UFO Conjecture(s)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Ufology’s need to seem erudite causes intellectual chaos

When I posed, twice, a question about why “contactees” of the 1950s used George Adamski’s iconic, but obviously hoaxed, flying saucer (scout craft) images to supplement their own contrived tales and hoxes, visitors here – some rather notable in the UFO community – went to extraordinary lengths to offer analyses or comments to explain what the etiology of such image-mimicry was:

“They almost certainly knew who their target market was – people already predisposed to buy into Adamski-like tales. I’m sure they had no illusions about expanding upon that market – indeed, they probably knew that they wouldo nly get a fration of it. Therefore, go with something ready-made and recognizable that would resonate with that core market.” [Paul Kimball]

“The contactee movement was linked by a metaphysical component and operated like a proto-religion.” [Lance Moody]

“Further, a great deal of the back story of that time relates to Indian mythology, specifically the Vinoma.( Sp?) which was often cited that I suspect demanded an exotic rather than a contemporary simpler object. More architectural... related to Hindu religious structures than a aerodynamic "design" Then you have the Hidden Monarchical Kingdom in this..Castles In The Sky. In other words an omniscient "place" rather than a "vehicle". Again, back to architecture style versus an aerodynamic vehicle.” [Bruce Duensing….he means “vimana” not Vinoma.]

“To be a "copycat" is probably less risked than to be too much original and creative, mainly if you have more or less the same desideratae and motivations/consequences to obtain and to reach than Adamski have.” [French psychologist and skeptic Gilles Fernandez]

“It appears to be a simple approach of using a well known visual prop. By using Adamski's then a well known photo/model, one gets similarity and thus believably that it's from the same species of ETs.” [Tim Hebert]

 “In 1960, Menger appeared on a TV show with [Long John] Nebel and basically recanted his entire story. He later said that he was involved in some sort of Army test of public reaction to possible alien contact. Fortean writer Ivan Sanderson arrived at the Menger residence in the late 1950s and claimed that Menger got very angry with him when Sanderson discovered some equipment and crates in a storage area with 'U. S. Army' stenciled on them." [Nick Redfern – nothing to do with the image-mimicry , just an off-topic aside.]

As you can see, explanations all over the place.

But note Tim Hebert’s comment. He’s psychologically astute and comes nearly to the proper interpretation of what was going on the minds of the Adamski copycats.

And Paul Kimball keeps it simple and close to the prosaic interpretation of what it really was.

The contactees were a psycho-neurotic bunch, without question. What they did or tried to do, en masse and separately, was this:

Hysterical imitation – The ability of a hysterical patient to imitate all the symptoms that impress him when they occur in others. The psychological mechanism at work … is identification: the patient (unconsciously) identifies himself with a person who has the same unconscious needs as he, who is “just like” him. As a result, the patient reproduces the symptom shown by the person with whom he identifies. Through this hysterical imitation, patients are enabled to express in their symptoms not merely their own experiences, but the experiences of quite a number of other persons; they can … fill all the parts of a drama with their own personalities.” [The Basic Writings of Sigmund Freud, Modern Library, Random House, NY, 1938, as provided by Psychiatric Dictionary, Fourth Edition, Leland E. Hinsie, M.D. and Robert J. Campbell, M.D., Editors, Oxford University Press, London, 1970, Pages 381-382.]

Whats my point here?

That, in an attempt to appear erudite, intellectual, and/or academically well-read, ufologists and fellow travelers will often resort to elaborate “dissertations” fraught with language and hyperbole that, instead of enlightening, confuses and makes something simple into something abstruse and erroneously abstract.

This has been and continues to be the bane of the ufology; it makes a simple thing – UFO rumination – into a dodgy art-form that isn’t credible to intellectual cognoscenti, and it offends those who would like basic ratiocination instead of bombastic self-glorifying attempts at, what turns out to be errant and phony, erudition.



  • Rich,

    First, it was just few lines in a blog comments section, not a dissertation, made by us. I think, at least for me, I was in mode "cautious" and the sentence you extracted was from a short intervention which have as introduction, I very bad know such cases and totaly not "immersed" on. So many reserves concerning my comment... You seem to make a fuss for very little, here. No?

    Secondly, I will not speack for the others, but I have the feeling we presented in our hypothesis something like the notions of "mimetism", "imitation", as I used the term "copycat". You, finaly goes to the freudian concept of hysterical imitation, and then a freudian "concept" which have some similarities in a way.

    Thirdly and more important imho: What you presented is only and too an HYPOTHESIS, same as the other interventions.
    Excepted that it is YOUR one, where please do you have the certitude and the garantees that what YOU presented as explanation/answer is the TRUE concerning the questions you asked?
    And then, if you are not able to demonstrate it was that and only this (hysterical imitation), there are no reasons imho to present you and your answer as the "final judge" here, as if you have the final answer. No?

    Notice too that hysteria is a controversed concept, too much freudian for psychiatry and DSM IV (and new versions) to be very short. The concept is subject to intense debats. It is prefered, among others, histrionic personality troubles, etc.

    Whatever, but to propose a freudian concept as an answer, as you did, is maybe questionable too... (?)



    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Wednesday, September 11, 2013  

  • Gilles,

    Oui, my "explanation" is open to scrutiny also.

    But all the gyrations presented were far from a psychological etiology because ufologists and UFO buffs have little or no expertise in the field, and so rely upon non-relevant opinion and conjecture.

    It was obvious to me that the connection between all the users of Adamski's model was psychological.

    Not to see that begs the question: what are ufologists and buffs looking at when it comes to a matter of definition about UFO sightings and events?

    Creating gobbledygook to appear erudite on a matter has filled this blog and others -- Kevin Randle's in particular -- with a raft of nonsense and irrelevant detritus, the bane of uofology and what makes it a laughing stock among science and educated persons.

    I'm hoping to curb such outbursts here.

    If people stop presenting comments fro fear of ridicule, then so be it.

    Better that than ongoing bullsh*t just to feign erudition and/or intellectualism.

    Enough already...


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, September 11, 2013  

  • That, in an attempt to appear erudite, intellectual, and/or academically well-read, ufologists and fellow travelers will often resort to elaborate “dissertations” fraught with language and hyperbole that, instead of enlightening, confuses and makes something simple into something abstruse and erroneously abstract.

    Oh, the irony... :-)

    By Blogger Paul Kimball, at Wednesday, September 11, 2013  

  • Hahahahaha.

    I'm the kettle calling the pot black or the guy who shouldn't be throwing stones?


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, September 11, 2013  

  • ...so RR, after cogitating on your contactee conclusion, I realized that the UFO-buff's uncritically self-delusive will to believe, seasoned lightly with a tinge of paranoia, and manifesting as the writing of overly long confused tomes, deserves it's own specific term as a principle of illogic...

    so I suggest:

    "Oculist's Razor"

    ...inspired by the hard work of one Professor Rudiak, of course...

    By Blogger Kurt Peters, at Wednesday, September 11, 2013  

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