Hypnosis and It’s Use in Ufology

HypnosisHypnosis and It’s Use in Ufology

By Paul Novak

Hypnosis has become a most popular tool in the field of abduction research. The understanding of its intents and abilities by the general public though are still widely relegated to the earliest erroneous notions of its being a trance-like state with suggestibility and retrieval of repressed memories being the most notable of these traits. Research into the validity of hypnosis and its traits has been done for 200 years yet the only truly revealing research has taken place in the last 30 or so odd years. Research which has shown a much different facet of its nature.

This new research has shown hypnosis to be susceptible to so many personality traits and individual character tendencies that its use is in truth little more than a hit or miss affair with much of its resulting data to be of a purely fictional or erroneous nature. The predetermined personality traits of a given subject contribute greatly to the nature of the results obtained to put it in basic terms. An individual’s predisposition to suggestibility and fantasy and the strength of their self awareness and ego are but a few of the determining factors when the ability of hypnosis to obtain reliable results is considered.

Despite all the questionable and unclear abilities attributed to hypnosis those in the abduction field use it almost religiously as a “fact” finding tool. They happily cite results from such applications as “evidence” in their research and proceed to implement its results in their conclusions with little or no addressing of its well known faults and dubious abilities. On the one hand hypnosis has been shown in some instances to actually have some limited ability to bring to the surface or clarify partially forgotten memories. However, highly avoided is the fact that it has been shown on a much greater scale to be capable of actually fabricating memories which in were not present to begin with. Not to mention the highly dubious theory behind “repressed” memory itself.

Still, again and again hypnosis is used and cited as supporting evidence and the general public has little if any real understanding of its capabilities and veracity with which to help form its opinion of these claims. The truth is that a great many people just outright assume hypnosis to be a valid tool. Still more all to willingly accept its use without question and base their belief in these fantastical claims almost exclusively upon its results in absence of corroborating data. Results which themselves are not truly worthy of credence due to the above mentioned flaws inherent within it.

Its use has been criticized on many fronts by psychiatric professionals with few if any redeeming points raised in its behalf. The usual counterargument is one of an acceptance of its use due to a lack of other useful means by which to analyze these persons and their claims. A weak and insubstantial argument in my opinion. The reason other methods are not utilized is due to the fact that there is little to nothing to work with besides the individuals claim itself. Hypnosis has been linked to many different phenomena and seems to always turn up something useful for those looking for results.

Whether it’s past life regression, alien abduction, or spirit contacts it always produces “interesting” results. I can’t really say that I am a qualified hypnosis expert but I have done more than a cursory amount of study into its origins and usage. Based on my observations of these items and its use I cannot help but feel the whole premise of hypnosis to be questionable and to use it in abduction research is in my opinion an attempt to lend validity and credibility to the claims in question rather than as a tool to obtain useful information. No matter what area of inquiry it is applied to it always seems to raise more questions that veer away from the original intent thereby clouding the issue further.

When applied to the question of alien abduction invariably the subject will recall a myriad of strange experiences which we are led to believe were so repressed as to have been previously hidden to the subjects themselves. Now I understand the concept of repressed memory and the ideas behind using hypnosis to uncover them but there remains an underlying question of whether or not there were any repressed memories in the first place. It is quite true that through simple suggestion a susceptible individual can be led to concoct erroneous memories without even realizing this has been done. It is also true that repressed memory itself has so many detracting flaws refuting the theories validity that in itself it is too questionable an item to seriously allow into serious consideration of the problem of alleged alien abduction.

It is known from many tests and research that a leading of the subjects towards a particular conclusion is possible and does indeed take place in many instances. It is also well known to those who study the field of hypnotherapy that confabulation of nonexistent memories also takes place on an alarming scale. This alone casts a cloud of suspicion upon the use of hypnosis as a reliable tool for dissemination of these persons claims. The Travis Walton abduction case is a fine example of this.

