UFO Conjectures

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A 2003-2004 Paper for students: A skeptics cornucopia?

This paper attacks "pseudo-science" (Ufology keynoted) as an intellectual warning for students:

Astronomy Education Review


Another Socorro possibility? Project Deimos


The Pascagoula Proposition: Not a UFO abduction

When the alleged Pascagoula abduction occurred in 1973, co-workers and buddies Charles Hickson and Calvin Parker claimed they were abducted by aliens that looked like this:
No other UFO sighting or event had (and still hasn’t) described beings that looked as Hickson/Parker described.


Because Hickson and Parker weren’t abducted, but experienced a folie à deux, a shared psychosis, brought on by suggestibility, one person influencing another, introducing a delusion.

Both men, Hickson a kind of father-figure to Parker, seems, from the record, to have been subjected to sexual examination(s).

In a later interview over 20 years after the initial incident, Parker's story became much more elaborate. Here Parker confessed to lying about fainting in sight of the creatures. He claimed that he was in fact conscious when the creatures took him on board the craft and led him into a room at the other end of a hallway to the left of the craft's entrance. He claims he was laid down on a sloped table and examined by a 'petite,' evidently female, being. Though he was paralyzed, he was able to observe the being inject a needle into the base of the underside of his penis. [Wikipedia]

Sexual elements often intrude upon those who suffer a folie à deux; it’s the sub-context of psychoneuroses [Freud and The Psychiatric Dictionary, Fourth Edition, Hinsie/Campbell, Pages 305-307]

The men reported they experienced “a whirring/whizzing sound, saw two flashing blue lights” which is similar to what those having an hallucination often experience.

Or were they under the influence of a mind-altering substance – alcohol, marijuana, LSD – or affected by something else?

This from Joe Nickell, csicop.org, 2012:

[The] two men … might have been drinking before the incident (as Hickson admitted he was after), [or] might have dozed off. Hickson could then have entered a hypnagogic (“waking dream”) state, a trancelike condition between waking and sleeping in which some people experience hallucinations, often with bizarre imagery, including strange beings (aliens, ghosts, etc.). This state may be accompanied by what is called “sleep paralysis” (the body’s inability to move due to still being in the sleep mode). In fact, Hickson not only reported the bizarre imagery but also said that the aliens “paralyzed” him before carrying him aboard the UFO in what sounds like a hypnagogic fantasy.

But if Hickson had a hypnagogic experience, what about Parker? Actually, he need not have been in such a state himself because, as he told officers, he had passed out at the beginning of the incident and failed to regain consciousness until it was over (United Press International 1973). Later he “remembered” bits and pieces of the alleged encounter. This would be consistent with an example of folie à deux (a French expression, the “folly of two”) in which a percipient convinces another of some alleged occurrence (as by the power of suggestion, the force of a dominant personality, or the like) or the other person simply acquiesces for whatever reason. (Young Parker’s position was vulnerable: he had recently joined the shipyard where Hickson worked and was residing with the Hick­sons.) It would have been significant if Parker had himself been in a hypnagogic state, since “suggestibility is high during this state” (Goldenson 1970, I: 574).

Or was the setting – a fishing wharf late at night – conducive to a neurological quirk that the older Hickson experienced and “communicated” to Parker, via the folie à deux?

Hickson went on, later in life, to say that he had “three more encounters in 1974, and said the aliens communicated to him that they were peaceful.” [Huffington Post, 2014]

All in all, while there is the [remote] possibility that Hickson and Parker were actually abducted by odd beings, the aftermath, as reported by them, has all the hallmarks of a psychological experience….

….not a hoax but an extended narrative evolving from a psychotic moment, acquiring a life of its own from persons who thought they were subject to a unique experience.