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Archive for the ‘Alien Abduction’ Category

That’s probably the best way to characterize what’s been going on with Jack Brewer and microbiologist Dr. Tyler Kokjohn. Both have posted recently about the questionable methodology (that’s being kind) of Budd Hopkins, one of the more famous names associated alien abduction phenomenon. Here’s a brief overview.

This past Feb. 5 Jack Brewer posted an interesting piece over at that includes video of Budd Hopkins de-briefing the late Col. Philip Corso in 1998. Colonel Corso wrote the book The Day After Roswell, in which he claimed to have been charged by the U.S. Army with seeding alien technology from the Roswell crash to private industry for reverse engineering.

The article and the video brought the questionable methods of Hopkins with respect to alien abductions back into discussion. In regard to Hopkins, Brewer notes:

“Hopkins rose to ufology prominence due to his controversial work in the alien abduction genre. His work has been greatly criticized for such reasons as the use of hypnotic regression as a memory retrieval tool and clearly demonstrated circumstances of researcher bias. Passionate followers have nonetheless adamantly defended Hopkins’ conclusions and actions, refusing to be swayed in their opinions by virtually any evidence of his sometimes poor research practices.”

The video was filmed by Carol Rainey, a film-maker and Hopkins’ ex-wife. Rainey has been critical of her former husband’s hypnotic regression technique for eliciting information from alleged abductees. Her article entitled, Priests of High Strangeness in a 2011 issue of the Paratopia webzine noteworthy in that regard. Dr. Kokjohn also wrote an article in that same Paratopia issue entitled, Tainted, Toxic and Taboo: A Scientist’s assessment of Alien Abduction Research. Both articles are available in PDF on Rainey’s website.

It’s of course impossible to discuss flawed alien abduction methodology without tripping over David Jacobs and the Emma Woods (a pseudonym) travesty. For anyone interested in the alien abduction phenomenon this tale is must reading. Woods has of course been attacked by supporters of Dr. Jacobs.

Three days after his piece, Jack Brewer posted “The Woods/Jacobs Tapes and the ‘Oral History’ Falsehood.” The essay contained Jack’s thoughts on the topic as discussed on Jeff Ritzmann’s Paranormal Waypoint radio show. Specifically, the episode just prior to Jack’s post

. . . was a special three-hour finale to Ritzmann’s multi-episode exploration of research of alleged alien abduction. Focus was upon the case of Emma Woods and its mishandling by the now retired Temple University historian Dr. David Jacobs. Fellow guests were microbiologist Dr. Tyler Kokjohn and author Jeremy Vaeni.

Reitzmann has interviewed Emma Woods, Dr. Kokjohn, and Carol Rainey. Files of interviews and hypnotic regression sessions are available here. Jack Brewer posted his thoughts on the Paranormal Waypoint interview series here.

The methodology of David Jacobs was the subject of an earlier series at Jack Brewer’s UFO Trail. For those who are interested (and you ought to be), here are the links to the series, “The Bizarre World of David Jacobs”: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Lastly for this round-up, Dr. Kokjohn uploaded a YouTube video entitled Alien Abduction Research – The Time Factor. The video discusses how new scientific advancements have made certain alien abduction claims testable, resulting in the exposure of both poor methods and unsustainable claims.

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I’ve long been skeptical of this claim. I can remember back when writing The Facade reading articles about how the military-industrial complex was working on electronic means to convey messages directly to a person’s auditory mechanisms or brains. It’s a mind control technology.

Hat tip to Joseph Farrell on his blog for alerting readers to this post on Neuro-Electro-Magnetic Frequency Weapons. Same stuff I’ve read about before. And a nice touch with the implant discussion. As Farrell points out, talk of this sort of technology has recently re-surface in light of the Boston Marathon bombing/Batman murders/Sandy Hook/and Navy Yard murders.

“But surely the aliens are more advanced than we are and can do that.” Of course.

Maybe they work for DARPA.


