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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1997 > Nov > Nov 9

Re: Clark on Abductions 1/2

From: clark@mn.frontiercomm.net [Jerome Clark]
Date: Sun, 09 Nov 1997 14:09:56 PST
Fwd Date: Sun, 09 Nov 1997 17:27:22 -0500
Subject: Re: Clark on Abductions 1/2

> Date: Sat, 8 Nov 1997 19:20:22 -0500
> From: Peregrine Mendoza <101653.2205@compuserve.com> [Peter Brookesmith]
> Subject: Clark on Abductions 1/2
> To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <updates@globalserve.net>

> 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


> 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.

Speculationism, Duke.  See below.

> 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.]

I confess never to have spoken with Simon, just as Duke here has
failed to speak with the witnesses and claimants whose minds he
claims adeptness at reading.  One reporter who did, on several
occasions, said Simon's view of it depended upon what day you
asked him about it. In any event, that's neither here nor there.
What strikes me is that Duke hasn't even read one of the most
crucial documents of all: Walter Webb's investigative report for
NICAP.  Instead, he has the bad grace to characterize it as
"unchecked hearsay," when in fact it is, as Webb's work always
is, not only first-rate but first. As I've had occasion to remark
earlier, I'd take one Walt Webb (or Bill Weitzel or Brad Sparks
or Jennie Zeidman, or whomever) over 10,000 speculationists.

Hilariously, Duke claimed in one of his books that Simon was
"entirely unbiased about UFOs as such," when in reality, as Webb
noted in his NICAP field report, he held the subject in such
contempt that he refused the UFO literature Webb offered to loan
him.  For the problems inherent in Simon's a prior beliefs, see
the discussion on pages 248-49 of my High Strangeness.  For a
larger discussion of the relevant intellectual fallacy, read
David J. Hufford's illuminating The Terror That Comes in the
Night (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1982).

> 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.

Yeah, right.  Thanks for introducing "proleptic" to the
discussion. Of course, if CE3/abduction testimony were wildly at
variance, you would state, just as complacently, that the human
imagination is limitless.  For more on that, see below.

> 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.

Remember, Duke is a guy who takes Donald Menzel and Peter
Rogerson seriously.  Are we to be surprised that Martin Kottmeyer
is far behind?  If you want to see just how dopy MK's argument re
the Hill case is, and how amusing it is that Duke refuses to
acknowledging its corpseness, I refer readers to page 250 of my
High Strangeness or to page 291 of my recently published The UFO
Book.  To the debunker, no corpse stinks so badly that it
shouldn't yet be brought to the dinner. Nothing, it seems, is
going to get in the way of a speculationist's appetite.

> 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.

"No one knows ... to what extent she familiarized herself with
the UFO literature." Speak for yourself, Duke man. You wouldn't
know Sandra Larson from Sandra Dee. Here we have, in a nutshell,
what is wrong with armchair psychosocial speculationism. It's
funny, too, that Duke is regularly accusing others of employing
clairvoyant powers.

In reality, Sandy Larson, on whose case I spent some time and
talked with a whole lot of people who knew her, did not read UFO
literature.  She did not read much of anything. There was hardly
any printed matter in her house.  Nobody I spoke with had ever
seen any evidence that she knew UFO literature or harbored even
an unread fascination with UFOs. Sandy, who led a difficult life,
was focused on making a living for herself and her daughter. She
did it precariously by waitressing in local honkytonks and
dreaming, unrealistically, of a future as a country singer. She
was largely oblivious to anything outside her little world,
whether it was world events or UFO sightings.

> >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:

Amusing that so committed an advocate as Duke, who finds the very
concept of agnosticism in these matters infuriating, calls his a
"dispassionate eye." Looks more like a wildly flashing one to me
and, I suspect, just about everybody else, even your friends.
Certainly this friend.

> 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. ...

What evidence do you have of that, Duke?  I love these endless,
baseless speculations, based on nothing at all. The case did not
fall into "the hands of APRO."  I was not associated with APRO,
and I was the primary investigator. Leo Sprinkle was brought in
at one point, not by APRO but by Saga's UFO Report, which paid
his expenses to fly from Laramie to Fargo.  Leo and I did not
discuss UFO cases in Sandy Larson's presence.  Sandy did not know
the difference between the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization
and the National Weather Bureau.

> 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. ...

Yup, it is a stretch.  Didn't happen.  More baseless
speculationism, Duke.  ("Speculationism," by the way, not theory;
your guesses don't qualify as the latter.)

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

All of this discussion, it should be noted, far removed from
Pascagoula, Mississippi, and the frightening experience of
two terrified men.  In the sort of speculationism in which
Duke freely indulges, human beings exist only as passive
narrators.  UFO experiences, often complex and surrounded
by intriguing suggestive or circumstantial evidence, simply
become stories from which the psychosocial speculationists
can create new ones, all without having to stir from the
comfort of rural Wales or urban London or wherever Duke
the Clairvoyant is beaming cyber and psychic messages at
the moment.

For the full story, one has to go elsewhere.  I have
summarized the case and the surrounding evidence
in an entry in my UFO Encyclopedia.  Hickson and
Mendez's book -- based in good part on Mendez's
considerable investigation -- is an excellent source.

> 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.

Any specific evidence, Duke, that Hickson and Parker
were consumers of UFO literature?  Ah, yes, excuse me.
Such specific evidence is irrelevant to the speculationist.
I beg pardon.  Still, I beg your indulgence to add that
unless you can demonstrate something like that by more
than the sorts of broad, damned-if-they-do, damned-if-
they-don't speculationism you love so much, what follows
here is a waste of everybody's time:

> "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/

Which reminds me.  I think I'll indulge myself in a quote from
me: "In place of falsifiable hypotheses, psychosocial
speculations substitute a closed system from which it would be
all but impossible for a genuinely new and novel phenomenon to
emerge."  Using Duke's logic and "methodology" (employing that
term loosely), we would have no chance ever of identifying the
presence of an extraordinary phenomenon, short of course of a
crash of a UFO, with aliens and abductees inside, into the
Washington Monument.  Where evidence doesn't exist, Duke just
makes it up.  And if you just make stuff up (e.g., Duke on
Larson's and Hickson/Parker's alleged familiarity with the UFO
literature) and use what you've made up to declare the issue
closed ... well, you might make yourself feel better, and feeling
better has a lot to do, one suspects, with what Duke's about than
getting at difficult truths.  Duke has done his idol,
pathological scientist Donald Menzel, who also made up stuff when
it suited his purposes, proud.  Well, that's not entirely fair.
Menzel was dishonest.  Duke is just blind.

> >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.

> 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.

'Fraid not, pal.  As I remarked in an early posting, the Larson
case anticipated some crucial features which came into focus in
later years but about which we knew nothing at the time.  For
example, the business of being "stuck."  That's where the really
leading questions happened, and Jackie, Sandy's daughter,
wouldn't budge, and Leo Sprinkle sure pushed her, even as I sat
there quietly cringing. Naturally, Duke doesn't want to talk
about this.

Note the damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't nature of Duke's
speculationism. If Sandy's testimony had described humanoids
precisely similar to the Hills', he would have declared that, of
course, she based it on theirs, having seen the Hill movie.  But
since she doesn't describe those sorts of beings, Duke hatches up
yet another speculationist solution.  See my remarks about the
closed system.  Duke wants to make sure that anything he doesn't
want to hear doesn't get a chance to breathe.

What's interesting to me is that around the same time a witness
in Colorado reported an encounter with an entity much like the
one Sandy would describe.  I didn't know about the case at the
time.  Even if I had, I would not have brought it up to Sandy,
certainly not  while the investigation was ongoing.  I didn't
discover this other case until a few months ago. Most of us would
regard this as curious and conceivably even supportive.  But
Duke, with his endless supply of ever-ready explanations, will
take care of it.  Never worry.


> 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.

What a load of crap.  This doesn't even rise to the level of
apples and oranges.  This is more like apples and elephants. For
one thing, "plausibly deconstructed" by the same sort of
speculationism, from which nothing is safe, that you employ in
the above discussion.

For another,  70,000 people, many in a state of high religious
excitement (and only a minority of whom saw anything like a
"dancing sun"), are not quite the same thing as three persons
driving down a rural highway, concentrating on immediate, mundane
business, UFOs the last thing on their minds. Reminds me of
something else I've written about such speculationism:

"All claims suggestive of other-than-human intelligences --
however credible or noncredible, whoever the claimant, whatever
the circumstances, whatever the particular details of the story,
whatever evidence may or may not exist -- become the same thing.

Similarities, however slight, matter more than differences,
however substantial.  In science one must note similarities, of
course, but one must also isolate differences. Psychosocial
speculators seem to regard differences as irrelevant.  They are,
in short, employing arguments that flirt dangerously with
pseudoscientific logic."


Cheers,

Jerry Clark


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