Les critiques et questions les plus fréquentes concernant l'hypothèse des contraintes tectoniques comme explication des phénomènes ovnis

Michael Persinger: 2000-2003, Groupe de Recherche sur les Neurosciences, Université Laurentienne, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada P3E 2C6 (705) 675-4824

Bref historique et synthèse 1970 à 1997

Introduction

Objets Volants Non Identifiés (OVNIs) sont des termes contemporains qui ont été appliqués principalement aux phénomènes lumineux anormaux (ALPs). Ils affichent des mouvements étranges, émettent des couleurs ou sons inhabituels et déposent occasionnellement des résidus physiques. Lorsque ces phénomènes approchent de près l'observateur humain, des forces et perceptions exotiques sont fréquemment rapportées. La plupart des ALPs affichent des durées de vie de l'ordre de minutes et semblent montrer des dimensions spatiales de l'ordre de mètres. En dépit de leurs descriptions remarquablement semblables au cours du temps et à travers les cultures, la transience et l'occurence localisée de ces phénomènes ont limité leur investigation systématique.

Des explications à ces phénomènes ont varié des méprises sociales et illusions à des variantes d'intelligence mystique ou extraterrestre. Cependant le seul concept testable qui ait été formulaté à ce jour est la Théorie des Contraintes Tectoniques ou TST. Elle indique que la plupart des phénomènes ovnis (non dus à une franche méprise d'observation) sont des événements naturels, générés par des efforts et contraintes au sein de la croute terrestre. La phrase plupart des phénomènes ovnis est soulignée parce que la mesure principale reste l'observation et la classification humaine. En raison de leurs limitations, la surinclusion d'événements ou d'expériences non couplés à des pressions ou des contraintes tectoniques sont attendues. Des épisodes hautement improbables mais néanmoins possibles de sources extraterrestres pourraient être contenus dans ce résidu.

La TST naquit de processus inductifs plutôt que déductifs ; les données elles-mêmes révélèrent le principe qui permit le développement de la théorie. Entre 1969 à 1972 les plusieurs milliers d'événements référencés par Charles Fort furent désignés vers plusieurs douzaines de catégories aPersinger, 1976; Persinger et Lafreniere, 1977. Parce que nous supposions que des phénomènes transitoires, anormaux et dynamiques nécessitaient des sources d'énergie substantielles, des mesures de démonstrations intenses telles que des tornades, tremblements de terre et extrêmes météo furent incluses dans les analyses. Les corrélations les plus cohérentes et fortes dans le temps et l'espace eurent lieu entre ce que Fort avait appelé phénomènes lumineux et les chiffres des tremblements de terre. A peu près au moment où nous achevions ces analyses, Paul Devereux avait commencé sa recherche de terrain et John Derr s'était concentré sur le problème intriguant des lumières de tremblements de terre.

Une motivation scientifique basique, la compréhension de la nature et des méchanismes qui y sont enfouis, avait stimulé le développement de la TST ; son but ne fut jamais n'avoir une fonction de démontage. La poursuite fut également encouragée par la perspective d'application pratique. Si les ALPs sont des indices de contraintes tectoniques et qu'ils génèrent des tremblements de terre, alors la possibilité existait qu'une certaine forme d'ALP, comme les signalements d'ovnis, puisse être utilisée pour aider à prévoir la localité ou l'occurrence des tremblements de terre. Une considération nécessaire de la TST, bien que non directement liée à sa vérification, est les conséquences des ALPs et les croyances concernant leurs origines sur le comportement et les attitudes humaines. Elles sont souvent aussi importantes pour la découverte scientifique que les principes physiques eux-mêmes.

Application à grande échelle de la TST

La TST prédit que la plupart des ALP et de leur équivalent contemporain, les ovnis, sont générés par des forces géophysiques naturelles. La source principale est la pression tectonique ; elle est principalement une conséquence du lent refroidissement de la Terre. La pression intervient continuellement comme un champ au sein de la croûte terrestre. Cependant la direction et la magnitude des pressions change dans l'espace et le temps. Ces changements induisent des contraintes au sein de la croûte terrestre. En général les pressions sont focalisées et la contrainte est induite au sein de régions contenant l'architecture géologique optimale ou qui ont traditionellement subi des relâchements de contrainte. Elles incluent des failles, crevasses, de nombreux systèmes de rivières et des lieux de déformation compressionnelle augmentée.

A mesure que les pressions s'accumulent au fil du temps, des phénomènes d'ovnis sont générés. Il existe généralement une magnitude critique de pression qui précipite un dégagement substantiel soudain dans l'énergie de contrainte : ceci est appelé un tremblement de terre ou événement sismique. Selon la TST, les tremblements de terre détectables ne provoquent pas la plupart des ovnis. Plutôt, les ovnis comme les ALP et les tremblements de terre sont générés par le même processus : la pression de la terre. Parce que les pressions terrestres s'échelonnent généralement sur plusieurs mois à des années avant les tremblements de terre, la plupart des signalements d'ovnis devraient précéder les tremblements de terre. Cependant des variations dans les pressions locales suivent souvent de forts événements sismiques ; en conséquence une petite proportion dans le nombre des ovnis devrait intervenir lors de ces périodes d'ajustements.

Il devrait également y avoir une distribution temporelle des signalements d'ovnis dans la période de 24 h précédant et suivant des dégagements significatifs d'énergie sismique. Ces ALPs arrivent et ont été appelés lumières de tremblements de terre. Si ces ALPs sont générés par le même processus que celui qui produit des ovnis, alors leurs propriétés devraient être semblables. Même au sein des systèmes de classification b[e.g., Galli, 1910, comme rapporté par Terada, 1931] qui furent développés avant la période classique des ovnis, les similarités remarquables entre les lumières de tremblements de terre et les phénomènes d'ovnis sont évidentes. Les principales classes de tremblements de terre incluent des massent lumineuses (dont certaines semblent tourner sur des axes) ; des boules de feu en forme de ballon de rugby ou de lanterne, des formes à l'apparence métallique ; des formes lumineuse en forme de colonne, d'entonnoir ou de trompette ; et des arrosages. Des ALPs comparables sont toujours signalés aujourd'hui. Les ALPs liés aux tremblements de terre les plus récents ont été documentés par Marcel Ouellet c1990. Ils eurent lieu autour de la région de Saguenay au Québec et furent associés à l'intense tremblement de terre du vendredi 25.

A ce niveau d'analyses, la principale limitation de la TST est similaire à celle rencontrée par tout processus ne pouvant être mesuré simultanément en un lieu à un moment donné. Bien que des schémas généraux dans la pression tectonique puissent être interpolés à l'aide d'une varieté de methodes dZoback & Zoback, 1981, la mesure la plus simple pour les analyses est l'occurrence d'événements discrets qui puissent être comptabilisés : les tremblements de terre. Parce que l'occurrence des tremblements de terre et plus spécifiquement l'énergie diffusée par les événements sismiques est supposée refléter généralement la quantité de pression au sein de la région, ces mesures sont utilisées pour inférer la pression tectonique. Efficacement, la quantité d'énergie diffusée a été utilisée comme un indice de contrainte. Une difficulté analogue intervient en météorologie avant que la grille spatiale dense de stations météo n'ait été établie. Sans les instruments optimaux (barographes) et les mesures continues sur de multiple localisations, le concept d'une masse aérienne de basse pression n'aurait pu être envisagé ou documenté.

En dépit de la limite de mesure de contrainte directe, ils existe des extrapolations précises pouvant être générées et testées :

  1. Parce que la pression tectonique n'est jamais de 0, des signalements d'ovnis peuvent avoir lieu n'importe où mais devraient avoir lieu plus fréquemment dans des régions géologiques subissant des accroissements dans l'accumulation de pression.
  2. Parce que l'accumulation de pression intervient progressivement dans le temps et est alors associée à une diffusion soudaine, la plupart des signalements d'ovnis devraient précéder des augmentations dans l'activité de tremblement de terre ; dans ces régions dans lesquelles la contrainte continue à intervenir après un tremblement, des rapports d'ovnis pourraient également avoir lieu mais leur nombre devrait diminuer à moins qu'une autre diffusion d'énergie majeure ne soit imminente.
  3. Des équivalents historiques de signalements d'ovnis auraient du avoir lieu souvent, en particulier dans les régions ayant maintenu des pression de la terre sur des décennies ou des siècles ("zones fenêtres").
  4. Parce que les phénomènes ovnis sont générés par des processus géophysiques, la compréhension et la perception de signalements d'ovnis en tant que phénomène n'est évidente que dans les cadres spatiaux et temporels nécessaires à la compréhension d'un processus sismique, i.e., des centaines de milliers de km2 et des mois à des années.
  5. Tout processus ou événement affectant la sismicité devrait affecter le nombre de signalements d'ovnis ; parce que certaines formes de sismicité sont couplées au cycle solaire, les signalements d'ovnis devraient refléter cette périodicité ou un sous-ensemble de celle-ci, comme un seul [flare] intense. Des facteurs locaux, dont une injection de fluide à grande échelle dans la croûte ou des décalages de pressions (changements dans les volumes des principaux lacs, réservoirs ou rivières), pourraient déclencher des épisodes de signalements d'ALP et d'ovnis.

