Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Matthew Graeber: A Sketch

It started with an UFO sighting when he was around twelve years old.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. August 1953. A hot muggy night. Unable to sleep, young Matthew Graeber sat on the edge of his bed, his elbows on the window sill, chin tucked on his hands. Despite the darkness the view outside his window was well-lit by the ambient illumination of street lights.

A mysterious globe appeared in the sky, glowing with a radiance suggestive of a full moon. As it turned it took on the appearance of a disc-shaped object. Whatever it was, it quickly disappeared into the distance like a TV set being shut off, the image fading into a tiny white dot before being swallowed by the blackness.

He mentioned the brief sighting (about six seconds duration) to his mother, asking her if they should report it to the Air Force. She replied maybe next time if he saw it again.

The event piqued his interest. Matt read everything he could on the subject of "flying saucers," as they were called in the early days of ufology.

Years passed and he ended up investigating reports for other witnesses as part of the Philadelphia-based UFO Report and Information Center (UFORIC) from 1972 - 1980. The six member civilian organization was responsible for covering the Tri-State area of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware, conducting field investigations and interviews with witnesses.

One aspect of UFORIC's investigations was to see if there was any connections between witnesses and their biorhythmic cycles.

This focus on witnesses as well as the sightings is reflected in Matt's psychological approach to UFO cases. While not ruling out that some UFO sightings could involve ET craft or some sort of paranormal activity, Matt considers the mindset of the observer as an important factor.

He believes that two types of psychological situations might be involved in a sighting: Dynamic Display (DD) and Dual Process of Perception (DPP).

This is how Matt defines each category (e-mail dated 4/1/10):

"Dynamic Display involves an interruption of (waking state) consciousness by some sort of  visually perceived external stimuli, and adverse latent psychical contents are reduced in intensity because of a function of excessive libido transference ( i.e.,  a D. D.).
"Dual Process of Perception (DPP) involves and over-laying if internally generated (dream state imagery) upon the external environment. The mixture of inner and outer world elements are perceived (in the waking state) as one." 

An example of Dynamic Display would be the observer seeing symbolism in objects he perceives as UFOs. In one case Matt investigated a man observed four UFOs in the daytime sky, three on his left and one to his right. In terms of D.D. the grouping of three could represent the man's family, his estranged wife and two children, while the fourth one could symbolize the relationship with his new girlfriend.

As for Dual Process of Perception, Matt examined a report of a mini-saucer encounter and evaluated it in terms of D.P.P. The witness was in bed, half-awake, eyes open. The man perceived the room around him while dreaming that a small UFO had flown through an open window.

Matt's psychological take was influenced by reading Freud and also the book "Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Skies" by C. G. Jung (1959).

Since UFO investigations don't pay that well -- if at all -- Matt had his "day job" of being a commercial artist. Due to his failing eyesight he has retired from both his commercial art pursuits and UFO investigations. He writes occasional articles for the online newsletter, SUNlite.


X. Dell said...

I'm not one to disagree with the premise that mindset has something to do with UFO perception, not because something isn't there, but because the human mind has ll sorts of mechanisms to not see what is in the viewer's face. While I still think the SUNlite article linked to earlier has problems, I don't see anything wrong with testing these two points out as hypotheses. I would caution, however, that the testing should have a better established methodologg and stricter standards of interpretation. A psychiatrist or psychologist could help with this.

Adam Baum said...

UFO's?...come on man...really...this Graeber dude musta got blinded by the light