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Do ufologists think that hypnosis is a truth serum?

While a number of UFO forums buffs think they do, ufologists are actually absolutely not ignorant of the many problems with the use of hypnotic regression to "recover" so called "lost memories" of alien abductions.

A chap who animates UFO meetings did show on a French UFO forum the widespread nonsense in the lunatic fringe in France about the question of hypnosis in ufology.

Because I explained, with facts and arguments, that hypnosis is not a truth serum, he felt the need to reply that by stating that hypnosis is not a truth serum, I was "again attempting to make us swallow" that it is not a truth serum. With the usual nonsense, he ranted about a "kabala" I was supposed to organize "against" something and claimed it is "unconceivable" that ufologists using hypnosis can exert any influence, and that I "disrespect ufologists" when I refuse to admit that hypnosis is a truth serum, as he believes, under the motive that "ufologists exert no influence of people they hypnotize, it would be silly to do so."

Of course, he missed what I really indicated; and overstated its meaning. Anyways, he did accuse that I don't "respect ufologists". That's, at least, is partly true: I have no respect for those ufologist that claim hypnosis is a truth serum. I also have no respect for those ufologist who would believe in the inexistence of influence during hypnosis. And no respect for another ufologist who did in the same discussion claim that the criticism of the use of hypnosis in ufology originates from the vile debunkers.

This clearly shows how silly claims about ufology thrives on the UFO forums thanks to people with actually close-to-zero culture and knowledge on ufological matters.

So, is it true that ufologists claim that hypnosis is a valid investigation tool, that it "uncovers the truth", that it is "unconceivable" that influence is exerted?

Well, here it is.


"In what you try to have us believe once agin, you engage in a kabalah which tend to say that hypnosis carried out by a ufologist can only lead to the result that the hypnotized tells that what the hypnotist want to hear."

"That is inconceivable. Hypnosis is a tool wich has the purpose to wake up hidden memories of the hypnotized. There is no notion of dictating answers to him this does not make sense at all. Many cases were dealt not by hypnotists who used a precise professional protocol to precisely not to influence the hypnotized."

"When one listens to recordings of hypnosis sessions, the patient is put back in the situation of his statements as for the remainder the intervention of the hypnotist is reduced in encouraging him by short sentences of the type "what did you see next" or "what happened" to leave to the patient the care to tell his story. It is thus not a matter of a hypnosis trying to convince the patient to stop smoking or peeing in bed."

"If some cases showed that the performed hypnosis were of bad quality or even leading, the large majority of these experiments were carried out by ufologists and hypnotists who were neither idiots, neither incompetents nor inefficient. But knowing what respect you have of the ufologists, nothing from you astonishes me any more."


The following is the proof that it is totally untrue and ridiculous that when I state that hypnosis is not a truth serum, I would "disrespect ufologists."

Stuart Apelle:

"For example, the reader is allowed to listen in on the dialogue between Hopkins and an experiencer during an actual hypnotic regression. This dialogue will impress some, in terms of its effectiveness in eliciting apparently hidden memories. At the same time it may well be scrutinized by opponents of hypnosis looking for ammunition For example, Hopkins responds to a traumatized experiencer who is recalling an alien rape: "Nobody has the right to do this to you... You didn’t give him permission... You have every reason in the world to be angry. Every reason to say 'Leave me alone.... Don’t ever do this to me again' " (pp. 373—74). However skillful, well intended, and perhaps inevitable such exchanges may be, they will give pause to the researcher concerned about the interaction between "counseling" and "investigation." And critics of hypnosis will no doubt see in these exchanges evidence of practicing therapy without a license, or of reinforcing in the experiencer a literal interpretation of the reported events."

Source: "The abduction phenomenon at MIT", article by Stuart Appelle, Ph.D., in International UFO Reporter, Vol. 20, #4. pp. 20-21,24, July/August, 1995.

Stuart Apelle is not a "vile debunker". He is the editor of the CUFOS bulletin "Journal of UFO Studies" and a professor of psychology and associate dean, School of Letters Sciences, State University of New York, College at Brockport.

