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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1997 > Nov > Nov 8

Clark on Abductions 1/2

From: Peregrine Mendoza <101653.2205@compuserve.com> [Peter Brookesmith]
Date: Sat, 8 Nov 1997 19:20:22 -0500
Fwd Date: Sat, 08 Nov 1997 22:35:52 -0500
Subject: Clark on Abductions 1/2


The Duke of Mendoza presents his compliments to the List.

>From: clark@canby.mn.frontiercomm.net [Jerome Clark]
>Date: Fri, 17 Oct 1997 20:03:10 PDT
>To: updates@globalserve.net
>Subject: RE: UFO UpDate: Re: Questions for Abductees

Even 48 hours is a long time in Cyberville, so for those like me
who are unlikely to recall what Jerome said on this subject some
three weeks ago, I'm going to be dealing with the points he
raised here about (a) the Sandy Larson and the Hills cases (b)
the empirical nature of Dr Thomas "Ed" Bullard's research and, in
passing, (c) folklore and folklorists and ufology and the
abduction syndrome. So if you'd rather watch the game, you can
switch channels now.

For economy I've quoted only what seem to me the core parts of
Jerome's argument, without indicating snips, safe in the
knowledge that if anyone thinks I've misrepresented or quoted him
out of context, I shall be brought swiftly to book.


SANDY LARSON, THE HILLS, &c

Jerome writes:
>When you have a credible multi-witness abduction story,
>it's pretty hard to argue that you're dealing with a subjective
>phenomenon.

The credibility of any report of any event, mundane or anomalous,
is speciously enhanced by convergent testimony of multiple
witnesses, but there is more to the Larson case than that. And a
lot hinges on that word "credible": it suggests how subjective
the initial decision to investigate may be. Jerome comments that
he was & is impressed because the Larson case (and the other that
he cites, for some reason anonymously) featured conscious
memories of UFO sightings and missing time. This is little enough
to kickstart a investigation, but at least is 100% wider-ranging
than what has started others' whiskers twitching. To me it
suggests that consciously or otherwise the benchmark for
initially justifying investigation and later for believing the
case genuine is the abduction of Betty & Barney Hill.

This is interesting in part because that is the case Budd Hopkins
took as his template for judging the apparent reality of an
abduction claim. The peculiar defensiveness of ufologists toward
the Hills' case is based more on its mythic status than on
objective evidence. (Ironically, Betty Hill is extremely rude in
private about the competence and claims of Hopkins, et al, and
fairly scathing in her book, "A Common Sense Approach to UFOs",
ISBN 9648243-0-2, which I commend to all and sundry.) The Hill
case can be deconstructed in exactly the way Dr Benjamin Simon
did - seeing it as related directly to Betty's dreams. In other
words, it does not need to be "real" to be explicable. Sometimes
people get things right first time.

Relevant aside: The claim made in the Boy Bishop of Canby's Bible
that Dr Simon was "antipathetic" to UFOs ("High Strangeness"
p248) is not borne out by John Fuller's "The Interrupted
Journey", where Simon's neutrality on the whole issue (he had had
two UFO sightings himself) is touched on at least four times (pp
85, 89, 134, 313-4 of the Transworld p/back, 1981 edn).  Jerome
scries Simon implicitly [note that word!] and a priori rejecting
UFOs and so a literal interpretation of the Hills' experience,
which in my view is just more Clarkian clairvoyance. According to
Fuller (p314), "contradictory evidence prevented the doctor from"
accepting the experience as reality; "his best alternative lay in
the dream hypothesis"; and of that, Simon is quoted saying: "But
I'm not absolutely convinced. ... Therapeutically, we had reached
a good place to stop.... It was acceptable in my judgement to
leave it not fully answered." [Unchecked hearsay: Simon
apparently became brusque at Walter Webb's attempts to show him
"UFO evidence", but before regarding that as a significant datum
we'd need to know if Simon felt harassed by Webb. Unfortunately
the whereabouts of Simon's (unpublished) memoirs, which might
illuminate the point, is currently unknown.]

