Thursday, July 16, 2015

Hypnosis, the Intelligence Community and Ufology

The dangers of false memories induced through faulty memory enhancing techniques drew warranted attention this week. A well written piece by Christopher French, Professor of Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London, was published at 'The Conversation'. His article, 'The legacy of implanted Satanic abuse 'memories' is still causing damage today', explored the manners such false memories can damage the lives of those who experience them, and deeply effect the standings of relationships with family and friends. Calling for stories based on so-called recovered memories to receive the skepticism they deserve, the professor additionally wrote:
Experimental psychologists have repeatedly demonstrated the ease with which false memories can be implanted in a sizeable proportion of the population under well-controlled laboratory conditions. But it is also undoubtedly the case that such false memories can arise spontaneously...
One of the techniques that has been shown to result in false memories is asking people to imagine events that never actually took place. It appears that, eventually and especially in people with good imaginations, the memory of the imagined event is misinterpreted as a memory for a real event. The use of hypnotic regression is a particularly powerful means to implant false memories.

Intelligence Community

'The UFO Trail' has long explored the extents the intelligence community (IC) might take interest in the process of implanting such memories. It is now common knowledge that during the Cold War era the CIA prioritized developing methods of indoctrinating specific individuals to preferred perspectives and ways of thinking. It is difficult to envision a more effective working model of indoctrination than the extents some alleged alien abductees cling to beliefs resulting from mental imagery induced via hypnosis. Such beliefs are typically very strong.

The IC has more recently invested a great deal of effort and resources in developing what became known as "enhanced interrogation techniques." The American Psychological Association (APA) is currently under fire and experiencing leadership upheaval resulting from its members' involvement in conducting torture and related human experimentation in collaboration with the IC. 

The procedures employed physical torture, psychological torture and administration of drugs, some of which were first used in such contexts during infamous Project MKULTRA. A newly published report suggested hypnosis was also an interrogation tool used in recent years. 

Hypnosis in Interrogation

A potentially relevant story slipped through the news cycle in 2010 without generating much interest. Turkish Lt. Col. Gurol Dogan was sentenced to over seven years in prison for using the administration of drugs and hypnosis as interrogation techniques during the detention of three noncommissioned officers. They were suspected of leaking classified information. Two of the officers later sued, resulting in Col. Dogan's arrest and conviction.

While further research has not yet conclusively determined the source of the colonel's training for such interrogation procedures, it was discovered that former Director of Central Intelligence Porter Goss registered earlier this year to lobby on behalf of the government of Turkey. His formal disclosure informed the Justice Department that Goss would advise Turkey on a variety of issues, including counterterrorism efforts and lobbying US Congress.

Reference to use of hypnosis employed by the American intelligence community was contained in the recently released Hoffman Report. It is 500-plus pages on national security interrogation and torture compiled by the law offices of Sidley Austin LLP. The report was presented to the APA. 

Reference was made to Mel Gravitz, a prominent psychologist and expert in memory and hypnosis, who declined to meet with the authors of the report or field their questions. Gravitz worked for many years as a CIA contractor and was a member of a "Professional Standards Advisory Committee" that oversaw what, absent double speak, would be described as psychologists conducting and perfecting torture techniques. It has become increasingly clear that such state-sponsored activities also included experimentation on detainees, as documented in a Seton Hall University School of Law report, 'Guantanamo: America's Battle Lab'.

Also covered in the Hoffman Report was psychologist and acting agent for Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) Michael Gelles. His actions were called into question when he worked with detained Petty Officer Daniel King in 2001. King was a Navy cryptanalyst first detained in 1999 under suspicion of spying but eventually released following a dramatic saga which included grueling interrogation sessions resulting in formal complaints and legal action.

