UFO UpDates
A mailing list for the study of UFO-related phenomena
'Its All Here In Black & White'
Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1999 > Jan > Jan 31

Re: Abduction - The Issue Of Reality

From: Kevin Randle <KRandle993@aol.com>
Date: Sun, 31 Jan 1999 09:52:20 EST
Fwd Date: Sun, 31 Jan 1999 20:44:46 -0500
Subject: Re: Abduction - The Issue Of Reality

>From: Greg Sandow <gsandow@prodigy.net>
>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <updates@globalserve.net>
>Subject: Re: Abduction - The Issue Of Reality
>Date: Sat, 30 Jan 1999 18:13:13 -0500

>>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.

The point, I believe, is that the hypnotically recovered
testimony hasn't been used on its own. It required corroboration
of some kind. But the point is that, in California, for example,
the testimony from the witness who recovered it under hypnosis
is not allowed. The other evidence would be.

>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.

The problems with hypnosis are well known and too often
overlooked in abduction research. Yes, we are beginning to
understand them better, but I still hear the abduction
researchers saying, "Hypnosis is the only thing, that we know
of, that really is effective here. It has been recommended by
and endorsed by, the American Medical Association, AMA, for use
in cases of - and psychiatric groups will say this is the only
real tool you have that is pretty efficient to unlocking a
period of genuine missing time."

However, the American Medical Association, Report on the Council
on Scientific Affairs in a statement released in 1985 and again
in 1994, said, "The council concludes that hypnosis induced
recollections actually appeared to be less reliable than non-
hypnotic recall."

In October 1997, the Royal College of Psychiatrists announced a
ban on using recovered memories in cases of child abuse. They
noted that the practice of using hypnosis for recovering
memories can give rise to false memories which are often
strongly held beliefs.

However, the use of hypnosis to recover the memories is only a
small part of the overall picture. It is important to the
understanding what is happening, but to understand the entire
picture, as Greg suggests, hypnosis must be seen as only part of
the problem.

>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.

Which is what Alvin Lawson did and was castigated for "leading"
his subjects into an abduction scenario. Yes, Lawson's work can
be seen as flawed (yet it is cited in some of the psychological
journal articles), and yes, more work more carefully controlled
must be done but there is an ethical question here. How far do
we go in inducing memories to study the ease with which they can
be induced and in learning how strongly they are held? At what
point do we stop the research because it is necessary to
manipulate human memory to do it?

Clark Hull, for example, was forced to abandon his research of
hypnosis by the Yale School of Medicine because it was believed
that the hypnosis was damaging and dangerous. Yes, this was in
the 1930s, but research on humans were less strictly controlled

>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.

This is quite a debate in the psychological community with the
forces lining up based on what they believe. Some of the more
recent studies have begun to suggest that the recovered memories
are not recovered at all. In fact, some of Terr's work seems to
be self contradictory, not to mention the fact that no one has
proposed a method in which the memories are immediately
repressed only to surface decades later. But this argument has
now moved from hypnosis and missing time into another very
controversial arena.

>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?

No one suggested that, but we should also be aware of how easily
the questioning can result in the creation of a memory. In one
experiment, the students were shown a traffic accident. They
were asked, after watching the film, if the blue car had stopped
at the stop sign. Many of them answered the question by either
saying yes or no. The point was that there was no stop sign.
Yes, this was another laboratory experiment.

>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!"

But, haven't you just moved from the arena of memory into the
arena of recovered memory? Isn't it these long dominant memories
that are suspect? If, in a sudden "flash" of insight, you
remember your father murdering your best friend twenty years
ago, is that a recovered memory as opposed to something that was
merely forgotten? Isn't the controversy over these sorts of
memories of abuse recovered after twenty, thirty and forty years
that is being challenged?

>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....

No, she would understand the difference in what is being
discussed here. Psychologist Ulric Neisser had an opportunity to
study "flashbulb" memories, those memories of important events
like the Kennedy assassination or the Challenger explosion. He
gave his freshman students a short questionnaire the day after
the Challenger exploded asking about where they were when they
heard, what they were doing. Three years later he gave those
same students, now seniors, the same questionnaire with a
single, additional question. How accurate to you believe your
memories to be? According to the research, a quarter of the
students had no memories that were accurate. In one case a
student said he had been home with his parents when it was clear
he was away from home at college.

When confronted with the inaccuracy of these memories, the
students argued with them, even though they had provided the
original information within hours of the event. One student
said, "I still remember everything happening the way I told you.
I can't help it." She was defending the memories that were
clearly an invention of her own mind about the event.

So, rather than just suggest that hypnosis is a poor
investigative tool, we moved into recovered memories, many of
which supposedly were not recovered under hypnosis. The point,
however, is that hypnosis, if used, can induce more problems
than it solves. To understand some of the abduction phenomena,
it is important to understand hypnosis. And no, Greg, is it not
a long section in the book, merely one of those in which many of
its problems are explored.


[ Next Message | Previous Message | This Day's Messages ]
This Month's Index |

UFO UpDates Main Index

UFO UpDates - Toronto - Operated by Errol Bruce-Knapp

Archive programming by Glenn Campbell at Glenn-Campbell.com