Conspiracies That Parallax: JFK’s Assassination & UFO Alien Abductions
Copyright © by Dan Schneider, 12/21/03

JFK’s Assassination      UFO Alien Abductions      My Own Takes On Conspiracist Mythologies      Summations  

'Can you prove that it did not happen?'- Criswell, Plan 9 From Outer Space

  My friend Don Moss, an excellent writer & poet, once commented to me on the abundance of the terms within & without in my poetry. He felt that I relied to heavily on such, especially in my Le Bestiaré poem series. I tended to agree, but since the poems focused primarily on the differences between the percipients’ inner & outer world, it was a motif I had accepted as part & parcel of that particular series. However, in most of life’s endeavors the real truth of the thing generally does not lie at such extremes, but- rather- lies in the middle- call it Occam’s Area. Of course, most know what Occam’s Razor is- it’s the generally accepted wisdom that the simplest answer that best fits the known facts to a problem or inquiry is usually the correct 1. I’ll delve into this apothegm later in the essay. I start off this essay with this premise because I believe it to be true- especially when used to describe mysteries & conspiracies from the Ancients through Jack the Ripper through sightings of lake monsters & hairy bipeds & all the way back, again, to the very origins of myth, itself. In this lengthy jaunt I will hope to show that the Occam’s Area for these 2 greatest & most enduring mythologies of the America of the last ½ century come down on opposite sides of the fence for each 1- in the pro-conspiracy camp regarding the murder of the 35th President of the United States of America- John Fitzgerald Kennedy, & in the anti-conspiracy camp for the alleged abductions of human beings by non-terrestrial entities. I will do so by vetting the few known & agreed upon facts in each case, comparing the mythic & psychologic elements in both, show their strengths & weakness vis-à-vis conspiracies, show elements of each that seem congruent & incongruent to each other, detail my own background in regards to forming opinions on both myths, examine the role of the media in both myths, & then toss out some of my own conclusions & opinions.
  The reason for my essaying these topics is not only because of their intrinsic worth as bits of Americana, & human history, but because of my recent reacquaintance with both topics. On 11/20/03, at 8 pm CST, the ABC network aired Peter Jennings Reporting: The Kennedy Assassination- Beyond Conspiracy, which posited that the Warren Commission’s finding that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin of JFK was correct. The special was light on substance but heavy on rehash. The ‘supposed’ new evidence was a computer graphics specialist named Dale Myers who designed a supposedly accurate 3 dimensional computer reproduction of Dealey Plaza in Dallas at the time of the shooting. This simulation, it was claimed, decisively proves the ‘Single- or Magic- Bullet’ theory was correct, & that LHO was the lone gunman. Contrary evidence, such as audio evidence of a 4th shot, dissent from Naval coroners regarding the nature of the wounds that killed JFK, the manifest ties of LHO assassin Jack Ruby to the Mafia, & certain government agencies, were glossed over as gossip for the rather far-fetched scenario that a deludely patriotic JR did in LHO to spare Jackie Kennedy pain. Not to mention that Dale Myers’ computer simulation has, according to published & online dissenters, competitors, & cohorts, gone through a # of claimed permutations over the years, each 1 of which tended to get more anti-conspiratorial as he peddled it around to various media outlets. It’s almost as if he was willing to make the model, claim his detractors, go whatever way a prospective buyer asked him to make it go. Furthermore, even a cursory viewing of the simulation shows why online comments from dissenters are justified: 

  If George Lucas can make $200+ million in what were basically bad computer created film(s), and an abundance of CGI can trick people into thinking that Keanu Reeves is a good actor, why should there be any reason to believe that this "truth" is any more definitive simply because a computer simulated it.

  They expect me to believe a guy with a computer can take all the data that's already been combed and re-combed by experts, and extract conclusive evidence from it that those experts didn't find. Sorry, but I'm not that credulous. This is not a recreation of the events as they happened. This is a very pretty CGI animation of the events as Dale Myers believes they occured. (sic)’

  You cannot view an event from a location where there was no camera and derive meaning from it. If no camera on the scene filmed a second gunman, that doesn't mean one wasn't there. If you create your model without a second gunman, then move the virtual camera around and show that there is no second gunman, you have proved nothing. That is the dictionary definition of a tautology: assuming there was no second gunman, there is no evidence of a second gunman. Similarly every scrap of evidence presented by this re-creation which was not in the original evidence is worthless, because it has no basis in fact.

  I am not a conspiracy theorist, I am an agnostic in all things. All I'm saying is that this re-creation adds nothing to the debate. I can Photoshop myself into pictures with every celebrity on the A-list, and it doesn't prove I've left my parent's basement.

  Needless to say, I agree with these & many other comments & this special did not sit well in my mind- for distortions of fact & the condescending tone of anchorman Peter Jennings, was a bit much to take. As for the other major myth I recently picked up & read 2 interesting books I got at a used bookstore- the 1st was a pro-reality book on alien abductions (AAs) called CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE FOURTH KIND: Alien Abduction, U.F.O.s and the Conference at M.I.T., by C. D. B. Bryan, published in 1995, & the 2nd was an anti-reality book on AAs called ALIEN ABDUCTIONS: CREATING A MODERN PHENOMENON, by Terry Matheson, published in 1998. The 1st book purports to be a journalistic look inside the mythos by a reporter who doubts the reality of the myth, but soon comes to believe it due to the sincerity of the ‘abductees’. It is not at all that well written, & after the 1st ½ summarizes the conference the 2nd ½ becomes a farce. The 2nd book, however, is a GREAT book- in every sense of the word. It’s writing is direct & fact-driven, & the writer parses every bit of the mythos to show how it has evolved through time (including detailing how tropes such as the ‘skeptic’-cum-believer used in CDBB’s book is standard fare in the seminal narratives of the mythos)- not unlike I do when dissecting poetry or prose, & its conclusions seem so manifest that 1 wonders why TM is the 1st to put all the pieces together- at least in the published world; I have long advocated almost identical beliefs in my many conversations with believers & skeptics through the years. I may just add TM’s Alien Abductions to the quaternity of great books that influenced me in my life: Loren Eiseley’s autobiography All The Strange Hours, Alex Haley’s The Autobiography Of Malcolm X, Leonard Shlain’s Art & Physics, & Walt Whitman’s Leaves Of Grass. Needless to say I shall explore the book’s excellence, & its posits within this essay. That’s enough for now- let’s have some fun.

1) JFK’s Assassination

Solid Evidence   The ABC Special   Examining Dialectics   Back To Basics   Summing Up   My Opinion On The Assassination   Bridges

Solid Evidence

  The idea of ‘conspiracy’ riddles every human society. The idea that shadowy factions control aspects of life to a degree that few people can even dream of exercising is in itself a myth. Most of the proven & alleged conspiracies, conspirators, & underground societies- from Watergate & Iran-Contra back to the death of Julius Caesar, the Lincoln Assassination conspirators to Leopold & Loeb, the Freemasons & Rosicrucians to the Illuminati, Mafia, & Yakuza- share this ideal of power. Some, such as the Holocaust or the Great Leap Forward, prove to be monstrously true. Others, such as the sinking of the Titanic or the McCarthyite Red Invasion of the 1950s, prove to be laughably- albeit cruelly- untrue. Then there are ‘conspiracies’ that live in the dim flickers between possibility & probability. Here nestle nicely this essay’s 2 core myths. Both the JFK & UFO myths depend upon the idea that ‘shadow governments’ exist within our elected republic, & act ‘above & outside’ the law. In the JFK version this entity (or entities) either was wholly responsible for the President’s murder, or aided other entities with assistance (Mafia Hitmen, pro-Soviet &/or pro-Castro groups, White Supremacists) or benign neglect (the KGB, White Russians, LBJ, or a cabal of generals). In the UFO mythos this faction has covered up the retrieval of extraterrestrial vessels & occupants, reverse engineered many of the scientific wonders of the last few decades, & has either looked the other way or actively assisted in the abduction, testing, breeding, & sexual & physical abuse of its own citizenry in exchange for either technology, protection from even more sinister alien agencies, or mere power.
  However, the evidence that each myth brings forth differs fundamentally in quality & quantity. Let me deal with the JFK side 1st. The major problem that most pro-conspiracists have in their credibility is that, just like the ABC special, they ignore facts that contradict their own theories- most notably that Lee Harvey Oswald undoubtedly was in the School Book Depository, on the 6th floor, & almost certainly did fire at the President. Most conspiracists see LHO as a ‘total’ patsy- a wannabe government spook that was setup to be a patsy. The problem is that alot of this ‘handling’ occurred before JFK became a real thorn in the side of the military powers. Not to mention that LHO had considerable ties with pro-Communist, anti-Communist, & organized crime elements, as well. Instead of admitting that LHO was ‘part’ of the conspiracy, most conspiracists resist that declaration. In fact, the conspiracy idea suffers in no way from that admission. I think it’s the need for all myths to have a hero that has led to most conspiracists looking to LHO to fill that role- after all, his killer was a slimebag, all of the supposed anti-JFK factions were reprehensible, & the act itself was sinister. So there must have been someone good?
  But, the evidence contradicts that posit. Anti-conspiracists, however, are even more fanciful in their sticking to ‘facts’ that contradict known truths. For example, the idea that Jack Rubenstein (Jack Ruby’s real name) was a 2nd Lone Nut, who just happened to sneak in to the heavily secured garage to kill LHO, is preposterous. That JR seemed to be shadowing LHO after the assassination, that both men seemed to have known people in common if not each other, had ties to similar organizations, & indeed silenced LHO (& then maintained his own silence till his death 4 years later) being attributed to ‘patriotism’ & a ‘concern for the ‘1st Lady’ is almost laughable. But, instead of losing 1’s self in the labyrinth of claims & counterclaims, let me start off with a few of the undeniable facts that both sides can agree on, & see where Occam would come down.

1)      Most importantly, Jack Ruby kills the alleged assassin of the President. Is it more likely that any person (much less 1 as shady as JR) who would do such an act would do it on a patriotic whim or to silence a co-conspirator?

2)      There is audio evidence of 4- not 3- shots at Dealey Plaza that has still never been convincingly debunked. The Warren Report states there were 3 shell casings left at the ‘sniper’s nest’. The 4th heard shot was determined not to be an echo. That being true, where was the 4th shell casing at LHO’s nest? If that could not be found de facto, there was at least 1 other gunman. That means that either there was the incredible coincidence of 2 separate Lone Gunmen who just happened to shoot at the President at the same time, or there was coordination- hence, a conspiracy.

3)      The lead coroner in the Dallas Parkland Hospital (or possibly the Navy’s coroner in Bethesda, Maryland) claimed for years that the photo of a small entry wound in the back of JFK’s head was actually altered from what he saw- which was a large exit wound in back. He claimed a large flap of skin that blew backward was pulled forward for the photograph. This was finally broadcast 25 years later on national television- but ignored. Even more odd, the notes of all 3 Naval coroners somehow disappeared- despite the highest of import. Were all the coroners involved lying? Or are they telling the truth? If so, what could be the motive for faking legal forensic evidence & destroying notes? Only a coverup fits that bill.

4)      The Abraham Zapruder film remains the wildcard- a totally unexpected bonanza. I’ve seen this film many times on TV, in Oliver Stone’s film JFK, & on the Internet. JFK’s head, when shot, seems to go ‘back & to the left’ as the film famously mantras. Anti-conspiracists point to the fact that ballistic tests using melons show that a bullet makes a small entry wound & a large exit wound whose force pushes the melon forward as reaction to the action of the bullet’s forward passage. This, they say, accounts for JFK’s head’s backward motion. 2 problems crop up, however. 1st, a human head is not a melon, & the cranium is the heaviest bone in the body. It would not react exactly as a melon does. 2nd, even if it did both pro- & anti-conspiracists agree that the 6th floor sniper’s nest was behind & to the right of JFK, so even were a head to react like a melon it would go back & to the right, not the left! But I have seen people shot in the head- there are usually massive wounds at both entry & exit points. These vary according to weapon, bullet, & distance. But, the force of the bullet almost always forces the head or whole body backward. On his commentary to the JFK DVD Oliver Stone assents to seeing this in combat in Vietnam. So, which is the more likely- that the kill shot on the President came from the rear right & caused his head to jerk back & to the left, or that the kill shot came from the front right & forced his head backward & leftward? Occam leans toward the latter- which suggests a 2nd gunman & conspiracy. Forget about witnesses’ claims re the Grassy Knoll, because human witnesses are terrible (more on that later)- besides, the Zapruder film is a far better, & unexpected, witness to the actual.

5)      The Rose Cheramie incident. This was where a woman was treated in a Dallas area hospital hours before JFK’s killing, & claimed there was a plot to kill the President. Her story has been generally ignored by anti-conspiracists (& the ABC special) yet has never been disproved.

  As for other claims & counterclaims from both sides. Both are open for debate, & in fact both sides have many websites that debunk & counterdebunk each other- from a website that points out flaws & inaccuracies in Oliver Stone's film JFK to 1 that does the same to errors, omissions, & untruths in the Warren Report. The 5 above ‘facts’, however, are pretty much agreed upon by both sides. That being the case, the pro-conspiracists have the far more credible claim.

The ABC Special

  But let’s examine them & other aspects more closely, as well as how the Beyond Conspiracy (BC) special glossed over them. Before I do, however, let me talk about what I believe was an earlier ABC special on the assassination, which aired, I believe, on the 25th anniversary of the killing- in 1988. I believe it was also aired on ABC. I forget the host, but what I recall vividly gleaning from that show was the audio evidence of a 4th shot- 1 which was replayed several times on the broadcast, & which was clarion, & the 1st aired interview with 1 of the coroners who claimed the JFK autopsy photos had been altered- this stuck in my mind, although I don’t recall whether he was the Dallas or Navy coroner. Nonetheless his words were powerful. Yet, ABC did not deal with its own past claims which countered its newer special. As for point 1, Peter Jennings simply takes it as an agreed upon fact that JR was a patriotic nut whose ties to the government & the Mafia were severely downplayed- almost ludicrously so. As for point 2, the computer recreator Dale Myers mentions the 4th shot, claiming it came from the microphone of a certain Dallas motorcade officer. The cop later claimed it was not his mike, & DM agrees because he claims the officer’s motorcycle would have had to have been in some ‘pink circle’ in the recreation for it to have recorded what it recorded. Since DM claims to show, via film, that the officer was not in the ‘pink circle’, this ‘proves’ that the recording is unreliable. Well, no. Even if we accept that DM’s simulation is accurate & the film sources he reconstructed from were reliable, all it proves is that it was not that officer’s mike which picked up the 4 shots. Whose mike it was is irrelevant because it in no way disproves the 4th shot. In short, the whole recreation’s being used is alot of high tech ado about not alot. & the import of the ‘pink circle’ is never- conveniently- elaborated upon. The 3rd point about the hanky-panky with the coroner’s is ascribed to ‘paranoia’, while the computer simulation is again used to try to debunk the actual shooting. It tries to show that the positions of JFK & Texas Governor John Connally were consistent with the ‘Magic Bullet’ theory. Even if we accept that as true (which pro-conspiracists do not) it still does not explain the ‘kill shot’ to the head, which- no matter how long you debate it, still goes back & to the left- not the right, which would have been consistent with LHO’s alleged position. Again, the special focuses too much on the ‘Magic Bullet’ in an attempt to impress the audience- but the Magic Bullet was  not the 1 in the kill shot to the head. The whole recreation fails to disprove both the 4th shot heard on audio, & the kill shot from the Grassy Knoll- but it was cool to look at. As for the Cassandran Rose Cheramie- the special did not address it at all. I will, in a bit.

Examining Dialectics

The Mythos   More On The ABC Special   Anti-ABC   The Film JFK   Recapping Suspects & Motives   Mano A Mano   Science- Good & Bad   The JFK ‘Experts’

The Mythos  

  But, let me examine some of the more mythic elements of the JFK Assassination by giving snippets from both sides, & multiple camps, & relating them to the truth of the matter, & the need to mythologize. Here’s a snippet that is pro-conspiracy. I will interject:

from http://www.oscarworld.net/ostone/default.asp?PageId=15

  Instead of spending time reacting to the criticisms levied against the film [OS’s JFK], I will simply discuss the film itself and the history it portrays. The assassination of JFK was one of the most mysterious and tragic events in our country's history, and the explanation given to us by the Warren Commission of a single lone assassin is one of the most ridiculous theories ever presented. Tell me how a single lone assassin who was a marginal shooter could fire three shots from a manual bolt action rifle from a sixth floor window to a moving car below, causing nine wounds in two people from only three bullets, fire these three shots in 5.6 seconds when it required 2.1 seconds to recycle the rifle between shots (you can do the arithmetic), fire one magical bullet that goes through President Kennedy's neck and causes multiple wounds in Governor Connally while remaining completely intact, leave the firing shells lying neatly on the floor, hide the rifle on the complete other side of the sixth floor, run down six flights of stairs past two witnesses who claim to have never seen him, and end up on the second floor of the Depository within 90 seconds of the shooting looking completely calm.


  Much of these assertions are disputed by the anti-camps. LHO has been defined by some as a bad shot, a medium shot, & a great shot- the ABC special claimed he scored an excellent 48 & 49 out of 50 on successive firing range tests, & also had an octagenarian fire 3 rounds from the type of gun LHO used, with time to spare. Conversely, OS claimed that while filming he hired expert marksmen who could not replicate LHO’s feat. Who to believe? When such a dispute occurs it’s best to call it a tie & look to more convincing proof elsewhere. As stated, ABC’s computer recreator supposedly accounts for the Magic Bullet- but, again, that’s not the kill shot bullet. As for claims of the sniper’s nest area, that’s not in dispute, but there is dispute as to whether LHO was actually seen in the break room of the Depository.


  The Zapruder film shows Kennedy's head being thrust violently backward and to the left, completely inconsistent with a shot supposedly coming from behind - more consistent with a shot fired from the front and right, from the infamous Grassy Knoll. I could go on and on with the inconsistencies in the government's case, but the main crucial point is simple: If one bullet could not cause seven wounds in two men, there had to be a fourth shot - Oswald didn't have time to fire a fourth shot - therefore, a second gunman and a conspiracy.


  Right on the kill shot; perhaps on the Magic Bullet.


  Now try to contain your laughter, but this is the following explanation given to the American public by what were supposed to be intelligent individuals (Gerald Ford, Arlen Specter, and Allen Dulles among them) and just see how it has trouble even standing up on its own -

  A single lone assassin was responsible for the assassination - Lee Harvey Oswald - he fired only three shots in 5.6 seconds from a manual bolt action rifle with a poorly aligned scope. The first bullet missed, wounding bystander James Tague. The second bullet was The Magic Bullet - it caused seven wounds - two to Kennedy and five to Governor Connally - not only did it do this, but it paused 1.6 seconds in midair before entering Connally. This single bullet, after entering and re-entering two men ends up INTACT on a stretcher in Parkland Hospital - the final bullet strikes Kennedy in the head - supposedly all shots came from behind the motorcade from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository.


  The dispute over the Magic Bullet is noted, as for the ‘Pristine Bullet’ the 2 sides differ. The antis claim the bullet is far from pristine if viewed head on, while the pros claim that the almost total lack of frontal flattening is bizarre. That the bullet was found on a stretcher is not disputed, but bizarre in that such a crucial piece of evidence was so nonchalantly overlooked, although pros claim at least 2 witnesses saw Jack Ruby plant the bullet at the hospital JFK was taken to. If 1 can concede to the antis that the Magic Bullet could have done what was claimed (computer simulation or not), 1 has to concede that the Pristine Bullet’s lack of flattening, & sudden appearance hours later on a stretcher points to, at the least, High Strangeness, if not being planted.


  Our villainous Lee Harvey Oswald walks from the building and supposedly decides to kill a Dallas police officer, J.D. Tippit - police take Oswald into custody - unlike all other political assassins in history, Oswald denies any crimes - before he gets to tell his history, a patriotic nightclub owner, Jack Ruby, shoots Oswald live on television while surrounded by cops in the basement of the Dallas police station- Oswald's dead- the first rule of assassination - kill the assassin.

  LHO did not ‘decide’ to kill Officer Tippit. He supposedly only did because he thought he was being stopped re: the JFK killing. This is the antis’ stance, & it makes perfect sense if LHO was the killer. The problem is (putting aside whether LHO was the killer of JFK) that there are disputes as to witnesses, & what they claim to have seen. LHO did deny for the 2 days till his death. The JR as hero angle is not credible, with even a cursory scan of the man’s background & ties.

* Oswald does not shoot Kennedy coming up Houston Street which was the easier shot - instead, Kennedy turns onto Elm into a standard assassination triangulation of crossfire.

  This is in dispute- some claim the Houston shot was more difficult since less of JFK was exposed.

* The parade route was changed at the last minute to bring it into Dealey Plaza.

  Not in dispute, factually, although the reasons differ as to why.

* Someone told Colonel Reich of the 112th Military Intelligence Group at Fort Sam Houston to have the group stand down that day - there was very limited protection for the President.

  This is debunked on a # of anti- websites & I tend to see that POV as more credible.

* The media van was placed 14th in the motorcade, where it could not cover the assassination.

  They seemed to have done a pretty good job that whole weekend, despite this (if true)- this is a standard feint used by a side to lend heft, if not accuracy, to a claim.

* The Zapruder film shows Kennedy's head being thrust violently backward and to the left, which is inconsistent with a shot supposedly fired from behind.


 * Lee Harvey Oswald was discovered only ninety seconds after the shooting, drinking a Coke calmly on the second floor of the Depository.

  This is in dispute.

* Several witnesses stated that they encountered people identifying themselves as Secret Service agents all throughout Dealey Plaza - however, the Secret Service has said that they had no agents on the ground in Dealey Plaza at any time.

  Also disputed- antis note, with some common sense, that human witnesses- especially in a panic, tend to unconsciously fabulate.

* Lee Bowers, a watchman at the railyard tower behind the picket fence on the grassy knoll, described two strange men behind the fence on the knoll- one dressed in a policeman's uniform.

  Another standard feint that goes nowhere.

* Several other witnesses, among them Gordon Arnold, told of the policeman behind the picket fence - in addition, Gordon Arnold, who had served in the military and knew the sounds of gunfire, stated that he heard a gunshot from behind him while standing on the Grassy Knoll.

  Human witness- not reliable as many witnesses contradict him.

* Photo enhancements of the Moorman photograph (original is below) show clearly a man with a rifle dressed in a policeman's uniform.

  Disputed vociferously.

* There is evidence for several more shots fired in Dealey Plaza - witnesses and even acoustical evidence prove at least four shots.

  The last part is true. Claims for more than 4 seem to be dubious, at best.

* Immediately after the shooting, the entire telephone system in Washington went out for a solid hour.

  Disputed- the extent of the SNAFU is disputed, but that the phone lines would be jammed & crash after such a tragedy is not unreasonable, nor does it point to sinistry- a red herring.

* A third of the President's cabinet was in the air at the time of the shooting.


* There is strong evidence that Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby knew each other before the assassination.

  Disputed, but the pros seem to have the edge in credibility.

* A telex was sent to all of the FBI offices around the United States a week before the assassination warning of a possible attempt on the President's life by a militant revolutionary group when he arrived in Dallas. After the assassination, the Bureau instructed all the offices to remove the telex, as an "embarrassment" to the bureau.

  Not disputed, but threats were received all the time. That 1 actually came true would seem a cause for embarrassment. Its removal does not, however, imply a coverup of a national murder, but of a local embarrassment.

* Before the assassination, around 12:15, a man had an epilectic seizure in Dealey Plaza - using up an ambulance that would later be needed for Kennedy - the epilectic never checked into the hospital.

  Not disputed, & 1 of the oddities. But it does not imply any direct causal link.

* Trained Dallas doctors observed and reported Kennedy's throat wound as an entry wound, meaning he would have been shot from the front. The Dallas doctors observed the massive wound in the back of the President's head - how can this be an entrance wound of any kind? The wound measured about 5 cm across.

  Disputed only in so far as the antis doggedly insist on dismissing the coroners. The coroners did not waver. Very strong in the pro camps.

* The body of President Kennedy was essentially stolen from Dallas - Dallas doctors should have performed the autopsy - instead, Kennedy's body was flown back to Washington, for a military autopsy.

  Jurisdictional penis length contests are nothing new, even then. This does not imply coverup.

* News reports around the globe reported that Oswald had killed Kennedy and had background histories of this essentially unknown man in some cases hours before he was even charged with the crime of killing the President.

  This is the basis for OS’s fictional Mr. X (based on Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty- a controversial figure I’ll touch on later) having doubts about there being no conspiracy. There is strong disagreement over what news was released when & to whom globally. This element is very much a jump ball that needs more looking in to.

* Doctors at the autopsy were told not to discuss anything told or seen in the autopsy room- and Commander Humes was essentially told that Kennedy was shot from behind.

  This is consistent with what might go on during a reign of confusion- in & of itself it’s a red herring, but context could shade it 1 way or another.

* President Kennedy's brain has never been found.

  In dispute. Its whereabouts are not publicly known. Decide on your own its import or relevance.

* Photos of Lee Harvey Oswald were clearly doctored and he was cleverly framed as a Communist to cement the image in the minds of the American public as a cold-blooded killer.

  Much disputed- so much so that to include it on a list of undisputed facts raises questions regarding the writer’s motives- but not the spectrum of veracity & the techniques used to effect by this pro- writer.

* More than 75 witnesses or people who have had knowledge of this case, have died mysteriously.

  Highly disputed- & overstated. A few people retracted statements &/or disappeared, but many of those claimed to have died ‘mysteriously’ did not. The man prosecuted by filmic JFK hero Jim Garrison- Clay Shaw- for example, died of cancer- not the mysterious ‘illness’ that pros have claimed. This claim is basically a wash, with, perhaps, a slight edge to the pro side.

* Four days after burying Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson signed National Security Action Memo 273, which reversed Kennedy's Vietnam withdrawal policy, and began the worst war in this country's history.

  Yes. Connection to the assassination- dubious, because the notion that a prescient JFK was gonna withdraw from Vietnam completely is in much dispute 

  These facts are undisputed-  [Wrong.] I hope every single person in this country will agree that there was a conspiracy in the assassination of John Kennedy - we were lied to. I think most people can agree with that - what most people can't agree about is who did it, the most important aspect of this crime. [This last statement is undoubtedly true.]

  Notice a pattern? This pro-conspiracy website easily mixes facts, overreaches, & distorts- the same thing the pros claim of the anti-conspiracists. What’s that about choosing your enemies well?

More On The ABC Special

  Let’s look at a bit from the other side on, specifically, the aforementioned ABC documentary. These snippets come from a tv critic named Verne Gay:

  Yes, there's quite the TV industry in conspiracy theories - has been for 40 years, and will be for 40 more years - though not quite the TV industry there is in their mirror opposite: the anti-conspiracy theory show. These tend to be thoughtful, sober and terribly well-researched. Good journalism, certainly, but "good" TV? Well....

  Well, I’ve shown that the show relied less on research, much less anything new, & more on 1 overhyped computer simulation which did not deal with any of the relevant issues of the actual murder.

  This may be a reason ABC has planted "Peter Jennings Reporting: The Kennedy Assassination - Beyond Conspiracy" on tonight's schedule (WABC/ 7, 9 to 11), where it's certain to generate an audience that will be counted in the thousands. Worse luck for "Beyond" is the fact that "Frontline's" first-rate "Who Was Lee Harvey Oswald?" will air opposite (WNET/13 at 9). That program first appeared in 1993 and so thoroughly and convincingly debunked the conspiracists that it's fair to ask: Why the pile-on tonight?

  I saw that documentary & it similarly was 1-sided & generally shallow.

  ABC News will release a poll today in which a full 80 percent of respondents say they still believe that some form of conspiracy led to JFK's assassination, so the network appears to be on solid ground from a public service standpoint. Also, Jennings does much of his best work for ABC these days on the periodic "PJR" specials, which are produced by his own company. And while he may not do most of the actual "reporting" - Mark Obenhaus and Tom Yellin produced this program - he does lend an appropriate measure of reportorial skepticism and distance. The conspiracists will find his tone annoying and condescending - and Jennings does do condescension exceedingly well. Everyone else should find it refreshing.

  Refreshing only if you like snide news mannekinspeak.

  Based on the limited material provided to the press, "Beyond Conspiracy" - which claims to have interviewed 70 "friends and family" of Oswald and Jack Ruby, as well as CIA, FBI, Dallas police and KGB officials - is tonally different from just about everything else on the air this week, and seems, for want of a better word, almost sympathetic. Why should most of us continue to believe the conspiracy drivel out there? Simply put, we can't help our sorry little selves, says "Beyond Conspiracy."

  Perhaps only 20% of that # of people appeared- making 1 wonder what did the other 80% say? Would it contradict the overly simplistic portrait of the crime painted by ABC? This is not conspiracism, but a legitimate question of subjective editing.

  ….The writer William Manchester, Jennings adds, seemed to best explain Americans' fixation on JFK conspiracies when he once used "an odd metaphor that if you put 6 million murdered Jews on one side of the scale and the Nazis on the other side, you have a rough balance - the greatest criminals equal the greatest crime - but if you put Kennedy on one scale and this waif on the other, there is no balance, so he says there's a tendency to add weight to Oswald." As Jennings closes the program, he quotes Manchester's observation that to add this much-needed psychic weight, "a conspiracy would do very nicely."  

   This little chestnut is often trotted out to damn people who see legitimate holes in the warren Commission’s report, but a different POV is as, or more, apropos: that is that the media puppets & their corporate masters want the dimwitted American public to doubt what they saw- a conspiratorial silencing of the most visible person involved in the assassination. It’s just as reasonable to suggest that many in the media want the public to accept LHO as the lone killer because it’s actually more comforting than the knowledge that there were (or still are) rogue forces that can remove political enemies & get away with it. The problem is the ‘conspiracy’ was so blatantly obvious that even the stolid average American cannot deny what they saw on their TV screens.

  Tonight's "PJR" incorporates the work of Dale F. Myers, an author (1998's "With Malice: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Murder of Officer J.D. Tippit") and an animator who apparently has spent the past 10 years creating a computer-animated reconstruction of those few seconds at Dealey Plaza. His work is extraordinary, and almost certainly the highlight of "Beyond Conspiracy."

  Well, not really.

  Why "almost" certainly? Because ABC decided to send out only the first 20 minutes of tonight's program. That's rarely a good sign, and "Beyond Conspiracy" does reportedly spend the final act debunking Oliver Stone's "JFK."
  As if - you reasonably ask - Stone's "JFK" needed any further debunking.

  The problem with such offhanded snideness, is that the Warren Report allegedly contains even more errors & distortions than does OS’s film. Yet, that fact is never mentioned by the anti camp. So, you can see the real problem here is that both sides tend to dismiss the other & accept nothing less than an all-or-nothing approach.


  Let me examine some bits that are far more hostile to the ABC special. So much so that the website’s URL is actually http://www.abclies.com/. This is from the Introduction to the site:

  ….How did it come to pass that ABC President David Westin, anchor man Peter Jennings, and writer and researcher Gus Russo met, approved and then decided to concoct a huge deception that is meant to recycle and resuscitate a forty year old deception that very few people believe? We try to do that here in order for the reader to fully understand what and why ABC is doing on November 20, 2003.

  We trace and describe some previous network specials on the subject and how they were influenced and controlled by high officials inside and outside the government. Former Warren Commissoner John McCloy exerted enormous influence over a four-part 1967 CBS special on the assassination itself, and the CIA and Sarnoff family (owners of NBC at the time) had direct ties to a 1967 NBC special on Jim Garrison. We also trace the recent history of ABC, especially the momentous event that Andy Boehm and Jim DiEugenio describe in the 2003 Introduction and original 1987 article entitled "The Seizing of the American Broadcasting Company." This piece describes in detail an example of how the government can influence what is shown --- and not shown --- on the broadcast airwaves that are theoretically controlled by the citizens of this country. We suggest the reader read this bloc of articles first.


  Note how it’s never suggested that these fellows, or ABC, could merely be dupes? They are immediately co-opted into the enemy camp. While everything above may be true the important thing to realize when dealing with extremists (a description the pro- & anti-conspiracists fit snugly in to) is their very extreme nature, itself; such as allowing no ethical wiggle room for their foes.


  We then move on and show as directly as we can how ABC came to the lamentable decision to produce a documentary that is simply insupportable by the facts, circumstances, and evidence. This bloc of articles includes a profile of ABC News President David Westin, how he came to power and how his regime has differed markedly from his legendary predecessor Roone Arledge. We then describe the career of a reporter who sets a paradigm and precedent for ABC's actions on this case, reporter John Stossel who, although billed originally as a consumer advocate, is something short of that. We then examine aspects of the career of the chief consultant on this special, Gus Russo: his career in the Kennedy research field, his differing beliefs at times, and his dubious claim of a Pulitzer nomination. We then connect Russo to the main players behind the November 20th special, Jennings and Mark Obenhaus. We do this through the previous production of theirs based upon the controversial and specious book by Seymour Hersh, The Dark Side of Camelot.


  I’ll briefly examine some of these claims in a bit, to see if they live up to the billing.


  Finally, we begin to dissect some of the work of Russo and his friend Dale Myers, upon whom ABC has relied. We especially try to examine the work of Myers on the computer simulation he has had for sale for about a decade, and Russo's work on the most important aspect of any murder case, the medical and autopsy evidence. These are the most important aspects of any serious inquiry into a murder case. If those conclusions are faulty, everything that follows from it must be wrong.


  Note the sweeping generality at the end. Just because autopsy evidence may have been wrong does not necessarily imply conspiracy. It could be ineptness. The problem with most of the pro-conspiracists is they focus on too much extraneous minutiae, rather than actual relevant facts. The most blaring example of this is the Magic Bullet, which was not the kill shot.


  But also, through this detailed inquiry we hope to posit some wider, broader, more universal queries about the media itself. Is it possible for any huge network which works so closely with the government to be expected to tell the truth about any highly controversial and influential event in which it plays a controlling role? Who do people at the top of the network ladder serve today? And if they do not serve the public, what alternative does the public have in pursuing factual truth about these events? And does this pursuit of facts not available through the mainstream media, automatically place them in opposition to the media and the government? The exploration of those questions based on accurate information are meant to encourage a democratic debate about the state of our media today.


  Missing in this thesis, however, is the general ineptitude of corporate America. A vigilant dissent will always hold its own against the powerful because there is a natural distrust of the powerbroker. The trick is in retaining the vigilance of the dissent.

  Here’s snippets from another essay on the ABC Lies website. It’s called JFK: How the Media Assassinated The Real Story:

  ….Original, enterprise reporting has been left almost entirely to alternative weeklies, monthly magazines, book publishers, and documentary makers. All such efforts over the last 29 years have met the same fate as Oliver Stone's movie: derision from the mainstream media. At first, the public bought the party line. But gradually, as more and more information slipped through the margins of the media business, and finally through the efforts of Congress itself, the public began to change its mind.


  Actually, the moment JR nailed LHO the Conspiracy Theory took off.


  Today, according to a recent New York Times/CBS poll, an astonishing 77 percent of Americans reject the Warren Report's conclusions. How did such a tremendous credibility gap come about? And, assuming that the majority of Americans are right, how did a free press so totally blow one of the biggest stories of the century? To find out, Village Voice has reviewed hundreds of documents bearing on the media's coverage of the assassination, and has discovered a pattern of collusion and co-optation that is hardly less chilling than the prospect of a conspiracy to kill the president. In particular, The New York Times, Time-Life, CBS, and NBC have striven mightily to protect the single assassin hypothesis, even when that has involved the suppression of information, the coercion of testimony, and the misrepresentation of key evidence. The Voice has discovered that: Within days of the assassination, the Justice Department quashed an editorial in The Washington Post that called for an independent investigation; within two weeks the FBI was able to crow that NBC had pledged not to report anything beyond what the FBI itself was putting before the American people; only four hours after the murder, Life magazine grabbed up one of the main pieces of evidence --- the Zapruder film --- misrepresenting the content to millions of readers in its very first post-assassination issue and then continuing the lie with ever-changing captions and Zapruder frames in its special issue supporting the Warren Commission report; in 1967, a supposedly independent CBS documentary series on the assassination was in fact secretly reviewed and seemingly altered by former Warren Commission member John Jay McCloy, through a "Dad says" memo written by his daughter Ellen McCloy, then administrative assistant of CBS News president Richard Salant; within that same CBS series, the testimony of Orville Nix --- an amateur filmmaker who captured the "the grassy knoll" angle on tape --- was tailored to fit the requirements of CBS's Warren Commission slant. Much of this unethical and immoral practice was accomplished under the pretext of "sparing the Kennedy family."


  Note the echoes to the motives of JR. Yet, much of these assertions produce counter-assertions, so the mooting of either side exists.


  …if anyone was going to end Camelot, far better for the memories, far better for the family, that it be a lone psycho than a conspiracy. And if the media were solicitous to the Kennedys in this way, they were positively patronizing to the citizenry. It was Vietnam all over again: the war was good for the country, so don't report how badly it was going; a conspiracy to kill the president would be demoralizing at home and humiliating abroad, so sweep under the rug any evidence pointing in that direction. And then of course there was the national security issue.


  Echoes of what I just stated above- a lone gunman is far more acceptable than a conspiracy.


  Department memo from Katzenbach to Bill Moyers, then a top aide to Lyndon Johnson, spelled out the Justice Department's strategy, a strategy that would prevail to a shocking degree right through the end of the decade:
1)  The public must be satisfied that Oswald was the assassin; that he did not have confederates who are still at large; and that the evidence was such that he would have been convicted at trial.
2) Speculation about Oswald's motivation ought to be cut off, and we should have some basis for rebutting thought that this was a Communist conspiracy or (as the Iron Curtain press is saying) a right-wing conspiracy to blame it on the Communists. Unfortunately the facts on Oswald seem about too pat --- too obvious (Marxist, Cuba, Russian wife, etc.). The Dallas police have put out statements on the Communist conspiracy theory, and it was they who were in charge when he was shot and thus silenced.
Katzenbach, whose memo sets out the Warren report results a year before the commission reached them, suggests that a "Presidential Commission of unimpeachable personnel" be appointed to examine evidence and reach conclusions. In closing he writes, I think, however, that a statement that all the facts will be made public property in an orderly and responsible way should be made now. We need something to head off public speculation or Congressional hearings of the wrong sort.

  Actually, this is typical bureaucratic fulmination. It does not, by itself, point to anything damning- despite pro-conspiracists’ objections & my distaste for the reprehensible Bill Moyers.

  ….The [New York] Times did not quit with the Warren report. Two months after the Warren report was released, the Times collaborated with McGraw-Hill and Bantam on The Witnesses, a book of testimony from the Warren Commission hearings edited by the Times. The accounts of those witnesses whose testimony deviated the slightest from the official story were simply edited out. Not included, for instance, was one man's testimony to the Warren Commission that on the day of JFK's murder he had seen two men on the sixth floor of the Texas Book Depository, where the official line says there was just Oswald. The FBI told this witness to "forget it." His references to shots coming from the railroad yards in front of the president were also deleted.


  Arguments rage over this- but some of the witnesses were, upon further investigation, wrong or distorting. The issue is not that the Warren Commission or The New York Times gave credit to some witnesses over other- that’s common police & investigatory practice- but the methods for determining credibility in the 1st place.


In addition, the section of the transcript where three Secret Service agents' autopsy observations contradict the official autopsy report was deleted. No wonder readers of this expurgated version of the commission's report became true believers. With the issuance of the Warren report, Oswald became the assassin. (Although from the very beginning --- with a November 1963 Life article on Oswald headlined, "The Assassin: A Cold Lonely Man Who Resented All Authority" --- there was no presumption of innocence and little inclination to consider other explanations.)


  Much of this is true, although the observations of agents does not hold the weight of the contradictory coroners.

  ….Life was in Dallas making arrangements to buy the original Zapruder film only four hours after the assassination. Of the four existing home movies taken that day in Dealey Plaza, the 8mm film, shot by a middle-aged dress manufacturer, was considered to be the best record of JFK's murder. According to Richard Stolley, who is currently the editorial director of Time Inc. and who handled the Zapruder transaction for Life, the order to acquire the film and "withhold it from public viewing" came from Life's publisher, C.D. Jackson.
  And who was C.D. Jackson? A staunch anticommunist who played a crucial role in the direction of U.S. policy throughout the 1950s, both as "psychological war advisor" to Eisenhower and as a member of anticommunist front groups, Jackson's publication had long been known for "always pulling chestnuts out of the fire for the CIA," as the late Drew Pearson once put it. Having shelled out $150,000 for the film (the Zapruder family attorney claims the number was even higher), Stolley headed back to New York with the original print under his arm, leaving investigators with a copy that was next to worthless in terms of forensic analysis. By permitting the chain of custody to include Life magazine, and by accepting a mere copy of a crucial piece of evidence, the law-enforcement authorities were well on their way to compromising their investigation. The critical Zapruder film was kept exclusively in the hands of Time Inc. and out of the public's reach for the next 12 years, allowing Life to take the American people on one of the longest rides ever in American journalism.
  In its very first issue after the assassination, Life seriously misrepresented the content of the Zapruder film, a practice that would continue until the film finally gained general release in 1975. The doctors at Parkland Hospital, who had worked on the president, had reported that he had suffered an "apparent" entrance wound to the throat. Since the book depository, from which Oswald had allegedly fired, was to the presidential limousine's rear, how, some were beginning to wonder, did the president suffer a frontal throat wound? Life's December 6, 1963, edition gave a simple and conclusive explanation, based on the Zapruder film, an answer only Life could provide. Wrote Life: "The 8mm [Zapruder] film shows the President turning his body far around to the right as he waves to someone in the crowd. His throat is exposed to the sniper's nest just before he clutches it." This description of the Zapruder film went a long way toward allaying fears of conspiracy in those early days, for it explained away a troublesome inconsistency in the lone assassin scenario. There was only one problem: The description of the Zapruder film was a total fabrication. Although the film shows Kennedy turning to the right --- toward the grassy knoll, that is --- at no time does he turn 180 degrees toward the book depository. Indeed, by the time he is hit, he is once again turning toward the front.  

  Herein is 1 of the central forensic mysteries- has the Zapruder film been tampered with? If so, then computer simulations like Dale Myers’ are utterly worthless, but, so too, the pro-conspiracists’ claims of visual proof of a Grassy Knoll 2nd Gunman. Like it or not both sides have top deal with that troubling question & its implications. Both sides gloss over this fact by accepting the Zapruder film face up.


  ….The October 2, 1964, issue underwent two major revisions after it hit the stands, expensive changes that required breaking and resetting plates twice, a highly unusual occurrence. That issue of Life was illustrated with eight frames of the Zapruder film along with descriptive captions. One version of caption 6 read: "The assassin's shot struck the right rear portion of the President's skull, causing a massive wound and snapping his head to one side." The photo accompanying this caption --- frame 323 --- shows the president slumped back against the seat, and leaning to the left, an instant after the fatal bullet struck him. The photo makes it look as though shots came from the front --- the railroad trestle --- or the right --- the grassy knoll. A second version of the issue replaces this frame with another, the graphic shot of the president's head exploding (frame 313). Blood fills the air and all details are obscured. The caption, oddly enough, remained the same --- describing his head snapping to one side. A third version carries this same 313 slide --- frame 323 has been thrown on the dumpheap of history --- but now with a new caption, one that jibes perfectly with the Warren Commission's findings. "The direction from which shots came was established by this picture taken at the instant the bullet struck the rear of the President's head and, passing through, caused the front part of his skull to explode forward." Nice try. Of course, as all the world would learn years later, it was the back of the president's skull that would explode, suggesting an exit wound, and sending Jackie Kennedy crawling reflexively across the trunk of the limousine to try to salvage the pieces. But this would not be fully understood until the Zapruder film itself had been seen in its entirety.


  That question- why did Jackie sprawl across the back of the car?- has never been answered. It sure seems as if she were trying to recover something shot from the opposite direction, or instinctively hide in the opposite direction.