Données et procédures d'analyses

Depuis 1979, approximativement 25 articles techniques ont été publiés qui soutiennent la validité de la TST comme une explication à la plupart des signalements au sein de bases de données d'ovnis ou d'ALPs depuis un certain nombre de lieux differents. Il y a eu 2 approches principales du problème. La 1ère implique des épisodes "locaux" de signalements dans un diamètre de 50-100 km ; ils incluent l'épisode du Bassin de Salisbury Uinta durant 1967 ePersinger & Derr, 1985a, les observations de l'Arête de Long-Vogel-Akers Toppenish entre 1973 à 1977 f(Derr & Persinger, 1986), les événements de Rutkowski Carman, au Manitoba, entre 1974 à 1977 g(Persinger & Derr, 1985b), l'étude de terrain de Rutledge New Madrid de 1973 h(Persinger, 1988a) et les phénomènes de Zeitoun en Egypte qui furent rapportés dans les années 1968 et l'année suivante i(Derr & Persinger, 1989a).

La 2nde approche implique de plus grandes zones d'espace. Ces analyses ont inclut les enregistrements dans le centre de l'est des U.S.A. entre 1945 à 1966 j(Persinger, 1980; 1981a; 1983a), les analyses de Washington-Oregon k(Persinger & Derr, 1984), la période du Royaume-Uni de Charles Fort entre 1850 à 1920 l[Persinger, 1983c], les analyses de la région de New Madrid 1945 à 1977 m[Persinger, 1981b, 1983b], la série suédoise de 1965 à 1977 n[Mattsson & Persinger, 1986], la période au centre des U.S.A. de 1947 à 1966 o[Derr & Persinger, 1990] et la zone de Rift du Rio Grande (Nouveau Mexique-Colorado) p[Derr and Persinger, 1989b; Persinger & Derr, 1990]. A l'exception des sources du Royaume-Uni, de la Région de New Madrid et de Mattsson, les données pour ces analyses ont été obtenues du Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS).

Initialement les analyses impliquaient un nombre de signalements d'ovnis et nombre de tremblements de terre d'intensités differentes (Mercalli) par unité de temps. En réponse aux suggestions de John Derr et de Chris Rutkowski, 2 décalages majeurs dans la conceptualisation ont été employés. D'abord, les mesures de diffusion d'énergie sismique ont remplacé l'utilisation du nombre de tremblements de terre. Le raisonnement était simple. La diffusion d'énergie sismique est plus théoriquement liée au relâchement de contraintes qu'au nombre de tremblements de terre. Si les signalements d'ovnis sont liés aux contraintes, alors des changements dans leurs occurrences doivent être reliés à la quantité d'énergie sismique diffusée. Puis, discriminative validity was pursued. Although most UFO reports are likely to be natural, geophysical phenomena, data bases are probably heterogeneous collections of human experiences. En différenciant les sources probables d'observations ambiguës de descriptions plus robustes, d'une manière similaire à l'échelle d'étrangeté employée par David Saunders pour les données du CUFOS, les ovnis classiques et les ALP devraient être plus corrélés avec les indices des sismicité.

Pour les études locales, 3 grandes questions ont été posées :

  1. Existe-t-il une corrélation significative entre le nombre de tremblements de terre (ou diffusion d'énergie) et le nombre de signalements d'ovnis ?
  2. Quelle est la distance des tremblements de terre qui sont le plus corrélés avec les signalements d'ovnis ?
  3. Quelle est la relation temporelle entre l'occurrence des signalements d'ovnis et l'occurrence de la diffusion d'énergie sismique ? Afin de minimiser les problèmes intervenant en incluant les extrêmes des distributions temporelles de données, la plupart des analyses ont été complétées pour les intervalles où les nombres cumulatifs de signalements d'ovnis étaient relativement linéaires. Généralement à peu près 90% des signalements d'une collection sont intervenus dans cette période.

Des incréments de 1 mois ont été utilisés principalement parce que la durée des bases de données était relativement brève, i.e., de l'ordre d'années. Les nombres de tremblements de terre (ou la quantité de diffusion d'énergie) par mois a été comparée avec les nombres de signalements d'ovnis ou PLA par mois. Afin de déterminer la distance optimale d'inclusion de tremblement de terre, des analyses correlationnelles ont été achevée qui incorporaient des mesures de tremblement de terre depuis des distances augmentant successivement depuis le point de focalisation des signalements d'ovnis jusqu'à ce que la magnitude du coéfficient de corrélation atteigne un pic puis se détériore. La détermination de la relation temporelle optimale entre les nombres de signalements d'ovnis et de tremblements de terre a été achevée par la procédure lag-lead. Des régressions multiples ont été achevées entre les mesures sismiques par mois et les nombres de signalements d'ovnis ou de PLA le même mois ou chacun des 3 mois avant ou après.

La 2nde approche a utilisé des zones bien plus grandes. Les nombres de signalements d'ovnis ou PLA par incréments de 6 mois (généralement janvier-juin, juillet-décembre) ont été corrélé avec les nombres de tremblements de terre ou la quantité d'énergie diffusée pendant le même incrément et pour chacun des 3 incréments avant et après. Pour des analyses de contrôle, la sismicité de la zone environnante a souvent été incluse. Contrairement à la critique de Rutkowski (1984) et de Rutkowski et Del Bigio (1989), toutes ces procédures incluent des analyses de routine et ne sont ni compliquées ni arrangées ; elles nécessitent bien une compréhension rudimentaire de la résolution de problème. Au cours des 10 dernières années les grands schémas suivants ont été trouvés.

Les relations spatiale et temporelle entre les signalements d'ovnis et la sismicité sont plus évidentes au sein d'unités géophysiques

A l'exception de certaines périodes de pics dans les signalements d'ovnis, une relation simple dans le temps entre leurs nombres par jour et le nombre de tremblements de terre est rarement statistiquement significative ou évidente. Des études retrospectives suggèrent fortement qu'un début rapide des ALP et signalements d'ovnis est intervenu approximativement dans les 10 jours précédant de forts tremblements de terre innatendus (sans précurseur sismologique évident) dans une région. Dans : 1) de grandes zones au niveau d'états ou de régions aux U.S. et dans des pays plus petits en Europe et 2) 6 incréments d'analyses de 6 mois, les corrélations sont presque toujours statistiquement significatives. Lorsque des incréments temporels dépassant 1 à 2 ans sont employés, la force de la corrélation diminue. Lorsque la zone d'inclusion dépasse les frontière géologiques régionales de schémas sismiques, les coéfficients sont dilués.

Pour des incréments de 6 mois les magnitudes des coéfficients entre les nombres d'événements sismiques et les nombres de signalements d'ovnis ont varié entre 0,50 et 0,70 et ont généralement impliqué 15 à 20 ans (30 à 40 cas) d'intervalles successifs. Pour des analyses sur 6 mois fixes les coéfficients les plus forts ont été between the numbers of tremblements de terre and the numbers of UFO reports during the previous six month interval. These results support the hypothesis that both UFO reports and tremblements de terre are caused by stress and that UFO reports are generated by the temporally evolving processes that precede and create tremblements de terre.

More recent analyses of the Rio Grande Rift System and the central U.S.A. indicate that the numbers of UFO reports were significantly correlated (0.60 to 0.75) with the amount of seismic energy release within the region but not within surrounding regions that served as control areas. For these studies and for the Denver (Derby) episode between 1962 à 1967 (Derr & Persinger, 1989), substantial increases in UFO reports occurred when the imminent energy release exceeded 1 x 1017 ergs within a six month period or some variant of it. Because natural forces do not conform to arbitrary temporal increments (6 months) of analyses, the UFO-energy relationship is likely to be higher; in fact with variable interval analyses that optimally partition continuous intervals into increments of shared variance, the correlations between numbers of ALP and the amount of seismic energy release were marginally higher (0.70 to 0.80).

Even when the "local" episodes of UFO reports are analyzed, the optimal increments of analyses still involve months and the distances include hundreds of square kilometers. In all six of the these analyses, the UFO flap that generated the record keeping was associated with the most energetic seismic release in the region. Although the number of localities are too small to be conclusive, it is interesting that the optimal distances of earthquake inclusion that was required to obtain the strongest correlations between UFO reports and seismicity involved between 100 and 200 km within the Western U.S.A. and between 500 and 700 km for the central U.S.A.

