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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Mar > Mar 18

Interview With Thomas Eddie Bullard

From: Eustaquio Andrea Patounas <socex.ufobras.nul>
Date: Sat, 17 Mar 2007 11:11:31 -0300
Fwd Date: Sun, 18 Mar 2007 08:41:42 -0400
Subject: Interview With Thomas Eddie Bullard


Interview With Thomas Eddie Bullard
By Milton Frank
President Brazilian Ufology Center

17/03/2007

1- Why did you get involved with ufology? Have you ever seen an
UFO? If so, how was your experience?

I feel like I have had an interest in UFOS throughout my life. I
remember fondly the 1950s "alien invasion" movies, the science
fiction comic books, and the spaceman toys I played with as a
child, but my first memory of real UFOS begins with 1957. I was
8 years old and settled down with the morning paper to read
about Sputnik when I saw reports of big egg-shaped objects
landing in Texas and causing car engines to stall. I was
fascinated. In the next few years I discovered Fate magazine and
Ray Palmer's Flying Saucers, read Donald Keyhoe's books from the
local library, and collected every newspaper report or magazine
article I could find. I joined APRO and NICAP in the mid-1960s
and continued to read every new book that dealt with UFOS. Once
I entered graduate school and needed a dissertation topic, this
lifelong interest in UFOS was an obvious choice. At this point I
began a serious scholarly study of the subject.

My interest has always been purely intellectual and not based on
experience. I have seen many of the best spectacles of nature -
a total eclipse of the sun, a red aurora borealis, comets,
bolides - but never a UFO, I'm sorry to say.

2- Do you believe in abductions? If not why?

Abductions are real as the experiences of many people. Are
abductions also real-world events - that is, with nuts-and-bolts
spaceships and flesh-and-blood aliens? I don't know. All I can
say is that many sincere people describe the experience with
emotion and conviction. The stories these people tell have a
surprising consistency - the descriptions of the entities,
sensations, and setting are similar, the events and their
sequence stays the same from one account to another. At the same
time an account of alien kidnap invites imaginative elaboration,
if the story is in fact a fantasy. That variation does not
occur, and for that reason I have to doubt that these accounts
are fantasies. The conventional explanations for abductions -
 sleep paralysis, fantasy-proneness, the influence of well-
publicized accounts, confabulation between the investigator and
the abductee to create a "proper" abduction story - do not
provide adequate explanations for the accounts of abductees.

To say that I "believe" in abductions would be misleading. I
cannot say with full certainty what they are, but the
testimonial evidence gives me good reason to accept that many
people have had a very strange experience, and they describe it
in similar ways just as people do when they have experienced a
similar event.

3- How can a researcher start to study abductions cases? What
kind of methodology in your opinion is appropriate to study
abduction cases?

There are several ways to research abductions. The most familiar
way is to investigate the experiences of individual abductees.
Another way is to test theories about abductions, for example,
the studies of psychologists to find out if abductees are
fantasy-prone or mentally disturbed. I have pursued a third
possibility - the comparative study of abduction reports to see
if some patterns of consistency emerge. Each approach has its
own methodology. A case investigator must have the skills to
interview witnesses without asking leading questions, the
empathy to deal with people disturbed by their experiences, and
- perhaps - familiarity with the techniques of hypnosis. The use
of hypnosis is, of course, controversial, because hypnosis can
lead to false memories, elaborate fantasies, and doing more harm
than good. No one should attempt hypnosis without proper
training.

The testing of theories about abductions usually takes place
within the framework of an academic study. The investigator
proposes some hypothesis and carries out experiments, often
using standardized tests, with the ultimate goal of publishing a
paper in a scientific journal. Most work of this type requires
the academic expertise to design a proper experiment, select a
suitable sample of test subjects, choose appropriate test
instruments, and apply statistical analysis to the results.

A comparative study is probably the easiest way to study
abductions. Published accounts can provide the data and
investigators can search for patterns of similarity. Each of
these three approaches can make a valuable contribution to
understanding UFO abductions. The choice depends on the talents,
preferences, and resources of the investigator.