Gelles, when questioned about conflicts of interest in aiding NCIS in its interrogations while presenting himself to King as a psychologist, was quoted in the Hoffman Report as stating he was merely "screening Petty Officer King to determine whether or not hypnosis would be an appropriate avenue for him." Gelles asserted that he was "not serving in two capacities, as [his] only role was advising NCIS, and in this instance assisting NCIS in determining whether or not Petty Officer King was a proper subject for hypnosis." 

Gelles' actions were later described by Elizabeth Swenson, an APA Ethics Committee liaison, as "ethically very marginal." She added that Gelles was "misleading" and "omitted information that could have really helped [King] about how false memories can be established and solidified by interrogation."

It was not specified exactly how or why NCIS might have employed hypnosis with Petty Officer King. It also does not appear difficult to surmise. 

UFO Community

It is well known throughout the UFO community that regressive hypnosis is employed as a memory enhancer and investigative tool for alleged alien abduction. That has continued to be the case for decades, in spite of all that is now known about the high risk of confabulation, low likelihood of accuracy and inherent emotional suffering to the hypnosis subject. Sometimes ufology hypnotists try to minimize the implications by calling their activities "relaxation techniques," or similar terms other than hypnosis. 

Did the intelligence community develop an interest in the extents ufology hypnosis subjects often so willingly accept hypnotists' suggestions of extraordinary circumstances? Clearly, the CIA once heavily pursued hypnosis as a potential behavior modification tool, but does the IC continue to experiment with it as a means to implant memories and cultivate belief systems, and has its research and development overlapped with the UFO community? Such suspicions may have substance.

During the 1990's, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, hypnotist and MUFON Director of Abduction Research John Carpenter quietly provided copies of information contained in the case files of 140 alleged abductees to Robert Bigelow. The transactions were done in exchange for cash, which Carpenter framed as reimbursements and others described as selling the files. Carpenter was paid approximately $14,000 in what eventually became known as the Carpenter AffairThe transactions were done without the knowledge or consent of the alleged abductees. The circumstances began being disclosed to the public around the turn of the century, largely through the investigative efforts of Gary Hart and no thanks to MUFON leadership. 

Providing Bigelow with abductee case file information was acknowledged and discussed by Carpenter in emails with 'The UFO Trail'. The email exchanges were referenced several times, along with documentation of his statements, including the 2012 post, 'The Leah Haley Case: John Carpenter', and the 2013 post referenced above, 'The Carpenter Affair: For the Record'

The file transactions were reportedly also confirmed by Robert Bigelow and Col. John Alexander. The colonel was a staff member at the time at the now dissolved National Institute for Discovery Science, a Bigelow-founded nonprofit corporation. The reasons Bigelow, Alexander or their associates would have had any interest in the contents of such files were never clearly established, and Carpenter suggested at one point that other investigators were approached with similar proposals but declined to elaborate further. 

Gary Hart indicated that his investigation also suggested other researchers of alien abduction sold case files to unspecified buyers. "Everyone does it," Hart reported he was told by a well known researcher in a 2000 complaint filed to MUFON about the Carpenter Affair. The unnamed researcher, Hart reported, was referring to both selling case files and having sexual relations with alleged abductees they investigated and hypnotized. 

In a 2007 interview with investigative journalist Sharon Weinberger, Col. Alexander discussed the intelligence community's interest in mind control. He stated that when he took part in CIA briefings during the 1990's, there was never any talk of mind control projects. It was a dangerous topic because Congress would pull the funding if the term was used. But that changed after 9/11. A younger generation of lawmakers that weren't around for MKULTRA were willing to pursue possibilities.

"It's interesting, that it's coming back," Alexander told Weinberger at the time.

He suggested it would be helpful, for instance, if terrorists could be "electronically neutered." That way they wouldn't have to be held forever at sites such as Guantanamo Bay. It was only a matter of time, he indicated, until technology allowed that to happen.

"We're now getting to where we can do that," he asserted.

