May 19, 2013 by kittynh
I am first and foremost a skeptic that enjoys studying and investigating the world of the UFO, especially alien abductions. As readers of the blog know, I have recently been tempted by the local Bigfoot group to help them by acting as their “resident skeptic”.*
This cross over between my work helping people that feel they have had an an alien abduction experience, and Bigfoot came together during a recent talk I gave in Cabot Vermont. I really enjoy getting out to give talks about my work and experiences. I’m not a professional speaker, but I find people are truly interested in alien abduction. I always learn something from the audience also. I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging, but people like to show up for a talk advertised like the Cabot talk was, though I feared people would expect an alien to actually show up and abduct me at 7pm.
The talk was at the Cabot Town Library. I have to say small town libraries are wonderful. The Cabot Library is a beautiful old building. Gently worn wooden stairs and railings combine with old paintings and quiet rooms to make a vintage space that makes you want to browse and read all day. It’s a pleasure just to be in an old library, to give a talk at one is an honor.
Vermont also has a relaxed vibe that is perfect for giving a talk. There were comfortable big chairs snagged by those that came early. One audience member just pulled up her feet into her chair and relaxed. It makes it easy as a speaker to engage the audience when you can tell they are there to enjoy themselves as well as learn something. I especially enjoyed when the librarian stood on a very old heavy wooden table to set up the projection screen. This is a library where feet on furniture is allowed! My grandmother would be upset, but I was delighted!
My talk seems to always attract both the skeptic and the believer. I depend on a at least one believer coming as I like to be challenged as much as I like to challenge others! I often get “No one really believes there are aliens visiting Earth and abducting people?” from my skeptic friends. They can’t believe that telepathic communication and the suppression of scientific study is truly a belief held by more than a few. I enjoy having a real face to face discussion with a believer as it shows others “these are beliefs that are held by many people, and they are your neighbors, not just on the internet.”
I don’t want that to sound like I’m saying “There are crackpots everywhere” because that would be far from what I try to convey during my talk. Instead it is, “This belief in UFOs is widespread and worthy of being studied.” In fact, the average person that shows up at my talks will often say “Well I don’t know about alien abduction, but I did see a UFO.” I try to focus that into “You mean something you didn’t know what it was?”. The belief “UFO means alien!” is a jump the average person has been conditioned to make by the media.
When I gave my talk in Cabot, there was a believer there. I should perhaps write BELIEVER. He was an intelligent man, middle aged, glasses and nice shirt, perhaps even a little better dressed than the rest of the audience wearing polar fleece in the chill of a Vermont Spring. He did not look crazy. If you had to pick out the man that was the BELIEVER, you would probably not pick him. (You might pick my husband, he was trying to check his emails and text without being caught by me. His furtive looks down and then back up, would have most of us picking him as the peculiar one. Mark has heard my talk more than once, but he knows he isn’t allowed to text, it’s rude!)
The nice man, shared over the course of the talk, that he had seen UFOs. Plasma types, which I am familiar with. He also knows why there are here. They are here to let us know there are more dimensions. Also, they don’t “just land on the White House lawn” as they have to break it to us gently. Science doesn’t study UFOs as they can’t handle the paradigm shift that would happen when they realize other dimensions are real.
Handling a believer, or believers, during a talk can be a tricky business. I always allow them to be heard. I allow them to contribute, but I don’t allow them to be rude or to take over the talk. It’s harder than you think, especially as I am usually not very assertive. But, the crowd is usually the side of the speaker. If the speaker is respectful, but clear about keeping the talk on track, the audience will support you.
The Cabot believer was quite good about letting me keep control. He did try to derail talking about this great psychic he had talked to on the phone, and was 100% right about a dead girlfriend. I quickly reminded him this was a talk about alien abduction, and he dropped the subject. As a skeptic I’m tempted to engage in debate on issues such as psychics and ghosts, but as a speaker I have to keep to the topic the audience has come to hear. Time is limited.
