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In another excellent piece on the UFO Trail blog, Jack Brewer takes the issue of the use of hypnosis in alien abduction research head-on. The post is another example of why, if you care about thinking clearly about matters ufological, you should be reading his blog. A couple of Jack’s summary points should be enough to get my own readers interested:

- An inherent challenge to ufology, and particularly alleged alien abduction, is that its followers do not seek information that provides a balanced and objective point of view. Actually, they are often quite unaware of the current mental health paradigm, symptoms of emotional traumata, relevant physiological circumstances and similar subject matter, the absence of which substantially obstructs their abilities to form objective and more complete understandings of what became known as the abduction phenomenon.

- If researchers want to be accepted by academia, they must adhere to rules and practices, i.e., peer review, proper recognition of standards of evidence, accept hypnosis is not a reliable memory retrieval tool, etc., that are established by academia, else stop claiming their work to have scientific merit. Equally important would be members of the UFO community learning to more accurately identify misrepresentations of scientific merit.

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10 Responses to “The Elephant in the Alien Abduction Research Room: Methodological Integrity”

  • Carl says:

    If people used good scientific methodology, they might find something out they don’t want to know….

  • Jack Brewer says:

    Thank you, Doctor. I value your interest and opinion.

  • MSH says:

    you’re welcome.



    Hypnosis is a process engaged in to retrieve memories that are locked in the unconscious or unconscious. The psychiatric community have argued over using hypnosis for a long time and it is not a part of the teachings or coursework necessary to become a certified or licenses therapist. Those who do use the technique are trained in it. We should think of hypnosis as a specialty field. Most victims are not able to remember their encounters or remember bits and pieces of what they go through. Some have nightmares and flashbacks. Hypnosis helps put the pieces together so that the flash backs, thoughts and dreams broaden out to become a series of events from start to finish. Patients come away having a much better idea what and why they are being haunted by these partial memories. Often they are then able to get on with their lives and gain a sort of closure they cannot achieve with out hypnosis. It is a way to find the when, where, what, why, who so that the patient then process through incident and start the closure process.
    Some therapists think that victims should be able to remember what happened to them on our own and do not use or are not trained in hypnotherapy. Other therapists who have been trained in hypnosis realize that many people are to traumatized or terrorize about what happened to them and block the memories which is why they remember only unrelated bits and pieces. Aliens place a blocking mechanism on victims also to keep them from remembering. So if the goal is to gain closure then in most cases hypnosis is the only way to achieve the recall.
    I don’t know if Jung or Fraud used hypnosis but my guess is that they did not which is why the psychiatric community does not use hypnosis. Most pshchiatry has been based on either Fraud, or Young’s methods. This is why hypnosis is being argued in the therapeutic community.

  • MSH says:

    It’s in all the abductee research literature. It’s pretty common.

  • Jack Brewer says:

    The reason hypnosis is not accepted by the scientific community as a reliable memory retrieval tool is simple and clarified repeatedly by any number of competent and qualified individuals. Perhaps more at issue is why so many members of the UFO community enable its misrepresentation as a scientific procedure.

    The blatant misrepresentation of scientific inquiry, as repeatedly and chronically perpetrated by such individuals as David Jacobs and under the umbrella of such organizations as MUFON, is not only enabled within UFO Land, but often _encouraged_ to continue. Anytime it is pointed out, a quick change of topic, list of supposedly interesting cases of alleged alien abduction and the defense of hypnosis seems likely to ensue.

    Nonetheless, hypnosis used as a memory retrieval tool is not a scientific procedure, and any representation otherwise is simply untrue. My personal opinion concerning why the falsely claimed scientific inquiry is encouraged to continue within ufology is related to the prevalent deep desires for confirmation of yet to be substantiated beliefs – as well as the potential for exploitation and charlatanism that such an environment cultivates.

    I empathize with those who have experienced things they do not understand. Yet I plead consideration that the path to the truth can never be paved with lies.


    Yes I agree. It is obvious that aliens use hypnotic type techniques and or blocking mechanisms so that the victim does not remember exactly what happened to them. It is also not surprising that victims chosen for abductions are easily hypnotized.

  • MSH says:

    Well said; I think you’re right about the “deep desires” – very understandable, but we can’t subordinate clear thinking and sound method to an emotional desire. When the former is held intact and *still* satisfies the latter, the satisfaction can be enjoyed all the more for having a solid foundation.



    I think people must realize that what is deemed as reliable scientifically depends upon who is debating the issue and how they define science. Our psychiatric community has been locked into Fraud and Young’s model for psychotherapy for a very long time. Their models remind me of the horse and buggy era. When the gas engine was invented people thought gas engines were very impractical and would never replace the horse and buggy, now we all drive gas cars and none of us use horse and buggies to get from place to place. Using hypnoses to recall locked up memories seems like a science that is not practical or useful and was not recognized by Fraud or used by Fraud but this does not mean that using hypnotherapy is not a valid technique. Both techniques can be used side by side to help victims recall locked up memories, it is not a matter of using one or the other.



    Once again hypnosis is yet another tool that is being used to help people retrieve data that is locked in their unconscious and subconscious. These therapists who use it also practice the same techniques that the psychiatric communities use during psychotherapy sessions. Hypnosis is simply another tool in their toolbox that they have been trained in. The reason that it is used in the UFO communities today is because abductions are so traumatizing that retrieving the full memory them is often not possible any other way. Aliens use some type of technique to block the memory of these abduction events themselves so that the memories stay in the unconscious or subconscious. People may have bits and pieces of recall that makes no sense at all but these scattered bits and pieces of recall paralyze their lives in various ways. To help them find closure and peace they need to put the pieces together and recall the incidents so that they can then move to the next stage of the grief and recovery process.

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