Monday, May 08, 2006

If you're at all interested in the current state of "expert" UFO/alien research, I recommend reading Stanton Friedman's less-than-favorable review of Susan Clancy's "Abducted."

If even some of the distortions and wrong-headed cliches cited by Friedman are actually present in Clancy's much-publicized book, then her take on UFOs and abductions promises to be one of the absolute worst treatments of its kind. So bad, in fact, that it's going to require some mettle on my part to actually sit down and read the thing -- and I make a point to read UFO debunking literature, some of which is quite valuable. Karl Pflock's "Roswell," for instance, is a studious, reflective effort, while Curtis Peebles' "Watch the Skies!" amounts to little more than shrill, by-the-numbers bickering.

(Click here to reach my UFO book review page.)


Paul Kimball said...


Yeah, Stan rips Clancy a new one, not that she cares. Still, I don't think her book can be dismissed quite so easily - she wasn't writing about UFOS, after all. Still, given that it was written and published under the imprimatur of Harvard University Press, one would have expected some basic fact checking.

Then again, some of Stan's stuff has been a bit dodgy as well (i.e. the Gerald Anderson fiasco in Crash at Corona), and lord knows that ufology is replete with "authors" who just seem to make stuff up.

In which case, perhaps Clancy's book is perfect!


P.S. I say again - The Abduction Enigma by Randle et al is the must-read for the skeptical take on abductions.

W.M. Bear said...

she wasn't writing about UFOS, after all.

Paul -- I haven't read Clancy and would only do so under the duress of doing serious research on the subject of UFOs. (No plans at this stage, just a continuing, very amatuer interest.) HOWEVER (note the "big however"), I have read a number of reviews of Abducted including ones by Budd Hopkins and Friedman and have to say they fairly uniformly paint a picture of sloppy research, virtual ignorance of the field, and the promulgation of foregone conclusions about the non-existence of aliens/UFOs and the reality of the abduction experience itself. (It is these foregone conclusions, as Friedman points out, that DO make it a book about UFOs despite Clancy's disclaimers that it is.) Personally -- especially after following Mac's ruminations on the subject for a couple of years -- I think, as they say, that "the jury's still out" on the subject. I also happen to think that Clancy's project comes partly out of a covert motive of discrediting another Harvard psychologist in his brilliant, ground-breaking study Abduction (which I heave read), which got the Harvard Psychology Department all in a tizzy when it came out precisely because John Mack, one of it's own, had the guts to take the phenomenon seriously instread of following the dismissive intellectual fashion the way Clancy does. And if you don't think her academic triple-A is aimed at Mack, then think again about her title, Abducted vrs. his Abduction. I rest my case (whew!)

Mac said...

Clancy may claim she's writing about abductions and not UFOs -- which is itself debatable -- but she has a bothersome tendency to wax ufological when she has no clue what she's talking about, as if sleep psychology and crashed saucers are contents of the same bag.

Whatever one thinks of the issue, her epistemology is in shambles. And it does certainly seem like this is a "personal" shot at Mack.

Mac said...

BTW, I second Paul's recommendation for "The Abduction Enigma." It's no-holds barred but, remarkably enough for a "debunking" tome, well-informed.