These patterns support the hypothesis that the organization of the crust may in large part determine the effective "region" for analysis. In areas, such as the western U.S.A. (Uinta Basin, Toppenish Ridge) the crust is a collection of small accretions whereas in the central U.S.A. the crust involves a much larger plate that may be affected by extreme load variations on major river systems. This variability in the earth's crust must be accommodated in order to test the TST appropriately.

Determination of the optimal increment of space and time in order to perceive a phenomenon is a routine procedure in science. In order to perceive the gestalt of mountain one must not be too close or to distant. In order to perceive the action potential of a neuron the increments of time must be neither too brief (or the event is displayed as a horizontal line) nor too expanded (or the event transmutes into a vertical line). If UFO phenomena are coupled to geophysical processes, then the causality would be most apparent when the dimensions and temporal properties of the local stress fields are identified.

What does such a temporal and spatial perspective imply for UFO research? At too large a level of analyses, several strain fields are included and the maximum relationship may be obscured. At the optimal level, the relationship becomes clear (Figure 2). However as the spatial frame is reduced to the level of the local researcher and the time frame approaches the duration of human interest and activity, the relationship between UFO reports and earthquake activity is totally dissociated. Without fixed and reliable stations of data collection, in a manner similar to those required for weather forecasting, the picture will continue to be fragmented.

Des équivalents de phénomènes ovnis sont intervenus pendant des périodes historiques de Tectonic Stress Release

Although the term flying saucer and UFO emerged around 1947, UFO phenomena existed long before this period. Because human reports of anomalous phenomena are affected by the beliefs and expectations of the period, these phenomenon have been obscured. For example before the earthquake of 1663 in Quebec, people saw "fires, torches, and flaming globes, which sometimes fell to the earth and sometimes dissolved in the air...they saw fires of this sort five or six times at night". "Terrible specters" were also seen. Not surprisingly, there were the more strange antecedent psi-like experiences such as "wakening in her cabin while all other slept, she heard a distinct and articulated voice that said to her 'In two days, marvellous and astonishing things will come to pass'".

Comparisons of the numbers of UFO reports after 1947 with Fortean accounts of "odd luminosities" before 1920 for three regions: western Europe (Persinger, 1983d, 1984a), the United Kingdom (Persinger, 1983c) and the central U.S.A. (Persinger, 1983e) have shown that both UFO reports and ALP were correlated with increased seismicity and energy release. Empirical equations generated from LP and seismicity within Western Europe between 1850 and 1920 predicted peaks in these events between the years 1930 and 1970; these peaks corresponded with the "foo fighter" and UFO flaps. For the central U.S.A., the opposite procedure was employed. Multiple regression equations were determined empirically between the numbers of UFO reports and seismic events for the years 1950 through 1975; standardized measures were then applied to periods (1860 to 1945) before that time. Predicted peak periods of UFO reports were associated with Fortean reports of LP as well as the infamous mysterious airship episodes.

Although the 1896-1897 airship episode is certainly anecdotal and has been considered a hoax by some researchers, the geophysical conditions that were associated with the airship episode are commensurate with both the hypotheses and corollaries of the TST. Approximately 80 to 90% of these reports of odd lights and "airships" occurred at night. One of the greatest floods to have affected the Midwest occurred during the spring of 1897, stressing regional river systems. Between January and May, 1897, reports occurred within dozens of central and eastern states. The events were associated with the interval in which unusually intense tremblements de terre had been occurring (in inference of major stress) within the region and were terminated during the last of April; on May 31, the intense Giles County, Virginia earthquake struck.

Des facteurs solaires-géomagnétiques modulent l'activité sismique et affectent par conséquent l'occurrence des signalements d'ovnis dans les zones sous contraintes

The presence of a moderately strong temporal relationship between the approximately 11 year cycle in solar activity and terrestrial tremblements de terre is apparent in some seismic data bases (Mazzarella & Palumbo, 1988). Deep tremblements de terre appear to be significantly affected by solar acceleration while more shallow ones are not (Jakubcova & Pick, 1986). More precise analyses indicates that only specific types of tremblements de terre, depending upon the type of fault system and the level of stress accumulations may be maximally affected by some factor associated with solar activity. As Louis Winkler has shown with several unpublished analyses, the role of solar activity in the occurrence of both earthquake lights and UFO reports may be more important than now predicted.

The most likely "factor" is geomagnetic activity. The majority of the variance in short-term (minutes to days) variation in the geomagnetic field are changes in either speed or density of the solar wind; these parameters are a function of solar activity. Geomagnetic activity is measured by referenced scales such as the Ap or aa indices. Within 6-month timeframes, the variability in global geomagnetic activity is associated with the numbers of UFO reports and they are associated with earthquake activity during the following six months. However the geomagnetic correlation with UFO reports is not significant if the variance they share with imminent earthquake activity is removed (Persinger, 1985). This results suggest that extreme variability in geomagnetic activity facilitates the numbers of UFO phenomena within a region but only if strain is present as defined by the later occurrence of tremblements de terre. During the Toppenish phenomena, ALP were significantly more likely to occur within months when single daily Ap indices exceeded 100 (extreme intensity), but only if nearby seismicity was increasing.

Variable Water Loads From Rivers (Floods), Rain (in Valley Systems) and Variable Volumes of Reservoirs

Derr and Persinger (1993) re-evaluated the association between monthly volumes within the Mississippi River System and local seismicity in context of the third variable: luminous phenomena. McGinnis (1963) had suggested that seismicity, within the New Madrid System, was triggered by initial rates of change in volume of the annual water loads. Derr and Persinger found that within 320 km of the confluence of the Mississippi System, the numbers of luminous phenomena (reported as "UFOs") per month peaked three to four months (r=0.87) after the river had crested. However because of the intrinsic cyclicity of the seismicity, luminous phenomena and water levels the occurrence of some intrinsic dynamic could not be excluded.

Extreme but infrequent river loads my trigger "UFO flaps" or temporally and spatially clustered SLPs. One such episode involved the Red River System (Persinger and Derr, 1985a) within southern Manitoba and Minnesota/ North Dakota. A marked increase in luminosities (red, orange or white "bobbing balls of light") around Carman, Manitoba during early 1975 was followed two months later by an earthquake within 100 km from the twin cities of Breckenbridge, Minnesota and Wahpeton, North Dakota (where the confluence of the Bois de Sioux and Otter Tail Rivers converge to form the Red River) that was the most energetic in recent history. A potential trigger from spring water loads upon the Red River Basin was implicated. Whether or not the most recent floods of mai 1997 will precipitate SLP in the Winnipeg area will depend upon antecedent strain conditions.

Perhaps one of the most active (in addition to the New Madrid Region) and focal areas for tremblements de terre, seasonal variables in fluid load and numbers of UFO reports is the San Francisco Basin. As an extension of John Derr's fluid hypothesis, we recently evaluated the relationship between January rainfalls in that basin and UFO reports. More than 50% of the variance (equivalent to a correlation of r=0.70) in numbers of annual UFO reports was explained by the amount of January rainfall. The effect was strongest for SLP within 100 km of San Francisco. The multiple r increased to 0.83 if the geomagnetic activity entered the equation.

Variable water loads within other depositories, such as reservoirs, could also evoke strain and trigger episodes of luminosities. John Keel, one of the most creative and intuitive field researchers, had noted that UFO reports and related phenomena, such as "odd humanoids", occurred near reservoirs. To discern if small variations in strain could be associated with UFO reports, Derr and I (1993) evaluated the temporal association between water levels within the Grand Coulee Dam (Lake Roosevelt) in Washington state and numbers of SLP within radial increments of 50 km to a distance of 200 km. We found that the change in volume (whose absolute value was about 2% of the total depth of the reservoir, i.e., 44 ft) was the most critical correlate. The numbers of UFO reports within 50 km were associated with an increase rate of change during the same month while the numbers of luminous phenomena within 100 km was associated with the amount of change in volume during the previous month.

Sites Of Major Fluid Injection May Serve As Quasiexperimental Demonstrations Of The TST

La plupart du soutien empirique à la TST a été des analyses corrélationnelles. Bien que des techniques de validité discriminative ou convergente q(Anastasi, 1976) puissent être appliquées pour s'assurer de la spécificité de la relation entre les ALP et les tremblements de terre, la plupart des scientifiques préfèrent des concepts expérimentaux permettant un contrôle des variables-clés. Man-made induction of earthquake activity by flooding, fluid injection or irrigation can serve as potential quasiexperimental verifications. There are many anecdotal candidates that suggest the feasibility of this approach. An example is the temporal relationship between the massive irrigation causing the slow depletion of the Aral Sea (in the Soviet Union) and the nearby Tashkent seismicity and earthquake lightning.

