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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1999 > Feb > Feb 3

Re: Premature Birth & Abduction?

From: Greg Sandow <gsandow@prodigy.net>
Date: Wed, 3 Feb 1999 16:16:58 -0500
Fwd Date: Wed, 03 Feb 1999 20:59:45 -0500
Subject: Re: Premature Birth & Abduction?

>Date: Tue, 2 Feb 1999 20:27:59 -0500
>From: Mendoza <DarkSecretPB@compuserve.com>
>Subject: UFO UpDate: Re: Premature Birth & Abduction?
>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <updates@globalserve.net>

>My turn for picky correction. Al Lawson maintained, as I recall, at
>one point that he could tell the difference between a naturally
>born abductee and a C-sectioned one, from their abduction
>narratives, and that this checked out when the medical records were

>Possibly this is discussed in the papers--greatly developed
>versions of his original ones on hypnosis and birth memory--on
>his website, whose URL unfortunately I don't have (try


I'll have to go and check this. It's a fairly staggering site,
and includes a paper on birth imagery in rock videos. There's a
lot of anger at the site, too -- Lawson, not really
credentialed, as far as I can tell, in any of the fields he
comments on, feels ignored by the world. (But then, I'm not
credentialed either. Though I _was_ once born, come to think of

>>(The other one, of course, was that
>>nobody has ever proved that anyone remembers being born.)

>No one has ever _proved_ anyone remembers anything, least of all
>being abducted. And the notion of birth memory is a good deal
>subtler than that. Not that I buy the Lawson thesis, but let's
>be fair to the man.

>One of the most frustrating, and in my view most revealing,
>things about Lawson's research into "real" and "false"
>abductions, in which he maintained that abductees and
>non-abductees produced strikingly similar stories under
>hypnosis, is that while many were called to rage against it--not
>always reasonably--none were called to repeat the experiment(s)
>in a manner that took criticisms into account. A caricaturist
>would say Believers were frightened to, and Disbelievers thought
>they didn't have to. Oh, dear.

Oh, dear, indeed. I've never seen any comments on Lawson's
expanded version of his "imaginary abductee" paper, which can be
found on his site, along with complete experimental data, rather
heavily annotated with Lawson's own interpretation, lest anyone
take it simply at face value (whatever that might turn out to

My own comment might go something like this. When one compares
imagery -- birth imagery vs. abduction imagery (or rock videos),
real abduction accounts vs. made-up accounts by those who don't
claim to have been abducted -- one has considerable latitude.
Essentially it's your "compare and contrast" exam paper, or, on
a higher level, your exercise in literary criticism. "A
Comparison of Birth Imagery in the Works of Chaucer and William
Burroughs." The results are very much in the eyes of the
beholder, which is fine in literature, but not so good in

What you need to follow is a procedure like that used in the
best remote viewing research, or in a JUFOS piece on UFO stories
in the New York Times. In remote viewing research, you have, on
one hand, photographs of the sites to be remote-viewed, and, on
the other, drawings or verbal descriptions by the remote
viewers, that may or may not correspond to the sites. Since
whether they do or not is a matter of interpretation, you set up
a panel of neutral judges, who each match drawings or
descriptions to the photographs, with no knowledge of what
photographs the drawings or descriptions were thought to
represent. Their results are then averaged, and only if their
averages show a pronounced correspondance between remote viewing
and results and photographs are the results said to be positive.

In other words, just because the photographs showed a water
tower and the remote viewer drew a cylinder, we don't jump to
the conclusion that the remote viewer saw the correct outline of
the target. Neutral judges, looking at all the target
photographs and all the remote viewing results at once, have to
make the match. (I hope I'm remembering this procedure

In the JUFOS case, the authors, social scientists, concluded
that the Times' coverage of UFOs had grown more negative over
the years. But to conclude that, you have to agree on which
stories are negative. Again, they set up a panel of neutral
judges, who read all the stories in question, and rated them on
a numerical scale from strongly positive to strongly negative.
Their ratings were averaged, and these averages -- rather than
the authors' opinions -- were used to judge which category to
put the stories into.

This is what JUFOS is supposed to be doing with Budd Hopkins'
samples of alleged alien writing. An independent panel is
supposed to rate their similarity to each other. And this is
what Lawson does _not_ do on his site. He speckles his
experimental data with his own views on its similarity to "real"
abductions, thereby indulging in literary criticism. Some of
what he says makes sense to me, some seems entirely far-fetched
-- and none of it really matters, neither my view nor his, until
independent judges make their own determinations.

Greg Sandow

(If this were a scientific report, I'd go back to the site and
see whether he'd used such a panel in his original paper. But he
certainly doesn't in the comments that make up the bulk of
what's there now.)

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