Click photo to enlarge.
e-mail to my Army pal what lives in the USA state shaped like a right-hand mitten so you can point to your palm to show where you grew up.
********************I have Strange News re our trip to the Betty & Barney Hill UFO Abduction Anniversary in New Hampshire. Unless I am repressing deep memories, I don't think we met any Aliens or got probed or got took on a quick ride to Zeta Reticuli.
Even more unexpected: NOBODY on that whole stretch of highway near the spiffy new NH Historical Marker was even aware it was the 52nd Anniversary.
[S.W.M.B.O. says the spiffy historical markers are manufactured in the New Hampshire state prison, like auto license plates. So a men's state prison burst sounds a lot like high school metal shop.]
Except the guy at this gas/convenience store -- well, he didn't know it was the Anniversary, but he knew where the UFO Abduction postcards and t-shirts were. (C. let me buy the crummy Gray Man t-shirt -- it has that really cheesy homemade roadside freak-show patina.)
You get around, maybe you've breezed thru the White Mountains. Reluctant and suspicious as C****** was to accompany me to the Abduction Anniversary, this summer resort stretch was her fave summer childhood memory, it's stunningly gorgeous, and as Leaf-Peeper Season was just starting, there were still a couple of great seafood restaurants open, and they had a great local nasty dark ale on draught, Pig's Ear.
Some nice local finally explained that the reason nobody noticed the UFO Abduction Anniversary was that Lincoln had scheduled the annual Highland Games, so the area was packed with thousands of Men In Kilts & tam-o-shanters & their lassies tossing telephone poles and drinking huge quantities of strong drink.
Either the strong drink made it harder to see Aliens, or MAYBE the Aliens disguise themselves as Scots Highlanders every anniversary when they drop in for the clam strips and chili dogs.
This is all your fault for sending me the new historical marker. It just whipped me into a froth to finally drive up there. Easy beautiful drive, perfect weather, we had a great time and a cheap motel cabin that very much resembled the Bates Motel.
Okay, no Aliens, no probing that we can remember. All our time is pretty closely accounted for, no missing hours.
BUT utterly by surprise the whole screwball thing unblocked a big long constipation in my writing and exploded color and ideas and superfresh enthusiasm into the project. (Usually i get my Laxative Of Inspiration in dreams. This time I got it from UFO Aliens.)
Hope all of you are in Good Shape & Happy Circumstances. What's Rap Boy & Water Polo Grrl up to?
Over in Evil Columbus at the Ohio State stadium a few weeks ago, Team USA (which just learned to play soccer 3 yrs ago) defeated Team Mexico and advanced a rung toward the World Cup!
The Truth Is Out There
I Want to Believe
There's a Seeker born every minute
The Portland Phoenix
Portland, Maine USA
alternative weekly throwaway
6 September 2013
gather in Portland
by Deirdre Fulton
Millions of people on this planet claim to have been abducted by aliens. About 200 of them (alleged abductees, that is) will converge on Portland this weekend, for the second annual Experiencers Speak conference, organized by and for people who say they’ve been kidnapped by -- or had close encounters with -- extraterrestrials.
Among those who plan to attend the two-day symposium are Travis Walton, the logger whose UFO experience was portrayed in the 1993 film Fire in the Sky; Jim Weiner, one of four young men who saw a UFO and "lost time" (presumably due to abduction) during a 1976 camping trip in Allagash, Maine; and Kathleen Marden, director of abduction research for the Mutual UFO Network, a national organization dedicated to researching UFO sightings. Marden is also the niece of Betty and Barney Hill, the New Hampshire couple who claimed to have been seized by aliens in September 1961 near Franconia Notch. Many more will come to share their own stories, and be validated by others; last year’s Experiencers Speak event in Gorham attracted about 150 attendees.
"People really need to talk about it and realize that they’re not alone," says Audrey Hewins of Mechanic Falls, the lead organizer of the conference and founder of Starborn Support, a group that exists to help those who say they’ve met ETs. "We like to get them to a point where they accept who they are and are able to function in society."
