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An examination of the soft evidence for alien visitations to Earth in UFOs

The Rise and Fall of Star Faring Civilizations in Our Own Galaxy

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Back to Our Most Probable First Encounters of Extraterrestrial Intelligence: Who, What, Why, When, Where, and How

First of all, eyewitness accounts alone are woefully insufficient for claims of the magnitude of alien visitations. Such accounts are increasingly being discredited via scientific means even in the mundane situations of civic and criminal courtroom trials.

DNA tests are proving many eyewitness accounts to be in error.

-- Do Your Eyes Deceive You? Mounting Evidence Says Yes By K.C. Cole; December 24 2001

To some extent human beings can be choosy about what they retain in memory (memory suppression). Memory suppression surprisingly seems to work best when a person is frequently bombarded with reminders of the thing they wish not to recall.

-- 'We can control memory'; 16 March, 2001; BBC News Online

-- Children Easily Remember Events That Never Happened; UniSci Daily; [Contact: Pam Willenz] 26-Mar-2001

-- Mind Can Block Unwanted Memories By Merritt McKinney; Yahoo!/Reuters Health; March 14, 2001

Human memory tends to make mistakes, and even recall events which never took place.

Researchers though have determined a way to differentiate false memories from real ones. The key is brain activity involving sensory experiences related to a given memory. Real memories possess such sensory data, while false ones don't.

-- Telling the Truth About "False" Memory: MU Researchers Discover the Brain Knows Things You Don't; January 22, 2001 Contact: Jason L. Jenkins (573) 882-6217

From experiments it appears relatively easy for false memories to take root in the human mind. The powers of anticipation, suggestion, and passion may all be readily utilized to power the mechanism of false memories implantation.

-- MALLEABLE MEMORIES, From Science Frontiers Digest of Scientific Anomalies #111, MAY-JUN 1997 by William R. Corliss, citing Anonymous; "Psychologists Plant 'Illusions of Memory'," Baltimore Sun, February 16, 1997

Long term human memory storage and recall relating to experiences involving fear are unstable, subject to significant alteration every time they are accessed. This actual chemical change in the storage of long term memories every time they are accessed may be what opens the door to modification of such memories by way of suggestion and other means. Entirely false memories could be created via such a mechanism.

On the more positive side, the research indicates that memories which are so traumatic that they effectively disable a person in some repects of daily living could be changed or even eradicated via chemical intervention and other means, if such were applied under the proper conditions.

-- NYU neuroscientists find long-term memories are surprisingly unstable and impermanent, 16 AUGUST 2000, EurekAlert!, Contact: josh plaut 212-998-6797 New York University. A related research report is scheduled to appear as "Fear memories require protein synthesis in the amygdala for reconsolidation after retrieval" in the August 17th issue of Nature.

False memories can be easier to recall and seem more certain to people than true memories-- at least where the false memories seem to provide easier or more direct access to the perceived core concept or theme of a given event than actual memories do-- the mind will tend to choose the 'easier path' to the gist of the matter.

Common interrogation techniques used by police in USAmerica circa the late 20th century tend to create and strengthen false memories regarding witnessed events as well as increase general inaccuracies overall in real memories, since they do not take into account the natural human response to such techniques. Widespread psychotherapy techniques of the time sport similar flaws.

Detailed memories fade more rapidly than gist memories over time.

-- Tests Show False Memories More Potent Than Real Ones, 2-Nov-1998,

Research has shown that every person tends to have a different perspective on events and thus a differently formed memory of the same event than others. Most people seem to also modify their memories of events over and over again, perhaps mostly without realizing it, but sometimes consciously as well-- at least where opportunity and perhaps encouragement of same is provided them. Personal expectations or desires also seem to play a prominent role in the reshaping of memories over time.

Making a conscious effort to remember something seems more prone to modifying a given memory than recalling it more spontaneously.

There are indications that certain types of brain scans may differentiate between true or original memories and false memories-- at least under certain circumstances. The scanned owner of such true and false memories may or may not be aware of the differences themselves in the veracity of their own memories. Making an accurate lie detector of such technology however remains a very distant possibility for the future.

Distortions of memory sometimes occur similarly as to how human myths and legends are thought to have often come about-- the memory of some actual event or intriguing idea becomes exaggerated or expanded upon in some way during recall, and this expansion may happen again and again, whenever the memory is called forth once more.

A phenomena known as 'hindsight bias' may also skew the recall of original events by modifying the remembered certainty or uncertainty regarding certain events, ideas, or details in the past, based on what a witness has learned since regarding that same item.