He does not support the notion that hypnotic regression is a truth serum.

Mark Cashman:

"I have always been in favor of this, and I have, on occasion, mentioned my agreement with the BUFORA policy and my admiration for BUFORA having taken this stand. I also state to any abductee or possible abductee who speaks to me, whether they ask or not, that I recommend against the use of hypnosis, do recommend they see a conventional therapist, and if they do decide to undergo hypnosis that they do so under the care of a therapist."

"I am basically wary of using a poorly understood technique that induces a poorly understood mental state as a way of studying an unknown phenomenon. Aren't things hard enough without it?"

"I am even more wary, since hypnosis' original claim to fame was post-hypnotic suggestion. I find it difficult to appreciate the certainty with which investigators assert that they have found techniques which prevent suggestibility from being a problem."

"Your point about the need for testing hypnotic recall against confirmable events is especially well taken."

"But you are right - as Dr. Jacobs has stated, the technique is viewed as the only way to get "inside" the objects. I fear the temptation to do so is too great, and has not been resisted, despite the dangers."

"I believe that there is some understanding of this issue among the more sophisticated investigators of such material, but, nevertheless, it is not of paramount importance to them."

"I am also concerned that problems with hypnosis may be the reason for the current boom in abductions (Jacobs claims that one abductee was taken 54 times in 8 months) and claims that UFOs must be able to become invisible (broached by Hopkins at the IF conference). If so, the abduction data base may well be being rapidly contaminated with spurious events."

Source: Message by Mark Cashman, UFOupdates, 1999, at

Mark Cashman is not a "vile debunker". He is a long-time and well known UFO investigator, currently State Director for MUFON Connecticut.

He does not support the notion that hypnotic regression is a truth serum.

Donald C. Donderi:

"A great deal of serious research effort has gone into the study of hypnotic phenomena, in an effort to determine to what extent there are genuine changes in consciousness as a result of the hypnotic process. The simplest description of the present evidence is this: hypnotic induction in a highly suggestible subject produces a mental state in which external instructions (the hypnotist's) can alter the subject's conscious mental content, to the extent that both memory of past events and perception of the current environment can be influenced in ways that cannot be duplicated by suggestion, unaided by hypnosis."

Source: "The Scientific Context of the UFO/Abduction Phenomenon", article by Don Donderi, Ph.D, in the International UFO Reporter, Vol. 21, #1 Spring 1996.

Don Donderi, Ph.D., is not a "vile debunker". He is Associate Professor of Psychology at McGill University, Montreal, and cofounder and Principal Consultant of Human Factors North, a Toronto-based ergonomics consulting firm. He is coauthor with Donald Hebb of Textbook of Psychology, 4th ed., and has published many experimental and theoretical papers in the areas of visual perception, memory, psychological measurement, and the UFO phenomenon.

He does not support the notion that hypnotic regression is a truth serum.

Richard H. Hall:

"I have also criticized Mack [John Mack] along similar lines. Their hypnotic regression methods or techniques are all pretty similar; it's their "filtering" mind sets and the attitudes and world views they convey to their "clients" that tend to differ."

"I have worked with something like 150 abductees and never once used hypnotic regression."

Source: Message by Richard Hall, UFOupdates, 2001, at

Richard Hall is not a "vile debunker", but a leading and pioneer ufologist so well-known that I probably do not need to tell more here.

He does not support the notion that hypnotic regression is a truth serum.

Budd Hopkins:

"Memory can be faulty even in hypnotic regression and at first you will probably not be able to tell with absolute certainty what is real and what is imaginary."

Source: "Exploring possible UFO experiences - the Pros and Cons", article by Budd Hopkins, at

Budd Hopkins is not a "vile debunker", and certainly cannot be accused to have any bias against the use of hypnosis - I probably do not need to say more. And yet:

He does not support the notion that hypnotic regression is a truth serum.

