Embrace The Unknown And
Seek The Truth - Part 4

By Michael Goodspeed

When the birth of civilization began its first tenuous contractions, when Kingship rose, nations formed, and the blissful epoch of the Golden Age was relegated to unconscious memory, the dominant emotion for Homo Sapien was undoubtedly fear. Imagine a world where your family, your community are under constant threat of death or enslavement, where tyrants dominate through barbarism and cruelty, where human sacrifice is a "necessary" appeasement for vengeful gods who reign from above. Imagine a world where tribal warfare is a perpetual state - you must kill to stay alive, exact revenge to find peace. You are constantly fearful of the potential oblivion that lingers over every horizon. (See
For a large majority of contemporary humans, the terror-ridden lives of the ancients seems barely comprehensible. True fear - a profound sense of threat to one's wellbeing, one's life - is a rare intruder in the heart of modern man. What most of us have come to consider "fear" is little more than low-level anxiety - will my boss fire me because I visited an explicit website on my office computer, will my wife leave me for a better looking man, will I get stuck in traffic and miss the first quarter of the ball game. The kind of fear the ancients knew, a fear that seizes the heart and renders the brain incapable of higher thought, is so rare in our daily lives that the stimulation of fear is actively sought as entertainment. "Thrill-seeking" activities such as skydiving and bungee jumping are "sports" enjoyed by the common man. We rent horror movies and turn the lights down to induce a very manageable and homogenized "fear." Indeed, if you're enjoying the comfort and safety of Western civilization, genuine fear - or a deeper level of fear known as terror - will likely remain confined to the playground of your imagination.
But for a small minority of humans in the Western world, the terror experienced by ancient man is an almost casual guest in their daily (and nightly) existence. These people are not necessarily in fear for their lives, but rather they express a sense of their "realities" being shattered, of their egos and intellects losing control, as if they have become wards of an omniscient and not entirely benevolent state. Their lives do not belong to them; free will and freedom of choice are fictions they can no longer subscribe to. What kind of experience could cause rational and sane humans to feel this way?
Visualize yourself in bed one night, your spouse snoring contentedly by your side, the drone of the bedside TV lulling you until the words from the box become garbled, indecipherable. You're entering a state of relaxation just on the precipice of sleep, your breathing deep, your mind calm. Suddenly, you are aware of a very profound difference in your perception. You are on the one hand more alert, more intensely AWARE, but the process of your thoughts is nothing like in your daily life. While your mind is remarkably lucid and absent of clutter, it does not seem capable of linear or "intellectual" thought. You are focused entirely in the PRESENT; the past and future are irrelevant, incomprehensible. You find this experience both exhilarating and frightening; your heart rate and breathing increase rapidly. You fear a loss of control in this state, as the YOU that you've come to know and love in the "real world," the you who has confidence in his opinions and controls his own destiny, seems strangely absent, faded like a barely remembered dream. You try to move your body and shake free of this experience, but find to your horror that you are utterly paralyzed. You try to call out to your sleeping spouse, and not a sound, not even a peep, emerges from your mouth. A sense or terrible foreboding passes over your mind; something of enormous significance is about to happen, perhaps a thing of legends and fairy tales, a thing you have never entertained as a possible reality. You then become aware of the presence of Another. Your rational mind (or what remains of it) reasons that an intruder, a burglar, has entered your home...yet you know this is untrue. You reason further that you are asleep and having a very peculiar and intense nightmare...and you know this also is untrue. The quality of your consciousness, the train of your thoughts, the lucidity of your awareness feels more like REALITY than anything you've experienced.
The being in your room does not mean you harm, at least not in any conventional sense of the word. But it has come for something, and will not leave until you've provided it. You sense the being approaching, and you realize it is not alone, it is accompanied by a flock of little buddies who move with alarming, almost insectile speed. You could probably focus your eyes on their bodies, perhaps even make out the details of their faces, but somehow you know that doing so would provide your mind with a shock beyond its capacity to absorb. Better to lie still and let be done what will happen with or without your consent.
At this point, any number of things can happen. You might feel yourself spinning as if in a whirlpool, rising as you spin, approaching the ceiling and going THROUGH the ceiling, going God-knows-where because your mind finally shuts down from horror and disbelief before you reach your destination. Then again, you might remain terribly, unmercifully cognizant through the whole unmentionable experience. You get where you're going and you are greeted by your "hosts," the same flock of scurrying little workers, the same being who stood in your doorway as silent as a ghost, and they touch and probe and maneuver your body with hands that don't feel like hands, they might put things in you that feel cold and metallic like steel instruments, and you might see images in your mind's eye of things in your life or things in the world that seem strangely familiar, even though they have not yet happened. Some of these things may be very bad, like global catastrophe on a cataclysmic scale, or very good, like a return of Paradise on Earth, a revisiting of the long-forgotten Golden Age. These images arouse mixed emotions of wonder, terror, joy, and awe, and all the while your mind keeps returning inexorably to the same thought: (this is REAL! this is REAL! this is REAL!....)
