|MUFON logo with its questionable mission statement|
MUFON Orange County recently announced it will feature Carpenter as a speaker. A promotional email circulated by MUFON and received today implied Carpenter advocates scientific research. The email further suggested that Carpenter's experience in the field of researching alleged alien abduction entitles him to present his preferred beliefs. As a matter of fact, it was stated in the email that John Carpenter would present "proof supporting the reality of UFO abductions".
I dispute those claims.
While serving as the MUFON director of abduction research, John Carpenter provided Robert Bigelow with copies of case files of some 140 possible alien abductees. This was done in exchange for cash and without the informed consent of the experiencers, some of whom had been his paying clients. Additionally, I was presented evidence during the course of researching the circumstances that Carpenter created and marketed tapes of regressive hypnosis sessions. The chain of events was dubbed the Carpenter Affair.
Further research revealed, as one investigator stated, "Everyone does it," referring to both selling case file information and having sex with hypnosis subjects. In the circumstances of John Carpenter, the social worker married two former clients.
I assert that such research conditions are unscientific and encourage bias. Specifically, John Carpenter was financially motivated to persuade research subjects to narrate extraordinary experiences. I also assert that having sexual relations with research subjects creates dysfunctional dynamics to the point of calling the entire body of work into serious question.
Further dysfunction was perpetrated by the MUFON board of directors. In an incredibly questionable chain of events, Carpenter conducted hypnosis sessions with Leah Haley, inducing mental imagery which suggested she was aboard an alien spacecraft when it was downed by US military forces. Before it was over, this saga evolved to include two more MUFON directors, Donald Ware and Robert Reid, coordinating a hike with Haley across Eglin Air Force Base in search of the site of the downed spacecraft. Then, in 1995 a fourth MUFON director, Tom Deuley, told The Tampa Tribune-Times that MUFON did not embrace "such ridiculous stories" as Haley's, and that "it doesn't help the serious scientific work being done."
Trouble was, Deuley failed to inform The Trib that it was his very own fellow board members who played key roles in cultivating those stories. He also failed to mention that during the very time his remarks were published, the MUFON Journal was publishing an ongoing column written by Carpenter, in which Carpenter was proclaiming the reality of alien abduction.
I dispute on several grounds the integrity of such circumstances as well as the claims contained in the MUFON email promoting Carpenter's work. I dispute that the man's activities resulted in virtually any information worthy of serious consideration. I entirely and emphatically dispute that his research was scientific.
Perhaps what we really learn from his upcoming Orange County engagement is the depths proponents of literal alien abduction must stoop to try to impose so-called evidence upon us. If the topic is reduced to presenting the work of John Carpenter as "proof" of alien abduction, it is indeed a defeated state.
Perhaps much more important and telling is what the chain of events suggests about the concern - or lack thereof - for the welfare of research subjects. It would seem the genre has been reduced to encouraging regressive hypnosis, its inherent emotional trauma, and all with no crisis of conscience from what we have learned and the intentional omission of relevant information.
Please tune in Tuesday the 19th at 9pm to KGRA. The chat room is highly recommended.
The Carpenter Affair: For the Record
The Leah Haley Case: John Carpenter
The Leah Haley Case: The Eglin Expedition
The Leah Haley Case: Tom Deuley, The Tampa Trib and MUFON Unaccountability