Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Abduction research

Keith Basterfield here.

I have long advocated for the detailed analysis of accounts given to us by abductees/contactees/experiencers (I will use the term experiencer from here on), in order to gain the maximum amount of details from these intriguing accounts.

I thought it might be useful to share with you, the methodology I have been using.

Initial interview

This is setting the scene. I explain my proposed methodology for a series of interviews. I then ask the experiencer to tell me their story in any way they wish. I record and make notes. Quite often their story will "tumble out" in no particular order. This is fine at this point. I ask any questions as they come to me, but do not like to interfere with the flow of their narrative.

After the initial interview

Once alone, I go through my recordings and notes and try and re-arrange their narrative in chronological order. I find this especially useful if there are numerous events which have occurred over their lifetime. I like to get a feel for the flow of these events. I take a note of any questions which come to mind, to ask at the second interview.

Second interview

I like to divide this into several parts. Firstly, I ask any questions of clarification of the narrative from the first interview. Then I ask their permission to take a family history; a medical history; ask questions about their sleep/dream patterns; and finish by asking about any other paranormal experiences which might have happened over the years.

After the second interview

I review all of the data gathered so far, and look to draw up a chronological history of their life which integrates the dates of UFO events with important dates from their family and medical history. I note again any questions of clarification I need to follow up on.

Third interview

I ask any questions I have thought about since interview two. Then I answer any questions which they may have about what we have spoken of up to that point. If they wish to, I discuss with them my thoughts I have as to any non-UFO interpretation of the information which they have supplied. Finally, I seek their permission to publish a case study from our discussions (I get them to proof a copy of the case study for factual errors) in the UFO literature.

Family history

Date and place of birth?
Where have they lived during their lifetime?
Schooling?
Employment?
Any siblings?
Has anyone else in their family experienced any UFO or paranormal events?
Is their anyone else in the family who might have knowledge of their occurrences?
If so, may I have permission to speak with them?
Any other points of general life history?

Medical/psychological history

Any major illnesses?
Any major accidents?
Any disabilities/long standing medical conditions?
Any hereditary familial conditions?
Any history of migraines -Auras -prodromes. If so, frequency, type etc?
Are they on any medications at the moment. If so, what?
Were they on any medications at the time of any UFO/paranormal experiences?

Sleep

How well do they sleep?
Have they ever suffered from insomnia -if so frequency, symptoms etc?
Have they ever woken paralysed during the night? If so, frequency, get a narrative
Have they ever walked in their sleep? At what age. Get examples.
Have they ever been told they talk in their sleep. If yes, frequency, content of speech
Have they ever experiences anything odd on the boundary between being awake and being asleep? If so, describe
Do they recall their dreams at all/a little/a lot? Any UFO related dreams?
Do they dream in colour, or black and white/mixture?
In their dreams do they have besides a sense of vision, a sense of taste, touch, smell, sound?
When dreaming do they ever become aware that they are dreaming? If so what happens once they become aware?
Have they even taken sleeping pills? If yes get a narrative of use

Altered states of consciousness

Have they ever had an experience where they believed their mind was separated from their body e.g. out of body experience or near death experience? If so, get a narrative
Have they ever had the sensation that they have had a period of 'missing time' for which they cannot account? If so get a narrative.
Have they ever had an occasion where they 'felt' they were not human? If so get a narrative
Do they ever 'see' music or 'hear' colours? If yes, get a narrative.

Analysis

In reviewing the answers to all of the above questions, I am looking at the relevance, if any, of the following areas:
Sleep paralysis
Fantasy proneness
Hypnagogic/hypnopompic imagery
Migraine prodromes and auras
Mental illness.

In my view, a portion of the reported UFO experiencer narratives can be accounted for in the above medical/psychological areas.

My logic in doing so, is that if you can eliminate the above as cause(s) of the experiencers' accounts, then you can refine the data about accounts which cannot be so eliminated. You get left with better information about the "true" or "core" UFO experiencer phenomenon.

I hope this may assist other researchers in this area.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting this. I've been slowly working my way through Psychological Inquiry Vol 7 No 2 (1997) and your work is cited frequently.

    Have you or your colleagues looked into the (possible) social construction of this phenomena? I've recently read Ian Hacking's books on MPD (1995) and dissociative fugue (1998) and the similarities with AAS are astonishing.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi

    I must admit to not having paid much attention to this area. I have read articles in the English Fortean Times magazine about the English "Social Worker" panics; and suggested in print the idea that perhaps the "alien abduction" phenomenon has nothing to do with the UFO phenomenon. In the latter case, one can certainly look at the abduction phenomenon as purely constructed by UFO researchers confusing accounts derived from hypnagogic imagery; fantasy-prone personality, and sleep paralysis, together with the historical views of succubus and incubus, and "creating" alien abductions.

    I will now take a look at some of Ian Hacking's works, so thank you for putting me in touch with this information.

    ReplyDelete

Committee members of the VFSRS/VUFORS : 1959 - 1972

Introduction Between 1959 and 1972, there were over thirty individuals who served on the committee of the Victorian Flying Saucer Resea...