  ….By 1966 The Times seemed to be moving away from its stance of unquestioning support for the Warren report. In a November 1966 editorial, the paper acknowledged that there were "Unanswered Questions."….That investigation lasted for less than a month. The best look inside the brief investigation came in a Rolling Stone interview with New York Times reporter and assassination investigation team member Martin Waldron. Waldron told Rolling Stone that the team found "a lot of unanswered questions" that the Times did not choose to pursue….But finally, the lid blew off in 1975 when activist Dick Gregory and optics expert Robert Groden approached Geraldo Rivera with a newly unearthed clear copy of the Zapruder film. Finally, the American public was to see the Zapruder film in its entirety, unmediated by any editors or censors. ABC's Good Night America show was the first national television airing of the film to include the deadly frame 313. (Pirated copies had started to crop up in the mid '60s but were of such poor quality they had no dramatic impact.) "It was one of those things where I said [to ABC], 'It gets on or I walk,'" Rivera told the Voice. ABC relented, but only after Rivera agreed to sign a waiver accepting sole financial responsibility if Time or the Zapruder family sued. Rivera maintains that Time-Life did not sue because "they were blown away by the reaction to the program." The airing of the Zapruder film on Rivera's show was a catalyst for renewed interest in the murder and ultimately culminated in four congressional investigations into various aspects of the controversy.


  It’s scary to realize that at 1 time Geraldo Rivera had principles, ain't it!

  Oliver Stone's movie JFK relies on the Zapruder film to support the film's central contention that Kennedy's fatal wound came from the front, and that therefore a conspiracy existed. Referring to the 8mm film, Stone told the Voice: "It was key. It is the best smoking gun we have to date." Despite the compelling use of the Zapruder film in Stone's movie, the man who helped acquire it for Time-Life remains convinced that the Warren Commission got it right and that Oswald did in fact shoot Kennedy from the book depository. "There is nothing in the Zapruder film which contradicts the Warren report," says Dick Stolley. Oddly enough, the man who shot the film, Abraham Zapruder, according to an article authored by Stolley in the November 1973 Esquire, told the Life reporter, "My first impression was that the shots were coming from behind me" --- that is, from the infamous grassy knoll

  This claim is something that is consistently downplayed by the anti-conspiracists.

  CBS decided to go ahead with a documentary series in the fall of 1966, as the cynicism about the assassination continued to mount. Books on the subject were starting to stimulate a national debate. Reports on the suppression of crucial evidence --- including the fact the Warren Commission never even saw the actual autopsy photos and X-rays of JFK --- had became parlor talk around the country. Buzz phrases like "magic bullet" were being used for the first time to express a growing cynicism. Public opinion polls indicated that a majority of the respondents had begun to doubt that Oswald was the whole story.
  The CBS effort was nothing if not monumental. Whereas those who had come before had used fixed targets to test the magic bullet hypothesis, CBS went a giant step further, rigging up a moving target. But the money and manpower thrown at the project was undercut all along the way by errors in procedure and logic; if not motive. For instance, in trying to determine whether Oswald could possibly have fired all the rounds believed to have been squeezed off in Dealey Plaza, CBS used a rifle that was faster than Oswald's: capable of three shots in 4.1 seconds as opposed to 4.6 seconds for Oswald's. The 11 CBS marksmen fired 37 firing runs of three shots each; of those, an amazing 17 of the 37 runs were disqualified as Cronkite said "because of trouble with the rifle." And, even with their faster guns and time to practice, the 11 marksmen averaged 5.6 seconds to get off their three shots, with an average of 1.2 hits. Oswald, a notoriously bad shot firing with a slower gun, is alleged to have done much better --- three shots and two direct hits in 5.6 seconds, with no warm-up. CBS neglected to inform its viewers of the poor total average hit ratio. How did CBS interpret these rifle tests? "It seems reasonable to say that an expert could fire that rifle in five seconds," intoned Walter Cronkite. "It seems equally reasonable to say that Oswald, under normal circumstances, would take longer. But these were not normal circumstances. Oswald was shooting at a president. So our answer is: probably fast enough."

  Such reasoning, applied to other things, would probably have gotten Uncle Walter pink slipped years earlier.


  ….Danny Schechter's Beyond JFK: The Question of Conspiracy, features Walter Cronkite conceding that CBS News in 1970 censored Lyndon Johnson's own doubts about the lone-assassin theory. Cronkite tells Schechter that Johnson invoked "national security" to get CBS to edit out his remarks long after they had been captured on film. Cronkite and CBS, of course, reflexively complied.

  But perhaps nothing revealed CBS's prejudice in the series more tellingly than the network's treatment of Orville Nix, a man who was wielding a movie camera across from the grassy knoll on that fateful day. Nix, who had worked for the General Service Administration as an air conditioning repairman in the Dallas Secret Service building, sold his footage to UPI for $5000 in 1963. But, according to his granddaughter Gayle Nix Jackson, the film only brought him heartache.

"The FBI had issued a dictum to all of Dallas's film labs that any assassination photos had to be turned over to the FBI immediately," recalls Gayle Jackson. "The lab called my granddad first and, like the good American he was, he rushed it to the FBI." Nix had to turn his camera over to the FBI as well. "They took the camera for five months. They said they needed to analyze it. They returned it in pieces," recalls Jackson. In 1967 Nix dutifully turned out for the CBS re-creation. Recalls his granddaughter: "His turn came to reenact what he saw. They said, `Mr. Nix, where did the shots come from?' He said, `From over there on that grassy knoll behind the picket fence.' Then it would be, `Cut!' We went through this six or seven times and each time it was, `Cut!' And then a producer stepped forward and said, `Orville, where did the Warren Commission say the shots came from?' My granddad said, `Well, the Texas Book Depository.' The producer said, `That's what you need to say.'" CBS producer Bernard Birnbaum, who worked on the documentary, denies the exchange. "We never tried to put any words in anybody's mouth, absolutely not," he told the Voice. Birnbaum says CBS did give Warren Commission critics air time and cites a segment of the documentary where another eyewitness contends shots came from the grassy knoll. "We were looking to disprove everything," he insists.


  He said/she said bits like this only clog the real facts- interesting, but ultimately pointless.

  ….Throughout the early 1960s, when Walter Cronkite said, "That's the way it is ..." we had no reason to doubt him. The bashing of Oliver Stone's movie JFK by the bastions of the American media --- CBS, The New York Times, Time, Newsweek, and The Washington Post --- is said to spring from the sincere desire on the part of the keepers of America's memory to see that our sacred history does not fall prey to revisionist charlatans. While Stone's film does take serious liberty with history, the virulence with which the film has been attacked seems to say more about a defensive press that missed and continues to miss a major story than it does about any flaws in JFK.

  Another interesting point- the attacks against JFK, the film, are far out of proportion with its impact. In fact, the attacks lent the film even greater weight- ironic, since OS has always stated the film was not fact, but only a possible explanation- a counter-myth to balance the Warren Commission’s seminal myth of the Lone Gunman. Let’s take a look at some of the attacks against that film.

The Film JFK

  Here’s another bit of reactionary virulence to OS’s film:

  from http://www.history-matters.com/essays/jfkmed/How5Investigations/How5InvestigationsGotItWrong.htm 

  In discussing the media’s reaction to Oliver Stone’s movie, JFK, Sam Smith commented that, “It is one of contemporary journalism’s most disastrous conceits that truth can not exist in the absence of revealed evidence. By accepting the tyranny of the known, the media inevitably relies on the official version of the truth, seldom asking the government to prove its case, while demanding of critics of that official version the most exacting tests of evidence.”(emphasis in original) Nowhere is this phenomenon more visible than in Kennedy’s medical/autopsy evidence. The original, official findings are accepted without serious scrutiny, as if the government was institutionally incapable of anything but impartiality. Challenges, by contrast, are run through the most withering gauntlet, perhaps for the obvious reason that it is the government that sits in judgment of the merits of the challenge….If nothing else, the handling of JFK’s medical/autopsy evidence provides a case exemplar of how easily things can get started on the wrong foot, and why reinvestigations conducted by the original investigative authority may prefer to keep them on that foot.

  The choice of three inadequate pathologists to perform the autopsy of the century was certainly a very bad step in the search for truth, but perhaps only the second error, after allowing the government to do Kennedy’s autopsy in the first place. The doctors’ having been told that, as already discussed, three shots had been heard before JFK fell forward to the floor of the limousine, and that a rifle barrel was seen being withdrawn from an upper floor window behind JFK, certainly influenced the findings of men whose clinical capacities to sort out complex injuries were well below par.


  Other than the Zapruder film the autopsies remain the most central evidence pertaining to the question of a 2nd shooter. That so many questions abound is 1 thing- that no questions are raised in the mainstream media another, even more damning 1.


  ….Besides the President’s brain and tissue slides, the camera that took JFK’s “best evidence” autopsy photographs has vanished, as have the HSCA tests that revealed that the camera failed a test to match them with the official photographs. The skull fragments that ostensibly proved the bullet’s direction by their supposed beveling characteristics have disappeared. Original autopsy notes were vaporized by JFK’s chief pathologist, who followed that up by signing false affidavits about them, and then by giving the Warren Commission misleading testimony. Also, multiple lines of evidence suggest that crucial – what might fairly be described as “diagnostic” – autopsy photographs are also missing, if not falsified.


  Again, the silence from the mainstream media is too much to ignore in this regard.


  ….Since the best scientific judgments cannot be rendered until all data has been analyzed, it is safe to say that the best scientific judgments are not yet in on the JFK medical/autopsy evidence. So does the evidence merit a reexamination by a new panel of experts? The reader will have to decide for himself how much suppressed, and contradictory, evidence it takes to justify a reappraisal. Or to justify lack of confidence in prior appraisals. But today it is not an exaggeration to argue that still, nearly 40 years later, there remain myriad unanswered questions.

  Had JFK’s death been a simple matter of a sole, deranged act by a disgruntled loner, how likely is it that so much inconvenient evidence would have been suppressed or ignored?


  This is a very good point. Why so many apparently covert maneuvers if LHO was truly a singular wacko?
  While the prior examples showed overreaching & distortion as pertains to the 2 camps’ presentation of the ‘facts’ they find relevant, the following excerpt, from an online piece by a Milicent Cranor called ‘Neck and Torso X-rays: Selectivity in Reporting’ vividly illustrates how peoples’ will to believe can be directed:


  "Pick a number," says the gypsy, "any number from one to ten."  Suppose you say "Seven."  The gypsy then tells you to look beneath the big black book on the table. You do so and, magically, you find a small piece of paper contain a single message: "7."  Proof of clairvoyance.  If you had tried again and said "Ten," the gypsy would have asked you to look beneath the teapot. There you would have found a slip of paper with the number "10" written on it. But the gypsy quickly directs your attention to other matters – he dares not perform more than one demonstration of his clairvoyance per session, or even the most gullible would catch on.

  The above scenario demonstrates the power of undetected selectivity.  Once it is detected, it loses its power. There is a long history of selectivity in the reporting of images on the x-rays of the neck and torso of the late John F. Kennedy.


  The piece then veers off in to far too technical terms which basically assert that the wounds on JFK’s body were inconsistent with shots fired from the School Book Depository. Yet, this technique has been equally applied to other aspects of the murder, which I have illustrated.


Recapping Suspects & Motives


  An online article from the History Matters website by a Rex Bradford, Lasting Questions About The Murder Of President Kennedy, addresses the aforementioned issues, as well:


  The U.S. Government has gotten out of the business of answering these questions, having done so twice (in 1964 and 1979, with different answers). But it doesn't take much hunting in the national media, or any encyclopedia or school textbook, to discover the official societal answers to these questions:
  Who killed JFK? Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone (and Jack Ruby acted alone when he killed Oswald in the basement of a police station two days later).
  Was there really a government coverup? No, although there was perhaps excessive secrecy and a desire to avoid inflaming the situation given Oswald's Communist background.
  Are there any smoking guns in the new records? No (not that it is necessary to actually read them to discover this).
  Will we ever know what happened? The Warren Commission figured it out in 1964, but irresponsible "conspiracy theorists" have misled a public all too willing to believe that such a larger-than-life figure as Kennedy could not be brought down by a single disturbed loner.
  Does it matter anymore? Hey, it was almost 40 years ago. Get a life!

  Note how these points echo through every bit of information put out by the anti-conspiracists- a group that, in comparison to the pro-conspiracists, are as homogeneous as milk. Later on some more questions of merit are pointed out:


  Other aspects of coverup are so overt and open that they often escape comment. An example is the Warren Commission's treatment of Jack Ruby, the man who shot Oswald. An honest and aggressive investigation would have immediately hauled Ruby to Washington for several days of grilling. Instead, the Commission put off interviewing Ruby until June 7, 1964, when chapters of the Warren Report were already being drafted and edited. During his single interview, held in a jail cell in Dallas, Ruby begged several times to be taken to Washington where he could speak more freely. Ruby said at one point: "Gentlemen, unless you get me to Washington, you can't get a fair shake out of me." The supposed reason for not interviewing Ruby earlier was to avoid interfering with his trial, but even crediting that excuse, the trial was over months earlier. As Warren noted: "And I wish we had gotten here a little sooner after your trial was over, but I know you had other things on your mind, and we had other work, and it got to this late date." The Commission declined to take Ruby to Washington, leaving him in his cell, where he died in January 1967. 


   Further on is a summation whose many points we will see can be applied not only to the JFK assassination mythos, but the UFO mythos, & many others, as well:


  Members of the general public, like the journalists and pundits who mostly live on the other side of the fault line, are not particularly well-versed on the particulars of the assassination. In both cases, shared assumptions and general belief systems matter more than detailed arguments over facts and evidence. In defense of the general public's belief in conspiracy, it can be argued that the populace "smells a rat" for many very good reasons, including basic commonsense ones like Jack Ruby's shooting of Oswald. In defense of the elite opinion, the Warren Report and modern versions of it such as Case Closed seem to effectively debunk many of the conspiracy arguments. The emphasis here is on the word "seem." The set of facts available for any author in this case is vast, and selective use of these facts can and has made for books which are persuasive to the uninitiated by scoffed at by experts of the case. Also, many of the arguments which seem so effective ultimately devolve to appeals to authority, and rely on the assumption that those in law enforcement and high political positions would not lie about such important matters. This is an issue of belief more than provable fact, and there is good reason to doubt its truth in many instances

  ….Any serious investigation of the Kennedy assassination quickly becomes an adventure in epistemology—the issue quickly becomes not "what does the evidence say" but "how do we know what we know?" One strategy that makes sense to many is to start first with the physical base of evidence: the films, the photographs, the bullet fragments, the rifle, and so on. But there is a paucity of such evidence to begin with, much of it having mysteriously disappeared. Furthermore, legal traditions and common sense dictate that there be a "chain of possession" for such evidence, in order that the veracity of the physical evidence be upheld. But most of the primary physical evidence in this case has no such chain of possession, or is of suspect origin in the first place.

  The "magic bullet," for instance, tied to Oswald's rifle to the exclusion of all others by its rifling marks, was found in Parkland hospital well after the shooting. It was found on a stretcher near some elevators by a hospital employee. The Warren Commission asserted that the stretcher was Governor Connally's, but more detailed analyses have shown it was probably that of a patient unrelated to the shootings. The bullet is slightly flattened at the base but otherwise unmangled, and looks remarkably similar to test bullets fired into tubes of cotton. In other words, it has all the earkmarks of a "plant," and the scene of confusion at Parkland Hospital provided ample opportunity.

  ….And what about the societal and historical view of the assassination, that which appears in history textbooks, encyclopedias, articles in the New York Times, or any other indicator of official opinion? These, with a few exceptions, have remained strikingly free of the grim reality which has come pouring out over the decades. Microsoft Encarta, based on the Funk and Wagnalls encyclopedia, contains this in its brief description of the JFK assassination: "two shots were fired.....Kennedy fell forward..." In these few words alone there are two errors of basic fact. First, the Warren Commission found that three shots were fired (there may have been more, but there certainly weren't less). Second, the Zapruder film shows unequivocally that Kennedy fell backward rather than forward. That such mis-information appears in encyclopedias to this day is hardly a good omen for the future.


  Later on, RB takes on a list of suspect groups. Let’s see if even a seemingly ‘sober’ pro-conspiracist can resist the urge to slant & distort:


  So who did kill JFK? The short and easy answer is that we do not know, the crime having never been honestly investigated by those who had, at least in theory, the judicial power to get to the bottom of it. That failure is a bitter legacy from which there is no escape….What follows, it should be obvious, is one person's overview analysis of the historical record; others can and do (vehemently) disagree.

  Lee Oswald - It was proven long ago that one man did not fire all the shots in Dealey Plaza that Friday afternoon in Dallas. More than three decades of additional information has only confirmed this judgment, despite the ferocity with which it is still held in some quarters. This is not to say that Oswald was necessarily an innocent patsy—it seems quite possible that he was part of the murder plot. That too is uncertain. Oswald remains a true enigma, in many ways the most mysterious figure of the assassination landscape. The boy who watched "I Led Three Lives for the FBI," joined the Marines, served as a radar operator at a base in Japan which happened to house U-2 spy planes, learned Russian somehow and defected to the Soviet Union, came back to the U.S. with a Russian wife to work at menial jobs, occasionally passing out pro-Castro leaflets while also being seen in the company of serious anti-Communist crusaders, still defies easy analysis. Oswald remains a mystery, despite the attempts to flatten him into two-dimensional cartoons, whether that of the Crazy Marxist of the James Bond CIA Spy. The truth is likely stranger and more complex than either caricature, and may never be untangled.


  Note how he rejects the either/or of the extreme anti- & pro- views re: LHO as victim. Yet he asserts that it was proven long ago that there was more than 1 gunman. Officially it’s a no, & even people who think a conspiracy likely- like me- have to admit the evidence is only circumstantial, however compelling. Unfortunately, as noted previously, too much corroborating evidence is not around anymore.


  The KGB - The circumstantial case for Soviet involvement in the assassination was laid out by Edward Jay Epstein in a book called Legend, based on his conversations with legendary CIA counterintelligence chief James Jesus Angleton. There are indeed some mysteries related to Oswald's sojourn in the Soviet Union, and the Soviet defector Nosenko who came to America in 1964 with the untrue story that the KGB never had any interest in Oswald. But why the Soviet government would want to kill Kennedy, other than to fulfill its reputation as the Evil Empire, has never been clear. In any case, the tapped phone calls in which Oswald was impersonated shatter any such notion. It is very unlikely, to say the least, that the KGB would fake evidence of an incriminating contact between Oswald and one of their assassination experts. The episode instead smacks of, as Katzenbach wrote in his memo, "a right-wing conspiracy to blame it on the Communists."


  This is probably true, since any link to murder may have provoked Armageddon. But, rogue factions within the KGB or Soviet military cannot be discounted, especially when we have seen in recent years just how inept National Security really has been- from 9/11 to ex-CIA agents easily selling information for years; not to mention that ‘rogue’ elements in our own government are readily seen as possibilities.


  Fidel Castro - While the public reports generated by the investigations have been careful not to point the finger at Cuba's Fidel Castro, behind the scenes a great deal of attention has been focused there. Virtually all of the relevant evidence came from the CIA's Mexico City station. Witnesses claimed to have seen Oswald take money to kill Kennedy at the Cuban Embassy in Mexico City. Tapped phone lines produced ambiguous but sinister information. A defector from Cuba's intelligence service, DGI, claimed that Oswald had met with DGI agents on multiple occasions. Dissecting this and related evidence is well outside the scope of this essay, and will instead be treated under essays in the topic The Framing of Oswald. It is this author's strong view that the connection is ultimately false and indeed a setup, and has been used effectively to throw off track the various investigations, particularly the Schweiker subcommittee of the Church Committee.


  Castro has long been suspect, especially with the motivation of ‘getting JFK before he gets me’, but Cuba had far more to lose than the USSR by assassinating JFK. & would Castro have believed LBJ would go softer on him than JFK?


  The Mafia - The books promoting the "organized crime hit" theory are generally uncompelling to this writer, crystallized in the absurd depiction of a Mafia chieftain lamenting to near-stranger Edward Becker "Take the stone out of my shoe!" But there is abundant circumstantial evidence implicating certain mobsters, most particularly Johnny Roselli (one good source is Sons and Brothers by Richard Mahoney). And the HSCA took the veil off Jack Ruby and showed his deep mob ties. But Rosselli was at the nexus of the CIA-Mafia plots to kill Castro. And the emerging story of Ruby's involvement in gunrunning to Cuban exiles (see the LaFontaine's Oswald Talked and Peter Scott's Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, in addition to the account Nancy Perrin Rich told the Warren Commission) puts him into the same milieu. Rather than an organized crime hit, what seems more likely is a new use (by CIA officers or agents) of an existing relationship. The choice of the "hoodlum" Ruby to silence Oswald is perhaps a classic case of the use of "cutouts" to keep suspicion away from an operation's ultimate sponsors. As Peter Dale Scott has noted, Ruby's connections are broader than just the mob in other ways, extending via his Teamsters contacts into the political realm.


  To me, most people who blithely dismiss the Mafia as a source of the JFK killing do not fundamentally understand the organized crime mentality. I will go on about that a bit later, but consider that since the end of Prohibition Organized Crime enjoyed almost 3 decades of unparalleled freedom to engage in illegalities. J. Edgar Hoover’s ties to mob figures is known, as well as both parties’ hatred for JFK & RFK (who was leading the anti-Mafia charge), not to mention the irrational aspects of many Mafia actions based on emotion. The RFK investigations smacked of betrayal by the scion of a man the Mafia made 1 of the 10 richest men in America, at 1 time. But, that the Mafia acted alone is not likely. More likely is that the mob found sympathizers in the government, & both found it much easier to kill a national leader when 1 of the parties controls the movement & protection of that leader. The Mafia also saw JFK as a weakling who could not even take out Castro- a man who cost the mob billions in illegal revenue annually. Weakness is a despicable trait in Mafia circles. The use of JR as a beard also seems quite possible, as he was in debt to Mafia figures for his very livelihood. Plus, unlike the young healthy LHO. JR was less likely to go pigeon on them, as he already knew he was dying of cancer. So there was no need to silence the silencer.


  Anti-Castro Exiles - Another group known to hate President Kennedy were the anti-Castro exiles, for whom Kennedy's failure to provide support during the Bay of Pigs invasion was unforgivable. Oswald's 1963 summer in New Orleans put him in contact with members of exile groups, including DRE member Carlos Bringuier, who engaged Oswald in a possibly-staged fracas. The story of Sylvia Odio remains unresolved, as well. Ms. Odio, daughter of an imprisoned anti-Castro Cuban, told the Warren Commission that three men came to her door one evening in September 1963, two of them Latins and the third Lee Harvey Oswald. One of the men told her on the phone the next day that Oswald was "loco" and wanted to kill Kennedy. These and other stories possibly implicating anti-Castro Cubans have never been satisfactorily resolved. But even if members of these groups were involved with Oswald, or with the setup of Oswald, they hardly had the power or knowledge to conduct sophisticated operations like the Mexico City frameup. At most, such groups would have been working under the direction of their CIA handlers, who included among them David Phillips or Howard Hunt.


  RB’s analysis is probably correct.


  Lyndon Johnson - Que bono? Who benefits? The fact that Lyndon Johnson came from Texas provided for some an immediate circumstantial case for his involvement in the murder of his predecessor. Nearly forty years of subsequent research has never answered this question one way or another. Certainly it is true that Johnson was aware that the Oswald lone-nut story was untrue—he said so many times, including in a conversation with Warren Commissioner Richard Russell on the eve of the Warren Report's publication. But Johnson nonetheless used the false Communist conspiracy evidence to press Earl Warren onto the Commission against his will, as Warren noted in his memoirs and as evidence in LBJ's November 29 1963 phone call with Richard Russell. Johnson played an active early role in the coverup, but the charge that he was involved in the murder remains speculation.


  Again, the author’s assessment seems the best interpretation.


  The Right-Wing - In the Warren Commission's sole interview with Jack Ruby, Ruby dropped a giant hint about the involvement of the John Birch Society and right-wing ex-general Edwin Walker, and then declared "...me giving the people the opportunity to get into power, because of the act I committed, has put a lot of people in jeopardy with their lives. Doesn't register with you, does it?" Earl Warren answered "No, I don't understand that." Dallas, Texas, was in 1963 a hotbed of right-wing militarism and racism, and the behavior of the Dallas Police fueled suspicions of a Dallas-based right-wing plot. Wealthy oilman H. L. Hunt, whose son had met with Ruby just prior to the assassination, went into hiding for a time after the Kennedy murder. A locally-based right-wing plot, by itself doesn't begin to explain the sophisticated setup of Oswald in New Orleans and Mexico City. To the extent, however, that right-wing figures were enmeshed in the broader anti-Kennedy political landscape, their involvement seems much more plausible.


  This faction might well include covert Klansmen inflamed as much by RFK’s involvement in Civil Rights as the Mafia’s hatred for the Kennedy family’s ‘betrayal’. But, as stated, they were probably marginal figures used by people with greater power.


  The CIA - There has long been suspicion that Oswald was an agent of U. S. intelligence, probably the CIA, though no documentation to that effect has ever emerged from the files. An entire book, Spy Saga by Dr. Philip Melanson, explored many of the reasons for this conclusion. The release of Oswald's CIA "201" file shows that the CIA had a much more active pre-assassination interest in Oswald than previously admitted, and anomalies in the record add to, rather than reduce, the mystery of Oswald's intelligence connections. Dr. John Newman's Oswald and the CIA explores some of the new revelations in the documentary record released in the 1990s. But if Oswald indeed was some kind of agent of the CIA, that hardly makes him a CIA killer. In fact, it raises the likelihood that this association is what led to his selection as a "patsy." What better way to force the CIA into a coverup than to paint one of its own as the killer of the President? In any case, the CIA as an organization, vast as it is, is hardly a credible suspect in the assassination per se. But individual officers, and possibly a powerful cabal of them as opposed to merely a few "rogue" agents, may very well have been part of the plot. The Mexico City stories of a Soviet/Castro conspiracy were vigorously pushed by certain figures in the CIA. More importantly, the pre-assassination activities of some of these persons and the handling of the "Oswald" telephone taps has never been adequately explained. This includes the actions of counterintelligence officers in CIA headquarters, who opened the 201 file on a Lee "Henry" Oswald and created the deceitful October cables reporting falsely on the Oswald Embassy contacts. The CIA has lied for over 35 years about the taped Embassy phone calls, and its story of why a photograph of Oswald in Mexico City was never obtained by its photographic surveillance is hard to believe. This photographic surveillance became known to the Warren Commission, though only because Oswald's mother Marguerite complained loudly that she had been shown a picture of Jack Ruby before Ruby killed her son. She had in fact been shown a picture of the "Mexico City Mystery Man," which had been flown from Mexico City to Dallas on a Naval Attache plane, apparently mistaken for Oswald by the CIA Mexico City station itself. The identity of this person has never been determined, and the CIA expressed great concern about the Warren Commission's plan to publish the photo, even with the background cut out. One CIA memo even suggested that the face of the man might be altered in the published photo. If this idea was really promoted to protect the identity of an innocent bystander, it shows a touching sensitivity in an agency otherwise involved in larger matters such as overthrowing foreign governments. The stories of the telephone taps, photographic surveillance, the interrogation and handling of various Mexico City witnesses, and CIA files on Oswald, are far too complex to discuss adequately here—see The Framing of Oswald topic. In summary, it is clear that the CIA's involvement with and monitoring of Oswald has been covered up and lied about; furthermore a few individual officers engaged in highly suspicious actions which have never been adequately explained.


  Likely the CIA had a hand in some matter of the assassination- be it providing a patsy or covering up info after the fact. Especially strong is the fact that they could have provided vengeful Mafiosi with valuable information as to where best take out JFK, plus a convenient stooge to distract attention from their involvement.


  The Military - The U. S. military has never been the focus of any of the investigations, even though such a focus is warranted. The autopsy which has generated so much controversy over the years, and rightly so, was a tightly controlled military affair at the Bethesda Naval Medical Center. One of the autopsy doctors, Dr. Pierre Finck, told jurors at the Clay Shaw trial that an Army General was in charge of the Kennedy autopsy, and that he had failed to dissect the neck (necessary to track the bullet's path) because he had been told not to. Autopsy participants were issued orders not to speak of what they had seen under penalty of court martial; these gag orders were not lifted until late the House Select Committee's tenure, and even then only after much exasperated prodding by that Congressional body. It was learned in the 1970s that the Army had maintained a file on Lee Oswald, but it was "routinely destroyed" in 1973. One witness, a Col. Robert Jones of the 112th Military Intelligence group, told the HSCA that Army intelligence personnel were in Dealey Plaza the day of the motorcade. The Committee members gingerly danced around the question of whether any of them might on or near the grassy knoll and might have shown identification which could be mistaken for Secret Service id's. This was because a man behind the "grassy knoll" apparently flashed forged Secret Service identification to a Dallas police officer moments after the gunfire, as that police officer told the Warren Commission. All Secret Service agents were in the motorcade at the time. In any case, the circumstantial case for military involvement in the assassination remains that, circumstantial, and includes the foreign policy motives discussed elsewhere on this website. Kennedy had initiated a withdrawal from Vietnam, and was actively pursuing accomodation with Cuba and the Soviet Union. Military leaders of the day were adamantly opposed to such moves, as is well documented in the transcripts of the Cuban Missile Crisis and elsewhere. New Vietnam records, explored in Newman's JFK and Vietnam and Kaiser's American Tragedy, show a military fiercely gung-ho on confrontation in Vietnam and elsewhere, to the point where there was repeated advocacy of the use of nuclear weapons in Indochina. But motive is hardly sufficient where a Presidential assassination is concerned, and the military autopsy is greatly disturbing in many respects but inconclusive. The most compelling evidence of military involvement is also the most controversial, and includes the notion first put forth in David Lifton's 1980 book Best Evidence that the military took control of Kennedy's body itself prior to the autopsy, in order to manipulate it and control the autopsy findings. Lifton interviewed Navy personnel who told him that the body had come in, before Jackie Kennedy arrived, in a grey shipping casket. Some recent evidence, including the revelation that many Bethesda witnesses observed a large rear head wound like that seen at Parkland Hospital, obviates the need for a complex head-surgery-prior-to-autopsy theory, which was always the most implausible part of Lifton's thesis. But other new evidence adds weight to the notion of military control of the body. The tapes of Air Force I en route from Dallas to Washington contains very curious discussion of the need for a special ramp to escort the "First Lady" off the plane on the right-hand side, which was enveloped in darkness (Mrs. Kennedy did not deplane by that route). The most compelling new evidence, though, is the untranscribed and previously-suppressed audiotaped interview of Richard Lipsey, the military aide in charge of moving Kennedy's body from Andrews Air Force Base to Bethesda for autopsy. Lipsey told the HSCA staffers that he had used a second "decoy" ambulance with a second casket to move the body, according to Lipsey to avoid possible problems with crowds. But if this account is true, the body would have had to have been removed from its original casket before the plane left the ground in Dallas, unless Jackie Kennedy herself knew of the switch. Lipsey's account, which goes to the heart of a military conspiracy to kill the President and cover up the evidence, was buried by the HSCA and never followed up.


  The military loathed JFK for both the Bay Of Pigs’ refusal to send air support, & for sweeping aside their concerns during the Cuban Missile Crisis, not to mention numerous firings of generals & admirals JFK thought incompetent, bellicose, or deceitful. The evidence for the military’s involvement is compelling, but RB is correct- circumstantial. & guess what? Most of the points (even minutiae- far too numerous for me to detail when the Internet awaits your own investigation!) made in his essay are hotly debated. But, his following ‘thought experiment’ is 1 worthy of contemplating- & it is 1 that Oliver Stone used as the rationale for JFK. To me it, again, too easily dismisses  other groups, just as the film did- but it is interesting & compelling:


  A thought experiment may be helpful at this point. Imagine that it is 1963, the height of the Cold War, but it is not Kennedy who has been killed. It is Nikita Khruschev, leader of the Soviet Union, recently humiliated by the U.S. during the Cuban Missile Crisis. In this thought experiment, it is Khruschev, not Kennedy, who received a military autopsy whose results ran directly counter to the reports of the civilian doctors who first treated him. Imagine that later one of the autopsy doctors admitted that a Soviet general ran the autopsy, and that this doctor said he was ordered not to track the path of a bullet. That crucial autopsy photographs known to be taken went missing, that trained medical witnesses disputed what was shown in those that remained, that the official autopsy camera went missing after an investigation failed to match it to the photographs. Imagine it was Russia where the security services destroyed evidence linking themselves with the purported killer, who was declared to be a lone "rabid capitalist," but who seemed to be surrounded for the last year of his life by KGB operatives. That secret evidence finally revealed that the purported killer had been impersonated in a supposed phone conversation with CIA agents. But Khruschev's successor, without revealing the impersonation, had led those investigating the crime to think that the alleged assassin had indeed made these disturbing calls, and there might be nuclear war with America if this got out. And so on. Take the single bullet theory, the killing of the alleged assassin while in police custody, and all the rest of the JFK assassination story, including the fact that the murder was followed by a major expansion of a war, a war that secret documents years later showed Khruschev had ordered be wound down.

  Everyone in the U.S., from the New York Times to the man on the street, would have a field day with this scenario. It would be completely obvious to everyone that Khruschev was killed by his own political enemies with the help of the KGB, for political reasons. It would be obvious that the "story" of the lone capitalist was just that, a story, propped by phony "evidence" that would be completely disbelieved. You wouldn't need 1/10th of the evidence pointing toward a high-level conspiracy that is present in the JFK assassination to convince just about anybody of this.


  But just as you think that RB has avoided some of the most egregious sins, we get another dip into totally unsupported fantasy:


  And what of Bobby Kennedy, the devoted brother of the slain President? As evidence has emerged that RFK suspected that a right-wing plot killed his brother, so evidence has also emerged that he aided the coverup. The missing brain, tissue slides, and other original autopsy materials, which could shed much light on the medical mysteries, disappeared while under his control. The casket used to transport JFK's body from Dallas, with unknown contents, was dropped from military aircraft into 9000 feet of water a few months later, on RFK's orders. The Garrison grand jury transcripts contain allegations from multiple sources that Kennedy was involved with the Federal government in obstructing Garrison's probe.

  Bobby Kennedy? Coverup? Was the phony Communist conspiracy idea used against him as well? Perhaps, but doubtful. It is hard to believe that the Assistant Attorney General, Nicholas Katzenbach, was not privy along with Hoover, LBJ, and Rowley, to the fact that the Mexico City tapes were recordings of an imposter. Asked to comment for an AP story about these tapes in 1999, Katzenbach issued this lame denial: "Whether I knew anything about it at the time, or what I knew about it at the time, I don't recall." And if Katzenbach knew, would not his boss Robert Kennedy know?

  So what stayed RFK's tongue? Was it some dark Kennedy secret, his or his brother's, that would be exposed, perhaps related to covert Cuban operations including the Castro assassination plots? Was it simply recognition that, despite the title of Attorney General, he was now powerless in the face of the new order?


  All of the above assertions are just that. There has never been convincing evidence otherwise- & note the overtones of Kennedy blackmailability- Marilyn Monroe, too? 


Mano A Mano


  Let me now delve in to some of the more personal snipings & literary techniques used by both sides against their foes. As I stated earlier, there are websites from the pro- & anti-conspiracy camps that point out manifest errors & inaccuracies in each others’ takes. Here are 3 of the most thorough. This site, http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/home.htm, is very detail-oriented, but even a cursory examination of it (& I spent hours) reveals that much as the misdirected focus on the Magic Bullet distracts from the actual kill shot, much of this website practices similar sleight of hand (or word, or hyperlink?). For example, the fact that an innocent bystander, James Tague, was hit by 1 of the 3 bullets is not disputed. Yet here is a direct copy of what appears on the page (http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/dealey.htm) dealing with this:


The Tague Wounding


  -One of the ongoing mysteries of Dealey Plaza is the origin of the fragment that hit James Tague. Three graphics images, all rendered Autocad drawings, test two scenarios. First is Posner's theory that a shot at about Zapruder frame 160 was deflected off a branch of the Live Oak in front of the Depository and hit the curb in front of Tague. The other theory is that a fragment of the head shot hit Tague. TAGUE1.GIF, TAGUE2.GIF, and TAGUE3.GIF show the trajectories involved.


  -TAGUE4.GIF deals with the same issue, but this time the drawing is from conspiracy author Josiah Thompson. The diagram, drawn on a map of Dealey Plaza, shows the path a fragment from the head shot would have to have taken to hit Tague. Warning: this file is extremely large for screen viewing, and you may prefer to download it and print it. 


  -Tague's own testimony is interesting -- although not capable of resolving all the issues his wounding raises. Bill Goggins interviewed Tague in 1997, and discusses his recent testimony and Warren Commission statements in "James Tague: Unintended Victim in Dealey Plaza." Goggins debunks one minor, but widely cited, error regarding Tague's wounding.


  -A lead smear on the Main Street curb near where Tague was standing may -- or may not -- have something to do with the shooting.

  Point 1 raises 2 plausible components & elaborates. This is a standard literary technique known as ‘grounding’. In order to decontext something, or make something inherently implausible seem plausible, or something banal seem extraordinary, 1st a writer- or storyteller, must give the audience a familiar footing. Point 1 does so because it reeks of science & authority. Point 2’s picture is not too different from Point 1’s 3rd picture. This is known as ‘reconfirming’. It attempts to show that what was initially stated is indeed so. Later on we’ll see how UFO alien abduction writers use this constant grounding/reconfirmation technique over & over to bolster witness credibility for outrageously sill claims. But here it’s wonderful to see such a visual representation. On to point 3. In it Tague is vague as to which shot hit him- the piece states: ‘When asked what overall theory he believes explains how he was wounded, Tague was very ambiguous and unclear. He did state that he felt there was more than just one shooter. He also seemed very suspicious of the government and how the FBI handled him and the pieces of related evidence around Dealey Plaza. He is amidst writing a book accounting his place in the Dealey Plaza assassination. He was considering the title "Wake Up America." It became quite clear that Tague distrusts the government.’ Yet, despite that the whole rest of the piece seems intent on ramming the 3 bullet thesis down both the reader & Tague’s collective throats. Yet, Tague’s assertations are glossed over as ‘interesting -- although not capable of resolving all the issues his wounding raises’. This is a classic feint. Someone’s assertion is effectively held up for ridicule even as it is supposedly shown in an unbiased light. After grounding & reconfirmation, a feint is next in line, to open up doors of doubt. Point 4 is a piece of evidence, presented as minutia, that is described as ‘A lead smear on the Main Street curb near where Tague was standing may -- or may not -- have something to do with the shooting.’ This is the last piece, which is the dangling end, the red herring. This is the final part of a process of discrediting & misdirection. Someone whose experience is central to determining if there was a 2nd shooter & coverup is ultimately marginalized in a seemingly logical fashion. Yet the conclusion & whole arc is itself a red herring. Why is Tague’s experience shown this way? Because the author, 1 John McAdams, wants to convince his reader that any possible evidence gleaned from this aspect of the case is not important. Otherwise, why lump him in with other more farfetched & disliked aspects in this manner?:


            Dealey Plaza

  What about those witnesses? Didn't everyone hear shots from the Grassy Knoll? What about the Tague wounding? Who was the "Umbrella Man?" Was the rifle recovered really a Mauser? Does "acoustic evidence" show a shot from the Grassy Knoll? Were the Three Tramps suspicious? How could Kennedy's head go "back and to the left?"

  As JM says on his website: ‘Of course, you don't really have to be a rocket scientist to figure this out.’ Here’s the website devoted to exclusively debunking Oliver Stone’s JFK film: http://www.jfk-online.com/jfk100menu.html. But, as I said, OS never claimed his film was fact- only a counter-myth to the Warren report’s myths. The recent controversy over CBS’s decision not to air The Reagans telefilm similarly is curious in how many people want to not only censor anything that disagrees with their POV, but seek to outright vilify & demonize it. Here is a snippet from that website’s take on the Single Bullet Theory:

One of the most famous scenes in Oliver Stone's JFK is the monologue delivered by New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner) on the subject of the Single Bullet Theory of the John F. Kennedy assassination:


The magic bullet enters the President's back, headed downward at an angle of 17 degrees. It then moves upward in order to leave Kennedy's body from the front of his neck -- his neck wound number two -- where it waits 1.6 seconds, turns right and continues into Connally's body at the rear of his right armpit -- wound number three. Then, the bullet heads downward at an angle of 27 degrees, shattering Connally's fifth rib and leaving from the right side of his chest -- wounds four and five. The bullet continues downward and then enters Connally's right wrist -- wound number six -- shattering the radius bone. It then enters his left thigh -- wound number seven -- from which it later falls out and is found in almost "pristine" condition on a stretcher in a corridor of Parkland Hospital.

(he shows a mock-up of the "pristine" bullet)

That's some bullet. Anyone who's been in combat can tell you never in the history of gunfire has there been a bullet like this.

(the court laughs)

The Army Wound Ballistics experts at Edgewood Arsenal fired some comparison bullets and not one of them looked anything like this one.

(he shows mock-ups of comparison bullets)

Take a look at CE 856, an identical bullet fired through the wrist of a human cadaver -- just one of the bones smashed by the magic bullet. Yet the government says it can prove this with some fancy physics in a nuclear laboratory. Of course they can. Theoretical physics can prove an elephant can hang from a cliff with its tail tied to a daisy, but use your eyes -- your common sense --

(he holds the bullet)

Seven wounds, skin, bone. This single bullet explanation is the foundation of the Warren Commission's claim of a lone assassin. And once you conclude the magic bullet could not create all seven of those wounds, you have to conclude there was a fourth shot and a second rifleman. And if there was a second rifleman, there had to be a conspiracy.

Does Oliver Stone have a firm grasp of the facts? Let's examine his claims one by one.

This is one figure calculated in the past; Dale Myers's remarkable three-dimensional computer reconstruction of the assassination, Secrets of a Homicide, fixes the angle of declination at 21.4 degrees. (Taking into account the 3-degree downward slope of Elm Street, the angle of the inshoot wound is about 18.4 degrees.)

  Note how the film’s assertion, based on longstanding & forensic evidence, is dismissed for the newer computer simulation- which is based wholly on conjecture itself- but which fits in better with the writer’s POV.

It then moves upward in order to leave Kennedy's body from the front of his neck -- his neck wound number two . . .

It is absolutely false that the Single Bullet Theory requires the bullet to travel upwards. This is a misconception, based on the fact that the bullet holes on the President's shirt and jacket appear slightly lower than the exit wound in the President's throat would seem to allow.

However, a photograph taken by Robert Earl Croft about three seconds before the bullet strike (see below) shows the back of the President's jacket bunched up considerably at his neck; this probably accounts for the apparent discrepancy.

  Yet the photo on the website is very inconclusive- it could just as easily be JFK’s shoulder veering backwards as bunching- but bunching fits the writer’s conclusions. When OS skews things his way he’s a villain, When the writer skews it his way, the conclusions are ‘obvious’. In fact, the only obvious thing is that my own assertions at essay’s start ring truer as there are very few incontrovertible facts in the JFK Assassination mythos.
  The page drones on & on in a similar fashion, relying almost solely on the Dale Myers computer reconstruction- incidentally, an earlier & slightly different 1 than appeared in the ABC special.

  Here are a couple of the websites that detail Warren Commission errors & omissions: http://michaelgriffith1.tripod.com/failed.htm  & http://www.jfklancer.com/. Let me give you a snippet from the 1st to contrast it with the anti-JFK film website:

17. In its attempt to bend the evidence to fit its conclusions, the commission contradicted itself. For example, when the commission tried to explain why the results of the Army wound ballistics tests did not apply to the single-bullet theory, it said the alleged single bullet, CE 399, lost velocity while supposedly passing through Kennedy's neck and that it went on to make a large entrance wound in Governor John Connally's back because it was yawing. However, when the commission tried to explain how a bullet that had transited Kennedy's neck could have had enough momentum to penetrate five layers of Connally's skin and to shatter two of his bones, it claimed the alleged single bullet lost only a little velocity and retained most of its stability after supposedly passing through Kennedy's neck, and that it created a small, relative neat wound in Connally's back (see Warren Commission Report, pp. 92, 109, 582-583; see also Scheim, The Mafia Killed President Kennedy, pp. 251-252).