The Larson case first came to Jerome's attention in autumn 1975,
as a result of Sandy Larson seeing the NBC-TV movie "The UFO
Incident" (based on the Hills' experience) and wondering if what
she recalled of her experience of 26 August 1975 had a similar
explanation.

At that time there were precious few alleged abductions generally
known among ufologists: Antonio Villas Boas (1957), the Hills
(*1961), Herb Schirmer (*1967 - more an invitation than an
abduction, and with strong contactee overtones), Jos=E9 Ant=F4nio da
Silva (1969), Hodges & Rodriguez (1971, another case with shades
of contacteeism), Hickson & Parker (*1973; later claims by
Hickson put him in the contactee bracket), Pat Roach ("Patty
Price") (1973), Carl Higdon (1974), the "Avis" family (1974),
Charles Moody (1975 - which was breaking almost simultaneously
with the Larson case), David Stephens (1975; not investigated
until December that year) and Travis Walton (*1975 - which made
international news a few weeks before Larson was investigated in
person) constitute a fairly complete list, and I am not sure that
news of the Avis case had reached the USA by autumn 1975. Most
featured missing time, all began with a UFO sighting, and seven
of these 12 are multiple-witness events. At least four (starred)
were widely publicized outside the UFO literature. Leaving aside
other divergences, the disparity between the entities reported is
extraordinary:

Villas Boas     Striking blonde, short, fair-skinned humanoid
                female with slanted blue eyes & triangular
                face; features of male aliens not seen (uniformed,
                helmeted; wore breathing apparatus); barking speech

Hills           Uniformed, short, gray-skinned with
                wraparound eyes but "normal" iris & pupils.
                Initially described as big-nosed; description
                later changed to nearer Gray configuration, but
                entities had human-like hair

Schirmer        Humanoid with high forehead, long nose,
                sunken cat-like eyes, slit mouth;
                carrying 'radio' on 'helmet'; uniformed

da Silva        Hairy red-bearded dwarves; uniformed and
                helmeted initially; one Nordic (possibly
                vision of Christ)

Hodges/         Brain-like entities and tall gray-skinned
Rodriguez       humanoids with yellow eyes, lipless mouths &
                flat noses. Webbed hands with six fingers
                and a thumb

Hickson/Parker  Tall gray creature with bizarre cephalic
                & other features, hands like lobster claws,
                elephant-like skin; robotic?

Roach           Short, large eyes, slit mouths, no nose,
                pasty skin, three-digit hands; uniformed,
                with gloves & Sam Browne belts. Case since
                deconstructed as the product of priming the
                central witness by lead investigator

Higdon          Tall humanoid, in black suit & black shoes;
                bow-legged; 'slanted head and no chin', thin
                hair 'stood straight up on his head'

Avises          Humanoid 'controllers': one-piece silvery
                suits; slanted pink eyes with no pupils; long
                noses. Examiners: hairy, bearded dwarves with
                triangular eyes, beaked noses and slit-like
                mouths and hairy, claw-like hands

Moody           Near-classic grays, 5-digit hands, uniformed

Stephens        'Mushroom'-like creatures: hands with 3 digits
                & thumb, extremely pale skin, no mouths, 3.5ft
                tall; wore 'robelike garments'

Larson          6ft-tall, mummy-like entities; glaring eyes
                that 'could control my brain'; metallic arms

Walton          Small Gray-like creatures in orange
                jumpsuits; tall humanoids (one female) in
                blue jumpsuits; unusual gold/brown eyes


The dropping and gathering of different motifs within a broad
general framework - one established, by and large, by the Hill
case - is exactly like the operation of folklore. In 1975 there
was little established imagery in the canon and the abduction
syndrome was at once limited by this and open to development in
any imaginative direction. One can speculate at length about why
abduction imagery eventually settled (not exclusively) in the
direction of the Grays, but that's beyond my scope here. At any
rate the Grays' roots are visible in these early cases, but not
in Larson's. Likewise Larson's anticipates later motifs in ways
the others do not, but the proleptic motifs are common in other
psychodramas enacted in altered states of consciousness
(accepting that hypnosis is that). Their ufological-cum-alien
garb can reasonably be ascribed to the set and setting of the
hypnotic sessions themselves, fertilized by the Hill and
Pascagoula cases. There is, it seems, a limit to the human
imagination. An essential point is that in 1975 the reported
physical appearances of the entities alone was heterogeneous; the
folklore had not crystallized.