In hindsight and if the colonel is to be taken seriously, he was almost certainly alluding to the situations now coming to light involving the IC and the APA. Are segments of ufology, some of its files on alleged alien abductees and related hypnosis sessions somewhere in that R&D mix? Hopefully we will one day know for sure, but, in the mean time, I wouldn't cover bets against it.

Meanwhile, another menacing question looms: If qualified professionals continue to report that regressive hypnosis is a particularly powerful means to implant false memories, and the IC employed such procedures in collaboration with the APA to manipulate the minds of detainees, what does that indicate about using it as a tool to investigate alleged alien abduction?



Psy Ops and Mind Control: Then, Now and the UFO Community


  1. Jack,

    Your article caused me to google, "Hypnosis and alien abduction". I was shocked to see the sheer number of sites which offered such a service, often for a fee. And without fail, none of these sites proprietors had any sort of formal training and/or certification from a legitimate school or body. This last part did not shock me. Again, shocked that alien abduction hypnosis is such a cash cow. These dubious abduction hypnotists are far more prevalent than I imagined.

    I have long felt that alien abductions do not exist. That sleep paralysis causes the majority of these claims. The rest would fall into the categories of greed, hypnotic suggestion and mental illness.

    1. Thanks for your interest, Tom. It's a complex topic. I'm willing to suspend judgment on some reports of high strangeness, but there's no doubt the literal alien abduction narrative has been manipulated and cultivated by several demographics with a variety of motives. If you (or others) have never read it, my experience in the genre indicates that Carol Rainey's 'The Priests of High Strangeness: Co-Creation of the "Alien Abduction" Phenomenon' offers an accurate window into the situation:

  2. Jack - Haven't read that yet, but I'll take your recommendation to do so.

    Of course I bow to your expertise in this area. Your reportage on Jacobs, and others, is the gold standard in exploring those who conduct abduction hypnosis. My opinions on abductions are simply gut feelings.

    1. No bowing required! And thanks for the words of support. Much appreciated.

  3. Fascinating.

    I've always wondered if there is a direct link between the earliest reported alien abductions and covert government testing. It's easy to dream up scenarios in which a small segment of the population was abducted to conduct covert testing of some kind. The purpose might not have been for mind control purposes per se, although that entered into it through the intentional distortion of a subject's perceptions during the experience therefore creating distorted memories (the abductors weren't human).

    As knowledge about these abductions moved into mainstream public consciousness, I strongly believe it spawned an epidemic of "me too-ism" based on a desire to belong to such an exclusive group ("The aliens come for me, too."). Easy enough, I think, to implant false memories in this broader group of wannabes because they are already eager to have those memories in the first place. They enable their enablers.

    I also wonder how effective are all these intelligence community mind control techniques. Claims of success, or at least claims that the work is very promising, keep government and private sector programs getting funded. But we'd need to see hard data (stripped of all academic hyperbole and statistical mumbo jumbo meant for Congressional subcommittees) about the percentages of subjects on whom these techniques were successful to understand their true efficacy across a wide spectrum of demographic and cultural groups. They might not be anywhere near as effective as advertised But then, what fully lives up to its marketing, anyway?

    What's really reprehensible in all these attempts at mind control is our government submitting unwilling or unknowing human beings to these experiments, some of which seem to be pretty horrific. Apparently, we learned nothing (or perhaps we learned too much) from the Nazis.

    1. I think you're hitting some key points pretty well there, PG. It is indeed fascinating.

  4. It is horrifying that prisoners of war are still being used as guinea pigs in research today. I truly hope the APA gets its act together and stops providing a cover for such human rights abuse.

    John Alexander's quotes about mind control, and about people being "electronically neutered", in my considered personal opinion, do not convey much concern about the human beings involved. It is scary how cold and inhumane people can be to do these things, and how people can be so detached about it.

    I do wonder if the presence of people from the military/intelligence community in Ufology means that experiencers are being used as unwitting "research subjects".