  We see that this side also practice a bit of sleight- is there really a tremendous difference between ‘lost velocity’ & ‘lost only a little velocity’? Also the differences in claimed trajectory could be differences in different folks’ interpretation- no sign of ineptitude or deceit. As a critic of the warren Commission, myself, I can state that assertions like this do little to advance the pro-conspiracists’ cause. But the important thing to glean is how both groups distort virtually every piece of evidence- either by outright distortion, or omission. Also, note how the passage of time has helped evolve both camps’ versions of history. The anti’s have constantly had to fine tune their explanations to account for seemingly unending new contradictory evidence; so much so that every few years they need to offer ‘definitive proof’- which inevitably bears its own flaws, much as Dale Myers’ computer simulation is now doing. On the other side, the conspiracists like wise overlook & discard what does not work. The key difference, however is that the anti-conspiracists must warp any knew & dissenting information to fit their pat story- not unlike physicists who stretch facts & invent objects & forces to retain the ‘Big Bang’ theory of cosmic origin, while the pro-conspiracists go to the other extreme, seeming eager to dump whatever theory was proposed most recently for the latest, & increasingly Byzantine, newer theory that comes along- even though the larger the conspiracy the more likely it will fail- & even though all other conspiracies seem to eventually be ‘outed’ by various media outlets- be it  known 1s like Watergate, or alleged 1s like the UFO Crash at Roswell, New Mexico.

Science- Good & Bad

  A good example of blithe dismissal of contrary evidence by the antis is the numerous objections to the so-called ‘jet effect’ that shot JFK’s head backward as the bullet left him from the front- according to the Warren Commission. There are many websites that dispute & debunk this idea, but the best & most effective 1 is http://www.geocities.com/whiskey99a/jeteffectrebut.html for it recaps Walter Alvarez’s theory (yes, the same man who later gained worldwide fame for predicting the K-T Boundary Extinction Event!), & then debunks it:  

A critical look at Luis Alvarez’s jet effect explanation for the head movement of John Kennedy when he was assassinated on November 22, 1963, by Tony Szamboti, mechanical engineer

  In his article published in the September 1976 issue of the American Journal of Physics, Dr. Luis Alvarez claimed that he was pushed by a graduate student of his (Paul Hoch) to develop his explanation for what he calls “the odd behavior” of President John F. Kennedy’s head (as seen in the Zapruder film) when he was assassinated in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963. For the convenience of the reader the meat of the article, where Dr. Alvarez espouses his theory and shows all of his calculations for what he calls a “jet effect”, is shown in the paragraphs below. The paragraphs are shown in the order in which they appeared and the wording is verbatim from his article. The full article, which also covers his analysis for determining the number and timing of the shots, an explanation for the deceleration of the limousine, and the speed of Abraham Zapruder’s camera, can be found at any large public library by asking for the September 1976 issue of the American Journal of Physics.
  My critique is of his “jet effect” explanation for the rearward head snap and follows the portion of his article shown.

  Dr. Luis Alvarez’s jet effect explanation of John Kennedy’s rearward head movement being possible when allegedly shot from the rear

  Paul Hoch often pressed me for an explanation of the odd behavior of the President’s head, and although I hadn’t observed it myself, I usually suggested that the head had probably been held erect by muscles controlled by the brain, and that when the controls were suddenly damaged, the head fell back. I was finally convinced that this explanation was incorrect after Paul Hoch handed me a copy of Thompson’s book as I was leaving Berkeley for the February 1969 meeting of the American Physical Society in St. Louis. On the plane I had time to study the book carefully. It is beautifully printed, with excellent photographs and carefully prepared graphs. When I studied the graph showing the changing position of the President’s head relative to the moving car’s coordinate system, I was finally convinced that the assassination buffs were right; there had to be a real explanation of the fact that the President’s head did not fall back, but was driven back by some real force.
  And the answer turned out to be simpler than I had expected. I solved the problem (to my own satisfaction, and in a one-dimensional fashion) on the back of an envelope, as I sat in solitary splendor in the beautiful suite that the St. Louis hotel management supplied me in my capacity as president of the APS.
   I concluded that the retrograde motion of the President’s head, in response to the rifle bullet shot, is consistent with the law of conservation of momentum, if one pays attention to the conservation of energy as well, and includes the momentum of all the material in the problem. The simplest way to see where I differ from most of the critics is to note that they treat the problem as though it involved only two interacting masses: the bullet and the head. My analysis involves three interacting masses, the bullet, the jet of brain matter observable in frame 313, and the remaining part of the head. It will turn out that the jet can carry forward more momentum than was brought in by the bullet, and the head recoils backward, as a rocket recoils when its jet fuel is ejected. (Col. William H. Hanson came to the same conclusion, independently.)
  If a block of wood is suspended by strings from the ceiling, it is called a ballistic pendulum, and physicists or gunsmiths can calculate the velocity of a bullet shot into it to be

                                                vB = vWMW/MB,                                                                   (1)

where vW is the velocity of the wooden block after it stops the bullet, MW and MB are the masses of the wooden block and bullet. Equation (1) follows directly from the law of conservation of momentum:

                                                vBMB = vWMW.                                                            (2)

  In using a ballistic pendulum, we normally forget that the collision of the bullet and wooden block is very inelastic. Of the incoming kinetic energy of the bullet, only a small fraction appears as kinetic energy of the moving wooden block; the remaining fraction (1 – f) goes into heating the wood. If MB << MW,

                                                KEW  =  f(KEB),                                      

        MWvW2/2  =  f x  MBvB2/2.                                    (3

From (3) and (2)

                                                f  =  MB/MW                                                                                (4)

  For the case of a 10-g bullet, and a block weighing 10 kg, it can be seen that 99.9% of the incoming kinetic energy goes into heating the block, and only 0.1% appears as mechanical energy. Ballistic pendulums are designed so that they contain the inelastically dissipated energy. Unfortunately, the human head is not able to contain the major fraction of the energy carried in by the bullet. This tragic aspect of the assassination is clearly visible in frame 313 of the Zapruder film, and is discussed in detail in the reports of the autopsy surgeons.
The mechanism of the retrograde recoil turns out to be rather simple, if one remembers that 99.9% of the incoming energy must be accounted for. The momentum associated with a given amount of kinetic energy varies as the square root of the mass of the object carrying that kinetic energy:

                                                p = (2MK)1/2                                                             (5)

where p is the momentum, and K is the kinetic energy of the object with a mass M.
  Figure 4 shows what happened when my friends and I fired bullets at melons that had been wrapped with Scotch glass filament tape, to mock up the tensile strength of the cranium. Under the influence of the bullet, some of the material making up the melon breaks through the reinforcement, and carries momentum in the forward direction.
(Frame 313 of the Zapruder film shows this same phenomenon.) As we shall now see, the momentum carried forward in this way can be much larger than the momentum brought in by the bullet. For example, if the bullet weighed 0.1% of the melon weight, and if 10% of the incoming kinetic energy was used to propel 10% of the mass of the melon forward, then the momentum of the jet expelled forward would be (10)1/2 times that of the incoming bullet. (I will use subscripts, b for bullet, j for forward moving jet, and m for melon.)

Pj = (2MjKj)1/2 = (2 x 100Mb x 0.1Kb)1/2  

= (10)1/2 (2MbKb)1/2 = (10)1/2pb                                                                (6) 

since = Mj = 0.1Mm 100Mb, Kj = 0.1Kb. The melon would then recoil backward with about twice the velocity it would have been expected to go forward, assuming it were made of wood. This is because the melon, acting at first as a ballistic pendulum, acquires a forward velocity equal to vm|BP = pb / Mm.  (The notation vm|BP means the velocity one would expect the melon to have if it contained all the kinetic energy of the bullet, as a ballistic pendulum does.)  But in the center of mass of the system of the melon, which is moving “forward” with the expected velocity, a jet moves forward with momentum equal to (10)1/2pb---as we have just seen. It gives the melon an equal and opposite momentum, in the moving (CM) system; in that system, pm = -(10)1/2pb. If we neglect the 10% loss of the mass by the melon to the jet, the recoil velocity of the melon (in the CM system) is -(10)1/2 times the expected value. Since velocities add vectorially, the final velocity of the melon (in the laboratory system) is [1- (10)1/2]vm|BP. Since the square root of 10 is close to 3.16, the observed velocity of the melon is about –2vm|BP.
  If one wants to know more about the details of the transfer mechanism of kinetic energy from the bullet to kinetic energy of the fragments thrown forward, he will have to ask someone more knowledgeable in the theory of fluid mechanics than I am. My intuitive feeling is that the conical shape of the interaction zone is the key to the nonnegligible efficiency of energy transfer. (It is clear that an appreciable mechanical energy transfer is only possible if the incoming energy can avoid “being thermalized.”) The conical region is defined by the small entrance hole and the much larger exit hole in the melon. Transmission lines with tapered internal conductors are efficient transformers of electrical energy, and a tapered bullwhip can smoothly transform the energy given to a large mass, by the flick of the wrist, into roughly the same energy of a much smaller mass at the tip of the whip. The “crack” of the whip occurs when the tip of the whip goes supersonic. I believe that in a somewhat analogous manner, but of course in the opposite direction, the kinetic energy of the bullet is given in a “tapered region” to a progressively larger mass in the melon, to achieve the modestly efficient energy transfer that is demonstrated in our experiments.

  A critique of the jet effect theory as an explanation for the rearward head movement of John Kennedy when allegedly shot from the right rear

  The simple claim of an equal and opposite reaction to the blown out brain matter being similar to the thrust developed in a rocket or jet engine, in response to its exhaust, is deceiving if one does not understand the mechanics involved. How thrust is developed in a rocket or jet engine and the role the exhaust plays is shown and explained in the figure and paragraphs below. [Figure Omitted]


Pa << Po

Pe << Po

  In the above figure Pa stands for atmospheric pressure, Pe for exhaust or exit pressure, and Po for combustion chamber pressure. The high pressure Po of the combustion by-products inside the combustion chamber of the rocket or jet engine pushes in all directions to form balanced pairs of opposing forces that nullify one another, except where the hole in the system for the exhaust nozzle is placed. Here the pressure escapes at blazing speed, causing an unbalanced force at the opposite side of the combustion chamber that pushes the rocket or jet in the opposite direction to that of the exhaust. The role of the exhaust is to create a lower pressure side allowing the forward pushing opposite component of the pair to be at a higher pressure, thus causing a forward reaction, which we call thrust. The purpose of the exhaust is not to push on anything to create thrust; it is simply to relieve the pressure on one side allowing the opposite side to dominate. If it did not operate in this fashion a rocket would not work in space. Both rockets and jets are based on the same principle that causes a pressurized toy balloon to move forward and away when let go with its end untied. Thus one of the operating requirements of a rocket or jet engine is the generation of a high gas pressure in all directions in its combustion chamber, which can then be relieved at one side to gain an unbalanced force at the opposite side. With the above having been said to ensure the reader understands how a rocket or jet propels itself forward, we can now get to a sort of cross examination of what Dr. Alvarez said in his article.
  Dr. Alvarez claims that President Kennedy’s head recoiled the way a rocket recoils when its jet fuel is ejected. However, he does not explain any mechanism for putting an opposite force on the head when the jet was expelled forward. He simply makes the case for the potential of the jet taking out more momentum than that brought in by the bullet. In order for a “jet effect” to have occurred a pressure would have to be built up inside the head, acting at least rearward as well as forward, which was then relieved on the forward side allowing the rearward pressure to dominate and create an unbalanced force in that direction. This usually is done with either a combustion process or having a pressure on tap in a sealed volume. The thrust in a jet or rocket engine can be computed based on the change in momentum of the exhaust gases with respect to time. However, this change in momentum is directly related to the forward acting pressure opposite that of the exhaust gases since their initial pressure values are the same but one is allowed to escape. A bullet moving through a fluid creates a high pressure conical shock wave in front of it, as shown in the figure below. The U.S. Army Wound Ballistics Research program has measured the pressure of the shock wave near the projectile as up to 100 atmospheres (1500 psi) in experiments, by shooting through tissue replicating matter. The frontal shock wave can leave some residual pressure behind it but it is orders of magnitude lower than that in front of the projectile. This residual pressure, in what is known as the temporary cavity, has also been measured by the U.S. Army Wound Ballistics Research program as 50 to 60 psi. Thus the change in momentum axiom is not valid in any “jet effect” caused by a projectile moving through an encased fluid filled object. Even if the projectile tumbles the high pressure shock wave, although less symmetric, would still be to the front as shown in the figures below.
[Figure Omitted]
  Since a “jet effect” requires a pressure opposite that of the exhaust it would be caused by the operation of this low pressure when the high pressure shock wave exits, although it would not be related to the change in momentum with respect to time of the exhausting material.
  If a “jet effect” occurs when the projectile strikes and passes through the fluid filled object, it is only one of the forces acting on the object. The other force is due to shearing through the casing of the object and this force is in the direction of the projectile. The use of a taped up melon rather than an object with a shear strength and thickness close to that of a human skull is misleading. The force required for a 6.5 millimeter (.255 inch) diameter projectile to shear through the skin of a taped up melon is orders of magnitude lower than what it is for that same projectile to shear through a human cranium. The shear strength of a melon rind is approximately 70 psi. In comparison, the shear strength of a live human skull is approximately 17,000 psi perpendicular to its grain and 7,100 psi parallel to its grain. For dead bone these figures would be 8,500 psi and 3,550 psi respectively as it is approximately half the strength of live bone, although it is obviously still much stronger than melon rind. Thus the force required for the same object to penetrate and shear through the same thickness of live human skull vs. that required for a melon rind, is at least 100 times greater. Even for dead bone it is still 50 times greater.
  The direction the object takes after the projectile passes through it is dependent upon the net force, or the sum of all of the forces involved. The Wound Ballistics Research program puts the temporary cavity size as about 12 times the diameter of the projectile. For the case of a 6.5 millimeter projectile, the temporary cavity would be approximately 3 inches in diameter giving a circular area of 7 inches. If the 4 atmosphere (59 psi) temporary cavity pressure acted on the entire area of this diameter it would generate a force in the direction of the shooter of 413 pounds, a significant amount. However, this force is competing with the shear forces that act in the opposite direction. The shear force for a 6.5 millimeter projectile through a .300 thick melon rind is only 17 pounds. Since the projectile passes through both sides of the melon (there is no dispute as to whether the bullet went completely through the melons) the shear force is experienced twice. If the coordinate system is chosen so that the direction of the projectile motion is positive, then for the case of the melon the net resulting force is

-413 pounds + 34 pounds = -379 pound 

  showing that the net force on the melon is in the direction of the shooter. However, as the shear strength of human bone is so much greater than that of the melon rind, the shear forces on the skull are much greater. The shear force required for a 6.5 millimeter projectile to penetrate and pass through a live .300 inch thick human skull (the average thickness of a human skull is ¾ centimeters or about .300 of an inch), even using the lower parallel shear bone strength is 1,712 pounds. Since the same diameter projectile is used and the same size temporary cavity should occur, the “jet effect” will produce a similar amount of force toward the shooter of 413 pounds. The net force equation for shooting through a live human skull with a “jet effect” occurring is then 

-413 pounds + 3424 pounds = + 3011 pounds 

  showing the net force on the skull is resoundingly in the direction of the projectile’s motion. The trick with the use of the melon to show the “jet effect”, is that the force required to shear through its skin is so low that it allows the “jet effect” generated force to dominate. This situation is not true when a human skull is involved.
The fact that it takes slightly more than 1700 pounds to shear a 6.5 millimeter diameter through a .300 inch thick item with a shear strength of at least 7,100 psi (live human skull) is indisputable. How a 10 gram (.022 pound) bullet can do this, even when moving at 2000 feet per second, needs to be explained. The force generated in the collision is a function of the change in momentum per unit time which essentially is the derivative of the momentum with respect to time or the famous equation F = ma. The equation for this is 

                        F  =  (W/g) (Vinitial – Vfinal)

                                          Impulse time

                                F  =  m dv  =  ma


Note: g  =  32.2 ft/sec2

  where if a .022 pound item is moving at 2000 ft/sec and the collision occurs with a rigid item in a time frame of 0.8 milliseconds or 1/1250th of a second, a force of 1712 pounds will be generated. A projectile traveling at 2000 ft/sec covers a .300 inch distance in 0.0125 milliseconds or 1/80,000th of a second so the time shown for the impact should not be shocking. In the case of the projectile moving into and out of a container it will have a collision with the wall of the container both on entrance and exit. Thus an even shorter impulse time is true if the strength and wall thickness of the container are known along with the penetration diameter. For the case of the head shot on President Kennedy the impulse times had to be less than 0.4 milliseconds when the projectile penetrated the skull, as the shear forces at both the entrance and exit needed to be over 1700 pounds. 
  In his article, Dr. Alvarez explains what occurs with both the conservation of momentum and conservation of energy in a ballistic pendulum. He goes through the equations to show how much of the kinetic energy is transformed to internal energy in the pendulum, and how little of it is conserved as mechanical energy. With the 10 gram bullet and 10 kilogram wooden block he chooses, the amount of kinetic energy transformed to internal energy by friction is over 99%. He then states that the mechanism of retrograde recoil is rather simple, if one remembers that 99.9% of the incoming energy must be accounted for. It appears that he is implying that the energy involved as friction in the ballistic pendulum should be accounted for in the matter which is blown out as a jet in the head shot, and that the jet would contain a very large amount of the energy of the bullet. His implication is misleading. In the real world, the jet would absorb only as much force and energy from the bullet as its reactive forces will allow. The amount of force and thus energy in the jet is equal to the reaction its matter exerted upon the bullet. Even so, any “jet effect” would result from the temporary cavity pressure which is independent of the shock wave except for the fact that it exits and leaves the temporary cavity pressure to dominate.
  There are many who believe that the “jet effect” is a result of Newton’s third law of motion at work with the head being blown back due to the exiting material in the jet pushing against the air. Newton’s third law is at work here, as it is when any force is applied, but not the way those who believe the above think. Newton’s third law states “for every reaction there is an equal but opposite reaction”. The forces imparted by the projectile to the skull or melon when shearing through it are only as great as the skull or melon’s resistance to the shearing action, no matter how much force the projectile is capable of applying. That is one equal and opposite reaction. The equal and opposite reaction concerning the “jet effect” occurs due to the skull or melon’s inertia. The force applied by the rearward acting pressure of the temporary cavity is equal to the inertial resistance applied to it by the skull or melon. The forward moving jet is not pushing against anything in relation to the skull or melon.
  It is with the use of an energy equation that Dr. Alvarez attempts to show that more momentum can be carried out by the jet than that which is brought in by the bullet. He correctly states that the momentum associated with a given amount of kinetic energy varies as the square root of the mass of the object carrying that kinetic energy. However, his use of this rule with assumed numbers for the mass of the bullet, mass of the melon, and mass of the jet has no basis nor does he provide one. He has simply provided assumed masses that work with the equation in the direction that supports his theory. To show how easy it is to manipulate the equation he uses, we can insert lower values for the kinetic energy absorbed by the jet and the mass of the jet. Then using the same equation as the one shown by Dr. Alvarez, as we shall now see, the momentum carried forward by the jet with these figures is less than the momentum brought in by the bullet. For example, if the bullet weighed 0.1% of the melon weight, and if 2.5% of its incoming kinetic energy was used to propel 2.5% of the mass of the melon forward, then the momentum of the jet expelled forward would be  (.625)1/2  times that of the incoming bullet.
(again subscripts, b for bullet, j for forward moving jet, and m for melon are used.) 

Pj = (2MjKj)1/2 = (2 x 25Mb x 0.025Kb)1/2

                                 = (.625)1/2 (2MbKb)1/2 = (.625)1/2pb          

  since Mj = 0.025Mm  = 25Mb, Kj = 0.025Kb. The result with these assumed values shows the jet to have less momentum than the bullet. Although these values are still probably a little high for the mass of the jet and its kinetic energy, one can now see that the simple use of this equation does not necessarily show the jet to have more momentum than the bullet. By using the words “if 10% of the incoming kinetic energy were used to propel 10% of the mass of the melon forward” Dr. Alvarez shows that he simply assumed the values he needed to make the equation work in the direction he wanted it to go. If he had proof of what he was saying he would have provided it. Since he did testing, which he says validated his theory, he could have simply weighed the melon beforehand and the remaining melon after the shooting tests, to find the actual mass of the jet displaced from the melon. He doesn’t mention anything of the sort. However, the amount of matter blown forward is inconsequential in the formation of any “jet effect”, as the “jet effect” here is strictly dependent on the magnitude of the rearward acting pressure and the area that pressure impinges upon. The temporary cavity pressure is not directly related to the shock wave momentum like the forward pressure is related to the momentum of the exhaust in a jet engine.
  In reality Dr. Alvarez’s experiments on tape bound melons could have shown a “jet effect”, not with more momentum in the forward moving jet but due to the residual pressure behind the projectile in the temporary cavity, which would be the force generator. With this pressure and a cooperating permanent cavity, which simultaneously seals for the moment, a force could be generated opposite the direction of the projectile when the frontal pressure is relieved. If the permanent cavity does not seal at the entrance side, the temporary cavity pressure will be relieved and no force developed. This random lack of sealing is probably why the “jet effect” was not seen in all of the melons during the shooting tests.
  The potential for a residual pressure behind the projectile does exist. For it to cause a “jet effect” it not only requires the sealing of the permanent cavity at the entrance and a shear force through the skin of the object lower than the force it generates, but it also needs to occur early enough in the projectile’s path to matter. It should be noted that Dr. Alvarez used hunting ammunition with lead projectiles rather than the jacketed ammunition of the type the 6.5 millimeter Mannlicher-Carcano would have used. As shown in the wound profiles above, the lead projectiles would have a tendency to mushroom on entrance and create an early temporary cavity. The temporary cavity with the hunting ammunition begins almost immediately after entrance. The jacketed military ammunition temporary cavity occurs much later and is due to yawing of the projectile after it has penetrated over 17 centimeters. The human head is approximately 17 centimeters in diameter and most melons are not much larger, so if shot through a skull or melon the jacketed ammunition would not begin to build a temporary cavity pressure until near exit, if at all. This could explain why Dr. Alvarez and others did not see a “jet effect” with jacketed ammunition but did with hunting ammunition. The requirement for the permanent cavity to seal would also explain why the “jet effect” on the melons was not seen every time.
  The requirements for the “jet effect” to dominate and cause a motion towards the shooter are threefold and they are; the early development of a temporary cavity pressure, a low shear force through the skin or casing of the object, and an entrance side sealing of the permanent cavity. Although a “jet effect” may have occurred in Dr. Alvarez’s melon tests, the main trick was in using an object with a soft skin or casing (the melon) to reduce the shear force. The early temporary cavity produced by the lead projectile of the hunting ammunition also helped. The taping of the melon rind would allow it to resist any hoop stress due to internal pressure. Since the tensile strength of the melon rind is low, hoop stress could have caused a fracture and spoiled the test. The tape would also provide for a small entrance and better chance for permanent cavity sealing at the entrance side. The use of tape on the melons also provided these advantages without truly replicating the human skull. While the tape would tend to mock up the tensile strength of the human cranium, it would not enhance the shear strength very much. It is the shear strength that is operative here not the tensile strength. The melon tests were thus misleading and the “jet effect” seen on the melons, with the use of hunting ammunition and tape, really has no place in attempting to explain away the back and to the left head motion of President Kennedy as being possible if hit from the rear.
  The shear forces generated by the bullet penetrating through the much higher shear strength of the President’s skull would preclude the appearance of a “jet effect” induced motion in the assassination. This was demonstrated at the Army's Edgewood Arsenal in 1978 during testing done for the HSCA. Ten human skulls, filled with the same tissue replicating material as that used by the Army Wound Ballistics Research program, were shot with 6.5 millimeter ammunition and all 10 skulls went forward, in the direction of the bullet. None went backward.
It seems the only plausible explanation, that matches all of the evidence, is a shot from the right front. Only a shot from the right front works scientifically. However, the place that shot has been thought to come from until the last several years, the Grassy Knoll, has been problematic with its angle. A shot from the Grassy Knoll location, when combined with the car’s location and posture of the President during the fatal shot, would have caused an exit wound on the left rear of the President’s head. All of the Parkland hospital doctors, who worked on the President for over a half hour starting just minutes after the shooting, put the massive head wound at the right rear involving both the occipital and parietal areas. That is midway up the back of the head behind the right ear. So even though many of the Dealey Plaza witnesses of the assassination rushed to the fence at the top of the Grassy Knoll, saying that is where they heard gunfire emanate from, critics of the Warren Commission’s explanation have had a hard time pointing to the Grassy Knoll. However, evidence has come up in the last several years that the fatal shot came from a storm drain on the north side of Elm Street. This storm drain is located at an approximately 12 degree angle and 70 feet to the right front of where the fatal shot hit the President. Its trajectory angle would explain the location of the right rear occipital/parietal exit wound. It would explain the spraying of the police officers to the left rear of the car (they were sprayed so hard that one of the officers, Bobby Hargis, stated afterward that he initially thought he was hit). It would explain the Harper skull fragment’s location to the left rear of the car. And finally it explains the back and to the left direction of the head movement in harmony with the other evidence. The Grassy Knoll shots could have been used for diversion so that the storm drain assassin could escape.

  After such an impressive debunking Tony Szamboti then lapses in to a bit of speculation & ad hominem before concluding:

  There is a facet of the Warren Commission’s explanation of the assassination which provides considerable difficulty for the grouping of the fatal head shot coming from behind and the head movement explanation by Alvarez’s “jet effect” theory. The location of the sixth floor window of the Texas School Book Depository, from which it was alleged by the Warren Commission that the fatal head shot was fired, was to the right rear of the President’s head when he was shot. There is no dispute about the back and to the left direction his head took after this fatal shot. If the shot that Alvarez says caused his “jet effect” were fired from there and followed a straight trajectory, even if it were possible, a “jet effect” here would have caused his head to move back and to the right. Although there are no bones or equally dense items in the center of the human head, some might still say that the bullet could have deflected somehow inside the President’s head causing it to change direction towards the right. If this were so, there should then have been a surge to the left front caused by the force of the deflection. Neither of these type movements are seen in the Zapruder film. In fact, Dr. Alvarez intentionally stays away from talking about angles in his article, to avoid the directional problems stated above. The storm drain shot does explain the movement seen in the Zapruder film, as it would provide both the left and rearward push while keeping the exit wound at the right rear of the head.
My purpose in writing this critique was to educate those less likely to understand what the alleged “jet effect”, as proposed by Dr. Alvarez, was really saying and how it does not apply to the assassination of John Kennedy. While it may be possible in a melon and one can intuitively sense that it doesn’t apply to the assassination, it may be hard to understand and argue against without a scientific background. The fact that such a misleading explanation was put forth, in defense of the Warren Commission’s findings, should say volumes to anyone listening about that commission and its report. I did not write this critique to judge Dr. Alvarez as he is now deceased and by all accounts had many laudable achievements in a distinguished career. However, I do believe he was wrong here and that the “jet effect” should have never been proposed as an explanation for the President’s head motion. When explanations, as misleading as the “jet effect”, have been put upon us by someone working for the commission officials responsible for the official investigation, I do not believe we have been told the truth by those officials.

  TS then lapses into a bit more preachiness before finally concluding. My point for including such seeming arcana is to show that TS is 1 of many people who have put well-thought out ideas into the public arena, only to have them ignored, while people such as Dr. Alvarez, as TS correctly notes, have their theories accorded prestige due to who they know & which camp they fall in to. I am not a trained physicist or mechanical engineer, & this stance by TS could be as wrong as he claims WA’s stance is. But as a lay & amateur science lover the ‘jet effect’ theory was always weak. As I said, I’ve seen people shot. I also said, earlier in this essay- a head is not a melon!- much less a strapped down 1. This was 1 of the reasons I could not even grant the schlock film Saving Private Ryan props for realism, the way many of that film’s detractors did. Simply because it was no more realistic than any other film- just more graphic. The point is TS is not a not exactly a crackpot- yet POVs like his are blithely dismissed based on the preconceptions of the antis, not sound & well-thought out rebuttals. I’ve experienced this in the literary world where I have always shot down false claims against me, & proven their fallacy- see my takes on Jack Foley, plagiarism, & the Web Del Sol idiots.
  Yet, anti-conspiracists hold up far more dubious science in support of their claims. As example, to again use the ABC special, Dale Myers’ computer simulation, lengthily lauded & discussed in detail by DM, himself, on his website http://www.jfkfiles.com/. Aside from his detractors’ admittedly, at times, manifestly envious & ad hominem claims, there are many problems with the simulation. 1st is the old nostrum about computers- GIGO. Garbage in, garbage out. Any simulation is bound by the information it receives- flawed information produces flawed results, & it should be noted that the ABC special highlighted not only DM’s simulation, but Walter Alvarez’s ‘jet effect’ theory, & the simulation’s reliance on both that theory & other disputed facts in the case. For 1, the simulation attempts to prove that earlier models of where JFK & Governor Connally were were flawed- the JFK film example. DM claims that the Governor was seated further into the car, & lower than JFK- this is used as proof, via the simulation, that the ‘Magic Bullet’ could work. Putting aside my earlier statement that that was not the kill shot & not nearly as important as to the murder as to the alleged conspiracy, the point remains that the Zapruder film is a grainy, & not always clear, 2-D object, which compresses things to the foreground & necessarily calls for approximations & wiggle room- not perfected certitude, & that there is a plenum of photos on other websites which purport to show, from other angles, Connally leaning left & in toward the car & JFK leaning right, out over the side of the car. Here, the lining up of the men is as DM claims, BUT the Zapruder film clearly shows both men in relatively normal sitting positions, & misaligned to fit the Magic Bullet. Yet, this theory is given priority over, say, TS’s impressive debunking of the ‘jet effect’, which plays a large part in the computer simulation.
  As for DM’s site- it is visually impressive & far too complex for me to reproduce, although- agree or not- it is 1 of the better JFK sites out there, even though it leans far too much on impressive sounding words, while being a bit short on the actual facts presented. Let me give some snippets from a website that debunks the ‘irrefutable’ simulation in much more detail. But before I do let me admit, I am a writer & I am as guilty of many of the narrative techniques to persuade you I am correct as any of these online authors are. I have presented a bit more of the pro-conspiracists’ POVs than the antis for a simple reason- I feel their arguments are more coherent than the mainstream media portrays, & they are the underdogs vs. the behemoth might of various media outlets. Yet, I will go far more in to depth about narrative techniques when I tackle the UFO Alien Abduction portion of this essay, especially that relating to Terry Matheson’s Alien Abductions book. Natheless, the aforementioned debunker’s site http://www.john-f-kennedy.net/abcssimulationspectaculardisinformation.htm & snippets from it:

ABC's Simulation: Spectacular Disinformation by Jim Fetzer

  ….The study supports the official Warren Commission conclusion that Lee Oswald acted alone. According to one release, Dale Myers, an award-winning animator, has spent the past decade creating a computer-generated reconstruction of the assassination based upon maps, blueprints, physical measurements, more than 500 photographs, the Zapruder film, and the official autopsy report.
  ….According to the program's executive producer, Tom Yellin, "It leaves no room for doubt!" He calls the results of ABC's study "enormously powerful. It's irrefutable." Yellin's declarations, however, leave some room for doubt and raise the suspicion that this broadcast may actually be an exercise in disinformation on a spectacular scale.
  Even in pure mathematics, proofs are only irrefutable relative to an assumed set of assumptions. That the interior angles of a triangle equal 180 degrees, for example, is true in plane geometry but not in spherical or in hyperbolic. That this program, which vindicates The Warren Report (1964), is not "irrefutable" is easy to demonstrate. There were at least two shots from the front-one of which hit Jack's neck, the other his right temple-and a shot from behind hit his back about 5 1/2 inches below the collar.


  Of course, the writer now claims disputed facts as undisputed much in the manner of ABC to its computer simulation- see how difficult objectivity is. He then flails a bit more, almost fulminating, before getting to the essence:

  So what's going on here? GI/GO, "garbage in/garbage out", is an axiom of computer science….Such a reconstruction has to assume that the Zapruder film is authentic, that the autopsy report is correct, and all the rest--hook, line, and sinker.
  Any computer reconstruction must be based upon assumptions and data. What data did Dale Myers assume about the location of the limousine, the position of the President's body, and the trajectories based upon the wounds? The limo's location is clearly up for grabs, especially because of uncertainty about when shots were even fired. So when were the shots fired, according to Myers?….Any computerized reconstruction must be based upon a reconstruction. The foundation for this fantasy is taking The Warren Report itself as the basis for this simulation. It then becomes painfully apparent why this computerized simulation matches The Warren Report: it takes The Warren Report for granted!

  Despite much non-cogent & silly fulminating, there are real points to consider, as selected above. & the statement that if you build a reconstruction based upon certain information you will get results that match is logic- they key is putting in correct results- 1 cannot use a computer to determine if something is true, if the information is not consistent with known facts. Duh! But, if 1 thinks I pick to much on the antis- let me turn now to some of the nonsense spouted by the pro- side

The JFK ‘Experts’

  1st let me introduce this section by referring to a piece posted here http://www.jfk-online.com/jfk100whox.html:

  One of the most crucial scenes of Oliver Stone's JFK occurs when a mystery man portrayed by Donald Sutherland steps out of the shadows to speak to New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner)….There is only one small problem: the mystery man "X" never existed; Jim Garrison never had any such informant, and the story "X" tells is nothing more than a combination of speculation and outright fiction.   
  Like all good fiction, however, Oliver Stone's mystery man is inspired, however distantly, by real life. Let's meet the real-life model for the character portrayed by Donald Sutherland.

  The person then described is a now deceased retired U.S. Air Force Colonel named L. Fletcher Prouty- who just happens to be featured on the bonus section of OS’s JFK film. The man was very interesting, with lots of tales- including some that belong on the UFO side of this essay- which may be true. The problem is he really had no inner access to anyone near the President, so his tales Re: the Assassination are nothing more than interesting hearsay- & this site portrays that. Let’s see how they do that & how the Colonel is portrayed by his supporters.

  As the documented JFK screenplay tells us, "'X' is loosely based on Col. L. Fletcher Prouty USAF (Ret.) who served as Chief of Special Operations with the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Kennedy years. While the authors met with Prouty, Jim Garrison did not meet him until several years after the Clay Shaw trial."
  There is no doubt that Prouty's credentials are in order, but when Oliver Stone says that his mystery man is "loosely based" on Prouty, what exactly does he mean?

  OK, I’ve granted that the antis have the upper hand on this score, but just like the pros did concerning the jet effect or Magic Bullet, the winning side cannot help but to rub it in- why else the phrase ‘when Oliver Stone says that his mystery man is "loosely based" on Prouty, what exactly does he mean?’, as if to imply that there is something sinister in the very term ‘loosely’? For those who think I’m parsing too much, wait till you get the payoff when I deal with Terry Matheson’s Alien Abductions book.


  Perhaps Stone is referring to the fact that Col. L. Fletcher Prouty's position in 1963, unlike that of man X, had no connection whatsoever to presidential security. Prouty had no duties to perform in that regard, and he had no access whatsoever to inside information about presidential protection or the Secret Service.

  In other words, while "X" relates his tales from first-hand, inside knowledge, L. Fletcher Prouty merely speculates and, in some cases, simply makes things up….This article will confine itself to a discussion of L. Fletcher Prouty's credibility.

  Because Prouty (who passed away in 2001) was outspoken on a wide variety of topics, we are fortunate to have access to a multitude of his beliefs and opinions. Here is a sampling, taken primarily from the Kennedy Assassination Home Page's informative look at Prouty.

  According to Prouty:

1)      The forces behind the death of John F. Kennedy included not only the CIA and the military-industrial complex, but also the Federal Reserve Board.

2)      Flying saucers are a reality, and the Air Force has two "bodies" or extraterrestrial objects in storage at one of its bases.

3)      It was an "enormous privilege" to have his book, The Secret Team, reprinted by the Institute for Historical Review, a group Prouty claims keeps people "from revising history," and whose Web site says, "What proof exists that the Nazis killed six million Jews? None."

4)      The Jonestown tragedy was not a suicide, but a mass murder committed by US intelligence and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

5)      The high price of oil is artificially maintained by a cabal that shuts down oil pipelines in the Middle East: "Because of the Israelis. That is their business on behalf of the oil companies. That's why they get $3 billion a year from the US taxpayer."

6)      Franklin Delano Roosevelt did not die a natural death: Winston Churchill had him poisoned.

7)      It "would not surprise" Prouty if Princess Diana and Princess Grace of Monaco were assassinated by the "Secret Team" that killed JFK and countless others.

  Again, we get a mixed bag- was Prouty eccentric? Sure. But a belief in retrieved crashed flying saucers is not proof of wackiness since far more people than not believe it- right or wrong. I don’t know the context the Nazi quote comes from, but alone it proves nothing but itself. The implication is, that FP is an Anti-Semite, & 1 who hates is also a liar. But many reasonable people agree that many people including Jews were killed by the Nazis, yet simply find no real proof for the mythic 6 million figure. Some of the other claims do hint of paranoia, but a lot of these statements were made by an old man who may not have had all his marbles- he comes across a missing a few on the JFK DVD. So why resort to smearing him with the Anti-Semitic implication? To totally discredit anything he says- even if it does have some backing. Both sides practice it, but here is a perfect illustration of the extremes both sides will go to.
  That said, the article does go in to more depth re: FP’s alleged bigotry & wackiness- here’s a smattering:

  One of the best behind-the-scenes articles on Oliver Stone's JFK is Robert Sam Anson's "The Shooting of JFK," from the November 1991 issue of Esquire. It features a particularly eye-opening look at L. Fletcher Prouty, which is excerpted here.

  Anson writes:

  The [advisor from the JFK research community Oliver] Stone heard out most intently was a former Air Force colonel named L. Fletcher Prouty.
  An aide to the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Kennedy years, Prouty since his retirement had become a quirky critic of the CIA, sometimes in books (The Secret Team: The CIA and Its Allies in Control of the United States and the World), more often in the pages of Gallery, one of the raunchier porno magazines. It was the colonel's theorizing about the assassination, however, that made him indispensable to Stone.
  According to Prouty, Kennedy had been the victim of a military-industrial-complex plot triggered by his plan to withdraw from Vietnam. The intention had long been bruited by Kennedy partisans, but Prouty had come up with a number of declassified documents to buttress the claim. The most important was a top-secret National Security Action Memorandum (NSAM 263) drafted only six weeks before the assassination. In it, Kennedy formally endorsed a recommendation that one thousand U.S. advisers be pulled out by the end of 1963, with a complete withdrawal of advisers to follow no later than the conclusion of 1965. Once NSAM 263 was signed, said Prouty, Kennedy was, for all intents, a dead man. As Prouty put it: "You could see changes in the civilians who came [into the Pentagon] from the companies and the officers who work in the companies. You never heard people talking about 'President Kennedy' anymore. It was 'that goddamn Kennedy.' Vietnam for them represented the potential of tens of billions of dollars. They could see what he was doing and that he was going to get away with it. This is what caused him to be murdered."
  To cinch his case, Prouty produced another top-secret NSAM, approved by Lyndon Johnson four days after Kennedy's murder. Missing from this document was any mention of withdrawal of US military personnel. Instead, it presented a forthright plan for escalation, including preparations for attacking North Vietnam (bombing would indeed follow seven months later) and employing US combat troops to invade Laos up to a distance of fifty kilometers. "I think Johnson was scared to death," said Prouty, explaining the policy reversal. “When you put a guy like Lyndon Johnson in a car behind the president and shoot the bullets right over his head, there's only one thing old Lyndon thinks about, and that's The bastards are shooting at me. From that time, Lyndon was in the bag.”
  ….Paging through a tiny, left-wing New York weekly, Stone's researchers had chanced upon an article identifying the colonel as a cause celebre in the virulently anti-Semitic, racist Liberty Lobby. According to the story, Prouty the previous fall had been a featured speaker at the Lobby's annual convention; he contributed to its national radio program and newsletter (which featured such articles as "The Diary of Anne Frank Is a Fraud" and "White Race Becoming an Endangered Species"); and along with a grab bag of rightist crackpots, he'd been recently named to the national policy advisory board of the Lobby's Populist Action Committee….Stone -- whose father is Jewish, as it happens -- seemed unconcerned. After being assured by Prouty that he was neither a racist nor an anti-Semite ("I never met a Jew I didn't like," said Prouty) but merely a writer in need of a platform, he rejected advice to drop the colonel as a technical adviser and to rewrite Mr. X so that Prouty could not be identified. "I'm doing a film on the assassination of John Kennedy," said Stone, "not the life of Fletcher Prouty."
  The bullheadedness had an element of calculation, because by then, Stone had recruited a Vietnam adviser with far more heft than Prouty, an active-duty US Army major named John Newman.
  Meticulous, low-key, methodical -- everything, in sum, Prouty was not -- Newman had been quietly working with Stone since the spring of 1991. He'd first learned of the film from a publishing friend who informed him that Stone had an assassination movie in the works, in which Vietnam would figure prominently. Stone's thesis, the friend had said, was that Kennedy, had he lived, would have withdrawn from Vietnam -- precisely the subject that Newman, a highly experienced intelligence specialist, had been privately researching for his Ph.D. thesis for nearly a decade. During that time, he had ferreted out fifteen thousand pages of documents -- three times the total of the Pentagon Papers -- and interviewed scores of top-ranking sources. The data, checked and rechecked, had led him, bit by bit, doubt by doubt, to an explosive conclusion: Not only had Kennedy put in motion the withdrawal just weeks before his death, but an intricate secret operation, involving the US Saigon command and certain US-based foreign-policy officials, had been systematically deceiving the White House about the disastrous course of the war.
  The extent of the scheme had been staggering. Body counts, pacification rates, captured-weapons totals, defectors -- "the start-to-finish works," as Newman put it -- all had been deliberately inflated, even as estimates of enemy strength had been deliberately slashed by nearly two thirds. The purpose of the fakery, which dwarfed any of the war's subsequent falsehoods, had been two-fold: to discourage thoughts of quick withdrawal and, at the same time, encourage the infusion of US materiel and men. In design, it was meant to put the first light at the end of the Vietnam tunnel.
  Not everyone, though, had been misled. Even as Kennedy and his statistics-minded defense secretary, Robert McNamara, were being consistently lied to, a small number of administration hawks were being provided the truth by means of a secret back channel. Among that select circle, Newman found, had been the next in line in presidential succession, Lyndon Johnson.
  Newman's painstakingly documented research established the vice-president's back-channel role conclusively -- just as it did when the actual facts of the war were ultimately disclosed. That revelation had come in Honolulu, during a conference attended by senior members of the cabinet and the US Saigon command. Later cited as proof that JFK's goals in Vietnam had continued after the assassination undisturbed, the meeting had been highlighted by a call by the military for a massive American buildup -- a recommendation Kennedy had, in fact, repeatedly rejected. Change, though, was in the wind. It was November 20, 1963, when the conferees sat down in Honolulu. In two days, there would be a new president; in six, a new policy in Vietnam.

