The UFO UpDates Archive

Friedman Reviews Clancy

From: UFO UpDates - Toronto <ufoupdates.nul>
Date: Wed, 03 May 2006 14:18:52 -0400
Fwd Date: Wed, 03 May 2006 14:18:52 -0400
Subject: Friedman Reviews Clancy

Source: Stanton T. Friedman's Website

April 23, 2006

Review of Susan Clancy's

Abducted: How people Come to Believe They Were Kidnapped by Aliens

Harvard University Press 2005
179 pages

by Stanton T. Friedman

I hadn't had high hopes for the book Abducted: How people Come
to Believe They Were Kidnapped by Aliens  by Dr. Susan A.
Clancy. After all, the segment about abductions which featured
her on Peter Jennings's grossly-misleading 'documentary' on
February 24, 2005, was definitely unscientific. The focus was on
sleep paralysis with no recognition being given to multiple
persons being abducted at once, that most abductions take place
other than when the abductee was sleeping in bed, and that many
people recalled the details without the use of hypnosis. This
despite the fact that all of these had been discussed by Budd
Hopkins during his PJ interview, but never made the program. I
also was not impressed with what she had to say on last July's
Larry King TV show. Still I was shocked by how much bias and
prejudice she shows in the book. She should have been flunked
for her gross inaccuracy in her accounts, brief though they
were, of various cases about which I am well informed. Remember
that her so-called research was conducted at Harvard University
using government research grants and the book was published by
Harvard University Press. I guess they couldn't afford a fact

She describes how she got into abduction research because she
had been working on the false memory syndrome with regard to
sexual abuse of children. There was always the problem of
determining whether any abuse had ever taken place. Abductions
would be much easier because "Here was a group that had
'repressed memories', but the memories would be much less
painful to hear about than memories of childhood sexual abuse."
No basis is given for this silly proclamation. Dr. Benjamin
Simon, an outstanding psychiatrist who used medical hypnosis to
help numerous shell shock war veterans regain horrifying
memories and work through them, had even told Dr. James McDonald
that the intensity of emotion in the Betty and Barney Hill
sessions was sometimes more intense than any he had found in the
military cases he had treated. I have seen the movie the Army
made starring Dr. Simon about treatment of a host of anguished
war veterans and their amnesia.

She goes on, "Even better, alien abductees were people who had
developed memories of a traumatic event that I could be fairly
certain had never occurred. A major problem with my research on
false memory creation by victims of alleged sexual abuse was
that it was almost impossible to determine whether they had in
fact, been abused. I needed to repeat the study with a
population that I could be sure had 'recovered' false memories."
Alien abduction seemed to fit the bill. She notes how she would
use the same techniques with the abductees as with the sexual
abuse people, and addressed the "corroboration issue since it
was certain the event hadn't happened." It is hard to imagine
so-called research starting out with such strong bias. Is this
what passes for research at Harvard University?

Dr. Clancy describes how she got her study population. She
advertised in newspapers seeking subjects "Have you been
abducted by aliens?" Would she have asked for pilots or brain
surgeons or persons speaking Croatian without checking their

She dumped any she thought were psychotic, for which, I suppose,
we should be grateful. It isn't clear that she accepted any
subjects who claimed that they had been abducted with somebody
else and not out of their beds and who hadn't been hypnotized.
She does admit her preconceptions that people thinking they had
been abducted played Dungeons and Dragons as a kid, were
computer programmers or sci-fi buffs and had attended Star Trek
conventions. What is really crazy here, to me as a scientist, is
that normally one expects somebody beginning research in a new
area to do a literature search first. She couldn't be bothered.
However, she insists "I believe I have read every account of
alien abduction ever published, and just about everything that
social psychologists, psychoanalysts, post modernists,
journalists, physicists, biologists and ex-military personal
[sic] have to say about them... I've watched nearly every
American movie and TV show ever made about aliens." If she did,
she must have been sleep-walking, as she seems to get almost
everything wrong.

