Confessions of a shameful kind reared its ugly head tonight and I can quite happily smile in the knowledge that my instinct was right all along. The style of the documentary was typically Channel 4’s, but its content was utter nonsense. It included a flying saucer as the emblem for the show which is a tired and overused cliche.
Actually if the show’s researcher had done her homework then she would have discovered that flying discs are not as commonly reported in UFO sightings as they were in the 50s and 60s, compared to LITS (lights in the sky), flying triangles and cigar-shaped objects that are reported today. They even had the time to include a link to the Rendlesham Forest incident of 1980…another cliche and…yawn…how terribly dull. Another British UFO case that is riddled with inaccuracies and which has become Britain’s latest myth.
Of course the production company needed a common symbol that viewers could relate to…how very tiresome and disappointing of using the saucer, and certainly this was a lost opportunity in using something fresh and different.
The background to tonight’s show can be found here, in yesterday’s entry. This one hour documentary focuses on an organisation called AMMACH, Anomalous Mind Management Abductee Contactee Helpline, which is jointly run by ex-broadcast engineer Miles Johnston and Joanne Summerscales, a trained therapist (in what we’re not told) and AMMACH director. Through them we get to hear about the experiences of three abductees.
Both Miles and Joanna sincerely believe that aliens are visiting this world. They have clearly embraced what is termed the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis – this is relevant to my fundamental concern about the subject. Take a look at their website if you have a moment, I think you’ll find it of interest. This serves to illustrate my point about the power of the UFO researcher who informs witnesses (I call them percipients) about the nature of their experiences – this is where problems usually begin when belief systems are proselytised.
Anyway I watched the programme and took lots of notes and here is my conclusion…
The programme focused on three ‘alien abductees‘. The documentary didn’t question this term, it just accepted it, allowing the percipients to do the explaining themselves. Like an unwrapped orange, it is what those people interviewed say about the subject and about themselves that enables the audience to take a glimpse into their experiences and the subject of ‘aliens‘, albeit a very biased one.
This style of documentary is particularly lazy as it doesn’t question the subject or the people concerned…it pretends to be a fly on the wall but unfortunately this style doesn’t work well with the subject. One could do the same with a hospital patient and be none the wiser about what is happening to them until a qualified doctor is interviewed. So where were the experts in the field?
The subject of UFO’s and alleged ‘alien abductions‘ requires objective investigatism. It requires time and money and no TV channel is going to do that as they don’t believe that it’s a subject worth paying much attention too. Hence the pay peanuts get monkeys approach to Confessions.
So…my shocking revelation…those in the programme labelled ‘alien abductees‘ are very normal rational individuals who have encountered real yet extraordinary experiences. The problem with them is that they’ve become deluded and it’s not their fault! The blame simply resides with a popular myth created by UFOlogists in the 1980s and the 1990s just prior to the coming of the Millenium. It involves a story about alien contact, people being kidnapped, humans being made to act as pawns in a cosmic game of good versus evil. There are sexual acts that help the aliens survive by creating hybrids…this myth even entered the TV through the X-Files and from TV, books etc into our subconscious minds.
Simon Parkes, 53, a councillor and a driving instructor is very sane and in my opinion his experiences are very profound as they have obvious links to his father who abandoned him when he was a baby, and his mother was an alcoholic. His experiences with a race of alien creatures offer him love, friendship, satisfying sexual relations, above all they protect him, these are the very things parents are designed to show their children through basic nurturing processes. No one questions why the aliens are dominating males…so why wasn’t a psychologist interviewed?…Oh yes that’s why, because this programme was produced on the cheap.
Interestingly, in talking about his encounter in the town of Cloughton shared with another woman. Mr. Parkes questions the incredible technology used by the aliens to abduct them both and take them physically through the car and up into the spaceship above them. It’s so easy to try and explain this in simplistic terms that an advanced extraterrestrial technology has control of their physical selves…but it’s a pity that Mr. Parkes hadn’t considered the possibility of something happening on a non-physical level. Perhaps that in itself is too difficult for most people to comprehend. Let’s face it, if the abduction phenomenon is a physical event then we should be able to prove that such events are real…but no one is able to do this.
