A highlight of the Project Awareness UFO Conference held in Tampa, Florida the weekend of September 13-15, 1996 was a panel discussion in which the audience directed questions to all the conference speakers. Repeatedly during the panel, questioners sought insight into the nature and motives of those who perpetrate so-called abductions. Finally an audience member brought the question to a head and elicited response from all members of the panel. Here, with only slight editing for clarity, is a transcript of that entire exchange.
QUESTION: When I go home tonight, I want to be able to sleep right. So I want to know, Are the so-called aliens benevolent or belligerent? And if they are so technologically advanced... if they can make us perceive anything they want, how do we know if they're good or not so good?
[The moderator, Michael Lindemann, requested each panel member to answer as concisely as possible. The panelist were Dr. Roger Leir, the California-based podiatrist who has pioneered the surgical removal of alleged alien implants; Linda Moulton Howe, award winning filmmaker and leading expert on UFO-related animal mutilations; Colin Andrews, leading expert on crop circles; John Carpenter, leading abduction researcher; Budd Hopkins, best-selling author and top authority on abduction; and Dr. Courtney Brown, a political science professor who has used remote viewing to investigate aliens.]
DR. ROGER LEIR: Let's suppose I have a vehicle, and I pull up in front of your house in the middle of the night, have the technology to come through your wall or window or ceiling, take your 11 year old daughter out to the vehicle through the wall, and perform medical experiments on her, play with her mind, screw with her genes, and then bring her back and put her to bed, sometimes upside down, wearing someone else's clothes... and after I get through doing all this, you find out who I am. What do you think the average person would do to me? What I'm basically saying is, if you want to go home tonight and think good thoughts, you can think what you want, postulate what you want, you can philosophize... you can say it's good, it's bad, it has benefitted mankind, it's been done for thousands of years... But this happens to be what's going on. And if a human did this kind of thing, boy, we'd be awfully mad. And I (the perpetrator) would not be walking the streets.
LINDA MOULTON HOWE: Your question is at the heart of the confusion of all of us. Motive has always been the thing that's haunted me, and I came at this through one of the most repulsive aspects, the mutilation of the animals. My own personal opinion is that what happens to the animals and what happens to the humans is related to the same end, it's just that they're treated differently. The animals are dead, and fluid and tissue are removed. Humans are taken and fluid and tissue are removed, and amnesia is [induced]. In the end, in the big picture, if we knew 50 or 100 years in the future that all this happened because we were headed in a dead-end game in which everything was going to be destroyed anyway, through some environmental destruction... if we knew for certain that this had a positive end-game to it, maybe our perspective would be a little clearer. But I really can't say that I sit here with clarity about the motive. And if I have any clarity at all, it would be that confusion and contradiction and manipulation are part of what [the phenomena] do, and perhaps in our innocence we interpret that as being evil and negative, when in the long run it may not be. But until it's proved, until we can actually have some direct knowledge, I think we're going to continue to be haunted by this question, which is at the heart of what we'd all like to know.
COLIN ANDREWS: I would certainly say that I could well lose much more sleep worrying about what man is doing currently, than I have since I got involved in the crop circle research itself. I of course have no idea who the circle makers are. But assuming them to be one of these races out there, extraterrestrial in origin, I certainly lost a night's sleep or two initially, in the early days of my own work, wondering what these things meant and how they got there. But since I began to see a picture forming, one that I believe I understand to some degree, and I see that, in broad terms, we're seeing a spiritual nudge occurring here, a reminder of who we are is beginning to emerge. And certainly, I sleep much sounder these days, as I see people beginning to address themselves to the focus that this single phenomenon itself has invoked... Here I think we have [both] spirituality and technical information, and I think we have, basically, the future, once we find ourselves.
JOHN CARPENTER: I do want to tell you that if, on your way home tonight, they want you, they're going to get you. But I have a brilliant perceptual, attitudinal solution for you. Think of it as a date. [audience laughter]. Seriously now, I have always tried to find the best parallel or example as to what they may be doing with us, that we may be doing as well. The wildlife example is always a good one. Do you realize how many grizzly bears meet in the woods every week and have a support group? Because these humans came in their helicopters, darted them, did experiments, put these stupid tags on their ears that they can't get off, and sometimes they beep and make sounds... And no one bothered to explain it to them, or ask their permission. So here are all these animals on our planet, wondering what the heck these humans are doing to [them]. But we don't think anything of it. We know we're not hurting them. We know we're not trying to do anything to cause them to become extinct -- in fact, it's just the opposite, many times. Dr. Leir gave a beautiful example of the human perception, and Linda Howe began to shed light on other perceptions, and I think these are very good things to keep in mind, because we really don't know. In my cases, I see the whole range of human responses, yet what they [the aliens] are doing is pretty much the same in all those cases, despite the range of human responses.