Here is a typical example of her gross inaccuracy. Speaking of a
meeting with a number of abductees she says, "Highlight of
Saturday evening was a conversation with two brothers from
Manchester, New Hampshire. These men were relatively well known
abductees who had written a book about their experiences. One
night in the late 1960s they had been canoeing on a lake in
Maine and had seen some weird lights across the water. A few
years later one had fallen down an elevator shaft at work; he'd
suffered brain damage, developed epilepsy and became severely
depressed." The simple fact of the matter is that there were
four people involved, not two; the event took place in August,
1976, not in the 1960s. The book The Allagash Abductions  was
written by an experienced investigator, engineer Raymond Fowler,
not by the brothers. It was based on data obtained independently
from each of the four. The book is, of course, not referenced
though she has 14 pages of noted references including 146 items.
Her own "research" papers were each cited several times.

Clancy not only seems to consider herself a truly knowledgeable
abductionist, but also an expert on UFOs in general. "So far as
we know there is no evidence that aliens exist." "You can't
disprove alien abductions. All you can do is argue that they're
improbable." Obviously she didn't intend this next comment to be
referring to herself: "The Confirmatory bias=97the tendency to
seek or interpret evidence favorable to existing belief or
reinterpret unfavorable evidence is ubiquitous, even among
scientists." Amen, and she provides many examples of her own
tendency. "We don't accept the alien abduction explanation
because there is no external evidence to support it." Isn't it
amazing that she never discusses physical trace cases, at least
16% of which involve reports of strange beings? She doesn't
mention the many cases in which abductees separately indicate
that missing time was confirmed. She never mentions Marjorie
Fish's star map work connected with the Betty and Barney Hill
case, though she does mention the case.

As might be expected, her comments are seriously in error. She
says "Betty had spotted a bright star that seemed to be pursuing
them. Nervous, they had turned off the main highway onto narrow
mountain roads arriving home two hours later than expected." And
she claims to have read The Interrupted Journey ??? Sounds to me
like she read a Parade Magazine piece, by Carl Sagan, which
makes the same false claims. They had both observed the large
object at close range with binoculars, for goodness sake. There
was a double row of windows through which Barney recalled seeing
strange beings.. without hypnosis. Starlike??? She says, "Betty
was a long time believer. Betty was a fan of science fiction
movies featuring aliens (she had seen Invaders from Mars ) and
had already read Donald Keyhoe's Flying Saucers Are Real .

This is more unadulterated hogwash. Betty read the book AFTER
the experience, had not been a sci-fi fan, or seen the movie.
Clancy says Betty and Barney were "advised to undergo hypnosis,
in order to determine whether, as she firmly suspected, they had
been abducted." Their purpose was to see if the Doctor could rid
Barney of his ulcers and find out what happened during the
missing time. Clancy then says Barney had seen "The Bellero
Shield," an episode of the science fiction TV series The Outer
Limits  and that his drawing of an alien is based on what he
saw. Simon had asked him about sci-fi movies. He and Betty were
too busy to watch such stuff. It would be interesting to know
just where Clancy's misinformation comes from besides her
fertile imagination. She certainly hadn't read the book
carefully or Terence Dickinson's The Zeta Reticuli Incident  or
watched the UFO Incident  on NBC or spoken with Betty or Barney
or Dr. Simon or John Fuller or even Betty's niece, Kathy Marden,
very familiar with the case and possessor of Betty's files. John
Fuller's files are at Boston University not far from Harvard.
Clancy obviously hadn't been there either. I have done all these
things. An artist I know watched "The Bellero Shield" and
indicated that the alien's facial features did not match
drawings made in response to Barney's description and was about
6 feet tall or much taller than the Hill aliens.