One of the most well known cases in the U.S.A. was the Derby quakes; approximately 1000 of these events were evoked during the years 1962 à 1967 near Denver, Colorado due to injection of several tens of millions of gallons of fluid into the bedrock. Once the quakes were initiated, they appear to have continued, despite curtailment of injection, resulting in the most energetic seismic events of the region. These events were studied extensively. Correlative with this energy release was an unprecedented number of UFO reports within the Denver area.

John Derr and I analyzed the monthly occurrence of ALP within 100 km, between 101 and 250 km and more than 450 km (used as the control region) from Derby. Within the Derby region LP were positively correlated with the volume of fluid injection of the same month; however for the adjacent region, the strongest relationships occurred 2 months after the injections. There was no significant correlation between LP beyond 450 km and fluid injection. These results suggest that the same stimulus (fluid injection) that evoked tremblements de terre also evoked ALP. Our (Derr and Persinger, 1990b) analyses also strongly suggested that some process, coupled to the production of ALP, was diffusing away from the injection site at speeds between 50 and 100 km/month to distances as far as 300 km.

The possibility the man-made fluid injections could induce an aseismically propagating hydrological pulse that would be the physical manifestation of the hypothetical "strain field" was explored more fully within the areas of Attica, New York, Rangely, Colorado, Sanford (Amarillo), Texas and Hanford, Washington. Each of these areas had been subjected to man-made fluid injection by either aqueous loading of a lake or forced injection of millions to billions of gallons of fluid into crustal vaults. Luminous events, reported as UFOs, within 100 km of the injection sites peaked within two years. At larger radial distances, between 101 and 200 km and 201 km and 300 km, the peaks in UFO reports occurred after two years and were less intense. The results were consistent with the radial propagation of a strain field whose magnitude and speed diminished non-linearly with distance.

That injection of billions of gallons of fluid into oil fields, in order to enhance recovery of petroleum, may have been and may be a trigger for luminous displays such as the Marfa (Texas) lights can be demonstrated empirically. However quantitative data that includes the amount of fluid injected, the rate of fluid injected and the local tectonic strain status would be required in order to predict the occurrence of these lights. For most of these areas the natural topography encourages the occurrence of SLP. Frequently, there are historical antecedents or culturally-described references to these luminous events within the legends of Native Americans. Contemporary technology simply enhances the frequency and amplitude of the occurrences of the LP.

Implications de phénomènes lumineux (et signalements d'ovnis) créés par des injections de fluide par l'homme

Il y a 4 implications immédiates qui pourraient être considérées si des injections de fluide peuvent évoquer des champs de contraintes en propagation. D'abord, from a mundane but historical perspective, could the infamous 1947 observations that resulted in the term "flying saucers" have been initiated by man-made factors? These observations, that began in the western portion of Washington state, occurred approximately three years after the deposition of radioactive fluids into crustal vaults near Hanford, Washington.

Secondly, the possibility that injection of millions of gallons of fluid can propagate 100s of km from the site suggests that reports of LP could be employed as markers of diffusion from storage sites. Third, if components of the fluid propagate with the strain field, the constituents of some single UFO events could contain these materials. For example, would the infrequent episodes of radioactive burns or poisoning from animals or humans who were proximal to luminosities occur near sites where radioactive material was injected into crustal vaults? To answer these implications prudence rather than panic is required; such questions demand empirical analyses and evaluation.

Fourth, any area where fluid injection or accumulation is occurring could become an experimental site to test the tectonic strain hypothesis. One candidate area, Marmora (near Peterborough), Ontario has been the site of luminous displays (reported as apparitions of the Virgin Mary), odd electromagnetic events, episodes of "visitations by small humanoids around the bed" and classic SLP. The spatial adjacent magnetite mine and quarries have been filling with water (several millions of gallons per month). Preliminary analyses have indicated (depuis 1995) an association between the numbers of reports of luminous experiences and seismicity within the region.

Visualisation du champ de contrainte en mouvement

Fields are difficult to perceive and must be both inferred and revealed by discrete effects upon matter. For example the presence of the field between the poles of a magnet is not obvious, until its effects on the orientation of iron filings are observed. The passage of a low pressure air mass is not apparent, until one constructs the daily isobars (lines that connect stations with similar barometric pressure). If strain fields exist, they would be apparent by viewing the weekly or monthly changes in the numbers of LP in space as the field moves through the crust.

In both the Uinta and Toppenish episodes, where tremblements de terre occurred in a quasicircular distribution around the concentration of ALP, they occurred primarily in the period between a seismic event on one side of the circle and a subsequent earthquake on the opposite side. This effect might be explained by the movement of a strain field; while moving between stress-release (epicenter) points, it traversed through the focal area and generated the ALP. Once the field passed through the area, the ALP were no longer produced and consequently UFOs were no longer reported.

The concept of a strain field existing around an epicenter is supported for some larger tremblements de terre. Earthquake lights are known to occur at distances of approximately 500 km from the epicenter of more intense seismic events. However, a moving strain field that converges upon an imminent epicenter would be more convincing. This pattern has been shown for some larger magnitude events. For example, the distance between all LP in the region and an imminent epicenter (near Tucumcari, New Mexico) gradually decreased over several months. For another intense seismic event within that region (Los Alamos) there were no ALP within 100 km of the imminent epicenter 15 to 21 months before the quake. Ten LP were observed during the period 7 months to 14 months before quake. However about 50 ALP were reported during the six month period that preceded the quake. After the quake, there were significantly fewer ALP and their distribution was totally random.

Of course the movement of a field-like pattern could have alternative, geophysical explanations. One of them, as suggested by John Derr, involves the movement of ground water. Lateral movement and percolation of the massive fluid reservoir through the earth's crust can certainly affect the distribution of forces along fault lines. Alterations in the distributions or levels of ground water, especially along river systems in response to load extremes (floods), could affect these forces in a manner that would be very similar to that proposed for moving strain fields. Maintained injection of fluids, such as within the Derby site and many major oil fields, might also be expected to influence hydrodynamic factors. It is important to emphasize that at least in the Derby case, both the numbers of LP and the numbers of tremblements de terre within the same month were most strongly correlated with the volume (in millions of gallons per month) of fluid injection.

Limitations de la TST

There are reliable relationships of moderate strength that exist in time and space between numbers of UFO reports and the amount of seismic energy release within a geological region. Because both types of discrete events are produced by tectonic stress and strain and they are not directly measured but only inferred, the TST has not been demonstrated conclusively. The situation is analogous to the relationship between a fever and the later development of influenza. Although both the fever and the flu are produced by a virus, the association between the two is limited unless both can be related to the virus. The pattern may display strong reliability, i.e., there is a systematic positive lagged correlation between the fever and then the flu. However the pairing does not necessarily demonstrate the validity of the hypothesized relationship: the virus causes both. The limit of the TST is analogous.

Most of the evidence that supports the TST is based upon correlational analyses and procedures that require a moderate level of appreciation for multivariate methodology. This feature is shared by many other areas of science, including epidemiology, meteorology, astronomy and of course seismology. The temporal and spatial correlations between UFO reports and tremblements de terre are comparable to the association between: 1) radon levels and lung cancer, 2) alterations in stratospheric constituents and global warming and 3) foreshock patterns and seismic events. Sometimes phenomena that involve statistical processes are difficult to perceive and, for some researchers, frustrating to understand.

The role of cognitive style in problem solving and the frequent incompatibility between discrete and probabilistic thinking are important variables in this area of research. For example one experienced exploration geologist felt that for the TST to be totally supported each ALP should be shown to be associated with a particular earthquake. Such an approach is comparable to attempting to equate each cough with a particular spot during an episode of measles. Like any field phenomenon, some measure of the field's property rather than its individual constituents is essential.

The third major limit of the TST is the subject matter. UFO reports are based upon human observation. Consequently issues such as sampling, estimates of how many true UFO events are represented by a single UFO report, and the general problem of consistent recording of odd events (even an anomalous event becomes routine if displayed frequently enough) are potential sources of variance that affect the magnitude of the relationship between UFO reports and tremblements de terre. It is likely that if these errors were minimal, the relationship between ALP and tremblements de terre would be so conspicuous that statistical treatment would not be required. Sampling errors generally dilute, not enhance, the strength of replicable relationships.

An important difficulty with UFO reports is that they probably represent heterogeneous phenomena. Whether or not: 1) unidentified lights moving in a straight line, 2) rotating red balls of light with multiple smaller balls along their periphery, and 3) metallic-looking shapes originate from different sources of variance or are different manifestations of the same source (tectonic strain) must still be established. The presence of this heterogeneity suggests that single UFO cases cannot be used to refute either the phenomena (in the tradition of Philip Klass) or the TST (in the tradition of Stanton Friedman).

