Friday, February 25, 2011


Abductions and Aliens

The firestorm that was touched off by Budd Hopkins' wife recently has sent ufology into a tizzy. Essentially, his wife, who was with him while he did his investigations and hypnotic regressions, is "whistle-blowing" that he and other abduction researchers have been sloppy and/or unprofessional in many, if not all cases.

Supporters of both sides of the debate have been lining up to add their comments about the current state of abduction research. I'm staying out of it.

Well, until now. Back in 1999, my book Abductions and Aliens was published, giving my take on the field at that time. In the book, I was not overly optimistic about how abduction research was going. I had been involved in dozens of abduction cases by that time, and had formed my own theories are to what was really going on.

The book is still in print and available at:

Here is an excerpt from the book:

The Abductee Problem

One of the strongest arguments against abductees "really" being in receipt of direct (and often physical) alien contact is the greatly conflicting nature of the experiences they recall. In very few cases are the aliens described exactly alike (with identical planets of origin, identical spacecraft, identical medical instruments, identical relayed intent, etc.). Admittedly, some abductee researchers are attempting to identify matching symbols observed by some abductees on board the ships, and there are some cases that have some similar characteristics, but for the most part, each abductee case possesses some unique facets. This may be partly explainable due to differing recollections by disparate abductees and deliberate interference by the aliens themselves, but these could be considered arm-waving exercises. (One ufologist even has suggested that, because the abduction stories are so bizarre and incredible, abductions are proof that aliens have their own warped sense of humour.)

Although most abductees seek help from ufologists, it is increasingly apparent that ufology is ill-prepared to deal with them. An abductee case is far more complicated than an ordinary sighting of a UFO. Even though abductions are often considered the fourth category of close encounters, they are extremely different from the lesser three categories and should be placed in a category or series of categories of their own.

It is usually recognized that UFO investigators do not investigate UFOs, but the reports made by the witnesses themselves. Already, ufology is once-removed from pure scientific investigation and could be considered more analogous to memorate studies by anthropologists. Abduction cases are even more humanistic; there is often no definite "time" of an event, and it might not "take place" in a precise location. They are extremely subjective and may represent something beyond our investigation.

This is why psychologists are more suited to abduction studies. Researchers often have found that abductees have emotional and psychological problems that may or may not be directly related to their experiences. Some appear to have a history of sexual or domestic abuse, and others exhibit symptoms of stresses within their lives. (It is possible that it is because of such backgrounds that they are "chosen" or otherwise sensitive to abduction-like encounters. It is even possible that lifelong abductions are the cause of the psychosocial problems.) Regardless of the cause and effect, however, an abductee seeking help from a UFO buff is asking for trouble. Simply put, few ufologists have the therapeutic tools and expertise required to properly unravel an abductee's experiences within a framework of personal problems.

Alien Abduction Syndrome (AAS)

I've stopped counting how many people have come to me asking for help or guidance in understanding their abduction experiences. Not only that, I've come to identify the "usual" story:

"I had this dream, well at least I thought it was a dream, that these little creatures were in my room and I could understand them even though they weren't really talking and it hurt when they touched me and then I seemed to be floating somewhere not in my room and they told me some things I couldn't understand and then I was suddenly back in my room. But I think they are still around."

I've read John Mack's epic case study Abductions and I tend to see the points of many of his critics. Far from the aliens preparing his clients for some future use and teaching them about ecology and spirituality, I think some of those in his group have problems in dealing with our reality.

Not that that's such a bad thing, mind you.

Now, I'm not a psychologist by training, nor a psychiatrist, so I'm sure my diagnosis is going to draw some flames. But I think that what we have here is something I might call Alien Abduction Syndrome (AAS).

For some reason, certain people appear to think they have been contacted by aliens. This could be because of various contributing factors: dissatisfaction with life; stress; domestic problems; family problems; peer pressure; rape trauma; chemical imbalances; or child abuse. Perhaps any one of these or any combination of them. I believe that thorough studies might help to understand AAS. (It's even possible that aliens are actually doing some abductions, but that's another matter.)

