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Archive for the ‘Sleep Paralysis’ Category

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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I came across this bibliography tonight. As many readers will know, sleep paralysis is a likely explanation behind many (but not all) alien abduction episodes. Though it’s a good resource, it is out-of-date, as the most recent entry is for 2000.

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Nick Redfern recently posted something on night terrors put together by Tim Binnall. Interesting reading, but there was a curious omission. Binnall’s work (at least in this installment) neglects to mention the major scholarly work on night terrors and its relation to sleep paralysis and “otherworldly” visitations: The Terror That Comes in the Night (Publications of the American Folklore Society New Series), by David J. Hufford.

For those who may have curled up by the fire at some point to read Alien Discussions: Proceedings of the Abduction Study Conference Held at M.I.T. Cambridge, Ma., Hufford’s name will be familiar. He delivered a paper at the conference entitled, “Awakening Paralyzed in the Presence of a Strange ‘Visitor’.”

People on all sides of the abduction phenomenon ought to pay closer attention to Hufford’s work.

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It starts about half way down the page at this link.

Personally, I think it is very likley that sleep paralysis explains a lot of “abduction” experiences. Anyone acquainted with the literature, though, will know it doesn’t explain many experiences, though.

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Here are the rest of the articles:

8. Alleged Alien Abductions: False Memories, Hypnosis, and Fantasy Proneness. By: Lynn, Steven Jay; Kirsch, Irving I.. Psychological Inquiry, 1996, Vol. 7 Issue 2, p151, 5p; Abstract Comments on the article ‘Toward an Explanation of the UFO Abduction Phenomenon: Hypnotic Elaboration, Extraterrestrial Sadomasochism, and Spurious Memories,’ by Leonard S. Newman and Roy F. Baumeister, which appeared in the April 1996 issue of the journal ‘Psychological Inquiry.’ Effect of hypnosis on human memory; Relationship between hypnosis and fantasy proneness.

9. A More Parsimonious Explanation for UFO Abduction. By: McLeod, Caroline C.; Corbisier, Barbara; Mack, John E.. Psychological Inquiry, 1996, Vol. 7 Issue 2, p156, 13p; Abstract Presents a critique of the article ‘Toward an Explanation of the UFO Abduction Phenomenon: Hypnotic Elaboration, Extraterrestrial Sadomasochism, and Spurious Memories,’ by Leonard S. Newman and Roy F. Baumeister, which appeared in the April 1996 issue of the journal ‘Psychological Inquiry.’ Arguments regarding the relationship between fantasy proneness, masochistic fantasy and hypnotic elaboration.

10. “Memories” of Anomalous and Traumatic Autobiographical Experiences: Validation and Consolidation of Fantasy Through Hypnosis. By: Orne, Martin T.; Whitehouse, Wayne G.; Orne, Emily Carota; Dinges, David F.. Psychological Inquiry, 1996, Vol. 7 Issue 2, p168, 5p; Abstract Responds to the article ‘Toward an Explanation of the UFO Abduction Phenomenon: Hypnotic Elaboration, Extraterrestrial Sadomasochism, and Spurious Memories,’ by Leonard S. Newman and Roy F. Baumeister, which appeared in the April 1996 issue of the journal ‘Psychological Inquiry.’ Cognitive-motivational explanation for claims of UFO abductions; Validation of fantasy through hypnosis.

11. Distinguishing Memory From Fantasy. By: Ross, Michael; Newby, Ian R.. Psychological Inquiry, 1996, Vol. 7 Issue 2, p173, 5p; Abstract Presents comments on the article ‘Toward an Explanation of the UFO Abduction Phenomenon: Hypnotic Elaboration, Extraterrestrial Sadomasochism, and Spurious Memories,’ by Leonard S. Newman and Roy F. Baumeister, which appeared in the April 1996 issue of the journal ‘Psychological Inquiry.’ Relationship of UFO abduction memories to ‘recovered’ memories of childhood sexual abuse.

12. Abduction Tales As Metaphors. By: Spence, Donald P.. Psychological Inquiry, 1996, Vol. 7 Issue 2, p177, 3p; Abstract Reacts to the article ‘Toward an Explanation of the UFO Abduction Phenomenon: Hypnotic Elaboration, Extraterrestrial Sadomasochism, and Spurious Memories,’ by Leonard S. Newman and Roy F. Baumeister, which appeared in the April 1996 issue of the journal ‘Psychological Inquiry.’ Analysis of UFO abduction tales as metaphors for cultural crisis; Themes of powerlessness, uncertainty and alienation in abduction stories.

13. The Truth Is Out There. By: Strube, Michael J.. Psychological Inquiry, 1996, Vol. 7 Issue 2, p180, 5p; Abstract Presents a critique of the article ‘Toward an Explanation of the UFO Abduction Phenomenon: Hypnotic Elaboration, Extraterrestrial Sadomasochism, and Spurious Memories,’ by Leonard S. Newman and Roy F. Baumeister, which appeared in the April 1996 issue of the journal ‘Psychological Inquiry.’ Limitations of the ‘escape from self’ explanation for claims of UFO abduction.

14. Not Just Another False Memory: Further Thoughts on the UFO Abduction Phenomenon. By: Newman, Leonard S.; Baumeister, Roy F.. Psychological Inquiry, 1996, Vol. 7 Issue 2, p185, 13p; Abstract Responds to various comments made on the article ‘Toward an Explanation of the UFO Abduction Phenomenon: Hypnotic Elaboration, Extraterrestrial Sadomasochism, and Spurious Memories,’ which appeared in the April 1996 issue of the journal ‘Psychological Inquiry.’ Role of hypnosis in the creation of abduction memories; Characteristics of a fantasy-prone person.

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