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I’m still getting caught up on some items I want to make sure readers know about after my recent “finish The Portent draft or die” session of the last two weeks. A couple days ago I directed readers to Jack Brewer’s UFO Trail about true conspiracy theories. I have one more post from the UFO Trail that should not go unnoticed. This one is about the use of hypnotic regression in ufology: “You’re Getting Sleepy… and Misled: Regression Hypnosis in Ufology.”

Honestly, calling Jack’s essay a post doesn’t do it justice. It’s more like an expose — and a thoughtful one at that, full of serious information and useful links.

To say the least, the use of hypnosis in regard to alleged alien abductions is controversial within the ufology community. If you’re simply embracing the idea of such abductions without ever looking into the problems, flaws, and misuse of hypnosis techniques, you can’t claim to be seriously engaging the subject. I’ve blogged several times on this here (mostly quite a while). There’s a lot of good information on the web from serious researchers on memory and hypnosis. This is a good example of an issue that has gotten attention from the mainstream. While there is naturally skepticism over alien contact, one of the things driving that skepticism is the problematic nature of recovered memories. In other words, you can’t dismiss the problems by saying researchers are creating data because they’re skeptical. Rather, they’re skeptical of the whole idea because recovered memory research reveals significant problems in not just accuracy, but distortion. Here is a sampling:

In short, hypnotic regression and the memories it allegedly “retrieves” is not a sound method for genuine memory retrieval. Personally, I don’t think the research invalidates every claim or every part of every claim. I just wouldn’t trust the method at all. Other approaches ought to take precedence care to preventing the sorts of flawed results noted in studies like these. Readers know I don’t buy the idea that aliens are abducting people (I’d need to know there are aliens and they’re coming here; that’s a reasonable starting point). I’m in the Leah Haley camp, that some of this stuff is real but has nothing to do with aliens.




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[UPDATE 6/26/2013: Thanks to Jonas for adding some theses and dissertations in a comment - I have added them at the end of this post. MSH.  Thanks as well (7/1/2013) to the Spooky Paradigms blogger for directing my attention to his first post in the series, where he explains categories and tells us what databases were used.]

I just came across this Spooky Paradigm blog post listing masters theses and doctoral dissertations that have been devoted to ufological subjects. A subsequent post was devoted to ancient alien, alien abduction, and theosophical themes. Some of these titles have been published in book form.

One caveat – I don’t actually know if the compiler used the UMI dissertation database, so I don’t know how complete these listings are. It’s still cool.

I’ve combined the UFO and alien topic lists here. Enjoy, and hat tip to Spooky Paradigms!

UFO Culture

Dallas, Roswell, Area 51: A social history of American “conspiracy tourism” – 2010 PhD, Shelley E. McGinnis, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Flying Saucer Culture: An Historical Survey of American UFO Belief – 2006 PhD, Dean Bertram, University of Sydney (DASH)

How the alien invaded the American mind: a history of experts, entrepreneurs, story-tellers, and a love of the alien in modern American culture – 2006 PhD, Zoe Couacaud, University of Sydney (DASH)

Tensions, synthesis and spirituality in the Norwegian UFO movement, especially exemplified by the world outlook of the organization NETI - 2005 PhD, Jan Bertil Heilund, University of Bergen, Norway (EUROUFO)

The Flight of the Ordinary: Narrative, Poetics, Power and UFOs in the American Uncanny - 2005 PhD, Susan Lepselter, University of Texas – Austin

The “Rael” World. Narratives of the Raelian Movement - 2005 MA, Tayah L. Hanson, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon (EUROUFO)

Mon Dieu… un ovni…: du phénomène ovni à ses dérives religieuses, en France de 1950 à nos jours - 2005 MA, Jérémy Morel, Université Jean Moulin (Lyon, France) (EUROUFO)

UFO-Hysterie in den USA – Ein interdisziplinäres Phänomen zwischen Wissenschaft, Politik, Religion und Kommerz - 2005 MA, Sandra Kemerle, Institut für Amerikanistik, Universität Leipzig (EUROUFO)