The next day, you awaken peacefully in bed, and the logic of the morning, the return of banality, convinces you that the "events" of the night were merely a dream. This rational explanation is not a source of disappointment but of relief, and this relief washes over you until you are standing in the shower, you are scrubbing your body clean of an intangible dirtiness. You scrub at your arm and on close inspection find a small but inarguable hole, you remember it was put there by the little blue men and their cold, steel instruments, and you know beyond doubt it was real, it ACTUALLY HAPPENED....
Take a deep breath, and relax. If reading the above caused your stomach to twinge or heart rate to accelerate, congratulations are in order. You have acquired the most superfluous empathy for a class of people known as abductees.
The scenario I have outlined (or a reasonable facsimile of) has been reported by thousands of men, women, and children mostly across the Western world. Numerous abduction researchers and/or therapists (Budd Hopkins, David Jacobs, John Mack, Jacques Vallee) have devoted their professional lives to exploring the phenomena. Bestselling books (Whitley Strieber's Communion), TV shows (The X-Files, Unsolved Mysteries), and numerous Hollywood movies (Close Encounters, Fire in the Sky) have given us the smallest insight into the nightmare ordeal that is the abduction experience. As a genuine skeptic, I must add a caveat: when I use the terms abductee or abduction, I am describing a person FOR WHOM the abduction experience is real. I remain open to every alternative explanation to the "alien" one, as long as it withstands some measure of objective scrutiny.
The previous installment of this essay dealt with eyewitness accounts of UFO activity, and skeptics' reactions to them. This chapter will deal with the abduction phenomena, and like the previous chapter, we will explore in depth the intrinsic value (or lack thereof) of human testimony. Remember, self-described skeptics dismiss this issue a priori because they believe human testimony is largely worthless.
Let's begin by examining the prototypical abduction claim of over 4 decades ago, the Betty and Barney Hill case. Most people with even a passing knowledge of UFOlogy are familiar with the details of this story. A fair synopsis from "The first abduction case to be brought to the public's attention was back in 1964. Betty and Barney Hill reported seeing a UFO and experienced a period of missing time while on a long car journey. When they started suffering from bad nightmares they sought help from psychiatrist Dr Benjamin Simon who hypnotized them as to find out what was the root of the nightmares. Under hypnosis they both separately described how they were abducted by Aliens and shown around the spacecraft before under going medical examinations. Betty also spoke of the origin of the aliens which were of the zeta reticuli system but at that time it wasn't discovered until 1969. Afterwards they both went public about their experience and it was then when Alien Abductions were born."
The hypnosis aspect of this case has been the greatest source of controversy. Even though the Hills INDEPENDENTLY provided virtually identical details of their shared experience, "skeptics" still assert that their "retrieved memories" do not count as real evidence.
An examination of "skeptical" arguments against the veracity of the Hills provides invaluable insight into the "skeptical" mind set. Here we see alleged rational thinkers offering "easy answers" based on little more than guess-work and assumption. A case in point is a CSICOP "investigation" by Martin Kottmeyer (Link:, who alleges that the Hills were subconsciously manipulated by a single episode of the old sci-fi show, the Outer Limits. The episode in question, entitled Bellero Shield, featured a creature with facial characteristics, including "wraparound eyes," reportedly similar to those of the aliens described by the Hills. Kottmeyer further makes his case by pointing out that the episode aired a mere 12 days before Barney described an ET with similar eyes while under hypnosis. He also points that the Outer Limits creature "spoke through its eyes," a strange phenomena also reported by Barney under hypnosis.
Clearly, any rational person who uses Occam's Razor ("the simplest explanation is also the most likely") as an investigational guideline can look at these facts and determine the Hill case is bunk, right? Sorry, but no, not even close. To reject this case on the basis of Kottmeyer's presentation requires one to ignore a number of critical facts:
1) The Hills' UFO sighting was a conscious and fully remembered experience which was not "retrieved" by hypnotic regression. Barney observed the UFO through binoculars and even claimed to see the object's occupants through side windows. The couple also claimed to experience an inexplicable loss of two hours immediately following the sighting. The Outer Limits episode has no relevance whatsoever to the Hills' initial sighting and subsequent "missing time."