Let me backtrack, however. First of all, I don't think that all people who report such experiences have AAS. Secondly, in most cases, AAS is not a "problem."

The real problem, though, is how to deal with such cases. Most ufologists are woefully inadequate as abduction therapists/counselors. Investigating a nocturnal light and counseling an abductee are two very, very different things. You just don't "file" an abductee case away as you would a daylight disc case. Furthermore, ufologists are not trained as psychologists (generally), though John Musgrave published a paper in the late 1970's or the role of the UFO researcher as a counselor and healer. It was ignored at the time.

However, there's another side to this issue, and more questions. Who is appropriate and/or adequate as a counselor/investigator of abductee cases? What relationship should there be between a clinical psychologist and a UFO researcher?

Want to read more? Check out my book.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Nonsense in the News

There are several amazing stories that are circulating in the UFO subculture this month. All of them are nonsense. Most are being promulgated through Twitter and Facebook, and in a variety of blogs and faux-news sites. Here are my cautions on some of them:

1. A new planet has not been discovered in the Solar System. Niburu still does not exist.
2. Stan Fulham's predictions about UFOs have not been proven true.
3. The Jerusalem UFO videos are not baffling UFO experts. They are fakes.

1. Sorry, no Niburu

As excited as some are getting about the claim that a giant planet four times the size of Jupiter has been found beyond Pluto, it's simply not true. Such a planet has been speculated, but that's a long way to proving it exists. In fact, the researchers who suggested it may exists are doubtful, too.

The original paper about this appeared in November in Icarus, an excellent scientific journal that often deals with spaceflight and SETI (and should be essential reading for ufologists). The authors are John Matese and Daniel Whitmire, both physicists at the University of Louisiana, who have been studying comets and the Oort Cloud for many years. In fact, they've been speculating about a "distant solar companion" since the 1980s! Basically, they have been studying the frequency distribution of the orbits of certain comets and think that a large massive object may exist somewhere out there, giving cometary debris a nudge and sending them inward towards the Sun.

Their most recent paper (available here:, simply presents additional evidence that such a large, dark body may exist. It does not say that any planet has been discovered, only that it has been theorized to exist in order to explain the distribution of comets in our Solar System. That's it.

According to those who believe Niburu exists and may hit the Earth in 2012, there is no evidence at all that this large speculated planet (called Tyche by Matese and Whitmire) is going anywhere. In fact, it is so far away from Earth that it would be clearly visible by now if it was heading in our direction, which it's not.

Now, it's possible that a comet perturbed by Tyche could be heading our way for an Earth-crossing event in 2012, but that could happen with or without this new research.

2. Stanley Fulham's "Predictions"

First of all, I read Fulham's book in an early printing several years ago. It's pretty standard contactee literature, and nothing very different from the rest of the genre. Self-published, it didn't stand out to me as anything special. The fact that he was a NORAD staff member is the most interesting aspect.

Secondly, Fulham's book got attention in a later printing, after Randy Kitchur connected with him. I should note that I know Kitchur, as he is from my own town and I have met him numerous times regarding issues related to UFOs.

Last year, Fulham made the prediction about a UFO fleet appearing on October 13, 2010. His original prediction is noted at:

A news release noted:

A newly-published 352-page book by a retired Air Force officer, Stanley A. Fulham, tentatively predicts October 13, 2010 as the date for a massive UFO display over the world’s principal cities.

Where did Fulham get his information from?

For more than a decade, through the services of a world renowned channeler, the author has communicated with an ethereal group of entities known as the Transcendors — 43,000 very old souls who combine their vast experience and knowledge through eons of incarnations, providing advice and information to humans in search of basic realities of mankind’s existence.

And as for the October 2010 event, Fulham hedged a bit:

Fulham clarifies there are no absolutes; the principal of free will and choice that exits with all souls precludes all absolute realities, and the aliens may decide to postpone their intervention — but the Transcendors confirm it will nonetheless occur in 2010. Quoting the author, the event will “occur this year, in what will surely be one of the great dramas of our galaxy, the introduction of their alien civilizations and technologies to mankind.

