Thursday, July 28, 2011
More about migraine and UFO encounters
My recent posting about migraines and UFO experiences (12 June) has aroused some interest. There is a discussion on this topic on the Mysterious Universe website. Below is a very interesting article submitted by James Mitchell, who remarks: "I am truly suprised that more hasn't been made of the connection between migraines and UFO sightings as there are certain similarities that I imagine most migraine sufferers would spot. As the "trigger" for both migraine attacks and UFO sightings is often a bright light, this should in itself alert investigators to a possible connection."
Experiences of migraines and UFO phenomena
Being both a migraine sufferer and a (somewhat sceptical) follower of UFO phenomena, I'm surprised that the similarities between the two haven't been highlighted in the UFO literature before. I've had several migraine-related experiences that, had circumstances been different, may well have been thought to have been alien rather than neurological in origin. When I first started having migraines 30 years ago I experienced none of the "classic" visual manifestations of the condition, and it wasn't until I managed to see a GP while actually undergoing an attack that the condition was initially diagnosed.
Over the years, however, the symptoms have changed in that I now experienced visual problems including the loss of depth perception and various coloured / shimmering auras.
One such attack was, however, more of a hallucination than a distortion of vision in that its manifestations appeared to be external to me. In this, I saw a group of five or six glowing silver spheres floating in a silvery mist. The spheres appeared to be solid metallic objects that conformed to the perspective of the room I was in as I saw them. In short, they appeared real. The fact that I was aware of having a migraine, and that the person with me could not see them, verified the fact that they were a neurological phenomenon. Had I been alone outside on a dark night, then my interpretation of what I saw could well have been different, and I could well have put "feeling strange" down to what Jenny Randles has called the "Oz factor", the dissociative feeling experienced by those who claim to have seen UFOs at close range.
Although I haven't had a similar "external" hallucination since, recent developments in the migraine-related symptoms I experience have become quite disturbing. Last year, I had a migraine in the day which I thought had passed. Later that night, however, I had a truly frightening experience that showed I was still suffering from it. This manifested itself as an overwhelming sensation of being "taken over" by another, external consciousness. I was literally "losing consciousness", but, instead of passing out, other impressions and sensations were passing in, overwhelming my own, trying to force me not into unconsciousness but into another consciousness that wasn't my own.
I was also aware of the presence of an avuncular "boffin"-like figure discussing something with me, although I didn't know what it was we were discussing. In addition to this, there were immense amounts of information being passed either to or from my mind at a fantastic speed and, even though I knew it was information, it was flashing by so fast I couldn't tell what it was. While this was taking place, I was literally fighting for consciousness, that is fighting to retain my consciousness in the face of that which was trying to oust it.
What was most striking, however, was the thought / voice / realisation that I would not remember all of this, a thought that was being repeated over and over again in my mind as the attack took place. There was so much going on, especially with the "information transfer", that I just knew I wouldn't or couldn't remember it all.
(This last feature is, I believe, of some particular relevance to the UFO phenomenon as, in her book The Pennine UFO Mystery [Granada paperback edition, p. 120], author Jenny Randles cites a similar phenomenon where a subject is very aware that he will forget the UFO encounter he has unless he writes it down.)
Another similarity to UFO encounters was the fact that I thought I'd only felt the presence of the "boffin" figure when, after some days or weeks, I realised that I'd actually seen him. This late recollection is, I believe, not unknown in UFO encounters. The attack lasted only a few minutes but, without being able to determine this by external references, I would not have liked to have said how long it lasted.
(I should also mention that I had a similar hallucinogenic experience a year or two before the one detailed above that, at the time, I hadn't connected with migraine. This was a far less powerful experience which, in the absence of any accompanying migraine-like phenomena, I'd just put down to being a "funny turn".)
A friend who suffers from migraines to a far worse degree than I do made some interesting comments when I told them about my attack the following day. They informed me that they almost always have some accompanying hallucinogenic experience when suffering a migraine attack, in addition to which they are aware of having "memories" that they know aren't their own, i.e. that are not real.
The implications of this admission, both in the field of UFOs and the study of the so-called "false memory" syndrome relating to child abuse are obvious.
Another telling comment came from a friend who said they'd once "had a couple of migraines", which suggests that the condition may exist in an acute as well as a chronic form. From this, it is easy to imagine someone having a one-off migraine attack that under the right (or wrong) circumstances could be interpreted as an extraterrestrial / paranormal experience. This is, in my experience, underlined by the similarity in the way in which some details of the attacks - whether by migraine or alleged alien - gradually reveal themselves over a long period of time.
What I cannot stress enough is how real (and how frightening) such attacks can be. Having first-hand experience of this, it is by no means a stretch of the imagination to believe that such events could be attributed to a supernatural / extraterrestrial agency if one was not aware of their true cause.
Fortunately, I have had no more similar experiences with migraines, but it is now a constant worry that I may.
James Mitchell, 2011
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Interesting UFO cases revisited: 1. Betty and Barney Hill's Interrupted journey
Those who argue that there is plenty of evidence that some UFO reports are sightings of, or encounters with, extraterrestrial spacecraft employ two different approaches.
Some, like the late Richard Hall, attempt to convince the sceptics by drawing attention to the vast number of reports, an approach which reminds me of the title of an old British TV sitcom, Never Mind the Quality, Feel the Width. I have never found this at all convincing because if you add garbage to garbage you just get more garbage.
The other approach is to present a list of unexplained, or at least interesting, reports and argue that the best explanation for each involves the activities of ETs and their spacecraft.
If you read many of these accounts you will see that the investigators often get rather annoyed by people who insist on submitting them to critical examination. So I intend to criticise some of these "best cases", or to refer to criticisms and analyses of them which are available, but have apparently been largely ignored by those people known to Jim Moseley as "Serious Ufologists".
I'll start with the Betty and Barney Hill affair, as so many people seem to regard it as an actual alien abduction rather than giving serious consideration to a psychological explanation.
In this posting I just want to draw atttention to the work of Jim Macdonald, who drove by night over the route taken by Betty and Barney Hill on their return from Canada and compared his observations with the account of the journey given in Chapter 1 of John G. Fuller's book (The Interrupted Journey: Two lost hours "aboard a flying saucer", The Dial Press, New York, 1966). His findings appear on the website, Making Light, under the heading Alien Abduction: Betty & Barney Hill.
Macdonald's comparison with Fuller's version is very interesting and not only reinforces the sceptical attitude that the whole episode was psychological in nature, but also shows the advantages of actually following the route, rather than merely using maps and guides as Fuller did. He does not suggest that the Hills or those who investigated their story engaged in any deliberate deception.
Macdonald's account is well worth studying by those who have not done so already.
Saturday, July 09, 2011
George Adamski's Alien Contacts
I came across this documentary, which contains dodgy flying saucer movies by Adamski, Desmond Leslie forgetting Kenneth Arnold's name (how could he?) and supporters of Adamski's claims. Baffles me that this is 'the best evidence' - well it doesn't really!