    I also have wondered if there is more to Mike Menkin's "helmets" than meets the eye. He is a former military officer who is, essentially, getting people, including children, to wear hats containing electrical shielding material for long periods of time, and asking them to report back on the effects. The effects include nausea, pains in the head, loss of balance, and so on. I think more questions should be asked about activities like that, particularly when the person doing it is a former military officer, who has had many highly responsible jobs, and is therefore clearly not a nut, no matter how nutty it seems.

    1. Hey, Emma,

      I have referenced Ms. Weinberger's article many times over the years, and one of the reasons is indeed the manner she portrayed Col. Alexander's demeanor (discussing his position while eating a cheese steak and fries). I think your observations are reasonable, along with the accompanying implications, that even putting the ethics of such electronic neutering aside, I've got a lot of concerns about the judgment of people who are empowered to decide who gets neutered.

  5. Emma,

    I have spoken personally with Mike Menkin, not that long ago, as a matter of fact. I have several issues with him. One, he insists that alien abductions are CAUSING autism, or autism like symptoms in children. There isn't enough time in the day to get into that one, but he didn't seem to know about any of the research into other areas which may be causing autism disorders, i.e., vaccines, etc. He also stated he does not believe that any of our intelligence agencies are involved in the alien/abduction scenario. I ended up hanging up on him. I don't know what this guy's agenda is, but something's really OFF with him. My opinion, anyway...

    1. Hi Bayreamon, thanks for sharing about your contact with Mike Menkin. It is interesting.

      Menkin also claims that his helmets help children with autism.

      In his article "Report on Alien Abductions and the Success of the Thought Screen Helmet by the Inventor, Michael Menkin" ( Menkin says:

      "As an act of serendipity, I found that autistic children who consistently wear the helmet for at least three months start to improve. I have several autistic children who wear the helmet, which I call a Burnett Hat, who have improved dramatically. The mother is convinced that the helmet has saved the children. Although the above mentioned children are also abductees, I have one autistic child, who is not an abductee, who was mute and can now speak after wearing the hat for five months. That was in 2003. She still wears the hat but is not consistent and is still improving according to her father.

      "I also have an abductee who was an epileptic. In just three weeks of wearing the helmet his EEGs returned to normal. After six months his seizures stopped, his last three EEG tests were normal and he now drives a car. Every time he calls me he is ecstatic about the helmet. But he also says he still sees lights outside his house and has seen an alien in a doorway in his house, although he is pretty sure he has not been abducted.

      "I have another older woman who was also an epileptic who also tried a Burnett hat and her seizures decreased but she was in her 90's and had some dementia so we can't make a definite conclusion about her.

      "In yet another case, a man who had a stroke said his mobility improved after wearing a helmet every day for three months. Previous to wearing the helmet he could only use one hand and walked with difficulty. After wearing the helmet he could use both hands and arms plus his walking was better. However, he was embarrassed about telling his neurologist and would not pursue his improvement with the helmet further. I’ve since lost contact with him.

      "I plan on working with the University of Washington's Autism Center and Epilepsy center later this year if I can get the time to do it."

    2. A while ago I went through Menkin's website and articles, and gathered together what he says about his background. For some reason he does not have it all in one place, but has it is in bits and pieces here and there. This appears to be his background, according to him:

      He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science

      He is a former military officer, and was a Lieutenant (junior grade) in the U. S. Coast Guard Reserve

      He is a member of the United States Naval Institute.

      He has “over 30 years of experience in high technology in marketing and technical writing.”

      He worked full-time as an aviation technical writer for a government agency.

      In 1957, when he was at Paul Revere Junior High School in Los Angeles, California, he was selected for the first ninth grade class for gifted science students.

      In his senior year at California State University he was on the President's list for outstanding academic achievement.

      Currently he is an active member of the National Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.

      In the late 1960s he conducted courses on Creative Thinking and Scientific Discovery at the University of Washington’s Experimental College.