2) Betty's friend Janet encouraged her to call a nearby Air Force Base and report what she had seen. Betty claims to have spoken with Major Paul W. Henderson, who reportedly told her: "The UFO was also confirmed by our radar." (Source:
3) While under hypnosis Betty drew allegedly detailed pictures of the zeta reticuli star system, which was not discovered until 1969. The science journal Astronomy published a surprisingly even-handed account of this story in 1974. (Source:
4) As I pointed out in Part 3 of this series, "skeptics" who argue in favor of media and pop culture influence on abductees ignore several important facts. For starters, the aliens depicted in popular sci-films prior to Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters in 1977 looked NOTHING like the aliens reported by the Hills. A review of "flying saucer" movies from the 50's shows aliens depicted as identical or nearly identical to humans (This Island Earth, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Plan Nine from Outer Space), as giant monsters (It Came From Outer Space), as robots (Forbidden Planet), or as huge, green zombies (Invaders From Mars). Indeed, the term "little green men" was a creation of 50's sci-fi flicks, and aliens were never thought of as little GREYS until AFTER the abduction phenomena became recognized. One wonders how the Hills were able to resist the the OVERWHELMING media influence of popular sci-fi films, yet were so prone to unconscious manipulation by a single episode of a TV show?
Further, if Hollywood is causing people to hallucinate alien abductions, where are all the reports of "close encounters" with far more common creatures in popular fiction, i.e. Frankenstein's monster, killer robots, giant spiders, giant ants, giant eyes, werewolves, blobs, mermaids, The Invisible Man, unstoppable masked killers named Freddy, Jason, and Michael Meyers, etc., etc., ad nauseam.
Again, the underlying tenet of the "skeptical" ideology is contempt for the human condition. People are just empty hour glasses waiting to be filled by outside suggestion. Of course, this was the philosophy of the "Amazing Kreskin" when he bet $50,000 that he could induce a crowd of UFO "believers" into mistaking commercial aircraft for alien spaceships. Did Kreskin win or lose that wager?
5) Did Mr. Kottmeyer or any of the CSICOP crowd bother to ASK either of the Hills if they watched the TV show in question? Betty is still alive; why don't they ask her now? Nah, that would be too much work, and besides, this is case is already closed, wrapped up as neatly as the "wraparound" eyes of the "mythical" ET
Another noted abduction to be summarily dismissed by self-described skeptics is the Travis Walton case. In 1975, Walton was allegedly abducted from the Sitgreave-Apache National Forest in Arizona, where he was working as a member of a 6-man tree-trimming crew. The abduction was witnessed by his co-workers, who claimed that a "flying saucer" knocked Walton to the ground with a blue and white light. Upon witnessing this, Walton's co-workers sped off in terror. They later returned, but could not find any sign of the flying saucer or of Walton. Over 100 hours later, Walton re-emerged, claiming he had no memory of the previous few days.
Most skeptics who have opined on this case have simply asserted that Walton and his co-horts must be lying. One such skeptic, Jerry Black, sponsored a lie detector test of Walton by polygraph expert Cy Gilson in 1993. Walton was asked "yes" or "no" questions about every key aspect of his story, and maintained that he has never lied or embellished any details.
Cy Gilson's conclusion based on his expert analysis of Walton's polygraph test (from
The numerical score of Series #1 was +34. The numerical score of Series #2 was +26. In the system of numerical scoring developed and validated at the University of Utah, total numerical scoring of +6 or more is considered indications of truthfulness.
The computer-based analysis returned a posterior probability of truthfulness of .964 in the first series, and a .961 in the second series. These indicating that charts like these produced in each series, by Mr. Walton, are produced by truthful examinees 96% of the time.
Based on the numerical score of the polygraph charts and the computer based analysis, it is the opinion of this examiner that Mr. Walton was being truthful when he answered these relevant questions.
Cy Gilson
Walton's co-workers also passed polygraph tests immediately after the alleged abduction. So the question must be asked: If they are not all lying...what is left? Does it seem REASONABLE that the men imagined the whole experience? Does it seem REASONABLE that Walton was left wandering the forest aimlessly for days while police and rescue crews searched FRUITLESSLY for him, finding no trace of his existence? It is worth noting that temperatures in the area dropped to SUB ZERO while Walton was missing. How could he have kept himself alive in such conditions?
Of course, some "skeptics" may still cling to the idea that Walton and his crew are all sociopaths who have mastered the art of beating the polygraph. But remember, according to an expert's analysis, Walton's results are "produced by truthful examinees 96% of the time."
