Date: Fri Feb 05 1993 18:29:00 To: David Bloomberg Hi David! At last, I took the time to r
Date: Fri Feb 05 1993 18:29:00
From: Jacques Poulet
To: David Bloomberg
At last, I took the time to read the file (UNPREDIS.ZIP) you
suggested I read. I hope that you had formulated some criticisms about
some aspects of Martin S. Kottmeyer's paper. Because I do have a few, as
you may have guess. I won't be quoting too much, so please refer to the
actual file to see the context of the quotes.
Let's start by saying that the entire "exercise" is based, if
I understand correctly, on the belief that no such thing has "flying
saucer from outer space" realy exist and much less the "alien abducting
Culture is an admixture of repetition and variation, convention
and creativity, signals and noise. It is ever new and forever old
as humanity relives old dreams and nightmares or forgets and
forges new ones. Part of the delight of history is the
recognition that however new a given event appears, traces of the
past can generally be discerned.
From this affirmation, we can surmise that there might be a
trace of the past in all of these science-fiction movies. Some common
root that could have affected them all. As you see, it works both ways.
should be independent of culture and if they are newly arrived
their characteristics should represent a discontinuity with the
If they are newly arrived, I'd agree. But if they've been here
longer than we realize, then they could very well have been portrayed,
culturaly, _before_ we recognized them for what they realy are.
Bullard makes the rather more modest claim that the keystone of
the abduction mystery, the interrupted journey of Betty and
Barney Hill, had no cultural sources from which to derive the
experience they reported. They were, to quote him, "entirely
unpredisposed" since they were the first.
It's not because this case is the first one documented, that
such event didn't occur repeatedly for years, or decades, before that
Betty and Barney Hill's case, without us knowing anything about it.
The shape of the objects Arnold saw is hard to describe in a word
or two. It wasn't like a plane or rocket, or even a disc. When
the newsman Bill Bequette wrote the story up for the news
services he recalled Arnold's describing the motion of the
objects as like a saucer if you skip it across the water.
Jumbling the metaphorical intent of the description, Bequette
labeled the objects "flying* saucers", Arnold said the term
arose from "a great deal of misunderstanding". The public,
however, did not know that. No drawing accompanied the story.
People started looking for flying saucers and that is exactly
what they found. They reported flat, circular objects that look
like flying saucers sound like they should look like. Equally
important: no one reported objects like the drawing in Arnold's
report to the Air Force. The implications of this journalistic
error are staggering in the extreme.
Kottmeyer forget to mention that many reports describes object
as an OBOL (Orange Ball Of Light), as a boomerang (or triangular), as a
cigare (or rocket), as a bell (or acorn) or as a disk (or saucer). Also,
he forget to verify if that "flying saucer" shape ever appeared before
Arnold's report: On March 22, 1870, an observation was made aboard the
"Lady of the Lake" in the Atlantic Ocean at 5°47' N and 27°52" W. The
object seen was a disk of light gray color. (from "Anatomy of a
phenomwnon" by Jacques Vallée, page 27-28)
The flying saucer mythos perfectly
predisposes us to include flying saucers in our fantasies and
nightmares about extraterrestrials.
That's entirely hypothetical and unsubstantiated, as I just
This takes care of the craft, but what of the entities?
The problem of the craft is still present, and has only been
Hopkins professes it is instructive that
his abductees are not devoured like in War of the Worlds, but how
would a myth devour a person?
This is his personal opinion. He hasn't satisfactorily
demonstrated that it is only a myth. Not a very objective approach to
I ask, is
there anything about UFO aliens that does not resemble science
Or is it the other way around? Does science-fiction, all
cultural activities finally, depict a certain aspect of our society?
Could the "style" of science-fiction Kottmeyer is refering to, be a
mirror of our own situation?
These questions are as valid as his.
Years from now we may have an epidemic of implanted parasites,
potential chest-bursters, due to the influence of the movie
"Alien" starting such an association. Presently such a report
would be too suspect, but eventually some puzzling medical oddity
might be associated with such a delusion and the UFO lore would
evolve in new directions. It could just as easily never happen
because of the vagaries of social factors.
He's already making excuses in case his prediction, based on
his hypothesis, doesn't become reality.
is more likely they share an intuitive ordering principle
subconsciously acquired from exposure to drama. A relabeling of
Bullard's elements should make the logic clearer: (i) character
introduced, (ii) peril and conflict, (iii) explanation and
insight, (iv) good will and attempt to impress, (v) excitement,
(vi) climax, (vii) closure, (viii) sequel.
Or is it just a natural order for these type of events to
occur? There are a great number of alternate order that are simply not
likely to occur.
They may be doing what's important first. Then, if time
permits, the other "elements" may fits in. Too simple an explanation is
this would have impressed Betty as similar to Barney's experience
of seeing the saucer's occupants.
Why so? Why would _this_ particular encounter impressed Betty
and Barney? That is called assuming things. Kottmeyer is obviously
trying to "connect" unrelated facts (or events) while discarding those
other avenues that don't fit his belief. Why aren't the abductors, in
the Betty and Barney case, 10 feet tall?
In the original nightmare Betty compares the noses of
the aliens to Jimmy Durante. This is a very apt description of
the noses of the mutants in "Invaders From Mars". Barney, oddly,
didn't see the Durante noses of the aliens. Perhaps it was in
deference to Barney's on-the-scene memories that this detail was
edited out by Betty in her hypnosis sessions.
This is a very important point. I'm not familiar with the
details of that case. But if what he's saying is true, that Betty has
changed her story, it could be significant. To evaluate how serious it
might be, we'd have to examine what exactly was changed, and in what
Wraparound eyes are an extreme rarity in science fiction films. I
know of only one instance. They appeared on the alien of an
episode of an old TV series "The Outer Limits" entitled "The
Bellero Shield". A person familiar with Barney's sketch in "The
Interrupted Journey" and the sketch done in collaboration with
the artist David Baker will find a "frisson" of "deja vu"
creeping up his spine when seeing this episode. The resemblance
is much abetted by an absence of ears, hair, and nose on both
aliens. Could it be by chance? Consider this: Barney first
described and drew the wraparound eyes during the hypnosis
session dated 22 February 1964. "The Bellero Shield" was first
broadcast on "10 February 1964. Only twelve days separate
the two instances. If the identification is admitted, the
commonness of wraparound eyes in the abduction literature falls
to cultural forces.
That is another significant piece of information which is
worth investigating further.
It is my opinion that culture predisposes people to have the
sorts of UFO experiences they do to a degree we have yet to fully
appreciate. If I'm wrong, my pontifications still won't be in
I would tend to agree on his conclusion. And he defenitely
helped me understand the intricate connection between culture and our
interprtation of experiences. But he hasn't convince me that no such
events are occuring.
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank