A MONTHLY COMMUNICATION: REMEMBERING THAT VERY FEW WARDROBES LEAD TO NARNIA
Number 4, November 1997
The heart of darkness – dealing with regression
A real debate about the use of hypnosis and regression in UFO research seems to be underway in the UK, and will hopefully spread to the USA in due course. I believe that regression lies at the heart of the abduction problem, and I’m happy to say that I played a part in stimulating the argument. I circulated what I hope was a sane and informed assessment of the ‘recovered memory’ problem, particularly referring to the many US court cases of recent years in which vast damages have been awarded against ‘therapists’ who have ruined the lives of clients and families by encouraging clients to believe that what emerged under hypnosis was true, when the court later established that it clearly wasn’t. This circular went to some of the influential members of BUFORA, and I’m delighted – though not surprised – to have received so many intelligent, positive responses. BUFORA (membership info available from the BUFORA Northern Office at 2A East Cheap, Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE6 5UA) is one of the sane and responsible faces of UK ufology, and an organisation, with a good magazine, in which you could play a constructive part at an important time. Much of the rest is rubbish, and dangerous rubbish, at that.
Speaking of dangerous rubbish, Malcolm Robinson of SPI has chosen to recommend to, as he puts it, “all and sundry”, the use of regression hypnosis as an effective means of abduction investigation. He has sent out one of his many public statements to umpteen groups and researchers all over the world, explaining that “hypnosis can unlock certain doors of the mind of which can release previously suppressed information” (sic), or as he put it elsewhere “we’re dealing with a percentage of the human brain that has stored an experience which is being released by hypnosis”. This understanding of the operation of the human memory might have featured in a Boys’ Book of the Brain in 1903 or so, but it has no medical or scientific basis now. The memory isn’t a secret filing cabinet tucked away in a little corner of the human head, to which hypnotists – let alone ufologists – hold a magic key.
Malcolm is an influential person in the field, who displayed considerable sensitivity after the massacre at Dunblane: he realised that people are more important than ufology, and acted on that realisation. But the attraction of ufology has proved very strong, and it’s a shame that he didn’t accept my offer to send him some of the available scientific research before he issued his sadly misleading, unscientific, uninformed comments. Yet a couple of important, and telling points have emerged from his advice.
He has asserted that the SPI hypnotist/psychic – largely responsible for the ‘recovered memories’ that constitute most of Malcolm’s famous “A70″ case – “is a professional and qualified hypnotherapist”. He has said that “only qualified people are allowed near our witnesses”, but most hypnosis qualifications give their owner no professional standing at all. I look forward to his answers to my written questions as to what her qualification is, from which institution it was obtained, how long the training took, by which awarding body the qualification was awarded/accredited, whether it has a complaints and discipline procedure, whether it has a written policy on the ‘recovered memory’ issue (like the Royal College of Psychiatrists, which has effectively forbidden its use), and whether she has medical practitioner insurance. I’ll let you know what he says.
Malcolm also provides a disturbing example of the effects on the personality of ‘recovered memory’, describing the psychological state of Garry Wood, A70 abductee, TV regular, and one of the investigators who, with Malcolm, dealt with a child witness in the Fife/Falkland Hill case. He describes Garry as being “absolutely desperate to find an answer to account for what happened to him during his own experience, (he) has thrown himself unto UFOlogy with such intense vigour, that it has surpassed anything that I have seen before. He is like a Demon possessed to find an answer.”
As with many others who have been persuaded they are abductees, it seems to me that Garry could best be helped by the reassurance that the ‘answer’ he is seeking – initially disappointing as it may be after all this fame and public interest – is that his ‘recovered memories’ are probably false, and that he has been led and encouraged to believe in the reality of a product of imagination, an altered state of consciousness, and over-enthusiastic UFO investigators. And with all due respect to an undoubtedly sincere individual, I suggest that to encourage someone in Garry’s state of mind to deal with people who may be psychologically vulnerable, and in poor mental health, let alone to deal with a child, could lead to just the kind of disaster that is regulary paraded before the courts in the USA. For this reason alone, Malcolm’s frivolous Net comment on this issue that “Kevin and I will shortly be entering the ring and the bell is being sounded for seconds out. Stay tuned, there is more to come on this one” seems utterly distateful. People are still much more important than ufology.
