Originally published in The MUFON UFO Journal, April 1977
In the current issue of Flying Saucer Review (Vol. 22, #5) there is an article by John Brent Musgrave on “The UFO Investigator as Counsellor and Healer“. I had the pleasure of meeting John Musgrave at the CUFOS conference in Chicago and it is from this conference that the article is reprinted. I would like to recommend this article to all investigators of close encounter cases. I would like to make some further remarks to amplify some of John’s points. First, however, I would like to relate a case in which the importance of the investigator’s role as healer was very forcefully brought to my attention.
In this case the percipient in a close encounter case had experienced anumber of physiological and emotional problems following her-experience. She tried to get help from many official agencies but was rebuffed. Finally she managed to make contact with a UFO organization I will call Group I. The investigators from Group I meant well. They wanted to believe that the percipient had really had a close encounter but they were put off by her exotic labeling of routine events (some ofher UFOs turned out to be: a porchlight, the planet Jupiter, airplanes). An attempt at amateur hypnosis failed. After the failure of the efforts of Group I, the witness still wanted to achieve some understanding of her experience. At this point Group II (a rival organization) entered the picture. The representative of Group II immediately established a close rapport with the witness, successfully hynotized her, and continued to treat her experience not from an objective scientific viewpoint but as an involved counsellor and healer. This treatment aided the witness in recovering her emotional balance and in dealing with the continuing anomalous experiences to which she was subject. I am happy to report that the representatives of Group I, rather than fighting over the jurisdication of the case, then realized their own failure and co-operated with Group II in continuing to investigate the case.
That this case is a success rather than a failure is the result of one organization’s realization that the problem was not merely one of scientific investigation, but one of therapy. There are undoubtedly many other cases where such a realization would have been very valuable, in which much suffering on the part of the percipient could have been alleviated by therapeutic action. So far I am merely recapitulating Musgrave’s argument.
One must go farther, however. Very often the person who has had a close encounter will become the subject of various types of paranormal events. They man experience poltergeist manifestations, become telepathic and/or clairvoyant. Things may go wrong with their telephone. They may have spectral visitations or feel they communicate with extraterrestrials. Their attitude toward life may become changed to paranoia or a “new religious consciousness”. These effects and many others have been detailed by John Keel in a series of books. Some of them seem to be caused directly by the “other intelligences” behind the UFO phenomenon. But it also seems that some of these effects are due to a kind of “psychic amplification”; a growing psychic ability on the part of the percipient.
The trigger for this psychic amplification seems to be some kind of mental disturbance. Close contact with the UFO phenomenon may disturb the mental equilibrium of thepercipient in such a way that these effects manifest themselves. Nandor Fodor suggested many years ago that poltergeist cases usually were caused when a disturbed individual’s mind unleashed its own paranormal powers. (2) In many cases the psychic conflicts involved were of a relatively routine nature, caused by sexual problems, repressed hostility, and so forth. It seems, however, that UFO close encounters can also be a shock to the percipient’s mind, and that the conflict between the experience and percipient’s sense of reality can release a range of paranormal events.
Not only percipients but UFO investigators also can become the victims of this psychic amplification. Direct contact with the “other intelligences” is of course the strongest releaser of these efforts, but closeness to the phenomenon in any way may bring about the same mental conflicts and the same manifestations. It would appear that psychic amplification has been the cause for the withdrawal of a substantial number of major and minor UFO investigators from active work.
What can be done about this problem? I am not sure. Certainly the first order of business is to talk about it more. I suspect a large number of investigators have come across it at one time or another, but because of embarassment or uncertainty about its nature, have kept it essentially within a small circle. Talking about, it would also help remove some of the stigma which now attaches to the subject. More important, however, is the generation of more information about the extent and development of this phenomenon. What kinds of percipients are subject to it? In what ways does it develop? How can one channel it toward outcomes which are positive and healthy for the percipient?
The psychic abilities which the percipient is acquiring can be an asset instead of a liability, but only if the percipient is willing to accept them and view them as a new-found talent. If one can create an atmosphere of acceptance, both in the percipient himself and in his social circle, the psychic amplification can be integrated into the percipients’ personality. This attitude of acceptance cannot exist, however, if the investigator himself does not accept the psychic effects or is afraid of them. He must make the percipient feel that what is happening to him is natural and even beneficial in the long run, although in the early stages it may be somewhat unsettling.
In the process of getting the percipient to accept and live with his new-found abilities, the use of a parapsychologist or a psychologist/psychiatrist familiar with the paranormal is desirable. Unfortunately, parapsychologist are a rare breed and may be hard to find. Nonetheless, there is nothing to prevent the researcher from familiarizing himself with some of the parapsychological literature. (3)
An important benefit that the parapsychological framework brings is that it provides a naturalistic approachto the percipient’s experiences. Many percipients might otherwise interpret their experiences in religious or occult terms; some may in any case. By learning to see his powers in naturalistic terms, the percipient is less likely to feel estranged from the rest of the community, and is less likely to see himself as deviant.
These thoughts are offered as astep toward understanding what I believe to be a serious problem. I hope other researchers whose experiences or thinking is more advanced along these lines will now come forward to offer their own ideas.
Footnotes: (1) See for instance, UFOs: Operation Trojan Horse, (New York: G.P. Putnam, 1970), especially chapter 14. (2) Nandor Fodor, “The Poltergeist Psychoanalyzed” in his book The Haunted Mind, (New York: NewAmerican Library, 1968). (3) Leo Sprinkle has sent me a bibliography on “ESP and Counseling Literature”, mimeographed, 1972. His address is Department of Psychology, Box 3708, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY 82071. This is avery useful short paper and contains an extensive bibliography. See also chapter 15 of Coraland Jim Lorenzen, Encounters With UFO Occupants, (New York:Berkeley, 1976), “Hypnotic and Psychic Implications in the Investigation of UFO Reports”, also written by Sprinkle.