A related element indicates that-- where a person possesses little information themselves regarding the subject-- they will come to believe any statement they hear repeated often enough about it, if no disagreement or other information conflicting with the statement is also witnessed.

The more often a memory of the past is replayed, the easier it is to change that memory-- perhaps to something else entirely.

In experiments approximately 20% of test subjects developed false childhood memories due to suggestions from scientists, friends, or family members. Some people may be more susceptible to such things than others, for a variety of reasons, including better visualization skills, a desire to conform to the suggestions of others, and/or simply better memory capture of all such ideas they encounter around them.

Some experts argue that while it is easy to create false memories of events a given person will deem plausible in the context of their personal life history, both conscious and unconscious, it may be more difficult to create false memories of events which don't fit that historical context quite as well-- such as false memories of childhood sexual abuse where none actually took place. That is not to say it is impossible-- merely that it would take more effort. This may be related to the idea that a hypnotized person cannot be successfully ordered to do something too far afield of their own conscious convictions and goals-- such as an act of murder might be for most people.

-- Remembrance of Things False By BRUCE BOWER , Science News Online, August 24, 1996, Science News Online, Science Service, Inc.

Memories of shocking or very surprising events were once considered to be handled in special ways by the human brain that made them more long-lasting, detailed, and accurate over the long term than other memories. Recent research indicates this is not true.

In research covering the quality of recall over roughly three years following the events to be remembered, memory errors and distortions were the worst some 32 months after a witnessed event. Paradoxically, people were much more confident of their recall accuracy after 32 months (when their accuracy was at its worst) than earlier, at 15 months, when their accuracy was truly better.

The sole way researchers could find any predictive clue as to which memories would retain the most accuracy after an event was to measure a witness's emotional response at the time of initial memory capture. The stronger the original emotional response, the better recall accuracy tended to be later on.

-- 'Flashbulb memory' theory fades in light of new findings by Emma Reid, February 29, 2000, Discovery Channel Canada

Studies into 'flashbulb' memory events show that the accuracy of recall degrades significantly between one and three years after the event. At 15 months only 50% of accounts remained very accurate, while 11% suffered large distortions. The very accurate number declined after almost three years total had passed to less than 33%, and the recollections containing substantial distortions rose to 40+%.

-- Memories of news events change over time By Penny Stern, Reuters Health/Yahoo! Health Headlines, February 3 2000, SOURCE: Psychological Science 2000;11:39-45

For healthy adults of middle-age (the study here involved only males), the level of accuracy of recalled details from adolescent experiences appears to be entirely random. Curiously, only two subject areas rose above random chance in accuracy of retrieved memories-- sexual relationships and the income of fathers.

Keep in mind that subjects suffering from mental illness, drug abuse, or other form of mental impairment either as a teenager or adult would likely suffer from an even poorer accuracy rate in subsequent recall.

-- Memories Cheat, U.S. Study Finds, Reuters/Yahoo!, June 1 2000

The amount of readily available temporary working memory in humans seems to peak around age 45 and then begin a steady decline. Our working memory is similar to the RAM of computers-- or memory in which calculations and other operations actually take place, as opposed to purely storage memory. As our working memory declines, it can take longer for us to process the same amount of information, and make it more difficult to solve bigger or more complex problems (since we can retain only a smaller portion of the relevant data at a time). This also means we can only transfer smaller ideas from working memory to permanent memory, past age 45 or so. In other words, the door to permanent memory storage becomes smaller after age 45, allowing ever smaller information bodies through at a time. We might still grapple with large ideas after 45, but it's harder, more time-consuming, and we'll lose more details and make more mistakes in regards to the task and later recall of same.

-- University Science It's Not Memory That Fails, But Storage Capacity, 16-Jul-1999, Article: "What Develops in Working Memory? A Life Span Perspective," H. Lee Swanson, Ph.D., University of California, Riverside, Developmental Psychology, Vol. 34, No. 4. The American Psychological Association (APA); Contact: H. Lee Swanson; UniSci Science and Research News,

Actual human learning and memory storage of an event or idea only seems to take place when people actively focus their attention on same. Indirect attention seems insufficient to initiate processing.

-- Brain won't remember if attention wanders, Reuters Health/Yahoo! Health Headlines, December 29, 1999, SOURCE: Science 1999;286:2504-2507

A single visual image can be multipled into many in human perceptions by simply accompanying it with multiple acoustical effects. Even witnesses which know for a fact only a single image is displayed will insist they see multiple images, under these conditions.