Weather-Workers, Saucer Seekers, and Orthoscientists: Epistemic Authority in Central Mexico - 2004 PhD, Ryan Cook, University of Chicago

SETI science: Managing alien narratives – 2004 PhD, Arthur C. Fricke, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Controversias tecnocientíficas y medios de comunicación: el caso de la clonación humana y los raëlianos en El País - 2004 PhD, Miguel Alcíbar Cuello, Universidad de Sevilla, Spain (EUROUFO)

Valores, símbolos y representaciones en una experiencia de contacto extraterrestre: el Grupo Aztlán - 2003 PhD, Ignacio Cabria, Universidad Complutense de Madrid (EUROUFO)

An Alien in Roswell – 2002 MA, Kay Lang, University of Wyoming

Social Constructionist, Psychological, and Official Theories of UFOs - 2002 MA, Alan Greenhalgh, California State University, Dominguez Hills

UFO and Alien Encounter Narratives: A Cross-Cultural Analysis - 2002 MA, Ravi Ramkisoonsingh, Carleton University

Alien encounters: A close analysis of personal accounts of extraterrestrial experiences – 2002 MA, Krista Suhr Henriksen, Simon Fraser University

Taken: Constructions of ‘Race’, ‘Biology’ and Colonialism in Alien Abduction Narrative in the United States – 2001 PhD, Carol Suzanne Matthews, University of Kansas (PUFOI)

Biblical analysis of the UFO/Alien Abduction phenomenon with possible implications for end times deception - 2001 D. Min. – Robert C. Hendrix, Northwest Graduate School of the ministry, Redmond, Washington (EUROUFO)

The Terror is Real. The history and politics of alien abduction – 2001 PhD, Bridget M. Brown, New York University

Pop Culture and the UFO Narrative: Who’s Buying it, Who’s Selling it, and Who’s not Telling it - 2001 MA, Kelly S. Rubbo, Utah State University

Approche sociologique complexe du charisme – Le Mouvement Raëlien et son prophète - 2001 PhD, Annie Chatelin, Université de Perpignan

A Confederacy of Faith and Fact: UFO Research and the Search for Other Worlds - 2000 PhD, Anne Boyle Cross, Yale University

Supposed Science, Alleged Fiction: Distortion Patterns in the Transmission, of Cultural Paradigms, in the Twentieth Century - 2000 PhD, Andres Zlotsky, State University of New York – Buffalo

UFOCRITIQUE: UFOs, Social Intelligence, and the Condon Committee – 2000 MS, Diana Palmer Hoyt, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

New Religious UFO Movements: Extraterrestrial Salvation in Contemporary America – 2000 MA, Stefan Isaakson, California State University, Fresno (GREENWOOD)

The myth of communion: A rhetorical analysis of the narratives of alien abductees – 1999 PhD, Stephanie M. Kelley, University of Kansas (PUFOI)

A dialética do real e do imaginário. Uma proposta de interpretação do Fenômeno OVNI – 1999 MA, Cláudio Tsuyoshi Suenaga, Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP), Assis, Brasil (PUFOI)

The Lure of the Edge: Science, Religion, and the Alien Abduction Movement - 1998 PhD, Brenda Denzler, Duke University

Shaman and Abductee: American Ufology as Cryptoscience and Countersociology - 1998 MA, Ryan Cook, University of Chicago (EUROUFO)

Heaven’s Gate: A Sociological Perspective - 1998 MA, Patricia L. Goerman, University of Virginia (EUROUFO)

Pulp science: Race, gender, and prediction in contemporary American culture – 1997 PhD, Beth Anne Loffreda, Rutgers The State University of New Jersey – New Brunswick

“Alien abductees’” Reports of worldview reconstruction (assumptive world theory, coping) – 1997 PsyD, Mindy Sue Kopolow, Antioch University New England Graduate School (PUFOI)

Pasts and futures: Space, history, and Armenian identity, 1988 – 1994 – 1995 PhD, Stephanie Semple Platz, The University of Chicago

