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Debunking of Whitley Streiber?

  1. Jan 7, 2005 #1

    loseyourname

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    I'm sure the guy's been lambasted by someone, but have there been any serious critiques of his claims? I've never read a more bizarre and detailed description of reported close encounters. It hardly seems possible for someone to have hallucinations so intricate and off-the-wall, even through hypnotic suggestion.

    By the way, this is his website. I've never visited it before, so I have no idea what it says about his personal experiences. I've only read his books.
     
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  3. Jan 7, 2005 #2

    Ivan Seeking

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    I'm pretty sure that one of our members [Zoobyshoe] posted some article stating that Streiber suffers from simple partial seizures, or frontal lobe seizures...anyway, the kind that produce hallucinations...allegedly. I don't know if this is true but it might be a good place to start.
     
  4. Jan 7, 2005 #3

    Ivan Seeking

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  5. Jan 7, 2005 #4

    loseyourname

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    I'd have the same objection there that you did. Too many people have corroborated parts of Streiber's stories, sometimes in groups. It seems awfully dismissive to just assume that they are all hallucinating and would all have the same hallucinations.
     
  6. Jan 8, 2005 #5
    Would you believe that books sales were an incentive?

    He also got a movie out of the deal too!

    Look at the web site, it is a virtual bizarre of pseudo new-agge/alien books. Obviously there is a market for this kind of stuff!

    Does anyone know what the yearly gross for alien books and products are or have any idea what kind of market there really is for this stuff?
     
  7. Jan 9, 2005 #6

    loseyourname

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    Is this a method of argumentation? Person x made a profit from proposition y. Therefore, proposition y is false. He was a bestselling fiction author that made good money well before he ever published or even claimed a paranormal experience.

    From what I can tell, that website has nothing to do with his personal experience. It's just a compendium of things he has discussed on a talk show, apparently. I didn't even realize he had such a show. I'm only familiar with his books.

    As big a market as there is for popular science writing, I would guess. It doesn't follow that all popular science writing (while perhaps greatly simplified) is incorrect in its assertions of even misleading.
     
  8. Mar 2, 2005 #7
    Ive been visiting his website this week and the forum is quite interesting.

    Also on the site ive seen this page:

    http://www.unknowncountry.com/edge/articles/tests.phtml

    it has brainscans (MRI, EEG), polygraph results, psychological tests and they all seem to indicate hes telling the truth and doesnt have any braindisorder.

    Also from a bit ive read on the forum, both he, his wife and a child had identical experiences to eachother.

    Has anyone read his book 'communion'? I havent but it seems very interesting, and the people in the forums say that they had nightmares for 15 years after reading the book :)
     
  9. Mar 2, 2005 #8

    Chronos

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    I visited his site too and found this excerpt intriguing:
    "Thunderbirds—While they’re not invisible, only some people have seen them, and Whitley is one of them!"
    I'm satisfied he's delusional, but making the best of it by eek out a living off it. Whitley became aware of his repressed memories under hypnosis while being treated for anxiety by Budd Hopkins. If that name sounds familiar it's because Hopkins went on to become a celebrity alien abduction authority. For the rest of the story, see
    http://skepdic.com/aliens.html
    For some fascinating insights into the mind of Whitley, see a collections of his interviews at:
    http://www.beyondcommunion.com/
    Heady stuff.
     
  10. Mar 2, 2005 #9

    Ivan Seeking

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    Wow! Chronos is now a psychiatrist as well as an Astro-Guru! :biggrin:
     
  11. Mar 3, 2005 #10
    Is there no other debunk than the 'hypnosis screwed his mind' theory?

    Because that seems to be an inappropriate explanation, given the fact that he remembered certain parts (including seeing an 'alien') before ever being hypnotised.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2005
  12. Mar 3, 2005 #11

    Chronos

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    The hypnosis thing does not carry any weight on its own. Like any objective inquiry, you should consider all the facts before forming an opinion. Here are some facts to consider:

    He is very imaginative and creative:
    Whitley Strieber began his writing career with two horror novels - 'The Wolfen' and 'The Hunger'. Both were made into films. He followed this early success with two more novels - 'Warday' and 'Wolf of Shadows', a bestseller. The book Communion followed - an autobiographical account of his experiences with strange “visitors”. Communion was followed by a half dozen or so sequels and he also wrote more novels - 'The Last Vampire' , 'Lilith's Dream',and the eco-thriller 'The Coming Global Superstorm', which was the basis for the film 'The Day After Tomorrow.'.