      In 1968 he was Publications Editor at the University of Washington, Department of Physiology and Biophysics.

      In 1970 he participated in the Federal Government's Technology Utilization Program for disseminating NASA technology to private industry.

      In addition, he was Assistant Director of Public Relations at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center at Mount Zion.

      In 1977 he was Public Relations Writer at the University of California, Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

      In the early 1980s, as a technical editor at Fluke Corporation, he presented seminars sponsored by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. on Human Engineering and the Design of Electronic Instrumentation.

      In addition, he produced corporate seminars for the exchange of research and development information of electronic instruments, called Seminar for Engineering Exchange.

      In the mid 1980s he was a contract technical editor and writer for the Boeing Aerospace Company. He edited their proposal to NASA for an International Space Station.

      He has worked as a technical writer for the following high technology companies:

      Lasentec Product Group of Mettler-Toledo (Particle detection instruments)

      AT&T (Cellular Digital Packet Data (CDPD) telecommunications systems for AT&T Wireless)

      Emulex (fibre channel switches for network storage systems)

      Spacelabs Healthcare (critical care patient monitoring systems)

      Teltone (telecommunications test and security equipment for public utilities).

      Other companies he has worked for include:

      Metawave Communications Corporation

      Peripheral Technology

      Stryder Technologies

      The Robbins Company

      Al-Gas SDI

      Innovation, Inc

      Panasonic Avionics

      Pacific Avionics

      Nicholson Mfg. Inc.

      Western Applied Research and Development Alta

      If what Menkin says about his background is true, then I think serious questions need to be asked about what he is actually doing with the helmet lined with electrical shielding material that he asks people, including children, to wear and report back on. This is especially so as the helmet does have physiological effects on people, such as pains in the head, nausea, and loss of balance.

    3. Panasonic. Interesting. I get a lot of email from Panasonic.

      It is also interesting, from a demographic perspective, that many extreme strangeness gurus, experts, what have yous, are old men. There aren't too many 25-year-old PHds out there working in the shadows. I guess it adds to plausible deniability to have "crazy old geezers" creating the narrative.

      That way it looks like elder abuse when they get confronted. A nifty little way to use the appeal to pity to get the narrative some consideration.

      But using old men as human shields for your mind alteration experiments deflates some of the potency of your "let an old man have his fun" arguments, IC manipulators, secret agent men, or whoever you are.

      Stop hiding under my bed.

    4. > he insists that alien abductions are CAUSING autism

      That's sad. Too many people have used autism to promote their pseudoscientific agenda (detoxification, anti-vaccine, etc.)

      Even Betty Hill reported a hearsay claim that aliens cured a boy of autism (in her privately printed book A Common Sense Approach to UFOs, pp 140-1).

      > research into other areas which may be causing autism disorders, i.e., vaccines

      You forgot the word "fraudulent" before "research."

  6. A female friend of mine has had some strange experiences as - missing time, seen her grand mothers ghost, seen an alien hand against her window, a memory of being abord an ufo in space with alien beings (this memory comes actually from a dream). She has never had any hypnosis, is not interested in the ufo phenomena and doesn't believe in the phenomena. Instead she believes that there is something wrong with her since her experiences disturb her. I just don't know what to make out of her memory from the ufo (from her dream) since her description of the interior of the ufo is exactly as taken from a hypnotic session with an experiencer (and she has never read or heard their descriptions).

    1. Recalling the interior of a ufo as described by someone else, and that your friend never read. One, this is just you saying it (and second hand anecdotal), two, could be coincidence, three, your friend might have read it, heard it, forgot it, or four, she picked it out as a strong thought from the collective unconscious. Interesting anyway. Her dreams should not disturb her. Good that she recognizes them as dreams and not memories so that she doesn't torture herself with a false identity and need to KNOW.

    2. That's interesting. I personally think that there is a real phenomenon worth looking into. Perhaps that is what your friend is experiencing? I don't think any of us can really know at this stage of our understanding, Probably there are things we will never understand, and have no way of understanding.

