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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1998 > Jul > Jul 30

Re: Why Migraines Don't Explain UFOs

From: Mark Cashman <mcashman@ix.netcom.com>
Date: Thu, 30 Jul 1998 11:09:20 -0400
Fwd Date: Thu, 30 Jul 1998 15:51:44 -0400
Subject: Re: Why Migraines Don't Explain UFOs

> Date: Thu, 30 Jul 1998 13:27:50 +0100
> To: updates@globalserve.net
> From: John Rimmer <j_rimmer@library.croydon.gov.uk>
> Subject: Re: Why Migraines Don't Explain UFOs

> Where the PSHers start to get interested is when we find that
> there is no substantial difference between these cases, and the
> ones which are 'solved' to Mr Cashman's satisfaction.

The problem with this is that the two major studies which have
addressed this point, the Batelle study and the GEPAN study did
not find this to be the case. They indicated that the IFO and
UFO reports represent distinct populations in terms of the
characteristics of the observed objects.

One also must note that the vast majority of "solved" cases are
NL cases, which, as noted by Hynek, have the lowest survival
rate, and that CE cases have the highest survival rate.

One must also note that with an existing literature on the UFO
subject, one can expect hoaxes to have a decided resemblance to
the typical UFO case. However, those organizations which had the
capability, authority, and a decided interest in finding hoaxes
among CE reports were generally unable to do so - to the extent
that only a tiny percentage of reports have been explained as

Anticipating a previously stated objection to this low
percentage, I will simply say that it is not scientific to make
assumptions about the percentage of undiscovered hoaxes.

The model of UFO perception used by the UFO community is
somewhat different from the PSH model.

1) Witnesses who report UFOs do so because they are aware of a
conceptual category called UFO into which a variety of unusual
aerial and ground sightings may fit. Witnesses unaware of this
category, or of anyone to whom reports may be submitted,
typically retain their experience, and when they do finally
discover or decide that their experience may fall into this
category, and assuming they can overcome their reluctance to
report, they then transmit their information.

2) Certain specific natural stimuli can cause a witness aware of
the UFO category to consider the possibility that a UFO was
sighted. These natural stimuli are remarkable in that they are
unfamiliar to the observer, they are atypical presentations of a
specific phenomenon, or they are otherwise unusual.

3) Natural stimuli misperceived by the UFO witness do in fact
have an appearance similar to that which a UFO as reported
during a close encounter would have at a distance from the
witness. These include luminous phenomena, metallic objects such
as aircraft at the limits of perception, etc. Thus, it is to be
expected that the awareness of the presence of the concept of
the UFO leads to the potential for misperception.

This is not the same as stating that the existence of the UFO
concept causes the misperception, and that UFOs are no more than
misperceptions, hoaxes, and hallucinations, which is the
fundamental inversion presented by Mr. Rimmer.

Once again, usually, the witness recognizes the natural
stiumulus and does not report it as a UFO. Unreported but
witnessed unusual natural phenomena are much more frequent than
UFO reports.

When the witness does not recognize the natural stimulus and
reports it as a UFO, investigators are highly successful in
identifying the stimulus. This is because the witness is able to
successfully describe the phenomenon such that its resemblance
to a natural cause is noted by the investigator.

Given that this suggests the natural reliability of witness
perception (as opposed to interpretation), what are we to make
of the reports which cannot be identified?

a) They are natural phenomena so remarkable as to be outside the
experience and knowledge of one or more investigators and

b) They are so distorted by the witness perceptual or
interpretive faculties that they are unrecognizable.

c) The witness is lying.

d) The phenomenon occurred largely as reported and represents a
genuninely unusual phenomenon.

In the case of (a), one does not expect any natural phenomenon
to have certain appearances (metallic, structured, contains
occupants). Thus, such reports may be safely removed from
category (a). In the case of (b), an interview is usually
capable of determining the witness perceptual ability and the
degree to which they are capable of distinguishing natural
phenomena. Most investigators use the on-site reenactment to
determine if the witness is prone to identifying non-UFO stimuli
as UFOs. In the case of (c) one assesses the personal or
professional cost of a UFO hoax to the witness. This is why
investigators consider the strongest cases to be those from
individuals with high levels of civic responsibility.

Thus, having done due diligence, the investigator leaves the
cases in (d) for the analyst. Certainly some noise remains in
this category, and given the variability of the UFO phenomenon,
it is difficult to filter this material. Generally the analyst
wishing to reduce the noise level in category (d) rejects
accounts of communication with UFO occupants, repeater
sightings, and any suggestion that the witness has been "chosen"
by the UFO source.

One must note that this once again leads us to a set of reports
of clearly structured objects, engaged in distinctive behavior,
often leaving physical traces or having physical effects,
including medical effects, which are, as a body, quite
distinguished from those which are initially or later filtered.

Again, as a body, these contain reports which are either close
range observations of clearly physical structured objects, or
longer range observations of distinctly configured luminous or
metallic objects. The reports in this class do not resemble
folklore or tall tales; they do not contain explanations or
resolutions; the witness is neither hero nor victim.

4) The UFO reporter is highly curious as to the source of the
stimulus and often engages in a sequence called the "escalation
of hypothesis" as they attempt to identify the occurrence. It is
only when this fails that the observer considers a UFO event to
have occurred. In many cases even when the event cannot be
identified by the witness, the witness dismisses the
observation, assuming there must be some explanation. This is in
complete variance with a PSH model of the witness, where the
witness is prepped by pervasive folklore to force-fit unfamiliar
stiumuli into the UFO category.


Let us distinguish between two things which Mr. Rimmer mixes.
There are indeed social ramifications of UFO reports, there are
indeed cultural influences on witness perception of UFO events,
and there are effects of reports on the body of potential and
actual witnesses. This is, however, far from the leap which then
attributes all UFO sightings to non-real or misperceived events
shaped by culture.

An examination of some of the reports of the 1897 wave makes
clear the difference between the real UFO reports of the era and
the folkloric hoaxes and misperceptions. One can easily see that
there are reports of UFOs which do not contain mentions of
wings, gondolas, bearded or female occupants, or communication
with those occupants in English. These UFO reports from that era
describe luminous objects, sometimes with unusual performance,
light beams, and other phenomena familiar to the modern UFO

Furthermore, events such as the Orson Welles' War of the Worlds,
which did not trigger a UFO wave despite the panic engenedered
by the broadcast, tend to mitigate against a PSH explanation of
UFO waves, flaps, and concentrations. In addition,
concentrations such as Levelland, where in a matter of hours a
set of essentially identical reports was received from witnesses
not in communication with each other or with any aware media,
also invalidate PSH as a hypothesis accounting for UFOs.

Finally, UFOlogy is not the only science where there is some
resemblance between non-related phenomena and related phenomena.
One might cite the history of quasars as an example of such a
process - initially quasars were thought to be stars with
unusual qualities. A good deal of subsequent investigation was
required before it was determined that despite their resemblance
to stars, they were, in fact, active galactic cores.

One would not suggest that as a consequence, all stars are
active galactic cores... right?

Mark Cashman, creator of The Temporal Doorway at
- Original digital art, writing, and UFO research -
Author of SF novels available at...