Whether or not UFO reports in one part of the world are comparable to those reported in another must still be addressed. Indirect evidence suggests similarity because historical episodes of increased global seismicity have been associated with "world-wide epidemics of luminosities". In North America, there has been consistency in the proportion of different types of UFO reports within the Uinta, Rutledge, Yakima (Toppenish) and CUFOS collections. Most classified UFO reports are odd luminosities, comparable to CUFOS' classification Type III through Type VI ; the more strange observations constitute less than about 5% of the population of reports. The strongest correlations occur between classic ALP and tremblements de terre; the stranger the observations the less clear is the association to imminent seismic activity.

From an extreme behaviourist perspective, the persistent correlation between UFO reports and seismicity may only suggest that anomalous human behavior (in the form of strange perceptions) may precede earthquake activity in the region. Escalations of UFO reports could be considered as a type of epidemiological phenomenon that is analogous to other forms of odd animal behavior that may precede some tremblements de terre. This hypothesis can only be excluded when construct validity between UFO reports and other measures, e.g., photographs, spectral analyses, has been completed.

Mécanismes et caractéristiques de l'événement ovni spécifique

Quel est le véritable événement ovni ?

L'explication logique de la part de la TST est que l'événement ovni individuel, initialement un ALP, est la transformation de l'énergie associée à la déformation mécanique au sein de la croute terrestre sous formes électrique, lumineuse, magnétique, sonique ou même chimique. La transformation est en principe semblable à la transduction de toute énergie. Cependant, parce que la croute terrestre est composée de matériaux hétérogènes de compositions thermoélectrique, piézoélectrique et chimique différentes, les conversions sont plus variées. Ce facteur multivarié prédit qu'une variété de différent mécanismes physiques est impliquée dans la génération des événements ovni. Si des mécanismes différents génèrent des produits différents, alors la variation riche des propriétés physiques des ovnis pourrait être expliquée.

En dépit de cette multiplicité de mécanismes, il devrait y avoir des modes prédominants de transformation car la croute terrestre affiche de plus grands pourcentages pour certains types de minéraux. Parce que les roches contenant du quartz sont si largement distribuées, la forme piézoélectrique est un mécanisme possible. Un processus tout aussi courant impliquerait une variante de la réaction de nucléation dont on fait l'hypothèse qu'elle précède les tremblements de terre. En considérant la magnitude et les forces impliquées ont pourrait prédire que la plupart des ovnis devraient générer des champs électromagnétiques substantiels qui pourraient inclure le spectre entier de la lumière (et des couleurs), une radiation ionisante biologiquement dangereuse et même des composantes de champ magnétique quasistatique suffisantes à affecter les systèmes d'éclairage et d'allumage.

Aucune extrapolation directe à partir de la TST ne peut prédire ce que se passe effectivement lorsque le quantum de contraintes est translaté en ce phénomène perçu comme un ovni. Ce quantum de pression se translate-t-il en un micro-tremblement de terre ? L'augmentation progressive de pression avant sa diffusion catastrophique (e. g. un tremblement de terre) est-elle associée à une escalade du nombre de microtremblements de terre et donc la "diffusion" de phénomènes ovnis ? Or is the quantum of strain transformed into the UFO event in lieu of the release of mechanical energy? What is the ratio of transformations of quanta of strain that are directly observable, i.e., are the (visible) UFOs only a small fraction of the actual numbers of strain quanta? Are the others released as pockets of radon gas or electromagnetic radiation? There are no contemporary answers to these questions.

The physical properties of the UFO event should reflect some fundamental feature of the local earth's crust and the mechanism through which the ALP is generated. We should find that the predominant red color of ALP should reflect a frequent chemical property that accompanies the transformation of the quanta of strain. The involvement of sulphide-based ores would be expected to generate sulphur-oxide or methylsulfonamide (the smell added to propane gas) correlative with the LP. Involvement of outcrops of acidious quartz diorite might promote the release of the relatively common radioactive gas, radon, and evoke reports of "residual radioactivity". Enhanced gas emissions and chemiluminescence have been postulated to generate at least some types of earthquake lights r[Hedervari & Noszticzius, 1985].

One would expect that measurable residues of LP, when they touch the ground, should reflect the primary constituents of crustal material. The few metallurgical analyses that have been conducted revealed oxidized forms of the most frequent elements of common rocks: silica, manganese, and aluminum. Quantitative estimates indicate that only a few grams of metal (Persinger, 1984b), dispersed along a strong electromagnetic surface, would appear as "metallic". Interestingly, the temporal association between some LP reported during the nineteenth century and the deposition of "slag" or metallic fragments was frequently reported by Charles Fort. If the ALP had been labelled "spaceship", then these materials would be attributed to "spaceship fragments".

Local Displays of ALP Should Be Distributed Around Areas of Stress Accumulation and Release But Be Attracted to Geometries that Promote Charge Collection

The occurrence of specific ALP is predicted to occur in topographies that are associated with stress release. Consequently LP should be more frequent along fault lines or their topographic equivalents such as rivers and creeks. To test this prediction, a comprehensive knowledge of the local structural geology would be required. The systematic pursuit of this hypothesis has been completed almost exclusively by Paul Devereaux (1989) and his research group. They have shown that ALP are distributed along fault lines. In the U.S. the only comparable study involved the collections by Greg Long (1990) for the Toppenish Ridge ALP. There are likely to be hundreds of keen observers who have noticed the relationships between very local and brief displays of ALP, fault lines and seismicity. Without the implementation of Ron Westrum's (1982) concept of a social network, the presence of these observers would remain obscure.

If the individual UFO is primarily an electromagnetic phenomenon, it should follow those principles. Verification of this prediction would require classification of the natural and man-made structures of the local environment along a continuum of conductors to non-conductors. Classic UFOs or ALP would be expected to occur over powerlines, near the apices of structures (towers, steeples, hills); they would also be attracted to moving semiconductors such as trains, cars and the human being. Although qualitative descriptions support the general hypothesis, well designed quantitative studies are required.

Local Triggers of LP Involve Any Stress-Relevant Stimuli

Although tectonic stress must be present to generate ALP, their acute occurrence will depend upon probabilistic processes or the occurrence of a trigger. If the former occurs, then UFO reports could be distributed in a less conspicuous manner over several days to weeks. However there are several candidates that can affect local stresses and force the production of UFOs into narrower and more conspicuous temporal windows. Major triggers are: lunar tides, the passage air masses and geomagnetic storms. They have been found to trigger tremblements de terre (Latynina & Rizaeva, 1976; Kilston & Knopoff, 1983). A focal strain field associated with the moon rotating around the earth travels in the order of 1000 km/hr. Passage of air masses (Persinger & Cameron, 1986), especially very energetic ones, have been associated with some UFO flaps, ghost lights (such as the Hookerman phenomenon in New Jersey) and earthquake lights (Yasui, 1974). The role of intense geomagnetic storms was discussed in the last section.

L'étrangeté de l'événement ovni individuel reflète la perspective de l'observation

Une étrangeté ou des propriétés inhabituelles émergent fréquemment lorsque le niveau de discours d'un phénomène est traversé. Au niveau de 10 cm3 un verre d'eau contenant des membranes de lipid apparaissent claires et homogenènes. Dans un volume de 1 nanomètre3 du même fluide, des propriétés étranges et inhabituelles émergent. Il pourrait y avoir des régions (hydrophobiques) où il n'y a pas de molécules d'eau ; dans d'autres régions la disparité de charge électrique pourrait être équivalente à 1 million V/m et des chaînes de protéines pourraient se tordrent et tourner continuellement. Les phénomènes sont anormaux parce que l'observateur a traversé un niveau d'observation et perçoit un sous-ensemble extrêmement minutieux de l'ensemble total.

Une situation analogue est prédite être responsable de l'étrangeté fondamentale de nombreux ovnis. Parce que l'observateur visualise un sous-ensemble minutieux du phénomène total (le champ de contrainte), sont apparentes des propriétés qui ne seraient pas discernables à un niveau régional. Cette prédiction est plus métaphorique qu'empirique. Cependant elle ouvre une possibilité à la découverte de forces physiques inhabituelles ou de leurs application anormale et peut-être des interactions innatendues entre les corrélations électromagnétiques des processus cognitifs humains et le phénomène ovni en lui-même.

