The Subtle Racism of Ufology

An Orb of Light Chris Brown Witnessed

On last week’s episode of The Experience I spoke with Ardy Sixkiller Clarke about her new book, Sky People. Through direct interviews with trusting people living in remote villages throughout Mesoamerica, Ardy paints a picture of “alien” phenomena that is both similar to what we’ve all heard and distinct. Distinct in that the predominant entity encountered is not a short gray doctor with wraparound eyes, but a ball of light that can morph into a (usually tall) humanoid. A light being.

In my experiences, I have seen 3 types of light balls in 3 different contexts, which I will talk about on an upcoming episode of the podcast. (But they didn’t morph into anything). The guest on this show will be Chris Brown–an American man who had a couple of ball light incidents, which really shook him up in the “I must tell the world at all costs/MUFON investigators say I’m the only one who has been this close to this phenomenon” sort of way.

Ah, I remember the days of “I must tell the world!” enthusiasm. But I also remember what comes next: belief/disbelief/ridicule/some friends and allies/some stalkers and trollers/nothing. George Hansen’s audience will recognize this as part of Trickster Theory: entering any paranormal field is like walking into the dangerous poppy fields of Oz, where everything goes wonky and you forget who you are. It’s a subculture war for the hearts and minds of anyone who will listen. It’s intellectual bum fights.

Lately I’ve come to wonder if this is accurate. Is there really a trap set by a seeming intelligence hovering about like an air-born hallucinogen, just waiting for us to step into its mist? Or is it more likely that this circus of responses to one’s abnormal experience ending in nothing concrete (and often tears) is what happens when the culture defines normalcy by exclusion?

I mean, if I were to take my ball of light encounters to someone, anyone, from an indigenous nation who was raised to listen with an ear toward inclusiveness, that person wouldn’t shut the door on my encounter because it doesn’t challenge their sense of normalcy. It adds to and enriches it. In Western culture it would only add to and enrich one’s experience if I told it as fiction. To tell it as nonfiction is taboo.

So perhaps this belief/disbelief/ridicule/some friendships/some stalkers and trollers/nothing churn is one of neuroticism produced by the friction of a subculture attempting to be inclusive within an exclusionary mainstream culture, which is where its real heart beats. Perhaps, just perhaps, this Trickster Theory is describing a defense mechanism inherent to Western thought.

Now let’s get back to Chris Brown’s experiences. He’s excited by them because he was told by MUFON investigators that they were unique in their close proximity. So close were these lights that he could describe what was happening within them. Never been done before. Never.

Never, MUFON? What about all of the Native Americans living right here who have such a close relationship with these ball light beings that they set a space aside for them to show up during ceremony and sweat lodges? What about the fact that they often do show up?

Mesoamerican research is one thing. Traveling expenses are ridiculous, so let’s all thank Ardy Clarke for putting up her own money to do this. But what about North America? Canada? What about right here? Why is it again on Ardy Clarke to talk to Native Americans in her first book and one forthcoming?

While it is true that ball light phenomena have been reported time and again in association with “alien”, “ghost/spirit”, and other encounters… and as I said, I’ve personally seen them… why does reading Ardy Clarke’s book feel like a revelation? Why was Chris Brown told his experience was unique?

Where are the voices from other cultures standing right beside us? Are we afraid to speak with them? Are we afraid to learn that they have a fuller understanding of certain phenomena because they’ve built relationships with intelligences we have yet to engage in any meaningful way, while we’re still stuck on “Is it real?” and “I know what I saw!” and “The government better tell us what it knows–We have a right!”

How does that Western mind–which, like a child, believes itself to be the pinnacle of what Mind is and therefore believes itself to be at the frontier of exploration–engage its neighbor who has already formed close bonds with the transrational beings we ogle at a distance?

What would happen to ufology and the infantile Disclosure Movement if they were to learn that there is nothing left to pioneer, discover, or fight for, because those words are products of a culture that dominates through exclusivity and separation? What if they learn that these transrational beings entered into relationship with non-Westernized peoples long ago and that their “rational mind” pinnacle is only as 1st World as their bullets and disease?

What revelation about us and our culture awaits us on the waking side of the poppy field? Do we want to find out?

Do we honestly?

I submit to you that we suffer from a fear greater than the alien and that is a fear of our own shortcomings. The shortcomings of how we process and shape reality. And that fear is why we rarely engage people we believe we’ve “conquered” or who are otherwise born into cultures we’ve deemed “inferior.”

Meanwhile, they don’t deem us inferior or superior because their mind transcends that childish comparison. But just try telling a little kid who thinks he’s an adult that he’s a little kid. He’ll throw a tantrum in protest, such is the strength of the image he has built of himself.

There is a simple way out of this field of pies. Investigators? Actively engage and include everyone. That may mean setting aside the knowledge we’ve accumulated, giving up the dominant role of the investigator, and just listening. Not foisting hypnosis on people to hear that story again, either. Just listening.

Since we don’t actually know anything about the unknown, isn’t it more honest to admit we’re all still learning?