Follow-up on Robert Dean
Bob Dean, you may remember, claims to have made public the existence of a 1964 NATO report “AN ASSESSMENT – An evaluation of a possible military threat to Allied Forces in Europe”. He claims, it seems, to have been given this ‘cosmic top secret’, 8-inch thick report to read – for his entertainment when he was having trouble staying awake – by an Army colonel, and then to have read and studied it repeatedly, though it was kept locked in a vault.
Dean’s frequent lectures to audiences of UFO believers have long suggested a legitimate involvement in intelligence analysis, and that despite being an uncommissioned master sergeant, he was somehow important, and privy to exclusive knowledge of massive, threatening UFO intrusion into NATO airspace. Phil Klass, however, has located Dean’s service record, and found that although he has “many decorations for combat service” he was never involved in intelligence analysis at any stage of his 26 years of Army service. His job at NATO headquarters was actually as “Chief Clerk Language Service Branch”. Dean has never been able to produce a shred of objective evidence of the existence of ‘An Assessment’ and I suspect, in view of this news, that he never will. But I guess it’s quite conceivable that he’ll be claiming that the ‘Language Service’ job was just a cover for what he was really doing; it was just that he’d never thought to mention it.
Immortal, invisible, irrational Klass also reports that at the Roswell 50th birthday do, Budd Hopkins tried to explain away the (to any rational person) disturbing fact that hardly anybody who hasn’t been dealing with an abduction investigator, or hasn’t been regressed, ever sees any of the multitudinous UFO abductions he believes are constantly occurring in cities all over the world. He and David Jacobs think the answer, apparently, is “selective invisibility” on the part of the aliens, which can also be extended to their craft, and their abductees.
Which ties in with some recent material by Hopkins on the Net. In an article titled Notes on the Issue of Fiction and Truth he continues to record his flight from rationality, accepting as proof of the reality of alien abduction recollections that “An Ohio woman, abducted in her nightgownn, is returned wearing a tee-shirt bearing the logo of a Japanese university. Another woman abducted while driving her car, finds herself afterwards back in a car, but not her own. The automobile she is in is moving, and in the next lane is a puzzled-looking gentleman driving her car! She is instantly re-abducted, as is the other man, and they are placed back in the proper cars.” I assume that there is no objective evidence of these alleged events, and that their recollection has been assisted in one way or another.
Hopkins has convinced himself that “for the experienced UFO abduction investigator, these bizarre details are the mark of truth – which is often truly irregular and irrational – rather than signs of fiction.” My view is that it is time for ufology to acknowledge that some of its leading figures are now lost so deep in their beliefs and convictions that they may, unavoidably, present a danger to those who approach them for help. And that a way should now be found to present those witnesses with an alternative, rational, helpful way to understand and interpret any experience they may, consciously or under the influence of regression techniques, recall they have had. Surely that is what responsible investigation should be about?
Unnamed soldiers galore . . .
A lively month for unnamed soldiers, soldiers with cryptic pseudonyms and, oh wow, unnamed civil servants. In Alien Encounters Jon Dillon not only revives ‘Alan S’ (see AW2) but introduces us to “a friend” of the proprietor of Deviation Records “who has served in the RAF for over six years”, to “One Lancashire man” who “has amongst many other things served with the British Army for ten years as a soldier and Commander, and at the time was an instructor with the RAF”, and then, best of all, to “a former Royal Marine, whom I spoke with earlier this year” who “guardedly advised that during the late 1960s/early 1970s, two female colleagues (one his sister) worked in what was then called ‘Compilation of Affairs – Intelligence Division’ at Riverwalk House in London”. In the library there they found – as anonymous people do, and identifiable people don’t – a “UK eyes-only” file which said that the RAF and security services “had determined the extraterrestrial origin of the UFOs, explained where in the local galactic neighbourhood they came from and furthermore, suggested that the origin of humankind was in some way connected with the visitors. Sadly “The pair were then allegedly grabbed by an unknown agency. From that date, one of them hasn’t since been seen but the other lady related the story to her brother, who informed me.”