John Mack:

"The potential inaccuracy of memories recalled under hypnosis must be considered in evaluating abduction reports (Frankel 1993). Studies do show that inaccurate material may be recovered under hypnosis (McConkey 1992; Scheflin and Shapiro 1989). For this reason, hypnotically obtained reports must be compared to reports made from conscious recall, and to other corroborating evidence."

Source: "A Brief Review of Issues Relating to the Reality of the Abduction Phenomenon", article by John Mack, M.D.,

John Mack is not a "vile debunker", and certainly cannot be accused to have any biais against the use of hypnosis - I probably do not need to say more. And yet:

He does not support the notion that hypnotic regression is a truth serum.

Bertrand Méheust:

"Are the scenarios of abduction where hypnosis intervenes a product of the latter? The traditional thesis (often defended by the American school) is that it makes it possible to recover psychic contents that were suppressed because they are traumatizing. One cannot exclude that it indeed plays this role when it is carried out by experienced experts, able to avoid induction of the subjects. But my feeling is that it creates "subliminal novels" rather than restore memories, because it sets in motion resources of the unconscious that are still unexplored."

Source: "En soucoupes volantes", book by Bertrand Méheust, Imago editor, page 105, 1992.

Bertrand Méheust is a French sociologist who also did field investigation of UFO reports. Though he does not share the belief that anything that flashes in the sky of any alien encounter story is proof of alien visitors, he is not a "vile debunker."

He does not support the notion that hypnotic regression is a truth serum.

Nick Pope:

"It is important to recognise that hypnotherapy and regression hypnosis are controversial techniques, on which there is much scientific disagreement (For a summary of this, see my book The Uninvited, especially chapters three and four)."

Source: "Alien Abduction and Hypnosis", Nick Pope,

Nick Pope was at the British Ministry of Defence UFO Desk. And yet, instead of claiming that UFOs don't exist, he authored books and article voicing that they do not all have trivial explanations. He is not a "vile debunker", he is not claiming that alien abductions do not exist. But:

He does not support the notion that hypnotic regression is a truth serum.

Kevin D. Randle:

"In other, more precise words, Mack is saying that those under the influence of hypnotic regression seem to be led to a specific point by those conducting the hypnotic session. That for all the suggestions and claims that they work hard not to lead the abductee, that they do it anyway, probably not consciously and probably not on purpose, but they do it. And Mack has seen it, spoken about it, and then failed to understand the significance of what he said."

"And, please, remember here that I have quoted what Mack himself has said about this situation."

"But I could go on and quote David Jacobs, who cautions that those with a New Age philosophy (read Mack here) may be leading their witnesses in that direction. He also claims that he doesn't lead the witnesses, yet in 'The Threat' he tells of the woman who believed her experiences were benign until he finished his hypnotic regression of her. Now she sees the real danger."

Source: Message by Kevin Randle, UFOupdates, 2001, at

"These are the two major examples of "researchers" implanting their belief structures on their clients. Both had advanced degrees and had been in practice for years. The point is, they came to believe in alien abduction and then began to convince their clients they too were victims of alien abduction."

"It also demonstrates a real problem with abduction research. It shows some of the problems with hypnotic regression. These are not the only examples of researchers implanting their belief structures on those they interview."

Source: Message by Kevin Randle, UFOupdates, 1999,

Kevin Randle is a long-time UFO investigator with a very impressive record and it would be really silly to claim that he is a "vile debunker." And yet:

He does not support the notion that hypnotic regression is a truth serum.

Jenny Randles

"I first investigated an abduction case in the UK 20 years ago. For seven years I worked with clinical psychologists and attended about a dozen regression experiments on various cases. The outcome was quite varied and none involved the traditional gray figures conducting medical examinations seen the United States. What entities did appear were mostly human or Nordic. But there was a range of others, from monsters to robots. The only real consistency came in the basic form of the experience: witness sees a light, witness loses consciousness, witness awakes in strange bright room and sees entities, some sort of contact/psychic experience or message is conveyed, witness reawakens back in prior environment (e.g., bedroom or car--these accounting for 17 out of 19 cases I looked into during that time). There were smatterings of medical probes but nothing like that found in the cases investigated by Budd Hopkins. This work of mine occurred between 1979 and 1986."

