The UFO Delusion?
Copyright 2013, InterAmerica, Inc.
Tim Hebert noted, in a recent comment here, that he tends to see psychology as a kind of explanation for UFO sightings and “encounters.” He also noted that French researcher Gilles Fernandez feels likewise, although I see Gilles as more interested in the social psychological aspect of “ufology” – especially the Roswell incident, which Gilles sees as a grand myth. (See the link to his book here….it’s available as a free download, in French but easily translatable.)
When one accesses psychiatric categories, one can find syndromes, symptoms, and illnesses that could explain many (maybe most) UFO reports.
From the Psychiatric Dictionary [Fourth Edition, Oxford University Press, London, 1970], edited by Leland E. Hinsie, M.D. and Robert J. Campbell, M.D. one will find such terms and listings as deliria oneirica, dissociation, folie à deux (trois, quatre, cinq, et cetera), hysteria, traumatic event, transitoria mania, collective psychosis, symbolization, hypnagogic visions, and more; all of which may well be alluded to in an attempt to provide a psychological overlay to UFO sightings and/or events.
For me, there is a neurological element that also needs to be addressed when one is examining UFO reports and witnesses.
Jose Caravaca’s litany of UFO accounts is ripe for psychological or neurological evaluations.
(Señor Caravaca, however, adduces an “external agent” as responsible for such encounters as he has provided.)
Let’ assume that psychological quirks are, indeed, responsible for most , if not all, UFO sightings.
Where does that take us?
We’d have to eliminate all photographs and videos of strange, craft-like bjects in the skies (and sometimes on the ground) as fake or contrived – hoaxes.
That’s a possibility, surely, but not a probability. Not everyone who has snapped a photo of a strange things flying overhead is duplicitous. The odds for total photographic disingenuousness are too great to be reasonable….a possibility perhaps, but not a probability.
Then what about radar blips, as Paul Kimball’s touted –as-authentic UFO event, the 1957 RB-47 encounter or the 1952 Washington D.C. intrusions?
One could ascribe a kind of mass hysteria for what was being seen on radar scopes, and one could make a case for such, since no one has a photograph of the radar scopes images in either account.
But that would be stretch, a possibility, of course, but not a probability.
Ken Arnold’s iconic sighting can be explained as psychologically induced ,and it has been.
But was Mr. Arnold really in a state of psychological disarray when he spotted his nine flying objects. His demeanor afterward, reporting his observation, indicates he was not, but psychological missteps can be subtle and not easily recognized by laymen or even many professionals.
The (in)famous UFO events – The Hill “abduction,” the Pascagoula “kidnapping,” the Travis Walton “foray” all can be attributed, easily, to psychological maladjustments, but I think there is more to them than that; something more exotic at work.
Old accounts, the Gorman dog-fight, the Coyne Ohio episode, the Iranian jet pursuit, and others, can be provided psychological rationales, and I’m okay with that.
But all UFO accounts, even those subject to Carl Jung’s brilliant etiology, can’t probably be psychological or neurological.
That would indicate a massive neurotic or psychological overlay or underbelly on the part of the many human witnesses, even those from prior centuries.
Yes, the human species has been wildly obtuse during its evolution but that it may be endemically insane is a step too far, perhaps.
UFOs, in part, can be explained away, as UFO buffs used to say, as psychological or mentally deranged observations but that is a callous determination, one that even I am hesitant to employ, although I’d like to.
No, UFOs are something else, something irrelevant maybe but a phenomenon with a little cachet for the curious, of which I, and some of you, are at one with.