  Pardon the length of this excerpt- the rest of the piece is about 4-5 times longer, & consists of more FP wackiness vs. Major Newman’s credibility. The point I want to make is this- even though the writer is an anti-conspiracist intent on ripping 1 of OS’s advisors he unwittingly makes OS’s, & the pro-conspiracists’, position look stronger for not only is FP right on the relevant info regarding JFK, but he details an even stronger case provided by Major Newman. Bear in mind this irony when we get to the UFO mythos, for this inadvertence will become rife.
  As for FP, himself, here’s a snip of his from what is actually 1 of the more credible aspects of the UFO mythos- the crashed saucer stories, especially at Roswell, New Mexico. The reason that aspect is the most viable? I’ll deal more in depth on that later, but- simply put- if the facts support a crashed saucer then the government would behave in just as domineering & paranoid a fashion as the crashed saucer true believers allege. 1 look at the JFK assassination confirms that scenario, for certainly, as big a story as the killing of a head of state is (& the attendant paranoia & plotting that ensued), the proof of life elsewhere in the universe utterly dwarfs any single man’s assassination (& would reasonably entail far more paranoia & plotting). This from http://www.prouty.org/coment16.html:

UFO SIGHTINGS: ON THE RECORD From an article October 1983

Something is out there! There have been so many sightings of unidentified flying objects (UFO's) by reputable witnesses, that the fact cannot be denied. And obviously, the Air Force agrees; Years ago, they established an office charged with the collection of data on UFOs.
  Officials as well placed as Senator Barry Goldwater - a major general in the Air Force Reserve - have demanded this information and they've always been turned down. Today, although there is a growing awareness of valid sightings, information on UFOs is even more secretly hidden than ever before. Let's consider one undeniable case. An experienced Military Transport Service aircrew and many passengers on a long overwater flight from Hawaii to Tokyo, clearly saw a UFO. The year was 1954.
  They had left Midway Island shortly after sundown, climbed to 8,000 feet, and set the aircraft on a course for Tokyo. It was a clear night. Even in the dark they could see low clouds hanging over the warm Pacific.
  Sometime after midnight, the copilot noticed an object - or at least a source of light from some definitive form - on the right side of the plane, moving along with them at about the same altitude, a little faster than they were.
  As he glanced outside again, he saw this large object, not quite as large as their aircraft, had moved closer and slightly ahead. The luminescence from this object resembled the light from a fluorescent lamp with some areas of intense light emanating from a dimmer, but clearly defined, main body.
  Although this craft had moved a little closer, there were no other distinguishing features other than this pattern of light. The copilot called to the flight engineer and showed him what he had been watching. They pointed it out to the pilot, who had no trouble seeing it from his side of the plane. All three watched for some time, and all agreed they were seeing the same pattern: a large airship and a source of light. They called other crew members to see it, and at about that same time, one of the flight stewards came forward to report that many passengers were watching this same thing, near them and "off the right wing."
  This object had one distinct characteristic that set it off from any known aircraft and from normal flight: It would dart ahead of them, soar high above them very quickly, and then dive below them - effortlessly.
  These nine or ten experienced aircrewmen were convinced, beyond any doubt, that what they were watching was a UFO. They made an initial report to their commanding officer; and later, after a night's rest, they returned to make out individual, formal statements. Their formal reports were then forwarded, to Air Force Headquarters, in Washington.
  The reason I've chosen to cite this factual UFO case from 1954 is because I was that commanding officer. I have heard nothing more about that incident since that day. However, I have heard about UFOs flying along beside the world's fastest aircraft, the Spyplane (SR-71), and I have heard that the Air Force has two "bodies" or extraterrestrial objects in storage on one of its bases. Most UFO stories contain elements I cannot believe; this case has been my only direct contact with an actual responsible sighting. I knew my crewmen well and believed their individual stories. I have never doubted that. Those men were too experienced to have mistaken other aircraft: weather phenomena: aurora borealis; St. Elmo's fire; shooting stars; and all other strange, but natural wonders of the world of the airman. That object over the Pacific that night in 1954 was a UFO.

  Now, reread this article closely- it is sober & detailed. FP shows that he believes the reasonable event described to him by his subordinates. He then backs away from belief in crashed saucers & alien bodies- in direct contravention to the imputations made on the anti-conspiracist site. So, we’ve seen that both sides resort to out & out smear & distortion, as well as engaging in hearsay & innuendo. In this instance FP is guilty of it in advancing his sometimes outrageous views & statements, & his detractors are just as guilty of it in going overboard to discredit him.

Back To Basics 

  So, we are left, in the end, with my original thesis- that there are only a literal handful of undeniable elements in the JFK Assassination mythos- things unchallenged &/or not disproved by the opposing side. They are:

1)      Jack Ruby kills alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. Why?

2)      Audio evidence unmistakably proves that 4- not 3- shots were fired in Dealey Plaza that afternoon. Is this proof of a 2nd shooter- & coconspirator- since even the Warren Commission insists only 3 shots occurred?

3)      All sorts of tampering with the performance, & results, of the autopsy of JFK. Why?

4)      The Zapruder film shows a ‘back & to the left’ motion of JFK’s head totally inconsistent with any known anti-conspiracy theory, even the questionable ‘jet effect’ hypothesis, because the anti- crowd insists LHO shot JFK from behind & to the right. A 2nd shooter is almost as certain as can be ascertained without a time machine.

5)      Rose Cheramie as Cassandra. Her story has never been disproved, many elements (most notably those chronological) have been confirmed, & whenever the anti- crowd deals with her it’s usually a blithe dismissal as yet another of the seemingly 1000s of lone nuts in & around Dallas the day the President was murdered.

  Now I’ll turn a bit more to this least known, but possibly prescient, element. The story appears all over the Internet, but I’ll choose this version gleaned from http://www.assassinationweb.com/milam4.htm because it not only recaps the tale, but effectively shows the selectivity of almost everyone on the anti side:

The Posner Follies - Part 4, by Wallace Milam, THE ROSE CHERAMIE INCIDENT

  1. One of the most enduring accounts among conspiracy theorists has been that of a drug addict and prostitute sometimes known as Rose Cheramie. Ms Cheramie allegedly had foreknowledge of an assassination attempt against Kennedy in Dallas and told people of the impending event while she lay hospitalized after being run over at a Louisiana tavern.

  2. Gerald Posner, in Case Closed, sets out to debunk the Rose Cheramie story. In his effort to do this, he succeeds--not in discrediting the story--but in revealing his own biased approach to the issue. In this case, Posner fails to relate information of which he clearly had knowledge, but which, if honestly reported, would have SUPPORTED the Rose Cheramie allegations, instead of disproving them. As analysis of his book continues, this "research" method is becoming increasingly recognizable as Posner's hallmark.

  3. BACKGROUND Rose Cheramie was apparently struck by a vehicle while at a tavern near Eunice, Louisiana, on November 20, 1963. She was carried to a private hospital nearby and then to State Hospital in Jackson, Louisiana. On the way, she allegedly told the highway patrolman who transported her that she was on the (way to) Dallas (with 2 men who were) to get some money and kill Kennedy. Cheramie seemed to have minor physical injuries, but suffered from heroin withdrawal and perhaps other medicines given her. At Jackson, she allegedly told the same story to a doctor, adding that she had worked for Jack Ruby, that the underworld was going to kill Kennedy, and that the two men with whom she was traveling were going to do the hit, and then--with her-pick up drugs coming to Houston by ship. After the assassination, the highway patrolman had her held at Jackson, questioned her further and contacted Dallas police, who were not interested in the matter. Cheramie had had mental problems and serious addictions and was clearly an unstable sort, one who had provided false information to government agencies before. The matter was dropped. (HSCA, Volume X, -pp. 199-204)

  4. In a lengthy footnote in Case Closed, Posner "disposes" of Rose Cheramie with this statement: "Dr. Victor Weiss, a treating physician, told investigators that he did not hear her say anything about the assassination, until November 25, the day after Ruby killed Oswald." Posner cites House Select Committee's Volume X, page 200 as a source for this, and in his analysis of "mysterious deaths" Posner wrote that Rose Cheramie "made up her story after Ruby shot Oswald." (Case Closed, p. 494)

  5. Thus we know that Posner read of HSCA's interview of Dr. Weiss on page 200 of the Volume X of the HSCA report. And in doing so he must have found the following passage, which reveals his duplicity for all to see: The doctor [Weiss] corroborated aspects of the Cheramie allegations. Dr. Victor Weiss verified that he was employed as a resident physician at the hospital in 1963. He recalled that on Monday, November 25, 1963, he was asked by another physician, Dr. Bowers, to see a patient who had been committed November 20 or 21. Dr. Bowers allegedly told Weiss that the patient, Rose Cheramie, had stated before the assassination that Kennedy was going to be killed. The account then relates that Cheramie told Weiss the same story she had allegedly told Dr. Bowers.

  6. Compare the actual HSCA account with Posner's selective and revealing reporting of it. We learn:  (a) that Rose Cheramie didn't tell Dr. Weiss about the plans until the 25th because he didn't talk with her until then- (b) that Rose Cheramie did tell another doctor about the plans before the assassination. [For what other reason would Dr. Bowers have legitimately asked Dr. Weiss to interview Ms Cheramie?]

  7. But there is more. Had Posner, the man whom U. S. News & World Report credits with reindexing all the Warren Commission and HSCA volumes, cross-referencing hundreds of sources, and compiling a "labyrinth of 3-by-5 cards," bothered to read just one page further in HSCA's Volume X, he would have found the report of Francis Fruge, the Louisiana State Policeman who carried Rose Cheramie from Eunice to Jackson State Hospital on the night of November 20. He would have found that Fruge verified to HSCA that she had spoken to him of the plan to kill Kennedy on the ride to Jackson--at least a day and a half BEFORE the event. He would have found that Fruge had Cheramie detained at the hospital for questioning, interrogated her and found that many details of her account, including the name the ship and the seaman who was bringing drugs to Galveston to be sold to Cheramie and her companions. Fruge also told HSCA that he tried without success to inform Dallas police officials of Cheramie's allegations.

  8. Whether Rose Cheramie's allegations were true or not may never be known. There is corroborative evidence, but Cheramie's lifestyle and the circumstances of the case tend to make any statements suspect. That is not the issue here. The issue is Posner's dishonest manipulation of the evidence. Here, as throughout his book, a distasteful, ugly stench hangs over his evidence. Wasn't it U.S. NEWS itself which said ten new assassination books would arrive this fall, "with a smell about them, including one [Posner's] with the smell of truth." It appears the news weekly misinterpreted the smell.

  9. In light of Posner's persistent methodology, I suggest a new word for our language:

Posnerize. v. To ignore, distort and manipulate evidence in order to achieve a desired goal. See MISLEAD.


  To WM’s credit, & putting aside the ad hominem, he does point out the unknowability of her allegations, as well her shady past. BUT, undoubtedly she spoke of the assassination before it occurred. Either a stroke of great luck, or true- if hazy- recall of a conspiracy which points to far greater Mafia involvement than even most pro-conspiracists want to admit, especially by New Orleans crime king Carlos Marcello.

  As for all the assorted problems with the autopsy & missing notes- some snips from http://www.ishipress.com/ap-jfk.htm:


  Throughout the years, doctors who treated Kennedy in Dallas said his head wound was about the size of a large egg at the back of the head, behind his right ear. The Dallas doctors told reporters then that they believed Kennedy was shot from the front -- a belief that conflicted with the Warren Commission's later conclusion of a single shooter firing from behind.

  (Commander James) Humes (USN), chief pathologist for the autopsy at Bethesda, agreed there was a wound to the right rear of Kennedy's head, but he told the board that it was a small entry wound, not an egg-sized exit wound. In contrast to observations in Dallas, Humes said there also was massive damage to the top of Kennedy's skull and right side forward of the ear.


  All 3 doctors for the Navy- Humes, Dr J. Thornton Boswell, & Dr. Pierre Finck experienced much interference that has been documented online. To go in to that would waste far too much space. This essay is long enough as it is.


Summing Up


  Now, before I summarize my own beliefs in the JFK case, & leave some threads open to tie it in to the UFO portion of this essay, let me 1st sharpen the razor I opened the essay with. William of Ockham was a philosopher & theologian born in Ockham, Surrey, England about 1285, who entered the Franciscan order young, before studying theology at Oxford. His views on historic matters regarding the Apostles brought him up before a hostile review in front of Pope John XXII, in Avignion, France in 1324. He & his supporters fled persecution by going to Munich, Germany in 1330. He became an outspoken enemy of the Pope & wrote voluminously on many topics, including the medieval rule of parsimony, which stated that plurality should not be assumed without necessity, a maxim used to eliminate unnecessary complexities in problem-solving. He died  in Munich in 1349, of the Plague. His name has also been spelled by its more German variant Occam.

  Now, let’s apply his razor to the JFK case. 1st my 5 points that seem to be the only 1s without serious dispute:


1)      Jack Ruby- would he risk getting shot himself, or pilloried in the media, just to ‘patriotically’ spare Jackie Kennedy pain (how she would have been spared is another question)? Or, would a man with ties to shady underworld & government figures, be ordered to do a task & choose jail over death, or early death if he knew he had cancer? The Razor falls easily on the pro-conspiracists’ side.

2)      ABC computer simulation or no, the audio evidence is unmistakable- 4 shots, at least, were fired at JFK’s car- even if their direction is unknown. Since the Warren Commission says only 3 shots were fired there was either a 2nd gunman, or they were wrong about Oswald’s only firing 3 shots, & if they were wrong on that crucial point, lesser issues probably contain errors as well. The Razor is squarely on the pro-conspiracist’s side.

3)      That autopsy discrepancies, note disappearances, & tampering occurred in Dallas & Maryland is not even disputed by the anti-conspiracists. So, why all the screwing around if a lone assassin is so manifestly guilty? Either there was a conspiracy, after the fact, to tighten the noose around the only viable single suspect’s neck, or a prior conspiracy existed & was determined to erase any traces of their existence. The Razor is pro-conspiracist in either case.

4)      The Zapruder film, despite arguments back & forth, shows the kill shot pushing JFK’s head ‘back & to the left’- which, even if the ‘jet effect’ is accepted, is still inconsistent with that effect’s posit as to the shot coming from the 6th floor window LHO was supposed to have been perched. A 2nd shot must have come from the rear & to the left. Every single anti-conspiracist explanation fails to gibe with the visual evidence. Period. This hints at being strongly pro-conspiracist.

5)      Rose Cheramie’s tale. Her story holds up. Does this prove conspiracy? No. But, unless she was 1 of the luckiest guessers in human history the edge goes in to the pro-conspiracist camp.

  Then there are all the other little ‘incidental’ things that just do not add up. Among the dozens, if not 100s, is 1 I think most puzzling- why would LHO order his rifles through the mail- easily traceable, when he could have gotten them in person anywhere in Texas? Both camps admit he was very intelligent. It’s these ‘common sense’ questions that do not tally up. Some people in the pro-conspiracy camps have taken to calling the anti-conspiracists ‘coincidence theorists’, & I agree. After all, just how many coincidences can be explained away before 1 sees evidence of intentionality? & let me say, I’m someone to who this matter has no great bearing upon. This all happened before I was born- my interest is in a fascination with human behavior.
  Let me now venture in to an area that will help bridge both segments of this essay- human witnesses. Human witnesses are about the worst form of proof 1 can get. If any proof were needed to bolster that statement just think of the 100s of men who have been released from prison in the last few years because they were misidentified by rape victims years earlier, & then exonerated by DNA tests. If a woman cannot even be accurate about the identity of a man who is copulating with her, the whole notion of human beings as reliable witnesses is poor. Furthermore, many tests have been conducted over the years along these lines, in colleges- a professor is giving a lecture to his students & someone bursts in & steals a specific item from the professor’s desk. When the test subjects are grilled as to exactly what happened every witness has disagreements with every other witness, if they are interviewed before having a chance to share their memories with each other. People cannot agree upon the thief’s race, sex, hair color, height, weight, clothing, nor what was stolen, what the professor’s reaction was, etc. Therefore, human memory is almost negligible in import. Fortunately for JFK Assassination buffs, there IS plenty of non-human witnessed, & physical, evidence. Almost all of it is in dispute, BUT the few points that are not clearly point in the direction of conspiracy. The same cannot be said for the UFO side of this essay- where almost all the evidence is human witness based (with the exception of a few anomalous ground marks, burn marks, & truly unexplained radar blips). But more on that shortly.

My Opinion On The Assassination

  Let me summarize what I feel happened to JFK. I think there was a plot. I do not buy the Oliver Stone thesis that it was all militarily based. The Kennedys had too many deep ties to the Mafia. The Mob was vengeful, feeling they were betrayed. After all, they had basically helped steal the 1960 election for him, as a favor for his father who was deeply connected, & then- to make things worse, RFK led a crusade against them. Add to that that JFK did not approve air support for the Bay of Pigs invasion, thereby costing the Mob billions of dollars in lost illegal revenue, & you have ample motive. The Mafia was also far more powerful in those days. Now, it’s a shadow, struggling with Asian & South American syndicates in a country they once ruled in toto. But, then, they were, as the boast went, ‘bigger than U.S. Steel’, & they flexed that power. They also had a freer run of the country than is generally known. The Mafia aided the US in its invasion & conquest of Italy during World War 2, & Mob figures, afterward, got pardons & favors in exchange. The Mob also ran every major seaport in the country- including New Orleans. The CIA routinely did business with gangsters, & J. Edgar Hoover rarely acknowledged the presence of true ‘organized crime’ because it’s suspected that Mob bosses had much evidence of JEH’s corruption & sexual dalliances with men. Hoover went after bank robbers & freelance gangsters like John Dillinger & Pretty Boy Floyd with a zeal. But he only pursued mobsters when his hand was forced & he had no choice.
  I don’t doubt that the Mafia’s desire to get vengeance on JFK coincided with the desires of the CIA & military to see a nuisance like him disposed of. The extent of help & malign neglect is up for debate. But LHO & JR both had ties to the CIA & the Mafia. I do not believe LHO was a total patsy, but a part-patsy. I think he wanted to kill JFK, was up in the sniper’s nest, & did fire. Whether he knew others would is up for debate. But the evidence points to at least 1 other shooter. LHO panicked, feared a setup & then protested innocence because he felt the other shooter got JFK & there was only circumstantial evidence, at best, against him. (Whether LHO attempted to kill General Walker earlier in the year, or shot Officer Tippitt is up for varying degrees of debate- probably not in the former, most likely in the latter- out of panic over being betrayed by his sponsors).
  JR, meanwhile, was in the LHO periphery, & probably knew he was dying, so- either out of threats or owing a favor- did what he was told to do. The mob &/or the CIA knew he would not talk so did not eliminate him. The rest of the ‘conspiracy’ amounted to after the fact ass-saving, from the Secret Service’s security lapses, to the military’s embarrassment, to the Warren Commission’s desire to protect the overall incompetence of all involved.
  Is this what happened in toto? Probably not, but it’s as close to the truth as others’ versions probably are, & certainly closer than the Warren Commission’s ‘official’ version. 


  Let me now put out some ideas regarding the JFK/UFO mythoses’ connections. Both myths have die-hard opponents on either side, both posit dark governmental forces, & powerful ‘puppeteers’. The difference is that the believers in an Assassination plot against the President are on far stronger ground. The JFKers have physical evidence, the UFOer’s do not. The JFKers can point to the manifest flaws in the Warren Report to show that it’s nearly impossible for the government (comprised, as it is, of fallible & gossipy human beings) to truly keep a secret- after all, we know there was a plot; it’s the particulars that are not clarion, &- most of all- there are far more sober & rational voices that posit the JFK conspiracy. As we shall see, the same things cannot be said of the pro-UFO Abduction theorists.

2) UFO Alien Abductions

 Background     C.D.B. Bryan’s Close Encounters      Terry Matheson’s Alien Abductions      PBS, Nova, & the Abduction Mythos      The Abductologists Strike Back!      Dissent Within The UFO Ranks      Abduction’s Ties To Pornography      Frying & Refrying Budd Hopkins


  While coups de tat are rife throughout human history, the evidence for them is undeniable. Similarly, human abuse & abductions by non-human entities is also rife throughout human history. However, the evidence that there is any reality for such abuse & abductions is wholly absent. Whether the abusers/abductors were hags, succubi, incubi, demons, elves, faeries, dwarves, Satan, or aliens, is no matter. The evidence is very slim. In the course of this part of the essay I will focus on the similarities of the 2 myths, as well as how successful the UFO Alien Abduction mythographers have been, & why. In fact, while almost 90% of the American public believes a conspiracy existed to kill President Kennedy (his murder an undeniable fact, & the conspiracy highly probable), almost as many people (polls range from 70-80+%) believe that non-terrestrial beings (generally big black-eyed, gray-skinned dwarves- with a few other ‘aliens’ thrown in) routinely kidnap, track, & sexually abuse American citizens. While this belief is lumped under the greater belief in UFOs as extraterrestrial spacecraft, the government (under the guise of Men In Black- MIBs) concealing crashed flying saucers, crop circles, & cattle mutilations, in truth many of the ‘abductions’ are only peripherally related to UFOs. They have far greater relevance to night visitors previously mentioned- such as tales of kidnapping by dwarves (ala Rip Van Winkle, whose ‘missing time’ element presaged claims of alien abductees by nearly 2 centuries). That most of these tales proved silly (the ‘proof’ brought back turning out to be bits of soil or grass) directly ties in to much of the excuse-making made by abductees as to why they have failed to provide any physical proof of their tales.

C.D.B. Bryan’s Close Encounters  

  Still, the will to believe is strong. 2 books I’ve recently read do a decent & excellent job of describing this belief system. The book that is merely passable is C.D.B. Bryan’s Close Encounters Of The Fourth Kind. The title refers to ufologist J. Allen Hynek’s famed 3 types of close encounters with UFOs- as in the 1970s Steven Spielberg blockbuster Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, which meant encountering alien beings. A CE4 was added in the 1980s when abduction literature exploded. A CE4, predictable, is not just meeting an alien, but being abducted by 1. CDBB’s (or CDB2’s?) book attempts to be objective but it follows a very predictable pattern that is laid out in the book I will discuss following this 1. CDBB is apparently a reporter of note whose written for many major magazines over the decades (Esquire, New Republic, Rolling Stone, & the New York Times), as well as having had a best seller in the 1970s about the Vietnam War (Friendly Fire). The whole thrust of the book is how CDBB went from skeptic to near-believer in alien abductions during the course of the book which starts, as its subtitle describes, as A Reporter’s Notebook On Alien Abduction, UFOs, And The Conference At M.I.T.. The conference in question was held  6/13-17/92, at the Massachusetts Institute Of Technology, run by MIT physicist David E. Pritchard, & Harvard psychiatrist John E. Mack.
  In it CDBB follows the well-worn path of 1st doubting the tales of abductees & their chroniclers, then being ‘impressed’ with their seeming sincerity & honesty, & by book’s end being willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. That this is CDBB’s genuine belief is fine. But his reasons for being convinced are utterly ludicrous. I will sample bits of the book as I describe it chronologically, then opine a bit. The book starts with a summary of ‘the phenomenon’ up to that date (1995, the book’s publication, or 1992 the actual M.I.T. Conference), then takes off in chapter 2 detailing some of CDBB’s observations. When I speak of the 2nd UFO book I will comment more on narrative thrusts, but here CDBB hopes to plant a seed of credibility in a reader’s mind with this anecdote (p. 31):

  And an abductee rises to report that a six-foot Nordic type [alien] tried on her high-heeled shoes.
  Her comment undoes me! What possible reason could the woman have to make up an incident like that?
  My response to this detail of the high-heeled shoes is the same as the reaction I had to the incident in the Barney and Betty Hill story where, because of Barney’s false upper plate, the aliens had pulled on his wife’s teeth. Neither of these details strikes me as the sort one could expect a victim to have fabricated.

  Exactly why not is never explicated. Practiced liars have long known to pepper their lies with truths & quirky details to lend ‘veradity’. That a reporter would be oblivious to this oldest of cons seems to say alot of the trust a reader can put in this writer’s ability to discern truth from BS. But an even more prosaic explanation exists than willful confabulation- the abductee was dreaming! Do not such bizarre little factoids often stick in the mind of the woken dreamer upon recollection? Duh!
  1 of the strongest reasons most abduction scenarios have now been shown to be internal phenomena (when not flat-out hoaxes) is that the last 20 years have shown a great improvement in the understanding of the brain, temporal lobe disorders, sleep paralysis, hypnogogia & hypnopompia. The very fact that alien descriptions & encounters vary from country to country points to a cultural basis. Grays & abductions only predominate in America (a point far more salient that is addressed right before the high-heeled shoes, yet blithely glossed over by CDBB), while other cultures see aliens more akin to their own mythic bases. That the media- in films, TV, & books- have engrained the bug-eyed abductors into our consciousness since the turn of the 20th Century, is a leading reason why there are many general similarities in the aliens being described, their activities, & neuroses. These quirky details, & the individuated ‘weirdnesses’ of some abductions are perfectly consistent with free-form fantasizing against a general cultural template. That CDBB fails to see this again raises doubts as to his intellect & credibility. That said, his reportorial skill in describing the people & activities is very keen. Yet, this sharpness in an obvious area may be subconsciously intended to impress a reader with the writer’s skill &, thus, believability.
  A few pages later he writes that a doctor who spoke at the conference is impressed by how ‘different’ alien medical techniques are from our own. CDBB then agrees when the doc sums up: ‘The differences....are great enough to invalidate any theory of origin of these reports that is based on the idea that they somehow originate in the witness’s own past medical experience or knowledge.’ In a word, poppycock! This is an example of the ‘I don’t understand something therefore it must be true if it’s beyond me’ approach. In fact, most descriptions of alien medical exams portray these beings (who can either break light speed, or cross dimensions) as medical idiots. The instruments they use seem to be poor analogues of known medical equipment (consistent with a layman’s idea of what a medical device might be), or dream-like absurdities which serve no purpose. The aliens can seemingly work miracles (like curing tumors & genetic race-mixing) yet are puzzled by dentures or freckles). The standard reply of abductee believers is ‘We cannot know how their minds work.’ True, but we can know when we are in the presence of interstellar morons- or, more pointedly, fantasies designed to approximate high-techness with a verisimilitude that seems impressive from afar, & at 1st blush, but downright (& painfully) silly upon closer examination.
  Another staple of pro-UFOers is the coining of pseudo-scientific jargon (usually an acronym) designed to lend an air of authenticity to the claims. On page 38 that same doctor describes what he calls an RE, or Realization Event. This is when the abductee 1st ‘realizes’ or ‘decides’ they are an abductee. He relates how only after an RE did an abductee realize her status & why she had a lifelong fear of dolls- it was because she had been abducted for years & had an alien hybrid ½ sister. After the RE her fear of dolls went away. Her fear of alien hybrid ½ sisters is never followed up on. But almost all children have irrational fears. The mature leave them behind, while the weak & immature nurse their phobias. As example, when I was a tot I had a child’s book of nursery rhymes- 1 of them was the classic Humpty Dumpty. For some reason, I was greatly fearful of the sleep (& I deemed evil) eyes of old HD, as portrayed in this particular book’s illustration. So much so that my mom had to take scissors & cut the talking egg’s eyes out of the page. A few years later my mom talked me in to taping them back in, but- & HERE’S THE BIG POINT- what if I’d never gotten over my fear of HD’s eyes? Could you imagine how easily the large almond like eyes on an egg-like head/being could be construed as being that of a classic alien? Why did I fear the eyes? Am I secretly an alien abductee? No. It was an irrational fear. By definition that means there’s no real reason- it just is. This is a key element in all mythos & storytelling. You simply have to accept that there are things that defy or deny explanation. 1 of the great misconstruers of this idea was mythologist Joseph Campbell, who did more in the last 50 years to bollocks up contemporary perceptions about mythos & legendry than anyone. To JC everything had meaning or import, much like Freud’s denial that a cigar could be just a cigar, in a dream. JC devalued frivolity & imagination, at the expense of stories needing to ‘tell us who we are’, rather than just entertain us, & relieve boredom. My HD fear, similarly- to abductee enthusiasts, would logically be a screen fear of abduction. Irrational childhood fears have little value, because- as the PC Elitists tell us- all is important & children are truthtellers. Huh? Sorry, but I told far more lies per day as a child than as an adult. It’s part & parcel of being young & irresponsible. This is why juvenile testimony is given far less credence than that of an adult. Makes sense, no? But maturation is supposed to cure that ill. As for the import of everything. Seems to me that very little in life has any real import, or else why is life so dull to so many?
  More of this poor logic permeates the next 50 pages, or so until- at page 90- we get to noted abductologist Budd Hopkins & his then-recent cause celebré- that of supposed abductee Linda Cortile (a pseudonym- her real name is Linda Napolitano). BH detailed, in the early 1990s, how this abduction supposedly ‘proved’ the reality of the whole mythos. In short, near the Brooklyn Bridge in Manhattan, 2 security men’s car stalled as they were transporting a well-known politician- allegedly UN honcho Javier Perez de Cuellar. They saw a UFO over them hover, then shoot a light beam into an apartment building & float a woman in a nightgown out of a 12th story apartment window & into the UFO where 3 aliens were waiting for her. The woman was LC. That this abduction was witnessed by 3 people in mid-day- 1 of them a well-known politician- is the clincher for BH. LC then gave a standard abduction tale to BH, & the security guards later tracked her down to apologize for their inability to do something. More happened, but I’ll deal with that later.
  In the decade + since BH broke this tale there has never been 1 shred of corroboration- both the politician & his 2 guards ‘asked’ BH to keep their names a secret, lest risk ridicule. Of course, this allows for the gullible to believe that BH has ‘inside information’ that he cannot reveal, lest compromise high level things in higher places. The actual real names are not known, thus the pseudonyms & the whole tale are worthless, since not a single other person reported seeing what should have been witnessed by 100s, & the local police precincts would have been flooded. Also, no one on the Brooklyn Bridge, nor the FDR Drive that the car stalled on reported anything remotely similar. Notice a pattern to this ‘irrefutable’ evidence? Yet, CDBB seems to buy it.
  By page 128 CDBB recounts many ‘experts’’ opinions on psychological factors abductees share- mainly being ‘normal’. This is a staple of abductee lit- that abductees are normal folk who seek no publicity & have no psychological problems. Yet on this very page it’s stated that 50% of abductees claim to suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, many typically display paranoia & make paranoid statements, & suffer from low self-esteem. Yet, instead of seeing these factors as causes of belief in being abducted, CDBB, as with most true believers, ascribes these traits as effects. Where is old Occam when you need him?
  A few pages later we get a recounting of 1 of the conference’s experts detailing the ‘Old Hag’ phenomenon (when a man feels he cannot move upon waking & is pinned down, & raped by a female spirit) as sleep paralysis admixed with hypnopompic hallucination. Another expert details many similarities between alien abductions & ritual sexual abuse by cultists. Little is made of this by CDBB, although- thankfully- in recent years the manifest connections between sexual abuse (ritual or not) & alien abductions (especially as screen memories) has been addressed by more scrupulous, & less credulous, authors. The chapter ends with this gem:

  I realize I don’t know what to believe! How does one explain the similarities in the abductee’s stories- the consistency of detail, structure, scenario? What would prompt a woman to make up a story about an extraterrestrial creature trying on her high-heeled shoes? How does one explain Budd Hopkins’s story of Linda Cortile being “floated” out of her twelfth-floor apartment building into a hovering UFO before two cars of witnesses who confirm her account? How does one explain John Carpenter’s story of the two women abducted in Kansas who, separately and unrehearsed, tell such matching stories?

  Of course, all of these things are explicable- the ‘consistency’ is really not, & that which is is readily explained by media saturation, I explained the high-heeled shoes episode, the irrefutable tale of LC is not so irrefutable since all the parties are anonymous- at their own request & not a single ‘outside’ corroborator exists, & the claims of separate & unrehearsed matching tales almost always turn out to not be either of those things, as the people typically wait months or years to tell, & have had many opportunities to exchange info. The claims of non-cross-pollution are usually just the writer taking the claimants’ claims on faith. Yet CDBB takes the familiar tack (in such books) of portraying the easily dismissed as inexplicable. It’s a literary device- but quite successful, even if it is seen through by folk able to discern the ham-handed efforts.
  This is, however, how the whole myth keeps its ‘legitimacy’ to its true believers- by inverting where the burden of proof lies. When I review Terry Matheson’s Alien Abductions I will detail this more in depth. But here is a snip from p. 157 where abductologist John Mack (who hammers home his credibility via being a Harvard psychiatrist & Pulitzer Prize winning author- yet for a biography of T.E. Lawrence!, not UFOs- a point JM elides), a man whose whole basis for belief in abductions stems from a) a claim that he never encountered such psychoses as abduction claims before meeting ‘real’ abductees (note the tautology) & b) being impressed by abductees’ sincerity & honesty (wholly subjective judgments, not scientific, & easily subject to cultural pollution- not to mention the idea of being ‘special’- even if negatively):

  ….as John Mack has just so succinctly said. “there has not been one bit of evidence presented that suggests this phenomenon is any different from what the abductees are saying it is.”

  This statement, & JM’s credentials are all that is needed for CDBB to fawn & believe something must be there. Yet even a tyro can see that the burden of proof lies on the abductees, not those who dispute them. & the fact is that most of the claims are easily refuted. Recall the poor credibility of human witnesses I recounted in summing up the JFK mythos? Could Dr. Mack really be ignorant of such? I’ll return to him & other the narrative elements of the UFO mythos later.
  Let me continue on with this book, 1st. Nearing page 200 CDBB veers off in to the whole Roswell/Majestic 12 imbroglio- the downed saucer, UFO stooges planted for disseminative purposes, coverups ranging as high as President Harry Truman, etc. What is interesting is how CDBB’s recounting of these events includes many elements not initially a part of the original tale- such as the recovered aliens being more like modern Grays (an idea which only emerged in the late 1970s)- vs. the original reports stating they were significantly different. The rest of the book has CDBB interviewing abductees (after the conference) who tell requisitely bizarre tales- almost in a ‘who can top who’ manner, & theorizing. He ends that section in this manner- & note how the author attempts to steer the gullible:

  During the days immediately following the conference, I am struck by how my perception of the abduction phenomenon has changed: I no longer think it is a joke. This is not to say I now believe UFOs and alien abductions are real- ‘real’ in the sense of a reality subject to the physical laws of the universe as we know them….As Boston University astronomer Michael Pappagiannis insisted, “The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”

  Well, duh. But it’s still putting the burden of proof on the wrong party. Note, too, how the text depicts a wavering- even though the book clearly paints a believer in actions. This is meant to lend authenticity because a ‘skeptic’ is now not so skeptical. In truth, I suspect, CDBB  was a closet believer whose faux denial is seen as a rationale for a newfound belief, although his earlier actions & writing, all clearly favor belief. To his credit, CDBB does interview an expert who discusses the higher rates of claimed sexual abuse in abductees (a fact, at the time, which was highly disputed). Yet, still, he returns to the credence-challenged Dr. Mack. On page 266 he details JM’s 7 points that an alternate explanation for the abduction phenomenon must fulfill before JM would take it seriously (& presumably back off his revivalist abductionist beliefs). I will, off the top of my head refute every 1. They are: 

1)      The authenticity, believability, and nature of the abductees

  This is wholly subjective interpretation on JM’s part. Many dispute all 3 claims. That aside, even granting all 3 qualities in every single claimant it does absolutely nothing to corroborate the reality of the event- perceived or truly real, for practiced liars easily fool polygraph tests all the time. This point is refuted & thereby accounted for.

2)      The emotional intensity of the abductees’ recall as indicative of trauma

  Dreams are vivid. I often mix long ago memories with long ago dreams. So what? But granting that, as the years since the book’s publication have proved, even rape victims (who have clear physical evidence of their violation) are often flat-out wrong in almost every detail of what happened, who did what, & who the perpetrator was. Also, emotional intensity is very real in fantasies- think of midday wet dreams, men. The point is poorly stated, nonetheless refuted & accounted for. 

3)      The narrative consistencies of the abductees’ stories 

  More on this later, but this is simply false- no ifs, ands, or buts. Point refuted & accounted for.

4)      The absence of any kind of diagnosed mental illness in the abductees that would account for their experiences

  The last decade has seen brain conditions which can neatly account for such. But a lie, or misperception, does not even have to be a mental illness. Refuted & accounted for.

5)      The corroborative physical evidence

  There is still no physical proof of tracking devices, alien notepads or beakers recovered, nor anything but some enigmatic marks on soil, plants, & occasionally weak radioactivity. This is not, by any definition, corroborative. Point refuted & accounted for.

6)      The phenomenon’s close association with UFO sightings

  Another overstatement, but this has never been in dispute amongst believers or non-believers. The reality of the UFO sighting &/or abduction is in dispute. To parse them out is to try to seek corroboration by another aspect of the myth itself. It's akin to saying that because the Loch Ness monster has a close association with Loch Ness there is something more believable about the alleged monster! 

7)      The reports of abduction occurrences by and among very small children

  Again, children lie, & do so most eagerly to please adults. They also claim past lives, with similar claims of knowing things they could not have possibly know. But not a single claim of past lives (by child or adult) has ever borne out details that could not be gotten by prosaic means, or the claim’s corroboration could never be, itself, corroborated!
  Yet on such goes, in a grim mirror dance to the JFK mythos. There, people have almost too many facts & refuse to believe where the obvious points to. With UFOs & abductions there is absolutely nothing, yet believers refuse to believe where the obvious points to. God wot, Occam! The rest of the book merely recapitulates the points previously made, with CDBB feigning objectivity. Aside from CDBB’s obvious lack of perspective the book, literarily, is dull & repetitive- especially in the post-conference chapters. The interviews with the abductees so manifestly reveal people with psychological problems that 1 is left shaking their head as to why CDBB refuses the obvious- to sell books, I guess? The style that most comes to mind is that of renowned UFO shill Erich Von Däniken- author of the 1960s & 1970s bestsellers on ‘ancient astronauts’. There, EVD would take prosaic artifacts & photos of mundane things & knowingly twist them to support his theses. I don’t believe CDBB knowingly is doing so (or he is, but in a much more slick & reportorial way), but its reliance on pseudoscience, admixed with facile reporting, make it undercut its own journalistic pretensions. Too often CDBB veers off into innate descriptions of time & place & mood- rather than just the Joe Friday approach the book bills. Why? Easy. The author wants to subconsciously get you in to an emotional state when dealing with the facts (which are wholly absent) so that the reader will ‘feel’ there must be something to these abductee claims, rather than realize intellectually, they are bereft.

Terry Matheson’s Alien Abductions

  This sort of unconscious prompting is employed by the abductologists in their leading hypnosis sessions, as well. They also employ many standard techniques of narrative that are easily discernible. I’ve been aware of them for years. Finally, a few months ago, I picked up an excellent book that echoes virtually every 1 of the points I’ve spent years making on the subject. The book is Alien Abductions: Creating A Modern Phenomenon, by Terry Matheson, an English Professor at the University of Saskatchewan. In short, this book takes the Joe Friday approach & lets it serve a literary purpose- not a forensic 1. I will, in a bit, detail the book’s approach to some of the major abductee literature of the past few decades, & show how TM delineates just how each book affects the next- how successful elements of the mythos are grafted, while weaker 1s are shunted & not reused. Like the game of ‘Telephone’ the mythos merges, reforms, & comes out different with each retelling, even as its proponents declaim its consistency.
  But before going in to detailing, & then comparing some of these same elements & their ties to the JFK Assassination mythos, let me give a brief overview of the book. The book is a bit over 300 pages long, & was released in 1998 by Prometheus Books. It therefore has about a ½ decade of information more than was available to CDBB. That said, TM is far more scrupulous in his skepticism. Unlike CDBB, this author recognizes the enormous influence the media & pop culture have had on society- virtually flooding the American mindset with archetypes of aliens, flying saucers, bug-eyed monsters, little green men, abductions, etc. for decades before the Modern Era ushered in by the watershed events of Kenneth Arnold’s initial sighting of ‘flying disks’ & the famed alleged Roswell, New Mexico UFO crash. There seems little doubt that the sci fi books & pulp magazines of the 1920s & 1930s really prepared America for the 1940s & 1950s UFO craze (discounting WW2 accounts of ‘ghost rockets’ & ‘foo fighters’), while the Cold War sexual repression of the late 1940s & 1950s made the country ripe for the emergence of sexually-laced tales of alien abduction that emerged in the mid 1960s & on. In other words, he finds it reasonable that fictional tales of abduction in mass media are followed, a few years later, by supposedly ‘real’ abductions, just like earlier tidal waves of Bigfoot & Loch Ness monster sightings followed only a few years after their initial thrusting in to pop culture.
  TM really shows in detail how each successive tale- from the seminal 1950s tale of sexual intercourse between Brazilian farmer Antonio Villas-Boas, to John Fuller’s account of the renowned Betty & Barney Hill case, through the increasingly bizarre (& manifestly influenced) tale of Betty Andreasson, the noted 1970s claims of Travis Walton, Hickson/Parker, & the Tujunga Canyon abductees, through the 1980s manipulations of Budd Hopkins & Whitley Strieber- ending with the 1990s pseudoscience of David Jacobs & John Mack- borrowed elements & learned from the credibility gaps of each prior tale, in helping to fashion a more believable & authoritative version for a new generation of would-be believers & abductees to tap in to. TM shows how the modern UFO myth is similar to ancient myths in other cultures- contrasting vividly Zeus’s rape & impregnation of Leda with the sexual abuse inflicted by modern aliens.
  TM also tries to keep a strict chronological approach to his thesis while acknowledging that myth often loops back on itself. But, by staying in a strict forward motion TM affords the reader an easier ‘in’ to what is really going on at a narrative level. This also affords TM a claim to being a ‘hard reader’- 1 with a more scientific approach. If 1 reads his book soon after CDBB’s 1 can easily see the difference between TM’s ‘hard read’ & CDBB’s ‘soft read’ of the mythos. Still, aside from a common sense approach, TM is less concerned with forensic truth than he is with detailing the overall arc of the myth through time- focusing on how subjective & unconscious elements interplay from abductee to abductee & abductologist to abductologist. That said, little of the book deals with the UFO myth outside of abductions. We do not get a primer in photos, contactees, saucer crashes, Men In Black, or the like. Refreshingly, TM seems to find much more truck with placing abductions in the lines of other myths, in works delineated by psychiatrist Carl Jung, & astronomer/mythologist Jacques Vallee. He also leads toward the idea that abductions are not only, in the singular- manifestations of mental ills, but- en masse- an emergent cultural phenomenon- i.e.- not technically a ‘conspiracy’. Perhaps the most powerful of the last century, seeing that fairies, the occult, crop circles, ESP, monster sightings, cattle mutilation, Satanic cults, & other psi phenomena have peaked & faded while UFOs emulate the Energizer Bunny, mainly because the source of irritation that this myth looks to soothe- cold technocracy- is still growing. In a sense the UFO Alien Abduction conspiracy can be seen in 2 ways- a conspiracy of the government, aliens, & media to prey on the American public, & then deceive them, or a conspiracy of kooks & publicity hounds seeking fame & fortune (usually via book sales).
  Argh!- on to the book. TM deals basically with many of the books I have- the Strieber & Hopkins sagas, the Tujunga cases, & the Jacobs & Mack books. He also recognizes, unlike CDBB, that the burden of proof is 100% upon the abductees & their abductologists. Realizing this, TM has no compunctions against showing, over & over, how both of those groups fail to meet their burdens. He also realizes, unlike Joseph Campbell, the human propensity to bullshit. There’s no better term than that. This BS can be conscious or not, but the need to let off steam in a good yarn is a means & an end to itself. In the book’s Introduction he tells a bit of background about the Contactees of the 1950s, & how their claims of lush Venusian jungles, & Selenite civilizations on the moon, were absurd even in their day. This allowed for their dismissal by all but the most gullible. This is a key element that TM correctly notes sets the stage for a need for an evolving mythos that learns from its predecessors’ errors. He also takes hard core skeptics to task for totally dismissing UFOs as being even beneath study because they equate ‘myth with fiction, and fiction with simple falsehood’.
  He outlines the decades-long progression of abduction tales from early ‘realism’- where aliens are physical, more human-like in their experimentation, speak rationally, have emotions, & only a passing interest in human sexuality- being more concerned with general physical structure & the like. By the 1980s the aliens are colder, more bizarre, take on more supernatural aspects, seem indifferent or malevolent to human questions & desires, + they now seem to track certain ‘chosen’ individuals, & have a growing preoccupation with human sexuality. By this time the standard alien Gray was dominant. By the end of the millennium, however, the tales became increasingly more bizarre, the aliens seemed either automatonic or absurd, they were virtually omnipotent, & unconcerned with detection, & when they did speak to their human subjects it was in bizarre or trite koans. Plus they seemed intent on mass breeding experiments, whether or not their captives liked it. In short, they had become interstellar sex fiends! Some of the ‘chosen’ abductees have now claimed that the aliens are not extraterrestrials, but ultraterrestrials or divine beings intent on saving humanity. They have come full circle back to the claims of their contactee forebears as religious overtones dominate. On the other hand, there is a great schism in this modern myth. Just as many abductees claim to be terrified. The aliens are monsters bent on preying upon humanity, aided by Vichy-like secret governments. The modern myth reflects the dilemma posed by Damon Knight’s short story (later a classic Twilight Zone episode) To Serve Man. Are these aliens here to aid us, or enslave (&/or eat us)?
  TM, in chapter 2, then shows us how authors manipulate their readers. He recounts the seminal tale of Brazilian farmer Antonio Villas-Boas. In short, AVB claimed to have been abducted, & had sex with a female alien. Anything more than that is subject to interpretation. TM then shows the common element of the author trying to bolster the witness’s character, often by bon mots & character references from others- even if we have no one who will vouch for their character, & that character issues have little to do with objective reality. Authors also use more subtle techniques. Here is how TM describes the description of the ‘facts’ of the case:

  On other occasions, the authors will label certain individuals in a manner that cannot help but create a favorable impression in the mind of the reader that may not in fact be warranted. In their discussion of the Villas-Boas case, for example (see the section titled “One Abduction, Many Versions,” below), many commentators cite in support of Villas-Boas’s credibility the fact that he rfused to capitalize on his experience by selling his story to the press; presumably, as a man of integrity who had nothing to gain financially by fabrication, it followed that the story was more likely to be true. They also stressed the credentials of Villas-Boas’s attending physician, Dr. Olavo Fontes, described in one account as “a distinguished local physician”. Given this alleged distinction (in support of which, incidentally, no compelling verification was offered), when the doctor “concluded that [Villas-Boas] was completely truthful,” subtle pressure is put on the reader to accept the experience he allegedly had.