-- Vision Fooled by Hearing By Elizabeth Tracey, Reuters Health/Yahoo! Health Headlines, December 26 2000, SOURCE: Nature 2000;408:788

The center of focus and attention given by a witness to a given event tends to determine the reliability of later recall related to same. Perceptions of stress during the observations may tighten this focus more than is the usual case. Elements of an event which fall outside a witness's relatively narrow focus will be more inaccurate than those that don't. Different human witnesses will tend to have different centers of focus, and thus varying rates of accuracy concerning particular elements. Thus, the more witnesses to an event, the more likely there will be an accurate and detailed accounting for the facts somewhere in the descriptions. But determining exactly which details are true and which are not will remain a challenge for later logic and analysis.

-- Memory Study Casts Doubt on Lawyers' Ploy By E. J. Mundell, Yahoo!/Reuters Health, June 8 2000

Stress can impair memory in situations like combat, giving testimony in court cases, and during job interviews or school exams. This would seem to indicate that recounting a personal UFO experience to a group of strangers would include by necessity certain inaccuracies or errors due to the accompanying stress involved-- at least for people of normal intelligence and attitudes, and in good mental health.

-- Stress can impair memory, Reuters Health/Yahoo!, March 20 2000, SOURCE: Nature Neuroscience 2000;3:313-314

Hypnosis doesn't aid in the memory recall of information that seems meaningless or random to the subject. Where meaning is present, hypnosis may help a bit. If the information consists of visuals or is image provoking, hypnosis can help more. If the original memory contains both imagery and meaning, hypnosis may reach its peak in effectiveness at aiding recall.

-- HYPNOSIS AND MEMORY From Science Frontiers Digest of Scientific Anomalies #38, MAR-APR 1985 by William R. Corliss, citing Helmut Relinger; "Hypnotic Hypernesia," American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 26:212, 1984

Very few childhood memories seem to make it to later conscious adult recall-- though it seems lasting impressions may be made on the subconscious, never-the-less. Yes, children permanently learn and remember vast amounts of intellectual information, such as language and facts-- but they largely lose memories of most events and circumstances of their childhood along the way.

The quality of development of the brain's prefrontal cortex seems to explain this difference in memory retention between children and adults. The prefrontal cortex in children is simply too immature to capture and recall most life events as well as adults.

-- Childhood Memories Lost in the Haze By Penny Stern, Reuters Health/Yahoo!, April 25, 2000

The probability that a given middle-aged adult can accurately recall a particular event from childhood is not very high.

-- Accuracy of adult memories of childhood is no greater than chance, EurekAlert!, 1 JUNE 2000, US Contact: Elizabeth Crown 312-503-8928 Northwestern University

Suggestions by psychotherapists may lead to false memories in their patients. One survey indicated up to 25% of new psychologists may be likely to treat their patients in such a way as to encourage the formation of false memories.

-- Remembering Dangerously by Elizabeth Loftus, Skeptical Inquirer magazine : March/April 1995

A study of claims of historic events resembling modern tales of alien abductions (such as demonic possessions and meetings with supernatural or mythical creatures of various sorts) indicates there has always been a significant element of exotic human experiences stemming from sources such as various physical or mental traumas, medical care, and confusion of dreams or nightmares with real memories.

-- ALIEN ABUCTIONS: WERE THEY, ARE THEY REAL? Science Frontiers Digest of Scientific Anomalies #87, MAY-JUN 1993 by William R. Corliss

It appears commercial advertising can modify the childhood memories of adults-- even going so far as to completely construct events which never happened at all, in the minds of those tested. This raises the question: It is ethical for advertisers to purposely change the childhood memories (and effectively the perceived past) of consumers, in order to manipulate their buying behavior?

-- Ads can alter memory claim scientists by Claire Cozens; September 4, 2001;; Guardian Newspapers Limited 2001

Virtually everyone who lived prior to 1,500 AD-1,800 AD in the developed nations, as well as both past and present citizens in the less developed countries, may usually have gotten or get more sleep on average than modern people in the developed world-- therefore enjoying or enjoyed slightly clearer thinking, more accurate memory, and enhanced learning processes too (Around 1500 AD- 1800 AD the Industrial Revolution began to radically change normal human sleep patterns for much of the world). If all other factors are excluded, then for this reason alone observations of people today in the developed nations may often be tinged with a bit less accuracy than those of the groups described before.

