that Roach told that she thought she had been examined and Harder asked about the G-Y-N.

In fact, a close examination of the Roach case revealed where most of her inspiration could be found. Harder was inducing it during his questioning under hypnosis and in his discussions with her between those sessions. At the time, to me, it seemed to be a good technique because it assured her that she was not alone in her memories of alien abduction. It was supposedly a relaxing technique that reduced her anxiety. In the end, it was a subtle prompting that took Roach in the direction that Harder wanted her to go. I doubt that Harder realized what he was doing. I certainly didn’t see the harm in 1975 as we interviewed Roach.

I tried to find out how pervasive such coaching might be. Looking at the Herbert Schirmer abduction from Ashland, Nebraska in 1966, I saw that Dr. Leo Sprinkle, working with scientists from the notorious Condon Committee, had met with Schirmer during one morning to explain how they planned to proceed with their investigation. Notes and information about the hypnosis sessions were included in both the official report issued by the Condon Committee and in books written by Coral Lorenzen. Neither of those sources provided the answers that I wanted.

Working with Jerry Clark, we began a long distance investigation. We asked Dr. Michael Swords, who has been through the Condon Committee files, and who is quite familiar with the case, if there were any notes that would tell us what happened before the hypnosis session. Unfortunately, there was nothing available in that source to clear up the questions.

Clark, who is friends with Sprinkle, agreed to approach him to see if notes or minutes or some sort of record of those earlier sessions existed. Sprinkle responded quickly to Clark’s request, but only to say that everything he had was published and he gave the same sources that we had already checked.

What I wanted to know, and what is important here, is how Sprinkle had approached Schirmer. What did he say to him about the reasons for wanting to hypnotically regress him? It would seem that if Sprinkle mentioned that he thought there might be more to the original UFO sighting, if Sprinkle mentioned the possibility of an abduction, then the session would be tainted. That is not to suggest that Sprinkle mentioned abduction, or that one of the scientists from the Condon Committee mentioned abduction, but there is no way of knowing this in today’s world.

If we extrapolate from the problems with the Roach investigation, the possibility of implanting memories by discussing hypnosis, and from Mack’s theory, we can see that each of the researchers is finding an abduction where nothing of the sort might exist. All we have to do is return to the initial hypnotic regression sessions, as published by the abduction researchers, and we find, time and again, how, originally, the subjects said there was nothing there. The researchers, however, using various techniques, "strengthen" the state of hypnosis and eventually break through the mental blocks erected by the abductors.

I think we need to note here that it doesn’t matter how skilled the hypnotists are, or how sophisticated the alien abductors might be. Everyone who tries is able to break through the mental blocks to learn all that the aliens try to hide. It would seem that an alien race who has defeated the problems of interstellar flight would understand enough human psychology to hide their actions if they wanted to do so. Yet their attempts fail as the weekend hypnotists, as well as though with extensive training, are able to learn the alleged truth.

Eddie Bullard in his report for FUFOR noted, "At no time in any of the reports on record has an abduction appeared out of nowhere to someone undergoing hypnosis for unrelated reasons." Bill Cone reinforced that, saying much the same thing. In our survey of 316 individuals, all of them had gone to an abduction researcher. All of the individuals found an abduction experience, even when the reason for beginning the search was little more than a very vivid dream.

In a corollary, it should be pointed out that we know of no case in which someone approached an abduction researcher, was taken on, and failed to produce an abduction experience. Yes, we know that one researcher screens those who write to him, suggesting that he can tell the "nut cases" by the number of times confidential is written on the envelop and how much tape is used. The point is that all those who have been accepted have produced the required tale, with the proper elements that reinforce the specific researcher’s belief structure.

In one of the most important of the revelations in The Abduction Enigma, we found a clue about the nature of the abduction phenomenon and we have discovered why the stories, used as proof that abductions are real, seem to match so well. The researchers are directing the stories as they are being told. This observation was one that was made by Mack and Jacobs. There is no reason to reject it as an explanation. Both have suggested, as noted, that the researcher finds what he or she wants to find.

But, rather than discuss this revelation, rather than suggest that we have misinterpreted what they said by claiming it is inaccurate, they begin to complain about demographic material, source of interviews, and the fact that a disproportional number of gays were found in our abductee sample. These researchers and critics don’t know if our sample was skewed because none of the other researchers asked these basic questions. Instead they suggest that we were asking questions that were none of our business. This from people who are not mental health professionals but are using hypnosis and commenting on psychological principles that they have not studied and about which they know very little.