Brothers from the sky: Myth and reality in a flying saucer group (Unarius, cults, colllective behavior) – 1995 PhD, Diana Jean Tumminia, University of California, Los Angeles

Otherworld Journeys: UFO Abduction Narratives as Transformative Stories - 1995 MA, Carol Suzanne Matthews, University of Kansas (EUROUFO)

UFO Stories: The Poetics of Uncanny Encounters in a Counterpublic Discourse – 1994 MA, Susan Lepselter, University of Texas (PUFOI)

Gods from the Machines: On the Anthropology of Alien Abductions - 1994 MA, Michael Tracy Blair, Washington State University (EUROUFO)

A social psychological investigation of UFO sighters – 1992 MA, Patricia Ann Cross, Carleton University

Personality characteristics and self-identified experiences of individuals reporting possible abduction by unidentified flying objects (UFOs) – 1992 PhD, Jo Stone-Carmen, United States International University

Flying saucers and the new angelology: Mythic projection of the Cold War and the convergence of opposites – 1990 PhD, Robert Pearson Flaherty, University of California, Los Angeles

Une secte soucoupique : les raëliens - 1989 MA, F. Follmer, Université Paul-Valéry, Montpellier III (EUROUFO)

OVNI : un tabou scientifique? - 1988 MA, Véronique Galzy, Montpellier III (EUROUFO)

The UFO debate: A study of a contemporary legend – 1988 PhD, Linda Jean Milligan, The Ohio State University

The UFO Movement: A Sociological Study of UFO Groups – 1985 MA, Shirley McIver, The University of York (United Kingdom) (DASH)

The Boundaries of Orthodoxy: A Folkloric Look at the “UFO Phenomenon” – 1984 PhD, Peter Michael Rojcewicz, University of Pennsylvania

Mysteries in the eye of the beholder: UFOs and their correlates as a folkloric theme past and present – 1982 PhD, Thomas Eddie Bullard, Indiana University

Politicking and Paradigm Shifting: James E. McDonald and the UFO Case Study – 1975 PhD, Paul Edward McCarthy, University of Hawaii (GREENWOOD)

Organizational Goals and Support-Seeking Behavior: A Comparative Study of Social Movement Organizations in the UFO (Flying Saucer Fields) – 1973 PhD, Michael K. Schutz, Northwestern University

The controversy over unidentified flying objects in America: 1896-1973 – 1973 PhD, David Michael Jacobs, The University of Wisconsin – Madison

The UFO Phenomenon: A Study in Public Relations – 1972 MA, David J. Shea, University of Denver, Colorado (GREENWOOD)

A survey of press coverage of unidentified flying objects, 1947 – 1966 – 1970 PhD, Herbert Joseph Strentz, Northwestern University (GREENWOOD)

Flying Saucers: Fact or Fiction? – 1950 MA, DeWayne B. Johnson, University of California, Los Angeles (GREENWOOD)

Fairy Folklore and UFO Lore

The otherworld vessel as metatraditional motif in northern European literature and folk narrative – 2009 PhD, Kimberly Ball, University of California, Irvine

Comparing stories of extraterrestrials with stories of fairies – 2003 MLA, David Harl Hinson, The University of North Carolina at Asheville

Shamanism and alien abductions: A comparative study – 2000 MA, Simon Brian Harvey-Wilson, Edith Cowan University (PUFOI)

L’irrationnel et ses habitants – A deux periodes distinctes de l’histoire: les OVNI au XXeme siecle et les fees, les lutins, le diable et la mort du XV au XVIIIeme siecle - 1992 MA(?), Christophe Campiglia, Université de Nantes (France) (EUROUFO)

Theosophy and Ancient Aliens

Constructions of Mythology: Mount Shasta, Atlantis, and the Ancient Lemurians - 2006 MA, Tiffany Darlene Strickland, California State University, Fullerton

A world according to Pana-Wave Laboratory: An extreme response to globalization in Japan – 2005 PhD, Salvador Jimenez Murguia, University of California, Santa Barbara

Theosophy, culture, and empire - 2000 PhD, Matthew Mulligan Goldstein, University of Texas – Austin