  7. Hi Emma,

    Yes, Menkin has made numerous claims re autism and the alien abduction phenomenon and that his helmets have actually helped/cured those with autism (and other neurodevelopmental disorders. Just out of curiosity one evening, I decided to email him and much to my surprise, he emailed me rather quickly. I found myself on the phone with him that same evening. As I stated in my prior comment, he did seem a bit 'off,' but I continued listening to him. I've mentioned in another comment here my extensive research into vaccines (we have a vaccine injured son) and autism, etc., so forth, and when I mentioned this to Menkin, he literally went ballistic on me. Claimed there was no way in hell vaccines could ever harm anyone, much less cause autism, that the alien abduction phenomenon probably 'caused' autism, and so on. I decided to change course and asked him a bit about his background and when I indicated I come from a black ops family, he yet again, went ballistic and stated that our abc's had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the alien/ufo phenomenon. That's when I really realized something truly is amiss with this man. I've not bothered (nor do I intend to do so), researching his background, but I ended up just feeling sorry for him. I realize he's getting up there in years, but something is just 'wrong' with his entire situation.

    1. Menkin's reaction does not surprise me. I too think there is something not right there.

      I am so sorry to hear about your son being vaccine injured. That is really sad.

  8. It alarms me that this Menkin guy is having kids with autism and others wear helmets of some sort, then claiming he has "cured" them. From what people have written here, he apparently has no education or training in psychology or medicine of any kind! His "successes" are a handful of anecdotes which may or may not be true - parents of kids with autism sometimes will try many different measures to help their children, and without being able to control for all the different variables I cannot see how he could possibly take credit for any gains anyone might have.

    As someone with an MS in psychology and also as a mother of an adult child with autism, I can empathize with these parents, but the fact is - aside from some genetic evidence - we don't know what causes autism. We do know that early and intense intervention can help a lot, and I am talking about behavioral intervention, not drugs or helmets (though I would never take a parent to task for putting their child on medication, that's their call). This guy is taking advantage of parents and others who desperately want their loved ones to get better, and probably making a tidy profit in the process. It's sickening.

    To switch gears here, it also alarms me that people who ought to know better - licensed professionals - are selling what essentially are medical records. That's in violation of HIPAA, and I would hope someone is looking into it so that these peoples' licenses are yanked, at the very least. To think that, in turn, these records might be used by the IC to further harm people just makes my blood boil.

    Considering the expense of graduate school in clinical social work and clinical psychology, I would wonder where these "professionals" got their funding, too. I would also wonder who signed off on their clinical supervision (usually some 3000 hours) in order for them to get licensed - because, clearly, there is an ethics disconnect here. I wonder where the money trail would lead...

    1. Those are interesting questions, Muse. I too wonder about the ethics disconnect.

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  10. Alien abductions have evolved to Military Abductions thanks to the late Barbara Bartholic, and the late Karla Turner. There is now a dangerous and contagious subculture in the UFO experiencer community-- MILABS (MILitaryABductions). This meme is being propagated by dangerous people, IMO, namely James Bartley and Eve Lorgen and anyone who taunts themselves as a MILAB counselor.

    It's very easy for mentally unstable people to imagine themselves persecuted and chosen, and much like satanic ritual, create false memories or reinterpret them to fit the mold of afflicted, cosmic-ally significant chosen one. This identification leaves people open to suggestion by the leaders of that subculture who suspiciously act like mind controllers. Look up Simon Parkes and Alfred Webre and anyone they associate with. Lorgren and Bartley too.

    It's mostly "me-too-ism", like one poster wrote. I almost got caught up in it before I snapped out of it. I'm prone to magical thinking on account of mental illness, before medication and trigger identification. I'm now a healthier skeptic agnostic.

    Milabs, ugh. Scary stuff.