UFO UpDates
A mailing list for the study of UFO-related phenomena
'Its All Here In Black & White'
Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Oct > Oct 18

Re: Alien Semiotics/Alien Symbol Study

From: Greg Sandow <greg.nul>
Date: Wed, 17 Oct 2007 15:57:19 -0400
Archived: Thu, 18 Oct 2007 07:13:01 -0400
Subject: Re: Alien Semiotics/Alien Symbol Study

>From: John Velez <jvelez49.nul>
>To: ufoupdates.nul
>Date: Wed, 17 Oct 2007 00:59:59 -0400
>Subject: Re: Alien Semiotics/Alien Symbol Study

>This one is for Mr. Sandow:  Greg, do you know what happened to
>the writing samples that Budd submitted to Stuart Appelle at

>Last I heard it was all collecting dust on a shelf in Stuart's
>office. Any thing new?

To rewind the film a little further:

For many years, Budd Hopkins has collected reports of alien
symbols from abductees he's worked with. Some of them say
they've seen symbols, or writing, and have drawn them. I've
spoken to two of the abductees who say they've seen the symbols.

I've also seen Budd's collection of these recollections. It's
enough to chill your blood. The reports are so similar that,
speaking non-scientifically, it really seems as if people have
independently seen these things. I've promised not to describe
the symbols, because that could contaminate future reports. But
they have a definite configuration. The symbols that a large
number of abductees have drawn from memory all have that
configuration. They might differ in details, but the overall
configuration is strikingly similar. It's as if everyone had
drawn things that looked like letters from the Hebrew alphabet.
They'd be distinctly different from the Russian alphabet, or
from our own, and distinctly similar to each other. I'm not
saying these symbols from the abductees look anything like
Hebrew. They don't. But they truly resemble each other, just as
letters from the Hebrew alphabet resemble each other.

Here's where Stuart Appelle comes in. Budd hadn't wanted to
publish these symbols, to avoid contaminating future reports.
But when you have quite a large number of reports, maybe this
isn't a consideration any more. Maybe it's more valuable to
reveal the data, and have it studied scientifically. Budd never
did that. But finally he agreed to send his collection of these
things to Stuart Appelle, the editor of the Journal of UFO
Studies, the only peer-reviewed scientific journal in the UFO
field. Stuart said he'd look at them, and try to find scientists
to conduct a study.

The value of the study is somewhat limited, but not trivial.
It's limited, because of course no one can say anything about
what the symbols mean. And also because we have to take Budd's
and the abductees' word for how the symbols were collected. Budd
says he never showed the abductees the collection of symbols
before each abductee drew his or her own recollections, and I'm
sure that's true. But still we have to take his word for it.
Ideally he'd at least have not looked at the drawings. He'd have
had the abductees seal them in an envelope, and then given the
sealed envelopes to some third party.

We also only have anecdotal accounts of how similar the symbols
are. That is, you can believe me or not, and I can tell you that
you should. But this isn't scientific. A better process would be
to find a panel of unbiased judges, and ask them to decide how
similar the symbols are, and given the similarity a numberical
score. Then the scores are averaged, and we have an overall
score for how similar a group of people with no connection to
UFO research or abductions think the symbols are. These people
also wouldn't be told where the symbols came from. This would
start to approach a scientific treatment of the data, and I
think that's what Stuart had in mind. (He's a psychology
professor at a branch of the State University of NY.)

I don't know what happened to the plan for this. For a while,
the Journal didn't publish, because of lack of funds. Maybe this
plan got lost in the long gap between one issue and the next.
Also, I was the one really pushing for this study, and I drifted
out of UFO research, and didn't pursue it.

Finally, there were different views about how the data should be
presented to Stuart. Out of respect for everyone's privacy, I
won't go into details. But there were some things to figure out
about the presentation, and maybe they were never resolved.

Hope that answers John's question at least a little.

Greg Sandow

Listen to 'Strange Days... Indeed' - The PodCast



[ 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