Hewins, 40, describes herself as a "lifelong abductee," who, along with her identical twin sister, has "been taken [repeatedly] since early childhood." After years of trying to repress the memories (she calls it "stuffing") she and her sister reached out to the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON), and a representative from that organization put both sisters under hypnosis (separately), helping them to access often-traumatizing memories of visits from "beings" with big, motionless, almond-shaped eyes and bald heads. Over time, through hypnosis, Hewins began to recall experiences of being paralyzed, lifted, and brought onto a spacecraft -- all at extraterrestrial hands.
Although Hewins likens "Post-Abduction Syndrome" (PAS) to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), her interactions with the otherworldly beings weren’t always hostile; in fact, it was one of them that suggested she launch Starborn Support in 2006. Today, there are chapters in 10 states along the east coast, along with a Starborn streaming radio program.
"This isn’t something you can tell your family members without having them question you," says Kathleen Marden, of MUFON, who co-coordinates a peer-facilitated support group for experiencers in Florida. "Some people receive very negative feedback" from loved ones such as ridicule or ostracization (not to mention lay diagnosis of "totally insane").
In fact, Marden herself was a skeptic when she started to research her Aunt Betty and Uncle Barney’s story more than two decades ago. "If I could have found information that this was all just an honest mistake or misinterpretation, I would have been very pleased. This was very upsetting to the family," she recalls. But her relatives’ account of a bright, star-like object that seemed to be following them, loud rhythmic buzzing, several unaccounted-for hours, and Betty’s subsequent vivid dreams were enough to convince Marden, who has a degree in social work from the University of New Hampshire. In her investigations, Marden employs "forensic hypnosis," a technique she says used to be admissible in court. "In the end, I was not able to prove that it was simply a mistake. There was overwhelming evidence that in fact led me to believe that this was a real event."
Faith in fantasy
Even the most dismissive skeptics are quick to acknowledge that so-called abductees have had some kind of memorable experience. But, as Michael Shermer, executive director of the California-based Skeptics Society wrote in his Scientific American "Skeptic" column in 2005, "the vividness of a traumatic memory cannot be taken as evidence of its authenticity."
By and large, most abduction-doubters ascribe the alleged abduction experience to a medical phenomenon known as "sleep paralysis." A typical sleep paralysis episode, often the result of disrupted REM sleep, is marked by a sudden wakefulness combined with the inability to move. The experience often induces panic, paranoia, the sense that someone else is in the room, and hallucinations.
Whereas centuries ago, such episodes were correlated with supernatural entities like nightmares, succubi, or demons -- the paranormal monsters of our past — our current frame of reference has shifted.
"We don’t live in that world anymore,” Shermer explains on the phone from Southern California. In the modern context of science fiction, fantasy, and space exploration, he says, "Aliens are our demons."
Susan Clancy, a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University and the author of Abducted: How People Come To Believe They Were Kidnapped by Aliens, came to the conclusion that abduction memories are "a function of memory distortion. It is well established by cognitive psychologists that memory is fragile [and that] false memories -- even traumatic ones -- can be created."
With another Harvard psychologist, Richard McNally, Clancy studied how a someone could mis-remember an episode of sleep paralysis as alien abduction. They found that in seeking an explanation for a distressing event (the hallucinations, the paralysis), a person undergoing hypnotic regression sessions will dig into their memory banks (full of experiences both real and not) and ultimately "recall" having been abducted or experimented on by aliens. Those recollections, though, seem to be influenced by fantasy as well as reality. "The striking similarity of these narratives," the authors wrote in a paper published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, "suggests a widely shared cultural script."
As Clancy stated in a 2005 interview on National Public Radio, "I just want to stress that nobody reported being abducted before they actually saw it on TV or in the movies." She is also highly skeptical of memory-retrieval techniques like hypnosis, which is generally relied on in abduction cases.
In other words, a subtle (and quite possibly subliminal) absorption of alien-abduction themes in TV shows, movies, sci-fi books, and on the Internet could help explain how someone could jump from I had an upsetting experience in bed as a child to I was kidnapped and probed by otherworldly beings as a kid.