Watching I noticed that Mr. Parkes was surrounded by science fiction and fantasy models…a man after my own heart even though I don’t have such collections in my own home (but I wish I could). He is clearly an intelligent and creative individual and I think this is very relevant to his experiences. I believe the experiences he continues to have are there to act as a parental and normalising process – something that would have been picked up by BUFORA. However, as a result of the biased programme I wonder if his reputation and credibility and personal life will suffer. Such is the possible damage incurred by appearing on this type of show. I wonder if he was properly advised about it at all?
All three individuals seem to be having shamanic experiences, very profound psychic experiences that are not based in the physical world but in a non-physical reality. They are designed to help him cope, even to help him change his life for the better.
Chantelle, 49, a housewife and someone who is labelled as ‘the most abducted woman in Britain‘ – I don’t think this lady is looking for a place in the Guinness Book of Records! However, her experiences occur on a somewhat daily basis and she claims to see aliens in the form of what many ETH UFOlogists label as ‘the grey’.
Her description of them is fascinating. They don’t wear all-in-one suits like the aliens encountered by witnesses in the 1960s through to the 1990s. Instead they wear black polo-neck top with black trousers, here we have a reference to the old Man in Black archetype! (see John Keel’s Mothman Prophecies) They also have a sense of humour and this again is an important reference to many other narrative accounts given by Close Encounter witnesses (percipients).
However, we don’t know too much about her. What about her hobbies, her interests, her social life, her friends? She seems to be a loner but this isn’t explored by the documentary. It appears that the programme wants to focus on the effect of alien abductions alone than on the individual, as if they (the people) are not important. We only know that she has a very close relationship with Dominic her son and his friend Danny. All of whom come across as very down to earth individuals. Dominic also believes that he has been abducted by aliens too (by the same greys). Psychologists can explain shared experiences but none, it seems, were called to participate in the programme.
Marie, 52, believes she’s been abducted by aliens since the age of 3. Kidnap from a very young age, or contact, is commonly reported among ‘abductees’. I feel sorry for this lady because the programme didn’t provide the time nor the interest to explore her life and I think this would have helped the viewer to understand her better. Unfortunately, she was portrayed as a completely fantasy-prone individual and I’m aware that had the programme explored alternative viewpoints in the subject the viewer would have appreciated her circumstances more.
Marie is a typical individual who has been led falsely to believe that her regular contact with aliens means that she is only part human and that she has a role to play in uncovering the real truth about her life. She also has implants, investigator Miles Johnstone uses some piece of equipment to detect alien implants and tracking devices and they appear to be effective…perhaps he should patent these devices? If they work then we should all have one.
Marie’s clearly upset in the programme by two key events; a polygraph test and a DNA test. Now I want to know who recommended these tests because they clearly didn’t work, certainly not in providing proof of Marie’s alien side – this was poor advice. Polygraph testing is seriously flawed (see earlier entry) and here when Marie was tested using this method she actually failed. Terry Mullin, a polygraph expert with the British Polygraph Association, told her that she failed on the question about deliberately lying about her experiences in order to make her life more interesting! Obviously Marie felt upset by this…but polygraph testing isn’t used in legal courts because of its unreliability, in fact poor Marie was feeling anxious beforehand and then felt insulted afterwards!
Then came the result of her DNA test. With a swabbing taken from her inner cheek and a 4 day wait for the results, Marie believed that the aliens have in some way altered her. The testing was conducted by a company called DDC, who specialise in paternity testing. If any of her parents are truly alien then the results should highlight this through puzzling data, however, the results showed a common result, DNA from a human father and a human mother was present in her genes. Somehow I think Marie might be persuaded to believe that the aliens secretly influenced the data, that the company are part of a conspiracy to cover up the alien presence or that the aliens have human DNA, either way these beliefs are not going to help her get to the bottom of her quest.
