UFO Conjecture(s)

Friday, August 23, 2013

Gilles Fernandez addresses Jose Caravaca's "External Agent" concept


I have previously discussed, on Facebook, with José Caravaca his theory of an “external agent” in UFO encounters.

With (friendly) sarcasm, I told him the Sociopsychological Theory/Hypothesis/model of the UFO phenomenon and his Distortion Theory are really similar... except that SPH doesn't need an “external agent.”

The SPH stipulates that when subjects are facing stimuli they don’t recognize, the subjects’ brains are making projective transformations and elaborations of the stimuli.

The subjects are thus using their own mental representations of the UFO phenomenon (to be short about it). 

Particularly, it is interesting to see the drawings of space re-entries.

(I have several of them in order to see how subjects "saucerize" the space re-entry. I could share later if anyone wishes to see them).

German Sociologist Edgar Wunder has done interesting experiments too: he proposed, using a screen, land pictures where a little stimulus without real signification is placed in the sky and asked, after the presentation of the slides, his subjects to draw what they saw.

Again, many drawings show that subjects have "saucerized" the stimulus, adding windows, propulsion, motors, etc.

Very interesting for Cognitive Psychology and a means to help understand the ufo phenomenon better.

I have a video of Wunders experiment if you want to see it; its in German (they are at my blog). 

In other words, SPH is laboratory testable.

Projective transformation? : Witness is seeing elements in line with his own "expectations" and is altering the characteristics of the stimulus during the perception processings themselves. (Such processings are called, in cognitive psychology, "top-down processings" versus bottom-up ones)  or "driven by the concepts processings" (versus driven by data processings). 

Yes, it is well known that our knowledge and our culture influence what we perceive in the environment, and influence the retrieval and the return of the event (by memory processes).

Stored information from different sources can therefore complement, anticipate or replace what we see, mainly when the stimulus is not recognized as a "world element," because it’s too ambiguous, too fast, unknown, etc.

Some witnesses then "saucerize" the stimulus and ufologists jump on these tales.

During an UFO wave, for example, a witness is encouraged to see the sky, and will add a detail or details that create the structure of the observed but not identified stimuli (prosaic/conventional stimuli in reality) as the likeness of a UFO broadcast by the media.

Projective elaboration?: the witness gradually develops a "cultural roman" during perception, adorned with many subjective and false memories. 

A witness will evoke illusory physical interference of the UFO with the environment, providing psychological and/or physiological effects, an amalgamation, of disparate elements close in time and space of the sighting, but having no relation between them in reality.

The memory illusions are usually the result of errors in the reconstruction of the past experience, but "bugs" may occur following the encoding phase during the passage of the sensory information from the working memory or short memory to the long term memory. 

Faced with the same event, an individual is encoding different items depending on his physiological or emotional state.

Thereafter, parasitic information confuses memory, easily slipping into the remembered episode. 

The witness then comes to the intuitive certainty of having seen, heard or done something when he only has "imagined" it.

These errors may have an endogenous -- cultural/mental representations but also be induced by a third party, by mere suggestion; i.e., when interacting with investigators/ufologists who suggest intentionally, inadvertently or not, what they expect.

Yes, the way a question is asked, for example, is likely to blur the memory of the one who responds. That's why ufologists should use standardized interview procedures as those in criminology or psychology which minimize such well-known bias.

A false memory, created from scratch, results generally in a source of confusion: the subject correctly remembers the information, but no longer knows where it comes from. Some false memories and dreams are then remembered as real events.

The practice of regressive hypnosis used by some ufologists to bring to the surface so-called repressed memories has also created amazing confabulations. Hypnosis increases the illusion of remembering and actually makes the hypnotized person more vulnerable to memory distortions.

Some people are described by psychologists as fantasy-prone personalities, convinced of having experienced events that have not actually occurred. Such people are characterized by a singular disposition to fantasize and sometimes find it difficult to distinguish real events from the products of their imagination: dreams, scenes from movies they have seen or events they just heard.

Again, to "test" witnesses by psychometric or personality tests could be interesting for the investigator, to evaluate their social and cultural environment.

The cultural environment provides subjects with images, mental representations that they model their interpretation of experiences with.

 A better understanding of mechanisms of treatment (perception and recognition), storage, organization (memory) and modification of sensory information here should help to refine and complete the SocioPsychological model of the UFO phenomenon.

Again, what it is interesting here is that it is testable in laboratory by psychology experiments. It changes so-called ufology which is often made of non-testable assumptions, hypothesis, etc.

We could add simple perceptual misinterpretations, hoaxes and mystifications (rare), altered states of consciousness (due to fatigue, sleep paralysis, for example), psychopathological experiences (rare too), secret military experiments or objects as source of an UFO sighting (or deliberately provoked "mirage men" approach), and even rare or poorly known geophysical phenomena (sprites, elves, etc.).

