Blunt Talking

Preston Dennett. Extraterrestrial Visitations: True Accounts of Contact, Llewellyn. 2001.
If you want to know the truth about alien abductions just interview the witnesses and take almost everything they say at face value. This is the American style of abduction research and it secures the book contracts and fills the lecture halls. The technique employed by this author is to interview the principal witness or abductee, sometimes with the aid of hypnotic regression. Sceptics are assured that the stories must be true because, in several cases he deals with, there were multiple witnesses. The careful reader, however, will note that Dennett never actually gets to interview these supporting witnesses.

The most blatant example of this is a story from Jay Broman (pseudonym), whose weird experiences began in September 1978 when he and some friends drove to a farm near Pinckney, Michigan, where it was said that UFOs were regularly seen. When they got there, they found that there were about 300 people gathered, together with people from the news media. Broman claimed that they witnessed a spectacular formation of UFOs. Dennett simply accepts this story, and hasn't bothered to check the archives of the local news media for confirmation that such an event actually occurred. Because Broman said there were hundreds of witnesses, he records it as a multiple-witness case.

Dennett is also convinced that the UFOs and their occupants come from other planets. He is thus a bit perturbed by a witness called Maryann who, after a number of UFO sightings, was contacted by a grey alien called Kevin. Communicating with her by automatic writing, Kevin said that his people lived in the oceans. Dennett says this is "highly unusual". He also remarks: "She is eager to learn more about him. For example, he never even gave his last name, and she suspects that the name Kevin was used by him simply to make her less afraid." Yes, quite likely. Of course, we must not be sceptical because there is physical evidence as well as multiple witnesses. Dennett knows there is physical evidence because that's what the witnesses told him. "All the evidence points to one fact: extraterrestrials are here."

The blurb on the cover claims that this book "represents the cutting edge of UFO research", but I see it as representing the blunt edge of dumbed-down ufology. – John Harney, Magonia 77, March 2002.

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