4- I know you have been researching abductions cases for a long
time. What conclusions did you come to about them?

I have had the good fortune to examine a great many abduction
reports, and my studies have led me to recognize many patterns
within this body of reports. In speaking of those reports, I can
say that they do not act like fictitious narratives. Abduction
accounts have a stubborn consistency that suggests many
different witnesses have similar experiences - in other words,
the stories that these people tell are more like descriptions of
real-world events than products of the imagination. I have met a
number of abductees over the years and their sincerity is
impressive, but any conclusion I reach must be based on
narrative texts, since my systematic studies have dealt only
with those texts. From what I see in the accounts, I can only
say that they seem to describe an honest and frightening
experience. No alternative explanation like fantasy-proneness,
sleep paralysis, or confabulation provides an adequate solution
for abduction reports, leaving experience of a real event as the
answer that best fits the data.

5- In your opinion, what are the most real and important
abduction case that you've been involved with?

I continue to be impressed by the Barney and Betty Hill
abduction. Two reliable witnesses reported it, no prior
publicity about the subject contaminated their expectations,
their separate accounts accord without contradictions, and
elements of their descriptions that did not receive emphasis
have nevertheless turned up over and over again in subsequent
reports. I have taken a ride along the road they were traveling
and stopped at the spots where they paused to look at the UFO.
From seeing the positions where the UFO pursued the Hills or
hovered near them, I am convinced that planets, stars, or
airplanes cannot explain the UFO.

Another case that intrigues me is the strange experience of
Nobel Prize-winning biochemist Kary Mullis, described in his
book, Dancing Naked in the Mind Field. He encountered a luminous
raccoon and had a missing time experience, though no memories of
entering a UFO or having an examination. Mullis does not think
that he was abducted by aliens, but he realizes how closely his
experience resembles abduction accounts. For ufologists this
case is important because Mullis is obviously an intelligent
witness, and he was wide awake, walking to the outhouse when the
missing time occurred. The events he describes, and the panic
attack he suffered later, closely resemble so many other
abduction experiences and affirm that they are more than hoaxes
or fantasies.

6- Are you able to give me five reasons to believe in
abductions, or five reasons not to believe in abductions, or
both?

There are good reasons to doubt that abductions are real:
Abductions ought to number in the millions, yet with all the
surveillance cameras active today, no camera has recorded a
convincing case of abduction in progress. Despite claims that
objects removed from abductees' bodies are recovered implants;
these objects have not presented any distinctively alien
characteristic. In fact no convincing physical proof has been
forthcoming, and even documentation of missing-fetus claims has
never materialized. Doubts about hypnosis, suspicions that
investigators lead their witnesses, and the possibility that
false pregnancy could account for missing-fetus cases present
reasons to think that psychological causes rather than alien
activity may explain many parts of the abduction story. In many
ways an abduction program makes little sense. Why so many
instances? Why would aliens able to create hybrids out of
captured human DNA even need to kidnap human specimens, since
these aliens should be advanced enough to bio-engineer anything
they want from raw materials. We have known about abductions for
over 40 years. Earthly technology has changes much in this time;
these aliens with such supposedly advanced technology do not
appear to have changed at all. In this same 40 years we have
accumulated many stories but no hard evidence. This lack of
progress (ours and theirs) characterizes the history of a belief
but not the history of discovering a real-world phenomenon.

On the other hand, there are strong reasons to believe that
something really might be happening. Abduction stories have not
changed much in 40 years. These stories are fantastic, loosely
constructed, and invite creative elaboration, yet these changes
have not occurred. The same content and descriptive elements
reappear; the episodes and events in the story keep to the same
place - in other words, the stories act like accounts of real
events, not like imaginative fantasies. This consistency appears
immune to important cultural influences like the movie, Close
Encounters of the Third Kind, and Whitley Strieber's best-
 selling book, Communion. Millions of people saw the aliens
depicted in the movie and on the book cover, yet descriptions of
abduction aliens show little change in response to these
cultural influences. The consistencies seem inherent in the
story and do not depend on certain investigators. Abductees are
not mentally disturbed people. Psychological tests show that
abductees are normal, not fantasy-prone or characterized by any
sort of mental trait that might account for abductions. Much
publicity has accompanied a Harvard study that identified a
small sample of abductees as fantasy-prone, but efforts to
duplicate these findings have failed. An appeal to sleep
paralysis as the experiential basis for abductions fails to
consider that at least half the abduction reports in the
literature come from people who were not asleep. Whatever the
cause of abductions, they seem to be genuine experiences of some
sort.