But it’s not necessarily a sign of mental illness. “Many people believe that abductees are ‘nuts’ — this is a mistake,” Clancy says in an email to the Phoenix. “Our data showed they are essentially normal [and] psychologically healthy. Alien abductees were not more likely than control subjects to suffer from psychological disorders. My feeling after a decade of research ... is that abductees, like many others, were looking for explanations for their lives and for the things that happened to them that they could not understand. They were familiar with the alien abduction script, believed that abductions were possible, and thus concluded that abductions were a possible explanation."
In fact, as Shermer points out in his books, Why Smart People Believe Weird Things, there are quite intelligent (seemingly sane) people who believe this stuff. “But neither the smarts nor the money alter one iota the fact that there exists not one piece of tangible evidence of alien visitation,” he writes. “And where evidence is lacking, the mind fills in the gaps, and smart minds are better at gap filling.”
It’s not surprising that experiencers like Hewins think the sleep-paralysis explanation is "ridiculous, up there with swamp gas and weather balloons" (two other oft-cited explanations for UFO sightings). Like many UFOlogists and alleged abductees, she believes a conspiracy is afoot to cloud the truth. "So many people are so quick to dismiss this as fiction, but the government and other people in power have covered it up and made it so convincingly not real."
Perhaps here is a good place to note the official position of the Center for SETI Research, the private, non-profit organization dedicated to studying life in the universe (and searching for other life forms). SETI receives funding from both the government and private sources and is widely considered to be a legitimate, science-based program.
“One-third of the American public (and a similar fraction of the citizenry in other countries) is convinced that extraterrestrials may be buzzing the countryside in their spacecraft, or occasionally alighting in the back yard to abduct a few humans for breeding experiments,” the SETI website reads. “This would be of enormous interest and importance, and (in our opinion) impossible to hide, particularly if it’s happening internationally. The presence of aliens on our planet is not something you would want to hide: it would be the biggest science story of all time, and tens of thousands of university researchers would be working away on it...
"However, despite the popularity of aliens in both movies and TV, and more than a half-century of UFO sightings, the lack of credible physical evidence has made it difficult for serious scientists to believe that UFOs have anything to do with extraterrestrial visitors."
But that won’t sway the true believers. Indeed, it’s not overstating things to frame this weekend’s conference in religious terms; one who believes fervently in aliens is not much different from one who believes fervently in God. For experiencers, alien abduction is their unassailable truth, their space-age theology.
"I know that this is real," Hewins says passionately. "I’m positive. I know what I’m doing is right. And the people who are so quick to judge ... eventually they’re going to realize that it’s true."
Take the quiz
Check off each item if it has happened to you.
According to the Starborn Support website, you may have been abducted by aliens if you ...
[ ] Have had unexplainable missing or lost time of one hour or more. Not while blacked out drunk, presumably.
[ ] Have been paralyzed in bed with a being in your room.
[ ] Have unusual scars or marks with no possible explanation on how you received them (small scoop indentation, straight line scar, triangular marks, scars in roof of mouth, in nose, behind or in ears).
[ ] Have seen balls of light or flashes of light in your home or other locations. First be sure it’s not your neighbor playing with fireworks.
[ ] Have a memory of flying through the air which could not be a dream, or many dreams involving flying. Aren’t flying dreams supposed to be good?
[ ] Have a strong "marker memory" that will not go away (i.e.: an alien face, an examination, a needle, a table, a strange skinny baby, etc.) A table!!!!!?????
[ ] Have seen beams of light outside your home, or come into your room through a window. Neighborhood kids playing Capture The Flag?
[ ] Have had many dreams of UFOs, beams of light, or alien beings.
[ ] Have had a shocking UFO sighting or multiple sightings in your life. A run-of-the-mill, non-shocking UFO sighting doesn’t suffice.
[ ] Have a cosmic awareness, an interest in ecology, environment, vegetarianism, or are very socially conscious. I knew there was something weird about vegetarians ...
[ ] Have a secret feeling that you are "special" or "chosen," somehow. A/k/a, narcissism.
[ ] Have had unexplainable events occur in your life, and felt strangely anxious afterwards.
[ ] Have had several strange psychic experiences -- such as knowing that something is going to happen before it happens.
[ ] For women only: Have had false pregnancy or missing fetus. Women are from Venus, men are from Mars, amirite!?!?