"From this data several conclusions emerged. Various witnesses explained their doubts about hypnosis. They felt it made them more confused, not less so. They were unclear of the reality status of their experience. Some felt positively harmed psychologically by the trauma of hypnosis. I also saw warning signs. In one case I found myself suddenly speaking to the witness (in regression) who was no longer describing her encounter but channeling the alien and cosmic messages as if I was now actually addressing that being. In another case a witness suffered an epileptic seizure during regression. And there were at least three cases where the doctor, monitoring EEG and EKG of the witness, terminated the experiment as these became dangerously high. I even later discovered that one doctor (medically qualified), whom one of my colleagues was working with, was evidently using a drug to help induce hypnosis that brought him considerable pressure from the medical council afterwards, since I gather some of his patients were unaware of its use."

"For these reasons I rapidly came to see hypnosis as a major part of the problem, given its less than acknowledged ability to always stimulate memory rather than fantasy.

Source: "My View of Abductions", by Jenny Randles, in "The Anomalist", 1999.

Jenny Randles is not a "vile debunker". She has been active in many UFO organizations in the UK and is the British consultant to the International UFO Reporter, published by the Center for UFO Studies in the US. She has published a host of thoughtful books on UFOs and associated topics over the years, the most recent of which are "Men in Black"; "UFO Crash Landing: Friend of Foe"; "UFO: Danger in the Air"; and "The Complete Guide to Aliens and Abductions."

She does not support the notion that hypnotic regression is a truth serum.

Mark Rodeghier, PhD:

"Does Jacobs lead his witnesses? Sadly, one must answer in the affirmative."

Source: "Review of Secret Life by David Jacobs," article by Marc Rodeghier, CUFOS "Journal of UFO Studies" #4, pp 184-189, 1992.

Mark Rodeghier is a scientist an a leading UFO researcher at the Center for UFO Studies founded by the late J. Allen Hynek. He is not at all a "vile debunker."

He does not support the notion that hypnotic regression is a truth serum.

Edoardo Russo:

"The Italian Center for UFO Studies (Centro Italiano Studi Ufologici, CISU) adopted that same banning a long time ago (1988), exactly because we were agree with what BUFORA had the braveness to decide."

"In November, 1988, we had a closed-door symposium in Bologna where a group of our field investigators and of active members interested in hypnosis met a group of M.D.'s using hypnosis in their medical practice, all of them being members of one (of the four existing) Italian association of medical hypnosis, who were also curious about UFO abductions and the use of hypnosis in ufology."

"We gathered a firm caveat against the use of hypnosis as a regressive tool for getting factual information (something we already expected, from the available literature we've been systematically collecting in a file since 1981) and - most important - since there was a concrete risk of stimulating confabulation and to bring greater emotional troubles than before upon the "victim"."

"We already had collected a thick file of mis-use of abduction [sic, hypnosis] in some Italian cases."

"We thus decided not to use hypnosis and not to encourage either witnesses or potential abductees to be submitted to regressive hypnosis."

Source: Message by Edoardo Russo on UFOupdates, 1999, at

Edoardo Russo voices much skepticism about UFOs, but is a living encyclopaedia on the matter and a long time field investigator. He is not a "vile debunker." Even funnier: the chap who claims that when I say that hypnosis is not a truth serum I "disrespect ufologist" claims Edoardo Rosso's UFO group is a partner of his own UFO group.

He does not support the notion that hypnotic regression is a truth serum.

Chris Rutkowski:

"I have been advocating exactly this point for years, but no one has been listening, as usual. One of the few others who has been trying to make this point clear is David Gotlib, who even produced a working document of Standards for Treatment of Abductees, which has largely been ignored."