7- In your opinion, what is the most interesting UFO article
you've published? What does it talk about? Could you send us a
copy?

UFOS - Lost in the Myths - in David M. Jacobs, editor, UFOS And
Abductions: Challenging The Borders Of Knowledge [University
Press of Kansas, 2000]). In this article I argue that critics
often attack what people think about UFOS rather than the
observational evidence for them. Beliefs about UFOS - where they
come from, why they are here, and conspiracies to hide the truth
about them - have become taken for granted and mistaken for
established truths. In fact our ideas about UFOS form a system
of beliefs that is complex and self-confirming, in fact a modern
myth. Much of what we talk about and think about when we discuss
UFOS is this myth and not real evidence. Our social and cultural
understanding of UFOS replaces the phenomenon of UFOS with ideas
that satisfy human wants and needs, so that the myth conceals
much of the reality. This confusion leads critics to overlook
the evidence for a physical phenomenon and dismiss UFOS as
nothing more than products of human belief. ([And yes, I'll be
happy to send you a copy.)

8- Are you still a NICAP member? How is your involvement with
NICAP, MUFON and CUFOS? Could you tell us a little bit about
this?

I was a member of the original NICAP during the 1960s. I am now
a member of MUFON and a board member of CUFOS and the Fund for
UFO Research. In this age when the Internet has replaced UFO
organizations as the main source of UFO information for many
people, I think UFO organizations are more important than ever.
The Internet provides endless information but little or no
quality control. A newcomer can drown in too much information
and never learn the true from the false, the significant from
the junk. A responsible organization can provide the necessary
guidance and education that every newcomer needs, the fellowship
that brings interested people together into a community of
common purpose, and the critical knowledge to separate the good
UFO evidence from errors, misidentifications, and hoaxes. A do-
 it-yourself approach to ufology is likely to go astray, but in
this country, MUFON and CUFOS offer (as NICAP did in the past)
the expertise of some of the best ufologists and an opportunity
for the public to participate in organized research. The
unfortunate truth is that most UFO organizations today are
losing members and funding. The membership grows old and gray
while younger people dedicate themselves to the Internet, while
Internet communications among the best researchers are usually
restricted to one another and never reach the general public.
UFO research needs the enthusiasm and new ideas of the young,
tempered by the experience of the old. Without this partnership
and the sharing of quality UFO information, the future of
organized ufology looks grim, and so does the future of serious,
disciplined study of UFOS.

9- Do you think that hypnosis is a good methodology for studying
abductions cases? Would you use hypnosis during an abduction
case?

I have no experience with the use of hypnosis in abduction
investigations, but I have read some of the academic literature
concerning the usefulness of hypnosis. The verdict of most of
that literature is negative. Scientific studies indicate that
hypnosis is not a mental state but a form of role-playing, that
is, the subject relaxes and conforms to the demands of the
hypnosis situation. The subject needs to be susceptible to
suggestion for hypnosis to work, and the hypnotist provides the
suggestions. Some individuals are capable of remarkable
behaviors, as in the old stage shows where subjects would crow
like a chicken, become so rigid that their bodies would not bend
while they lay horizontal with only their heads and feet
supported, or fail to see certain objects in plain sight - all
at the suggestion of the hypnotist. In recent times the police
have used hypnosis to recover details of crimes, and much
enthusiasm followed these apparent successes. The truth was far
less spectacular. The information recalled under hypnosis was as
often false as true, and hypnosis lowered the subject's
threshold of acceptance so that the erroneous memories seemed as
real as the genuine memories. What was worse, some subjects
created entire false memories out of suggestions - even
inadvertent ones - from the hypnotist, and those false memories
seemed as vivid as real memories to the subject.