But of course in the real world other factors cannot be ignored. In actuality things such as nutrition and health, poverty, religious beliefs, education, culture, and others all play a role in an individual's daily perceptions of what is real and what is not. But from the standpoint of adequate sleep alone, at least a third of people in developed nations like the USA today suffer a disadvantage with those folks spoken of before, in terms of clearly and objectively grasping unusual experiences they might undergo.

-- Slumber's Unexplored Landscape By Bruce Bower From Science News Online, Vol. 156, No. 13, September 25, 1999, p. 205, Science Service.

Near 33% of USAmericans are getting six hours or less sleep per night.

-- The Millennial Mind-Set by Annetta Miller, American Demographics, January 1999

Getting six to eight hours of sleep per night improves learning and memory capacities, compared to getting less. In areas involving particularly challenging material, as much as a 20%-50% difference in learning and memory can occur on a daily basis between one person getting at minimum six hours sleep a night, and the other getting less.

-- Sleep longer, learn better by: Cynthia Reynolds, March 7, 2000, Discovery Channel Canada 2000

DNA tests are freeing people identified and convicted by sight alone. And hypnosis only reduces accuracy, often as not.

DNA evidence clears man who spent 14 years in jail by The Associated Press, July 21, 2000,

"This DNA revolution, it's made clear our criminal justice system is not as reliable as we always thought it's very easy for an innocent person to be convicted"

-- Peter Neufeld, the Innocence Project, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York

-- DNA Frees 100th Inmate By ROBERT TANNER; Associated Press; January 17 2002

DNA tests are proving many eyewitness accounts to be in error.

-- Do Your Eyes Deceive You? Mounting Evidence Says Yes By K.C. Cole; December 24 2001

-- HYPNOSIS MAY GIVE FALSE CONFIDENCE IN INACCURATE MEMORIES by Jeff Grabmeier, (614) 292-8457;; August 26, 2001; Contact: Joseph Green, (419) 221-1641, ext. 8278

Hypnosis doesn't aid in the memory recall of information that seems meaningless or random to the subject. Where meaning is present, hypnosis may help a bit. If the information consists of visuals or is image provoking, hypnosis can help more. If the original memory contains both imagery and meaning, hypnosis may reach its peak in effectiveness at aiding recall.

-- HYPNOSIS AND MEMORY From Science Frontiers Digest of Scientific Anomalies #38, MAR-APR 1985 by William R. Corliss, citing Helmut Relinger; "Hypnotic Hypernesia," American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 26:212, 1984

By contrast, there's more precedents for Big Foot and Loch Ness monster sightings being proven real, than UFOs (the precedents including historic claimed sightings of pandas, lowland African gorillas, and giant squid, which later proved to have a basis in reality, after decades or even centuries of skepticism).

-- Mountain Gorilla Stamps; The Unnatural Museum - Cryptozoological Alumni by Lee Krystek, 1996; and - Monster mysteries continue to baffle Europe, August 2, 2000

The main reason many people don't discuss eyewitness reports evidence for alien piloted UFOs is because such things may only be argued back and forth with no satisfactory resolution, similarly to arguments over matters of religious faith.

Keep in mind that for all the vast possibilities and power contained in the human brain, that brain evolved to its present state with only one primary goal: maximize the likelihood of its owner surviving long enough and well enough to successfully reproduce at least once.

Survival for primitive man over most of prehistory (and history too for that matter) depended usually more on physical strength, fast reflexes, and instinct-- the same basics upon which the lower animals have depended for half a billion years.

By contrast, abstract thinking, such as might be involved in a search for truth, to solve complex problems, or improve upon technology in some way, was almost never very important until only recent times (30,000 to 10,000 years is very recent in evolutionary terms)-- and even today many may use it rarely if at all in their daily lives.

So is it any wonder that widespread literacy and educational opportunities have so far failed to eradicate the age-old tendencies of human beings toward irrationality and superstition? One reason for the failure appears to be the animalistic mental foundation upon which human beings built their own layer of potential analytical thought.

The human mind is strongly geared towards creating and maintaining an internal belief system which is largely independent of many possible external contradictions.

The human mind is highly selective in what information it retains from experience and uses to shape or reinforce its internal model of reality. Beyond the selection process, the mind also tends to reshape acquired information so that it better fits into an already existing perception of the universe-- i.e., new information may well be 'bent' or distorted in regards to accuracy or gist to better accommodate previously existing beliefs.

Mere chronological proximity of two or more events is one way the mind links them in memory and weights any linkage between them in terms of causality-- no matter how illogical this may sound. This tendency may indeed be a holdover from far more ancient, more animalistic brain patterns atop which human minds have evolved.