Demonstrating both her bias and ignorance, she claims, "Betty
and Barney Hill=97the mom and pop of abductees=97became famous in
abduction history in the 1960s because, in the words of Seth
Shostak, an astronomer associated with the SETI Institute, "They
were more or less Mr. And Mrs. Front Porch." An interracial
couple in New England in 1961 were hardly Mr. And Mrs. Front
Porch, whatever that is supposed to mean. Surely no reasonable
person could consider Seth Shostak an expert on any aspect of
ufology, no less abductions. I debated with him for three hours
on Coast to Coast Radio (audience vote was 57% for me, 33% for
him, 10% undecided) and have read many of his articles and
books. He never displays any knowledge of abductions or UFOs in
general. There are no references to large-scale scientific
studies such as Blue Book Special Report 14, or Dr. Hynek's The
UFO Experience  or the Congressional Hearings of 1968. His
comments on Larry King and Peter Jennings demonstrate no
knowledge at all, though they certainly demonstrate his
confirmatory bias. Clancy and Shostak certainly share an
affinity for "Don't bother me with the facts, my mind is made
up," and "What the public doesn't know, I won't tell them," and
"Do your research by proclamation, investigation is too much

Clancy doesn't discuss the UFO evidence either. She almost gets
into the Condon Report with this strange comment: "In 1969, the
National Academy of Sciences sponsored a study of all the
available evidence on UFOs. The conclusion: 'On the basis of
present knowledge, the least likely explanation of unidentified
flying objects is the hypothesis of extraterrestrial visitations
by intelligent beings.'" The fact is, this is from a brief
summary by the NAS at the beginning of the 965-page Condon
report. The NAS didn't sponsor the study. The Air Force did. It
was certainly not a study of all available evidence. The NAS
review committee did no investigations itself=97not one single

Clancy misrepresents the Travis Walton case, speaking
disdainfully of his books claiming he was abducted two weeks
after the Hill case movie and describing his experience on
National TV. No mention, of course, of his being gone for five
days and the initial zapping being observed by five other
people, and all the rest of the investigative work done by APRO
and others.

Clancy mentions Kenneth Arnold flying his "private jet." It was
very definitely a prop plane and there was a ground witness. Her
clear and unambiguous bias=97there are no UFOs and no aliens=97is
demonstrated by her comment, "Show me an alien and I'll believe
they exist." This is scientific? She only believes in the
existence of things she can see???? Surely that leaves out love,
hate, neutrons, gamma rays, black holes, etc.

As might be expected, Clancy gets Roswell all wrong. She repeats
garbage from Air Force disinformation expert Colonel Weaver that
Jesse Marcel's story first came out in the National Enquirer in
1978=97even though it was 1980, and after Bill Moore and I had
spoken with sixty-two people about the case. I gave the late Bob
Pratt, who wrote the article, Jesse's contact information. She
has the date the rancher Mac Brazel found the wreckage and the
date he came into town, the date Jesse went out, and other
details, all wrong.

Clancy says that The Roswell Incident  claimed that "Pieces of
aliens had been among the debris. This was attested to by more
than seventy witnesses who had some knowledge of the event."
This is totally false; no such claim is made in the book, to
which I was a major contributor. She really blasts off: "The
evidence for a crashed spaceship and dead extraterrestrials was
entirely anecdotal consisting of firsthand reports from people
who 'wished to remain anonymous' and even more tenuous second
and third hand reports (so-and-so told what's-his-name who told
me that such-and-such really happened thirty years ago)." This
nonsense comes from a woman claiming to have read everything
about UFOs and aliens. I am a physicist who has written more
than eighty UFO articles and two books relating to Roswell and
was a major contributor to The Roswell Incident.  No, I am not
referenced at all. There are lots of real people named by me and
Don Berliner and Kevin Randle and Don Schmitt=97none
referenced=97and other serious researchers as opposed to Clancy's
pseudoscientific claims. The video "Recollections of Roswell"
has firsthand testimony from twenty-seven witnesses=97all named.

One could write a lot more about the trash in this book and the
selfserving nonsense about being objective. Not surprisingly
there is a blurb on the back from Dr. Elizabeth Loftus, one of
the leaders of the False Memory Syndrome cult-like group:
"Abducted  is an enormously brave, smart, original book." I
suppose that is true once one recognizes that most of it is
Fiction masquerading as Truth.

Stan Friedman