Four unnamed soldiers, one woman kidnapped and returned, and one kidnapped, still missing , and maybe dead, must be a record for extraordinary revelations in one article. Jon Dillon purports to believe this tale, saying that “verification of the above story is slowly being gathered”. As he is writing about the kidnapping and disappearance, and possibly the murder, of a young woman, I hope that he, as a presumably responsible citizen, has already been to the Police: I suggest that he also goes to his MP, who will be able to take the matter up directly with the relevant Minister. Writing such a tragedy up only in Alien Encounters really won’t do unless, of course, Dillon knows the tale isn’t true, and that any professional or meaningful investigation would make him look like a fool or, heaven forbid, a fraud.
Global has a new informant who we should be able to check out. His name is, apparently, Sergeant Clifford Stone, who in 1969 was “stationed at Fort Ley, Virginia, with the US Army”. He was “part of an NBC Quick Reaction Team”. He says he saw a range of Santilli-type dead-alien films at Fort Belvoir, VA, in 1969. Can any of our US readers find out whether this person existed, or whether Global’s investigator “Mr David Bryan, Manchester Office” has somehow come to provide a story that has no factual basis at all?
Meanwhile, in UFO Magazine Tony Dodd, trying to stand up his claims of an alien crash retrieval at Cader Berwyn in 1974, introduces us not to his own informant on the subject, ‘James Prescott’ (see AW2), but to “a former British soldier” who supposedly talked to researcher Nick Redfern “A few months ago”. This informant – naturally unnamed – “claimed he was part of the British Task Force dispatched to liberate the Falkland Islands. While on board, he struck up a friendship with several Royal Marine Commandos who later spoke of their having taken part in a secret operation to retrieve a UFO which had crashed on a mountain side in Wales. The officer in charge of the recovery was on board the vessel. He was James Prescott – later tragically killed in action during a ‘fire fight’ with Argentine forces.”
I’ll be interested to know whether Redfern acknowledges Dodd’s account, but at least ‘James Prescott’ – not, it seems, a real name – should be easy to identify. 255 British lives were lost in the Falklands. Few of them were officers. Fewer were Marine officers. Very few were killed in a ‘fire fight’ with Argentine forces. Indeed, I rather suspect that by the time AW5 comes out, I’ll have narrowed the search to one or two persons. Or, maybe, none at all.
The mystery (see AW2 and 3) limps on. Another – different – Welsh investigator claims to have initiated the research, as others have before, but Global’s chances of verifying their claims have certainly been dashed. Soon after the first publication of the article “a vehicle with the number plate containing the prefix MIB followed” the investigator, but then “their house had an erroneous fire, but strangely enough only their office where his computer, camera (containing footage vital to the case), fax machine, photocopier and all matters pertaining to this investigation were destroyed and the office was completely gutted.” The investigator and his family have, it seems, moved to a secret address. I hope that the Police and Fire Brigade have been able to take the appropriate action.
If the pigs aren’t flying, they’ve probably been mutilated
Absolutely no repsponse from Tony Dodd (according to the BEAMS conference organiser advised by his doctor not to undertake public speaking for some months) or from Graham Birdsall, editor of UFO Magazine (“factual reporting, factual research”) about their extraordinary claims of UK animal mutilation dealt with in AW3. Hopefully this deafening silence may be penetrated by a response from the RSPCA and the NFU as to whether Dodd ever went to them with the evidence of all these mutilated creatures. Meanwhile, it seems that the Sunday People for 10.8.97 reported “strange deaths all over the North Yorks Moors”, “Over a three-year period”. It appears that “Farmers in North Yorkshire are gripped with fear after a series of bizarre deaths on open moorland”. Dodd is quoted as saying that “all the evidence points to aliens”, and that “There have even been reports of the dead animals falling from the sky often coinciding with UFO sightings”. I was sorry not to have the chance to debate the issue publicly with Dodd at the BEAMS do, but maybe I’ll have my chance at Solihull next year, where, at the ‘Secrets Unlocked’ Conference (the advert says), “Former North Yorkshire police officer Anthony Dodd (UK) discloses disturbing evidence that a rash of mysterious animal deaths is being deliberately kept hidden from the general public and media”. With a title like ‘Secrets Unlocked’, and the “disturbing evidence . . being deliberately kept hidden”, it’s nice to know what a fine sense of irony the UFO Magazine team still has.