A single such linked pair of events exerts far more permanent effects upon behavior than the same two events would ever have done independently-- so such linkages are difficult to 'unlearn' once processed.

This points out one of the greatest weaknesses of the natural human mind-- intermittant linkages between events are difficult for us to accurately assess and act upon.

This weakness renders us readily susceptible to seeing real linkages between events where none may actually exist. Our mental linkages require nothing more than random coincidence to be cemented into our minds forever. Our brains lack any form of built-in statistical analysis to protect us from such erroneous conclusions.

If witnessed events are highly unusual or especially evocative of emotion, there too are we vulnerable to seeing connections between two coinciding events which are in truth un-related.

Only experience and analytical thinking, reason, or logic can prevent us from being completely trapped in the animalistic, reactionary mental mode depicted above. But analytical thinking must be taught to us, either by direct interaction with our environment, or by other human beings-- we are not born with it already a part of our faculties, as we are with the error-prone tendencies described before.

Humanity circa 2000 still remains far closer to its animalistic roots intellectually than it does to any ideal of reason or logic. Though the very real consequences of economic and military competition worldwide have forced us to adopt more elements of reason in our approach to many matters, or else die or be enslaved to others over the past millennia, still we reserve great gobs of our time and effort for our more animalistic mental fantasies. Still we enjoy instilling the magic of unreasoning uncertainty into bedtime stories told to children, such as of ghosts and wish-granting genies in bottles, and much, much more. Some of this we use as surrogate care-givers, in the hopes they will frighten our children away from dangerous people and places even in our absence. Other forms of this indulgence include many myths, legends, and folktales of various cultures. Some would classify all the world's religions into the same category.

Every day most people routinely and purposely switch off their powers of analytical thinking, at least for a moment or two. Why? Because it's easier than thinking critically. Because it's usually more fun and less of a drag than reason. Emotions can be fun, while logic is practically the opposite of emotion. The two definitely don't work well together under most circumstances.

Giving into our more emotional, easily hoodwinked mental level also provides some relief from various anxieties and longings of daily life in ways that cold reason and logic never could. So turning off our logic can be a very tempting idea.

Thus, we end up with inner models of reality which may have a few bits of cold fact here and there to keep us going to work every day and not challenging the highway patrol to drag races on the interstate, but for the most part likely consist of outright fiction: some pretty strange and logic-defying belief structures that more highly educated and disciplined folks might find at least comical, and maybe even bizarre or scary.

Another aspect of our inner model is that its nature can color our very perceptions of the world around us. One person of strong religious beliefs, and another who happened to be an atheist, would likely perceive a strange and mystifying event they both witnessed in completely different ways.

New additions to our mental models are heavily weighted by the intensity of emotion involved in their formation. Note that the emotions attending such new 'part' formations for our models may be caused by something completely different from what a person is actually witnessing. The emotions of a stoned witness to an event will likely vary a lot from those of a sober witness, which may be much different from that of a drunk witness; likewise for witnesses of different attitudes: a terrified witness will possess different emotions from that of a merely curious or fascinated onlooker, and so on and so forth...with all these different circumstances affecting the power and the depth to which memories of the experience will affect each respectively in the future.

There is also the fact that we often can not distinguish between outer perceptions and inner ones. Hallucinations, near-death experiences, dreams, and certain other mental possibilities can seem as real as anything else to us at times, and affect our inner models as much as anything else.

Even entirely false memories can be very difficult for us to dismiss-- as they can seem as real to us as any other in our store.

There is even evidence that a certain amount of 'fooling oneself' with significant doses of irrationality may be virtually a requirement for a reasonably happy life, circa the late 20th century-- as in research those people who seemed to have a more realistic inner model of reality tended to be less happy than those possessing a somewhat sillier version.

-- The Belief Engine by James Alcock, Skeptical Inquirer magazine : May/June 1995,

-- UFOs are strictly a religious phenomenon

Some paranormal seeming perceptions like 'out of body' perspectives can stem from excessive stimulation of certain areas of the brain. Damage to the parietal lobes (which enable people to distinguish themselves from their environment) can cause such experiences. Visions of ghosts may be caused in a similar manner. In some cases people actually see mirror images of themselves in such phenomena (and if the vision is very brief, dim, or dark, they may not recognize their own image, and instead consider it a ghost).

-- Brain Damage Can Explain Ghosts - Swiss Scientist, Reuters/Yahoo! Science Headlines, July 5, 2000

Photographs? Videos? These are still not hard evidence for extraterrestrial visitations, and losing more credibility every day, as it becomes ever more easy to fake both.

