UFO Conjectures

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Psychopathology of Roswell?

While reading Kevin Randle’s new Roswell opus, I was surprised to see just how many Roswell “witnesses” told lies to Mr. Randle and other investigators.

Just one Appendix of Kevin’s book, The Plains of San Agustin Controversy [Page 255 ff.], is replete with a coterie of liars: persons who can be listed as psychopaths, or in the newer psychiatric terminologies, a sociopath.

The names of persons who were “habitual, and chronic liars” (to use a line spoken by the great actor Charles Laughton in the movie Witness for the Prosecution, based on the Agatha Christie play): Barney Barnett, Gerald Anderson, and maybe not a psychopath but an enabler of them, ufological icon Stan Friedman.

The psychological/psychiatric designation(s), psychopath or sociopath, can be found on the internet, but I’m using these sources here:

Psychopathy: Theory and Research by Robert D. Hare [John Wiley & Sons, NY,

Psychopaths by Alan Harrington [Simon and Schuster, NY, 1972]

Borderline Personality Disorders: The Concept, the Syndrome, the Patient, edited by Peter Hartocollis, M.D., Ph.D. [International Universities Press, Inc. NY, 1977]

“He [the psychopath] may lie glibly and show little if any embarrassment when caught out.” [Psychopaths, ibid, Page 15]

“[The psychopath’s] attempts to extricate himself often produce an intricate and contradictory web of blatant lies, coupled with theatrical and often convincing explanations and promises.” [Psychopathy, ibid, Page 6]

“ … some of these individuals have admixtures of sociopathic and schizophrenic symptoms …” [Borderline, ibid, Page 267]

Although Mr. Randle presents the florid fabrications of the people noted above, his book is rife with the slew of other Roswell cast members who developed, as I see it, a kind of psychopathology mostly after the publication of the books about Roswell in 1978 (The Roswell Incident, Crash at Corona, UFO Crash at Roswell) and TV airings about Roswell (Unsolved Mysteries) and radio shows dealing with the Roswell saga (Hieronimus and Company), all delineated by Mr. Randle in his book.

My question is, however, why so many persons, citizens of the New Mexico area around Roswell, chose to lie, to fabricate stories that were, apparently, far from truth?

Professor Hare, in Psychopathy, cites, on Page 11, a study that showed “Pathological lying” to be slightly greater than lying by the general population – a 9 compared to a 35 for anti-social aggression or a 22 for narcissism; that is, pathological lying was 9 times greater among psychopaths than it was among people, generally, not a stupendous difference.

So, how did Roswell's placid citizenry end up with so many liars (psychopaths) compared to the population as a whole?

UFO buffs, familiar with the Roswell tale, know that the bane of investigators, like Mr. Randle, has been the distortions and outright lies foisted upon them during their interviews to find out what really happened in Roswell in 1947.

Mr. Randle’s book and recent blog posts are an attempt, I think, to right the wrongs that he and others committed by believing, initially, some of the accounts presented when he tried to ferret the Roswell truth.

But can Mr. Randle or others who believed persons, like Barnett or even Marcel Sr. be faulted?

I don’t think so, psychopaths are an ingenious lot:

Hare, in Psychopathy, notes the noted American psychiatrist, Hervey Cleckley’s  evaluation of psychopaths:

“… superficial charm and good intelligence … absence of ‘nervousness’ or neurotic manifestations … insincerity … pathologic egocentricity … unresponsiveness … he [the psychopath] mimics the human personality .. his verbalizations appear normal.” [op.cit, Page 5]

Thus, one can see how UFO researchers, not adept in psychiatric or psychological disorders, could be gulled by persons who employ the psychopathic devices listed above.

So, many, if not all, Roswell “witnesses” found in UFO lore lied, or did they?

Here’s the conundrum: Could the small southwestern community of Chaves County contain such a raft of psychopaths?

The proportion of psychopaths to the general population is absurd, statistically.

To have such a number of liars, all living within close proximity either indicates a unique massive hysteria or psychological mania or some other anomaly, unknown to sociology or psychology.

Or, some of the “liars” were telling the truth.

Read Mr. Randle’s book, and decide for yourselves.



  • I will probably buy the book, because I'm sure Kevin have devoted a part about Mogul.

    Or how he is driving his readers concerning his opinion as facts, regarding Mogul... For me, Kevin's bad face is ALL he write concerning Mogul, despite I respect him a lot. BS anytime he wrote about Mogul.



    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Tuesday, June 21, 2016  

  • Yes, Gilles..

    There are extensive remarks about Mogul, Moore, and Mac Brazel's "debris."


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, June 21, 2016  

  • Maybe there is a kind of "social geography" to where misfits reside. Society tends to push the misfits out to the "edges" or frontiers. Looking at those edges you find places like:

    "Pahrump", Nevada a town which is not actually a town but *is* the "dream town" for an anarchist / libertarian.

