UFO Conjecture(s)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Influence of images on memory

Copyright 2012, InterAmerica, Inc.


Spanish UFO researcher Jose Caravaca and I (among others) think that images seen in childhood may be responsible fro some UFO experiences later in life, brought into prominence by stress, neurological malfunctions, medicines, drugs (recreational and otherwise), alcohol, and other factors.

UFO investigators and researchers have generally neglected to ask UFO witnesses to events (alleged abductions among them) what they’ve eaten, drunk, or used just before their experience.

And investigators have not asked what magazines, movies, books, or, more recently, what television shows were part of their childhood entertainment.

Betty Hill, born in 1919, and her husband Barney could have been influenced by such imagery as these from the 1930s and 40s, found in Science Fiction magazines during their early lives:





Travis Walton, born in 1953 would have been influenced by images prominent in the late 1950s and early 60s; the imagery embedded in his memory as delineated by Torkel Klingberg, Hans Forssberg, and Helena Westerberg in their work, Increased Brain Activity in Frontal and Parietal Cortex Underlies the Development of Visuospatial Working Memory Capacity during Childhood:

"The amount of information one can keep in working memory (WM) increases throughout childhood and early adulthood (Gathercole, 1999; Luciana & Nelson, 1998; Hale, Bronik, & Fry, 1997)."

And images such as these might have affected someone as “manly” as Walton….




…or those who posit reptilian aliens in our midst…


…or those who just see something in the sky…


My point is that UFO research has been wanting and incomplete, no where near scientific and without the protocols and methodologies needed before the epithet “research” should even be mentioned.

That’s why I continue to excoriate UFO personages such as Kevin Randle, Jerry Clark, J. Allen Hynek, and Stanton Friedman. Their forays into UFO sightings and events were and are “vacations” not explorations.

(Images courtesy of Jose Antonio Caravaca)



  • "...such imagery as these from the 190s and 40s..."

    I assume you meant 1930's?

    By Blogger steve sawyer, at Sunday, March 25, 2012  

  • No, Steve, we meant the 190s but the 1930s makes more sense.

    Thanks for the corrective.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Sunday, March 25, 2012  

  • I think there's some level of overlap between media influences and what has been reported. How much it extends into dictating the purported experiences is a tough one to work out. Especially so when we have the luxury of hindsight and the ability to rewrite the claims to suit us.

    Thus it's easy for some to throw out the Hills case as a subverted memory of the Outer Limits...

    However, at what point in time could we identify the Western tipping point for media saturation of sci-fi imagery? If it was mid-50s, perhaps the childhoods of the 1952 Wave witnesses were less affected by media? Then again, have the figures to look at the age-range of such witnesses? One would expect several generations - not all of which would have childhoods touched by sci-fi.

    My childhood (late 70s and 80s)caught the tail-end of the Star Wars trilogy, Close Encounters and suchlike. This ought to have generated an upsurge in encounter claims that isn't shown in the figures. Rather, the humanoid encounters slipped silently away in the early 70s.

    By Blogger Kandinsky, at Monday, March 26, 2012  

  • I wondered for a moment if anything big did happen in the decade 190-200 AD. Hannibal crossed the Alps about then, didn't he?

    Addendum: Alas no, it was 190 BC. What a let down!

    By Blogger cda, at Monday, March 26, 2012  

  • Kandinsky...

    One has to evaluate the mind of the individual UFO witness(es).

    A generality can't be made.

    The neurological determinants are unique, like each person's soul, as my Jesuit brothers made sure to point out


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, March 26, 2012  

  • CDA...

    190 B.C. -- an exciting, busy time, especially for Hannibal and the Barca family....so one can forgive them for not noticing signs in the sky.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, March 26, 2012  

  • UFO's have been seen all around the world and, one assumes, in areas not particularly infiltrated by U.S. science fiction images. How does "distortion theory" account for that?

    By Blogger Dominick, at Monday, March 26, 2012  

  • Dominick:

    A couple of things...

    We are not talking about UFO sightings but UFO events, where entities appear and act strangely,

    Also, SciFI materials in magazines and comic books, newspapers, et cetera were more ubiquitous than we cloistered Western hemisphere types know.

    Your UFOs in the skies are real.

    The UFOs, landing and performing weird scenarios, are grist for Jose Caravaca's "distortion theory."


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, March 26, 2012  

  • Dominick...

    In my writings, I have demonstrated that occasionally the "distortions" can be located with more frequency in a given place (country).

    The bidendum (created in France by Michelin advertising) shows that most of these incidents, where humanoids are described as bibendum or the Michelin Man, happen in France.

    Even in the Reunion Islands were two close encounters of this kind.