So, on October 13, 2010, there was supposed to have been a massive UFO display over the world's principal cities. Of course, there was no such thing. Fulham's supporters point to a single UFO sighting over New York on that day that has general been explained as a cluster of balloons but is accepted as a spacecraft visitation by some loyalists. That's not a "massive" UFO display, in any sense of the word. Nor was there any parallel set of events over cities such as (presumably) Paris, Moscow, Tokyo or Beijing.

It should also be noted that Fulham's hedge was that the UFO display was "tentatively" scheduled. In other words, if nothing was seen, it would still have been a valid "prediction."

As for the sightings in 2011 over London and Moscow, which also have been linked to "predictions" by Fulham, any examination of Davenport's NUFORC list will show that UFOs are sighted on a daily basis around the world, and since UFO reports tend to be reported by people in cities, sightings over London or Moscow are not unusual on any day of the year.

It is claimed that a video of a UFO over Moscow on January 7, 2011, represents a "hit" by Fulham. Looking through Youtube, there are videos of sightings over Moscow from January 18 and 25, but the one that is called a "hit" is indeed from January 7, 2011:

The trouble is, there's nothing in this video to distinguish it from any other UFO video posted to Youtube. It;s simply a teeny tiny dot of light moving slowly in the distance. That's a UFO that was manipulated to be there by aliens? Apart from the fact that the case was never actually investigated, so we have no way of knowing if the video is legitimate, there is no reason to assume it is anything remarkable.

As for the predicted London UFO, Kitchur noted:

London was a little different.  London actually started out with what look like a fleet on New Years Day, and ended on January 31st with a single UFO videotaped low over a residential neighbourhood.  In between there was a videotaped event on January 14 over downtown London, the very date Stan predicted if one interprets his prediction for London correctly.  At one point in late-January I thought Stan might have got the order of the Moscow and London displays reversed, but it wasn't until I learned the significance of the January 14th event following the incredible UFO display over the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on the 28.  Actually, it wasn't that specific event that provided that understanding, it was the front page story carried by Israel's largest newspaper mentioning Stan in relation to a prior event which took over the Wailing Wall in mid-December just before Stan died, of an orb that was videotaped the looks exactly like the orb in London on January 14th -- the day Stan predicted.

If the video in question is:
then this is also doubtful, as the orb zooming quickly away from the camera over Camden looks a lot like something in the air close to the camera lens and nothing alien.

These videos are said to be "3 of 3" in terms of Fulham's predictions, but the reality is more like 0 of 3.

3. Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Thou UFO Ever Less

I don't really want to start in on the Jerusalem UFO videos, but really, people. I still am getting tweets and Facebook updates by people who state that "skeptics" are "baffled" by the Jerusalem videos. Uh -nope. I can't think of a single serious UFO researcher who didn't see the videos once and realize they were faked.

Yet UFO proponents hype it this way:

Although to counter that, look at a website such as:

There's so much against the reality of the video. Anonymous poster, lack of numerous witnesses, internal inconsistency of the video itself, and simple directions on how to fake it, showing the "motion tile" effect:

A good try, though.

What's most annoying is that ardent believers are using the Jerusalem UFO video as proof or in support of other cases that may or may not have more support. And that's too bad, because if there is a real phenomenon, this is not the way to prove it.

[4. And don't get me started on chemtrails...]


Tuesday, February 08, 2011


A slight difference in interpretation

One of the reasons I began doing the annual Canadian UFO survey back in the 1980s was because I wanted to know exactly what people were seeing and reporting, as opposed to what tabloid news agencies and other sources of UFO news were claiming. It was common to see headlines such as "Giant UFO hovers over power lines" or "Huge unknown craft swoops over freeway." It was only after investigating and getting the actual sighting details that the real story emerged, usually involving a misidentified star or planet.

Now, more than 20 years later, things haven't changed all that much. The only difference is that sensational headlines are usually now Facebook updates or Twitter tweets, and they can get reported or retweeted innumerable times until they go viral and the original case is lost in the ether.

Take the case of the recent UFO reports over Vancouver Island. (Please.) The headline posted by was:

"Massive UFO over Victoria, BC possible ET Chemtrail remediation"

The story (at: described how a witness bore testament that: "A spectacular UFO was captured on video by a Vancouver Island online news service as it flew below the clouds over the provincial capital" on January 22, 2011.

The article went on to quote the witness about his sighting:

Mr. Stammberger estimates that as the object first became visible he was facing North and that it was approximately 5 kilometers distance from his location. The second appearance took place at a range of 3 kilometers while he faced towards the West. “That was huge. I film the moon from up here some nights and I think that [object] in the sky looked about half the size of what a full moon looks like. It was quite big and it lit up a significant portion of the sky.” There was more to the sighting than just a big mysterious flashing light. The camera captures what appear to be structural elements of the UFO suspended from the sphere. He described how, “When I zoomed in you could see what looked like a metallic body that hangs down below [the object]. I turned away to get the camera on a tripod and as I turned back the object had turned back into a ball-shaped sphere of light. So it seems to have some sort of shape-shifting or morphing ability.”

Stammberger's video is at:

Although the time of the event wasn't noted in the article, it seems that the sighting was one of many that were reported over Vancouver Island that night. Dozens of people reported seeing a series of objects described as glowing balls of orange light, sometimes accompanied by smoke trails. On one online UFO sightings website, headlines heralded reports such as:

UFO Makes Strange Maneuvers Over Mudge Island
Unusual Blinding Brilliant Orange Lights Over Cobble Hill
Bright Glowing Balls Of Light Looked Like A Bonfire Over Chemainus

All the sightings occurred between about 6:30 pm and 10:30 pm, and all described orange lights moving over the area.

Brian Vike found that a search-and-rescue operation was being carried out by the Coast Guard that night, as they were looking for a paraglider who had crashed near Duncan, BC. The Coast Guard plane had dropped six flares to light up the heavy forest, and the man was found and taken to hospital.

(News story:

Now, there's no question that this is what Stammberger had seen and filmed. But his interpretation is rather different than, say, what Eric Chisholm noted. He's a physicist from the National Research Council of Canada who happened to be observing the sky that night too. He saw "a large, glowing light on the western horizon" that he immediately knew was Jupiter. He also determined that the other lights were the flares dropped by the Coast Guard.


Jupiter is pretty spectacular these nights, for sure. What's amazing is the large number of Youtube videos of it, calling it a UFO. These include:



Back to the Vancouver Island case, one can ask why the original headline mentioned chemtrails, when the video only showed a light. Well, it seems that Stammberger has seen UFOs on many occasions, and is convinced that his observations are of something truly mysterious. In the same Examiner article, it is noted:

Stammberger described personal encounters with the media’s role in an environmental cover-up which lead to the establishment of his online news service. “I was working on a tree farm here, in BC, on Vancouver Island, a couple of years ago, where I was outside all day long. I started to notice that the jets were crossing the sky leaving huge trails from horizon to horizon. Over the day [those trails] would spread out and cover the entire sky. I watched this for two years and filmed it. I took that footage into all the local news stations here … in Victoria and nobody would touch it. Nobody would even look at it or comment about it. And that’s obviously what is referred to as Chemtrails but that now, years later we know as Stratospheric GeoEngineering. So this is why I started IslandOnlineNews, because no one would touch this footage, no one would report about it. So I thought,’If they won’t touch it, I’ll just start my own news website and I’ll report it myself.’”

Hmm. Mainstream media weren't interested in videos of aircraft contrails. How odd.

So, he started a news website to propound UFO/conspiracy stuff. The consequence is that his stories get pulled into news feeds by search engines and then promulgated across the Internet. Since his sighting and video were likely the flares dropped by the Coast Guard, receivers of the viral news feed will continue to associate the BC reports with a "massive" UFO and associated chemtrails.


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