All the photo retouching and video editing of the past 50 years which could be used to modify existing imagery or create all new and entirely fictional visuals, can now be performed in realtime, on live video feeds, even as they are being captured.

As a result, you can no longer trust your eyes without question any time you are viewing a photo or video presentation of an event.

The same dilemma may also confront intelligence agencies examining imagery from surveillance satellites.

Such realtime manipulation is being readily embraced by the news and entertainment media-- a fact which seems certain to erode public confidence in the medium. It seems inevitable that commercial interests will exploit what in the past was fixed video of feature films and TV shows with whole new worlds of product and service advertising. Commercials will, in effect, become a part even of old rerun TV shows. For instance, Archie Bunker's household could suddenly sport new breakfast cereal brand boxes on the dining table. Or Gloria could wear different styles of clothing than the actress originally did during filming, to promote the latest New York trends.

Long dead stars may be cast into wholly new feature films so transparently viewers would swear they were the real thing. Political ads could depict opponents doing or saying things they never did in reality. Ultimately, the technology could make all flesh and blood participants before the camera wholly obsolete. Any image imaginable of anyone desired doing whatever was wanted could be fixed into viewable form, with little or no indication that the image was a concoction.

Another implication of such automated and rich high speed video processing is that moving miltary targets viewed by robotic surveillance aircraft can be targeted and attacked at the same moment they are first seen.

It appears the technology will steadily trickle down to ever lower levels relating to the technological expertise required and financial costs involved, with eventually every individual on the planet enjoying at least theoretical access to such capabilities.

It appears likely the power to edit video in realtime for reasons of propaganda or others already exists in places like the military and intelligence agencies of USAmerica, as of mid-2000.

-- Jul/Aug 00: Lying With Pixels By Ivan Amato, Technology Review, July/August 2000

And even the few such UFO-related items which might be genuine captured imagery can typically be explained as hum drum man-made aircraft (sometimes unusual looking secret experimental stuff) at a distance, weather balloons, satellites, or various natural phenomena. Or unusual light or heat effects within or without the camera itself. Or as more exotic events such as various forms of plasma or ball lightning or eerie, strange shaped glows derived from natural organic sources, or even mirages and similar reflections/distortions brought about by terrain or environmental effects.

-- In search of UFOs By SEAN L. McCARTHY, November 13, 1999,; The Unnatural Museum - Man-made IFOs. by Lee Krystek 1996-1997; Mystery Aircraft - Aurora Maintained by John Pike; Updated April 24, 1997; Think You Saw a UFO? Think Again By Philip Chien,, August 11, 2000; The Unmuseum - UFO Crashes in the 19th Century by Lee Krystek 1996

Scorch marks or radiation traces as evidence of extraterrestrial visitations? Still insufficient, too likely stemming from more mundane sources, too easily faked, too insubstantial to provide credible evidence of extraordinary claims. Even radar images are not always reliable, for lots of reasons. With its stealth aircraft and other anti-radar devices the USA has in recent years spawned an entire emerging industry based upon fooling or misleading existing radar technology-- thereby proving the potential existed in natural physics all along.

-- | Science | Features | B-3 and Beyond by Steve Douglass, found on or about 4-5-2000, and CAN BART SIMPSON HELP TRACK ENEMY AIRCRAFT? By Otis Port EDITED BY NEIL GROSS, Developments to Watch, Business Week: November 2, 1998

And surely no one today will even suggest as UFO evidence anymore the crop circles made by a piece of rope, a board, and a couple folks with way too much time on their hands?

-- Crop Circle Confession

-- Crop circle secrets revealed

-- Crop circles Precursors to a close encounter with ET or merely catering to the public's appetite for...

-- Crop Circles Artworks or Alien Signs?

-- Weird science Circular crop logic (8-26-02)

-- Crop Circles No Sure Sign Of UFOs

-- a crop circle hoax

Hmmm. Would there be anything else left in the mountain of data to examine? Intriguing historical accounts which seem to describe alien encounters, weird phenomena, or advanced technologies perhaps? Well-- assuming that ancient peoples NEVER simply made up stories and wrote down fantasies (which we know they did; that's been a major source of myths, legends, and religions for millennia; but we'll pretend here all that's just not so), these too could be explained via methods considerably more plausible than warp drive possessing aliens from thousands of light years away, as dealt with below.

