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Archive for the ‘Paranormal Phenomena’ Category

I presume many readers have already heard of this, but in case not, I though it was worth a link.

Writing on, Loren Coleman, well known for his work in cryptozoology, writes:

The February 2014 issue Soldier of Fortune contains an article entitled “UFO Mystery Solved: ‘Mothmen’ Were Actually Green Berets.”

Author Harold Hutchison writes that Special operations forces near Point Pleasant, West Virginia, were testing high-altitude, low-opening (HALO) parachuting for use in Vietnam.  According to Hutchinson, the jumpers used luminous paint to be seen during the tests.

The link includes excerpts and pictures from the one-page Soldier of Fortune article.

My two cents is that it explains a lot of what’s associated with the original mothman sightings, but not everything. There’s also no link to any specific government documentation. That would help.

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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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starpeopleA recent book about “star people” legends has been getting some play in the blogosphere recently: Encounters with Star People: Untold Stories of American Indians. I tried to order it but it was temporarily out of stock. I’ll revisit it later since I want to review it. I’m not holding my breath for reasons that will become clear below.

The author of the work is Ardy Sixkiller Clarke, professor emeritus at Montana State University. Although I have no doubts about her university affiliation and that she has a doctorate in something, her credentials are actually hard to identify.1 Wanting to know her background is just a point of curiosity for me. I’d like to know if it’s in something other than education — some content-oriented doctoral degree like anthropology or folklore studies. Educational doctorates are more about (educational) theory, method, administration, etc. But I’ll assume she knows what she’s talking about with respect to indigenous lore. And that’s really what I expect to find in the book … lore, not facts.

Readers can find a description of Clarke’s book here. I should warn readers that the blog post at this link is misleading. It has a picture of “alien” rock art that has nothing to do with Native Americans — it’s rock art from Australia.  I suppose that’s supposed to add weight to the content of Clarke’s book, but it’s misleading. But it’s not as bad as what you’ll find on other sites that make it sound like Native Americans have stories about genetic manipulation of homo sapiens by aliens and advanced astronomical knowledge. (What’s the ancient Cherokee word for DNA? … seriously, ancient people knew nothing of DNA). I’ll go out on a limb here and suggest that this book will be interesting and useful as a reference, but ALL that it will be is legends and stories, offering no hard data for experiences with beings whose extraterrestrial (i.e., from other physical planets) reality can be proven. But I’ll wait to say more after I read it, presuming it’ll be available.

  1. Clarke was Professor of Educational Leadership and the Director of the Center for Bilingual/Multicultural Education. She was also American Indian Professor of Educational Leadership and the Director Center for Bilingual/Multicultural Education.  Various websites also note that, “Dr. Ardy Sixkiller Clarke a Professor Emeritus at Montana State University has dedicated her life and career to working with indigenous populations. She has been adopted and given traditional names by three Northern Plains tribes.” The Montana State University site doesn’t have her listed as faculty, though her name does appear on the site. That tells me she must have retired from teaching a while ago. I’m just surprised I can’t easily find a degree for her. Her name also does not appear in the JSTOR database which covers scholarly journals in anthropology, folklore, and indigenous studies. I have to presume then that she hasn’t published anything under peer review, at least in terms of indigenous content. I’m guessing she has published in education journals.

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Not mainstream scientists, as this article documents.

Contrary to what the “paranormal community” loves to insist (especially the ancient astronaut theorists, whose thinking is anything but clear), there is actually a good deal of peer-reviewed material devoted to testing both paranormal claims and the sorts of subjects with which the paranormal deals.  Humanities scholars and nuts and bolts scientists have devoted a good bit of time to studying claims about parapsychology, Bigfoot, UFOs, PSI, NDEs, etc.  They don’t fear it. Anyone with access to a good journal database could show that paranormal claims do get addressed in just a few minutes.

The problem, though, as I see it, is that very little of that peer-reviewed material ever filters down to the lay person or non-specialist — the person the most likely to be imbibing the wackier claims in all these areas. Scholars and scientists (and I’ll grant there is some merit to the statement, though it becomes an excuse) consider such an exercise as a waste of their time (they could be publishing real research for their peers — and in some case, tenure requirements). And given my own experience with things like the Fantasy Channel (er, History Channel), the media types who pimp the paranormal for DVD purchases and advertising dollars aren’t interested in true rebuttal or confrontational engagement. The Ancient Aliens series is Exhibit A here. They want to produce *a show* (it’s entertainment, people!) and so the producers of these programs *want* to titillate the audience with that sort of nonsense. It sells.

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Jack Brewer of the excellent blog, The UFO Trail, recently interviewed Robbie Graham, who blogs at the fascinating Silver Screen Saucers. The thrust of the interview is that motion pictures and television have far greater potential to influence beliefs about UFOs and the possibility of alien life forms than any hard research aiming for objective, factual analysis. I’d agree. I would encourage all UFO Religions readers to check out the lengthy interview. It’s well worth it. Here are two excerpts:

“Quite simply, when it comes to our understanding of UFO phenomena and our expectations regarding potential extraterrestrial life – make no mistake about it – movies matter… perhaps more even than anything else.  As audiences, we should therefore seek to actively engage with Hollywood’s depictions of UFOs and extraterrestrials – to look up from our popcorn once in a while and acknowledge that such phenomena spring first and foremost not from the minds of Hollywood creatives, but from the fabric of our lived historical reality. By more actively engaging with Hollywood’s UFO movies, we enhance our ability to distinguish UFO fact from fantasy, and to more easily identify and understand the political thinking behind instances of government manipulation of UFO-themed entertainment products.”

“A wide variety of individuals, corporations and agencies are clearly competing to influence your beliefs about alleged extraterrestrial visitors, for whatever ultimate reasons. Successfully accomplishing the task has apparently been identified as worthy of substantial amounts of money and sustained effort.”

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