An Interview With Richard Boylan -- 10/9/95

© Greg Bishop 1995




Q: What's your background and how did you get interested in the subject of abductions?

A: Basically I would divide my interest between ETs and UFOs. UFOs I have been interested in since 1947. I became more interested since having a sighting of my own. The ET thing came looking for me. I actually had very little use for the 1950s contactee story genre. In 1989 I had four people whom I'd been counseling, after we got along with the problems they had come in for, admit to me that they had had contacts and I realized that I would have to look into this if I wanted to be a well-informed counselor, so I did. So I started my own research and found that there was almost nothing of scientific value published in this area. At the end of 1991 I set up my own project, and put out the word that I would be happy to talk to people who had experienced contact, and they came. I learned a lot and I'm still working at it.

Q: The impression I got from your book was that you took the abduction scenario at face value, and would expect it to be experienced basically the same way by anyone. This seems to me to be constricting, given the nebulous nature of the phenomenon.

A: Well, I do my research according to the scientific method, and there are very few people doing that in the UFO field, particularly in ET research. What may not be obvious is that I pre-screened my data samples to weed out the crazies, the delusionals, the hoaxers, and any others who for various reasons could not be taken as truthful. So what's left is sort of a pure distillate. That's not to say that anyone who comes through the door is taken seriously, but what I've been doing all along in my career in counseling is determining what people believe, and what they believe they believe...

Q: I'd like to ask what criteria you propose for such an uncommon occurrence as an abduction, when the most ordinary events in life can be perceived so differently by various witnesses.

A: I have dealt with cases where there are multiple witnesses, but you have to understand the way that behavioral science works: If you get replication over time and over a series of reports by credible witnesses, you begin to have something there that you have to take seriously. Any one person can make a mistake in perception, and indeed as I cite in the book, sometimes somebody thinks they've seen something, but it turns out they have some mental influencing from the ETs and see something a little differently than it actually is. So I'm sifting all the time, using my critical faculties to sort out if this is real or is it just a result of perception.

I think that one of the things that the UFO experience does is assault the commonly received social reality so that people start to demand extraordinary truth-finding mechanisms to establish reality. That's a response to the threat to existing perceptions that people have; it's not the nature of the phenomenon that it requires such extraordinary proof. You can investigate the ETs in just the same way you can look at psychic surgery in the Philippines or any other topic. It doesn't require some brand-new way of finding the truth in order to establish it as truth. People get confused about that.

Q: But you aren't standing in a lab studying these things, you're only dealing with human perception...

A: You speak of that in a diminutive fashion...

Q: Here's the crux of my argument: I spoke recently with a researcher who had just taken a trip to an undisclosed location and seen something which established for him the reality of the UFO/ alien presence on this planet. I asked if he had actually seen anything physical, and he said he had not. This made me wonder how he could convince me in the same way he had been when he hadn't even witnessed something that would constitute proof of a reality for most people. To me, that would prove the existence of God, if extrapolated far enough.

A: Corroborating minute details from people who have no way of communicating this to each other. That's one way.

Q: Do you have any examples?

A: Facial descriptions, one case two people who were totally disconnected from each other, coming independently to me, and depicting the same symbol. It's not something you come up with at random. I might call another researcher to corroborate a report, and get the same settings, behavior, procedures, and so forth from people who have no way of communicating this to each other and compare stories. You have to remember that multiple witness corroborative testimony is enough to send a person to the electric chair, and if you say that's a problem with ETs, then people just don't understand epistemology--they're confusing their fright that this might be true with the way in which we gather evidence in this society. After awhile, you get statistical averaging over time, and you have to accept the scenario.

Q: What about the writings of people like Michael Persinger, Jacques Vallée, John Keel, Gregory Little, and others who posit other explanations for human/ alien interaction?

A: Well, you're talking about a hopeless melange of people there, none of whom I agree with. You have to remember that I'm a psychologist. I've taken cognitive psychology and I understand about perceptions and the way people process their environment. There's a well-established scientific understanding of this, and [Persinger's] magnetic fields and their effects on the brain is very interesting as a laboratory study, but it's not an explanation for people's encounters with ETs.