  Note that nothing in the bolstering of witnesses does anything for the credibility of the tale. TM follows up by noting that words designed to connote authority or expertise are rife in such accounts; as well as prosaic details, designed to lend a verisimilitude of veracity not usually abundant in straight forward fiction. Details, in other words, = truth, to most lay readers. Another technique detailed is how the writers of abduction accounts (the abductologists) often try to bolster their image as reputable by including ‘transcripts’ of hypnosis sessions (even those where they are manifestly leading, distorting, & implanting suggestions) for a transcript puts 1 in mind of a courtroom & higher credibility. Other tricks include claims of decency & integrity by the writers of the books’ prefaces & introductions. The writer is presumably someone of renown, or in a profession thought highly of- a doctor or professor. Other tricks include ‘confirmation of  weather conditions’ on a ate in question, & stressing the ‘accuracy’ of the abductees’ memory. Logically, however, recalling that a light drizzle fell at about 11 pm 3 Saturdays ago is not corroboration that pink elephants sodomized a leprechaun while you gasped in horror. Or, as TM ends a section: ‘After all, some of the most realistically presented fictions have been the purest of fantasies, and readers of abduction narratives would do well to keep this in mind.
  That said, TM then shows how differences in the very retelling of the Antonio Villas-Boas case differ with each retelling- recall ‘Telephone’? In comparing the original text of AVB’s statements vs. a # of interpretations it is clear that each author highlights what they find interesting, freely changing events, hair color, methods of communication, time frames, & totally omitting some facts, while emphasizing others. What does this say? Remember the situation of the college professor whose briefcase is stolen & his students vary greatly in their descriptions. After such an impressive opening we are finally ready to tackling the 1st book that impacted the American psyche- John Fuller’s The Interrupted Journey, which details the seminal Betty & Barney Hill abduction. TM shows how the book’s Introduction was penned by a Dr. Benjamin Simon, who while he did not believe they were abducted, lends credibility that ‘something’ has gone on just by his presence & his insistence on only having himself- a trained specialist- perform hypnosis. As with the AVB case many of the initial book’s details have transmogrified over the years. Later in life both Hills added details that put their tale more in line with the mythos’s doctrine. TM illustrates this with many direct comparisons throughout the book. In this section he effectively parses some of the more prosaic claims.
  For example, the book claims the Hills did not seek out publicity. So, how did their ‘amazing tale’ become an American legend? This is from page 53:

  Admittedly, in chapter 3 of The Interrupted Journey Fuller does summarize how organizations such as NICAP learned of their UFO sighting (Betty had written Donald Keyhoe September 26, 1961- within a week of their experience), but the question of how the story eventually reached the attention of newspaper reporters is not answered until the final chapter, where we learn that the Hills had been asked in September of the following year to give a talk to a UFO study group during which a reporter made a tape of their lecture. Even so, this answer simply raises other questions concerning their supposed reluctance to be put in the public eye: How did the UFO study group learn of their experience to begin with, and why did the supposedly publicity-shy Hills agree to give a public lecture? Plainly, there is a major inconsistency here. Because Fuller makes no attempt to resolve this, the Hills’ credibility is bound to suffer.

  He later adds that this sort of ‘footnote’ contradicts other supposed facts about the case- namely that it was weeks before the Hills recalled their abduction, or rather were puzzled by the missing time. Yet Betty Hill was already hawking her tale a week after it supposedly occurred- 9/19/61. Throughout the whole abduction mythos tales abound of people who are ashamed, humiliated, scared, & reticent to ‘come out’ as abductees, yet even if 1 accepts that as possibly true decades ago it is manifestly not so now. This is, in fact, the 1 shot most of these ordinary Joes have at Andy Warhol’s 15 minutes. Inevitably it turns out most claims about abductees are similarly demonstrably false- such as never having had an interest in UFOs before, histories of mental illness or sexual abuse, etc. TM late in the chapter goes on to show that the initial accounts of the Hills night from hell is not what is embedded in the mythos now. 1st off the couple was interracial, yet JF seeds his account of their marriage with banalities like ‘successful mixed marriage’, & ‘they were no longer self-conscious about’. Yet, TM shows that the account details Barney Hill- a black man- as being divorced, insecure over public acceptance, fearful of racial hostility, & a constant worrywart. We also learn that the couple had been racially harassed on lonely roads by young hoodlums. TM points out that while abductologists make much of ‘screen memories’ covering up abductions, they pay little attention to the reverse- abductions as screen memories for more earthly traumas. TM then shows that in the original text Barney describes human beings, not aliens- in fact the only reference to the harassers on that road that night not being humans, but ‘creatures’- according to Barney, comes after a leading question:  

  ….the change in terminology follows Dr. Simon’s pointed question “Did they have faces like other people?” Soon after he reverts to describing them as he had before: “They’re- men! All with dark jackets. And I don’t have any money. I don’t have anything.”  

  Ask yourself- dark jackets & a fear of monetary robbery. Does this sound more like the work of young punks intent on racial harassment or interstellar highwaymen? Only through retelling & guidance do the men become something less earthly. Likewise, Betty’s initial account is of meeting ‘men’.
  On the next page TM goes in to describing that on 9/19/61 both Saturn & Jupiter were near the moon, to account for the Hills’ description of what could have been the bright light near the moon, that they ascribed to a UFO. On 1st reading it may seem that TM is guilty of the very ‘detailing’ he accuses others of, this time to propound his POV. & that is a correct observation- all writers do, including me. But the why of why TM does this detailing is different. He does so to point out that in this case John Fuller ‘omits’ these facts because they would provide a nice razor’s edge explanation for the UFO sighting. Another easily debunked aspect of the tale is the ‘missing time’ of 2 hours that could not be explained JF accounts for this as their time in the UFO being examined. Yet a closer reading shows that the couple claimed it took about 2 hours longer than usual to drive from Montreal to their home in New Hampshire. Why? Well, the book details numerous times the couple stopped to gaze at the UFO, + that they even described they spent a good deal of time driving at 5 mph to get a better look. JF also points out that they could not recall every aspect of their trip- he calls this ‘simultaneous amnesia’- but it’s easily explained by the fact that compared to their fascination with lights in the sky, & their fearful meeting with dark jacketed men, merely driving at night, whilst tired, is not bound to sear anything into the memory! Ask yourself, aside from the occasional hassle you deal with daily at work, what else is particularly memorable about any random day at work? Is your inability to recall every detail puzzling?

  It’s the ability to dissect words & arguments like this that make TM so engaging a writer. I’ll admit, his logical approach appeals to me because 1 can see it mirrored in the dissections I do of bad poetry & its worse criticism. Yet, sometimes he credits the reading public too much, as when he claims on p.64, that by Fuller’s not addressing the sort of discrepancies just described he will only ‘allow them to fester in the reader’s mind’. Would that your average reader was so bright. Remember that Stephen King, Tom Clancy, & Jackie Collins have sold 100s of millions of books to this same reading audience! Here, however, is another common sense summation of a section:

  Even though she claims no sexual advances were made [by the ‘aliens’], it does not take a psychoanalyst to see the relationship between the needle inserted in Betty’s navel and an act of sexual assault. Fuller’s silence speaks volumes.
  Fuller’s involvement can be similarly telling. When, at one point, Betty pauses in her monologue, the author chooses to opine that her pause is “as if to recall the picture more clearly.” A more sceptical commentator could argue just as easily that the pause is to allow her time for further fabulation.  

    The rest of the tales get a similar dissection. TM shows similar points in the narratives, slight divergences, & their relationships. Raymond Fowler’s initial book, The Andreasson Affair, came out in 1979. The basic thrust of this tale is to add the multiple abductions angle, as well as BA’s own raging Christian iconography to the mythos. This religious aspect has been tailored by other abductees to fit their own beliefs- be it New Age or evil. As with the Hills’ account, BA’s book contains an Introduction by noted astronomer & skeptic-cum-believer J. Allen Hynek. A 1st difference noted from the Hill book is that the author, RF, makes no serious claims to scepticism. He’s a believer who in later books comes out of the closet as an abductee himself. As for JAH’s Introduction, TM shows it to be larded with conflations to other UFO-related phenomena, even though the tale itself makes no such connections, as well as JAH’s rhetoric. From p. 79:  

  First, he states that readers who have the “courage” to take “an honest look” at Fowler’s book will be “sorely challenged” to maintain that “the entire subject” of UFOs is nonsense. This, of course, is an opinion with which few could disagree, since it does not take much of a leap of faith to concede only that there might be aspects of the UFO phenomenon that need to be taken seriously….But readers do not become less honest or courageous if they choose to dismiss the Andreasson story. One’s response to The Andreasson Affair must be based solely on the credibility of the evidence and the manner of its presentation; intellectual acceptance or endorsement of an issue is not so much a matter of character as of mind. All in all, when Hynek’s introduction is stripped of its rhetoric, the strength of its endorsement has relatively little value.  

  This is an outstanding denuding of manipulating wary & insecure readers by playing up to their desires to be better. Believe this & you’ll be courageous & honest. Kind of reminds me of the scripts used by drug dealers to lure 1st time would-be users. When RF tries to make readers question reality with statements like this: ‘The events that followed in rapid succession are utterly alien to the logical model of reality that we have been taught since early childhood.’, & lump a rejection of BA’s tale with mere dismissal as ‘hoax, dream, or hallucination’ TM is quick to parry effectively:  

  First, it is far from self-evident that our sense of the universe is a mere “model” as Fowler states, that is, a totally artificial and arbitrary construct, only one of many, all of which are equally valid and just as capable of sustaining us through life. Fowler’s assumption that such a rejection of the bizarre is bound to be “automatic”, that is, a mindless knee-jerk reaction to anything unusual, the consequence of “training” rather than education, is only warranted if it has occurred exactly as he says. His implicit hint that any rejection of the peculiar or atypical is the sign of a narrow and unreflecting mind is simply false; it could easily be the result of careful and extensive deliberation. In particular, he has no right to make such statements, especially when we consider the corollary-blanket acceptance of the bizarre- is hardly a guarantee of a successful journey through life.

  My only quibble with TM’s counter is that he overextends his argument unnecessarily. RF has every ‘right’ to make any statement he desires. He just has to be willing to bear the consequences- such as TM’s denuding of it. A really strong point in that denuding is where he plainly shows RF as co-creator of BA’s delusion- actively putting ideas & words in her mouth. While TM does give small snippets of this it would have been productive to include wjhole paragraphs, like I’ve done of his book, so to show exactly how this was done. 1 of the most effective ways to defeat an argument is to let its proponent hang themselves. A bit more of this would strengthen TM’s already formidable book. Still, he does find slip-ups all over the place. This from pages 93-94:

  ….But Betty remains vague throughout the book when the issue of her memory is ever brought up. When her daughter came to tell her about a “dream” just two or three days after the experience occurred in January 1967, Betty claims she replied that “it was no dream, honey. It really happened, but don’t tell anybody”, at which point she showed her daughter the blue book “from Jesus” that the aliens had given her. Here Betty has clearly contradicted herself, for earlier we learned that “it was about 1969” before she recalled anything other than the pulsating light, but it is a contradiction Fowler overlooks.

  The Christian iconography that permeates BA’s tale shows just how personalized all the ‘generic’ or archetypal tales become. BA was a devout Pentecostalist- a sect that speaks in tongues. Guess what? Her aliens also speak in a tongues-like language. TM shows that RF even states that the language seems like tongues- yet neglects to mention BA’s faith! In another sharp observation TM really rips the hypnosis done by RF- that hypnosis is not reliable, that untrained hypnotists do more damage than good, & almost inevitably proctor their subjects:

  But the most glaring evidence of questionable practice concerns the hypnotists request to Betty to recall specific experiences as if she were watching herself at “a movie”….Here it is almost impossible not to see this as a veritable invitation to Betty to fantasize….

  TM later shows that many of the pictures drawn by BA show things from positions she could not have possibly witnessed. Unlike TM, I am not so concerned with those that show BA looking at herself, for this is a standard way of positioning oneself. More disturbing are those things she could not have seen which lack herself in them, & are not depicted in her narrative.
  TM then does similar denudings of the Travis Walton abduction & those at Tujunga Canyon. He shows how poorly written TW’s 1st person account is, but commends him on his more down to earth tale- 1 which, by comparison, is rather boring. The major point he shows in the Tujunga abductions (which involved lesbians) is that there was a lack of the phallic imagery (needles & probes) present in the 2 Bettys’ (Hill’s & Andreasson’s) accounts. Freudians must take succor in TM’s demolition of their account. He also parses some of the early attempts at a PC way of describing the women’s sexuality.

  He then turns his attention to Budd Hopkins, a painter who is either (as novelist Norman Mailer once said of poet Allen Ginsberg) the most courageous man in America- standing up against the whole black conspiracy of aliens & government operatives to abuse Americans- or America’s biggest charlatan &/or dope- a man who has psychologically poisoned 100s, if not 1000s, of esteem-challenged & gullible wannabe believers. TM repeats many of the techniques he used to denude the earlier books, such as this beaut from p.132:  

  ….On one occasion, he [BH] argues that “No one can deny that this [the extraterrestrial hypothesis] is possibly the correct explanation of the UFO phenomenon.”

  A collective ‘Duh!’ please. TM also uses scrupulous logic to trip BH up:

  ….And readers do not have to conclude, as Hopkins would have it, that a narrative is literally true simply because similarities can be found throughout its various manifestations. This is because only a finite number of events can ever proceed from a previous event, whether fictional or not, and still remain faithful to principles of consistency and logic. When we consider the alien abduction scenario, once the existence of UFOs is assumed for the sake of argument, the performing of experiments and tests on human beings by their occupants is simply one of a limited number of reasons for their presence here in the first place that makes any sense.

  Later he shows how BH minimizes the time frames between supposed occurrences of abductions, & their being reported, as well as how earlier tales, like the Hills abduction, are accorded matter of fact status of having truly occurred, & being beyond dispute. What I found interesting in reading TM’s book, especially that on BH- who is not a professional writer (or was not when Missing Time, his 1st book came out)- is the difference in presentation, & the understanding of narrative. Both TM & I see manifest tricks & techniques all these writers use, even as they are (to credit their genuineness) unaware. In BH’s case, he’s a painter- an art form that communicates ‘a moment’, from which background & future narratives can be presumed- either by being based on outside sources (real or fictive) or being presented with manifest narrative directions. Writers have a far more complex task of crafting a narrative usually in toto. They also have to do more with less- think of the clichéd maxim ‘A picture is worth a 1000 words.’
  Another point that is undeniable in the whole abduction mythos is the resurrection of many of Sigmund Freud’s ideas on sexuality. Whatever 1 may say of his methods as a psychiatrist (& he is acknowledged as a truly bad doctor), there is no denying that many of his since discarded notions about sexuality have resurfaced in myths like alien abduction & ritual sex abuse- in other words, bad doctor, but good anthropologist. TM also details how BH sees differences in tales as being solely based upon the supposed abductees’ individuated responses. In other words, it’s all true, & any discrepancies are merely happenstance.  TM also shows how BH selectively picks & chooses to explore &/or publicize only those narratives that are like, or can be made like, those he considers to be archetypal- more on this in a moment. He also pokes gaping holes in BH’s logic. Witness (pages 144-145):  

  [BH:] “If, ten months later, a hypnotically recalled narrative confirms in both outline and specific detail what was recalled ten months previously, then we are probably dealing with an actual, historical event.” To say this is to argue that a person’s ability to recall twice in ten months the plot of Hamlet provided proof that the characters actually existed. With this reasoning, Hopkins has no trouble turning a statement made by Philip such as “I hesitate to say it, but (I have) almost a sense of a flying saucer there, and I’m just trying to imagine what might have happened next” in to “nearby there was a flying saucer”.

  TM details other contradictions between BH’s stated goals & what he actually does. He also convincingly lays out an alternative scenario for abductions- that people who cannot deal with their everyday lives’ problems opt for an ‘easy’ out to explain their failures &/or frustrations. This is much in-line with modern irresponsible culture- where alcoholics have a ‘disease’, homosexuality is predetermined by genes or brain structure, & sexual abusers claim they were abused, & merely 1 link in a chain they did not start.
  TM also puts to rest the claim that abductees are normal, well-adjusted people. He shows how ‘Kathie Davis’- BH’s heroine from his 2nd book Intruders- is a none-too-bright, chronically ill single mother with little going in her life- yet abductions have elevated her to the Eve of a new hybrid alien-human species. Her motives for lying are manifest. He then details a young female abductee who claimed to be pregnant while claiming she was a virgin. The ‘baby’ then disappeared & neither the girl’s parents nor doctor seemed to query much of the missing child, even though the doctor ‘confirmed’ she was pregnant with an intact hymen. Of course no real names are mentioned. This would lead to someone else attempting to verify the tale, & come up woefully short- as in the midday Manhattan abduction of Linda Napolitano. Here is how TM handles both the supposed pregnancy & BH’s myopia:  

  ….Surely an instance of parthenogenesis- human reproduction from an egg unfertilised by sperm- would have been regarded by the doctor as the most significant event since the conception of Christ, and dealt with accordingly.
  Unquestionably, abduction authors often betray methodologies designed to fit their predispositions. Hopkins, for example, informs us that if an abduction “followed the pattern of symptoms [he] recognized as suggestive of a buried abduction experience, [he] often phoned the writer directly.” That is, it is his a priori understanding of the form an abduction narrative should take that determines which abduction claimants who contact him he will investigate, and presumably affects as well which parts of their testimony he will take seriously.

  In a word, BINGO! My only quibble would be to include the word ‘alleged’ before ‘the conception of Christ’.
  But, if BH’s claims were the most bizarre & over-the-top until then, the tales told by his on-again/off-again case study- horror novelist Whitley Strieber- left BH & all others in the dust. WS’s tales incorporated many of the myth’s prior narrative elements & began with his 1987 blockbuster, the bestselling Communion. In short, WS had a series of lifelong abductions by ‘visitors’ who resemble the classic Grays, but were not necessarily extraterrestrial. The book was made in to a feature film starring Christopher Walken as WS. The tale is afamiliar to even non-UFO buffs so I won’t dwell on it, save to say 2 important things: 1) WS & BH have alternated between being comrades-in-arms to bitter enemies, both accusing the other of lying, distorting, & manipulating both aspects of their relationship & the whole abduction myth in toto. WS has labelled BH a fraud, while BH has countered by questioning WS’s sanity. 2) WS has admitted, then retracted, that his whole abduction tale was a put-on, or pure fiction. The reasons for his vacillations could be monetary profit as each new installment in the saga came out, or that he is, as BH claims, a nut.
  TM dissects WS’s narrative & points up its strength vs. older tales, & its requisite weaknesses. TM especially nails WS for, again, purporting the abductions cause screen memories (such as an owl looking at him), yet not recognizing that the abductions could be screen memories for sexual abuse- a theme that plays a larger role in WS’s work than any narrative to that point. Later, when discussing WS’s foreword to a later book by Raymond Fowler TM points out how WS claims there are ‘subtle features’ in abduction accounts that have not been made public- so to test the legitimacy of the claims. This is similar to police withholding facts in murder cases such as Jack the Ripper or the Zodiac killings so that a claimant to the killings would have to know these facts to be credible. Yet most abductologists have never publicized these shared features- even in cases long investigated. This, TM correctly suggests, is indicative that no such features exist- for why would not abductologists want to strengthen their claims? I believe that, much like PC Elitist artists, abduction myth believers actually enjoy their ‘willful marginalization’- it gives them a collective identity. Another debunked aspect of the whole UFO myth that TM exposes is the easy tossing around of statistics. When RF dismisses that abductions could be the result of fantasy-prone personalities TM hold his own words against him. From p. 196:

  “It is a bit much to state categorically that all abductees fall into this small percentage of the population”. But why it should be “a bit much” to see the fantasy-prone personality as a possible cause of some abduction accounts is not explained. Since by his own admission over 4 percent of the population are fantasy-prone, that would mean there are well over eleven million persons in the United States and Canada alone who have this condition, hardly a “small” number of individuals.

  Nor does it explain RF’s whole belief system in probabilities- smile old Occam! Here is a man who finds it credible that millions of Americans have been abducted & sexually abused by aliens with not a scintilla of corroborating proof, yet he is skeptical about perfectly reasonable %s & #s he, himself, propounds! This says far more of RF’s will & need to believe what bizarrely comforts him than his abilities as an investigator & scientist. He then details newer elements in RF’s later tales, & discerns a pattern of accretion of narrative elements that occur in both the myth as a whole, & RF’s tale in particular:

  Fowler does not appear to be aware that if any story is repeated with sufficient frequency and force, it will take on the status of an established fact, a tendency that has long been known and exploited by those who would manipulate public opinion, whether town gossips or political propagandists.

  He later details how much of RF’s claims about other people are betrayed by his own statements, as well as showing, via RF’s own written words that, contrary to the claims of abductologists, there are many differences when different people describe similar circumstances, & how abduction mythographers seek legitimacy by attempting to get people of staure to blurb, foreword, or shill for their ideas or books- either in parts (selectively highlighted by the abductologists), or in toto (while selectively giving primacy to some assertions that bolster their claims over other demurrals). Throughout the book TM also has extensive footnotes that detail the similarities of many abduction tales to famous works of fiction- be they film, tv, or prose.
  Later, when dissecting David Jacobs’ Secret Life, he points out many of the same techniques earlier authors used, as well as DJ’s selective emphasis of certain points over others. 1 of those points is the large cash advances that authors with credentials, like WS & John Mack have gotten for their books, not to mention derivative works. When DJ holds up the straw man of screen memories & no history of sexual abuse in most abductees, TM nails him (p.243):

  “Most abductees do not claim to have been sexually or physically abused.” One could, however, reply by pointing out that this is the whole purpose of screen memories: of the pseudomemory of an alien abduction is doing its job in successfully shielding the victim from memories of abuse by a human being, the victim naturally would not know of it.

  Again, people: ‘DUH!’ In later talking of John Mack’s book Abduction, TM shows how JM’s methodology draws certain personality types to him, while others gravitate to BH or DJ. Throughout the book TM relentlessy deconstructs methodologies, predidposition, narrative tricks, & the mythography, to show that the Occam’s Razor answer to the UFO Alien Abduction myth is a resounding no, as far as aliens are concerned, & a definite yes whereas fringe persons with cultic tendencies tend to gravitate.
  In his end of book summation TM shows that while abduction is a major part of the world UFO myth, it is not dominant elsewhere. He details how the 1960s brought the UMMO letter phenomenon to Europe & Australasia- wherein aliens where claimed to be writing letters of highly sophisticated scientific content not generally known to the masses. He also shows that there is nothing more compelling about the myth of alien abductions than any other myth- say of alligators in the sewers of New York City. He then gives several definitions of myth, & here is where I’ll chime in with my own: ‘Myths are beliefs with no contemporary basis in reality, although there may have been, at some time in the past, hints of reality.
  This definition applies equally to the alligators in the sewers, alien abductions, & the Warren Commission’s findings on the assassination of President Kennedy. It’s also worth noting the differences between myth & legend. A legend is usually much more specific in details, & generally accepted as almost never having had a basis in reality- ala tall tales & things beyond the pale. Little green men from outer space, Paul Bunyan & King Arthur, therefore are legends, while Grays, & most religions’ origins are mythic. TM then details Joseph Campbell’s beliefs in myths as ennobling & necessary, rather than the products of boredom, dolor, & ennui in a world more & more tamed by man. I have to disagree with JC, & his whole ilk’s inability to see beyond this sort of essentialistic aspect to myth. I ask you, what is more pervasive in the human condition than sadness & malcontentedness? I know of no such thing that transcends all cultures like these 2 features. Myths, & storytelling (its parent), are therefore essential not because they provide a positive in an indifferent world, but because they provide relief from the world’s negatives. & this is not mere semantics. The former belief is 1 rooted in hope (not a bad quality) not reality, while the latter is based in pragmatism, not fancy.
  We can see this principle at work when people choose to believe that 1 wacko did in the President, rather than the many clues (& few airtight) that point elsewhere, as well as the mass of small-minded, despairing little people (Hobbes is winking!) who need to feel that they are somehow ‘different’ from others- even if that difference may lead to ostracization, for the mere fact of assumed ‘difference’ is its own reward- not money, not fame, not pity- but mere difference. I have often been frustrated when dealing with people (even highly intelligent people) who lack more than a Functionary intellect, because, try as they might, they cannot see the machinations that go behind things that might be obvious to me, yet are oblivious to them. It’s heartening to read a book written by someone who has the ability to discern methodologies that, to me, are so patently obvious, yet almost always missed by others. TM quotes from Classical scholar G.S. Kirk for this gem describing the arc of myths (p.289):

  Their telling is subject to the rules of all traditional tales: they will be varied in some degree on virtually every occasion of telling, and the variations will be determined by the whim, the ambition or the particular thematic repertoire of the individual teller, as well as by the receptivity and special requirements of the particular audience. Themes will be suppressed, added, transposed, or replaced by other apparently equivalent themes.  

  Exactly. TM then concludes the book with a summary of the many points discussed & detailed. I would like to add that the biggest element of the abduction myth that has not been addressed is how often the ‘alien’ abductors have nothing to do with supposed UFOs. Also, the large bulk of the UFO mythos has nothing to do with abductions- a primarily American phenomenon- & even in the US most reports concerning UFOs have to do with sightings- or CE1s & CE2s.

PBS, Nova, & the Abduction Mythos

  But, TM’s book is not all there is to be said on the subject of alien abductions. Not only has the written mythos been adapted for film & tv, but it has also been accorded attention by mainstream science- most notably on an episode of the PBS program Nova, called ‘Alien Abductions’. The show 1st aired 2/27/96 & was described by an anonymous online reviewer thusly:

  Hopkins demonstrated his sincerity and investigative incompetence on the public television program Nova ("Alien Abductions," first shown on February 27, 1996). The camera followed Hopkins through session after session with a very agitated, highly emotional "patient". Then Nova followed Hopkins to Florida where he cheerfully helped a visibly unstable mother inculcate in her children the belief that they had been abducted by aliens. In between more sessions with more of Hopkin's "patients", the viewer heard him repeatedly give plugs for his books and his reasons for showing no skepticism at all regarding the very bizarre claims he was eliciting from his "patients". Dr. Elizabeth Loftus was asked by Nova to evaluate Hopkin's method of "counseling" the children whose mother was encouraging them to believe they had been abducted by aliens. From the little that Nova showed us of Hopkins at work, it was apparent that Mr. Hopkins encouraged the creation of memories, though Hopkins claims he is uncovering repressed memories. Dr. Loftus noted that Hopkins did much encouraging of his "patients" to remember more details, as well as giving many verbal rewards when new details were brought forth. Dr. Loftus  characterized the procedure as "risky" because we do not know what effect this "counseling" will have on the children. It seems we can safely predict one effect: they will grow up thinking they've been abducted by aliens. This belief will be so embedded in their memory that it will be difficult to get them to consider that the "experience" was planted by their mother and cultivated by alien enthusiasts like Hopkins.


  I saw that show & the reviewer is correct in stating how utterly oblivious BH was to the folly of his methods as well the possible psychic trauma he could inflict. 1 wonders what the motivations are which drive a person so doggedly in pursuit of ideas wholly unsupported by the facts? I can only opine that it makes BH ‘different’- not only from other people, but from other artists & painters. Having seen some of BH’s work it is obvious his name will not live on for his art, so what does the immortality seeker (& we artists are most definitely that!) need to do? Find another way to propagate his existence. It's far easier to become dominant in a smaller, newer field than in a timeless 1 like the arts.

  The online reviewer than further criticizes Dr. John Mack, who also participated in the Nova show:


  He can make all the claims he wants and refuse to back any of them up on the grounds that to do so would be to violate his patients' rights. He can then publish his stories and dare anyone to take away his academic freedom. He is in the position any con person would envy: he can lie without fear of being caught.


  & makes this cogent point:


  The fact that a person is kind and decent and has nothing to gain by lying does not make him or her immune to error in the interpretation of their perceptions.


  At this point its useful to note that both BH & JM were livid over the show. They used it as a rationale to argue for a conspiracy set on ridiculing them & their beliefs, & trying to censor them. I, for 1, loathe false claims of censorship because in The Boy Who Cried Wolf fashion, it makes all true claims that much harder to prove & accept. Yet, it’s worth noting how the 2 abductologists with widely varying POVs, responded to the show.


The Abductologists Strike Back!


  BH takes a ‘hard approach’- that these aliens are materially real, malevolent, & travel across space in spaceships. JM takes the ‘soft approach’- these beings may be from other planes of existence, are generally beneficial, & may not be real ‘as we know it’. Keep that in mind when you read the 2 men’s replies. 1st is BH’s:


From: tomt@ultratech.net (Errol Bruce-Knapp) 
Subject: Budd Hopkins and NOVA
Date: Thu, 15 Feb 1996 00:30:30 GMT
Organization: UFO Updates - The BBS of MUFON Ontario

  Budd Hopkins faxed me the following, asking that I post it. He'd originally written it (I think) to be posted once the NOVA show 'Kidnapped By Aliens' had aired on PBS at the end of February 1996. In order to not confuse, I've taken the liberty of 'tweaking' some of the tenses and wording, since this is/was posted before the air-date. 

Date compiled: 02-14-96 Compiled by: Errol Bruce-Knapp - UFO Updates Toronto. 




by Budd Hopkins


  Readers familiar with the writings and lectures of the late Allen Hynek may recognize in the above title an expanded version of one of his most quoted bon mots, "Science is not always what scientists do."

  After pre-viewing the soon to be aired NOVA program which systematically and outrageously distorts the UFO abduction phenomenon and my work in the field, it's fair to say that NOVA has abandoned its right to be thought of as either objective, balanced, or scientific.

  However, I suppose it's a perverse sort of honor to find my work trashed by people with the same intolerant mindset as those who also trashed the research of Dr. Hynek, Dr. James McDonald, and so many others who have labored in the same unfashionable vineyard.

What NOVA presents in its luridly titled program, 'KIDNAPPED BY ALIENS?' is a mangling of the truth, a polemic having absolutely nothing to do with scientific investigation. Typically, on a show filled with hostile authority figures with little or no acquaintance with the data, astronomer Carl Sagan said that he believed all abduction accounts are delusions or hallucinations. So far, NOVA appears unconcerned that Dr. Sagan has yet to mount a serious investigation into even one abduction report.


  Actually, this is not true. Carl Sagan, in the 1950s & 1960s, did research the subject. He simply found no supporting evidence. As is usual- anyone who disagrees must be working some agenda. Yet, if applied in reverse this means BH must have his own agenda. CS, in fact, vividly & convincingly debunked Betty Hill’s noted star map, on an episode of his PBS series Cosmos.


Should we be concerned with a program so obviously biased? After all, my informal inquiries reveal that TV critics, media professionals and especially scientists almost universally view Nova as a slick operation pandering to the same sensation-seeking audiences as commercial TV. This NOVA UFO program was designed to air during 'Sweeps Week', the period when the ratings war is at its hottest.


  This is an odd claim from a man whose own books & TV miniseries indulged in sensationalism. & do we ever hear who compromises BH’s informal star chamber?


Consequently, before they plunged in the knife later in the show, the producers began it in the most sensational tabloid style imaginable, with eerie music, foggy re-enactments and spooky lights, suggesting that NOVA was now going head-to-head with 'Hardcopy' and 'Entertainment Tonight'.

But for anyone interested in truth, we must care about NOVA's misrepresentations. The show undeniably reaches many public television viewers and is still regarded by those outside the scientific and intellectual communities as a science program. Its deceptions, unfortunately, will mislead a large, ultimately world-wide audience now, and in later reruns and videotape sales.

The main reason for the program's destructiveness is its message, implied and delivered directly, that all abductees--all--are weak-minded patsies, delusional, or victims of repeated hallucinations. In other words, liars aside, all who report such experiences are, to some extent, mentally abnormal.


  Yet, both cursory & in-depth examinations suggest that mental aberrations are a major component of abductions. TM demonstrably shows this with abductologists’ own words.


What evidence does Dr. Sagan, for example, present to buttress his sweeping--and to the abductees, damning--indictment of their ability to separate fantasy from reality?

None. None whatsoever. For a man regarded within popular culture as a kind of 'Pope of Science' to offer such a wholesale denigration of UFO abductees with no supporting evidence is worse than irresponsible.


  Again, BH mixes up who the burden of proof lies upon. Those making kooky claims have the burden to prove they are not kooks- not vice-versa. Add in the fact that BH provides zero to back up his claims & it’s interesting to see him desire a scrupulousness in others that he, himself, lacks.


In the psychological literature there is only one report of an in-depth, blind study of the mental health of abductees--the 1983 report by Dr. Elizabeth Slater--and it shows that Dr. Sagan's opinion is totally unsupportable.

Did NOVA make any effort to find out if there is any evidence supporting Sagan's 'diagnosis' of the abductees he'd never met? More to the point, how many abductees on the show did NOVA ask to submit to psychological tests, psychiatric interviews and the like? To my knowledge, none. John, a former counselor and one of the abductees who appears at length on the program, informed NOVA by letter that he would present himself for any type of test, medical or psychological, that they wished to administer. If NOVA were trying to do an objective, scientific study as they claimed, they should have instantly accepted John's offer. Instead, they chose to ignore it. When one considers the destructive conclusions NOVA presented about the abductees they showed on camera, they cannot argue that they refused John's offer out of concern for his reputation. There seems to be only one reason to decline the opportunity of conducting psychological tests: the fear that the results might destroy their theories and thus expose NOVA's deceptions.


  Yet, even in 1996 there were studies, detailed by TM, that showed that BH’s claims were not so.


Having declined to employ any scientifically valid testing, the producers went on, in effect, to have John diagnosed on the air by 'experts' who'd never met him. This was the program's basic modus operandi: material that I presume was carefully pre-selected was presented, for negative comment. To experts ignorant of the mass of UFO abduction case material and who were given no opportunity to interview the witnesses. Their comments therefore have the same degree of validity as the diagnoses issued by pop psychologists on daytime radio and TV after two - or three-minute conversations with the caller, a practice NOVA's producers would otherwise be the first to condemn.

But even worse is the show's blatantly dishonest presentation of a family case to which they devote a great deal of airtime. The young mother of two small children had written a letter to me, and with her permission I presented a copy of it to producer

Denise DiIanni of the NOVA staff. In her letter the young woman said this about her abduction experiences: "My memories are real and I have not had to use hypnosis to remember them."


  Note how BH shifts from requiring extraordinary burdens of proof from his detractors to a blanket acceptance of those who mirror his beliefs.


From a life-long series of encounters she records the following details: "The 'little men' as I used to call them would enter my bedroom from the same place in the wall... [They] were small, had large heads with large dark eyes that seem to look right through me."

Describing painful physical procedures, she added: "The tears would roll down my cheeks into my ears, an uncomfortable feeling. I was unable to wipe my tears away..."

She described the alien figures as moving in unison, and in another encounter:

"being slowly lowered into my mattress, so slow that I would think 'hurry up, I just want to feel my mattress under me and go to sleep.'"

On another occasion she saw her brother being taken in broad daylight:

"He looked so tired and was slumped over... I remember being very worried that he was too little to get into that object in the sky."

In these accounts and in later, face-to-face interviews with the NOVA crew present, she described many more experiences from childhood to the present, all recollected without hypnosis.

  Note the emphasis BH accords to ‘memories’ obtained without hypnosis. Yet, as we’ve seen- human memory- no matter how obtained- is almost worthless. 

What's more, her husband vividly described watching their little son being floated out of the house by the aliens while he lay paralyzed on the floor of their front hall. With NOVA's camera recording it all, he lay down exactly where he remembered having fallen and described where each alien had been standing. He explained that the master bedroom was on the other side of the wall he was leaning against. Desperately trying to alert his sleeping wife, he showed us how he tried in vain to move his leg enough to bang against the wall to summon help.

His testimony was the most vivid and important of our visit to their home. It corroborated his wife's account and explained their powerful fear for their children's safety.


  Of course, the element of cross-pollution is never addressed.


But all of this eyewitness testimony and dramatic film footage was suppressed by Nova. All of it.

In its place, producer DiIanni assembled an emasculated case in which only the vaguest, most tenuous aspects of the family's testimony were presented. Having thus suppressed all of the strongest evidence,

NOVA went on to slander my view of the case's validity with the following summary: "Budd Hopkins thinks this (portentous pause) provides compelling evidence: children pausing at drawing, dreams of strange events that feel real, and images of traumatic sexual assault, remembered only under hypnosis!" (my emphasis)


  Apparently BH does not know the definition of slander. This statement, under no circumstances, can be construed as slanderous. Did BH sue? Did he win?


Through 'creative editing' I'm portrayed as trying to ascribe an abduction memory to an innocent child. In addition to the anguished father's eye-witness account of laying paralyzed while he watched the aliens taking his son out of the house, the child's mother had included in her letter the following account of what they went through when their boy was three-years old:

"My husband and I saw blinking lights in my sons bedroom... We continue to have problems with our son at night... When his dad gets him dressed in the morning he will ask questions (such as) 'How do they come through the walls? How do they park it there, there's no road there...' He talks about tables with no legs, 'but those are the kind you don't eat on.' He tells me how chilly it was outside last night."

There is, of course, much more, all of which was known to Ms. DiIanni. But in her script I am portrayed as suspecting the boy's possible abduction solely because of one piece of evidence: A child " pausing at a drawing of an alien". As NOVA well knows, no one on earth would ever describe that isolated, ambiguous reaction as "compelling evidence" - unless their goal was a conscious attempt to make the individual look like a fool.

I won't devote much time to demonstrate the ways NOVA edited my hypnotic sessions to make it appear that I'm leading the witness, though I must provide at least one...

For many years I've used what I call the "body inventory" method to avoid leading hypnotic subjects. When the witness describes being stretched out on an examination table, I say that we will now explore all the sensations that he/she feels from the feet, systematically up through the body, to the top of the head. I explain that the subject might feel a different sensation in some part of the body: pleasure, pain, an itch, a tickle, heat, cold, etc. - or that that part of the body may feel perfectly normal. I begin with the feet, proceed to the ankles, shins, calves, then the thighs, the sexual organs, the lower abdomen, the stomach and chest, the arms and hands, the head, and then the eyes, the nose, inside and out, the mouth, inside and out, and the ears, inside and out. The purpose is to avoid leading the subject to any one particular part of the body by naming most all of them at the very outset. NOVA, of course, didn't devote even three words of explanation to this painstakingly slow and objective process-- it can take up to a half hour--but suddenly cut in as I direct the subject's attention to her "female parts..." To put the least damaging interpretation on NOVA's deceptive editing, its result is to suggest that I'm leading the witness directly into sexual recollections or fantasies, something that a full transcript of the session would clearly refute.


  Amazingly, BH does not see that specifically asking for reports on bodily feelings, at the height of an experience where such a thing would be of little concern, & not cause any great memory- is, in itself, very leading!


When I was originally approached by NOVA's Denise DiIanni, I was told that she would only deal with people who agreed to show their faces on national TV. I explained that of the more than 500 likely abductees I've worked with one-on-one, only about 15 would agree to appear on national TV. Unfortunately, among the 271 who declined to appear were all the police officers, the (7) psychiatrists, the scientists, Ph.D.s, business executives, psychologists, physicians and even a NASA research scientist with whom I'd worked; in short, the people with the most to lose by subjecting themselves to potential public ridicule. Obviously, this reluctant 97% included the most highly credentialed and scientifically sophisticated abductees, the very individuals one would think NOVA should be most interested in interviewing if the program were to have scientific relevance. I asked if some of these highly credible people might be allowed to discuss their abduction experiences on camera, backlit or in silhouette, but NOVA declined, refusing to interview anyone outside the self-selected 3%. This decision alone demonstrated to me Ms. DiIanni's preference for potentially sensational TV footage over any attempt at scientific depth or inclusiveness.


  BH does not see that such an approach as they used also makes the individuals more responsible for their statements. Again, BH is oblivious.


The very brave handful who agreed to appear on national TV were mainly young and independent and for the most part not subject to the career risks of corporate politics. None were offered, and none requested, financial remuneration. All agreed to appear as a way of helping other abductees, in much the way a few rape victims will also come forward publicity, despite potential humiliation. Rape victims are guaranteed to receive sympathy. However, the abductees on Kidnapped by Aliens? were subtly but thoroughly discredited, beginning with that lurid title and the question mark that cast doubt on their testimony before it was even heard. Their bravery and generous spirit of cooperation was rewarded by NOVA's implication that all of them were either deluded, hallucinating, or simply weak-minded because, as NOVA's 'experts' said, such experiences simply cannot happen. At one point, physicist Paul Horowitz, who apparently has no idea of the range of evidence supporting UFO reality, categorically stated that UFOs don't exist and have never landed!

NOVA interviewed me at length in my studio, and, knowing all the fashionable theories debunkers use to discredit anyone reporting an abduction experience, I chose to stress the reports that fell outside these conventional explanations. I dealt with the huge number of abduction accounts that surface without the use of hypnosis, knowing that NOVA was sure to deride the process. True to form, the program implied over and over with sledgehammer thoroughness that hypnosis should be thought of as the generating cause of these (automatically false) abduction accounts. My discussion of contradictory data--the mass of non-hypnosis abduction reports-- wasn't even mentioned on the program.

I showed producer DiIanni a collection of photographs of the physical marks and scars that are the common sequelae of UFO abductions, and urged her to interview some of the people bearing the more dramatic wounds. Since these individuals were among the 97% unwilling to run the risk of ridicule by appearing on camera, NOVA not only refused to film them in shadow, but the slides of their wounds and marks which I was asked to lend to NOVA were never shown.

Also suppressed were the photographs I submitted showing ground traces and alterations of the soil caused by UFO landings. NOVA staffer Liesl Clark, in charge of the program's Internet Web, informed me that to show such physical evidence would be "to open a can of worms". She was right about that.

So, after being told that the abduction phenomenon was merely an artifact of hypnosis, the public was also deliberately denied any chance to see, to hear about and to consider photographic evidence of reported alien physical procedures and UFO ground traces. Thus, another of the debunker's false but favorite myths was reinforced: "There is no physical evidence." It's one thing, of course, to disagree as to the meaning and the degree of probative weight to ascribe to physical evidence, but it's another thing to suppress that evidence altogether.

Knowing that 'sleep paralysis' is one of the most preposterous general explanations of abduction reports yet offered, I described to NOVA's representative the existence of hundreds of accounts of abductions that took place in the daytime with all of the participants fully awake, and I cited examples. Since this fact also wasn't mentioned during the program--which naturally restricted itself solely to those cases which more plausibly fit the sleep paralysis theory--the public was misled yet again: "It's always hypnosis, there's never any physical evidence. And like sleep paralysis, it always happens at night." Ms. DiIanni knew that thousands of case reports prove all of these statements false, but chose to suppress that information, too, on her show.