And if it is true that the researchers are pulling from the abductees what they want to find, and we certainly saw corroboration of it in our research, then hasn’t the case for alien abduction been seriously damaged? Haven’t we reported on a flaw that has been virtually ignored as researchers continue to gather data? If we are correct, then shouldn’t abduction research, as it is now conducted, be reevaluated to eliminate these problems? Remember, we are not the only ones to find this problem but we did suggest it as a major reason that abduction research should be altered. Instead of considering this possibility, the critics and abduction researchers begin to focus on demographics and trivia rather than confronting the issue.

Case study research, which is what the lion’s share of abduction investigation has been for the last twenty to thirty years has yielded all the results we can expect. There are now, literally, thousands of case studies, beginning in this country with Barney and Betty Hill and continuing to Linda Cortile (Linda seen with Budd Hopkins) of Witnessed fame. These latest studies provide nothing that is actually new or important but become one more stone to throw onto the pile. But case studies are not going to advance our understanding of alien abduction. Instead, they conceal understanding under a mountain of paper and transcripts.
The real point of The Abduction Enigma was that abduction research has stagnated. Abduction research is caught in a cycle that allows for no new revelations or understanding. When we suggested that such was the case, when we presented evidence that such was the case, the attitude was to ignore these criticisms and attack demographic information that has little overall importance.

This report provides the sort of demographic information that other abduction researchers have refused to supply. It also points out where abduction research should go if it is going to survive in the future. We understand the case studies, we understand that the abductees are telling all the truth as they understand it, but we must now determine if that truth is of alien visitation or if it conceals something else. That was supposed to be the message in The Abduction Enigma but too many chose to ignore it or fail to see it. They would prefer that we stay where we are, placing the unsuspecting under hypnotic regression in a thinly veiled attempt to maintain the status quo. Let’s look beyond that and move the research into an arena that can provide some answers and that will actually help those claiming abduction. To do any less would be to ignore the situation.


Bob Koford said...

The Abduction Enigma is one of the books of yours that I have read. This is such a difficult subject to tackle, as there are so many possible variables.

For one thing, through the history of the "contactee" movement we can see how agents can be used to dilute the truth, by creating absurdities that easily proven false at a later date. The "guilt by association" theme has been a common, and popular methodology for them to stop information from spreading. The abduction stories fall into a wide range of mysteriousness, but as in the rest of the UFO mystery, I feel it is important for researchers not to dismiss anything out-of-pocket, as the whole field is rife with "high-strangeness".

On the other hand, it is also crucial to remain calm while gathering the facts surrounding the phenomenon, and to not rush to ANY judgment, for fear of being "led" into a false direction of research.

Thanks again for your efforts in all the UFO arenas.

Laura Knight Jadczyk said...

Hi Kevin et al,

You write: "we did not investigate to learn the accuracy of their claims. We accepted, at face value, their reporting of their sexual preferences and activities, just as the other abduction researchers have accepted at face value many of the self-reported facts."

May I ask exactly how you posed the question?

Did you, for example, ask something like:

1) "Have you ever been sexually turned on by a member of the same sex?"


2) "What is your sexual orientation" with either space for answer or a box to check?

Or... something else?

Bob Koford said...

I have gone over your book again. It had been awhile, and I wanted to re-check your final arguments.

If you are saying that the evidence proves that NO abductions by aliens EVER occured, I would respectfully disagree. If you are saying that the manner in which the data has been secured should be held as suspect, I would have to agree. Even if much of it is well meant, and appearing through a need to help those in need, the evidence cannot prove that people are being abducted by aliens.

But it doesn't necessarily prove that one cannot remember something through a dream, either, since one would have to know why one forgot in the first place, i.e., the subject had already been subjected to hypnosis during the abduction, etc.

The so-called mind control subject is tricky...I know, but most people have now become aware of programs such as MK-ULTRA, and its father program BLUEBIRD, authorized by Hillenkoetter in 1949, but few realize that BLUEBIRD information was connected to/utilized for the UFO Program. The exact what ans why are still murcky, but BLUEBIRD was mentioned in documents, by Dr. Paul Fitts, being part of the psychological profiles of "victims" of UFO sightings, of which was compiled on IBM puinch cards.

I definitely don't have all the answers, but to me the whole thing should not be wrapped up, and packed up, stamped as: solved, just because there is evidence of massive mis-dignosis, to date. The answer can really only come over time, when all the different layers have been properly viewed, in their rightful places, not unlike the star map Mrs. Hill drew, and which has been utilized in many debates, to prove the Zeta Reticuli connection (I always favored the CETUS/OMICRON connection myself).

But cases like the Hill's, and Lonnie Zamora's, and several others, where there is a sighting first, and an abduction secondly, as opposed to finding it out under hypnosis, and only then knowing anything about aliens, or a strange craft of some kind, show more than just hypsosis manipulation of subjects, because it began with a physical sighting, in the known, accepted, real physical universe.