    We must take into account that the collective unconscious has no limitations.

    Jose Caravaca

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, March 26, 2012  

  • Presumably you're aware of the possibility said images're themselves reflective of experiences others're undergoing long before they emerge into popular consciousness (from the grapevine of the collective consciousness)?

    Carlos Castaneda was astonished by how much Sci Fi (particularly 2001 reflected his own experiences years earlier and I remember watching the Magic Boomerang and thinking a) that's unfair - he gets to choose when time stops; and b) if they've made a TV show about it how many others out there're experiencing this stuff?

    Therefore you're presumably aware said experiences leading to said images might be engineered to create a sort of perpetually updated loop of cultural milieux so kids in the Sixties're consider themselves lucky to get an occasional bit of Sci Fi in the form of Star Trek and Bewitched whereas kids now consider themselves lucky if a show doesn't have 'mutants' or/and space/time travellers as its central theme.


    good luck with that protocols and methodolgies thing - to paraphrase Rumi "The treasure lies in the sea - safety [and protocols/methodologies] on the shore" or as Juan Matus put it "The flaw with words is they always make us feel enlightened".

    By Blogger alanborky, at Monday, March 26, 2012  

  • pps

    Kudos on the Stone Age markings thing.

    You might even still prove to be correct about their similarity to UFOs (I mean if you're go'n'o invent something so 'unnatural' as a proto visual symbology/language then surely you're go'n'o base it on weird out of the ordinary things like the Star of Bethlehem which clearly signal PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO THIS whenever they hover over something!).

    But what most impresses me's I consider myself highly visual but paid those sigils little or no heed (like much of the archaeology world apparently) yet your antennae were clearly going away there like the clappers!

    By Blogger alanborky, at Monday, March 26, 2012  

  • Using your criteria, they would more likely look like Christ, Satan, or Santa Claus.
    Or, perhaps, Madonna.

    By Blogger Unknown, at Monday, March 26, 2012  

  • What about Bugs Bunny? HP Lovecraft creatures? Will Zombies show up in 20 years? Not a lot of people reporting Wookies taking them on a ship. Wouldn't Vulcans and Klingons be one of our top reported "encounters" now?

    This sounds like a theory trying to box in reports not explain them. If something is unexplainable, why do these "distortions" only occur during a UFO encounter? Why not during other times of stress? Wouldn't people during a time of war see aliens--a lot.

    Sorry I feel like yes you're on to something, but it sounds like this is turning into an "aspirin cure all" instead of a more prudent slice of the phenomenon being explained for certain individuals.

    By Blogger Unknown, at Sunday, April 01, 2012  

  • Unknown...

    We're dealing with archetypal forms, and not just the Jungian archetypes.

    (See the book I've recommended above this posting for more about that.)

    The archetypes come forth in the drawings and art or movies of their creators.

    Those archetypes then pop up for the "witneses' to UFO events, springing forth for neurological and/or psychological and sometimes physiological reasons.

    (See our post earlier about the ingestion of herbs, medicines, drugs, alcohol et cetera for more about what causes "images" to spurt forth from the unconscious mind or repressed memory.)

    UFO encounterers have seen the images which are recorded in their memory and re-emerge under the stress of their encounter or, as Jose Caravaca suggests, at the will of an external agency, which may be an "entity" within the colelctive unconscious, about which he will have more to say upcoming.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Sunday, April 01, 2012  

  • Saturday I finished reading this paper, which suggests surgery experiences might supply images for later abduction "memories":

    David Forrest, "Alien Abduction: A Medical Hypothesis," Journal of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis and Dynamic Psychiatry, Fall 2008

    Barney and Betty claimed the alien examination rooms were different than those in medical facilities they’d visited before (Captured! p 120). The primary difference was the shortness of the exam tables. But the Hills gave this testimony under hypnosis, which is notorious for producing distorting effects on memory (Stebley and Bothwell, “Evidence for Hypnotically Refreshed Testimony,” Law and Human Behavior, Vol. 18, No. 6, 1994)

    Betty Hill had an operation that rendered her infertile. This might have informed her memory of the so-called alien pregnancy test. Tellingly, Betty’s inability to bear children is obscured or not mentioned at all in proponent accounts. John Fuller buried this fact 110 pages AFTER the alien “pregnancy” test!

    Fuller: "Under hypnosis she reveals a better-than-average adjustment to the problems of the mixed marriage and the fact that she is unable to have children because of an operation." (p. 274 of the Dell edition)

    This makes a mockery of the pregnancy test scenario. Would doctors in an advanced space-faring civilization neglect to take a simple medical history?

    (I’m starting to get way off topic.)

    By Blogger Terry the Censor, at Monday, April 09, 2012  

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