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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1997 > Nov > Nov 20

Re: Solved Abduction Cases?

From: DevereuxP@aol.com [Paul Devereux]
Date: Wed, 19 Nov 1997 09:21:02 -0500 (EST)
Fwd Date: Thu, 20 Nov 1997 08:44:11 -0500
Subject: Re: Solved Abduction Cases?

Sean Jones wrote:

>Date: Tue, 4 Nov 1997 15:41:52 +0000
>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <updates@globalserve.net>
>From: Sean Jones <tedric@tedric.demon.co.uk>
>Subject: Re: UFO UpDate: Re: Solved Abduction Cases?


>>From: DevereuxP <DevereuxP@aol.com> [Paul Devereux]
>>Date: Mon, 3 Nov 1997 19:55:04 EST
>>To: updates@globalserve.net
>>Subject: Solved Abduction Cases?

>>1001 other beliefs that wax and wane within ufology (it
>>is folkore, after all), who is arguing otherwise?


>I am for one. I get pretty bloody annoyed when you keep refering
>to Ufology as Folklore

>Collins Dictionary and Thesaurus 1991
>folklore (n) 1, the unwritten literature of a people as
>expressed in folk tales, songs etc. 2, study of such materials.

>Collins Dictionary 1994
>folklore (n) traditional beliefs etc. of a community; study of
>these

>As you can see neither of these dictionaries of the English
>language agree with your version of what folklore is.

>For one there is plenty of written material about ufology and
>ufological issuses, you have written some yourself. And since
>when is ufology a tradition?

>I could argue with loads of things in this post of yours but I
>do not wish to waste my time typing to you when it is blatantly
>obvious that you do not listen to what is said.


Sean,

If you subscribe to learned journals of folklore, as I do, you
will see that bona fide folkorists of an academic bent study the
most remarkable subject matter. Research subjects range from
things like belief structures in the internal language of motor
cycle gangs to motifs within the gossip of modern village
communities!

Ufology is now two generations old in its present form, and has
brought with it patterns of thinking that are hundreds of years
old. Ufology *is* a community in the conceptual sense, and it
most certainly does have its traditions. The greatest of these is
the ET Motif or ETM (inaccurately referred to as the ET
Hypothesis or ETH). It is folklore. Grays are folklore.
Abductions are folklore. Roswell is folklore. Government
conspiracies are folklore. Planetoid -sized ET craft accompanying
a comet seen in the sky is folklore. Etc.,etc., etc. The 1994
Collins definition is quite applicable.


But folklore does not mean that nothing ever happened that
triggered that lore. It just means that stories have developed
that can actually mask the originating factor, facts can mutate,
and should not be taken at face value. Take, for example, a
folktale that states that Old Bill, a train guard who was killed
in a train accident, can be seen on moonlit nights haunting the
length of track where he died, carrying his lantern (perhaps
looking for his severed head or arm). We may have a factual germ
in that there was a train crash in the vicinity, say, 50 years
ago. And, perhaps, on moonlit nights, a weird light can be seen
that at a distance looks like a lantern light. But that wouldn't
mean there was ever a train guard there called Old Bill, or that
his ghost haunts the tracks. A story has built up around some
half-remembered event back in time.

Ufology is a story we tell ourselves. In the telling, some facts
will be unearthed. So, to follow the Old Bill story,let us say,
I go into the reference library and prove that there never was
an Old Bill. Let's say I also show that the train accident happened
8 miles way from the place now haunted. Let's further say that,
I dunno, Mendoza sits out one moonlit night and finds the ghostly
"lantern" to be a reflection of moonlight off an exposed crystalline
deposit in a big rock, that seems to weave and flicker behind
the moving branches of trees? Three things would follow from this
obtaining of factual data: (1) the piece of folklore did mark
a real set of events; (2)the set events were not what the piece
of folklore stated; (3) THE PEOPLE DOWN IN THE NEARBY
COMMUNITY WILL STILL TALK ABOUT, AND BELIEVE IN, THE
GHOST OF OLD BILL.

Let's consider Roswell. Something happened there but we do not
know what. We do not know how many times it happened, and whether
it was really at Roswell or somewhere else in the general region.
Even if an ET craft did impact at a specific spot, all the other
stories and beliefs we find in the Roswell literature and debate
*have* to have been folklore. Anything could have happened at
Roswell, from an ET craft crashing, to a secret government
balloon coming down. All we have to deal with is the folklore
that has arisen around that long-distant event. (Which happened,
moreover, in an isolated rural community which is the perfect
breeding ground for folklore.) I repeat, most of the Roswell
literature *has* to be folklore, whatever the final truth of the
matter turns out to be.

It is just the same with tales of government conspiracy. We all
know governments keep secrets - sometimes for sensible reasons,
other times less reasonably. (The times when the Secretary of
State for Defence took tea used to be an official secret in
Britain!) That knowledge, combined with the frustated belief that
ET craft have landed and have been captured (frustrated because
there is no hard evidence, let alone proof of the matter) gives
the germ that can set off whole sagas of conspiracy theories.

Even if the ETM is true, it will still be the case that most of
ufology was storytelling, the stuff of folklore. In ufology, we
are all up to our armpits in folklore. You included, Sean - like
it or lump it. That the ufological community is now a virtual
one in cyberspace, that the folklore has gone electronic, does
not change the fact that it is still folklore. Indeed, modern
communications have exacerbated the process. You only have to
look at the passing content of this list to see that it is just
like the superstitious gossip of a rural community. Just look
at the parade of beliefs, rumours, stories and opinions that can
be generated about a few moments of video footage, or a short
film of an alien autopsy! The august experts agree or disagree,
the believers insist it is true, the infidels insist it is a hoax.
We rarely get to the true facts of the matter. And in the few
cases we do, we find that all was not what it seemed. (The folklorist
would say: "Precisely!") This is folklore in action, Sean. (Indeed,
there is a hot Ph.D. dissertation waiting to be written by some
folklorist on how the internet can  enhance folkloric dynamics.)
If you think you are dealing with facts all the time in ufology,
or even most of the time, you are seriously - nay, dangerously
-  deluding yourself.

Now, Sean, are *you* listening?

Best wishes,
Paul Devereux






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