    He has a history of mental health issues:
    By his own admission, he is a long time sufferer of acute anxiety. But he has gone to great lengths to prove he is sane, which I find a bit odd. And his proof is not altogether convincing. For instance, at the top of his eeg report: http://www.unknowncountry.com/img/edge/tests/eeg.jpg.
    "HISTORY: This is a 42 year old patient with hallucinatory episodes for many years."
    In this interview Whitley seems to affirm this aspect of his struggle:
    http://www.seancasteel.com/Strieber_The_Key.htm
    "The direction of my search has always been to try to define the line between the real and the imaginary. I think that the line became unfocused in my life in 1985."
    Apparently he suffers both anxiety attacks and hallucinatory episodes and is blessed with a prolific imagination. Does this sound like the kind of person who could be susceptible to hypnotic suggestion? His analyst was Budd Hopkins, a hypnotist with his own claim to fame as an expert on alien abduction. Hopkins appeared on a NOVA documentary in 1996. Nova followed Hopkins to Florida where he 'helped' a visibly agitated woman help her children realize they were victims of alien abduction. Between sessions with more of Hopkin's "patients", he plugged his books and explained why there was absolutely no reason to doubt the authenticity of stories he was eliciting from his "patients". Afterall, how and why would anyone concoct such incredible, highly detailed stories? Is it conceivable Hopkins planted the notion of alien abduction in the vulnerable, fertile mind of his famous 'patient'?

    From his website:
    http://www.unknowncountry.com/dreamland/?id=225
    Thunderbirds--They're Out There
    "... Mark Hall has crisscrossed the country in search of these creatures, and he lays out exciting and provocative evidence that a small population of these enormous, rare birds is still out there. The interview takes a surprising turn when Whitey [sic] Strieber tells Mark about his own extremely scary 1979 sighting of just such a bird--which seemed to be taking an interest in the Striebers' 6 month old child!"
    Did the interview with Mark Hall jog loose yet another repressed memory?

    Whitley recounts other remarkable experiences in this interview:
    http://www.seancasteel.com/ws2.htm
    Q: The nine lessons of The Secret School start with a trip to Mars and end with a visit to yourself sometime in the earth's future with a side trip to a former life in Rome How do all those elements fit together?
    Strieber: The way the elements fit together is that they all involve a different kind of movement through space/time. The trip to Mars-I don't know whether that was a physical journey or not... my book recognizes the use of prophecy as a tool, which is why it both warns against a number of futures that I have seen... you can reach out so far with remote viewing. You can go into the past. You can go into the future. You can go to other worlds. You can go essentially anywhere in the universe which has ever been or will be.

    In 1995 Whitley speaks of cover ups and rude house guests:
    http://www.seancasteel.com/breakingthrough.ht
    Q: How would public ackowledgement of the UFO phenomenon help you and others in your situation?
    Strieber: First of all, the government cover-up and the policy of secrecy dovetails. So, when we talk about the government, I don't think we can meaningfully talk about a government cover-up without also talking about the Visitors and their own policy of secrecy. They come at night. They hide. They're incredibly secretive. I think that the cover-up is loose compared to the level of secrecy that they themselves maintain. And I suspect that the cover-up is simply an outgrowth of their own desire for secrecy.

    Question: Well, it seems from reading Breakthrough that a gray moved in for about three months.
    Strieber: Oh, longer than that.

    but he does show his humorous side:
    "I don't think that many of the abductee researchers have ever seen anybody except a person who needs help."