    Phoenix, Arizona [and much of "white" Arizona] the home of one ornery sheriff who seems more sociopath than law man. IK have a feeling he longs for the days when you could meet the bad guys in the street and draw.

    Las Vegas, Nevada which is only as deep as the means to separate fools from their money. It is to be noted that Nevada is the only state that still has legal bordellos.

    New Mexico is no different than Nevada or Arizona as a home to "rugged individualists" [which when put in a certain light become "liars, cheats, and crazy people". For many years late my brother lived in Socorro while attending New Mexico Tech and School of Mines where he received a Masters in Geology.

    One day there was an explosion in an adjacent apartment. The Building was surrounded by SWAT and Sheriff's Deputies... It turns out that one of the School of Mines students was doing some "kitchen chemistry" with some explosives for their classes and blew-up their apartment.

    I'm not saying everybody out that way is a wing-nut but it sure helps.

    By Blogger Joel Crook, at Tuesday, June 21, 2016  

  • Once a story has taken root in a geographical area the inhabitants begin to 'feel' they were connected in some way, either directly, or indirectly through hearing about it. Hence they spin a tale about it. This tale may have some truth and some falsehoods and it becomes very difficult to separate them.

    I think the Roswell tale would have taken a very different course had Randle been involved right from the beginning, instead of following in the Friedman/Berlitz/Moore footsteps. Friedman, as a highly pro-ETHer, set the tone. By the time Randle and Schmitt got involved, the stage had been set for ETs and the 'witnesses', whether pathological liars or ordinary folk, were ready for the new interviewers, already conditioned by the first lot a decade earlier.

    Naturally other 'witnesses' popped up and added to the tale. Then still more popped up for later interviewers and book writers, with more & more being added to the tale. And so on.

    Being a layman, I don't understand all the byways and alleyways of people's psychological or pathological trends. But the story took root in the late 70s and that is that. It can happen with any strange event you like, not just the Roswell tale. There is no easy explanation for it, except to say that in all such cases you can guarantee there will be a set of willing believers ready to promote the story, whether such people are really part of the story or whether they are out to write about (and maybe make money from) the story.

    Amid all this, there are the skeptical majority, of course. But when promoting the tale, who really cares about them? And if you couple this with the modern conspiracy theory ideas, the tale sounds perfect - until and unless it starts to unravel.

    By Blogger cda, at Wednesday, June 22, 2016  

  • That's certainly an interesting argument (social geography) but my understanding of psychopathology is that it's held to be an individual, psychological-level variable rather than a matter of social norms. Not that the two models have to be mutually exclusive. Maybe people who have middling scores on the Hare scale are more susceptible of having their behavior shaped by local norms than people who rank at the more extreme end (i.e. are full-blown psychopaths).

    By Blogger Sue Johnson, at Wednesday, June 22, 2016  

  • Indeed, Sue...

    There is an argument to made for the behavior shaped by the actions of one's peer group(s) or community.

    The problem, for me, is that the "lying" while beginning in earnest after 1978, also seems to have begun early on, in 1947, by the Air Force surely (Ramey) but also by Brazel, maybe Haut, and others prominent in he story.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, June 22, 2016  

  • CDA:

    You have it right pretty much...

    However, stooping to lie because others in your social structure are lying is a psychological malady, and it's psychopathic (or sociopathic if you like), not egregiously evil but aberrant nonetheless.

    And such aberrant behavior is grist for study, aside from the Roswell incident itself, as Gilles Fernandez knows.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, June 22, 2016  

  • Indeed I think there is a local or community connected aspect to the lying.

    I think we have seen this behavior in other incidents where some people simply believe it's important to be part of the local story and either lie or convince themselves they played a role in something that really wasn't.

    I think this is aberrant behavior, but no different than the copycat criminals who attempt to replicate the same crime to get attention so as to be "part of the story".

    By Blogger Brian Bell, at Wednesday, June 22, 2016  

  • But copycats, Brian, are usually few, whereas Kevin's "liars" are many....very many.

    The aberrant behavior was stupendous, like The Madness of Crowds (and the infamous tulip mania of 1637).


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, June 22, 2016  

  • This to me this has been the most fascinating part of stumbling into Roswell from the outside. Can hundreds of complete strangers work independently yet in unison to build a "myth" on the scale of Roswell with 0% of it grounded in truth? To the point that the U.S. government feels compelled to hold a press conference and release a massive report debunking a myth about alien visitation?
    When I think about the slides I usually think about Eleazar. I have yet to see anyone bring anything negative to light about Eleazar. Say what you want about the slides, but I think Eleazar, a reluctant witness, did see something traumatic in Roswell and I don't think he had any ulterior motivation to inject himself into the Roswell mythology.

    By Blogger Adam Dew, at Friday, July 08, 2016  

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