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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1999 > Jan > Jan 30

Re: Abduction - The Issue Of Reality

From: Greg Sandow <gsandow@prodigy.net>
Date: Sat, 30 Jan 1999 18:13:13 -0500
Fwd Date: Sat, 30 Jan 1999 20:50:32 -0500
Subject: Re: Abduction - The Issue Of Reality 

>From: Kevin Randle <KRandle993@aol.com>
>Date: Fri, 29 Jan 1999 12:53:44 EST
>To: updates@globalserve.net
>Subject: Re: 1999 UFO Alien Abduction Conference Announced

>>Date: Thu, 28 Jan 1999 10:13:53 -0800 (PST)
>>From: Rebecca Keith <xiannekei@yahoo.com>
>>Subject: Re: 1999 UFO Alien Abduction Conference Announced
>>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <updates@globalserve.net>

>>>This is why some states now prohibit witnesses who have been
>>>hypnotized (questioned under hypnosis about the crime) from
>>>testifying. It is simply too easy to implant information even by
>>>the most careful of questioners.

A small clarification.

Some states forbid testimony derived from hypnosis, and all of
them should, because without independent corroboration there's
no way to determine whether a hypnotically recalled memory is

This, however, doesn't stop police departments, on occasion,
from using hypnosis to develop evidence. And if the evidence can
be independently corroborated, it can then be used in court.

For instance: If I'm a possible witness to a murder, and under
hypnosis I say that I saw Prince Charles do it, my testimony
wouldn't be allowed in court. But the police can act on what I
claim to remember. They can look into the Prince's whereabouts,
and discover that he was not in Buckingham Palace the night of
the crime, as he claimed, but right where the crime was
committed. They can discover that he bought exactly the kind of
gun used in the crime. Finally they can find a witness who saw
the Prince pull the trigger, and all this new evidence -- which
they might not have gone after, if they hadn't hypnotized me --
should be more that enough to convict the Prince in court.

There's at least one paper in the psychology literature,
describing a case much like this.

Abduction researchers, as I've observed before, don't stress the
problems with hypnosis enough. But on the other hand, the best
of them never believe a story just because one person told it
under hypnosis. I can't stress this enough. The case for
abductions is built from many hypnotic and non-hypnotic accounts
that appear to confirm each other, even (allegedly) in tiny,
unpublished details. So I'm a little tired, to be honest, of
hearing the problems with hypnosis brought up over and over by
critics of abduction research.

The critics have to go a little deeper (as I hope Kevin does in
his book). They have to beyond saying that hypnosis can
encourage people to make up stories, and show why abductees are
making up the particular stories they do. Why, for instance, do
many people who say they've seen abductees working with the
aliens all say that the abductees are wearing blue uniforms when
they do it? Has that detail circulated widely in the literature?
(Not until fairly recently, after many of the original stories
were told.) Has it been talked about in abductee support groups?
Are there unreported groups of abductees describing green
uniforms, or no uniforms at all? These are the kind of questions
that, in my opinion, the critics should be looking at.

Stuart Appelle, in his lengthy JUFOS paper on the abduction
evidence, suggests that non-abductees should be asked to imagine
details like this, to determine whether there's some mental
template or cultural predisposition that leads people toward
these repeated abduction details. If you ask non-abductees what
color the uniforms would be, and most of them say that they're
blue, then it's much less impressive when abductees report that.

As Stuart and others have also pointed out, there hasn't been
enough research on hypnosis. For instance, the research that
claims to show hypnosis doesn't help in accurately recalling
forgotten details was all or almost all done in laboratory
settings. There hasn't, to my knowledge, been any research on
hypnotic recall of real-life traumatic memories. I know, of
course, that the whole question of recovered memory is
considered very dicey these days, but there's impressive
evidence from Lenore Terr, among other psychologists, that some
recovered memories are genuine. That is, the recovered memories
can be corroborated. Corroboration, as always, is the key.

One last thought:

>>This is why some states now prohibit witnesses who have been
>>>hypnotized (questioned under hypnosis about the crime) from
>>>testifying. It is simply too easy to implant information even by
>>>the most careful of questioners.

Elizabeth Loftus and others have proved that memories can be
implanted by ordinary questioning, no hypnosis required. Should
we now prohibit testimony from any witness who was ever
interrogated by police?

We need to use a little common sense when we talk about memory.
Recovered memories are tricky, no doubt about it. But some of
the writing from critics of recovered memory makes you wonder
how any of us could ever trust our minds at all. That was one
feeling I had after reading Elizabeth Loftus's book (she being
the psychologist most cited in attacks on recovered memories). I
wondered what she does when, like all of us at some time or
other, she mislays her car keys. The rest of us aren't surprised
when, after a few minutes of hapless searching, the light bulb
suddenly goes off in our heads. "Oh, right! I put them on the
coffee table when I went into the bedroom to change my pants!"

So we look on the coffee table, and find the keys. Poor Loftus,
though -- if she takes what she writes in her book a little too
seriously, she'd reject a sudden memory like that. After all,
she's shown in her research how false they can be. She's
probably still looking for her car keys....

Greg Sandow

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