Les croyances de l'observateur affectent la description de l'ovni

La plupart des phénomènes d'ovnis sont mesurés par des processus humains complexe impliquant la sensations, la perception et la mémoire. Ils sont affectés par les attentes, croyances et l'histoire de l'apprentissage de ces personnes. Plus la description est dépendante de ces processus, plus ils affectent les détails de la sensation d'origine. Si l'intitulé de vaisseau spatial est utilisé pour qualifier un ALP les détails remémorés peuvent lentement changer depuis une lumière brillante dans le ciel à un objet avec des fenêtres, jusqu'à un vaisseau. Parce que la mémoire est la "mesure" de ces expériences, la personne ne peut facilement détecter des changements au sein du système. La fidélité de la mémoire, en particulier pour des événements anormaux, a été discutée ailleurs sPersinger, 1983f, 1984b.

Does the Increase in Stress Before Quakes Generate More ALP or Evoke Qualitatively Different Phenomena?

The general tendency for most UFO to occur weeks to months before the release of seismic energy suggests that their temporal relationship is non-linear. If it were not, then more and more ALP should occur as the imminent earthquake approached. The absence of general linearity indicates that some restricted amount of stress or a particular rate of change in stress, early in the stress accumulation, is optimal for the generation of ALP.

The analyses of the Washington-Oregon data (Persinger & Derr, 1984) indicated that the greater the amount of energy release, the greater the temporal lag in the antecedent peak in numbers of UFO reports. Peaks of LP in the Zeitoun episode (Derr & Persinger, 1989a) preceded the major seismicity by almost a year. In an analogous manner, temporal clusters of anomalous seismic activity may occur several years before the occurrence of a major shock (Yoshida, 1987). These results suggest a critical zone of stress magnitude that could generate ALP. Depending upon the duration that this zone was maintained and the movement of the stress field, LP could be generated for several weeks (without concomitant seismicity), but then become less evident for years before a significant major event.

Whether or not other kinds of anomalous phenomena are generated by tectonic stresses before and after this critical zone is not clear. Only one analysis (Persinger, 1982) has shown that electrical anomalies (power failures) precede ALP that in turn precede more exotic displays, such as poltergeist-like events. The conceptual and spatial concomitance of LP with poltergeist, haunt and other phenomena was observed in the Toppenish, Uinta and Gold Hills, North Carolina (unpublished reports by Wayne Laporte) displays. The interrelationship between UFO and parapsychological phenomena has yet to be explored.

Limitation Of The TST Application To The UFO Event

Although there are many similarities between luminous phenomena generated by compressional stresses within the laboratory and the ALP that could be generated by tectonic strain, a mechanistic connection between the two is less clear. The fundamental assumption has been that laboratory models are valid representations of large scale equivalents. This assumption is prevalent in many scientific disciplines. Unfortunately there have been no published studies by physicists or geophysicists that have applied the discrete relationships of the laboratory to the large-scale field setting. If the essential phenomena are scale invariant, then the lifetime of the average UFO suggests that compressional energies involve hundreds of square kilometers of crustal space.

Le problème des Rencontres Rapprochées

La question des enlèvements par une intelligence extraterrestre, qu'ils se manifestent comme les anges du 16ème siècle, les fées du 19ème ou les créatures de l'espace de la période actuelle, n'est pas critique dans la vérification de la TST. Ces expériences n'impliquent pas plus de 1% de l'ensemble des données des signalements d'ovnis. Cependant la puissante association entre les explications de phénomènes ovnis et l'occurrence de ces expériences inhabituelles nécessitent une attention objective.

Contactee and Abduction Experiences are Variants of Beliefs In Mystical Entities and Cosmic Experiences

The experienced clinician is cognizant that the concept of the human self is a fragile phenomenon whose integrity is maintained by systematized beliefs and expectations. They produce the sense of personal purpose and facilitate the creation of strategies that diminish the apprehension of personal death. Belief in omnipotent forces such as God or more contemporary equivalents, such as alien intelligence, is one obvious consequence of these processes. An indication of the intimate relationship between these beliefs and the integrity of the self is the anxiety, anger and flurry of verbal activity that are evoked when the beliefs are challenged. Such systematized beliefs are so common that by definition they are normal. Beliefs that dominate a person's life are considered delusions only when they deviate extremely from culturally acceptable concepts. Psychologically, there is no difference in the belief that God protects a person from harm and the conviction that Omnipotent Space Creatures are spiritual custodians.

Anxiety, depression and dissociation are common features of everyday life. Although the prevalence of the first two are apparent, the incidence of dissociation is less widely known. The intensity of symptoms range from the occasional "staring into space" to large periods of missing time. Approximately 10% of the population dissociates frequently and at least half of the population dissociates during intense personal events, such as divorce, death and occupational disappointments. During these periods the person may experience missing time and report alterations in memory. Memories can be reorganized such that they are no longer accessible to consciousness. When this occurs the concept of self is sometimes changed; in more religious traditions the period coincides with conversions.

If a specific stimulus was associated with dissociation, then a later presentation of that stimulus or something similar to it can activate these alterations in memory. Because these "altered memories" are often odd or personally unacceptable, their revelation generates anxiety; consequently there are strong psychological forces that prevent their emergence. The person may remain vigilant (anxious) or display depression. During periods of personal stress, these dissociated memories, modified by beliefs and expectancies, occur as experiences that are perceived as originating "outside" of the self. These experiences are perceived as real and are frequently ascribed to religious or mystical intervention. The consequent conversion in cognitive structure, alters the perception of the self and the sense of purpose.

Anomalous Experiences that Comprise Contactee and Abduction Reports Are Correlated With Enhanced Activity within the Temporal Lobes of the Human Brain

Although all portions of the brain are involved with experience, the temporal lobes have a major contribution. These regions contain the most electrically unstable structures of the brain; they are strongly associated with meaning, memory, visual and auditory imagery and the sense of self. Extreme electrical stimulation within these regions is associated with altered perception of normal events, the release of dream states into consciousness, feelings of personal destiny, concerns about the meaning of life, the compulsion to proselytize and an intense widening of affect such that mundane observations, from a crescent moon to a misplaced bracelet become components of a common theme (Persinger, 1983f).

The lability of temporal lobe activity displays a continuum; people who display limbic epilepsy, defined by focal electrical seizures that may or may not generalize to motor convulsions, occupy the extreme end of this continuum. Most normal people would show intermediate forms of activity. However this can be enhanced by physiological states, particularly those associated with elevations in the stress neuropeptides adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) and the glucocorticoid, cortisol (Persinger, 1989).

The personalities of normal people who display enhanced temporal lobe activity are dominated by its features. These people usually display enhanced: creativity, suggestibility, memory capacity and intuitive processing (Persinger & Makarec, 1987). Most of them experience a rich fantasy or subjective world that fosters their adaptability. Many of them are prone to bouts of physical and mental activity followed by mild depression during which self-questioning occurs. These people have more frequent experiences of a sense of presence during which time "an entity is felt and sometimes seen"; exotic beliefs rather than traditional religious concepts are endorsed. With the exception of panic and post-traumatic stress disorders, there is no evidence that the incidence of psychiatric disorders among people who display temporal lability is any greater than those less prone to this activity. The delayed emergence (15 years or more after the enhanced lability) of schizophreniform processes cannot be excluded.

Any Event That Fosters Dissociation and Focal Temporal Lobe Activity Might Precipitate Contactee or Abductee-Type Experiences

Most human cultures have developed techniques that facilitate periods of contact with and "abduction" by mystical entities. The common factor of these techniques is the capacity to encourage temporal lobe lability: fasting, hypoxia, and psychological or physical stress are effective stimulators. Their general consequences are similar. With the details of culture removed, there is little difference operationally between an American Indian encountering his spirit guide and being taken to "the land of the spirits" and the twentieth century North American encountering an alien and being abducted. The fragmented memories, parapsychological themes, missing time, episodes of torment or inspired "messages" and sense of personal significance remain the same.

Because most UFO phenomena are assumed to be energetic natural sources, close proximity to them would preferentially evoke electrical instability within the observer's brain (Persinger, 1983f). The types of symptoms and their intensity would vary as a function of the current induction within the brain. As the current density increases the consequences would change from tingling sensations or sense of a presence, to odd smells or sounds and then to the release of dream-like images. At very intense currents, partial amnesia might occur and severe hypertonus or convulsions would ensue. Very intense currents would be lethal; unless precise postmortems were completed, the symptoms would simulate a heart attack. If the body was associated with burns, death would probably be attributed to a lightening strike.

Even though disruptions in consciousness would occur, memory would still be consolidated. It would be affected by the label and the beliefs evoked by the person to describe the ALP just before the stimulation. Once the neuroelectrical equivalents of these experiences occurred, a process that involves only a few minutes, the memories would appear as real as those acquired under more mundane conditions. Any form of extraction, from free association to hypnosis, would simply reflect what the person believed happened rather than what necessarily occurred. Considering the predictable manner in which neurocognitive processes adjust to brain trauma, alterations in the "retrieved" experiences or "revelations" should be evident as cognitive dissonance is resolved and information acquired after the incident is incorporated into memory. These processes have been demonstrated experimentally in a variety of psychological contexts (Stern, 1985; Rossi, 1986).

