UFO Conjecture(s)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Schizophrenia and UFOs [redux]

Copyright 2012, InterAmerica, Inc.

Prominent UFO commentator Ray Dickenson has been denigrating psychiatry over at UFO UpDates lately.

He’s provided a salvo that says schizophrenia isn’t real and he’s been chastised by a few more realistic UpDate habitués.

Schizophrenia, as those who are truly familiar with psychiatry and psychology generally know, is a real, authentic mental condition, defined and studied by eminent scholars of the mind for many years.

One can find material online that clarifies the severe aberration, and I suggest The Psychiatric Dictionary [Fourth Edition] edited by Leland E. Hinsie, M.D. and Robert J. Campbell, M.D. (Oxford University Press, NY/London, Pages 678 ff.) for a concise presentation of schizophrenia and its many manifestations.

Some UFO encounters presented here take place, as I see it, in the realm of the mind, as a temporary schizophrenic “reality” sometimes designated as a folie à deux or folie à trois et cetera.

Such events are stimulated by various factors – environment, psychological or physical stress, drug or alcohol use, chemical imbalances in the body, or even by Jose Caravaca’s “external agent” (which has a psychical component, if I understand his view correctly).

Schizophrenia is complex yet real as the literature about it proves to the reasoned thinker.

But does schizophrenia account for all or even many UFO accounts and sightings? Not by a long shot. Such an accusation would be more lunatic than schizophrenia itself.

However, some UFO accounts may be attributed to schizophrenic episodes, which are real to the participants when they occur but intangible and bizarre to outsiders when presented afterwards:

The Hills abduction, the Travis Walton incident, The Pascagoula moment, the Italian Lotti encounter, and even the Rendlesham episode (which is a case of Induced Schizophrenia perhaps), among others that readers here are familiar with.

Of course, events as Roswell or the RB-47 event are not schizophrenic in nature, although some aspects of the aftermath may be.

The Washington D.C. sightings of 1952 were not schizophrenic in nature either, but the 1942 L.A. shooting of a UFO contained elements of schizophrenia (or mass hysteria) within it.

The problem with Mr. Dickenson’s “outburst” at UpDates and his detractors is that their views are intellectually simplistic or cursory.

UFOs are phenomenally diverse (phenomena, despite Jerry Clark’s aversion to the plural).

Some UFO accounts – and we don’t mean the UFO reports that follow – are neurological, some psychological in nature, and some are actual observations of a sensory reality – not a psychological reality but a real visual or mental reality, of a thing or things with tangibility, by which I don’t necessarily mean a nuts and bolts reality, although to exclude that possibility would be remiss also.

The UFOs – the things designated as such in the common parlance, the lingua franca, as it were, of media and society at large – are a facet of reality that has more than just a psychiatric component to their observation; they have, in some case (maybe many cases) a reality that transcends everyday reality but a reality nevertheless, despite what some would wish to be otherwise.



  • I'm sure there are papers calculating the percentages: the hallucinations experienced by (unmedicated) schizophrenics are more often auditory rather than visual. Someone receiving auditory messages from the space brothers, for example, might be displaying symptoms.



    By Blogger Don, at Monday, April 16, 2012  

  • Don:

    The categorical references for various kinds of schizophrenia are many and take into account "symptoms" and etiologies of the psychiatric malady.

    The book I noted will provide readers with a clear understanding of the categories and how they've been arrived at.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, April 16, 2012  

  • I've been following the dialogue at Ufo Updates and frankly found myself totally amazed at the total ignorance on display.

    This past weekend, my schizophrenic and bi-polar patients re-enforced the notion that their disorders are indeed real and complicated not withstanding the impact on family members that have to cope with these debilitating disorders.

    By Blogger Tim Hebert, at Monday, April 16, 2012  

  • I, like you, Tim, was utterly stunned by how little was really known about schizophrenia and psychiatry in general.

    The ignorance was appalling.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, April 16, 2012  

  • I worked in a secured Navy psychiatric hospital ( a ward orderly) as a kid. I would love to take one of those self opinionated nits with me back for a day and then have them proclaim there is no such thing as schizophrenia. Talk about imagining reality..I think they need some medicating themselves.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Monday, April 16, 2012  

  • Ufological antagonism towards psychiatry reminds me of the same in Scientologists: it seems to be motivated entirely by doctrinal concerns.

    But I can't agree that either of the Hills had a schizophrenic episode. After all, they saw something. Their reaction to the event does resemble folie a deux. At some point, Betty seems to have had trouble distinguishing between dreams and memories (technically, a source-monitoring error). There is also evidence of priming and expectation effects as they sought out a hypnotist.

    Of course, you won't see abduction buffs ever using these terms or citing science papers that discuss them.

    By Blogger Terry the Censor, at Tuesday, April 17, 2012  

  • I perused through some of the UFO Updates and do see the tiresome back and forth on this issue.

    Of course some people who claim to be abductees/experiencers may have a mental illness which may make them think they're seeing UFOs/'aliens' and other things.

    I'd also suggest that driven-debunkers like Phil Klass(the late), The Amazing Randi and perhaps Joe Nicholl may be mentaly ill and that influence their obsessive debunking campaigns.

    Some abduction investigators - such as Richie 'hottub' Boylan and David 'hybrids are after me' Jacobs may be mentally ill too.

    There may also be people who are experiencers/abductees that may be mentally ill but are not hallucinating or lying. An example - I've worked with adult mentally challenged (lower than normal i.q.) and mentally ill (some challenged people have mental illnesses as well) in group residences/apts. for many years.

    In my earlier years, I once worked with a man, named Bill (who's long since passed on), that had a low i.q. and was autistic and bi-polar as well. He had other issues too - a family that rejected him and he was openly effiminate gay as well and also would cross-dress on occasion.[this was 1978]

    Bill suffered from insomnia. He was a wreck as bedtime approached. When he'd finally turn in I'd find him laying with his eyes open and very happy to see me glancing in his door (he insisted his door be left open).

    We got to talking one night about why he was so afraid. He told me "Susie you're gonna think I'm crazy!" Well, I got Bill to share with me. He told me "little white men" with "demon eyes" would come in his room, sometimes through the windows or sometimes through the hallway or sometimes through the walls. They'd surround his bed and float him somewhere and he couldn't move. He told me he'd vomit sometimes when they'd bring him back.

    They'd stick "wands" into his head, nose, ears and other places. He said this had been happening for as long as he could remember, no matter where he lived. He told me he prayed to Jesus to make it stop but it didn't.

    Now, for some it's easy to dismiss this as a mentally challenged man who was also saddled with autism and bi-polar disorder. And some Experiencers, who I once shared this with and who believe that 'aliens' are interested in above average, creative types (ahem...themselves), it gets dismissed.

    But, when Bill shared this with me, I knew on an instinctive level he was telling me the truth. Being a close-encounter experiencer myself, some of his recollections were sickeningly too familiar.
    ~ Susan

    By Blogger Brownie, at Saturday, April 21, 2012  

  • Sounds like this Ray fellow might be a scientologist.

    By Blogger Frank Stalter, at Sunday, April 22, 2012  

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