Despite the total failure to pass polygraphs in the initial investigation the application of hypnosis strangely managed to support his claims. The psychologists charged with handling the study of his claims seemed to have set out to “prove” his claim using hypnosis and in fact did do this to a certain degree. Despite the earlier tests by polygraph disproving his claims. So which is correct? A dubious tool at best such as hypnosis or a tool considered reasonably accurate by most law enforcement officials such as polygraph testing?

Many will argue that polygraph testing is not admissible as evidence in court and this would be true. However it is consistently used in law enforcement and other such avenues of official and credible investigation requiring a source of reliable information to assist in the determination of witness or subject veracity. Its results rely on physically measurable deviances in a person’s bodily responses to stress applied through questioning. A much more solid foundation than that of hypnosis which is based in the woefully little understood nuances and complexities of the human mind in my opinion.

It is also true that hypnosis is not allowed in court. The reasons for this are quite telling. Its use was precluded as a result of the fact being made clear that it is not at all reliable or trustworthy in uncovering previously hidden memories and in fact aids greatly in fabricating false ones. This is glaringly obvious in the repressed memory “witch hunts” of the 80′s where innocent individuals were prosecuted based on testimony derived by “victims” who had undergone hypnosis and were actually in some cases were led to believe they actually were abused by those who in reality they were falsely accusing.

The reality of the matter in my opinion is that hypnosis is really nothing more than a crutch used by abduction advocates to attempt to lend credibility and believability to their claims. It looks good on paper and the uninformed take it as truth based on the erroneous preconceived notions of its abilities mentioned earlier. Without it they are relegated to little more than anecdotal testimony as their sole basis for support of their claims. And I as a skeptical individual find this to be nothing new or different and in fact quite representative of the usual predictable nature of ufology and the many credulous individuals within it.

REF’s. Persinger MA. Neuropsychological profiles of adults who report “sudden remembering” of early childhood memories: implications for claims of sex abuseand alien visitation/abduction experiences. Perceptual & Motor Skills.75(1):259-66, 1992 Aug.

Lynn and Rhue’s “Theories of Hypnosis”

The Man Who Tasted Shapes: A Bizarre Medical Mystery Offers Revolutionary Insights into Reasoning, Emotions, and Consciousness,” Richard E. Cytowic, MD, Jeremy Tarcher/Putnam Publishing 1993, ISBN 0-87477-738-0:

The Myth of Repressed Memory: False Memories and Allegations of Sexual Abuse by Elizabeth Loftus, Katherine Ketcham

Paul Novak is a freelance writer, entrepreneur, and website designer with a focus on writing.

Proof in the Stars? Astronomy Holds Key to Alien Abduction

Hypnotic RegressionProof in the Stars? Astronomy Holds Key to Alien Abduction

By Stanton Friedman

It is not usually easy to validate claims made by UFO witnesses, and it is especially difficult in those cases in which an abduction seems to have taken place. The real complication occurs when hypnosis is used to investigate missing time in conjunction with the abduction.

In the case of the very well-known abduction of Betty and Barney Hill in 1961, many individual hypnosis sessions were conducted three years later by Dr. Benjamin Simon, a psychiatrist with a long history of using medical hypnosis to recover repressed memories of traumatic experiences, especially those that occurred on the battlefield during World War II. Simon knew nothing about UFOs, yet felt it was his duty to elicit details from Betty and Barney under very deep hypnosis to try to determine what happened during their encounter with a strange space vehicle and eleven alien beings.

Following the pent up emotion released by the Hills while in their separate hypnotic states, Simon induced amnesia in each of them in order to prevent them from discussing what they were beginning to recall. This allowed for careful cross comparison between their distinct accounts.

One key validating revelation was Betty’s conversation with an alien about a three-dimensional model or map (probably a hologram) that was shown to her after she asked where they were from. There was a pattern of a dozen or so lights (stars) connected with three types of lines indicating heavy trade routes, light trade routes and occasional expeditions. Betty knew little of astronomy and was unable to explain where she was in the model. Simon instructed her to draw it after she indicated she could remember what it looked like. The drawing was subsequently included by John G. Fuller in his best-selling book, The Interrupted Journey.

