The research of Ms Clancy (author of the trauma myth – part 1)

Prior to “the trauma myth” Ms Clancy wrote a book entitles” abducted” abot peole who believe they were abducted by aliens. She was interested in false memory syndrome and started to investigate this by interviewing victims of childhood sexual abuse, some of whom had ‘remembered’ the abuse only after they had been hypnotised. But this work provoked so much hostility that she switched to abduction memories, which she hoped would be less contentious. She spent 5 years studying this.

In the book she presents her findings with numerous verbatim statements by her interviewees. She has chapters asking how people came to believe they were abducted, why they have memories of something that didn’t happen, and why abduction stories are so consistent.
A main reason why abductees have these experiences, Clancy thinks, is that they provide them with a sense of meaning, and they function in many ways as a religion substitute. This emerged when she asked her interviewees if they would have preferred not to be abducted. Although the experiences were usually terrifying and traumatic, not one would have missed having them. Some of them described what had happened to them in openly religious and mystical terms. Being abducted had radically transfomred their attitudes to life and revealed depths of meaning to them that they would otherwise never have discovered. Unlike science, which always offers answers that are provisional and open to doubt, the abduction experience provides certainty, and this is what many people crave. I found this an interesting theory.

However, she goes on to state the more usual “reasons” for fake memories: sleep paralysis, memory distortion, fantasy-proneness, culturally available scripts, sleep hallucinations, and scientific illiteracy, aided and abetted by the suggestions and reinforcement of hypnotherapy. And it is this research which she then builds upon in her child abuse studies


I have just been through the referances of the book and looked inot a few and I’ve found something interesting… here is an example of inaccuracy. In the book “abducted” speaking of a meeting with a number of abductees she says, “Highlight of Saturday evening was a conversation with two brothers from Manchester, New Hampshire. These men were relatively well known abductees who had written a book about their experiences. One night in the late 1960s they had been canoeing on a lake in Maine and had seen some weird lights across the water. A few years later one had fallen down an elevator shaft at work; he’d suffered brain damage, developed epilepsy and became severely depressed.” The simple fact of the matter is that there were four people involved, not two; the event took place in August, 1976, not in the 1960s. The book The Allagash Abductions was written by an experienced investigator, engineer Raymond Fowler, not by the brothers. It was based on data obtained independently from each of the four. The book is, though is not referenced but she has 14 pages of noted references including 146 items. Her own “research” papers were each cited several times…


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