There are important differences between the effects of current induction that can occur proximal to an ALP and those evoked by more mundane sources, such as electroconvulsive shock (ECS). The latter is quick, discrete and occurs within a relatively familiar context. The experimental procedure that evokes experiences most similar to the more extreme UFO encounters is the electrical stimulation associated with neurosurgery. It involves very focal current induction (about 1 cc) within the brain (Persinger & Cameron, 1986). These similarities suggest that the magnetic fields associated with ALP involve highly localized, flux line-like distributions of energy. Most medical utilizations of electromagnetic energy, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques, are not representative of this process because they emphasize homogeneity of current distribution.

Because ALP generated by tectonic strain could affect the brain of the nearby observer, some abduction and contactee experiences might be attributable to this source. Considering the variety of psychological and physiological conditions that can affect temporal lobe lability, the majority of these experiences should not involve ALP directly. They would be the subject matter of the experts who study human cognitive processes. In light of the strong correlation between life-time histories of dissociation during stress and early histories of physical or psychological trauma, especially between the ages of 4 and 6 years, these factors would be expected to predominate. For these cases, the TST is simply not applicable.

Simulation expérimentale du vécu d'enlèvement/visite

Epidemic reports of "visitations" and even "abductions", as defined by experiences attributed to "being taken" into another dimension, have occurred periodically in human history. The succubi and incubi, were nocturnal entities that allegedly visited Europeans during the Middle Ages. The "victim" was sexually explored and even abused. More recent epidemics have included the fairy visitations during the turn of the last century.

The experimental work of Laurentian University's Neuroscience Research Group has been primarily involved with understanding the neurocognitive correlate to the "sense of self", perhaps the last major challenge to modern neuroscience. The clinical applications of this work has been focused to help patients with subclinical partial complex (limbic foci) seizures, closed head injuries and some forms of depression. These patients often experience a fragmentation of the sense of self, the "sense of a presence", the apprehension of "going crazy" and multiple physiological symptoms including anomalous skin blemishes and sleep disturbances. Unless the symptoms are relieved, the concomitant stress biochemistry can produce adverse effects upon neurons

We have been applying very weak, complex magnetic fields transcerebrally (across the hemispheres of the brain). The strength of the fields are in the order of 10 milligauss (RMS) or 1 microTesla and are much weaker than the 60 Hz magnetic fields generated by hairdryers or a personal computer. The critical feature of these fields is that they are complex sequences of patterns containing information to which neurons and aggregates of neurons respond. Traditional medical applications of magnetic fields employ very high intensities of very symmetrical, redundant and neuronally meaningless forms.

When normal individuals are exposed to these complex fields, particulary over the right hemisphere (temporoparietal lobes) for 15 min and then over the left hemisphere, they experience the sense of "a presence". The presence is attributed to cultural labels brought by the subject into the experimental setting. Some subjects attribute it to a "spirit", others attribute it to mystical sources. The affective polarity of the experience, i.e., negative or positive, will determine if the attribution is associated with a positive (god) or negative (demon) label.

Our working hypothesis is that the sense of self is associated with linguistic processes that are typically associated with the left hemisphere. From this perspective the proclivity for people to fight or die to maintain their language and culture is not surprising. Altered culture and altered language are often associated with a change in the sense of self. However there must be a homologue of the sense of self within right hemispheric processes. When it is stimulated and the neuroelectrical pattern intrudes into left hemispheric awareness, the experience is that of an ego-alien "presence". Effectively this "presence" is the other "you". In most people, the presence is the right hemispheric equivalent of the left hemispheric sense of self.

Because the right hemisphere is associated with emotion and employs slightly different neuronal codes than left hemispheric processes associated with the sense of self, the "presence" will appear strange but have profound affective significance. Because the right hemisphere is associated with hypervigilance and anxiety, the entity is more likely to be experienced on the left side of the body and to be "negative" or "scary". Women often identify the "presence" as "male" while men report the presence as "female". The microstructural organization of the feminine brain encourages this type of brief intercalation between the right and left hemisphere. For example the normal right-handed woman and left-handed man experience the sense of presence more frequently (by a factor of about 2) than the right-hand man within the experimental setting.

Although we have partially simulated the phenomenon experimentally, it occurs naturally. For example, during some dream (REM) periods following personal distress or during suppression of nocturnal melatonin levels (e.g., increased nocturnal geomagnetic activity), the sense of a presence is more probable. It is the likely correlate of the sense of "Muses" or "Inspiration" reported by creative writers, musicians, poets and artists when they remain awake during the early morning hours (usually between 0200 and 0400 hrs local time).

The results of our experimental work suggest an association between subclinical electrical microseizure activity and the abduction experience. Although we have some cases where the nightly visits of "scintillating humanoids around the bed" disappeared once anticonvulsants were given, the similarity does not imply that the abduction experiences are simply a pattern of microseizures. In addition to the sense of a presence, which is attributed to the contemporary cultural label and explanation--an alien, demon or other-dimensional creature--, there are gender specific experiences. Because the insula, adjacent to the stem of the temporal lobe, appears to be involved with the process, women are more likely to experience uterine and inner vaginal sensations. The propensity for pseudocyesis (false pregnancy) in woman who are highly creative and display elevated temporal lobe signs may be one of the etiologies for the "stolen" embryo stories that are characteristic of many human cultures. For men, the major representation within the insula involves the intestinal and anal regions.

Our approach has emphasized understanding the portions of the brain that mediate the experience. Obviously, we cannot totally refute or support the experiences of people who report they have been abducted or visited by nocturnal aliens. We are more interested in isolating the portions of the brain or the type of neuroelectrical activity that encourage the experiences. The next step is to determine the, very likely, multiple stimuli--perhaps some not yet discovered, that generate these experiences or their variants. The goal is to control the phenomena.

Considérations importantes si la TST est valide

Le rôle de la croyance dans la recherche sur les ovnis

La seule relation entre les phénomènes ovnis est une intelligence extraterrestre est que les 2 concepts sont étranges. Bien que les phénomènes ovnis soient véridiques et que l'intelligence extraterrestre quelque part dans l'univers soit probable, il n'y a jamais eu de preuve que les 2 sont liés. Un lien entre un "véhicule écrasé" et les millions d'ovnis displayed as ALP est encore moins probable. Depuis des siècles maintenant, une forme d'intelligence "extraterrestre" a été l'explication par défaut des événements anormaux apparaissant dans le ciel. L'IET pour les ovnis est une hypothèse vide parce que l'intelligence est définie fonctionnellement, comme l'existence de Dieu, d'une manière qui ne peut jamais être testée par les méthodes scientifiques traditionnelles.

With each added anomaly to UFO phenomena, the description of alien causality becomes more and more bizarre. One believer in the alien hypothesis commented that even if the correlation between UFOs and tremblements de terre was perfect, it would only show that spaceships are following faults lines in order to obtain energy to traverse the fourth dimension. No amount of analyses can compete with intense belief.

Cependant si cela n'avait pas été pour de telles croyances, défendues avec tenacité avec parfois une ferveur religieuse, les données d'ovnis aujourd'hui disponibles n'auraient jamais été recueillies. Ces chercheurs furent comme les premiers astrologues qui enregistrèrent avec obsession les positions des planètes afin de découvrir leur futur personnel. Si ces données n'avaient pas été récoltées, on se demande si Tycho Brahe et Johannes Kepler auraient eu la base de données pour tester leurs théories du système solaire physique. Sans les croyants dédiés à une surveillance extraterrestre, les conspirations du gouvernement et l'intelligence ultradimensionnelle, les données sur les ovnis n'auraient pas été collectées systématiquement. Une hypothèse inductive, comme la TST, n'aurait pu être développée. L'histoire de la science les référencera probablement pour leur perséverance en tant que collecteurs de données.

L'émergence de la TST et d'autres hypothèses testables compétitives commençera sans aucun doute, tôt ou tard, à éroder cette croyance. La collecte systématique de donnée will subside and the empirical pursuit of the phenomena will falter. La science ne compensera pas nécessairement ce déficit because scientists are human beings whose behaviours are also governed by belief. At present the study of UFO phenomena is believed not to merit scientific inquiry and remains in the realm of personal belief. The mentality is reflected in the comments by an anonymous referee who reviewed a manuscript by John Derr and me; the referee wrote: the relationship between ALP and the release of seismic energy in the central U.S.A. is only correlational and if I had a choice I prefer to believe that they are alien space craft rather than caused by tectonic strain.