At first there seemed to be no way to determine if the map had any meaning. After all, our galaxy, the Milky Way, has at least two hundred billion stars. Fortunately, a brilliant woman, Marjorie Fish, visited Betty to get more details about the map, in spite of fact that Fish was dubious about the Hills’ assertion that the alien beings were humanoid. Nonetheless, over a period of a few years and more interviews with Betty, Fish built about twenty-six different three-dimensional bead and fishing line models. Her goal was to find a 3-D pattern to match the two-dimensional pattern that Betty had drawn.

I had been favorably impressed by Betty and Barney when we met in Pittsburgh in 1968 and when I read The Interrupted Journey and Fuller’s Look Magazine articles about the Hills. My colleague, Coral Lorenzen, International Director of the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization–one of the two major UFO groups at the time–asked me as a scientist to assist Fish in communicating the results of her research. I agreed, and visited her during one of my lecture tours. I also helped her explain her work at a meeting at Adler Planetarium in Chicago and during a presentation at a Mutual UFO Network Symposium in Akron.

Believing Fish to be objective and credible, I published the first article about her work in Saga Magazine and later arranged to interview her and Betty for my documentary film, “UFOs ARE Real.” I also convinced the editor of Astronomy Magazine, Terence Dickinson, to speak with her and to publish an article, “The Zeta Reticuli Incident,” about her work. It ultimately received more response than any article Astronomy had ever published, before or since.

Also appearing in my documentary was a professor of astronomy at Ohio State University, Dr. George Mitchell, who had been helpful to Fish in obtaining closely-held star catalogs. He used one of her large models as a teaching tool and testified as to her care and accuracy in constructing the models.

Through her detailed and careful research, she was eventually able to identify all the stars in the pattern, and found that all of the pattern stars were sun-like (notwithstanding that fewer than 5 percent of the stars within 55 light years of the Sun are sun-like). Some stars are too old, too new, too bright, too dim, or vary too much in the intensity of their energy production rate to be sun-like, or they have very close companion stars making it difficult to maintain stable planetary orbits in the vicinity. The pattern stars are also, amazingly enough, in a plane, like slices of pepperoni on a thin pizza rather than spread all about like raisins in a loaf of raisin bread. This makes travel between the stars much easier. The pattern is definitely not coincidental.

And most remarkably, Fish identified the base stars as Zeta 1 and Zeta 2 Reticuli in the southern sky constellation Reticulum, but only after much better data on the distances to nearby stars was obtained and used to rebuild the models. Nobody building a model before the Hill experience would have obtained the right identification. A unique twosome, Zeta 1 and 2 Reticuli are the closest pair of sun-like stars in our entire local neighborhood. They are only 1/8 of a light year apart from each other, only 39.2 light years away from earth and a billion years older than the sun. These two stars had never been highlighted as special before Fish’s discoveries. It makes sense that they would be the hub of the local neighborhood.

The cosmic perspective for intelligent inhabitants of a planet around Zeta 1 or 2 Reticuli would be very different than that for an Earthling, as the sun is thirty-five times farther away from the nearest star than the distance between Zeta 1 and Zeta 2. We Earthlings are out in the boondocks with no other star close by. However, from a planet orbiting around either of these stars, the other star is visible to the eye all day long, and planets around the other star would be directly observable. No inferences would be necessary. Even with our primitive equipment, at such a close distance we could determine, from the composition of the atmosphere around these planets, if biological activity were present.

Residents of Zeta 1 and 2 would have a much greater incentive to undertake interstellar travel than we have here on Earth. They would also have had much more time for the development of advanced travel technology with their billion year head start on us. Technological progress invariably comes from doing things differently in an unpredictable way and we primitives have already determined methods for star travel.

The star map work done by Marjorie Fish was a crucial factor, along with others, in the general acceptance of the Hill story of abduction. Her work was also the target of debunkers and skeptics, including Carl Sagan, who misrepresented Fish’s methods and her results. These attacks along with many others on the Hill case, such as in the TV program, “Cosmos,” are discussed in detail in my book, co-authored by Betty’s niece, Kathleen Marden, Captured!: The True Story of the World’s First Documented Alien Abduction, The Betty and Barney Hill UFO Experience.