[ ] Have awoken in another place than where you went to sleep, or don’t remember ever going to sleep. (i.e., waking up with your head at the foot of your bed, or in your car) Doesn’t count if you were at Amigo’s last night.
[ ] Have had a dream of eyes such as animal eyes (like an owl or deer), or remember seeing an animal looking in at you. Also if you have a fear of eyes.
[ ] Have awoken in the middle of the night startled. I usually blame the cats, but I will from now on consider other alternatives...
[ ] Have strong reaction (aversion or attraction) to the cover of Communion or pictures of aliens. Test yourself with the image at left
[ ] Have experienced self-esteem problem much of your life. OH NO!!! I’M DOOMED.
[ ] Have seen someone with you become paralyzed, motionless, or frozen in time, especially someone you sleep with. Congratulations, Casanova!
[ ] Have a memory of having a special place with spiritual significance, when you were a youngster. Terabithia fans, you’re in luck.
[ ] Have had someone in your life who claims to have witnessed a ship or alien near you or has witnessed you having been missing. How can someone witness you being missing?
[ ] Have had, at any time, blood or strange stain on sheet or pillow, with no explanation of how it got there. Doesn’t count if you were at Amigo’s last night.
[ ] Have an interest in the subject of UFO sightings or aliens, perhaps compelled to read about it a lot. I am compelled to read a lot about Kim Kardashian; am I going to be North West’s adopted sibling???
[ ] Have an extreme aversion toward talking about UFOs or aliens.
[ ] Have been suddenly compelled to drive or walk to an out of the way or unknown area. Fans of Douglas Adams’s holistic method of navigation need not apply.
[ ] Have the feeling of being watched much of the time, especially at night. Good news! You’re not paranoid! Aliens are out to get you!
[ ] Have seen a strange fog or haze that should not be there. Doesn’t count if you were at Amigo’s last night.
[ ] Have heard strange humming or pulsing sounds, and you could not identify the source. Doesn’t count if you are at Amigo’s right now.
[ ] Have had unusual nose bleeds at any time in your life. Or have awoken with a nose bleed.
[ ] Have awoken with soreness in your genitals which can not be explained. Doesn’t count if you were at Amigo’s last night.
[ ] Have had back or neck problems, T-3 vertebrae out often, or awoken with an unusual stiffness in any part of the body.
[ ] Have had chronic sinusitis or nasal problems.
[ ] Have had electronics around you go haywire or oddly malfunction with no explanation (such as street lights going out as you walk under them, TVs and radios affected as you move close, etc.). That’s some Poltergeist shit, yo.
[ ] Have seen a hooded figure in or near your home, especially next to your bed. Maybe George Zimmerman didn’t fear black men -- just aliens.
[ ] Have an unusual fear of doctors or tend to avoid medical treatment.
[ ] Have frequent or sporadic headaches, especially in the sinus, behind one eye, or in one ear.
[ ] Have the feeling that you are going crazy for even thinking about these sorts of things.
[ ] Have been prone to compulsive or addictive behavior.
[ ] Have channeled telepathic messages from extraterrestrials. Well, that seems like a slam-dunk indicator.
[ ] Have simply heard an external voice in your head, speaking to you, perhaps instructing or guiding you.
[ ] Have been afraid of your closet, now or as a child.
[ ] Have had sexual or relationship problems (such as an odd “feeling” that you must not become involved in a relationship because it would interfere with “something”). “I’ve been abducted by aliens” goes over a lot better than “I have commitment issues.”
[ ] Have to sleep against the wall or must sleep with your bed against a wall. Coming soon from Random House: Feng Shui for Abductees.
[ ] Have a difficult time trusting other people, especially authority figures. Hey revolutionaries, perhaps the enemy isn’t corporate fat cats, but aliens . . . Occupy Mars!
[ ] Have had dreams of destruction or catastrophe.
[ ] Have the feeling that you are not supposed to talk about these things, or that you should not talk about them.
[ ] Have tried to resolve these types of problems with little or no success.
[ ] Have many of these traits but can’t remember anything about an abduction or alien encounter.
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Copyright © 2013 The Phoenix Media/Communications Group