"The latest case I have been working on is a prime example of this situation. I work only with a clinical psychologist well-versed in the proper use of hypnotic regression. The abductee in this case already has a partial memory of an event, and wants to uncover the rest. There have been three sessions so far, and only one use of hypnosis. Rather than "push the envelope" and explore the abductee's memories beyond conscious recall, the psychologist has decided to work on relaxation techniques in order to help the abductee overcome his fears of "what's locked inside." With a lessening of the fear, the abductee may then _consciously_ recall more details.

"This abductee admits to having read a great many books with UFO and abduction themes, and became terrified at reading Jacobs' latest book. The psychologist felt that there was no way to ensure that any images "recovered" through regression were "real" and not influenced by his reading of UFO material.

"More than one abductee who had come to me has attempted suicide because "they" were always watching and controlling everyday life. One woman was a rape victim. Another had been diagnosed with DID (MPD). Clearly, ufologists are not the ones who should be "treating" such individuals. I care deeply about the welfare of abductees who may have underlying emotional or psychological problems and who are regressed by UFO buffs with only a "crash course" in hypnosis as background."

Source: Message by Chris Rutkowski, UFOupdates, 1999, at

Chris Rutkoswki is a very serious-minded UFO investigator with an impressive history of field work and articles on UFO matters, as well as a superb book about the abduction question, "Abductions and aliens - What's really going on". He is not a "vile debunker", and dealt a lot with abductees himself.

He does not support the notion that hypnotic regression is a truth serum.

Serge Salvaille:

"The use of hypnosis in abduction cases only confirms the state of abduction research. A couple of years ago, it would have been fashionable to call it a Goulag. Today, let's settle for the expression: a Desert."

Source: Message by Serge Salvaille, UFOupdates, 2001, at

He does not support the notion that hypnotic regression is a truth serum.

Greg Sandow:

"We can criticize Budd Hopkins and some other abduction researchers -- I've already done that, in my essay "The Abduction Conundrum," which appears in the current issue of The Anomalist -- for not stating the problems with hypnosis in their books. In The Threat, though, Dave Jacobs devotes quite a bit of space to the problems of hypnotic confabulation. And it's precisely because of the dangers of confabulation that neither Budd nor Dave think that hypnosis works "like a magic key" in "unlocking the secrets" of any single case."

"If, in other words, you hypnotize any single abductee, you have no way of judging whether any story that emerges is true. But what if more than one abductee tells the same story? That's what serious abduction research is looking for -- stories that appear to confirm each other. This of course raises questions of investigators leading abductees -- or abductees repeating stories they've read or heard -- but let's at least get the principle straight. Nobody whom I'd consider a serious abduction investigator is going to start where Jenny Randles starts us here, with the notion that hypnosis is a magic key. Budd Hopkins and Dave Jacobs say they won't accept any part of an abduction scenario that isn't independently confirmed by more than one abductee. Their position, in other words, isn't that hypnosis gives us completely truthful stories. Rather, they picture a situation in which all sorts of random information floats upward from hypnosis sessions. Out of the vague cloud of uncheckable data, a few details eventually solidify, details that seem more reliable because more than one abductee mentions them."

Source: Message by Greg Sandow, UFOupdates, 1999, at

Greg Sandow is an American journalist based in New York who wrote much about UFOs. He is not a "vile debunker."

He does not support the notion that hypnotic regression is a truth serum.

Dr. Leo Sprinke:

"The information that has been obtained form hypnotic sessions with participants who claim UFO experiences, including abduction and communication with UFO occupants, is tentative and inconclusive."

Source: "The Mammoth encyclopedia of Extraterrestrial Encounters", compiled by Ronald D. Story, Robinson publisher, page 307, 2001.

Dr. R. Leo Sprinkle, a University of Wyoming psychologist, became interested in the abduction phenomenon in the 1960s and was for many years the only academic figure devoting any time to studying or researching abduction accounts. He is not a "vile debunker", he actually states the he was abducted himself.

He does not support the notion that hypnotic regression is a truth serum.

Dennis Stacy:

"Furthermore, is the pattern really there to begin with? Jacobs, by way of example, long resisted the profusion of various alien types that were being reported, but now seems to have reluctantly admitted that the little grey pattern (maybe) isn't quite as consistent or pervasive as it was once thought to be."