Q: When you get a person in to talk about this, their memory is going to be colored by what is discussed. How do you reconcile the fact that other researchers like Hopkins and David Jacobs always have their subjects recalling traumatic experiences, but when people come to you, it invariably turns out to be generally positive?

A: It's impossible in behavioral social science to find those kinds of homogenous results at random.

Q: You mentioned that you sometimes have to bring up events in a contact before people would start remembering. In what way is this not leading the subject?

A: It's not leading in the context of the person already being aboard a craft and having the sense of other people and not being alone. They will say "Well I sense another person over there" and I'll ask, "What kind of person?" In some cases it might be an ET and other times, a fellow human being. They say that. I don't ask it.

Q: Is there a standard set of questions you ask? 

A: There's no standard incident. It's the art of how of listen to someone to find out what they've been through to keep it from being contaminated. It's a skill. Therapists know how to do that. 

Q: What about any subconscious cues you may give, such as reacting to what is expected, and ignoring what is not? 

A: Well, you have to develop a "poker face." We can go into the whole art of how you would do a professional interview without imposing your views...

Q: I don't think many abduction researchers let that guide them.

A: Well, in terms of behavioral science, almost no one in the field of ufology is careful about it. John Carpenter, John Mack, Edith Fiore (I guess), myself, and that's about it.

Q: You're saying people with the proper training who do research in this area seem to find positive experiences to be the norm in encounters.

A: I'm talking about enduringly traumatic as opposed to any initial anxiety or fright. The therapists I've mentioned do eventually come up with a positive experience. The others who are the fright-mongers have no background in psychology. These people think the initial fright is the whole experience and carry that out based on their own prejudices. They lack the professional tools to interview people and counsel them accordingly. In this field, that's a recipe for mischief.

Q: When you talk to your subjects, you say that if your training is in the field of psychology, the alien encounter experience is always positive.

A: It's not a question of making the best out of a bad situation. We're just clarifying what's gone on.

Q: Some segments of society used to think that the rape of women was because they were asking for it. Now it's a terrifying, traumatic experience, but nevertheless, some people thought this at one time.

A: I don't see that this has anything to do with ETs. Investigators can influence how the experience is processed. We have some clearly prejudiced investigators going out and dealing with impressionable people in shock, and lo and behold, these people walk away sharing the negative view of the experience.

Q: The same thing could be happening with your work, though.

A: I don't know what you're saying.

Q: It seems to me that there are equal reasons on both sides of this issue for...

A: But there isn't. Budd Hopkins and I are not the same thing pushing opposite agendas. For one thing, I'm not pushing an agenda, and for another, I am qualified. So I don't think it's two sides of the same coin.

Q: Your book deals only with positive growth experiences and Hopkins, David Jacobs, and Yvonne Smith (for example) never deal with this sort of thing.

A: Well, they're into the horror stories.

Q: They can just as easily claim that you and Mack seem to be into the positive side.

A: Well, here's the difference: When I started out, my operative hypothesis was that people that had experienced extraterrestrial contact were like people who had experienced post traumatic stress disorder from childhood sexual molestation. I thought it was a fairly good comparison, and there were points of similarity. I had to get rid of that hypothesis because the data would just not support it. Using just as much of my anthropology background as the psychological skills I found that as people got over the initial shock, that I could make them understand that they were the pioneers in an interspecies contact experience. Once they have a context within which to look at their experiences, there's nothing intrinsically evil about it. It's just darned unsettling. If given a chance though, people will find confirmation of their fears.

Q: You attended the "When Cosmic Cultures Meet" conference that was organized by (human potential movement founder) C.B. Scott Jones. Who attended and what happened there?

A: Next to the M.I.T. abduction study conference, it was probably the most significant thing that has happened in [this subject area] this year. We had 25 national, world-class scientists from a variety of disciplines that were gathered, along with some military and journalists to discuss very seriously what should be the reaction when it comes out in the open that we are being visited. Scott Jones deliberately put the hypothesis as a future conditional, though so that people would not be afraid to come if they had university tenures on the line. In point of fact, however, most of the presentations dealt with it as a current reality.