    Whitley is barely lucid and unsure of what is real vs imaginary in this increasingly bizarre interview::
    http://www.seancasteel.com/toronto.htm.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2005
  13. Mar 5, 2005 #12
    I havent formed an opinion of him yet (although i currently give him the benevit of the doubt), i dont even know what hes told or written in the book. I ordered it yesterday and it will be interesting to read :smile:
    I must say that when i went to his website for the first time, it certainly looked like a crackpot place with the thunderbirds and invisibility stuff and what not, and also in the forum, it seems everyone WANTS to be an abductee (for instance ive read several phrases along the line of 'I havent yet remembered being abducted yet, but i recognise the face on the cover of the book!!!'), but when i started reading some reviews of communion, it seemed that what he experienced is so bizarre that noone can even form a theory of it, so i thought.... hmm... if it really is that weird, then thats why it all looks like crackpot-stuff to 'outsiders'.

    It makes sense that doctors would describe him as hallucinatory when he tells them he gets abducted by aliens. The opposite also makes sense, that he would see aliens, because hes hallucinatory.

    Same with the hypnosis, it could 'implant' memories in his mind, but on the other hand it could 'extract' real memories also.

    So, i guess we should focus on his other family members, or the people who have written letters to him with similar stories. I havent read any of that yet, but apparently the book is convincing.

    On his website ive read bits where he talks about 'the physical reality of these beings, because there are the implants'. Does anyone know what this is about? Did he get an implant, or did other people, and if so, have they been analysed?
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2005
  14. Mar 6, 2005 #13

    Chronos

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    I really try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, but Whitley, and God bless him, is not credible.
     
  15. Mar 6, 2005 #14

    Ivan Seeking

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    The only problem that I have with any of this is that we can't know what is normal behavior for a true abductee - if such people really exist. If he really has been abducted by aliens for many decades as he claims, why in the world would anyone expect him to be normal and to sound sane? I think the premise of Whitley's alleged experiences almost demands that nearly all of above objections be dismissed. Given that ETs are sneaking into your room, floating you away, and doing all of these strange things to you, how normal and credible would you sound? How in touch with reality would you be at that point? Think about what a human based abduction and torture can do to a person. Now throw ET in the mix... You might be lucky if you could still remember your name. Might your imagination then run wild?

    I don't really know much about Streiber but I thought that he had witnesses - like his neighbors - to some claimed events? Does he have anything to support his claims other than story telling?
     
  16. Mar 7, 2005 #15

    Chronos

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    Excellent point. The mysterious implants are as elusive as the 'implanters'. They 'vanish' when removed from the host - much like the credibility of the implantees.
     
  17. Mar 7, 2005 #16

    Ivan Seeking

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    Quite a number of people have had alleged implants surgically removed. To my knowledge nothing identifiable as unusual or as some sort of technology is found. I believe the metallic pieces have all tested as some variation of alloys that appear to be of no particular interest.

    But to be fair, would a monkey recognize the components of a radio transmitter? It is at least conceivable that we have the same problem here. Would we recognize technology produced by beings who are a million years ahead of us, for example?
     
  18. Mar 7, 2005 #17
    Well thats what i want to know, if hes credible or not and why so.

    A few days ago i read this article in Scientific American about alien abductees:

    http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=00008C3F-3EFD-11E7-BB5883414B7F0000&chanID=sa008

    Its written by a skeptic, and he claims that abductees ride their bicycle for 83 hours, then fall asleep on it, before being picked up by their support motor home, which flashes its lights, making the person think that his support crew friends are 'transmogrified' into aliens...


    Also researchers discovered that abductees have identical symptoms to people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. But guess what they conclude from this?

    They conclude that imaginary experiences can seem as real as real experiences.

    I thought the article was ridiculous.
     
  19. Mar 7, 2005 #18
    Heres some pictures of the implants (dunno how reliable it is).

    http://www.legjoints.com/Implants

    Apparently when they get sent somewhere for analysis, they dissapear.
     
  20. Mar 7, 2005 #19

    Ivan Seeking

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    Some of these are credible in that they were foreign objects removed from people's body's. I watched one of these surgeries with the camera trained constantly on the point of removal. In the case of the woman with the object in her foot, the podiatrist claimed that he found unusual nerve tissue surrounding the object. The patient also reacted to extreme pain when he tried to remove object itself. According to the podiatrist, she had been given ample anesthesia and she should not have felt a thing. Assuming that our good Dr. is credible [ultimately I don't assume anything] I found this a bit interesting.
     
  21. Mar 8, 2005 #20
    How about RFID?
     
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