  It’s amazing how many far more plausible explanations for abductions are labeled as ‘preposterous’ or something like that, yet the most far out scenario- alien involvement- is accepted unblinkingly. BH, it seems, knows not of Occam.


Though it's been painful having to spend so much time describing some of NOVA's many systematic deceptions, distortions and omissions, the denigration of thousands of decent, mentally sound people who have reported UFO abductions cannot be left unchallenged. Not once did any of NOVA's on-camera, debunking consultants admit that any of these people might simply be telling the truth. I was not naive enough to think that NOVA having produced an earlier program opposing the reality of UFOs, would now turn around and proclaim the reality of UFO abductions.


  Yet BH never seems to have entertained the notion that abductees are lying, or delusional. Hmmm.


I was naive enough, however, to credit the producers and Ms. DiIanni in particular, with sufficient honesty to make a very small admission: that despite all the debunkers' theories, all the data has not been explained and that an intriguing mystery does remain. In my wildest imagination I never thought they would have the arrogance to imply that all abduction experiences can be explained away by these (mutually contradictory) debunking theories, or that in doing so NOVA would be so unscrupulous as to deliberately suppress all evidence to the contrary.

People who trust NOVA will also unknowingly accept falsehoods such as the following, as true:

NOVA said that after the film 'Close Encounters' appeared, the number of UFO sightings increased, an example of the media generating 'false reports'. But in fact during that time, the number of new sightings actually decreased. For my part, NOVA often referred to me as "a therapist", though they are well aware that I've never made that claim and have never charged an abductee a penny for any help I've given.


  Does BH give any time frames to describe ‘after’?


But the acceptance of false information isn't the worst result of NOVA's deceptions. Far more damaging is the fact that anyone currently thinking of going public with a personal abduction account will be extremely hesitant to do so. Any physicians, policemen, psychiatrists, scientists, military officers or the like who have experienced UFO abductions will now have even more reason to keep silent. Having seen how NOVA distorted and dismissed other abductees accounts, few of these potentially valuable new witnesses will agree to step forward. In the light of all this, it's fair to describe NOVA as having both tampered with evidence and intimidated future witnesses.

On top of everything, Ms. DiIanni's show is being hyped for all the sensationalism and controversy that NOVA could squeeze out of the subject, going so shamelessly low as to beg the on-camera abductees to appear in promotional spots without first informing them how they would be treated on the program. It was as if innocent people were being asked to sell tickets to their own public humiliation. What NOVA produced was not a science program but a kind of middle-brow Jenny Jones or Geraldo. Denise DiIanni and executive producer Paula Apsell and all those responsible for the final edit of this show should be ashamed of themselves.


  Note, carefully, the utter defensiveness & myopia BH exhibits. Now, let’s see the subtler tack the professional psychiatrist takes. This is from http://www.beyondweird.com/ufos/John_Mack_Letter_To_Nova_February_1996.html:


Dr. John E. Mack's Response to Nova, February 22, 1996       
Denise DiIanni
WGBH Science Unit
125 Western Avenue
Boston, MA  02134
Dear Ms. DiIanni,


I am in receipt of your letter of February 13 and have also viewed the film Kidnapped by UFO's? for presentation on PBS on Tuesday, February 27.  First, I want to extend my appreciation to you and the staff at NOVA for attempting to give the subject of alien abduction serious attention.  You have presented many important issues, which I am currently studying, and there is an opportunity for a dialogue on this controversial subject to emerge.

However, I am disappointed and disturbed that you did not meet your usual high standards for scientific reporting.  I would have welcomed indeed, was looking forward to a scientific presentation of the data.  Instead, the film has been seemingly constructed to self-fulfill a predetermined point of view. A hypothesis is to be considered in light of all of the aspects of a given phenomenon, yet in your program the viewer is not given the benefit of the full range of possibilities. This is irresponsible scientific journalism. 


  In fact, viewers were given the full range. Neither he nor BH can apparently handle that the producers, & most people, simply do not accept their interpretations as the most plausible.

In addition, the implication that my assessment is based on such flimsy data is insulting to my level of experience and competence after forty years of clinical psychiatric practice.

Specifically, I have five main objections to the program as it currently portrays alien abduction research in general and my work in particular.


1) You have presented a biased view by omitting scientific data directly relevant to the discussion.


  Yet, when JM’s posse does exactly this there is no comment. & much of the ‘scientific data’ turns out just to be belief & supposition- as TM so aptly shows.


2) Carl Sagan defines the question (internal vs. external) in a manner which prematurely restricts the investigation of the abduction phenomenon.


3) Individuals without clinical credentials or expertise make allegations about the ethical and clinical nature of my work.


4) You have neglected to check factual data and have misrepresented the truth.


5) By choosing to present this topic as stated above, you are disregarding the potential psychological harm to this population.


I will address each of these points in turn.


1) A Biased View


None of the critics you interviewed have collected data which tests their hypotheses related to abduction experiencers.  Furthermore, you neglected to mention data which have been collected by other researchers to test these hypotheses. You fail to evaluate the theories in terms of all three factors that make abduction a coherent phenomenon.

o       You show me saying that there are no adequate psychological theories to account for abduction reports, yet you do not allow me to explain how and why the theories are inadequate. You therefore imply that I have naively dismissed or overlooked these theories, an action which would be irresponsible for a man of my senior standing in the psychiatric community. Why was I not asked to comment?  It was my clear understanding when you asked me to be interviewed for the program, that you were going to present alternative hypotheses and I would be given the opportunity to comment on them.


o       My consideration of the alternative theories and how they are inadequate is on record.  (See the appendix of the Abduction  paperback, available since 1994, which I am enclosing).  Why didn't you look there while preparing your research?


o       A large proportion of abduction experiences are associated with daytime, not sleep. You interviewed individuals who reported daytime experiences. Spanos (1993) found that 40% of individuals reported alien contact or abduction that had not occurred at night. You neglect to mention this in your presentation.


  Of course, hoax, fabulation, misconstrual, & delusion are not dependent upon time of day.


o       Sleep paralysis is an inadequate hypothesis to account for the phenomenon. Because two or three symptoms may look like what occurs in sleep paralysis doesn't mean that this explains the whole phenomenon.  Baker and other critics leave out the 45 or 50 phenomena that do not correspond to sleep paralysis such as the detailed, consistent narratives that are the substance of the alien abduction accounts (McLeod, 1996). Furthermore, sleep paralysis and hypnogogic hallucinations of long duration are a symptom of narcolepsy, an easily recogizable neurological disorder characterized by an overwhelming desire to sleep at any time (Carlson, 1994).


  Yet, we’ve seen how thoroughly TM demolishes this ‘consistency’ argument, & how even in 1996 assorted brain conditions do explain most of the abduction phenomenon- even if 1 concedes that hoaxers & liars are but minimal elements in the myth.


o       30% of abduction accounts are obtained without hypnosis of any kind (Bullard, 1989). Most of the data collected by me is not collected under hypnosis.


  Again, a moot point.


o        Data show that abduction experiencers are not unusually suggestible, hypnotizable, and do not suffer from mental illness consistent with hallucinations or self-deception (Rodeghier, Goodpastor & Blatterbauer, 1991; Parnell and Sprinkle, 1990).  The late distinguished psychologist researcher Nicholas Spanos writes of his data: "these findings clearly contradict the hypothesis that UFO reports even intense UFO reports characterized by such seemingly bizarre experiences as missing time and communication with aliens occur primarily in individuals who are highly fantasy prone, given to paranormal beliefs, or unusually suggestible" (Spanos, 1993, p. 62). Loftus and Baker may have found suggestibility and hallucinations in the general population, but there is no evidence that these psychological explanations account for abduction reports.


  Notice the contradiction in the last sentence. Abductees are, therefore, not a subset of the whole population? & we’ve also seen how claims of fantasy-prone personalities not being enough to account for all the abductee claims is patently false- even using abduction believers’ statistics.


o       Contrary to the slant of your program, I am actively testing the alternative hypotheses you propose.  The question of how suggestibility and hypnotizability affect the reports of alien abduction is worth studying. For this reason I and the Program for Extraordinary Experience Research are conducting a controlled study to investigate this matter. Although we informed you of our study, you chose not to report on it. You imply that the data you review is the latest and the best.


o       Carl Sagan suggests that people do hallucinate, but he knows little and says nothing about the conditions under which hallucinations might occur. There is not one shred of evidence given that hallucination applies to this particular population.  As an astronomer, Sagan is not qualified to determine psychiatric criteria for hallucinations and the conditions under which they might occur. Those conditions are not fulfilled in the case of abductees. 


  Sagan also speaks of the human capacity for self-deception.  Here, again, he is making a clinical statement, albeit it a general one, but then glibly ascribes this mechanism to abduction.

  Again, note how abductees are apparently not subject to the things that affect the rest of the population.


o       The validity of information obtained under hypnosis has been a source of controversy in both the psychiatric and the UFO communities (Frankel, 1993; McConkey, 1992; Scheflin and Shapiro, 1989; Bullard, 1989). Hypnosis is limited to a corroborating role in my investigations at this time.  Nevertheless, it is my impression that data obtained through hypnosis in abduction cases is often more reliable because it comes without the conscious mind's distorting efforts to provide reasonable, coherent narratives.


o       No theory explains all of the following three elements:

1) the consistency of subjective reports,

2) the level of affect, associated with these reports, both in and out of hypnosis, and

3) the physical evidence that corroborates the subjective reports.


  Again, I showed above how these & other criteria JM uses are manifestly false.


o       There is no evidence that Loftus or anyone else can induce the level of emotion associated with these experiences, whether in hypnosis or by direct suggestion.  In your program both the hypnotic subject working with Baker and the young woman given the suggested memory of being lost in a shopping mall show a clear lack of emotional expression related to their experiences. The experience does not seem to be of central importance to them. Abduction experiences tend to have high impact on the person involved (McLeod, 1995). Research tells us that memories of central importance are more likely to be accurate than memories of peripheral importance (Christianson, 1992).


  Note, none of this distracting jargon has an iota to do with the veracity of the claims.


o       You define the controversy in terms of physical evidence, yet fail to report cases in which physical evidence and corroborative reports by others supports the subjective report.  You state quite clearly that physical evidence is never recovered; MIT physicist David Pritchard (among others) has studied and written about physical evidence consistent with the reports (1994).  It does not prove or disprove the existence of aliens, but does corroborate the stories. You have a responsibility to report all data.


  JM is, obviously overstating. ‘Scoop marks’ are not proof of alien abductions- nor are marks on soil. True evidence would be some unearthly artifact or a sample of alien flesh or DNA (or its eqivalent), or a piece of the saucer. To date- bupkus.


o       Contrary to Baker's assertion, most experiencers look for alternative explanations to their experiences, and find no comfort in the content of their stories.  This should have been evident from your interviews of the experiencers themselves.


  Just like Betty Hill telling her UFO tale within a week of its supposed occurrence? These statements are unsupportable & merely opinion & hearsay.


o       Loftus is mistaken; there is evidence for "body memories," as reported by, for example, Harvard Professor van der Kolk (1994).


o       It is impossible to interview the nuns from centuries ago to investigate whether their stories met our current criteria for abduction experiences. Baker's point about this is irrelevant to the argument.


2) The Manner in Which You Define the Controversy Prematurely Restricts Investigation


You frame abduction research in terms of ridiculous dichotomies that do not reflect the complexity of the data we and others have collected.


o       Reducing proof for the validity of the abduction phenomenon to proof of the existence of extraterrestrials is overly simplistic and reflects neither my opinion nor the current status of the field.  I cannot explain the source of these experiences; different researchers have postulated that the experiencers come from different places or domains.


o       The question is not is the phenomenon real on an internal vs. an external level, but, how can we begin to investigate a phenomenon that has strong characteristics of both?


  This is known as getting wide leeway to do whatever the hell you want in a particular field. It has nothing to do with scrupulous investigation. Note the differences in BH’s brimstone hellraising vs. JM’s silent shivving.


o       We are facing a problem like that faced by the  people of the fifteenth century.  In that day many people could not believe that the world was round because common knowledge dictated that people would fall off any round object.  Similarly, many doctors in Lister's time did not believe in germs because reality dictated that nothing existed that was smaller than could seen by the naked eye. In both cases, scientific knowledge progressed because researchers continued to make observations in the face of criticism by those who claimed that the observations were impossible.


  An old trick- compare any wacko with the formerly wrongly persecuted. Also, JM states a myth- that 15th century folk believed the world was flat. This is not true on a worldwide basis where the Asian, American, & Arab worlds never subscribed to that belief, & even in Europe it was only propounded by a few in decidedly tall tales. That JM so blithely asserts this known myth as true says a lot about his own, seemingly limitless, credulity.


3) Absence of Qualified Clinical Opinion


There were no other clinicians on your program in addition to myself who have worked with people who report these experiences.  In no other field would it be permitted that unqualified individuals present as witnesses outside their domain of expertise.


In addition, individuals are making negative allegations about the ethics of my work, despite that fact that 1) they are not clinically qualified to make such judgments, 2) they are clinically unfamiliar with my cases, and 3) evidence against those allegations is documented in the public domain.


o       Baker and Sagan, neither of whom have clinical expertise, offer the opinion that I am doing harm by listening to  experiencers' accounts. Baker even suggests that I would serve experiencers better by telling them that an experience is "all a dream, and it was all imaginary, and it will probably never happen again."  His suggestion is clinically unsound and, as any psychiatrist would agree, would do harm.


o       A basic counseling principle is that any individual with any kind of problem requires a listening ear.  Baker's suggestion that a person's distress goes away if he or she simply stops talking about it is (at best) psychologically unsophisticated.  There is documented evidence that being able to speak candidly about their experiences is helpful to them.


o       Abduction experiences are distinct from usual imagination and dreams in that they occur with similar details across cultures and people of all ages, and have no apparent relationship to the details of the individuals' ongoing lives.  If abduction reports are the result of a common, detailed dream experienced by thousands of people across cultures, than that itself is an extraordinary event that should be studied.


  As we’ve seen, the bulk of this is false.


o       Contrary to Baker's allegations, I do not tell experiencers they are victims; the transformational aspects of the abduction experience are detailed in my book and in the articles I have written.


o       In its apparent zeal to discredit my work and show me as doing harm, the program fails to include testimony from any of the experiencers whom I have helped or the mental health professionals who value my approach. Furthermore, in its (mistaken) depiction of abduction experiencers as disturbed people prone to disturbed imaginings, the program is potentially doing harm to the well being of a large group of vulnerable people.


o       Current research is being conducted in accordance with APA ethical standards, as interpreted by the Human Subjects Committee of The Cambridge Hospital at Harvard University.  As noted in your program, there has been an internal review of my work, but you do not represent its conclusion accurately.  Although Harvard Medical School did not necessarily agree with me, they have encouraged this current study, and have also asked me to bring in more colleagues into discussion of this work. An accurate representation of Harvard Medical School's position is stated in the attached press release of August 3, 1995, to which you undoubtedly would have had access.


4) You Have Neglected to Fact Check the Story of one of Your Principal Witnesses

The segment of your broadcast dealing with Donna Bassett is factually inaccurate, and the statements which she has made and which appear on the preview are totally false.


  This was the woman who pretended to be an abductee & whose tale JM fell hard for hook, line, & you know the rest!


o       Ms. Bassett is described as a "writer."  If Ms. Bassett is a writer, what are her published articles?


o       Your description of how I met Donna Bassett is inaccurate.  We met at a UFO conference at which extensive details about abduction were presented by a variety of speakers.  She was already highly informed about the phenomenon.  Her interest in the field is documented to at least ten months before meeting me.


o       Your program states that I sent material about the abduction phenomenon to Donna Bassett in preparation for a therapy session.  I sent this material to both Edward and Donna Bassett in preparation for a collegial meeting with them in the lounge of the Charles Hotel.  There had been no discussion of my working with Ms. Bassett as a client at this point.  Your program, in an unconscionable violation of journalistic ethics, deletes the upper part of that note so that the viewer cannot see both of the addressees.


o       Your program implies that I met with Donna Bassett in a bedroom at the Charles Hotel. I met twice with both Edward and Donna Bassett at the Charles Hotel lounge.  It was only until after these meetings that Ms. Bassett requested working with me.  I conducted three hypnosis sessions with Ms. Bassett.  These sessions took place in my home/office and my female assistant was present at all of them.


o       Ms. Bassett has a history of making misstatements in print.  She has no credentials except that she lied to me and was supposedly "believed."  In Time magazine Ms. Bassett reports that  "hearing the tale, Mack became so excited that he leaned on the bed too heavily and it collapsed."  I'm sure that as you reviewed the tape of our session, you heard no such thing.


o       There is no evidence that I took her account at face value or that I was "ecstatic."  In fact, to the contrary, even prior to her "expose" her account was uncharacteristic of the majority of abduction reports.  For this reason I put aside her material, choosing instead to write about other, more consistent accounts.


o       It is not possible to determine at this time whether Ms. Bassett, or anyone else, was abducted by aliens.  It seems to me that she is a person who has been traumatized.


Of the more than one hundred individuals I have worked with, you have chosen to rely heavily upon the testimony of a person whose story you did not fact check.  Donna Bassett's interview and your editing of it are an unconscionable misrepresentation of the truth.  My attorney has provided you with extensive detailed documents related to this matter.


  This is known as damage control. The fact is JM could not discern a patent & manifest lie. This casts grave doubts about his abilities to distinguish even more practiced liars with far deeper psychological needs for approval. The fact that it’s been proven he fell once leaves grave suspicions about all his clients, their stories, & his own methodology.


5) Disregard for Potential Psychological Harm to this Population


Finally, and, in my opinion, most importantly, by choosing to present this topic in the manner stated above, you are seemingly disregarding the potential psychological harm to people who have been isolated and anxious about sharing their experiences.  I see no reason to be disrespectful to those individuals who are attempting to make sense of them and are willing to share their experiences with the rest of us.


In our work thus far, we have found isolation to be one of the most damaging aspects of this phenomenon. As a psychiatrist, I want to go on record saying this program is potentially harmful to many people. We are not saying what is generating this phenomenon; we are not drawing conclusions. As a psychiatrist with more than forty years of clinical experience, my assessment is that these people are having real experiences that are not the product of a psychiatric condition or psychological distortion. The source of these experiences is unknown. But as a clinician I am compelled to respond to my clients' distress, their ability to function in their daily lives. This has gotten lost in the show.


After your unnecessarily biased presentation, individuals who have had these experiences may feel obliged to return to the closet and become silent once again. People will consider them crackpots, not in touch with reality. They may once again suffer in isolation. I wish to be a voice that enables them to share their experiences appropriately.


John E. Mack, M.D.


  So, 2 letters. JM’s is obviously the better letter (stylistically, & in effectiveness- albeit minimal vs. BH’s letter’s negligible effect)- portraying oneself as a victim is always more profitable than playing the hellion. But, the central point of JM’s letter (which he dances around) is that he was snookered, & this reveals his own lack of skill as an investigator- not a lack of ethics. By trying to cast his opponents as recreants bent on assailing his name JM hopes to deflect criticism of his methods. Indignance is often used as a shield. As for BH- he’s pretty much beyond the pale.

  Other UFO believers have conducted polls using facts like these to suggest someone may be an abductee:


--Waking up paralyzed with a sense of a strange person or presence or something else in the room.

--Experiencing a period of time of an hour or more, in which you were apparently lost, but you could not remember why, or where you had been.

--Seeing unusual lights or balls of light in a room without knowing what was causing them, or where they came from.

--Finding puzzling scars on your body and neither you nor anyone else remembering how you received them or where you got them.

--Feeling that you were actually flying through the air although you didn't know why or how.


  Affirmative replies to 4 of the 5 means it’s likely you were abducted. Yet, prosaic explanations abound for all, singularly or together. #1 is hypnogogia or hypnopompia. We all have these experiences almost every night. Most people do not recall them because they are so banal. Only a paranoid would make something more out of it. #2 was explained when I dealt with the Hills’ ‘missing time’. Most of life is dull- we do not recall things, except when they are exceptional. This applies to things as ‘love at 1st sight’. How many times is someone smitten at 1st sight, but the smitee turns out not to be a dreamboat, or does not return our desire? Dozens of times in a life. But we only recall the 1 or 2 times it does, & place extra significance on that. Similarly posited are dreams of precognition. We have many dreams a night. Alot depict future would be happenings. If 1 event does transpire that 1st occurred in a dream is that evidence of precognition? No. Chance. # 3- the term is phosphenes- look it up. Also, light balls often do occur during periods of the aforementioned hypnogogia & hypnopompia. #4- how often have you found out you were bleeding & blissfully unaware you had been cut. Duh! #5- this is fantasy. Not a thing unusual about it since flight is 1 of the oldest of human desires. Again, the abduction cultists try to mystify up perfectly normal things & sensations. Similar prosaic explanations exist for other mental states like OBEs (out of body experiences) & NDEs (Near Death Experiences). Both have been shown to be products of minds under stress that release chemicals which alter perception. Is it so outlandish to suggest that a similar explanation is more in accord with Occam’s Razor than interstellar sex fiends?

  Not really, but let’s see what some motives for some of the major abductologists might be. Their motives are not as clear cut as those of the JFK Assassination anti-conspiracists. Whitley Strieber is either a slick con artist or someone with mental problems. While the mentally ill abound in the arts, my own take is that WS is too smart. I believed him when he said it was all a put-on. Here is his official website http://www.unknowncountry.com/ & his unofficial website http://www.beyondcommunion.com/. As for Dr. John Mack, he seems the most true believer out of all of them. Here’s some info from this website www.passporttothecosmos.com/ :

  John E. Mack, M.D., is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He is the founder of the Department of Psychiatry at the Cambridge Hospital.
  Dr. Mack earned his medical degree at the Harvard Medical School (Cum Laude) after undergraduate study at Oberlin (Phi Beta Kappa). He is a graduate of the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute and is Board certified in child and adult psychoanalysis with over 40 years of clinical psychiatric education and experience.
  His exploration of the “human dimension” of alien encounters led him to consider the merits of an expanded notion of reality, one which allows for experiences that may seem impossible, yet deeply affect people.
  “What has become clear to me in the ten years that I have been wrestling with the mystery of the alien abduction phenomenon,” he writes, “is the deeper power and meaning of the encounters cannot be understood without consideration of their transformative power and spiritual significance.”
  “The people who have the experiences change. They grow. They transform. They become Earth-conscious,” he explains. “That is why I seek to give them voice, because they become passionate on behalf of the stewardship of the Earth.”


Cambridge Hospital
Dept of Psychiatry
1493 Cambridge St, Macht Bldg
Cambridge, MA 02139

  Note the political element in JM’s will to believe. He’s an avowed liberal, per his own words, & abductees are people who have (cringe time!) ‘seen the light!’ As for Budd Hopkins? His website is http://www.intrudersfoundation.org/, & here is his own statement to the world:

  Budd Hopkins is a world-renowned artist, author, and pioneer UFO abduction researcher. Having investigated well over 700 cases, he now heads the Intruders Foundation, a nonprofit, scientific research and support organization. Budd first became interested in the UFO phenomenon when he and two others had a daylight UFO sighting near Truro, Massachusetts, in 1964. In 1975 he carried out his first major investigation which involved a UFO landing and occupant incident in North Hudson Park, NJ. Shortly thereafter, he began to concentrate on the investigation of the UFO abduction phenomenon, which led to the eventual publication of his findings. Taken together, his three books, Missing Time, 1981, Intruders, 1987, and Witnessed, 1996, are widely regarded by researchers and skeptics alike as comprising the most influential series of books yet published on the abduction phenomenon. These works, Hopkins' lectures, and his other presentations have been responsible for bringing a number of other noted researchers-David Jacobs, John Carpenter, Yvonne Smith, and John Mack, among others-into this extraordinary area of specialization. His documented discoveries have become the basis of most later abduction investigations and research.


  I ask any painter out there if they had ever heard of this world-renowned artist before his abduction books became well-known? Look at the hyperbole too- we’ve seen, via Terry Matheson’s deconstructions, that BH’s claims are rife with self-contradictions & falsehoods- deliberate or not.


  Budd Hopkins has long been considered ufology's most visible figure. He pioneered and continues to lead the investigation into the most controversial aspect of the UFO phenomenon-the systematic abduction of human beings by UFO occupants. As the world's premier expert on this issue, he has worked with more than one thousand people who have reported abduction experiences over the past twenty years. These individuals come from all walks of life and include physicians, psychiatrists, attorneys, police officers, military personnel, political figures, personalities from the entertainment world, and even a NASA scientist.

  A prolific writer and internationally respected painter, Hopkins has delivered hundreds of UFO lectures around this country and around the world. His groundbreaking first book, Missing Time, was the first work to compare a number of UFO abduction cases in order to isolate the patterns they revealed. His second book, Intruders-The Incredible Visitation at Copley Woods, was a New York Times bestseller and the basis for the popular 1992 CBS miniseries, Intruders, which has since been broadcast internationally. His widely acclaimed latest book is Witnessed-The True Story of the Brooklyn Bridge UFO Abductions.

  Hopkins' goal has always been to bring an objective, dispassionate scientific intelligence to bear on the UFO abduction phenomenon. To this end, he founded the Intruders Foundation (IF) in 1989. IF is a nonprofit organization devoted to research and public education concerning this extraordinary enigma. They publish a respected journal, as well as offer a nationwide referral service for those wishing to explore their own suspected abduction experiences.


  We just read BH’s vaunted objectivity in his screed against Nova, did we not?


  Despite its extremely controversial nature, Hopkins' research has received serious commentary in such mainstream publications as Time, Paris Match, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, Omni, People, and Cosmopolitan. He has been a guest on hundreds of television and radio programs including Nightline, Good Morning America, The Today Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Tonight Show, Charlie Rose, Larry King Live, The Charles Grodin Show, Sally Jesse Raphael, The Geraldo Rivera Show, 20/20, 48 Hours, Unsolved Mysteries, Encounters, A Current Affair, Nightwatch, The Late Show, The Art Bell Show, Tom Snyder, The Laura Lee Show, Hieronimus & Company, Weekend Edition (National Public Radio), Voice of America, Armed Forces Radio, numerous BBC affiliates, and many other shows and forums.

  This pat on the back is typical of BH. Of all the ‘researchers’- including his nemesis WS- BH seems to have the largest part of his own self-worth invested in the mythos just having to be true. Does he knowingly deceive &/or delude abductees? That’s hard to say. Does he manifestly use poor techniques? This is obvious. Just read TM’s book’s section on BH & the instances of distortion- willful or nor- are plain to see.
  Here’s some information on the other major abductologist still working in the field (I do not include other major non-abduction UFO writers like Jenny Randles, Charles Berlitz, or Kevin Randle because they give less credence to abductions & focus more on encounters with actual ‘spacecraft’.)- David Jacobs. This information is gleaned from his own website http://www.ufoabduction.com/:

  David M. Jacobs, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of History at Temple University specializing in twentieth century American history and culture. Dr. Jacobs began researching the controversy over unidentified flying objects in America in the mid 1960's, and has amassed over 35 years of primary research data and analytical hypotheses on the subject.

  In 1973 Dr. Jacobs completed his doctoral dissertation in field of intellectual history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on the controversy over unidentified flying objects in America. This was only the second Ph.D. degree granted involving a UFO-related theme. A revised version of his dissertation was published by Indiana University Press as The UFO Controversy in America (1975). It remains the only sympathetic book on the subject of the existence UFOs to be published by an academic press. For over twenty years Dr. Jacobs has offered the only regular curriculum university course on UFOs: "UFOs and American Society."

  Since 1973 Dr. Jacobs has continued to devote most of his professional and personal energies to researching the UFO phenomenon in general, and the abduction phenomenon in particular. Having conducted over 750 hypnotic regressions with over 125 abductees, Dr. Jacobs is one of the foremost UFO abduction researchers worldwide. As a result of his extensive primary research, he has developed the first scientific typology of the abduction experience.

  Dr. Jacobs has written and delivered many articles, papers, and addresses on the subject of UFO abduction, and has been a consultant to the major UFO organizations. In 1992 Dr. Jacobs' second book, Secret Life: Firsthand Accounts of UFO Abductions, was published by Simon & Schuster. The book is the most complete exposition of the structure and meaning of the abduction phenomenon yet published. Dr. Jacobs latest book, The Threat was published by Simon & Schuster in January, 1998. The book addresses important questions about abductions, and clarifies issues that have been the subject of much speculation for the past fifty years. The Threat presents the first evidence-driven hypothesis that provides a falsifiable solution to the UFO mystery.

  In addition, Dr. Jacobs has lectured on the subject of UFO abduction at universities and colleges across the country. In 1989 he delivered the first paper to a scientific organization about the abduction phenomenon at Cornell University. In 1992 Dr. Jacobs participated in the first session on UFOs at the History of Science Society, Washington D.C. In conjunction with colleague Budd Hopkins, Dr. Jacobs conducted the widely discussed Roper Organization poll of the abduction phenomenon. The results of that highly influential survey were published in 1992 in the booklet, Unusual Personal Experiences.
  Finally, Dr. Jacobs is a strong advocate of strict scientific and ethical research methodology. With colleagues Budd Hopkins and John Carpenter, he has given a series of workshops for members of the mental health community in the methods of abduction hypnosis, research, and therapy. In recent years he has concentrated on ascertaining the proper methodological techniques for the hypnosis and therapy of abductees. His revised "Suggestions for Hypnosis and Therapy of Abductees" was originally published in 1994.

  That this fellow, with seemingly the best qualifications for addressing the abduction myth on a cultural level, should be so profoundly myopic suggests he’s either a true believer (my opinion- his psychological need to believe is not the purview of this essay) or someone who, like BH, feels he has a better shot at immortality as a major UFO figure than just another historian.

Dissent Within The UFO Ranks

  This brings me to perhaps the most well-rounded major figure to get into the UFO field. Dr. Jacques Vallee of France, whose Passport To Magonia remains 1 of the best books on psi phenomena yet penned. It is learned, readable, & open to many possibilities- as is JV’s whole approach to UFOs. Here is an online bit posted a few years ago:

  As reported in the Nov/Dec issue of UFO Magazine, famed UFO researcher Dr. Jacques Vallee pointedly warned of two dangers confronting UFO researchers when he spoke at the Omega UFO Conference in North Haven, Connecticut in early October. The first danger comes from government use and abuse of UFO information. The second danger, Vallee said, is that UFO research itself seems to be "falling back into its infancy."

   Regarding UFO information in government hands, Vallee said: "Clearly the major governments have data. Tons of it. My tentative conclusion is that they don't know what to do with that data. If they are covering up something, it is primarily their own ignorance. But there is more. They are lying about the fact that some of their covert services use the phenomenon to manipulate public opinion and to obscure their own craven feats..."


  This I agree with. I do not believe the US or other governments are colluding with alien invaders. I do believe there might be evidence for unexplained things in our planet’s airspace, & the governments’ conspiracy amounts to a bluff, not to let each other know the level of their own ignorance. The problem is suspicious activity is bound to raise alarums- this is exactly what the JFK anti-conspiracists believe the pro-conspiracists have conflated. Also, this reinforces the notion that if a UFO were to truly crash, as the mythos claims of Roswell & other places, that governments would act exactly as they have- in secret, gathering data on individuals, & pouring out tons of disinformation.


  Public belief in UFOs, Vallee continued, "could be used to disguise tests of new weapons platforms and could serve as a shield for mind control experiments involving the use of drugs on unsuspecting patients." The reference to mind control was apparently in connection with claimed experiences of alien abduction. Vallee is outspokenly critical of researchers who regard abduction -- especially as reported under hypnosis -- as literal alien contact, but he does not dismiss all abduction accounts as pure fantasy. Instead, he believes that at least some abductions could be the result of government-sponsored experimentation.


  Again, if there is any physical reality it is most likely a disinformation campaign designed to feed belief in UFOs to steer away truly black ops plans. The problem with this, of course, is that- as far as is known- nothing in the government can stay a secret. Humans spill the beans- from earliest history through Iran-Contra, & beyond, & no government is so in control that they can operate in the all-powerful manner ascribed to them by most UFO paranoids. If so, how did a small cabal of stick-out-like-a-sore-thumb-in-whitebrad-America Fundamentalist Arabs pull off the 9/11 disasters with a bunch of meager box cutters? As UFO researcher J. Antonio Huneeus brilliantly remarked in Fate magazine- 9/11 was a death blow to the idea of an all-powerful government conspiracy.


   Regarding the current state of UFO research, Vallee first called to mind a comment made by the late Dr. J. Allen Hynek, with whom Vallee worked for many years. In a private conversation, Vallee says Hynek told him, "Nobody will ever give you or me a dime to do serious research on UFOs. But if we were to cross the line of professional ethics and went back on stage pretending we had the answer with a capital A, and told these people Ufology was the cure to all their spiritual anxieties, we could raise a million dollars today."

  Vallee then commented, "In the last few years that fine ethical line has been crossed again and again by many people claiming to provide both spiritual and scientific answers... I'm an active researcher, and I've become a sorrowful bystander in this field. My impression as I watch this festival of absurdities from the sidelines is one of unceasing wonder with a touch of sadness. The wonder comes from the realization that even in our supposed age of technology there is so little critical examination of the facts... There is no credible ongoing effort scientifically to come to grips with the underlying phenomenon, which I continue to believe is real and informed... All we have left is a few groups of believers standing on mountaintops with flashlights, expecting the aliens to come down and shake their hands. In that sense, the UFO research is falling back into its own infancy, into a folklore that doesn't even have the odd charm of the contactees of the 1950s."


  See my above comments on this very fact.


   However, Vallee ended his speech on a note of hope: "I continue to hope that someday we will be able to sort out the signal from the noise and get to work on the real UFO phenomenon. If I do feel one major responsibility, it is to transmit the data to posterity so that future scientists will be able to make sense of what seems to us to be hopelessly dank. If we can resist the temptation to jump to hasty conclusions, we may emerge intellectually better and spiritually stronger into the 21st century."

  This is why JV stands head & shoulders above the abductologists. Like TM, he recognizes that there is a world beyond the microcosm of abductions- even as he disagrees with TM on the actual existence of UFOs.

Abduction’s Ties To Pornography

  But, TM is not alone in his ideas on the influence of pop culture on ufology & abductology. There is an important & fascinating article on a great website called Magonia (tip of the hat to JV!) that deals with links between abductions & pornography. The article is located at http://www.magonia.demon.co.uk/arc/00/vice01.htm & called An Alien Vice: Human Sexuality and the Pornography of Abduction. It’s written by a David Sivier & I will highlight some of its major points (for it is a long & brilliant piece) & comment thereon.

  ….Nevertheless, the number of abductees who read this type of material (abduction tales, not porno) before experiencing abductions of their own, including, inter alia, Whitley Strieber, strongly suggests that it is potentially highly dangerous for a certain type of vulnerable mind. Even if not technically obscene within the accepted legal definition of the term, its detrimental effects on certain individuals' mental health may strike some as an indication of obscenity within the broader sense of the term, as literary material "intended to shock or disgust."

  I disagree philosophically, but agree that the potential for abuse by moralists is always boundless.

  To the sceptic, the most repellent feature of the classic abduction narrative is its strong similarity to certain forms of sado-masochistic pornography, especially in the accounts of the alleged abduction and sexual abuse of children. Indeed, "(s)ome of these accounts, if separated from the context of a purported real event, could be mistaken for paedophile fantasies of sexual torture, and regardless of whether or not these accounts have any basis in reality, it is clear that a number of publishers and magazine editors think there is nothing wrong in publishing detailed accounts of violent sexual assaults on children." To this the standard reply of many abductionists is that the scenario is too fantastic, too horrific, to be the product of human imagination or fantasy. It's an assertion which is easily countered. Not only can the technological and exobiological imagery of the abduction narrative be linked to that of science fiction, but the central motif of gynaecological or andrological examination and sexual abuse can also be clearly proven to have its own connections to the murky world of contemporary pornography.

  "Abduction scenarios closely resemble women's pornography, from the soft-core rape fantasies of bodice busters to the masturbation fantasies recounted by writers like Shere Hite or Nancy Friday. Many of Nancy Friday's stories from the 1970s even have similar imagery of gynecological examinations with faintly masochistic overtones, often with occult or medical details." Apart from the better known accounts of abuse by the aliens themselves, many of the abduction narratives also contain episodes in which the percipient is is raped, or forced to have sex with, another apparently "switched-off" human being.  Regardless of David Jacobs's comments that "This is not a sexual fantasy situation, most men and women feel that it is an uncontrollable and traumatic event", it does have strong parallels in some people's sexual fantasies. As an illustration of the pseudo-medical, masochistic nature of many of the fantasies recounted by Friday, in her encyclopaedic collection of such material, My Secret Garden, she includes one woman's fantasy of being displayed for the erotic satisfaction of a football crowd while strapped to a dentist's couch. She is then wheeled into another room where her ex-husband does have sex with her, but shows no emotion whilst doing so. The parallels to the abduction narrative are immediate and striking.


  The Freudians strike back! It’s interesting that the 2 most patently Freudian obsessions of the last 50 years- pornography & alien abductions- have only recently been linked. 1 wonders if the link with porno may ironically graft the respectability needed for abduction scenarios to be accorded a place in human sexuality experiments & studies!


  Although pseudo-medical examinations appear to have been an element of the UFO phenomenon almost from the very beginning, like that experienced by Harold Chibbett's female hypnotic subject in her 1947 psychic voyage to Mars, by comparison with today's fraught abductee panic the contactee era is remarkably lacking, or benign, in its sexual content. Samuel Estes Thompson may have been lectured on reincarnation, vegetarianism and other mystical topics by a UFO crewed by naked male Venusians, but apart from favouring him with their religious opinions they made no attempt to assault him. Similarly, the group of male Venusians who walked stark naked out of Buck Nelson's barn told him they did so to reassure him they were just like him. They then departed in their flying saucer, but did not attempt to persuade Nelson to go with them, or otherwise do anything which would elicit the interest of Budd Hopkins.


  This clear shot at the motives of BH has never been more pointedly, nor succinctly, made- at least in print!


  One female journalist for the Observer wrote at the tail end of the 80s that women and children were probably no more at risk today from sexual assault than they were during her childhood in the fifties. The difference was that people were now far more aware of the possibility of sexual assault, and responded by curtailing their children's freedom, restricting them to places where they could be safely watched instead of allowing them to wander abroad as in previous decades.


  A parallel phenomenon can be seen in the increasing fear of crime that has gripped the USA since the late 1980s- even though all major crimes have decreased steadily since the mid 1970s. The reason is because sensationalist media accounts now overplay every last exploitable crime, whereas only the famed gangster like John Dillinger or Lucky Lucciano, or monster like Ed Gein, was accorded sensationalist headlines years ago. Think of how rather banal crime tales like those of Laci Peterson, O.J. Simpson, Michael Jackson, Kobe Bryant, Elizabeth Smart, & JonBenet Ramsey are beaten to death, making the true horrorshows like a Jeffrey Dahmer, Timothy McVeigh, or 9/11 seem just 1 more car from the train wreck. This inurement to truly horrific things, coupled with a paranoia about things that are less likely to happen now than any other time in most people’s lifetimes, seems odd at 1st blush- but is eminently explicable, as is the rise of abduction tales, with the supersaturation of the mythos in every conceivable media. Next comes a KEY point!


  Within ufology, the key episodes introducing the motifs of medical examination and sexual contact were the abductions of Betty and Barney Hill and Villas-Boas, while the turning points for the milieu as a whole were the assassination of JFK and Watergate. Under the impact of these traumatic events, the ufological narrative turned from one of benign contact with omniscient, compassionate Space Brothers, albeit with rumours of government cover-ups, to the Darkside scenario of rape and abuse by callous, indifferent monsters with the express collusion of the civil and military administration.


  This last sentence is of tremendous import! The assassination of JFK, I believe, was central to the whole ‘government is against us’ motivs that have dominated since. In short, I don’t think it is too far-fetched to state that if the Warren Commission had been more forthcoming & trusting of the American public’s ability to handle bad news, much of the UFO ‘white noise’ about secret all-powerful governments would have no leg to stand on- as eminently exposed by the perpetrators of the 9/11 tragedy. Recall that the famed Roswell tale was all but forgotten until the mid 1970s when the triple whammy of JFK’s assassination, the Vietnam War’s myriad deceits, & Watergate left the majority of Americans profoundly cynical about their government’s ability to be truthful on any level.


  The early British attempts at pornography were either the inane and prurient documentaries about nudist camps, or else comedies in which the hapless hero found himself the object of uncontrolled female desire. More recent films and literature have stressed the darker elements of human sexuality, usually with a subtext of domination, subordination, control or death. For example, 9½ weeks contained strong sado-masochistic imagery while The Silence of the Lambs contained particularly shocking and disgusting images of sexual aberration. At the level of popular literature, the Batman comic strip, particularly in the Dark Knight and Arkham Asylum graphic novels, stressed the aberrant, dysfunctional, even schizophrenic nature of Batman himself, and hinted strongly at a sado-masochistic and even homosexual undercurrent to the character. The result has been the transformation of society's view of sex, from something fundamentally healthy and natural, to a dark, obsessive force driving people towards increasingly bizarre forbidden pleasures. The uncomplicated hedonism of the Playboy clubs has been replaced by the bizarre, violent and transgressive sexuality of the fetish milieu.


  Note how the timelines of the darker aspects of UFO alien sexual abuse go hand in hand with the escalations in other spheres. Read on.


  This increasingly dark view of human sexual relations has its reflection in the tortured imagery of alien abductions. All fantasy, whether pornography or innocent day-dreaming, is an attempt by the human psyche to obtain experiences which would be otherwise impossible in reality. This naturally includes scenarios which the reader or dreamer would find repulsive or otherwise unpleasant in real life. War films are, for example, perennially popular at the cinema, but few people would willingly choose to experience the full horror of armed conflict, and those that do may well have compensatory fantasies of a quiet life of office work. The abduction fantasy has arisen to address deep, if obscure, human social, psychological and spiritual needs, just as pornography addresses the deepest, most basic drive of the human psyche. It should not be surprising that the imagery of one carries over into the other.

  The content of much abduction material - the dehumanising medical examination and rape - shows a deeply ambivalent, even hostile attitude to sex, an attitude which is shared by the incest survivors' milieu. "Although some women who tell Jacobs and Bryan their stories belong to puritanical religious groups or are celibate, this imagery is a normal part of women's sexual fantasies. The abductees, however, seem particularly uneasy about sex . . . these desires for touch, gazing, penetration have to come from very far away, even outer space."  Ellen Bass and Laura Davis's influential book, The Courage to Heal, a popular guidebook aimed at the female survivors of incest, contains a checklist of 78 effects of sexual abuse, and explicitly asks its readers whether they are aroused by fantasies of violence, sadism or incest. "The assumption that sexual fantasies are improper, incorrect, sick, is at the heart of the recovered memory phenomenon. Many women feel they must disown these fantasies, and blame them on something or someone else."  In the science fictional post-space age, this something or someone else naturally includes aliens or creatures from parallel worlds.


  I do not know if David Sivier is a doctor or not. The point is this- this sort of manifest observation should have long ago been made by a psychiatrist such as John Mack. The fact that he has never even broached this material suggests either incompetence, sexual Puritanism, or willful disregard (for whatever reasons) of his own education & training.


  The pseudo-medical content of the abduction narrative is also easily explained within the context of pornography or romantic fantasy. Members of both sexes may fantasise about erotic liaisons with their doctors or nurses as an extension of much romantic material. Mills and Boon, who for decades have been synonymous with harmless romantic escapism, have had as their stock in trade an almost unceasing catalogue of hospital dramas. Such material has also provided the plots of much television medical drama, and girls' comics. Every now and then, one of the more popular tabloids announces that doctors are the favourite subjects of women's sexual fantasies, while some men on the other hand fantasise about nurses. There is a even a technical term, iatronudia, for a woman's desire to expose herself to her doctor. Since the seventeenth century, an awful amount of pornography has been published masquerading as medical texts.

