Tuesday, October 7, 2008

1978's UFO Legacy, Congress and Mental Health

Regular readers of this blog know that I previously offered a few entries (see) about UFO activity in New York State during 1978. While my efforts and those of other investigators concentrated in large part upon Central NY, other areas of the state were seemingly engulfed in UFO activity as well.

Thirty years have gone by, and that's a long time. Yet, since starting this blog I've received a persistent trickle of comments from readers about their 1978 UFO sightings in New York. Like the original onslaught of reports, these are not the "I saw a light in the sky" sort of thing," which are truly a dime a dozen and usually mean little or nothing in terms of investigations and explanations. Indeed, no, these range from a possible multiple-witness UFO encounter over a highway with a "missing time" aspect, to a close-up daylight encounter. From what little I know (very little) of the witnesses, these dramatic experiences of three decades' vintage have remained with them, sometimes accompanied by disturbing emotions and thoughts.

I need to say from the outset, by the way, that I respect the anonymity they request and expect.
That's the thing about UFO encounters. There are questions, fears and the hope that somebody will tell you you're not crazy (and heaven help you if some ill-informed medical professional attributes your experience to "sleep paralysis", a hopelessly unfashionable explanation akin, in my opinion, to a nonsensical parlor game played by professional people with too much "missing time" in their own educational experiences). Worse, there are so few outlets, none with adequate funding, for UFO observers to contact. For witnesses involved with possible "missing time" issues, my first suggestion is usually The Intruders Foundation and its founder, Budd Hopkins. For those wishing to get their reports (no matter how old) on file, I would suggest the National UFO Reporting Center (see link) or the Center for UFO Studies (see link), and there are also MUFON (Mutual UFO Network) contacts around the country.

However, despite the extreme dedication expressed by a few private organizations and the numerous individuals supporting their work, we're in the same old sinking boat -- abominable funding, inadequate publicity abilities and, unfortunately, woefully insufficient (that is, zero) open government involvement.

In the previous entry, I posed the ongoing question, where is Congress? Well, now we know where Congress is. After the House followed its first impression and defeated bailout legislation, the Senate got into the act last week and pimped so many bribes and pork into its version that the House, now effectively wined and dined and drunkened by the mere prospect of fiddling away even more of the economy as the nation waits to erupt like Vesuvius, couldn't resist.
So, yes, I still receive the occasional UFO puzzle fragment from 1978, and I'm reminded as recently as last week that a corpuscular governing body so consumed by the greed of itself and others can hardly be expected to see things as they really are. My sympathies are with those who experience disturbing UFO encounters, all the more because there's so little we can do for them under current circumstances.

One little intriguing "bailout" development is Congress's decision to include mental health legislation in the final bill, requiring insurance companies to fund mental health on par with physical health care. I don't know that this was the time or place to attach this issue, with everything else submerged in the glue trap -- not because such care isn't important, and of course it is -- because one can soberly contemplate whether there's too ambitious a goal at some government levels to label a significant amount of the population with mental disorders. Sleep paralysis comes to mind Those words again. Hmm. UFO abduction equals sleep paralysis. It must be true -- didn't we see the concept rehashed via David Muir on ABC-TV's recent UFO rehash-rehash?

With the blessings of our economically catatonic Congress, maybe sleep paralysis can be entered as an explanation for claims of UFO abductions in hospital DSM directories (the DSM comprises loads of numbers assigned to various medical diagnoses so that everybody's medical records can be easily computerized and statistics compiled into charts and graphs that allow the sum total of one person to be based upon the sum total of a lot of everybody else -- thus requiring one's medical treatment to be based not upon being an individual, but based upon what others like that person are being treated with -- and I hasten to add that few who deal with DSMs would agree with that viewpoint, of course). Besides, it sounds s-o-o-o-o official, so medically all-encompassing, so relevant to every aspect of a purported UFO abduction. Sleeeeeeeeeeep par-a-ly-sis. Wow.

Actually, sleep paralysis is already listed in DSM criteria, so throwing the UFO designation in to create even more medical, insurance and government bureaucracy and human cognitive denigration wouldn't be a stretch.
All things considered, I guess maybe it would be easier to label people observing UFOs as disturbed than to provide funding for a proper UFO inquiry. I don't know, but I suspect that filling out the paperwork at a mental institution and officially diagnosing folks with the assistance of one-size-fits-all standards requires far less effort than completing a detailed UFO report form, investigating and asking Congress to address an extraordinary mystery whose implications may already have humbled us all.