Jeremy Vaeni said...

I'm an abductee (whatever that ultimately means) who has only in the past year and a half met any other abductees. I've found 3 things to be true of them/us:

1.) We are an oddly asexual lot.

2.) I think most of them are delusional, including some who were clients of both Hopkins and Mack. This second point is most disturbing because when I say "delusional" I mean friggen nuts. So how can I pick up on this but not the head of Harvard Psych? It really throws the whole subject into question for me, including my own memories (or perhaps delusions).

3.) The abductees I've met are for the most part exceedingly intelligent.

I've not noticed anything oddly disproportionate in terms of race, gender or sexual preference (except for the asexual vibe).

Here's a question for you: Does the data for UFO sightings not also point to the "phenomenon" of people seeing what they want to or expect to see? Perhaps this is a moot issue in debunking abductions as encountering anything we're not psychologically prepared to deal with will always get filtered through our psychologcial makeup and be experienced as something "familiar."

KRandle said...

Hello All -

The point of The Abduction Enigma was to suggest that the research, as it has been done, is flawed. It has all been, basically, case study. We get it. Let's move to something more tangible. Let's try to move the research in a new direction.

It was not to say that there were never any abductions. It was to say that the case is far from proven, regardless of what the abduction researchers say. The point was to also point out that there are terrestrial explanations that do cover some of these events. Not every explanation covers every event. In other words, sleep paralysis doesn't explain every case of abduction, but clearly, it explains some.

The questioning of the abductees in the study wasn't handing them a form and having them fill it would. It was an open ended session in which the nature of the questions and the outline for the session existed, but there could be deviations in that direction so that no one was asked, "Are you gay?" Often, as the abductee described the alien creatures, or parts of the examination, a question of sexual identity or orientation was appropriate and the question was asked, carefully. Most often the response was, "Gee, no one ever asked that before." Given the nature of abductions, it seemed an important one to ask... just as age, education, occupation, and other sorts of things were asked.

My Ph.D dissertation was about belief structure influencing the identification of ambiguous stimuli. In other words, if you believed in ghosts, you tended to identify a blob of light in terms of a spirit. If you believed in UFOs, you tended to identify the blob as a spaceship. All the pictures used were of objects that I could identify. I knew the source of the photographs and picked them because they were ambiguous.

And as a final point, Lonnie Zamora did not report an abduction.


Bob Koford said...


For the record, I didn't intend to make it appear as though Sgt. Zamora had experienced an abduction, sorry for the shaky example. I was more relating his sighting of actual possible "beings", without the aid of hypnosis or other enhanced methods. Also like Antonio Villas Boas (sp?), etc.

TLC said...

"The Abduction Enigma" is a well researched book, offering an insight into a very dangerous psychological game being played by many in the UFO field. Maybe we should consider the warning of Dr. Carol Rosin at the Disclosure Project back in 2001. Is there a method to all this madness? Should we expect a fake "alien invasion" sometime in the near future?

One of the first researchers to really attack the abduction research was Jacques Vallee. He was way ahead of his time. Hopefully, others will continue to expose the bullsh*t and get on with the real research.

TLC said...

Jeremy brings up a good point: "Here's a question for you: Does the data for UFO sightings not also point to the "phenomenon" of people seeing what they want to or expect to see?"

Have any of you read Tom Bearden's paper, "A Mind/Brain/Matter Model Consistent with Quantum Physics and UFO Phenomena?" If not, it's worth reading. It attempts to answer part of Jeremy's question, by illustrating how the human mind does in fact interact with this phenomenon on a level we don't really understand. We are participants in the UFO phenomenon, not just observers.

Also, I've been research Persinger's work on the EM disturbances of the temporal lobes, and in one of his papers he concludes that "apparitional" sightings tend to peak around 10 p.m. and between 2-4 a.m. This is very much in line with "alien" abduction accounts and close encounters. Vallee's analysis shows peak hours for close encounters (Type-I) around 9 p.m. and a smaller peak around 3:00 a.m. Interesting stuff.

Modern Society said...

Hi Kevin,

Thanks for your wonderful essay. I remember reading your book, and although I took a lot of notes, they are now lost. It doesn't hurt reading the book again.

You said elsewhere that the Hills' abduction case could have a link in the popular media, e.g. TV and the silver screen.

My question is did the big three alien abduction researchers - Hopkins, Jacobs, and Mack - use the Hills' abduction case as a protype for their own research, given that their aliens have similar characteristics to the Hills'? And furthermore, why did they choose to ignore Dr. Simon's conclusion the abduction is a share dream?

Regards, Albert Ramos

Modern Society said...
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Modern Society said...
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