In the classroom we are equals. We’re sharing. We’re equals. Equality is the foundation of right relationship with any being, known or unknown. Dare we become students again? Dare we speak with and not at? Dare we let go the temper tantrums and allow ourselves to be wild and alive with curiosity again?

Dare we make the leap from subculture to transculture?

If we do, perhaps we’ll throw the Trickster for a loop.

 

 

Intruders Foundation Consent Forms: Consent or Exploitation?

It comes as no surprise to me that an alien abduction book-writing hypnotist’s consent form reads more like an amateurish cover my ass form. But that’s because I’m from here. What happens when an actual scientist the likes of whom alien abduction researchers have been screaming at for years to take this subject seriously does so and reads these consent forms? Well, your answer is below. And it begs the question: Do these abduction researchers really want scientists and the mainstream to take their work seriously or is that smoke and mirrors because they assume such people will not anyway? It’s easy to yell “Take me seriously!” or demand disclosure from the government when you know it’s not going to happen. Then you get to look like a hero of the people and profit from that.

This begs another question and another: Are these researchers really researchers? If there are no standards, no ethics, only the defense of misused tools like hypnosis and book reviews… speeches about the coherence of cherry-picked data… should this be considered a field of study to begin with?

–Jeremy Vaeni

Intruders Foundation Consent Forms: Consent or Exploitation?
by,
Tyler Kokjohn

Jack Brewer’s recent blog post on The UFO Trail regarding access to confidential hypnosis tapes exposed far more than a thoughtless violation of research confidentiality standards.  The Intruders Foundation consent form Jack published with his essay is shocking and virtually nothing like an informed consent form that would be employed for biomedical research.

First and foremost it served as notice that Budd Hopkins had claimed all publication rights to every utterance and any created entity of interest he could collect from his subjects.  Any privacy or confidentiality issues for the participant were apparently entirely secondary matters.  Worse, possible psychological issues emerging following participation were fully foreseeable adverse events – the document clearly informs the subject of that.  But then Budd simply washed his hands of them. In effect, subjects assumed risks that were never adequately explained and if anything went wrong were left on their own.

Unfortunately, risk is an unavoidable part of some biomedical research.  Potential foreseeable risks are managed through a comprehensive informed consent process to provide full, detailed information in advance to all subjects.  Written informed consent documents provide potential subjects with information about the nature of the research, how it will be used, the risks incurred and the rights of all participants. Potential adverse events must be described in sufficient detail and in an understandable fashion so that every subject knows completely what might go wrong BEFORE agreeing to participate.  Adverse events are mitigated through meticulous followup care during and after the study term if necessary.  No research may commence until the investigator has devised an appropriate and complete written informed consent form and obtains full institutional approval for it as well as a detailed written plan to recognize and mitigate all adverse events arising from the investigation.  The investigator and institution are responsible for completely informing all individuals of the attendant risks involved and assume full responsibility for the welfare of the subject and any/all needs that emerge as a consequence of participation in the study.  Attempting to insulate oneself from lawsuits through the invocation of a vague disclaimer or withholding vital information to thwart informed decision-making by possible participants is never permitted.

The evidence suggests Budd Hopkins realized serious problems might develop from his investigations – and he took steps to try to avoid the trouble they might cause him. After taking pains to highlight his own incompetence and lack of medical training, he persisted in rooting around where he effectively admitted he had no business whatsoever.  Holding himself legally blameless for all consequential damages, he was seemingly disinterested in mitigating any injuries he induced.

The implications are far reaching. If Budd Hopkins knew his work could create serious issues, it would seem that others using similar methods must have had analogous experiences with the induction of adverse events.  In other words, hypnosis investigators know this or reasonably should know of the potential for investigations to produce trouble in their subjects.  Authors Philip Klass, Jim Schnabel and Kevin Randle et al. had the situation well figured years ago, but were ignored. Recognizing this is no parlor game and what really can happen is something many hypnotists probably hope no one else ever figures out.  Anyone contemplating taking part in research is well advised to read and consider the informed consent documents carefully before participating.

Karen Cavalli on The Experience

lettheminA great dialogue between Let Them In: 30 Years of Secret Experiences author Karen Cavalli and I is happening right now on The Experience. This is an interview I approached with trepidation, unsure what to make of the notion of letting them in and/or an experiencer offering guidance. What does guidance mean when it comes to alleged aliens and assorted paranormal phenomena? I feared it would end up me wading through New Age nonsense. I was wrong. In fact, I quite like Karen’s approach.

I’m always saying we have to know what we are before we can ask what the other is. Part of that might have to do with femininity/masculinity. Not male/female specifically, mind you. But just masculinity/femininity.

This is not a topic discussed on the show, but between this week’s and next week’s episodes I wonder if this isn’t something worth discussing in the future. It could be another factor (besides fear) in why some of us take the UFO/ghost “hunter” approach and some try to find deeper personal meaning in our experiences.

For now… on with the show!

http://www.unknowncountry.com/experience/latest