The Hills' case has a dramatic simplicity and appropriateness
that by itself accounts for most of Bullard's famous order of
events - again nailed by Kottmeyer: the key essays are "Entirely
Unpredisposed?", which is available from the Magonia website:
http://www.magonia.demon.co.uk/authors
and "The Eyes That Spoke", on the REALL website cited above.

Larson's inspiration that her odd experience may have been an
abduction came directly from the dramatization of the Hills'
case. In short, she had set herself up to learn she was an
abductee. No one knows - or says - to what extent she
familiarized herself with the UFO literature before she was
hypnotized. She was questioned under hypnosis in conditions that
broke all the most basic rules of such interrogation. The most
elaborate account emerged with the least experienced hypnotist.

>What impresses me even more, in retrospect, is how much what
>these people reported anticipated what was to come. The Sandy
>Larson case [...] is one of these. [...] Not long ago, moreover,
>I was surprised to come upon an obscure CE3 in which an entity
>identical to the one reported by Larson figured. 

Apart from a UFO sighting and missing time, the Larson case is
proleptic of floating through solid walls, tunnels of light,
nasal examination (Larson had had a sinus operation in real
life), and visiting an alien base in a desert landscape. What is
more striking to the dispassionate eye is the extent to which the
Larson case does *not* conform to the abduction template. Larson
as far as I recall is the only abductee to have her brain removed
and 'rewired', an operation that produced no scars, or none noted
by the investigators (Leo Sprinkle, Allen Hynek, Jerome Clark).
Martin Kottmeyer has traced the mummy imagery to the Pascagoula
case, and beyond:

One possibility is that it relates to her falling into
the hands of APRO which had a special interest in the
Pascagoula abduction of 1973. It was ... only people with
APRO who called attention to the mummy-like appearance of
the Pascagoula entity and deemed it a feature that
enhanced the credibility of the case. ...

Much of the case seems different from anything reported
before. Only the Pascagoula case seems reprised, and then
in only two particulars. They both involve tummy exams by
mummies. It is no stretch to believe she picked up these
motifs in conversation with UFO buffs or researchers
prior to her hypnosis sessions. Other than this, the two
cases are different. ...

The question returns for Pascagoula ... why did Charles
Hickson opt for space mummies? ...

Fortunately, the Lorenzens saved historians a big
headache by themselves covering similarities between the
Pascagoula entity and a case out of Peru involving a man
designated C.A.V. The man encountered three mummies with
a generally human profile, but the legs were joined and
they slid along the ground. They were about 5'9" in
height. The face was mostly featureless save for a sort-
of nose. The arms seemed normal, but the hand consisted
of a group of four fingers stuck together and a separate
thumb creating the impression of pincers or claws. The
match to the Pascagoula entity is remarkably good, and I
have to agree with the Lorenzens that the odds against
happenstance are too remote to be considered. They add
that neither Hickson nor Parker (the other Pascagoula
experiment) had prior UFO interest, and the case appeared
"only" in the APRO Bulletin and chapter 8 in their 1968
book UFOs Over the Americas.

"Only" is not exactly how I would describe a Signet
paperback which was mass-marketed across America on wire
racks in drug stores and five and dimes, but perhaps they
were being modest. The Lorenzens further wondered why, if
both cases involve fabrication, this particular form was
chosen. "Why not a more acceptable and more frequently
reported type?" More believable occupant encounters were
readily available. They temporarily prefigure Fowler and
Hopkins in their style of argument by ignoring the
equally striking disparities between the two cases in
these remarks from Encounters with UFO Occupants.
Happily, they rectify this shortcoming in their next book
Abducted! when they grant, "The only real difference
between the two descriptions was that the Peruvian said
the skin of the creatures was sandy-colored and that they
had 'bubbles' where the eyes would be which moved
around." This is at least a start. C.A.V.'s UFO is shaped
like a disc. Hickson's UFO is shaped like a fish.
C.A.V.'s entities were lost and asked to see our chief.
They carry on an extended conversation about a variety of
things including how we are endangering the balance of
the universe and how they are able to reproduce by
fission. C.A.V. tries to abduct one of the mummies as
they try to leave in an effort to get rich, but they were
too slippery. They don't try to abduct him and conduct a
tummy exam. If the entities are the same because they are
real, why are their craft and behaviors so different?