-- A TIME OF GIANTS AND MONSTERS BY ADRIENNE MAYOR, Volume 53 Number 2, March/April 2000, the Archaeological Institute of America, and Did Fossils Inspire Mythology? By Rossella Lorenzi, News, April 12, 2000

This is not to say that there are not any government and perhaps even corporate conspiracies swirling around these issues. But there is a multitude of possible and probable down-to-Earth explanations for such conspiracies, with no need for actual alien visitations to support them (testing of secret military aircraft, various covert government and corporate missions, purposeful misleading of the public or a local vicinity for propaganda or other reasons, etc.).

Those who choose to believe that UFOs are spacecraft staffed with extraterrestrial crews should also keep in mind the sizable profits to be made from such claims or support by some. Untold amounts of money roll in annually to creators of films, TV shows, books, and other items and services related to the UFO phenomenon. Assume for the moment you knew beyond a doubt that extraterrestrials have NOT visited the Earth-- but you also knew you could make huge profits writing books that claimed they did, or producing films which exploit beliefs in flying saucers and little green men. Also note that it is not illegal to create such books and films even if the author themselves do not believe in their content. And no one forces anyone to buy such content. So where's the crime? Where's the victims? There might be ethical or moral reasons not to create such stuff if you yourself don't believe in it-- but there's certainly no law against it.

So for many folks there'd be lots more reasons to perpetuate the myth of extraterrestrial-sourced UFOs, than not.

But there's an even larger chunk of economic incentive to consider too; government spending for defense, intelligence, and research and development. If government representatives and agencies can be convinced that unknown entities from other worlds, commanding technologies decades or centuries beyond our own, are flying over our territory and abducting us at will, then they will budget big bucks to track and study such stuff, and dream up and implement weapons designed to take them on. We're talking trillions of dollars here. Serious money. Which no self-respecting 21st century corporate executive could afford to ignore.

The French military has published a report ("UFOs and Defense: What Should We Prepare For?") that admonishes the USA for its active repression of reports concerning UFO experiences among its military (Air Force Regulation 200-2 and Joint Army Navy Air Force Publication 146), as well as related disinformation campaigns.

-- UFO theorists gain support abroad, but repression at home By Leslie Kean, 5/21/2000, SCIENCE & SOCIETY, page E3 of the Boston Globe, 5/21/2000, and In search of UFOs By SEAN L. McCARTHY, November 13, 1999,

There's also the fact many natural but somewhat rare phenomena look very strange to us when we see them-- something I got plenty of first hand experience with as an airbrush artist years ago. With my airbrush I could render 3D scenes of startling realism on 2D surfaces. But I soon learned that many natural or real images did not lend themselves well to reproduction, no matter how realistic the copy. Why? Because the original image itself simply looked too unbelievable, or incredible, when observers focused upon it.

Folks, many of us pay very little attention to our environment these days. Especially the skies. So we miss a lot of strange sights. Then, later, if and when we actually take notice of something like this, we stand with mouth agape. At least in the actual presence of the phenomena. If instead we see a photo or other second-hand version of it, we simply don't believe it.

When I was experimenting with various images of sunsets and sunrises and other sky scenes in my art, I was forced to observe the skies more closely than I ever had before. And boy, was I surprised. Over a period of years I saw stuff that I would never have believed as second-hand photos or paintings. This was very disappointing, as it meant many stunning real life sky scenes were useless as subjects for my airbrush, because they simply looked too outlandish. Nobody would buy them, literally (except maybe for very eccentric and rare folks).

I once saw a fleet of near perfectly rectangular clouds in a flat horizontal sheet, all spaced in amazingly regular formation like a checkerboard, with each cloud like a slab perhaps several hundred feet thick, pass over me at high speed one early morning in Texas. It was eerily like watching a group of gigantic ships pass silently overhead. I've also seen other astounding sights like this. All natural so far as I could tell, but all bordering on shocking, and all too outlandish and artificial looking to be suitable for a credible painting or photo.

There's also the fact that for many things like unusual lightning effects science is still struggling to fully understand and predict their potential characteristics. Some examples would include the halos of 'Saint Elmo's Fire', WWII 'Foo Fighters', and various types of glowing and streaming electrical discharges, and floating or flying fireballs and/or ball lightning, as well as miscellaneous mirages and reflections frequently observed at sea, on land, and in the air.

And what of humanity's vulnerability to altered mind states from persuasion, suggestion, acoustics, faith, food, drugs, toxins, chemicals, and even geomagnetic and electromagnetic fields, among other sources? In some cases it may even be that the normal form of human vision is reversed, in phenomena with results similar to hallucinations.