The SS-Ahnenerbe and the 1938/1939 German-Tibet expedition – 2000 MA, Mark Jonathan Rogers, Georgia State University

The urban gothic in British fantastic fiction, 1880—1930 – 1987 PhD, Kathleen Louise Spencer, University of California, Los Angeles

The archaeology and geoglyphs of Nazca, Peru, or, The extraterrestrial foundations of Andean civilization – 1985 PhD, Persis Banvard Clarkson, University of Calgary

Belief and Psychology – UFOs

Psychological correlates of the UFO abduction experience: The role of beliefs and indirect suggestions on abduction accounts obtained during hypnosis – 1998 PhD, Duncan Jon Andrew Day, Concordia University

Belief in UFOs and alien abduction phenomena as a function of paranormal beliefs, fantasy proneness, dissociative experience, and psychological adjustment – 1994 MA, Kevin M. Harkins, Bridgewater State University, Massachusetts (PUFOI)

Témoignage d’OVNI et psychologie de la perception - 1994 PhD, Manuel Jeménez, Université Paul Valery, Montpellier (France) (EUROUFO)

Factors influencing attitudes toward controversial research: Quantitatively disentangling the social from the scientific (consensus in science) – 1994 PhD, Mark John Rodeghier, The University of Illinois at Chicago

Personality Characteristics on the MMPI, 16PF, and ACL of Persons Who Claim UFO Experiences– 1986 PhD, June Parnell, University of Wyoming

The Relationship of Anomie and Externality to Strength of Belief in Unidentified Flying Objects - 1975 MA, Stephen P. Resta, Loyola College, Baltimore (PUFOI)

Neuroscience and the Paranormal

Numinous-like auras and spirituality in persons with focal seizures – 2008 PhD, Rima Dolgoff-Kaspar, City University of New York

Isolated sleep paralysis and its associations with anxiety sensitivity, history of trauma, paranormal beliefs, and life stress in a black sample – 2005 PhD, Holly Joy Ramsawh, Boston University

Volatile spirits: An ecopsychological perspective on experiences of paranormal assault in contemporary America - 2001 PhD, Tina Rae Fields, California Institute of Integral Studies

The prevalence of sleep paralysis and temporal lobe lability in persons who report alien abduction - 1995 PhD, Marcus Cox, University of the West of England, Bristol, United Kingdom (EUROUFO)

Temporal lobe soft signs as indicators of fantasy proneness – 1993 MA, Scott Probst, Simon Fraser University

Differentiation of uncommon beliefs as a function of the proficiency of interhemispheric processing– 1992 MA, Ross J. Skirda, Laurentian University of Sudbury

An investigation of the relationship between subjective paranormal experience and temporal lobe symptomatology – 1979 M.Med., Vernon Michael Neppe, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

Additions 6/26/2-13:

SPACE RAPTURE: Extraterrestrial Millennialism and the Cultural Construction of Space Colonization – 2004 PhD, Ryan Jeffrey McMillen, Univ. of Texas, Austin. Includes discussion of UFO-lore.

Unheimliche Begegnungen. Entführungserlebnisse und Trancekult in der UFO-Szene. Mag. 1999, Natalie Kuczera (published by LIT-Verlag in 2004). About alien abduction experiences.

Außergewöhnliche Erfahrungen. Konstruktion von Identität und Veränderung in autobiographischen Erzählungen – 2008 PhD, Christina Schäfer, Universität Freiburg i.Br. (published by LIT-Verlag in 2013). Schäfer discusses alien abduction experiences among other things.

The Differentiation of Psychosis and. Spiritual Emergency – 2007 PhD, Monika Goretzki , Univ. of Adelaide. Includes discussion of alien abduction experiences.

När de flygande tefaten landade i folkhemmet. En studie av ufo-mytens förändring i en svensk kontext – 2006 MA (?), Jessica Moberg, Södertörns Högskola. Discusses narratives about UFO’s and extraterrestrials in the Swedish UFO-movement from the 1960’s until today.

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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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