Alien Encounters and an illusion of competence
As Alien Encounters had published the twaddle about ‘black light’ revealing alien markings on humans and animals, as recommended by Derrel Sims, I sent its editor, Nina Pendred, a full account of the professional comments I summarised in AW3, together with the content of a serious health warning from Phillips about its use. You’d think a big, glossy magazine would bear some responsibility for the safety of its readers. The gist of her reply was that I should “address any qualms you may have regarding Derrel Sims to the man himself, so that he can defend his work”. She went on “We would be interested in looking at any article ideas you may have, as long as they are not solely to do with criticising other people’s work”.
I suppose that when you publish as much unprovable rubbish as Pendred – a personal MIB experience by regular contributors Harry Hinde and Christopher Kenworthy in the last two issues alone – the best you can do to protect your reputation is to stifle all dissent. But it’s a pretty pathetic way to run a magazine.
Crashing and burning at Roswell
I don’t suppose Pendred will be interested in the real facts about Dr Russell Vernon-Clark’s ‘scientific’ analysis of Derrel Sims’ ‘Roswell Debris’ either (see AW3 and Alien Encounters 16). Pressed by Albuquerque physicist Dave Thomas, Vernon-Clark has backed off a long way from his Roswell 50th claim that “these tests have far less error than . . even the most sophisticated DNA testing performed today”. Since the original presentation he has corrected “huge arithmetical errors”, admitted he failed to use a control of known isotopic origin, explained the Ge-75 problem by suggesting that the testers had confused Ge-75 with other elements with a mass of 75 (yes, they didn’t know what element they were analysing), and acknowledged that “the data and possible alternative explanations should have been examined with much greater rigor prior to a public announcement”.
But perhaps most significant in Sims’ mysterious world of scientists who never quite seem to satisfactorily complete their investigations is Vernon-Clark’s vital admission that “To put it plainly, it is possible, but expensive, to create a material with non-natural isotopic abundances”. To put it another way, even if all of Sims’, and Vernon-Clark’s, claims and assumptions about the analysis of his ‘Roswell fragment’ were true – which they turned out not to be – the thing could have actually have been deliberately manufactured, here on Earth, a few days or weeks before it was ‘found’ and sent for analysis. It could never have been proven beyond doubt to have been ‘alien’ material. Which is not so different from what I said to one of the organisers of the BUFORA conference just a few weeks before Sims appeared there last summer.
Selective invisibility over Mexico City?
The cover of Alien Encounters 16 bears the image of one of the classic ufological banana skins. It’s meant to be “Stunning UFO footage filmed in broad daylight over Mexico City”, and three photos show an apparently huge, classic, domed UFO supposedly filmed flying behind a skyscraper on 6.8.97. I understand that these images came off the Net, but they are copyrighted to Jamie Mausson/Lee and Brit Elders.
Matthew Williams showed these same images at the BEAMS Conference on 8.11.97, and he tells me that there were meant to have been “20 witnesses” to the craft. Well, for something of this size, flying – apparently very slowly – over the world’s most populous city in broad daylight, that only 20 people saw it is an absurd proposition. Had it really been there then the image – and a thousand more like it – would have been published in every newspaper, on every TV station, in the world. But then, you’d think that the same would have been the case with Billy Meier’s Swiss ‘Spaceships from the Pleiades’, which look oddly similar to the craft in these pictures, in an out of proportion, rather motionless sort of way. Which is even more peculiar when you consider that Lee and Brit Elders were involved in the distribution of Meier’s images, too. To try to clarify the situation I’m sending the pictures from AE over to researchers in Mexico, and we’ll see whether anybody there has ever actually heard of this alleged – but highly unlikely – event. And how many of the millions of people in Mexico City have similar pictures taken at the same time, on the same day. Of course, if they haven’t I don’t suppose Nina Pendred will be in the least bit interested. That might spoil the story.