Saturday, May 16, 2015

Shot of B12 for Ufology

Dr. D. Ellen K. Tarr of Project Core has posted a worthy commentary on methodologies employed by FREE (The Foundation for Research into Extraterrestrial Encounters), particularly concerning the group's statements about surveys it conducted. Her article, 'Commentary on the FREE Experiencer Research Study Preliminary Findings', was posted at her fellow Core team member Jeff Ritzmann's Paranormal Waypoint. 

Dr. Tarr considered the manners the FREE survey questions were constructed, as well as what keeps such efforts from being scientific, in spite of the frequent assertions they are just that. The immunologist also offered some suggestions about what researchers can do to improve their efforts and subsequent results.

A few more doses and
you'll be back on your feet
in no time, ufology!
Tarr and her Project Core colleague, microbiologist Dr. Tyler Kokjohn, have demonstrated a willingness to participate in ufology and weigh circumstances with an open mind. I interpret that does not mean, however, they will accept work without applying reasonable skepticism or believe every fish story without question. This is a shot of B12 for ufology, in my opinion, and I'd welcome a few follow-up treatments.

Project Core was a research initiative spearheaded by Jeff Ritzmann and Jeremy Vaeni. They enrolled the assistance of Kokjohn, Tarr and Dr. Kimbal Cooper in designing, conducting and analyzing surveys related to reported paranormal experiences. Learn more about the Project Core group, its findings and the personal perspectives of its members by listening to the latest episode of Jeremy Vaeni's 'The Experience' podcast on Whitley Strieber's Unknown Country.

Additional objective, critical review of methodologies employed during investigation of such reported experiences could include considerations of an article published in January of 2015 by the Association for Psychological Science. 'People Can Be Convinced They Committed a Crime That Never Happened' contained info on a study in which research subjects were surprisingly easily led to construct memories and narrations of events that never actually took place, yet the subjects nonetheless believed to be true. The study concluded that wording of questions was key, as were the manners the questions were presented and explored.

"All participants need to generate a richly detailed false memory is three hours in a friendly interview environment, where the interviewer introduces a few wrong details and uses poor memory-retrieval techniques," psychological scientist Julia Shaw reported.

The implications to investigators of alleged alien abduction (and most anything else, for that matter) should be obvious enough. My point is that objective, qualified professionals should be consulted for purposes of creating and interpreting surveys, interviewing witnesses and similar investigative activities. Additionally, the resulting narratives and suppositions must be independently corroborated before accepted as indicative of objective reality, particularly when the investigators are biased and/or not trained professionals in the first place. 

Such poor investigative procedures and resulting unsubstantiated assertions have long plagued ufology. Here's to hoping more people will take note of Ritzmann and Vaeni's efforts to enroll qualified help, and then offer those objective professionals chairs at the table when they're willing to sit down.  


  1. In addition to locating and consulting with open-minded, objective and qualified professionals, investigators/researchers can also avail themselves of their local community college or state university to take courses on research methodology. These courses are often available on a one-off basis, and community college fees are usually substantially less than those at anything called a university. Either way, one is likely to get a good background in basic rules for doing research and often illustrative stories about what mistakes to avoid. Methodology courses can be dull, but not if you have a passionate interest in finding out about stuff. You don't need an advanced degree to be able to make good research decisions but you do need to be able to explain why you made the decisions you did.

    1. Excellent points, Sue. Along those same lines, a degree is not required to read journals and review publications on relevant subject matter. I think a big part of the solution comes down to accurately identifying the differences between quality research and mystery mongering.

  2. Hi Jack, I can't seem to open the "Graphical Results" (a powerpoint presentation). Do you (or anyone) know what I'm doing wrong? Thanks! ~Susan

    1. Hi, Susan,

      Just tried it and it worked for me. Here's what I did... Go to and click on "read more" located under "graphical results". That should take you to a new page, where you click on "Project Core Compiled Survey Data". It then downloads and can be opened with a right click.

      If it doesn't work for ya, shoot me your email address if you'd like, and I'll just email you the file. My addy is in my blogger profile.

    2. Thx Jack! I got in using the projectcore site. ~ Susan

  3. Just a brief note . . . even with a somewhat limited background in psychology research (collating data for two pilot studies), I have some questions about the validity of Project CORE's methodology as well.

    At this point, both studies are longer on hype than substance (always Ufology's Achilles heel, sigh), but if they serve to kick the can down the road to better-designed studies in the future they will have been very useful.

    1. Hi, purrlgurrl,

      I perceive that one of the things that makes Core different than any number of surveys conducted over the years by pro-ETH groups is that the responses are not interpreted to necessarily indicate accuracy, but simply what respondents report. From there, more relevant questions might be formed than are currently the case among groups who already believe they have the answer, ET, to such possible mysteries. Or at least that's my take on it. I'm open to being shown where I'm getting something wrong, as I suspect the Core personnel are as well.

    2. It's uses a self-selected group of people who frequent specific Web sites. That's sample bias. The answers are interesting but there's nowhere to go in terms of follow up because the responses are anonymous. So if someone lied or creatively expanded about an experience in a response, it stands.

    3. I agree. It isn't enough. Unfortunately with this "field", a lot of research turns into investigation. Some of the activity in the field is criminal. That is a whole other matter and taking surveys won't be enough, especially when an arrest should be made. You may be able to reverse engineer tactical data on how some people experience certain events cluing you in on the modus operandi of the persons or beings behind the phenomenon. But that's all narrative analysis. Useful, but not definitive.

      You need to lay hold of the critter and the gizmo it comes in. That's why I intend to catch me an alien and ship it to purrlgurrl for study. I've fitted a mini-Faraday cage to my noggin allowing me to circumvent alien and/or secret agent man mind control attack!

      I have a friend who is into small engine repair. She stands ready to do a level one diagnostic on the alien flying saucer.

      With our impeccable qualifications, we expect to release startling news in the near future.

      Wish us luck.