Many of the ideas above were found on or about 12-20-98 on the New Scientist web site. Article apparently by Andy Coghlan (the article title seems to have been misplaced; "Midnight watch" may have been the title of the piece. Other sources were also useful to my writings above, such as various television shows hosted by Arthur C. Clarke, and a variety of books]

[Certain relevant references may be found within "Alien abduction: the inside story", New Scientist, 19 November 1994, p 29, and a study published in Proceedings of the Journal of Psychical Research (vol 57, p 275) by Wilkinson and Gauld.]

-- Are you there, God? By Lawrence Osborne,; Books Dec. 24, 1999, URL:

-- Fortean Slips: Spooky Acoustics, by D. Trull, Enigma Editor, citing Electronic Telegraph ("Science finds a sound reason for ghosts," June 28, 1998; "Ancient tombs were designed for eerie echoes,"April 15, 1997; "UFO abductions all in the mind," November 17, 1994, found on or about 3-6-2000

-- The Unnatural Museum - Bizarre Electricity by Lee Krystek 1996, found on or about 7-11-2000

-- The Unnatural Museum - Foo Fighters by Lee Krystek 1996, found on or about 7-11-2000

And even false group abduction experiences could be created with a sufficiently persuasive group leader, and/or other circumstances. I've personally seen first hand a man be perfectly fine, happy, and healthy at one moment, but transform over the time of a few minutes into a terribly ill person, by the force of persuasion and suggestion alone. The victim in this case didn't fully recover again for years. There was no overt or trained hypnosis techniques used-- merely the natural persuasive talent of a certain young local socio-metric star, testing his powers. I also witnessed the same persuasive individual at other times convince entire groups to do or believe pretty much whatever he wanted them to (He was also unbelieveably successful with the ladies, as might be expected). But more well known examples abound in the form of religious and personality cults around the world.

There's also the proven state of hypnagogia and/or hypnapompic dreams. I've experienced myself this rare form of sleep-related paralysis that mixes dream states and waking consciousness, which can account for many so-called abduction experiences, among other things.

Hypnagogia, or night terrors, is a state mid-way between consciousness and unconsciousness, whereby manual control of one's limbs is disconnected via a natural process to prevent injury from physical movement incurred by reactions to dreams. On occasion a person may consciously experience this as paralysis, while they are also aware of a dream or nightmare. Such a combination can easily lead to false memories of alien abductions, demonic visitations, or ghostly encounters.

Hypnagogia may occur most frequently just as a person is drifting off to sleep, or coming near to waking (I've experienced it myself most often around wake up time-- and by often I mean only a few times in my life. It really does feel like you're paralyzed, or being held down by enormous weights. The near waking version is called hypnapompic dreams.).

Perhaps somewhere between 6-10% of people may experience some form of this phenomena. Since the experiences can seem frighteningly real, this means a significant portion of the world population has in the past, and is in the present, undergoing astonishing personal experiences of all sorts of wild things-- which they may thereafter sincerely report to others as alien abductions, supernatural encounters, or other exotic events.

Narcoleptics are those most susceptible to these afflictions, since they may pass in and out of sleep more frequently and randomly than the rest of us.

-- Fortean Slips: A Cure for Casper, by D. Trull Enigma Editor, citing The Times (London); Electronic Telegraph; CSS Online/Connecticut Skeptic Society (; EurekAlert! web site; and PhACT, the Philadelphia Association for Critical Thinking (, found on or about 3-6-2000

-- Hypnagogia

-- Might your eerie, ghostly encounter be sleep paralysis?

Then there's the love of mischief and mysteries among humanity itself: purposeful hoaxes and pranks. In essence any serious researcher in almost every field will at one time or another face a formidable foe, in the form of pranksters. UFO scholars and paranormal researchers are particularly badly beset by such folks, since it's so easy for mischief to be perpetrated in such pursuits. As a kid I participated in such mischief myself, with great success. One of the biggest surprises I discovered was that my victims so loved the sense of mystery and excitement my hoax gave them that they refused to believe me years later when I confessed to them my actions. In both the past and present, even newspapers and other journals have and do often today indulge purposely in hoaxes-- some of them involving UFOs.

-- The Unnatural Museum - Hoax Journalism by Lee Krystek 1996

"...we regularly see patterns where none exist..."

-- You Can't Help It: Our Impulse to Connect the Dots Is Pre-Wired By Rick Weiss; November 25, 2001; The Washington Post; Page B01

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All text above not explicitly authored by others copyright © 1993-2009 by J.R. Mooneyham. All rights reserved.