Sunday, March 07, 2010
I'm skeptical about true believers -- and skeptics.
I mean skeptical in the sense that I eXamine claims with a critical -- but not emotional -- eye.
For eXample, I have a problem with an article by Matt Graeber in issue V. 2 #2 (March-April 2010) of the "SUNlite" newsletter, a piece entitled "Twenty first century UFOlogy Part III." (SUN = Skeptical UFO Newsletter). You can download the PFD file of the issue at http://home.comcast.net/~tprinty/UFO/SUNlite.htm .
Graeber examines two UFO sightings using the traditional skeptical POV, i.e., UFOs aren't extraordinary objects, they're really misidentified everyday objects.
In the first case from 1976, a "Mr. Raefield" mistook birds (gulls) one misty morning as disc-shaped alien spacecraft. And in the second case (1977), a Mrs. Bailey confused an airplane with its lights for a flying saucer one night.
Graeber provides an added dimension to his examinations of these cases, the concept of "dynamic display." Each observer was sincere, believing he or she saw something truly unearthly, but what caused the misidentification was that individual's subconscious turmoil.
Graeber says that Mr. Raefield saw four UFOs, three to his left and a smaller one on the right. The UFO-gulls symbolized the stress Raefield was undergoing at the time, the larger three representing his estranged wife and two children, the smaller fourth one his girlfriend. The reason why the fourth one was smaller was because his relationship with his girlfriend was still growing.
Too Freudian for me. Voodoo psychology. When it comes to the murky subconscious and symbolism, all sorts of connections can be inferred. To borrow a line from UFO researcher James Moseley: "Whee!"
As for Mrs. Bailey, projected symbolism also played a role, turning an airplane into an UFO. Graeber writes: "It was at this point that the object [UFO] symbolically took on [for Mrs. Bailey] the great emotional significance, which was primarily kindled by a deep-seated fear she had long harbored concerning the potential of an incestuous episode taking place involving Mr. Bailey and their oldest daughter, Kathy."
Really. And conspiracy theorist Richard Hoagland claims that you can see glass domes on the moon's surface, structures built by aliens, when you look really hard at grainy NASA photographs. With both Graeber and Hoagland, one can say "That's one great leap for mindkind."
Check out the small print disclaimer at the end of Graeber's article that states the author "is not a trained psychologist and offers these data as speculation and opinion." I can agree with that, except "wild speculation" might be a better term.
To paraphrase Sigmund Freud, sometimes a cigar-shaped UFO is just a cigar-shaped UFO -- not a symbol of penile inadequacy.
Posted by Ray Palm (Ray X) at 1:17 AM