"My guess is that the pattern may not even be there (if enough examples were compared), or that if it is present, other influences could be at work, although not necessarily."

Source: Message by Dennis Stacy, UFOupdates, 1999,

Dennis Stacy was the editor of the monthly MUFON UFO Journal from 1985 to 1997. He received the 1995 Donald E. Keyhoe Journalism Award for a six-part series on UFOs. He wrote books such as "The Marfa Lights: A Viewer's Guide", and he coedited "UFOs 1947-1997: Fifty Years of Flying Saucers." He is not a "vile debunker."

He does not support the notion that hypnotic regression is a truth serum.

Brian Straight:

"I have discussed the value of hypnosis with a clinical psychologist friend of mine. He tells me that he is uncomfortable using it in his own clinical practice, and indeed does so only under extraordinary circumstances (one of which is that the patient him/herself sees it as the only way to continue progress and thus requests it. He never suggests hypnosis to his patients."

"My own take on matters, after talking to him, is that hypnosis can indeed have a 'placebo' effect -- if the patient thinks it will help, it very frequently does."

"Now, when it comes to investigations and the recreation of events, it is possible that a similar effect may be experienced. That is, if a subject believes that hypnosis will aid recall, it may well do so."

"However, research suggests that the reliability of memories recalled under hypnosis is highly suspect -- after all, the subject is, to all intents and purposes, in a semi-dream state. Hypnosis will produce information, but we have no way of sorting what is reliable from what is unreliable. Hypnotic regressions of multiple witnesses to an event, where possible, can help to separate the signal from the noise, but such multiple experiences are relatively rare."

"My own take on this is - hypnosis should be performed only if the witness requests it (it should not, in my opinion, be suggested), and then only by a qualified clinical professional, in a controlled professional setting. The questioning should avoid suggesting a narrative or explanation, and the ufologist should be aware that the information received from such sessions is highly suspect."

"Hypnosis is not substitute for the mundane slog of good field work."

Source: Message by Brian Straight, UFOupdates, 1999, at

He does not support the notion that hypnotic regression is a truth serum.

Jacques Vallée:

"I have studied over 70 abduction cases, in concert with psychiatrists trained in the use of the clinical hypnosis. These specialists were uniformly horrified when I showed them what some ufologists were doing and claiming on the basis of the regressions they were performing. In case after case, it becomes obvious that hypnosis is NOT a good way to bring back true memories. The psychiatric literature confirms this."

Source: Interview of Jacques Vallée in "Alternate Perceptions Magazine", #98, February 2006, USA.

There is certainly no big need that I make much effort to show that Jacques Vallée is a well-known and long-time ufologist, very popular in France, who can't seriously be called a "vile debunker."

He does not support the notion that hypnotic regression is a truth serum.

Jean-Jacques Vélasco:

"My opinion on these abductions, well, these somehow weird phenomena, it is that there are disconcerting facts like the "missing times" that one finds in some cases, but the elements rest unfortunately only on testimonial aspects and the fact that the methods of investigations employed by the investigators are more than doubtful, in particular the use of mental regression under hypnosis."

Source: Interview of Jean-Jacques Vélasco, by Le Journal de l'Ufologie, August 2004, at

Jean-Jacques Vélasco was the head of the official French UFO study group SEPRA. He recently authored a book in which he states that he has found evidence that we do have alien visitors; which certainly disqualifies him of the title of "vile debunker."

He does not support the notion that hypnotic regression is a truth serum.

Jason Zerr:

"An unprepared hypnotist can actually plant the thought into the subject of a UFO experience or an alien abduction. As I found when I went under hypnosis myself is that hypnotic "leading" or suggestions can taint this type of investigation. During hypnosis, I was convinced I was Elvis."

Source: Zerr's website at

Jason Zerr is not a "UFO-skeptic" or "vile debunker" but a ufologist of the Washington UFO watch ufology group.

He does not support the notion that hypnotic regression is a truth serum.

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