If the strength of association between two phenomena of such great potential importance, such as UFOs and tremblements de terre, were found in physics, medicine or astronomy one doubts if the potential would be ignored so conspicuously. However until UFO phenomena are divorced from their association with concepts that are couched within personal beliefs, pursuit of understanding will remain in the periphery of science. Only a few protagonists and antagonists will remain, often at risk to their own reputations.

Préoccupations et implications médicales

There are two major implications of the TST that deserve ethical consideration. First, if most UFO phenomena are generated by tectonic stresses and they are associated with the release of anomalous electromagnetic fields and radioactive gases, should epidemiological studies be recommended (Persinger, 1988b)? There are dozens of anecdotal cases of untoward biological effects, including premature mortality, following close proximity to intense ALP. Most UFO researchers are informed of at least one local case of a person becoming ill or dying shortly after close proximity to an anomalous light, especially when missing time is concomitant.

These cases are likely to be the extreme representations of exposure to the electromagnetic correlates of the processes that generate UFO phenomena and ALP. Experimental data clearly indicate that even weak time-varying magnetic fields can affect DNA activity and cell division (Liboff, et. al., 1984). The weak but significant relationship between cancer, including brain tumors, and certain types of EM fields cannot be denied (Persinger, 1988b). If most UFO events are associated with potentially hazardous forces, then risk assessment is a responsibility rather than an option for the cognizant scientist.

Repeated exposures to ALP, when attributed to religious sources, may subject the experients to greater health risks. For example two of the three children who were central to the Fatima (Portugal) episode earlier this century may have succumbed to cancer. One of the approximately five young people who were integral to the Medjugorje (Yugoslavia) Marian apparitions (that anteceded the political conflict) developed a brain tumour (the typical annual incidence of brain tumors is about 20 per 100,000 people). The incidence of cancer near the present Marmora site was sufficient to evoke concern among workers within the adjacent mine.

Of course a prudent balance between concern and prevention of undue alarm is essential. Except in cases where there are multiple close encounters with ALP or in certain "flap" areas where maintained concentrations of ALP occur over time, the risk of health hazards will probably be minimal. Perhaps the question is best phrased by a specific possibility. Who will be responsible for the child who is seriously affected by a close encounter to an ALP because he or she thought it was Spielberg's ET, returning?

The second consideration involves the psychological status of abductee and contactee experients. The majority of these individuals should be psychiatrically normal. The stress of an anomalous experience can be comparable in impact to that associated with the confrontation of verifiable memories of sexual assault or abuse. The fractionation of the person's world view can be as devastating and the sudden realization that one's spouse has displayed infidelity. These problems should be treated by a qualified mental health professional.

If the TST is appropriate for most ALP, then the belief concerning abductions and contactee by alien intelligence is not valid. The encapsulated "abduction experience" would be no more real or unreal, once it has been labelled within brain space as a memory, than any other experience. Confrontation with the delusional origin to the alien experience can be as devastating to the person's psychological state as proof that God is fantasy might be to a religious believer. Suggestions to the person that he or she only "thought" it happened, with or without the proximity of LP, only demeans the person. There is no requirement to establish or "to prove" if an anomalous experience "really happened". For the therapist, the goal is to facilitate the person's adaptation.

Références


Les critiques et questions les plus fréquentes concernant l'hypothèse des contraintes tectoniques

  1. La plupart des signalements d'ovnis sont des méprises ; par conséquent toutes analyses statistiques entre ces données et les indices d'activité sismiques sont invalidés.
    Les coéfficients de corrélation carrés ou coéfficients de détermination reflètent la variance partagée entre 2 variables. Cette variance partagée peut être superimposées sur un score minimum de 0 ou un score minimum de 500. Par exemple supposez qu'une corrélation de 0,70 existe entre la variable X qui va de 0 à 10 et la variable Y qui va de 0 à 10. Si vous ajoutez une constante, i.e, 500 à chacune de ces valeurs, la corrélation est toujours la même, i.e, r=0,70, parce que la quantité de variance partagée reste inchangée. Si nous supposons que les méprises sont plus ou moins aléatoires par intervalle d'observation, which is usually the numbers of UFO reports per month or per 6 month increment, then the numbers of these misperceptions become a type of constant. The actual variability that is superimposed upon this constant is the primary association with imminent earthquake activity.
  2. La Théorie des Contraintes Tectoniques tente d'expliquer tous les signalements d'ovnis.
    La TST est dérivée d'observations empiriques. Parce que le qualificatif OVNI est un terme overinclusive which is very likely to include phenomena with multiple and completely different etiologies, the TST cannot be expected to accommodate all of the variance in numbers of UFO reports. Allan Hynek and David Saunders were very aware of the overinclusive nature of the term "UFO" and consequently, like other researchers, developed a classification system that primarily reflected a continuum of strangeness. The strongest associations between luminous phenomena or UFO reports and various indices of earthquake activity have occurred for Type II and Type III through Type VI reports according to the old Hynek-Saunders criteria. The most strange reports, which include the close encounter-abduction reports are the most weakly (but significantly) correlated with imminent earthquake activity in the region.
    One of the goals of the TST is to accommodate as much of the variance in UFO reports as possible and to discern which reports or types of reports deviate from the predictions of the equations. By isolating or describing the characteristics of these "residuals", perhaps we can discovery still more intriguing phenomena that will challenge Science and help the human thinker understand the universe.
  3. L'association entre signalements d'ovnis et activité de tremblements de terre est dérivée d'analyses correlationnelles et non expérimentales et est par conséquent sujette aux mêmes critiques de causalité erronée qui émerge de toute étude correlationnelle.
    La correlation entre le nombre de signalements d'ovnis et de l'activité de tremblements de terre ou de libération d'énergie sismique ne prouve pas que l'une est la cause de l'autre. Les analyses des données et la TST présument qu'il existe un 3ème facteur, la contrainte tectonique, qui produit les 2. En attendant qu'une manipulation experimentale directe de processus physiques qui satisfasse la construction de contrainte tectonique soient achevées et que des phénomènes lumineux soient générés de manière systématique, la critique des analyses correlationnelles doit perdurer.
    Cependant les sciences de grande échelle, comme l'astronomie, la météorologie ou la géophysique, sont souvent limitées par la taille et les énergies nécessaires pour simuler les processus naturels. Until congruent laboratory models are isolated, the most powerful tool involves the multivariate analyses of geophysical variables during the periods of luminous displays. Field studies within areas prone to luminous events, specifically when an array of instrumentation is present, serve as quasiexperimental tests of the hypothesis. Such experiments have recently been reported by Paul Devereaux and his research group.
  4. Comment savez-vous que les ovnis ne sont pas dûs à une IET (Intelligence Extra-Terrestre) ?
    Nous ne le savons pas. Pour la plupart des gens intéressés par les ovnis l'IET est une réponses culturelle par défaut. Par exemple, la personne observe une lumière étrange. La 1ère réponse pourrait être que la lumière est un hélicoptère. Cependant si la lumière ne rejoint pas les critères de ce qualificatif verbal, un autre qualificatif est donné, e.g., un météore étrange. Si tous les qualificatifs ne s'accomodent pas à l'observation, alors le qualificatif donné par la culture contemporaine est "OVNI" ou soucoupe volante. Des cultures antérieures auraient appliqué le qualificatif "esprit", ou "lutin naturel" ou "démon". A ce jour la seule similarité empirique entre l'IET et les ovnis est que tous 2 sont des concepts bizarres ou étranges. Il pourrait y avoir et existe probablement des IET dans l'univers mais il n'y a aucun élément empirique qu'ils soient associés aux types de phénomènes lumineux aujourd'hui désignés comme ovnis. L'étrange est étrange ; il n'implique pas forcément extraterrestre.
    L'erreur intrinsèque pour certains chercheurs est que la source des phénomènes d'ovnis est attribuée à une force extraterrestre définie de telle manière qu'elle n'est jamais testable. Des arguments qui nécessitent des premisses qui sont "non-physiques" ou "d'une autre dimension" sont des hypothèses vides parce qu'elles empêchent tout test direct. Bien que l'on puisse arguer que la force association entre les événements lumineux étranges et les tremblements de terre sont causés par des extraterrestres non physiques invisibles, la parcimonie scientifique favorise une explication plus directe et cognitivement congruente pertinente pour les phénomènes observés : some as yet unspecified geophysical process associated with tectonic strain fields produce SLP and ALP. Of course we cannot prove that the aliens are not there. The argument would be similar to positing the hypothesis that the luminous events are due to nonphysical, invisible pink elephants occasionally urinating upon the earth. You may not find this explanation aesthetic. However, prove they are not there.