Q: How did the attendees feel about that?

A: I think the audience was self-selected to agree with that view. There was certainly a warm reception. The proceedings should be out fairly soon. The important thing is that in a seat of world power, this conference did take place, and a substantial cross-section of disciplines from many universities thought it was worth their time to devote careful thought to the subject. This was not lost on the people behind the scenes in Washington, which is what Scott Jones intended. Tapes of this were made available to the Congress and White House and elsewhere, so these people could hear what went on in the privacy of their offices.

Q: You mentioned that some of the abduction scenarios may be the result of PSYOPS, [psychological operations against humans by the intelligence and military community] and I was wondering how you could convince anyone of this idea.

A: Multiple independent accounts from people who are abducted by the military and have no reason to be making that up. Plus, circumstantial corroboration from others who have witnessed armed aggression against UFOs. There was also the example of the video from STS-48. [Videotape taken aboard space shuttle Discovery in September, 1991 that shows objects streaking about in artificial-looking ways behind the shuttle.]

Q: I hadn't heard that theory about it.

A: Even Don Ecker had to say that it looked like someone was taking potshots at UFOs, and as we know, Mr. Ecker is not a wild protagonist of UFO reality.

Q: How do the people who've experienced these supposed PSYOPS know that this is what has happened to them?

A: They don't come in saying that they're the victims of this. They say "I was taken by military, or military and some aliens" Either this or they were made to believe it was aliens. They are dragged off, interrogated, and mishandled--in some cases rather brutally. They're told to shut up about it, and then dumped back where they were taken from. The questioning has to do in some cases with their genuine ET encounters--but sometimes this part is not remembered.

Q: What is the purpose of this?

A: My conclusion, from my own and other researchers' data is that it is a disinformation and coverup operation to create a coterie of badly-handled victims of alien abduction and a cluster of people who go around saying that "you don't want to be taken by them. Those aliens are bad and do terrible things to you if you are taken. So, if you see a UFO coming, stay far away." In almost all instances the military presence is not something they're supposed to remember--it's something they've retrieved, or popped into memory despite the drugs and hypnosis [that they are subjected to during the experience.] I also infer that when the military requests permission to shoot on them, the citizenry will be aroused (of course we know that they don't wait for permission--shootdowns have occurred and are continuing.) I have this from other sources. Steven Greer has it from two separate CIA informants, and I've interviewed people who have been aboard craft when they're shot down...

Q: Why do you think the elected government is ignoring this subject?

A: It isn't any more. Dick D'Amato from the National Security Council told Jesse Marcel Jr. [son of Roswell debris recovery participant Col. Jesse Marcel] and Stanton Friedman that the NSC is desperately trying to find out who these people are, who they're getting their funding from, and why they're trying to keep this a secret. The NSC (according to him) doesn't know where the Roswell saucer is, or who the coverup people are, and would like very much to find out. So, it's not because of indifference. We have a situation where an elected government finds a powerful element is controlling the information about a massive phenomena with huge budgetary and personnel resources, and they haven't a fig about who it is or what exactly they're doing. To have to admit that you're impotent inside your own country against a force that's extremely large and treasonous, as well as influential, is explosive.

Q: Well, it seems like it's just not UFO information that's being hidden. Wouldn't you think that it would be easier to reveal some nefarious activity that is very terrestrial in nature to "open the door" as it were--like the case with MKULTRA or PAPERCLIP?

A: Those are documented CIA atrocities which have been the subject of congressional hearings, and they were not conducted by the UFO coverup group. The CIA has since admitted to these things under duress, so that's a whole other kettle of fish. The CIA is ostensibly part of the elected government in that the president appoints the director. So this is not a "rogue" entity.

Q: Why did you get interested in this aspect of things?

A: You can't examine the UFO issue very thoroughly and not run up against the coverup. A comprehensive understanding of UFOs is tied right into the fact that there's a coverup going on, and the implications of that are useful to understand, since it helps you understand why you can't get at certain bits of information, and why public perception is at variance with certain data. There's a massive program of propaganda and psy-war being perpetrated on the domestic population.

For the full interview, order Issue #6.

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