In spite of the abundance of compelling evidence in the Walton and Hill cases, in spite of the new physical evidence supporting abduction, including "scoop marks" (link:, inexplicable aborted pregnancies (link:,12.htm), and other physical effects, including radiation burns and eye irritation (link:, nearly 100% of self-described skeptics still maintain there is "no scientifically acceptable evidence" of alien abduction. As Robert A. Baker writes in the Skeptical Briefs Newsletter of June, 1997: "...valid and scientifically acceptable evidence of the existence of either aliens or alien spaceships remains unavailable and will, in all likelihood, remain so for centuries to come. Independence Day is science fiction, not science fact. True believers will, of course, think me a pawn of sinister governmental forces or part of the reactionary establishment's plot to keep the Truth from the masses...."
I'm not a "true believer," nor do I think Mr. Baker is part of any "governmental plot." And I hate to break it to Mr. Baker, but the scientific "establishment" is a lot more open to unconventional ideas than he is. His ilk is so out of step with the scientific mainstream, it's nearly laughable. The only "establishment" the CSICOP crowd is defending is 19th century materialism.
The great irony here is that self-described skeptics like the oh-so-unwitty Mr. Baker are the very embodiment of "true believers." I cannot repeat this point often enough: the literal definition of skeptic is "One who is yet undecided what is true; one who is inquiring as to what is true; an inquirer of facts or reasons." These people, by their own admission, are not undecided, and they only "inquire" as bona fide INQUISITORS. They do not ask exploratory questions. Why would they need to? As the "skeptical" crowd has stated so many times, they do not need to DISPROVE a notion as silly as alien abduction, just as they don't need to disprove the existence of Santa Claus. On this, they are correct. However, these people regularly open their mouths to assail the intelligence, character, sanity, and integrity of abductees and/or researchers in this field, and they do so with nothing more than guess work and assumptions to back up some truly slanderous assertions. They may not need to DISPROVE alien abduction, but they are required to examine all the evidence with a modicum of intellectual honesty.
Should genuine skeptics accept the claims of abductees on blind faith? Of course not. Legitimate questions have been raised about the value of hypnotically retrieved memories, and unsupported claims of extraordinary events should raise the ire of any intelligent person. But who is closest to the middle ground in this intellectual battle? Does anyone think that the self-described skeptics, with their approach of a priori assumptions, guess work, and ad hominem attacks, hold they key to unlocking these mysteries? The sad truth is, even the most impassioned paranormal proponents tend to display more genuinely skeptical reasoning than the incorrigible "debunker" ilk.
On a personal note, I will tell you the real reason self-described skeptics offend me so deeply. I could care one wit whether they believe in aliens or any other "paranormal" phenomena, as their belief or disbelief has no effect on me personally. But their relentless stigmatizing, their deliberate personal degradation of explorers in the abduction field has done tangible damage to real people. In all my life, I have only met one person who has personally experienced the abduction phenomena. Neither she nor the person who introduced me to her has ever used the words "UFO," "alien," or "abduction." Indeed, she had never HEARD of ET abduction prior to her experience (at least not consciously), and to this day does not think of her experience in those terms. She is a conservative catholic woman who has no place in her personal paradigm for visitors from another world. Since her "abduction" experience, she has been plagued by nightmares and physical exhaustion. Every aspect of her case reads like a textbook example from the files of Hopkins or Jacobs. She has never written a book, never appeared as a guest on a talk show, has no movie deal in the works, and has only shared her experience with a handful of people. Like innumerable others, she has been forced to suffer her ordeal alone and silent.
Budd Hopkins has addressed the issue of "witness intimidation" on the part of self-described skeptics. From
"After decades of dealing with debunkers' attacks upon anyone reporting UFO abductions, I am still amazed at the ill-informed and often cruel nature of these published assaults. I am not referring here to diatribes against investigators like myself, because, as Harry Truman pointed out, to be in the kitchen involves a certain amount of heat. Instead, I mean attacks against the abductees themselves, the innocent men, women and children who have dared to report their suspicions of ongoing UFO experiences.
"I believe there is a reason why debunkers have chosen these experiencers as their primary targets. If abductees can be regularly ridiculed and demeaned, fewer will dare to give their accounts publicly, and those higher up on the socio-economic scale will be even less inclined to expose their identities. Thus, their valuable credibility, the authoritative weight of their testimony, will be denied to those of us trying to make as strong a case as we can that an extraordinary phenomenon such as this demands an extraordinary investigation. This debunking ploy deflects objective scientific inquiry because some of the most important evidence necessary for informed judgement will have been effectively suppressed." END EXCERPT.
Centuries from now, how will history remember the self-described skeptics, these supposed champions of rational inquiry? These are not the first people in the halls of time to ignore evidence and suppress debate through intimidatory force; virtually every proponent of uncoventional or new ideas has been subjected to the tactics of the skeptical gestapo. Members of this gestapo have been given a title: they are called INQUISITORS. So it has always been, so it will always be.
If the title fits, wear it



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