The reasons for this aren't hard to find. Members of the medical profession enjoy a uniquely privileged access to their patients' bodies and minds in their professional role and it is only natural that some individuals should thus respond by making such intimately caring figures the object of fantasy. Adolescents are, at least in the mythology surrounding childhood, which, amongst other things, stipulates that "schooldays are the happiest days of your life", supposed to acquire sexual knowledge and awareness through games of doctors and nurses with members of the opposite sex. In psychiatry, both Freud and his predecessor Breuer noted the strong tendency of their women patients to fall in love with them. Freud eventually concluded that this was a result of their displaced incestuous feelings for their fathers, although possibly a better explanation was that Freud and Breuer, to particularly neurotic members of the stiflingly bourgeois Viennese upper-middle class, represented caring, omniscient male authority figures to whom their patients could confide their deepest problems and desires, and therefore suitable subjects for their affections. Sadly, as recent scandals have also shown, many doctors are all too willing to exploit this intimacy with their patients and abuse them sexually.


  1 might add the clergy & the ‘celestial’ or ‘doctorial’ ‘aliens’ to that list of exploiters!


  One of the directors or leading writers for Mills and Boon stated on the chat show Wogan over a decade ago now that the most important element in any romance was the hero, who should be an "alpha male" - strong, ambitious and competitive. This may explain the appearance of the Tall Grey Being in the abduction narratives collected, or suggested, by Jacobs. The featureless Greys, almost devoid of individual identity, may represent fears of the loss of individuality before the collective, but as a narrative device they are psychologically unsatisfying. Star Trek found this out when they were forced to introduce the character of the Borg Queen despite the undifferentiated, collective nature of the fictional Borg society. For the characters to interact satisfyingly with their enemies, the Borg had to have a personal, individual representative. In the abduction narrative, the equally characterless, undifferentiated Greys are joined by the Tall Grey Being whom "many female abductees intuitively feel is male, a doctor, and an authority figure . . . gazing deep into her (the victim's) eyes like an extraterrestrial Heathcliff or Fabio, filling her with love and eagerness to give herself completely".  This strongly suggest that at the root of the abduction phenomenon is a distorted, perverted medicalised sexual fantasy, which as a matter of course must include submission before an authoritative and caring medical alpha male.


  Again, where was John Mack in all of this?

  There is absolutely no need to claim, as Eve Frances Lorgen in her "Alien Love Bite" article for MUFON has done, that the tortured, abusive relationships of many abductees have their origin in their rape and abuse by aliens.  It is too close, too similar, to the experiences of the victims of real human abuse on Earth to be coincidental. Its origins lie instead in the brutalised psychology of abused and dysfunctional individuals, rather than in putative invaders from the stars.


  While the apparent scenario of intergalactic explorers gathering and examining specimens from Earth lends itself to themes of abduction and medical examination, there are other forms the contact narrative could take. Real interstellar explorers would be more likely to to recover and dissect a recently deceased corpse, like the human explorers in Gregory Benford's SF novel Across the Sea of Suns, or break into the anatomy facilities of university medical departments or teaching hospitals.

  As a sexual fantasy, there's similarly little apparent need for such abusive, violent imagery. That great ufological pretender, George Adamski, met a number of vivacious extraterrestrial women on his interplanetary travels and even as late as 1975 Elizabeth Klarer could recount her intimate relationship with an alien spaceship captain. Nor is Klarer an isolated example of a consenting, romantic relationship between human and alien. At roughly the same time Marvel was running a short-lived strip based firmly on the then emergent mythology of alien abduction and hybridisation, it was also publishing Starlord, a superhero comic whose main character was the half-human child of an Earth woman and a crashed alien starship captain.

  These benign fantasies, however, are far outnumbered by the countless films, short stories and novels about alien invaders descending to carry off human females, and occasionally males, for nefarious breeding purposes. Of course, rape as one of the most horrific forms of human violence exerts a powerful fascination for the human psyche. It can be depended on to sell newspapers and "true crime" books, magazines and television series. Part of its fascination stems from disgust and a desire to protect and avenge the traditionally most vulnerable part of the population. There is, however, a strongly atavistic element to these fears.


  Note the utter range of DS’s purview & how he seamlessly ties the threads. Read on:


  Marriage in many technologically primitive societies is frequently by abduction. The Amerindians of Tierra del Fuego sought their wives in this way. Although many such cultures now have elaborate rules concerning betrothal and courtship, among the Kagora and Kadara tribes of northern Nigeria, for example, "(a)ll secondary marriages begin with wife abduction". Nor are they isolated examples. Similar abductions of women for wives also occurred in First Nation North American, Celtic, Papuan and the earliest formative period of the Graeco-Roman cultures of antiquity, to name but a few. Although western concepts of warfare no longer encompass the abduction of women for marriage, tragically rape and the sexual abuse of the female, and sometimes male population occurs with disgusting regularity amongst the world's armed conflicts. In the relatively stable West which has not experienced war for over fifty years, the abduction phenomenon may express deep fears of the forcible appropriation of the tribal gene pool by an aggressive other produced through millennia of tribal and personal competition for women.


  While not a clincher, it is interesting to note how the rise of civil rights movements, & the easing of laws against miscegenation, throughout the West parallel the rise of increasingly fear-leaden alien sexual abduction tales. Just something to ponder about ‘the Other’.


  Far more than science fiction, it is a literature of warning: that we are powerless before our violaters, from whom we can only expect more abuse and torment. There might be an additional message urging us to care for the environment, and adopt a more pacifistic, spiritually enlightened lifestyle, but the explicit message is that the human race is being collectively raped while our military and political leaders stand by and collaborate. Fear the stars. Fear your government. Trust no one.

  In actual fact, in this respect the abduction literature is fulfilling one of the social roles accorded to pornography, though that of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries rather than late 20th - early 21st. To the modern reader, one of the most bizarre features of the clandestine literature of pre-revolutionary France is the seemingly incongruous mix of pornography and political message….The most obvious examples of the genre are the turgid works of the Marquis de Sade, in which lengthy and tedious descriptions of just about every cruel and abusive act imaginable are interspersed with equally lengthy and tedious expositions of his revolutionary philosophy.


  Think, now, of the political messages rife in abduction literature- the government cannot be trusted, take back the power, etc. The parallels to pre-revolutionary France are there in the words- as well as the neo-Rousseauvian ecological preachments bandied about by alien leaders from the Contactee Era through Betty Andreasson & right up through most of the non-American UFO lore.


  The literature of alien abduction, like this antiquarian porn, performs exactly the same social function: it documents and promotes an increasingly radical alienation from the state. Like their predecessors of previous centuries, the leaders and senior bureaucrats of the modern state are engaged in a massive campaign of victimisation and exploitation. They may, with the exception of the royal family, no longer be the aristocratic seigneurs of the ancient regime, but the bourgeois politicians and mandarins of Whitehall and Washington still fulfill the same functions within this particular pornographic discourse. They are cruel and sadistic abusers, intent on perpetuating some even more secret, hideous conspiracy. It's this aspect which allows the abduction hysteria to blur and merge seamlessly with the recovered memory scandal into one gigantic conspiracy theory.

  The works of Hopkins, Mack, Jacobs and Strieber are of a type, and an influence on, the equally bizarre narratives of Cathy O'Brien and her deprogrammer, Mark Phillips. O'Brien's memories, as recorded by Phillips, are about her programming and abuse as a sex slave for a series of American presidents and senior political figures as part of the Monarch mind control programme. As is to be expected from conspiracy material of this type, at the heart of the Monarch programme are the allegedly Satanist royalty of Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain and Britain, Nazi and Italian scientists working for the US military after the War and, of course, our old friends the Illuminati. Despite the lack of any documentation for all this aside from O'Brien's testimony to Phillips, it's been enthusiastically taken up by certain elements in the American extreme Right. It's discussed extensively in Contact, the magazine of the dubious revelations of Hatonn, a 9½ foot tall reptilian from the Pleiades, who utters his tedious comments and daft insights through Doris Ecker. Hatonn, or Ecker, declared some time ago that there really was a Jewish plot to enslave gentiles, a la the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and that flying saucers were built by the Nazis.


  Let us never underestimate the role that Nazism, & the fear of, & love of, it, have played in ufological lore. From ghost rockets & foo fighters to human experimentation, to links of aliens with Jewish Banker & Freemason conspiracies, to neo-Nazis’ obsessive anti-governmental stances, the links thread in & out of UFO lore with ease. Note, also, the John Bircher mentality that links the American militia movements, & that of Fundy religionists worldwide. All are dependent upon shadowy bogeymen.


  At the societal level, the masochistic elements of the abduction fantasy are profoundly contrary to contemporary trends. Most of the heroines of popular science fiction in recent years, for example have been active, even aggressive figures: Buffy, Xena, and Ripley of the Alien movies, to name but a few….As traditional masculine roles and status are challenged by feminism, it's a role which an increasing number of men feel compelled to accept. Their apparently active role in the rape of female abductees is illusory. As meat puppets under the control of the Greys' telepathic will, they themselves are passive objects of lusts and desires not their own. Their experience as traumatised prisoners in their own bodies, passively observing while something else rapes and abuses through their flesh could represent a fantasticated form of alienation from their own sexuality, in which the morally censorious superego, impressed with feminist suspicions of male sexuality, tries to distance itself from the appetites of the flesh by projecting its actions onto a rapacious, omnipotent other. It may also represent a form of the terror of losing control which habitually assaults many obsessive-compulsives. Although obsessive-compulsive disorder is characterised by the intense compulsion to perform repetitive, ritualised acts, usually to ward off some threatened disaster, it may also take the form of obsessive ruminations in which the sufferer speculates obsessively on what would happen if he lost control and performed some abhorrent, usually violent or sexual act.

  Cases from the 19th century include that of a man who surrendered himself to the police, fearing that he was about to murder his sister. The man stated firmly that he was devoted to her and that she was more precious to him than anything else in the world, yet he feared being overtaken by a violent, pathological mania which would result in her destruction. More recent examples include a woman who sought medical help after imagining that she was eviscerating her husband while gutting fish, for the same reason as the above Victorian gentleman. She feared that she was about to lose control, and give in to a savagely irrational urge to harm the person closest to her. Of course, it could also be that the reports of rape by "turned off" males are projections of the aggressive elements of the investigators' personalities which produced the confabulations of abuse and rape within the abduction narrative. The psychological trauma and distancing of the human puppets in this part of the scenario could be a form of passive resistance, in which the male abductee attempts to shrug off the role dictated for him by the investigator.

  Regardless of the precise cause for this retreat into passivity, it represents an attempt to evade the danger of responsibility for one's own actions, something of which the percipient, female or male, can be absolved through their status as victim. It's clear from these fantasies' content that many of the percipients are uncomfortable with their sexuality. One solution may be for health professionals to reassure those vulnerable to such false memories that their sexuality is a normal, natural part of their psychology. It goes without saying that care should be taken not to encourage socially unacceptable forms, such as paedophilia, or where the percipient may act out extreme sadistic or masochistic fantasies.


  Recall the insistence most abductologists have in stating their clients are ‘normal’, only to have, upon a closer inspection by someone like TM, it revealed that there were hidden aspects of their sexuality not made known, or disregarded. Why? would have to be the obvious question. This also brings in to question the abductologist’s role as dominator, or- even fantastical pimp daddy.


  It may be that as society changes a more female-friendly form of pornography will once again emerge. In this context even the abduction narrative may be altered for the better under the influence of porn. One anonymous female correspondent to the Fortean Times's Hierophant column noted the display of "an alien probe" in one of New York's sex shops. "While reluctant to road-test the implement in question, she did confide that she now feels significantly less alarmed at the prospect of abduction". This could be seen either as the further contamination of women's sexuality by the misogyny of much contemporary sexual discourse, or as women subverting this misogyny by appropriating it for their own sexual amusement. I prefer the latter.

  For most abductees, I would suggest, much could be done by simply reassuring them that their sexual or emotional problems do not stem from abuse by aliens. It is with this object in mind that the above essay was written.

  At the level of ufology, it should be incumbent on all researchers to challenge and submit claims of abduction and sexual assault by aliens to close, searching scrutiny. If possible, any published investigative material on abduction should be subject to the ethical constraints informing the publication of medical material. Most contemporary accounts of alien abduction are published by amateur investigators with little or no formal, recognised medical training, in a form designed to be populist and accessible. With the exception of sex manuals and other material written by doctors, gynaecologists and obstetricians with a view to encouraging people to enjoy a more fulfilling sex life, most sexological material written by academics is strongly anaphrodisiac. It's dry, clinical, considered and as about as erotically arousing as a tax form. And rightly so: the material is written to inform, not to arouse. Its writers and researchers are also under the strict supervision of ethical review boards.

  One American academic who runs a course investigating human sexuality and body language was reported in the pages of the Telegraph's Sunday supplement over a decade ago now as insisting that her students take an oath to prevent them abusing their knowledge. This was after one of her students used the insights in the course to summon a strange man to her side from the other side of an airport bar and then ignored him for the rest of the evening. To the ethical researcher, the dignity of individual human beings far outweighs the possible value of his research or its publication. Any abduction material should therefore be subject to the same process of peer review, professional ethical codes, and published using the same deliberately anodyne discourse. Failing this, I would suggest that it should not be published at all. And none of it should be aimed at children.

In the meantime, if you're stuck in Waterstones facing a long and boring railway journey and your literary choice is either something by Mack, Hopkins, Jacobs et al., or the latest bonkbuster from Jilly Cooper, I'd go for the Cooper. It's probably better written and doesn't claim to be anything more than a work a fiction. Moreover, there's usually a happy ending, something which rarely occurs in the context of abductions. Better yet, I'd save the money for a decent book later on.


  This is an insightful & brilliant expose of the sort that should be being done by abductologists- especially John Mack. That abductionism is a Freudian’s ‘wet dream’ is manifest to even casual observers. The lack of response to this by JM & other psychiatrists who have been involved in this aspect of the mythos speaks clearly on their lack of objectivity & a ‘will to believe’. But JM’s turf is not the only territory that Magonia dares to trod on.


Frying & Refrying Budd Hopkins


  In another, equally biting expose, a writer named John Harney savages Budd Hopkins’ latest abductology book Witnessed: The True Story Of The Brooklyn Bridge UFO Abductions at http://www.magonia.demon.co.uk/arc/90/hopkins.htm. Here are some highlights:

  If Hopkins were advocating counseling or psychotherapy for people troubled in this way and sought to place the notion of abduction by aliens in flying saucers in its social and historical context then we could only applaud his efforts. However, as you all no doubt know, that is not his position at all. He insists that people are really being abducted by real aliens and taken aboard real flying saucers.
  Now if he were the sort of wild-eyed person who goes around spouting incoherent nonsense - you know, the sort of fellow who persecutes librarians or who comes and sits next to you in an almost-empty bus - then we could safely ignore him. But he is not like that at all. He is well-educated, highly intelligent and can call on a wide circle of experts to help him with his investigations….It is therefore advisable to take a close look at his assertions, arguments and working methods, as they are presented in his latest book. The case he discusses caused a great deal of comment and controversy before the book was published, so it is advisable to look at some of the other publications on the subject also. 

  This is, to me, 1 of the most interesting aspects of the whole abduction mythos- not how obviously psychologically weak people come to believe they were abducted by aliens, but how far more seemingly well-adjusted & intelligent folk come to believe them-despite no real ‘hard’ evidence.

  Anyone who had not read the book might assume that Linda contacted Hopkins and told him about being abducted from her bedroom by aliens and taken into a saucer, and that Hopkins then conducted a detailed investigation. But it was not like that. Linda wrote a letter to Hopkins, dated 26 April 1989, which expressed her anxieties about what are obviously not unusual sleep disturbances - waking up, or seeming to wake up, with the feeling that there is some other person present in the room, and not being able to move. The familiar "sleep paralysis" routine.
  Linda begins the letter by saying that she has never seen a UFO, but that she has read part of Hopkins's book "Intruders". She also said that she had consulted a doctor about a small bump on her nose and was told that it was cartilage caused by a surgical scar. She became even more worried about this as she insisted that she had never had an operation on her nose. (Not surprisingly, to anyone who has read any abduction stories, this bump on the nose, which Hopkins admitted was "almost invisible" soon became evidence of an alien implant.)
  Only a few days after receiving the letter Hopkins interviewed her. He explains that he keeps his interviews informal initially, to put his subjects at ease. Only "when an atmosphere of calm and trust has been established" does he conduct more formal interviews, taking notes or using a tape recorder.
  This is all very well, but it means that there is no record of what was said. When Linda first met Hopkins she was obviously aware of his obsession with UFOs and aliens, and it seems not unlikely that he took the opportunity to inform her in more detail of his ideas and theories. Only a few days passed before he conducted his first hypnotic regression session with her. This unearthed a memory of her seeing a strange bright figure or object on a roof outside her bedroom window one night when she was 8 years old.

  Stop. Note the reading between the lines that JH does. Then compare it with the standard narrative techniques used by abductologists. The difference is JH is common sensically sticking to the facts & logical, even dull, possible consequences, whilst abductologists immediately zoom off in to their own archetyped expectations of what they feel must have been.

  Now we come to the momentous events of 30 November 1989. Linda phoned Hopkins to tell him what had happened to her earlier that morning and a meeting was arranged for 2 December during which she told him of being abducted through her window and up into a saucer where there was a table... But wait. Let us look at Linda's own account of this event, which was published in MUFON UFO Journal.
  Linda describes how a "peculiar feeling" came over her as she prepared for bed. "There was a strong presence in the room. Steve (her husband) was snoring away, so it wasn't him." When Linda had these peculiar feelings previously she didn't know what to make of them. But this time - "I began to feel the familiar sensation of numbness that I'd felt periodically over my lifetime, creeping slowly up from my toes. ONLY THIS TIME, HAVING KNOWN BUDD AND THE ABDUCTEES FOR SOME SEVEN MONTHS, I KNEW WHAT IT MEANT." (Emphasis added.)

  The reason for JH’s emphasis is obvious. That Linda has been infected with the alien abduction meme (for lack of a better term) cannot be understated. The effect on this helping Linda to construct her own fantasy is obviously tremendous.

  She claims to have seen a strange being, but she does not describe it; she merely says: "...it was there, standing at the foot of my bed, staring at me!" She goes on to say that she remembered white fabric flowing up over her eyes and a sensation of something pounding on her back, then of falling into her bed. So, no abduction, despite having spent seven months being primed by Budd and his abductees.
  When she retells this episode to Hopkins under hypnosis, the number of beings increases to four or five, but she still seems unable to describe them in any detail, despite prompting:

B: (Budd) You said there were four or five. I don't know what you mean... Four or five what?
L: (Linda) Four or five of those things...people.
B: What do they look like?
L: They're short. They're white and dark.
B: Are their clothes white? Is that what you mean?
L: They look like a lighter colour than the picture screen on my TV set.
B: What else do you notice about them?
L: (in a quavering voice) Their eyes. Very intense eyes.
B: What colour are their eyes?
L: (whispering) Black. They shine. I can see a reflection in them.

  Of course, at this stage, Linda must have known what Budd was expecting and she does not disappoint him. She gives him a story of being taken through the window and into a hovering saucer. She doesn't have too much difficulty with the details, as these have no doubt been supplied over the previous months by Hopkins and his associates.

  This is crucial to remember. Not only does the abduction myth as a whole grow with each new accreted tale, but the tales grow & change with each successive retelling.

 At this point I think it is legitimate to wonder what sort of account Linda would have given if neither she nor Hopkins had ever heard of UFO abductions and if Hopkins were obsessed with some other interpretation of the disturbing experiences which many people sometimes undergo when suffering from various kinds of sleep disturbances. (We are told that Linda is a chronic sufferer from insomnia, as well as these other problems.)

  Yet, she is described as ‘normal’. The people I’ve known with chronic insomnia often complained of faulty memory, extreme fatigue, visions, & the like. Could this be a hallucinatory breeding ground?

  Take, for example, the case of Dr Arthur Guirdham, a British psychiatrist. One of Guirdham's patients was a woman who suffered from nightmares. She eventually told him of her "memories" of a previous life among the Cathars, a Christian sect in 13th-century France which was declared heretical and brutally stamped out by the Albigensian Crusade. It so happened that Guirdham already had a fascination with that particular historical episode, and under the influence of his patient he came to believe that he, too, had not only lived a previous life as a Cathar, but had also known his patient in that life. This obsession developed to a stage where he gathered about him a group of people who all claimed to have known one another and suffered together in 13th-century France, and who could help one another to "remember" their dramatic experiences.
  Hopkins, though, is not only unwilling to consider other interpretations, conventional or otherwise; he insists that Linda's story is true because the abduction was seen by independent witnesses. The whole book seems to hinge on this crucial point.
  This is where Richard and Dan come in. The letter they wrote to Hopkins claiming to have seen a woman being taken out of an apartment window near Brooklyn Bridge by three "ugly but smaller humanlike creatures" in "late November, 1989" was postmarked 1 February 1991, some 14 months after the alleged event. Commentators have wondered why it took them so long to take action. The answer is fairly obvious; they had only recently learned the details of the story. If, as they claimed, they had noted which window the woman had emerged from, so could easily find out who she was, why did they wait 14 months before getting worked up to a great state of excitement about the incident? 

  As in soap operas or slasher films, the events in myths like abductions, or Bigfoot sightings, can only proceed if the protagonists do the dumbest possible thing at any given moment. For instance, Betty Andreasson’s dad, we are told, was never ‘switched off’ by the aliens, but actually witnessed her being abducted. Yet, he never spoke of it, nor took actions to prevent the abductions. Why? Because he did not want but to get involved. Huh? Makes absolutely no sense, save as an ad hoc filler of gaps in narrative credibility. Yet, readers should accept her dad’s non-involvement as a given, just as we are to believe the 2 security men waited 14 months before telling anyone of the interstellar kidnapping. Now, I know the NYPD is notoriously slow on following up on crimes, but even this level of faithlessness in their capabilities is- well- comical. The mantra is, of course, they were fearful of ridicule. The problem is that while they are open to ridicule for their ‘testimony’, they are open to even more for their stated stupidity!

   Richard and Dan were allegedly accompanying another person, referred to as the "Third Man" when they had their amazing and unlikely experience. (It is widely believed that this person was Javier Perez de Cuellar and Hopkins refuses to confirm or deny this.).    However, they were supposed to be independent witnesses, but it was revealed, in a letter purporting to be from Dan, that they also were abducted. It seems they were instantly transported to a beach where they were confronted by Linda and a group of Greys (the "Lady of the Sands" episode). Hopkins claims to have confirmed this story by subjecting Linda to another dose of hypnotic regression during which (of course) she managed to remember it.

  Note how the objectivity of their claims is compromised, as they become co-creators along with Linda & BH.

  So this left Hopkins without independent witnesses, but in November he received a letter from a woman, referring to an earlier letter which she had sent to him in July. This he retrieved from his "box of unopened correspondence" (!) This woman claimed to have witnessed the abduction from her car on Brooklyn Bridge. Hopkins interviewed her but apparently without any hypnosis business, presumably because he didn't want to find she had also been abducted and lose his only independent witness. Dr John Mack remarks: "This is, to my knowledge, the only documented case where an individual, who was not him- or herself abducted, reported witnessing an abduction as it was actually taking place." It is not true, however. Abductions are sometimes witnessed, in a sense, by others. For instance, in a case investigated by BUFORA, described by Nigel Watson: "Mr L had no known psychiatric history. The psychiatrist...thought that he had been experiencing hypnagogic hallucinations. This was partly based on the testimony of Mr L's wife who was present during these alleged events, and confirmed that he appeared to be asleep during his "contacts"".

  Apparently neither BH nor JM gives much credence to the Travis Walton tale, where his buddies claimed to have seen TW abducted! This tale had been in circulation for over a decade & a ½ when the Linda Cortile case hit. Yet another example of the selective culling of information designed to prop up 1 theory over another.

  Hopkins has answers for those awkward persons who ask why only some people had their cars stopped near Brooklyn Bridge and witnessed the abduction whereas others apparently saw nothing or remembered nothing. He tells us that the aliens control who sees what and who remembers what and when they remember it. Thus all apparent inconsistencies can be dealt with by attributing them to the amazing powers of the aliens.
  It does not seem to occur to him that if we take this idea to its logical conclusion, then our whole world could be an illusion created by the aliens. They could also dictate what would or would not be published about them, whether credulous or critical.

  These points made by JH are crucial. If they can control to such a degree why cannot they stop ‘memories’ of the abductions from resurfacing? Are they interstellar idiots? Or just the Moes, Larrys, & Curlys of their particular expedition? The answer from abduction believers: we cannot know what goes on in an alien mind. But we can judge rational from irrational behavior. Say it people- Oy!

  Hopkins wants us to believe that the theatricality is provided by the aliens, but others take the more plausible view that it is provided by the abductees, witnesses and investigators. George Hansen, Joseph Stefula and Richard Butler, in a paper circulated among ufologists a few years ago [see below], likened the whole business to a kind of role-playing fantasy game. If we look at it that way, then we don't have to go along with Hopkins's assertion that either the story is literally true or that Linda has organised - and paid for - a gang of conspirators to aid her in perpetrating an extremely elaborate hoax. Both of these alternatives are equally absurd, of course, but Hopkins thinks only the latter one is.
  Hopkins was somewhat annoyed by this paper and he wrote a reply to it in which he devoted much space to character assassinations of the trio, with sideswipes at "such dubious personages as Philip Klass and James Moseley". Apparently anyone who doesn't go along with Hopkins's absurd abduction theories, and says so bluntly, is a "fanatic".
  The principal "fanatic" is Philip Klass. Hopkins obviously loathes him. He quotes him as saying to the media that abductees are "little nobodies, people seeking celebrity status" and that this had discouraged some of them from coming forward to tell the world about their traumatic experiences at the hands of the aliens. He also remarks: "Science can only be damaged by the present level of McCarthyite intimidation." Science? What do the activities and ludicrous speculations of Hopkins and the other abduction enthusiasts have to do with science?
  What does Klass, this "...dinosaur in the evolution of public awareness" who "...bares his hatred for UFO witnesses ever more nakedly..." (according to Hopkins), really think about the abductees? His views are set out clearly in his book on the subject, published in 1988.
  Klass is not concerned with criticising the witnesses, apart from a few of them who are obviously seeking money or notoriety, but with the techniques used by Hopkins and the other abduction investigators. He points out how they have ignored the opinions of professionals concerning the limitations of hypnosis as a method of establishing the truth about past experiences. He discusses their technique of repeatedly hypnotising UFO witnesses until they get the abduction stories they are hoping for. He gives examples of abductees who later insist that they really did see a UFO but they have no good reason to believe that they were abducted.
  Hopkins was particularly annoyed by Klass's challenges to him that if he really believed that people were being abducted and had any reliable evidence to support these claims then he should inform the FBI. Klass and other sceptics continue to pose awkward questions whenever they get the opportunity.

  This sort of ad hominem is legend, as well as customary, in the UFO field in general, as well as all conspiracy bound material- be it the JFK assassination, the Illuminati, or other nonsense.

  One of the most disturbing features of the work of Hopkins and his followers is the tendency for children to get caught up in the fantasies. Hopkins seemingly makes no attempts to exclude them from his investigations in order to protect them from ideas and beliefs that could cause them alarm and distress. He is quick to seize any opportunity. Take the case of the nosebleeds, for example.
  Nosebleeds? Yes, I'm afraid it's all rather complicated; perhaps Hopkins thinks that if we are sufficiently bemused and baffled by the complexities we will give up trying to unravel the story and just accept what he reports at his own evaluation.
  We are told that Linda woke up with a bad nosebleed in the early morning of 24 May 1992, and was soon joined by the other four persons present in the apartment; her husband, her sons Steven and Johnny, and Steven's friend "Brian", who all sat around the living room trying to stem the flow from their bleeding noses. The next day, Linda phoned Budd, who reassured her that "...this was no one's fault, that if it was UFO-related it was outside her control". According to Budd, this sort of thing is not unusual; it seems it was one of those things that abductees just have to learn to live with.
  A few days later, Budd called Linda back to question her in more detail about the incident. He reports: "SINCE SHE SAID SHE STILL REMEMBERED NOTHING BUT WAKING UP WITH A BLOODY NOSE, I asked about Steve and her sons." (Emphasis added.) She then handed the phone over to her six-year-old son Johnny.
  Johnny "remembered" the nosebleed incident all right, but of course Budd could not know what Linda had said to the others about the night in question. And there is no testimony on this incredible event from Linda's husband Steve. It should be noted that there is very little mention of Steve in the book. One gets the impression that he thinks Linda is somewhat neurotic and that Budd is some sort of psychiatrist.
  Budd went on to question Johnny about his dreams that night and found that he was dreaming about his imaginary sister. Naturally Budd seized on that and, to cut out the endless details, it developed that this girl was not imaginary after all, but Johnny was constantly being abducted by the Greys and brought to meet this girl, also an abductee.
  I find it difficult to read such stuff without becoming nauseated. When I was a small child I suffered from nightmares, but my parents comforted me and reassured me that the monsters in them were not real and that they were only dreams. I believe that most children are treated in this way. Imagine the effects, then, of making it plain to children that not only are the dream-creatures real, but that there is no escape from them. Such an approach hardly seems therapeutic, to put it mildly, but this is the line taken by Hopkins and company. If they can persuade intelligent and more or less sane adults to believe such nonsense, the long-term effects on children hardly bear thinking about.

  A point here- I believe everyone ever born has had ‘unexplained’ phenomena happen to them. The difference is that most seek & find out the reasons for these phenomena- which, while most are ‘unexplained’ at their occurrence, all but a miniscule # become ‘explained’ with maturity. The few that are not are merely those things beyond an individual’s or society’s then-knowledge. Because something is ‘unexplained’ does not mean it is ‘unexplainable’- a key distinction!

  John Mack goes even further in this respect. Some of his subjects "remembered" not only their abductions right back to early childhood but even in previous incarnations. Thus there is no escape from the Greys, even in death!
  What is at issue here is not the sincerity and good intentions or otherwise of the abduction enthusiasts. It is the long-term effects of their work on the people they deal with.
  The important question is: What can be done about it? Well, persons active in ufology can do a great deal. They should spread the word that the UFO abduction game, like certain other activities, is definitely unsuitable for children. Magazine editors should eschew the practice of giving fawning interviews to abductee researchers. A particularly sickening example appeared in MUFON UFO Journal where the interviewer of Hopkins takes the attitude of one sitting at the feet of a Master; there is not a single probing or critical question. If abduction believers take part in UFO conferences they should be balanced by others who take a more rational and scientific view of these stories.
  Sceptics are not always helpful in the fight against the irrational, ego-boosting activities of abduction enthusiasts. They tend to pursue trivialities, to criticise matters on which scepticism is inappropriate or meaningless, or to carefully dissect writings which were never meant to be taken literally. On the issue of abductions, they should focus on the main point, which is the harm being done to impressionable people by the likes of Hopkins, Mack and Jacobs, egged on by cheering crowds of supporters (most of them sufficiently educated and intelligent to know better) at UFO conferences.
  However, until the abduction game results in some tragedy which gains widespread publicity, I doubt if anything much will happen.

  That is a rather ominous, but cogent, point he ends with. Let me now give some cogent bits from the paper mentioned earlier in the piece by John Harney. The full paper can be found on a dozen or so UFO/Skeptics websites. I got this version at http://www.tricksterbook.com/ArticlesOnline/LindaCase.htm. I will comment when needed:

A Critique of Budd Hopkins' Case of the UFO Abduction of Linda Napolitano, by Joseph J. Stefula, Richard D. Butler, and George P. Hansen




  The most serious problem is that the three alleged principal corroborating witnesses (Richard, Dan, and Perez de Cuellar) have not been interviewed face-to-face by Hopkins, although it has been over a year and a half since initial contact with Hopkins and over three years since the abduction.

  Richard and Dan allegedly met with Linda and have written letters to Hopkins. Linda has a picture of Dan. Yet Dan and Richard refuse to speak directly with Hopkins. No hard evidence confirms that Richard and Dan even exist….Dan has spent time in a mental institution. Richard suffered extreme emotional distress, forcing him to take a leave of absence from his job. Assuming that these two people actually exist, one must now be careful in accepting their claims (even if offered in good faith). Despite their debilitating mental problems, at least one of them was allowed to drive a car with UN license plates.  Are we really to believe that they returned to active duty in a sensitive position (presumably carrying firearms) and were given use of an official car?

  Who was the doctor who took the X-rays?  We are only told that this person is closely connected with Linda.  Why isn't a formal report available?  Given the alarming nature of the outcome, why wasn't there an immediate examination?  Linda said that the doctor was "nervous" and didn't want to talk about the X-ray.  It is not clear whether Hopkins has ever met this alleged doctor.  Instead, Hopkins showed the X-ray to a friend of his.

  The paranoia breeds paranoia mentality makes the X-Files’ Fox Mulder look well-balanced by comparison.

    Linda claims that she was kidnapped twice, nearly drowned, and further harassed.  Yet she refuses to contact the police, even after Hopkins' urging.  During the February 1, 1992 meeting with Stefula and Butler, Linda asked if she had legal grounds to "shoot" Dan if he attempted another abduction of her by force.  Stefula advised against it and recommended that she go to the police and make an official complaint.  She declined.  If she was afraid, why didn't her husband contact authorities?  The most plausible reason is that if a report was filed, and her story proved false, she could be subject to criminal charges.  Linda's failure here raises enormous questions of credibility.


  Does this mean that 1 of Linda’s witnesses became a stalker & kidnapper? YES! The writers’ points here about criminal liability are a convincing explanation for Linda’s failure to do the obvious thing to protect herself.


  On September 19, 1992, Stefula, Butler, and Hansen traveled to New York City in order to visit the site of the alleged abduction. We found that Linda's apartment complex has a large courtyard with guard house manned 24 hours a day….We obtained the name and phone number of the apartment manager and called him a few days later.  He reported knowing nothing about the UFO sighting, nor had he heard anything about it from any of the approximately 1600 residents in the complex.

  We also visited the site under the FDR drive where Richard and Dan purportedly parked their car.  This was in a direct line of sight and nearly across the street from the loading dock of the New York Post.  We spoke with an employee of the Post, who told us that the dock was in use through most of the night.  A few days later, we called the New York Post and spoke to the person who was the loading dock manager in 1989.  He told us that the dock is in use until 5:00 a.m. and that there are many trucks that come and go frequently during the early morning hours.  The manager knew nothing of the UFO which supposedly appeared only a couple blocks away.
  Also in September, a colleague of ours contacted the Downtown Heliport, on Pier Six on the East River of Manhattan.  That is the only heliport on the east side of Manhattan between Linda's apartment and the lower tip of the island.  Our colleague was informed that the normal hours of operation of the heliport are from 7:00 a.m to 7:00 p.m.  The Senior Airport Operations Agent researched the records and found that there were no helicopter
movements on November 30, 1989 before normal hours. 

  1 must ask- where are the scads of corroborating witnesses BH claimed?

  On October 3, 1992, we met with Hopkins and his colleagues at his residence in Manhattan. Among those in attendance were David Jacobs, Walter H. Andrus, and Jerome Clark….We inquired if Hopkins had asked the guards of the apartment complex whether they had seen the UFO. He indicated that he had not done so. This is quite surprising, considering that the UFO was so bright that the woman on the bridge had to shield her eyes from it even though she was more than a quarter mile distant….We asked Hopkins if he had attempted to verify this with the guards or the building manager.  He indicated that he did not feel it necessary….We asked about the weather on the night of the abduction. Amazingly, Hopkins told us that he didn't know the weather conditions for that period. This was perhaps one of the most revealing moments, and it gives great insight into Hopkins' capabilities as an investigator. If the weather had been foggy, rainy, or snowing, the visibility could have been greatly hampered, and the reliability of the testimony of the witnesses would need to be evaluated accordingly. Even the very first form in the MUFON Field Investigator's Manual requests information on weather conditions (Fowler, 1983, p. 30). We ourselves did check the weather and knew the conditions did not impede visibility. But the fact that Hopkins apparently had not bothered to obtain even this most basic investigatory information was illuminating.  He claims to have much supporting evidence that he has not revealed to outsiders; however, because of Hopkins' demonstrated failure to check even the most rudimentary facts, we place absolutely no credence in his undisclosed "evidence."


  As others have noted, BH is an abysmal impartial investigator. Even by his own admission he does not even know basic investigatory protocols.


  During the beginning part of the October 3 meeting, Linda's husband answered a few questions (in a very quiet voice).  He seemed to have difficulty with some of them, and Linda spoke up to "correct" his memory.  He left the meeting very early, even though Linda was under considerable stress, and despite the fact that she was overheard asking him to stay by her side.  His leaving raised many questions in our minds.

  Linda also responded to questions during the meeting.  Early in the discussion, Hansen asked Linda's husband whether he was born and raised in the U.S.  He replied that he had come to this country when he was 17.  Linda promptly interjected that she knew why Hansen had asked that question.  During a prior telephone conversation between Linda and Hansen, Linda had asserted that her husband was born and raised in New York.  She acknowledged that she had previously deliberately misled Hansen.

  Later in the meeting the question arose about a financial agreement between Linda and Hopkins. Stefula noted that Linda had told him that she and Hopkins had an agreement to split profits from a book.  Hopkins denied that there was any such arrangement, and Linda then claimed that she had deliberately planted disinformation.


  Do these actions hint at Linda’s ‘normality’?


  Ms. Penelope Franklin also attended the meeting. She is a close colleague of Hopkins and the editor of IF--The Bulletin of the Intruders Foundation. Hopkins had previously informed us in writing that Ms. Franklin was a coinvestigator on the Napolitano case. In a conversation during a break in the meeting, Franklin asserted to Hansen that Linda was absolutely justified in lying about the case. This remarkable statement was also witnessed by Vincent Creevy, who happened to be standing between Franklin and Hansen.

  Franklin's statement raises very troubling questions, especially given her prominence within Hopkins' circle of colleagues. Her statement appears to violate all norms of scientific integrity. We can only wonder whether Linda has been counseled to lie by Hopkins or his colleagues. Have other abductees been given similar advice? What kind of a social and ethical environment are Hopkins and Franklin creating for abductees? We also cannot help but wonder whether Hopkins and Franklin believe it appropriate for themselves to lie about the case. They owe the UFO research community an explanation for Franklin's statement. If such is not forthcoming, we simply cannot accept them as credible investigators.

  So, the BH crew’s mantra is to deceive- presumably because their paranoia is at an all-time high!



  After he learned of our investigation, he warned Butler that he suspected Butler and Stefula of being government agents and that he planned to inform others of his suspicions. 


  More paranoia.



  This case is quite exotic, even for a UFO abduction. Government agents are involved, the UN Secretary General is a key witness, Linda was kidnapped in the interests of national security, concerns are expressed about world peace, the CIA is attempting to discredit the case, and the ETs helped end the Cold War.  The story is truly marvelous, and one might wonder about its origin. We wish to draw the readers' attention to the science fiction novel, Nighteyes, by Garfield Reeves-Stevens. This work was first published in April 1989, a few months before Linda claimed to have been abducted from her apartment.

  The experiences reported by Linda seem to be a composite of those of two characters in Nighteyes: Sarah and Wendy. The parallels are striking; some are listed in Table 1. We have not bothered to include the similarities commonly reported in abduction experiences (e.g., implants, bodily examinations, probes, etc.). The parallels are sufficiently numerous to lead us to suspect that the novel served as the basis for Linda's story. We want to emphasize that the parallels are with discrete elements of the case and not with the story line itself.

Table 1 - Similarities Between the Linda Napolitano Case and the Science Fiction Novel Nighteyes

*  Linda was abducted into a UFO hovering over her high-rise apartment building in New York City.

   Sarah was abducted into a UFO hovering over her high-rise apartment building in New York City.

*  Dan and Richard initially claimed to have been on a stakeout and were involved in a UFO abduction in during early morning hours.

   Early in Nighteyes two government agents were on a stakeout and became involved in a UFO abduction during early morning hours.

*  Linda was kidnapped and thrown into a car by Richard and Dan.

    Wendy was kidnapped and thrown into a van by Derek and Merril.

*  Linda claimed to have been under surveillance by someone in a van.

    Vans were used for surveillance in Nighteyes.

*  Dan is a security and intelligence agent.

    Derek was an FBI agent.

*  Dan was hospitalized for emotional trauma.

    One of the government agents in Nighteyes was hospitalized for emotional trauma.

*  During the kidnapping Dan took Linda to a safe house.

    During the kidnapping Derek took Wendy to a safe house.

*  The safe house Linda visited was on the beach.
In Nighteyes, one safe house was on the beach.

*  Before her kidnapping, Linda contacted Budd Hopkins about her abduction.

    Before her kidnapping, Wendy contacted Charles Edward Starr about her abduction.

*  Budd Hopkins is a prominent UFO abduction researcher living in New York City and an author who has written books on the topic.

   Charles Edward Starr was a prominent UFO abduction researcher living in New York City and an author who had written books on the topic.

*  Linda and Dan were abducted at the same time and communicated with each other during their abductions.

   Wendy and Derek were abducted at the same time and communicated with each other during their abductions.


*  Linda thought she "knew" Richard previously.

    Wendy "knew" Derek previously.

*  Dan expressed a romantic interest in Linda.

    Derek became romantically involved with Wendy.

*  Dan and Richard felt considerable vibration during the close encounter.

    During the UFO landing in Nighteyes there was much vibration.

*  Photographs of Linda were taken on the beach and sent to Hopkins.

    In Nighteyes, photographs taken on a beach played a central role.

*   The letter from "the third man" warned of ecological problems and potential harm to world peace if there was interference.

    Wendy was racing world disaster in Nighteyes.

  This is very striking. In even more detail, this trio show the direct literary influence on a particular ‘abduction’. While many parallels to sci fi pulps & films can be seen throughout the decades-long abduction myth, this head-to-head comparison is very informative. 


  After the MUFON symposium in July, Stefula had several conversations with Walter Andrus, International Director of MUFON. Andrus told him that MUFON had no interest in publishing any material critical of this case even though they had published an article describing it as "The Abduction Case of the Century." This is a most surprising statement from a leader of an organization which purports to be scientific. Andrus' statements should raise questions about the legitimacy of MUFON's claims to use objective, scientific methods.

    On September 14, 1992, Hopkins faxed Butler a letter saying that as a long-standing member of MUFON, he was issuing an "order" (his word). He "ordered" Stefula and Butler to stop their investigation of the case.  We found this very curious, and we wondered how Hopkins, as a member of MUFON, could believe that it was in his power to issue such an "order."  His letter seemed to reflect the mindset of a leader of a cult rather than that of an investigator searching for the truth.


  Recall that ufology is larded with religious overtones- in structure, history, & adherents.


  For the meeting on October 3 in New York City, Hopkins flew in his close friend Jerome Clark from Minnesota. Under the sway of Hopkins, Clark strenuously urged that outsiders cease investigations, thus seemingly trying to reinforce Hopkins' earlier "order" (despite the fact that the case already had been reported in the Wall Street Journal, Omni, Paris Match and the television show Inside Edition). Clark (1992a) later committed his position to writing, saying that this case may indeed involve a world political figure and have international consequences.

  Andrus and Clark are arguably the two most influential figures in U.S. ufology….Because of their eminence, their statements should be of special concern to the UFO research community.
  At the meeting on October 3, the kidnapping and attempted murder of Linda were discussed. We informed Hopkins and the other participants that we were prepared to make a formal request for a federal investigation of the government agents responsible for the alleged felonies. Hopkins, Andrus, and Clark appeared to literally panic at the suggestion. They vigorously argued against making such a request. We could only conclude that they wanted to suppress evidence of attempted murder. We wondered
  This situation seemed so outrageous that a few days later Hansen called Andrus, Clark, John Mack, and David Jacobs and asked them if they really believed Linda's story about the kidnappings and attempted murder. All of these individuals said that they accepted her account. We were forced to seriously consider their opinions because they had been given secret information not revealed to us.  During the telephone conversations, Andrus and Clark again strongly objected to requesting an investigation by law enforcement authorities.


  A flaw here, in the trio’s tale- what was this ‘secret information’?




  The thinking and motivations of ufology's leaders deserve at least as much attention as the abduction claims themselves.