One thing to note was the tragedy of her daughter’s death It was stated that her daughter had also experienced alien abduction at some point prior to her commiting suicide. The programme didn’t explore this or the effects of her death upon Marie (who perhaps hasn’t had a chance to grieve).
Marie, however, is not going to give up in her search and that is whole point of these shamanic experiences. They’re designed to show one the way to spiritual meaning and truths and not lead to alien space craft… as a researcher in this field I am not a believer in the ETH.
So throughout this programme where were the experts? There weren’t any, not a single one, and this is one of my biggest concern about the programme. Instead we were subject to old interviews given by Nick Pope, probably because he’s now living in the States trying to make a career in another subject, likely talking about scientific discoveries etc…but he was never a UFO investigator for the Government, don’t let his former role as a junior officer in the MoD and two general books on the subject fool you; Nick’s a lovely man (I’ve met him) but he’s also a very clever one. The programme needed contextualising, it needed a specialist understanding of the subject to be included and it wasn’t, instead we were confronted with journalistic arrogance and possibly a breach of ethics.
If we explore the style of the show did anyone pay attention to the music in the background. It’s a type commonly used in the likes of The Apprentice, usually a light-hearted piece that is used when highlighting a moment of silliness. In Confessions, the music is reminiscent of Harry Potter and subtly implies a fantasy or delusion that accompanies person shown. It clearly exposes the aim of the programme…to show…through the words and actions of these people…that they are living in a fantasy world. Unfortunately, acting as judge and jury the programme creator has totally got it wrong. It doesn’t unveil something interesting, instead it mocks and ridicules. They may have well just tied them all to poles and burn them as witches.
Not one psychologist, folklorist (Dr. David Clarke), anthropologist, sceptic, UFOlogist (Jenny Randles, John Spencer and myself come to mind) with an alternative point of view was considered/included/invited, just Nick Pope because people seem to be convinced that because he’s ex-MoD he has had access to high-level secrets and here is where journalists fall down on credibility and investigative skills…they were simply lazy in producing a cheap TV show and Confessions of an Alien Abductee is the worst of its kind.
The problem is not the person having the experiences but the people behind the ‘research‘, which is rarely published and rarely peer reviewed. It’s these very people with their beliefs in alien beings that causes the problem we have today, particularly when those people having strange experiences are searching for answers. Instead of discovering this for themselves they are guided instead by a belief-driven therapist.
Mile Johnston, AMMACH’s technical adviser sent Chantelle a piece of equipment that consisted of a crystal connected to a battery. Apparently Chantelle was supposed to place this under her pillow to prevent the abductions from happening but she wasn’t convinced, nor was I or anybody else who watched this. Chantelle tells us that it was a waste of time. And if it did succeed in keeping aliens at bay then it needs to be produced en masse for the alleged millions around the world claiming similar experiences. This isn’t going to happen though is it?
Joanna Summerscales revealed that she believed that the organisation was attacked by a shadow being, which destroyed terabytes of important data from their computers. The shadow being, according to her, is a special ops figure sent by the Government, likely to deter them from their important work. These are the very people who are advising, guiding and counselling those in need of help and who appear to be upset by their experiences! Mile’s dodgy-looking equipment also speaks volumes about the organisation and the beliefs embraced by them and their poor followers.
Perhaps the most telling thing to come out of the show is what Chantelle tells us about her own experiences.This very interesting comment was missed by the programme makers but is commonly heard by a number of others who have these experiences. Chantelle tells us that if the abductions suddenly stop she’d likely miss them as they’ve become a great part of her life. On one occasion she was in her living room and experienced her body being lifted up, and suddenly she became aware of this brightly coloured light passing by her at great speed. Asked if she was frightened by this, Chantelle replied that she wasn’t, in fact she also tells us that
it can also be an amazing experience…to me I’m partly torn between two worlds, their world and ours
if that doesn’t reflect the ecstasy of shamanic experience I don’t know what does and it’s unfortunate that Confessions of an Alien Abduction has completely missed the point about the profound nature of these experiences for these very individuals.