BUDD HOPKINS: I think the basic thing we always have to understand is that if you have a non-human intelligence, to try to understand it with human equipment and human perspectives is extremely difficult. I don't care whether this is through interviews, your own emotional response or some technique like remote viewing. Whatever it is, we bring our own human perspectives to the subject. The thing is, every human being is born with a huge box of paranoid terrors. Little kids are always afraid of what's under the bed or something. As we get older, we're afraid we're going to have strokes, crash in a plane, terrorists are going to get us, whatever. We have boxes and boxes of fears born into us. On the other side, we all have religious hope that out there somewhere is a guardian angel, or God, or somebody looking after us, and the bad stuff that happens to other people is not going to happen to us. Now, when you bring into this context -- this box of paranoid terrors and this box of religious hopes -- something completely non-human, the tendency is to put it in one of those two boxes... or to say that there are two groups, the good group and the bad group. In all the work I've done over the years, I have never seen what seems to me to be evil, malevolent behavior on the part of the aliens, that they're here to kill us, cosmic storm troopers, anything like that. Never seen it, ever. On the other hand, I have never seen them do a damn thing for anybody that was helpful, except in the sense that we've had some cases where people were healed of some particular condition... and one of [Temple University professor and abduction researcher] David Jacobs' clients once said she didn't know whether to be grateful or not, maybe it was just equipment maintenance, like we would take care of a sick bunny in the laboratory. The point is, there is no reason to believe for one second that these are god-like people here to help us -- no evidence for that at all. And no evidence that they're here to swoop down like Independence Day and smash us all and blow up the Statue of Liberty. That's not true. They seem to be here for their own purposes, their agenda, very difficult to fathom. Certain things we can say for sure. They are not deliberately inflicting pain. They don't do that. They seem to be experimental. They sometimes say things like a dentist says to a five year old. "Don't worry, it won't hurt," but then it hurts. They do these things, obviously trying to keep the person comfortable. And if they take you out of your car on the way home tonight, they're going to tell you everything's OK, don't worry, we'll put you back in the car and it won't hurt. So we're stuck with this very strange problem of trying to handle something that we truly do not understand. We can say without any doubt that the amount of damage this has done to people, so-called collateral damage -- that's what the government says when it blows up civilians -- is enormous and extraordinarily unfortunate. I've seen people who have taken their own lives because of the terror and fear and everything else, and yet I don't think any of that is intended.... They don't kill you, they bring you back, they put you back in your car or your bed or wherever, they try to keep you calm, there's no evidence that they're doing you harm... BUT, if you go through these experiences, you are going to suffer. It's a very complex thing to face. Many abductees have said to me, "If I could regard [the aliens] as enemies, I would feel better. If I could regard them as saviors, I would certainly feel better." But they don't seem to be either one. And I think that is a true sign that this is not some kind of fantasy coming out of us, because it does not cohere with either of the basic science-fiction myths we have of the conquerors or the saviors. It's complicated and hard to deal with.
DR. COURTNEY BROWN: You know the old Biblical saying, As below so above -- well, things may be much more complicated with regard to good guys and bad guys than I'm aware of. I would suspect that every problem and all the types of confusion that we have down here are the same types of things that go on up there... With that said, however, the remote viewing data and experiences that I have had, and the students and professionals that I've worked with have had, indicate two things that are very important. The first is that we really don't die, that we do have composite existence, and that the physical bodies that we're in right now are not everlasting things, they're just like school experiences that we have, things that we wear so that we can experience this physical life. And it seems that out there in the galaxy, not derisively but in an admiring fashion, we [humans] are labeled "the masters of limitations." That we have volunteered to come into bodies that have such spectacular limitations that we can't remember where we came from, can't perceive where we're going... And when we do this, we have special experiences we can get out of this life. You're born, you look at the end -- at best you've got, say, about 100 years to go, and you say, Well that's it, I can't see past, I can't see beyond, back or forward, so I'd better pack as many experiences as I possibly can into this short life. And you have very, very rich experiences packed into an extremely short period of time, as you run the gauntlet of the few years you're experiencing here. When you think about that, "masters of limitations," it's very normal for us to have all types of fears, because we have self-imposed so many limitations on what we can perceive -- there are so many unknowns. Thus, in my view, when we have fears, we should remember that probably, in most cases, they are exaggerated. They are bigger than they need to be. They are consequences of our own self-imposed lack of ability (because we come into these bodies) to get some of the answers. So things can happen to us that we don't understand, and we can be frightened of it. That's one side of the story. But secondly, look at all the energy that's being put into, say, the gray genetic engineering project. They have their own limitations. Let us say that they get permission from a person who's abducted, before they're born [this is the consistent finding through remote viewing] -- and then the person is born, and [the aliens] follow the person through life, visit them when they're 13, visit them when they're 20, and so on like that. Just imagine... is it us only who have limitations? What do the experiencers often report back? The Spock-like mentality, the lack of variation in thinking, often very deep spiritual insights but at the same time very shallow electro-chemical emotional views. Imagine [the aliens] getting permission from this person, who says, "OK, you can abduct me, and I want to be involved in your altruistic project, because you guys really do need help and I want to help." Now imagine the experiencer actually being abducted, and the grays bringing this person on board kicking and screaming, with an emotional electro-chemical brain that's just about out of control, and [the grays] themselves getting only one electro-chemical response in their own brains to virtually any stimulus... They can't even understand what this woman is going through. So if you think we're the masters of limitations, feel sorry for the grays on their side. They cannot even understand why she is so upset. "We asked you to do this... what else do you want us to do?" So, if you feel upset about what goes on on the human side, understand that it's natural that we should be upset because we have so many limitations on what we can do... But it's not just us. The other guys, the grays, also have difficulties, real difficulties. They want to get out of their cul-du-sac. They want to have more variation in their electro-chemical brain responses to stimuli, but they honestly can't understand what the woman or the man is going through. So, when you're feeling frightened, say two things (this is just my opinion). Say, part of the fear is probably unfounded, just because I am the way I am genetically, so let's not worry about it so much. Let the fear go. But then, also say, let's feel sorry for the grays, because they don't even understand the nature of the fear, the nature of these emotions, and in a very real sense they have very severe limitations as well. Neither side has got a perfect electro-chemical mechanical body to undertand all these things.
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