Even as hypnosis lost favor for police work, it became a
therapist's tool during the 1980s for recovering so-called
repressed memories. The theory went that traumatic experiences
like childhood sexual abuse caused the victim to dissociate and
repress the memories. Those unconscious memories caused
emotional turmoil, and relief came only by restoring those
memories to conscious awareness. Many therapists found multiple
personalities and horrific histories of abuse and satanic
rituals among both adults and young children. It seemed for a
while as if every day-care facility and a great many seemingly
happy, normal families were responsible for grotesque and
disgusting activities, all discovered by means of hypnosis. In
fact hypnosis did not reveal but rather helped create this
panic. The "memories" were false, not only fantastic at face
value but often contrary to independent evidence. By the time
dozens of people had gone to jail and many lives were ruined,
the truth sank in that the procedures of the therapists, and
especially the enhanced suggestibility of the hypnosis
situation, had created an illusion of widespread, organized, and
horrific abuse.

The lesson for ufology was clear: If so much of the evidence for
abduction emerges under hypnosis, then that evidence also might
be false memories. Some important differences should be noted: A
great deal of abduction evidence comes out without hypnosis - in
fact most abductees recall something about what happened to them
without it, and hypnosis may do nothing more than help clarify
memories, rather than create them.

Many abductees do not reconstruct memories bit by bit, step by
step under hypnosis; rather the memories often tumble out as if
some barrier has broken down. This difference suggests a
possible distinction in how hypnosis works with abductees, as
opposed to people creating false memories. The techniques that
therapists used to recover memories often took aggressive form -
 small children asked the same question over and over until it
became clear the therapist would not take "no" for an answer,
adults with no prior memory of abuse being told that it must
have happened and given vivid suggestions to think about, for
example.

At least abduction researchers have been much more careful. A
final fact worth noting is that the content of abduction
accounts stays the same with or without hypnosis, and no matter
who performs it. If hypnosis allows free play to suggestion,
fantasy, and memory distortion, the use of hypnosis should lead
to much more imaginative abduction narratives. If the hypnotist
leads subjects to affirm his agenda, the subjects of each
hypnotist should reflect his particular interests and goals.
Neither outcome is apparent in the literature of abduction
reports.

What we have, then, is good reason to fear the consequences of
hypnosis. We can take comfort that those consequences do not
seem to have been realized in the results from abduction
research, but the use of hypnosis arouses the suspicions of
skeptics that abduction is nothing more than a false memory
created by hypnosis. Its use throws doubt on the entire subject
of abduction. In fact, the "standard" conventional explanation
for abductions among psychologists and skeptics blames hypnosis
for creating false memories based on cultural information about
abductions and guided into standard form by a hypnotist who is a
believer in abductions. In any case, a genuine danger is present
that false memories will result from hypnosis. The ufologist
faces a dilemma - use of this technique recovers some memories
that do not emerge otherwise, but this use casts doubt on those
same results and everything else about abductions. Ufology would
be better off without recourse to hypnosis, but it has become an
indispensable tool, though one that will continue to be a
lightning-rod for criticism.

10- I really would like you to leave a message for The Brazilian
Ufology Center. Right now we have 33,000 members, and they
really would like to hear what you have to say to them.

Greetings, I am happy to have a chance to speak to you through
this interview, and I hope you will find some interest in it.
The UFO phenomenon is a worldwide problem but our perspective is
usually no bigger than one country. This is unfortunate because
the full scope of the mystery gets lost in this narrow
perspective. Brazil has had a long and amazing history of UFO
events, and I hope communications will continue as we work
together to understand the nature of UFOS. As I said above, UFO
organizations are more important than ever today. They serve as
active investigations units, repositories of data, centers of
education, and agents to uphold standards of quality. All these
jobs are important, and I am happy to learn that the Brazilian
Ufology Center is taking a vigorous part in this work.




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