  Did these leaders really believe, as they said, that they accepted the report of attempted murder? If so, they seem not to have acted as responsible citizens. However, these people do not appear to us to be delusional, in any usual sense of that word.  They are highly functional members of society. They also do not appear to be perpetrators of a hoax or even "yellow journalists" with a "wink-wink, nudge-nudge" attitude who knowingly want to capitalize on it for their own temporary glory or financial gain.

  We believe that other motivating factors and concepts provide a better explanation and framework for understanding these seemingly bizarre actions. We would suggest that perhaps, at some semiconscious level, these individuals do not really believe their UFO investigations to be fully engaged with the "real world." Rather, their behavior and statements seem more consistent with something like fantasy role playing, perhaps akin to the game Dungeons and Dragons (D & D). 
  Both ufology and D & D allow direct, immediate involvement with powerful "other-world" beings and mythological motifs. Both endeavors have been known to overtake (possess?) the participants, though only occasionally to their detriment. Most "players" are able to successfully detach themselves from involvement, but occasionally the "game" becomes obsessive and interferes with "real-world" pursuits.  This "role playing" taps archetypal images that hold great psychological power. The archetypes can become immensely attractive, even addictive, to those playing the game. The notions and images of powerful "other-world" figures are part of the human condition. Accounts of them are found in all cultures throughout history, this being one of the traditional domains of religion. Even atheists and those who deny the existence of such beings must still grapple with the ideas on some level, though this might not be consciously recognized by an individual.

  As with the prior piece on pornography, these sort of manifest observations are exactly what should be proposed by the abductologists, not the investigators of these so-called investigators!

  There are some differences between D & D and ufological pursuits. D & D has more restrictive and structured rules. The boundaries of appropriate behavior are rather clearly defined. Ufology is more "unstructured," there are fewer "rules" about what is and is not possible, and the powers of the "other-world" figures are almost unbounded. This relative lack of structure makes the UFO game somewhat more "dangerous."  In order to grapple with the phenomena, the paradigms adopted by many ufologists have "concretized" (i.e., structured) the beings as ET humanoids. Hopkins, Andrus, Clark, Mack, and Jacobs seem to have accepted a system of beliefs and assumptions that have led to a collision with the "real world." They have been unable to rationally defend their behavior, and Jerome Clark's (1992a) "Torquemada" article is perhaps the single best example of that.  In fact, his emotional attack labeling Hansen as "Torquemada" (director of the Spanish Inquisition) resurrects and reinforces religious themes, and it perhaps betrays his unconscious feelings of religious persecution.


  How, unfortunately, typical. When confronted with unanswerable questions, claim persecution. Not only does this diminish the claimant’s credibility, but makes real persecution all the harder to trace & ferret out.



  We were quite unprepared for the reaction to our work from leaders of the field.  Walter Andrus and Jerome Clark aggressively tried to dissuade us from continuing our investigation, and so far they have failed to publish any material critical of the case. We were unaware that such belligerently antiscientific attitudes were so prevalent at the highest levels of ufology. When these same individuals attempted to suppress evidence of an alleged attempted murder, we concluded that their beliefs and actions were incompatible with "real world" events. However, we do not consider the label "deluded" appropriate here, and we remind the reader that these individuals are backed by people such as Harvard psychiatrist John Mack and David Jacobs, professor of history at Temple University.


  Here 1 can only wonder the plane the trio live on- not know that ufologists are anti-scientific? Also, 1 of the trio claims abduction experiences as well.


  In his JUFOS article, Jacobs was bitterly critical of Ring and Rosing, saying that they ignored "cases of witnesses seeing others being abducted while not being abducted themselves" (p. 162).  Surprisingly, Jacobs gave no citations for any of these cases.  Hansen wrote to Jacobs requesting such citations but received no reply.  Jacobs' article was lavish in its praise for Hopkins' work, and we suspect that Jacobs had in mind the Napolitano case when he wrote his article.  We would like to remind the reader that it was Hopkins (1992a) who wrote: "The importance of this case is virtually immeasurable, as it powerfully supports both the objective reality of UFO abductions and the accuracy of regressive hypnosis."  Because the argument for the "objective reality of UFO abductions" relies heavily on Hopkins' work, our findings call into question this entire theoretical perspective.

    In our judgment, conscious hoaxes are rare in the abduction field.  The vast majority of those claiming to be abducted have had some kind of intense personal experience, whatever the ultimate cause.  Nevertheless, the problems of fraud and hoaxing have long been a problem in ufology, especially for cases with high visibility. 


  In short, beware the whole subject matter, a nostrum that might equally apply to the JFK assassination mess. So, I’ve laid alot out on the line regarding the UFO Alien Abduction mythos. In the next section I will give my own personal views on both it & the JFK Assassination mythos. I will detail some of my own life experiences which may have truck with 1 or both mythologies. Then I will end with a 4th section where I try to bind the threads. 

3) My Own Takes On Conspiracist Mythologies 

  I have shown, by sifting through mountains of ‘real’ evidence, & mountain ranges of white noise, that the 2 most enduring conspiracy mythologies of the last ½ century have many reasons for their staying power, & that the evidence for 1 (the assassination of President Kennedy) being a genuine conspiracy (although the origin & scope of it are unknown), & the other (UFO Alien Abductions) being a minor conspiracy of self-interested nuts, is consistent with all the known evidence.
  Furthermore, with a close reading of the major accounts of both events, a discerning reader can see that the anti-conspiracist elements in the JFK myth have repeatedly distorted information, withheld information, & come up with patently ludicrous ad hoc explanations to ‘discredit’ unassailable facts; namely 1) Jack Ruby’s ties to Mafia & CIA elements, plus his killing of Lee Harvey Oswald, are far more in line with someone on a ‘mission’ than yet another lone nut seeking glory or reward (the thanks of the First Lady), 2) 4 shots are clearly heard in taped evidence from Dealey Plaza. None have been proven as echoes. Since only 3 shots have always been posited to have come from LHO, this suggests highly at least 1 other shooter- hence a conspiracy, or 1 of the world’s greatest coincidences. 3) Manifest tampering & taking of autopsy records, photos, & other evidence. These are crimes, yet no 1 has ever been prosecuted. Why were they taken? Why was recovery never even attempted? If LHO acted alone, these actions & their reasons are unnecessary. 4) Despite twists of logic the Zapruder film clearly shows JFK’s head, during the kill shot, moving in a way only consistent with a shot from the front & right, not the back & right where LHO seems almost, indisputably, to have been. Finally, 5) admittedly the weakest of the 5 pillars for the Pro-Conspiracist camp- Rose Cheramie as Cassandra. As with point 2, either her tale had merit or another of the world’s greatest coincidences occurred. & unlike many abductees, Rose Cheramie’s tale has ‘known’ & ‘named’ doctor verification.
  In contrast, a close reading of the Abduction literature shows that it is the pro-Abductionists that have distorted, accreted, & blindly accepted demonstrably false information from people with manifest problems of esteem & mental capacity, not to mention their own desires to believe in something greater. &, unlike the Assasination of JFK- where myriad evidence is endlessly argued over, the arguments in the abduction mythos revolve around only the credibility of the claimants, for the physical evidence of abductions is absolutely non-existent, at least as of this essay’s writing. The sources of abduction narratives, however, are rife in the media, pop culture, & ever more detailed knowledge of the human brain & culture in general.
  That all said, I want to personalize this essay a bit by injecting some of my own personal background & experience into it. In my lifetime I have had my share of ‘unexplained’ experiences. I have also had my share of inner urban violent experiences, from assault & assorted violations, to witnessing deaths, murders & rapes, as well as a small share of my own physical encounters. I state this not as hip cred nor braggadocio, merely to state that ‘screen memories’ would probably not play a part in the things unexplained that I have see. Still, I do not attribute them to psi beings nor preternatural occurrences- rather to my own flawed memory, a human will to fill in gaps in conscious recall, & a conflation of the dream & real worlds.
  Let me briefly recount 1 of my earliest remembered unexplained moments. It occurred in 1971, when I was 6. 1971 was also a pivotal year for me in other ways. I entered 1st grade & left the world of ‘mommy & daddy’, I 1st met up with drug dealers & hookers, & me & my young pals often did errands for them in return for payments of nickels or quarters to buy gum, baseball cards or comic books. Furthermore, & more importantly, I witnessed both my 1st death & 1st murder. I wrote poems about each event. The event that was equal to those 2 events was when I drowned & was resuscitated at Forest Lake, near Littleton, New Hampshire during our family vacation. I do not recall the order each of these 3 important life events took place, except that they all occurred during the summer. 
Let me summarize the drowning incident. I was playing in the cordoned off children’s section of the beach we were at while my mom & dad talked with another couple at a nearby picnic table. Being a ballsy little bugger I decided I would swim out to the farthest point of the kiddy section- where an aquamarine platform for diving was. I swam out, seemingly unnoticed by my parents or the lifeguard (or, more probably, I was oblivious to their calls). Then, I guess I tired or cramped up. I recall choking. Next I knew I recall seemingly being out of my body, towards the bottom of the lake & looking up toward the sun as it shone through the water. I recall seeing a curled fetal creature floating above me. It was me! Now, a break in the narrative. This is what I recall. Of course, even my description of how my body seemed to float without ‘me’ is tinged by the intervening years. At 6 I knew nothing of fetal positions! Back to the tale. While being momentarily fascinated by the scene above ‘me’. I next recall a yank upon my body. I woke being kissed (or more truly given mouth-to-mouth) by a young girl on the aquamarine diving platform. A boy was there 2. I ‘knew’ they were siblings for they looked very similar- flattened Negroid faces, yet with straight Euro hair & odd costumes I thought of a metallic sheen. Their skin was also pale but seemed to have a washed-our watercolor green hue to it- as if the green seemed more pronounced at their profile edges. I reckoned she was 8 or 9 & he a year or 2 older. They reminded me of a brother & sister I knew back home, who came from Eastern Europe. I immediately had a crush on the girl. Once I had caught my breath back I noticed that things were silent- as if a giant glass goblet had muted all sound about us. I could see my parents obliviously gabbing with the other couple, & I & the siblings seemed alone. They then asked me if I wanted to have adventures, I said yes. We swum to a nearby shore away from the crowd & walked down a path. I heard a rustle & saw 1000s of monarch butterflies emerge from behind a bush & head skyward, filtering the sunlight orange. We then headed toward a cave, had some bizarre adventures, returned to the platform & said goodbye. The strange part was it took me a while to realize the pair did not speak- they were communicating seemingly telepathically. They also claimed to live on the other side of the lake- in a certain house they pointed to with a foster family. But they claimed that the cave was where they had come from- or rather led to their world, where the sun was not yellow. I could go on about what happened in the cave- but I do not want to waste more space.
  So, did I meet otherworldly children, or was I hallucinating as I coughed & drowned? & did I merely, through the years, forget that it was a lifeguard who saved me, interpolating the ‘sexier’ dream for the blasé reality? Perhaps- I cannot be sure, although the interpolation is a more reasonable surmise. But, that’s not all- years later, in the late 1980s, I became interested in psi, missing time, & the TV show ‘Unsolved Mysteries’. In looking through psi books at a B. Dalton, I recall coming across what I later found out was the ‘Green Children’ myth. There are several versions- usually set in Wales, Spain, France, or England, that 100s of years ago (the time varies per telling) a green-tinged brother & sister emerged from a cave in a mining town. They claimed to be from a far twilit land. They did not speak the native language, but were adopted by the town. Eventually they learned the natal tongue, fit in, but a few years after their emergence the older brother died of some illness. The sister followed a year or 2 later. They were baptized & given Christian burials & lauded in the town’s history. Of course, whatever town is named in the tale, mysteriously never kept good records of where exactly these extraordinary children were planted- unlike the later, & almost as puzzling ‘wildchild’ Kaspar Hauser. Now, here’s the point. I can with 99.9% surety claim I did not know of that tale as a child. So, did I connect to some Jungian Collective Unconscious mythos as I drowned, gasping for air? Perhaps. But, 3 years later, at the same lake (during the last time I ever went to Forest Lake- for my dad’s economic future took a downturn & we could not afford vacations any longer), I met them again- without drowning. Was this a wish/fantasy? By that time psi had hit it big- ancient astronauts, Loch Ness monster, Bermuda Triangle, & the TV show In Search Of...., hosted by Leonard Nimoy. It could be that I saw an episode that dealt with the Green kids (I do not know if that topic was ever done, however) & back-altered my experience from 3 years earlier. The point is, a part of me believes it was real- it felt real. But is feeling a good enough reality barometer? The alternative, that I met more time- & dimension-tripping green children could have happened. But, given my latent & great creativity, is it not more likely that I fantasized, perhaps tapping a culturally unconscious template, or even more prosaically- slightly & subtly altering the real events over time with each successive attempt to recall details? Urging myself to create, as much as remember? & would not things like my parents’ oblivion to me, the sun-swallowing horde of monarchs, & the generally Oz-like silence, lead 1 to believe this was all a dream, fantasy, or misconstrual with elements of both? My dad is dead, my sister was only 2 at the time, & my sickly, aging mother (whose memory is worse than mine, now) can barely recall the lake, much less specifics of a single day. So, I am left as the only ‘witness’ to this event. Yet, were this more in line with ufology- were the green kids gray aliens- I wonder how soon the 2 myths would mix elements.
  Yet, incidents like this are, by weaker individuals, set up as the downfall of their lives. I have had many failures in my life- in love, work, art, friendship, finances, health- but I do not blame it all on the ‘Kiss of Death’ by little Miss Green Cutey Pie of 3 decades past. So why do abductees blame all their woes on their manifest dreams? I can only conclude that they are far weaker individuals than I am. After all, I saw a guy killed & another murdered that year & the details are seared in my memory without screens. That said, 30+ years the veracity & accuracy of the details are probably long-corroded.
  Let me now turn to another life incident that has parallels with both the UFO & JFK myths: MIBs. Men In Black. Secret governments. As a teenager & high schooler I was the only white member of a drug-dealing gang that consisted mostly of Puerto Ricans & Colombians. I was best pals with the charismatic leader of the teenage Wannabes- the younger siblings of the older men who led this quasi-Communist ‘movement’ which descended into mere drug-dealing & gun-running to fund their long-planned revolutionary return to their homeland. This gang leader- Paco- was, a few years later, later killed in a street fight- but for about 2 years I was his main ‘blood’- until we fell out (not the point of this tale). The closest comparison I can draw (& I am a criminology, as well as psi, buff) would be to state that I was Meyer Lansky to his Bugsy Siegel. I got chicks that he rejected, had some money, & was fairly well-known about the area. But the elders of the gang were under heavy police & FBI scrutiny. Many were often busted & harassed. Anyway, 1 afternoon when I was 17 or so, I cut classes to go with Paco to the Queens County Courthouse & Prison to visit 1 of the elders. Paco went in & stayed about 45 minutes gabbing. I waited for him. As we left the building 3 fellows in black trenchcoats stopped us, flashed some ID, & escorted us into a black sedan. They did not have NY license plates, if any at all. For a few hours they drilled us- mostly Paco- on details of the gang. We just kept driving. They all wore sunglasses & acted bizarrely. They cryptically warned us that they had massive dossiers on both of us, & many others. Paco & I said shit. Eventually they dropped us off where they had picked us up, gave us cryptic warnings, & drove off. Paco said he’d never met any Feds like that. Now, here’s where it gets weird. Over the years I have had multiple strange encounters with other MIBs. After turning in a known pedophile I was informed by co-workers at the supermarket I worked at that on my day off a bizarre ‘Federal agent’ had come in asking questions about me to management. There were several other MIB meetings. A few years later, when at a Minnesota warehouse job, another Man in Black from the government came in on my day off & asked my managers about me, seeking information. Another time, as I was leaving a theater 1 night in the late 1990s a MIB stood across the street from me & followed me. I walked across the street to confront him & the guy knew my name & asked me how my job was going- he knew I worked at AT&T. I told him to fuck off, but I had also heard that my HR department at AT&T had also gotten inquiries from ‘the government’ about me. So what was going on? These harassments & tailings by bizarre MIBs are classic UFO lore- yet they started in regards (to my knowledge) to my gang involvement. A part of me feels someone is yanking my crank- but why? On the other hand, the gang I was involved with WERE the largest suppliers of cocaine & other hard drugs to the northern Brooklyn/Forest Park Bandshell area in their late 1970s-early 1980s heyday. Could it be that the government DOES have files on me? Having worked for a government entity I am not that concerned, since the files have probably moldered away. Then why the ruse? Now, were there more overtly UFO elements to this I am sure a John Keel or Budd Hopkins would cream over this. Also, were I a more politically important, or even more well-known, person I guess I could believe that the government might feel a need to keep tabs on me. But I’m a working man who writes poems in an era where that art is diminished by the public. Why would I be of interest to anyone but a lover of poetry? Could it be that the MIBs’ interest derived not from my gang involvement, but from my experiences with psi? I don’t know. Can I prove that any of this happened? No. Paco is dead, the 1 face-to-face meeting was at night & alone, & the hearsay inquiries are just that, from people who probably now would have a hard time recalling anything about me, much less some wacky snoops’ interest in me. But, does the government keep tabs on people they may wish to blackmail? It could also be that the MIBs were seeking to discredit me, or cast aspersions so to make me prey to them. The really far-out conspiracists might argue that LHO suffered similar doggings by MIBs, or Feds. Personally, I think that there was an interest that 1st day in the car with Paco, but that people misconstrued other inquiries in to my past. Why would anyone inquire? I don’t know. But that does not mean that those inquiries were nefarious! As for the guy on the corner? Perhaps just some wacko who saw my puzzlement & thought he could string me along. By that time I was well-known in the art circles of Minneapolis & he could have just been another in an endless line of haters, stalker & harassers I’ve dealt with since Cosmoetica went online- save that he did it in person, & pre-Cosmoetica. Note, though, in both cases I have not used the farthest out possibilities as the default belief, even conflating the 2 ‘series of events’ as having bearing on 1 another. I could easily do so, &- in my youth- did to a degree. But, to what end. I have not had any MIB encounters for years now & it’s 30 years since my last Green Kids encounter. I recognize that I could easily construct a narrative to support a more paranoid conclusion- but my life is hard enough. Perhaps, were I more able to glide through life I would find it a neat way to spice up my dull existence by presuming I was harassed by government agents & visited by inter-dimensional children. But, my life is interesting enough- & I recognize how my own Trickster Imagination might wanna screw around with me. So, I refrain. I can no more prove the veracity of my encounters with MIBs than I can what I ate 3 weeks ago Tuesday. This is the nature of life- there is precious little ‘proof’ in great detail. Still, I do believe that the government has far more knowledge of its citizens than it admits. Yet, as I said, given the sloth & incompetence rife in government I doubt they have the ability to effectively wield their personal clubs against the vast majority of the citizenry- much to the chagrin of Attorney General John Ashcroft!
  Now, let me relate another anecdote- this 1 concerning my previous (non-)encounter with the puzzling, yet predictable, Budd Hopkins. By 1990 I has started searching for my natural family (I am adopted). I did so to seek out if there were any other people more like me. I had always felt singular in the cosmos. I later did & not much in common was to be found. Still, the search was worth it, if only for some self-definition. About the same time I had seen BH on an episode of ‘Unsolved Mysteries’- a segment on missing time. It was the 1st time I’d heard of the term & I also had several unexplained gaps in my memory re: certain events. I’d also seen 2 UFOs in the sky. 1, when I was 4 or 5, & my family went to some people’s big house in Long Island. The sun had set less than a ½ hour or so earlier & it was dying duck, but I remember a passel of the partiers’ kids were playing in a meadow not far from the house when we saw what I would call a giant fluorescent light rise up from behind a hillock. That’s all I recall. The next time was 1977, during the 2nd of the 3 famed New York City blackouts of the last 40 years, when I saw assorted light streaks in the sky- some making 90° turns at high speeds. I was 1 of 1000s who reported seeing UFOs that night. There was also a 3rd time I encountered- not some space vessel- but some odd light balls. It was summer of 1973, Kohoutek’s Comet was all the rage, & I had been invited to the apartment building rooftop of the brother & sister whom the green kids reminded me of to watch it. Their names were Ferry & Phoebe. Ferry was 3 or 4 years older- almost a teen, & Phoebe was about 2 years older. I lusted for her- even at such an age! I recall I had just finished watching the ill-fated Bob Denver/Forrest Tucker sitcom Dusty’s Trail, & rushed over to the rooftop. There had been rain sprinkles all night, & the comet was not visible- it was 1 of the most over-hyped, & quickly forgotten, media events of my lifetime. While scanning the skies the 3 of us were disappointed. Then anywhere from 6-12 balls of light came down from a cloud & shimmered before us. The smallest was ping-pong ball-sized while the largest was the size of a basketball. The balls came toward us & then retreated if we went to touch them. I recall that they seemed alive & our faces were reflected in them- seemingly molded to be like our faces. We were delighted & puzzled, but not scared. Years later, watching the James Cameron flick The Abyss, the most similar thing I can describe was the reaction of the ‘shapeshifting water alien’ to the faces & inquiries of the diving crew. That’s how the light balls were. After 2 or 3 minutes of ‘engagement’, the balls, which made a low humming noise, retreated to the skies. The 3 of us tried to convince our parents of what happened, to no avail. It was not until nearly 2 decades later, when the proof that ball lightning exists was made, that I understood that that was what we had encountered. I have always have a strange reaction to magnetism. Strange tugs on my body, & once, when new fillings were put in my teeth- I was 12 or 13- if I ground my teeth together in a certain way I could pick up a barely audible radio station. The dentist fixed that by switching the metal of the fillings. But it was frustrating to not be believed- so I know how abductees feel. Can I prove that I & the other kids saw ball lightning? 30 years on- no. But, it’s far more believable than abduction claims, & devoid of mythic & psychological import. Another time I was greatly disbelieved was in the mid 1970s, when on the way back from a field trip to the Museum of Natural History I looked out a window as we drove through Brooklyn & saw a small tornado tearing down a street. What amazed was that it had blue lightning swirling about it. I shouted & all the kids rushed to my side of the bus to gawk. Yet, none of our parents believed us until the local news came on to declare it the 1st known tornado to hit New York City in the 20th Century.
  But, back to Budd Hopkins. In seeing that I had some ‘missing time’ issues I decided to write the man a long letter. I described all of the scenarios laid out in this section of the essay, + many others. I thought he was open-minded. The most apropos examples of what I thought might be links to abduction or missing time were these: growing up in the home my parents owned in Glendale, Queens I had several encounters with MIB-like beings, but who I thought non-human. They were almost ghost-like, more than alien. They were creatures in almost Zorro-like black costumes, topped by black fedoras. Their faces were obscured but they seemed to have glowing red eyes- much like the red you see on digital alarm clocks. For some reason I always instinctively called them ‘hoods’. I do not know why? My 1st encounter actually predated our Glendale home, when I witnessed that 1st murder in 1971. The killers were 2 hoods, the milieu was the communal alleyway behind the home where my parents rented, & I won’t go on in extended detail, but after witnessing the killing I felt I was always somehow ‘marked’. A few years later, in the mid-70s, I recall seeing a hood coming up the stairway between my & my parents’ bedroom. The house was designed with the stairway in between & windows from each room that could be opened for cross-ventilation in the home. I recall seeing the red eyes glare in at me. I hid under my covers, heard my knob jiggle. Then- blank. I do not recall. Was I assailed by this demon who merely floated up the stairs? Or was it a nightmare? 1 blanked mostly out of my mind? In the next year or 2 I had 2 other encounters. 1 was staying up late at night during summer vacation. I would read but draw my shades so that neighbors could not peer in. 1 night I got a weird sensation. I headed toward the window in my bedroom that opened out onto the kitchen roof. I lifted it up & saw another hood beaming right into the window. It crouched & moved in very insect-like ways. I was fearful but made no sound. In later years the closest approximation to it I could read about was the odd ‘Leaping Man’ or ‘Spring-Heeled Jack’ of Victorian England- a supposed entity with glowing red eyes that terrorized London & the surrounds. Had I, ala the Green Kids, tapped in to some unconscious collective myth? Or had I, by then, been culturally infected by the slew of 1970s era pseudo-documentaries on psi phenomena, & slipped them in to my dreams? The other major ‘hood’ incident I recall was in that same time frame where I woke up 1 night in my bedroom & 4 or 5 hoods stood over me & around my bed. I was paralyzed. I could not move nor scream. 1 of them seemed to touch my torso & I felt a puncture- as if a big needle had been stuck in my lungs. I gasped & blacked out. The similarities to fairy abductions, & their modern equivalent with aliens, is manifest.
  Now, what of the hoods? Were they real supernatural entities? Or were they a recurring dream motif? Did I backward paste a pair of hoods into my earlier memory of a real killing? This is, of course, the Occam’s Razor answer. Could the more far out answer be the correct 1? Sure. But I have zero evidence to back that up, whilst the evidence for the Occam’s answer is plentiful. Nonetheless, I wrote of all these things in a letter to Budd Hopkins in the late 1980s or early 1990s- I do not recall the exact year- & asked if he might give some insight. While skeptical of his methods (& I believe I stated that within a letter), I did think that he was a good chronicler of dream & myth (albeit unknowingly). Because my life also included real incidents of violence (previously mentioned) I felt that I was as good a potential candidate to be screen memory-free as any. But, even though I wrote brief follow-up/inquiry letters 2 or 3 times over the following year, I never heard from BH. I wrote him off as a typical BSer & charlatan, uninterested in truly exploring the human dimension to such mythic encounters. Does this prove that the man is a BSer? No. But where does the Razor point? &, unfortunately, everything I’ve subsequently read of the man’s methods- online or in print- have confirmed that my early observation was indeed prescient. BH is a very poor investigator, & a wholly biased researcher- no wonder his (& the other abductologists who practice investigations as he does) data is so skewed. I cannot otherwise explain why he would overlook a tale that so clearly runs parallel to the UFO Abduction mythos, yet has stark differences, other than it might undermine his own preconceptions. By parallaxing the 2 tales 1 might observe more readily where fantasy & dream take off from reality. But this would, de facto, knock all the props out from under BH’s carefully constructed worldview. The methods used by BH & his ilk are eerily paralleled by those who buy the Warren Commission’s lies. Both groups tell you- do NOT trust your senses, nor your intellect. Let US tell you the way things really are! Although both sides differ in their approaches to the myths (the abductionists being pro- & the Warrenites being anti-) both have a fundamental hostility toward truth & intelligence. Both loathe old Occam!
  At this point, let me step back & explain with how heavy a grain of salt any reader must take any written word- mine, an abductologist’s, a JFK researcher's, or- truly- anybody’s. When I got into researching unexplained phenomena in the late 1980s I came upon a # of ‘classic tales’- 1 was the Green Kids, whose venue of discovery has been ascribed to a # of countries, & a # of historical periods. This is par for the course in psi circles- mainly because many of these myths & legends were bandied about by 19th Century yellow journalists who delighted in 1-upping each other, either blatantly staging hoaxes or wink-winking at tales they knew were probably false. The 1897 Airship ‘sightings’ & the crash of the little spaceman in Aurora, Texas are classics in this field of quasi-reportage. Another is a tale of abduction from this period that has been reported over & over (in countless versions), in which a married man, who was a farmer, 1 day heard voices in his field at night. It was winter, & his family was scared by the voices. The man told his family to stay indoors while he investigated. He went outside, a ruckus was heard, then a scream (in some versions). The man was never seen again. When the family checked outside at 1st light they saw where his footprints abruptly stopped. In some versions the man spoke to his family of being in a nether world, abducted by strange little men. The point of credence was that the wife got the local law involved & they could never find the body. The footprints that just stopped in the snow are the point where the man was somehow abducted. In some versions the man’s voice could be heard for days afterward, growing fainter & fainter, until he was never seen nor heard from again. Like the Green Kids’ tale this episode is said to have occurred in remote counties of either Tennessee, or some other rural state, occurred during the early or late 19th Century, &- incredibly the protagonist’s name has 4 different versions- either Oliver Lerch/Larch or David Gray/Lang. The point is that scrupulous researchers have proven that none of the names, at any of the dates & locales, ever existed in local tax records, or newspaper accounts. The whole episode, endlessly repeated, treated singly & sometimes as separate accounts, in psi books for well over a century was, in reality, a tall tale. Period. Ironically, after being portrayed so gullibly, if not unethically, in regard to his involvement with the Budd Hopkins/Linda Napolitano fiasco, a book that does a balanced & excellent job of rendering both the Green Kids & Lerch/Gray myths is Jerome Clark’s Unexplained!- a 1993 psi encyclopedia.
  So, where does that leave modern conspiracism? Pro or con? Is it bound to twirl in stale breezes propped up by the Fletcher Proutys & Budd Hopkinses of the world- small time carnies, or con men?, desperately seeking the fame they believe was owed them in other fields (military history in FP’s case, painting in BH’s) by spouting nonsense & disinformation? I think that whatever a reader’s POV is re: the JFK Assassination & UFO Alien Abductions, it’s obvious that the government intrudes into the lives of its citizens far more than it admits. But governments (composed of human beings) are flawed, wasteful, biased, lazy, & subject to the Peter Principle at every conceivable level. Do I believe that a government can go out of its way to keep files on a relatively minor irritant to itself like me? Sure. Can they effectively wield it? Probably not- at least in the Black Ops sense- if you wanna talk real power think IRS- not CIA (or DIA or any other acronyms)! Do I believe that parts of the government might look the other way if a President they did not like was murdered by organized crime, then (as accessories after the fact) seek to cover things up? Yeah, I can even go that far- but they could only get away with it once. But, do I believe that the government could squirrel away crashed UFOs for decades without proof getting out? No. Think of all the CIA leaks in the 1990s. Think of all the major government scandals that got out- including information that blatantly contradicts the murder of an American President. Do I, furthermore, believe such a government could keep the lid on an alien genetic harvesting & rape project? No- especially considering how bumbling & moronic their extraterrestrial partners seem to be. I could believe the government WOULD do such a thing if they thought they could get away with it- the programs of forced sterilization of people with low IQs in the South in the early 20th Century, the suppression of toxic waste data in the 1970s, & the use of black men at universities in the South for DDT & chemical experiments in the mid-20th Century prove that the government (Federal or local) will easily discard the lives of its citizens for aims it deems worthy. My point is that all of these things- relatively small scale events- were, despite best efforts at concealment, brought to the fore within a few decades of their suppression. Do I believe that any government could suppress information on an alien abduction program that is manifold larger & longer than the previous events? Absolutely not- it would be humanly impossible, even if the alien abductors were far more competent than they seem to be. & this is not even going near such posturings as the Drake Equation, & the actual viability of alien intelligences, nor their abilities to elide light speed.
  In all, I think conspiracy beliefs are a part of human nature. They should be viewed as part of the natural will for humans to shit the bull. But, this does not mean that every conspiracy is off-base. I believe the JFK & UFO conspiracies are mirror opposites. The 1st represents the obvious conclusion even a mild retard could reach. The lengths gone to deny these facts are Rube Goldbergian, at the least. On the other end of the spectrum the notion of alien abductions which have gone on for over 70 years- according to time frames given by some ‘abductees’- is so utterly without evidence, & so easily & manifestly explained by prosaic things we now know about human brain physiology, human psychology, & human cultures, that its belief system rivals that of the JFK mythos (so rife with abundant evidence) suggests that it is the will to believe which is the real thing to be studied.
  & here is the nub of that ‘will to believe’- both ‘conspiracies’ remove responsibility from believers &- in their view- all of us, to the degree that life is seen as utterly random, without purpose- despite inane & insane prattlings on from some abductees that the aliens are here to let us know we should appreciate Arbor Day a little more. Therefore failures can be rationalized as not meaning a whole lot in the scheme of things, & even the will to strive & succeed becomes just a source of knowing bemusement to the true ‘enlightened’ believers. This applies equally to true ‘negative’ believers such as the anti-assassination believers, whose smugness at declaring black is white & white is polka dots, is galling by any objective measure. In short, a will- or more pointedly, a need- to believe negates the desire to risk. & risk, failure, & the unknown (as in consequences) are things the vast majority of Americans fear far more than incompetent alien rapists, or power-hungry right wing militarists.

4) Summations

  So, I think I’ve reasonably shown how the coverup of the JFK assassination led to a skeptical mindset in the American public (bolstered by Vietnam, Watergate, Iran-Contra, the fallacious Wars on Drugs & Terror, etc.) ripe for exploitation by true fringe elements- those who believe in alien abductions, black ops at hazy military installations, retrieval of alien craft & entities, nefarious deals with powerbroking agents as Jewish bankers, freemasons, Rosicrucians, the Illuminati, neo-Nazi militarists, Fundamentalist sects of all religions, Satanists, etc, cattle mutilations, etc.
  I’ve also shown that most of the people who prop up positions on these 2 major ‘conspiracies’ are often their own worst enemies. For example, the JFK anti-conspiracists have many logical continuity problems that just blare out to even casual observers- such as the general notion that Lee Harvey Oswald was a ‘lone nut’ is really parried easily by readily available evidence. A prime example is that the anti-cons, in propping LHO up as a mad genius who could foil the best laid plans of the Secret Service, overlook some rather obvious evidence that LHO was none too bright. The best evidence of this is that LHO ordered the murder weapon through a catalog- easily traceable to him- when, especially considering he was residing in gun-loving Dallas, he could easily have gone to a plethora of gun shops & bought, for cash, the same weapon without any single way of tracing it to himself. It could be argued that LHO secretly wanted to be caught, but this contradicts his utter denials upon capture. This was not someone who was proud of his terrorist act, & denied it till his own death.
  The pro-cons in the JFK case are just as bad, though. Their case is easily proved, yet instead of going where the evidence points- to a Mafia hit, aided either before, after, or both, with military & CIA complicity- far too much ‘white noise’ is allowed in. The end result is that more time is spent parsing Oliver Stone’s film JFK, than actually doing such to the Zapruder & other films, & other remaining evidence. For example, much was made of OS’s according the ‘3 tramps’ seen near Dealey Plaza an important part in the conspiracy to kill JFK. When evidence surfaced, in recent years, that the 3 tramps were indeed just that, this was taken as a sign that the whole pro-conspiracist camp had crumbled. Yet, OS had never claimed his film was factual- only a more plausible counter-myth to the Warren Commission’s myth. He repeated this claim numerous times yet so-called journalists have so willfully ignored this point that it’s almost comic. When shown the evidence for the tramps’ true natures, OS readily conceded the point- but it had nothing to do with the film’s quality nor the pro-cons’ strong case. Yet, it was the very contradictory & flawed presentations of the pro-con side that allowed for such distracting counter-attacks in the 1st place.
  Then there is the problem with the media itself. In the case of JFK it seems probable that ties to certain government agencies have forever compromised the ability for the ‘mainstream’ media to ever deal with it fairly. On the other hand, when confronted with the implausibilities in the abduction claims, the media rightly marginalizes them. But, a close examination of available evidence shows that the anti-conspiracist element of the JFK mythos shows it has little more to bolster itself than the pro-conspiracist elements in the UFO Alien Abduction myth. The obvious question is why the differing treatment? An objective look can only conclude that the likeliest answer has to do with media complicity in the JFK scenario, & none in the UFO mythos. I, also, have 1st hand experience in dealing with trying to get truths out. In the last year I had some voluminous evidence of major financial malfeasance, & abuse of employee civil rights, at a former Fortune 500 employer of mine. 2 times I went to major Twin Cities media outlets- the Minneapolis Star-Tribune & weekly tabloid City Pages. In both cases the contacts I had were highly enthused to investigate & run exposes. In both cases the contacts told me they 1st needed approval from their superiors, & in both cases the initial enthusiasm for my evidence & story potential were kyboshed. Both times I was told that the papers’ management teams had been told to ignore the story by their corporate parent’s management. So much for freedom of the press!
  This stood in stark contrast to what occurred 20 years earlier, when I went ‘state’ & helped break up my aforementioned high school gang. Yet, many is the time when police inaction, despite tips, prevents major busts from occurring- usually because of ‘dirty blue’ involvement. That is the key! The ability for any agency to separate itself from the thing they are associated with. Getting back to the inane ABC special, Peter Jennings Reporting: The Kennedy Assassination- Beyond Conspiracy, it’s worth noting not only the network’s ties to the coverup after the assassination (see www.abclies.com), but how utterly void of journalistic intent much of what network television now airs actually has. Think of the slick Dateline or 48 Hours tv ‘news’ shows, far more akin to COPS or other reality TV fare. ABC, for its part, has aired numerous ‘news specials’ on Jesus Christ- a historically unproven personage- i.e.- a myth. The most recent 1 was on how this fictive being was dealt with in a work of fiction- the novel The Da Vinci Code. Think of that- a ‘news special’ devoted to the historicity of a fictional novel based on a myth! & this network is supposed to be accorded journalistic props when it foists a computer simulation, which bears as much in common to the truth as a Looney Tune, upon the American public, & declares it ‘foolproof’? Jeez!
  The whole point of this essay- far more massive than my original plan (& evidence of the utter labyrinthine nature of dealing with anything conspiratorial)- is to show that while things are not always as they seem, it is not infinitely impossible to sort through the white noise & discern realities. We are not ‘low grade morons’ attempting to understand the miraculous world of the Krells, teetering upon annihilation if we are wrong. Conspiracies are real & mythic things. Which tag belongs to which conspiracy is not a task for the gods. It’s a thing easily discerned by a sane, well-balance individual. While ‘extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proof’, it is equally true that ‘absence of evidence is not evidence of absence’ is just as true in the 2 sides’ death struggles with maximed tautologies. 1 must steer to the center to have the best shot at truth- an idea much in line with Richard Nixon’s idea about needing to appeal to extremes to get a nomination to run for President, & then quickly flock to the middle to win the general election. This is why I subscribe to Fate magazine, as well as Natural History & Discover, read books by Budd Hopkins, Whitley Strieber, Jacques Vallee, Charles Fort, & John Keel, as well as those by Carl Sagan, Richard Dawkins, Stephen Jay Gould, & Jared Diamond, as well as people in between- a Lyall Watson or Howard Bloom.
  I recognize that just because abductologists exploit the weak-minded does not negate the possibility of their being correct. But I do not forget their need to meet reasonable, if not extraordinary, burdens of proof. I ignore white noise like Budd Hopkins’ or John Mack’s claims to not charge abductees for hypnosis, since it’s beside the point. In a free market either man would be free to charge for services rendered without the ethics of their services being questioned- presuming customer satisfaction. But those claims are also superfluous on real-world level since both men have made tons of money on the royalties from their best-selling books, & derivative works, paid lectures, & appearances/interviews on numerous media outlets. They can afford the façade of generosity accorded their clients because they know where the golden eggs of the goose are truly laid. In this manner they resemble Maya Angelou- a bad poet who does not give a damn about the art, nor her participation in its ‘dumbing down’, yet is hailed for her generosity in spending ‘free’ time with illiterate children, & the like, when she knows this public persona will reap her much money in appearances on Oprah, high fees on the lecture circuit, & charging outrageous fees for poem reprints. Ever wonder why old Maya’s poems are rarely anthologized? It’s not because they are doggerel (why would that matter to the terrible anthologies?) but because she reportedly charges $10,000 per poem reprint- even to anthologies devoted to African-American literature! In short, MA, BH, & KM have obviously learned & loved the film Jerry Maguire- with its tag line ‘Show me the money!’
  Their generosity, it turns out, seems as real & important as the ‘evidence’ brought back from abductions- be they by trolls or aliens- often just soil or dirt: worthless! Or, as UFO hard-on debunker Philip Klass once said: “...despite the fact that we humans are great collectors of souvenirs, not one of these persons [abductees & contactees] has brought back so much as an extraterrestrial tool or artifact, which could, once and for all, resolve the UFO mystery.” Yet, the true believers in both myths take great succor from knowing that it’s not unreasonable to assume that if their scenarios were true that the government would act in suspicious ways that mirror the ways it has acted in response to both myths. This is why the need for objectivity, & scrupulous approaches, is paramount. Things cannot be taken at face value- propped up by true-sounding, but extraneous, research; such as weather reports gibing. Also, seemingly unrelated & obscure details CAN have import- such as the fact that the supposed abduction of Betty & Barney Hill occurred om 9/19/61, yet on 9/7/61 the popular sci fi tv show The Outer Limits had an alien character that seemed very similar in description to the claims made by Barney Hill after multiple prompts to get him to ‘alienize’ what were initially human tormentors. A # of UFO debunkers have made this point. Not to mention the ongoing relation that the UFO abduction myth has had with pulps, comic strips such as Buck Rogers in the 25th Century & the 1960s ‘Moon Maid’ story arc of Dick Tracy, sci fi & psi magazines, tv & film.
  I’ve also shown that often the claims of ‘best proof’ scenarios are usually more hype than substance- be it Dale Myers' GIGO-prone computer simulation, or Linda Napolitano’s ‘daylight abduction’- which were it presented as a novel, might lose a plagiarism lawsuit. Let me end this essay with 2 more anecdotes, & a definition. Back in the late 90s I attended a convention for UFOs. Abductees were rife & I laid out many of the arguments I have made here (logical & personal). I was, of course, dismissed as a ‘nut’ or ‘government stooge’ by these manifestly nutty & paranoid folks. Yet, when I relayed them the tale of a young woman I had known & loved, who suffered from sexual & physical abuse from boyfriends, &- I suspected- incest (things even a nut could empathize & sympathize with), the abductees could see & understand some of the rationalizations made by the woman, as I relayed them. That they could not understand the many & manifest parallels to their own claims only underscores my point about a need for objectivity.  My 2nd anecdote relates to my early 1990s investigations into psi, when I came across a book by an Erich Von Däniken wannabe named William Bramley (no- not character actor Wilford Brimley!). It was called The Gods Of Eden, & featured familiar themes- many long disproved. My point of contention was on the origin of Jewry & the Semitic peoples. It’s long been established, by many divergent researchers, that Judaism (the religion) & Jews (the ethnic groups) have differing origins. The religion’s ancient myths & tenets developed in the African horn region, under the beliefs of the descendants of a # of tribes in the Upper Nile regions of what is now Ethiopia (ancient Abyssinia). This is why there are ‘black Jews’ from that region, despite later myths of conversion by Jews eons later. The ethnic Jews, Semites, actually were Saharan nomads, who eventually co-opted the seeds of Judaism & settled in Palestine. This truth has often been unsettling for modern Jews & Israelis for it contradicts Biblical claims of primacy in Palestine. Nonetheless, aspects such as the Hebrew tongue, have their origins in distinctly different times & regions from the religion. I pointed out how WB ignored & conflated these facts in his conspiratorial mind-set. He favored ideas more in tune with Zechariah Sitchin or EVD. Surprisingly, my letter to him was answered by WB, himself, in less than 2 weeks. The letter betrayed the gullibility & utter lack of factual research done on the book. Instead, WB beseeched me to send him my ‘research’ on these facts. Apparently, he was oblivious to the well-documented, easily accessible, & often nasty debates on Jewish origin (this was pre-Internet, I remind you)- myth is a lot cleaner than reality after all. It all depends on where 1 chooses to stand, & why.
  But this is the common denominator between the 2 myths this essay deals with (as well as all mythos), & points to the idea that they parallax each other. Here is the definition of the term:

Main Entry: par·al·lax
Pronunciation: 'par-&-"laks
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle French parallaxe, from Greek parallaxis, from parallassein to change, from para- + allassein to change, from allos other
Date: 1580
: the apparent displacement or the difference in apparent direction of an object as seen from two different points not on a straight line with the object; especially : the angular difference in direction of a celestial body as measured from two points on the earth's orbit

  Neither myth can occupy the central spot in the American psyche while the other exists. Just as both myths have camps that despise each other, both myths vie for a central spot in that psyche, yet neither mythos recognizes their import to the other, nor their utter dependence upon each other. UFOs are the logical extension of a powermad government determined to deceive & use its citizenry. & the JFK Assassination is the proof, itself, that the government can & will do anything, in any sphere, to carry out nefarious ends. If 1 myth eclipses the other both will suffer for neither tale will have origin & grounding, & neither will have purpose, save farce. Neither can be in the middle of the straight line, but neither recognizes why- because that is the proper province of truth- Occam’s Area. & the dead are awfully difficult to move!

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