The fish shape of the craft and the tummy exam with the
eye are critical clues to what is going on here. They are
not part of the C.A.V. case, but they are part of UFOs
Over the Americas. Chapter 3 is called 'Underwater UFOs'
and features a June 1959 incident from Buenos Aires
involving an object generally shaped like a huge fish.
The eye over the tummy is a compositing of cases on page
206: an 1880 incident involving a luminous ball suspended
in mid-air, leaving the percipient terror-stricken, which
is followed by a brief account of the Hill case and their
physical examination, after which the authors discuss how
UFOs could induce hypnotic effects and shock.

The blending and distortion of the elements of these
cases is identical to the way dreams remix and composite
recent memories to come up with a dramatic experience.
The choice of the mummies by Hickson's mind stems from
the title given the chapter relating the C.A.V. case:
"The Flesh Crawlers." It was the scariest-looking alien
in the book. It worked. Charlie Hickson's personal
account is reprinted in UFO Contact at Pascagoula and
includes this line: "My flesh crawls when I think about
those three things that appeared through the opening."

With respect to C.A.V., the Lorenzens' objections about
acceptability and frequency collapses with the
realization that C.A.V. hailed from Peru. Peruvian
culture is significantly different from the one the
Lorenzens were living in. Mummies were pervasive in Incan
religion. Incan leaders were embalmed with great care and
their remains were worshipped like a god. It would be
placed in temples. Sacrifices would be made to it. It was
brought out for festivals. People were assigned to take
care of the mummy. One archaeologist found a Necropolis
of 429 mummies which demonstrated the antiquity of the
practice in Nazcan culture. It would take an expert in
Peruvian folklore to track down the immediate cultural
precursors to C.A.V.'s experience, but we don't need a
detailed analysis to understand that a Peruvian might
find the idea of space mummies far more believable and
emotionally resonant than would people in the USA.

                --Martin Kottmeyer, "The Curse of the Space
                Mummies", Promises & Disappointments #1 (1995);
                also on the REALL website, from
                http://www.reall.org/newsletter/


>Duke can rant all he
>wants about what he sees as our failings.  I don't claim to be
>perfect, and this was, after all, 1975-76.  I do feel sanguine
>about this much: the story stands up, and we investigators did
>not shape it.

Irrelevant asides (1): The proper forms are 'the Duke', 'His
Grace' or 'Your Grace'. I have been a jazz musician in my time
but my surname was never Ellington. Irrelevant asides (2): I'll
ignore the posturing about ranting.

What the date of Jerome's investigation has to do with anything I
do not know. I do not suggest the Larson story was entirely the
product of leading (see above), but that leading of gross
proportions did take place is apparent from the Lorenzens'
account alone. And the core narrative detail of the Larson case
was obtained from hypnotic regression, and as such is
automatically suspect, even without the incompetence displayed by
the investigators. Take away the hypnotic material, as caution
would dictate, and we are left not with a story that "stands up"
but a UFO sighting that bears many marks of a meteor shower, some
unsurprisingly UFO-related dreams, a strange rearrangement of
persons in a car, and some "missing" time. Yes, there are
oddities here, but they do not require an abduction to explain
them.

Finally, on this case, the multiplicity of witnesses has been
shown time and again to be no guarantor of the objective truth of
anything, let alone abductions. The double abductions at
Longmont, Colorado (19 Nov 1980), and at Goodland, Kansas (7 Nov
1989), the Jack & Peter Wilson case, the Hill case, the Larson
case, the Avis case, even the egregious Cortibalone case,  can
all be plausibly deconstructed. And remember Fatima? Does Jerome
really think the Sun danced in the heavens that day? According to
legend, 70,000 people saw it happen.


[continued in Pt 2]



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