This is a non-exhaustive list of all conventional and prosaic causes so I encourage you to read at least sources which inspired my intervention here. They are in French only….sorry:

http://scepticismescientifique.blogspot.fr/2009/08/lhypothese-sociopsychologique-ce-quelle.html by my Belgium friend Jacques Scornaux.

http://www.zetetique.fr/divers/OvniDuCnes_annexe.pdf by our french UFO-skeptic forum members  David Rossoni, Éric Maillot & Éric Déguillaume.

http://www.unice.fr/zetetique/articles/theorie_reduct_ovni.html by Claude Maugé.


Gilles Fernandez

UFOs: Microbial Contact or Divine Mischief?

Copyright 2013, InterAmerica, Inc.
In the ongoing "debate" here about the nature of Jose Caravaca's "external agent" and my views of revelations to various prophets of old and George Adamski too, we've come to a kind of impasse, with Bruce Duensing and Tim Hebert challenging (or trying to) my views about what or who has been interacting with persons who've allegedly encountered UFO beings.

Mr. Duensing takes a view, if I undestand him correctly (and I may not) that a kind of cellular life- form or cellular sentience may account for what UFO witnesses experience.

To help Mr. Duensing out, I'm providing some excerpts from Peter Fotis Kapnistos, a former contributor to this blog and Facebook "friend" in his 2008 copyrighted paper, Living Proto-Cells Made in Space:

In early 2001, scientists at NASA Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley they [had] produced “membranous structures” that mimic primitive cells found in all living things.

In the 1960s, a small number of software engineers developed the idea that the Universe runs on a grid of “cellular automata” and stirred up feelings of God commanding the ultimate biological supercomputer. 11 If a higher level of intelligence does in fact control the laws of nature, it would perhaps not be feasible for it to shape carbonaceous life without an immense amount of calculation.

Complex behavior may be coordinated by relatively simple interactions... within a single bacterial species as well as between diverse species, and can regulate a multitude of different processes, fundamentally serving as a communication network.

In the 1990s, Gordon Stewart, a young molecular biologist from the University of Nottingham, engineered bacteria to emit light and arrived at one of the most valuable discoveries in microbiology. He found that bacterial cells “talk” to each other using small diffusible signalling molecules.

Bacteria can physically store and transmit genetic information throughout a far-reaching biological network.

These excerpts -- and I'll provide Peter's full paper if anyone is interested -- seem to support the idea that cellular substances mimic thought or act in sentient ways.


I've taken the theological/psychological view that the revelations to the prophets of old, Joseph Smith (the founder of Mormonism), and George Adamski (and his contactee cohorts) are the result either of a massive neurological/psychological disorder or, rather, an intrusion by a divine mischief maker(s).

My view intersects with those of the Gnostics:

The word Abraxas was engraved on certain antique gemstones, called on that account Abraxas stones, which may have been used as amulets or charms by Gnostic groups. In popular culture, Abraxas is sometimes considered the name of a god who incorporated both Good and evil (god and demiurge) in one entity, and therefore representing the monotheistic god, singular, but  (unlike, for example, the Christian God) not omnibenevolent. (See Hermann Hesse's Demian, and Carl Jung's Seven Sermons to the Dead.) Opinions abound on Abraxas, who in recent centuries has been claimed to be both an Egyptian god and a demon, sometimes even being associated with the dual nature of Satan/Lucifer.
(The above from Wikipedia)

Many religions advocate that humans are to be blamed for the imperfections of the world.

Supporting this view, they interpret the Genesis myth as declaring that transgressions committed by the first human pair brought about a “fall” of creation resulting in the present corrupt state of the world. Gnostics respond that this interpretation of the myth is false. The blame for the world’s failings lies not with humans, but with the creator. Since -- especially in the monotheistic religions -- the creator is God, this Gnostic position appears blasphemous, and is often viewed with dismay even by non-believers.

"Is Gnosticism a religion or a psychology?" The answer is that it may very-well
be both.

(That from gnosis.org)

Many UFO buffs and writers apply UFO accounts where beings are involved to the AmerIndian concept known as The Trickster.

That, for me, is a pathetic and simple explanation but perhaps full of truth in its succinct way: someone or something occasionally interacts with humans, in mischievous ways.

The idea lacks profundity as I see it, but it isn't far from my hypothetical truth.

So, do cellular forms connect with humans in UFO contacts or does an evil divinity?

The Biblical/Koranic and mythical tales tell me that an omnipresent being (or beings) are the cause of some UFO-related events.

Why this would be baffles, but thinking that a clot of cellular bacterium is the culprit stretches credulity, for me anyway.

You pays your money, you takes your choice. [Aldous Huxley in Brave New World]