He seemed almost sad, as with each revelation I replied that I had heard what he was telling me before from others. His face fell a bit as he found out his experiences weren’t that unique. They often aren’t. That is one of the strengths and one of the weaknesses of the UFO believers, the stories are a lot alike. Does this mean the experiences are true? Or does it mean the experiences are influenced by books, movies, TV and the internet?
Finally, I just mentioned out of the blue, thinking of my new involvement with Bigfoot hunting “You know some people think Bigfoot is an alien.”
The Cabot believer just gave me a look of shock, followed by one of scorn. He said “Well, I don’t believe Bigfoot is real!” It was as if I had mentioned unicorns or the tooth fairy. My husband met my eye as he looked up from texting. My friend Chip Taylor, who had set up the talk, also looked at me. I gave them the “DO NOT LAUGH!” look.
This man seemed to believe in everything, but he did not believe in Bigfoot. If you ever go to Cabot Vermont, and I suggest you do as it is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been, you will find yourself surrounded by dense forests. Forests that stretch over mountain top layers for miles and miles. My husband said to me on the drive there “I can see now why people believe in Bigfoot, something could live here and never be found.”
People sometimes go for walks in the area and are never found. I live in a rural wooded area in Southern New Hampshire, and know the dangers of just “going for a hike in the woods”. It’s beautiful but also reminds one of “Little Red Riding Hood”, you don’t know just what dangers you might encounter there. The real danger is that you will become so lost that you may never find your way out. This happens every year, and I have even found myself lost in the local forest at times. The worst was 3 hours, where my daughter and I followed various trails until exhausted and thirsty we stumbled upon our car again.
So, for the one creature that Cabot Vermont residents might have a rather reasonable belief in, he was a skeptic. This made me feel optimistic. This man did have critical thinking skills. He had applied them to one subject, why not the others?
My guess is that personal experience is the tipping point. Personal experience is a bitch. He had interacted with aliens, he had a good psychic phone reading. He had not seen a Bigfoot. He was then able to look at the Bigfoot evidence or lack of evidence with a critical eye.
It is so hard to over come “But I saw it myself, you didn’t, you can’t know”. I know this from my own reports of things unknown. It’s very annoying when people try to tell you what it is you experienced, and when you disagree they become derisive. Skeptics are very guilty of this. My friend Travis Roy, who runs the Granite State Skeptics with his wife Dale, and I once saw a chupacabra. The skeptics that told us what we had really seen were quite annoying. We know we hadn’t see a chupacabra, but it was certainly not a deer or coyote. It was a good chance for us to learn what it feels like to be on the other side.
There is hope for the believer from Cabot. He felt a calling to spread the word about his experience. It can be very life changing to have what you feel is an encounter with something paranormal. I did attempt to have him contact MUFON with his story. He felt they were a government disinformation group. I felt rather sad when I offered him my email address, I could tell he didn’t trust me either.
I’d love him to share his story, so few of us really get to meet and talk to a believer, it would be good for other skeptics to also hear his story.
(It should be noted I don’t believe people are making up stories of seeing aliens or UFOs. They believe this truly happened. My belief is something happened, but I am not convinced by the evidence given that it was a being from another planet or dimension. I am always open to more evidence and ready to change my mind.)
*A quick note, the “resident skeptic” plays the role of the audience for any paranormal group. As skeptic, you are the one that makes things far more interesting for the group. A group of all believers is just, “Well, yeah that’s a ghost, for sure.” Boring. You need someone to convince to make it truly interesting. Groups feel they have to convince someone of what they often already believe. They attempt to do this via a blog, a TV show or the group skeptic. Otherwise they could all just sit around a room and drink beers.
People do not go out to convince themselves deer are real (though hunting deer is a popular past time here). As a skeptic, I enjoy being included as I challenge them to convince me. When they discover my definition of “proof” is different then theirs, I find the group tries harder and learns something in the process. Even if just how to truly collect DNA evidence for testing.*
- Ruppelt of Project Blue Book Prediction. (yankeeskeptic.com)
- Vanity Fair remembers John Edward Mack regarding alien abductions (doubtfulnews.com)
- Jesus Stops Alien Abductions! (project.nsearch.com)
- The fear that drives our alien belief (richarddawkins.net)