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Allagash Abductions

 

From: John.Powell@f4.n1010.z9.FIDONET.ORG (John Powell)

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Subject: Review: Allagash Abductions

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The Allagash Abductions: Undeniable Evidence of Alien Intervention

by Raymond E. Fowler

1993, 347 pp., cloth: $23.95,

paper: 16.95

Wild Flower Press, PO Box

230893, Tigard, OR 97281

Reviewed by Jerome Clark

 

If you're suffering from abduction fatigue - a common ailment in ufology these days - you probably want to read another abduction book about as much as you want to have your wisdom teeth removed or you tax returns audited. Raymond E. Fowler's book The Allagash Abductions had sat gathering dust on my shelves for some months, and only a request from INFO to review it prompted me to take it down and put eye to print.

 

The prospect filled me with more than the usual dread. I had just finished reading John E. Mack's newly published Abduction: Human Encounters with Aliens, a book that rubbed me wrong in just about every way a book can rub one wrong (for details, see my extended commentary in International UFO Reporter, March/April), and on top of that, Mack's is a long book. Fatigue hardly describes how I felt; comatose is more like it.

 

In short, I came to the Allagash Abductions in a decidedly and deservedly sour humor, exasperated by a controversy that has practically consumed ufology in recent years, even as the rhetoric has escalated and the claims for it have grown ever more extreme. The nadir may have been reached with the Linda Cortile case, when a trio of debunkers managed to turn a debate over a particular claim - which has indisputable problems in the evidence department - into a witch hunt. Apparently they harbored the strange impression that ufological discourse heretofore had been too civil, a failing they hastened to correct by painting their adversaries as not merely mistaken but positively craven. Presumably this made the debunkers feel better, but it did nothing to advance serious discussion of the Linda case in specific or abduction matters in general.

 

On the other hand, leading abduction proponents were asking us to believe that the UFO abduction experience is one shared by millions, perhaps tens of millions of people, and we are talking just Americans here. In short, we are asked to credit the proposition that kidnapping by extraterrestrial (or extradimensionals) is a sort of defining human experience. This in the absence of a single medically documented missing-fetus case, or a single unambiguously anomalous abduction-related artifact.

 

Nonetheless, so confident have some proponents become that "investigations" of abduction stories more and more consist in their entirety of the simple elicitation of testimony under hypnosis. Mack even maintains that we ought not to expect much more evidence than this, inasmuch as "it may be wrong to expect that a phenomenon whose very nature is subtle, and one of whose purposes may be to stretch and expand our ways of knowing beyond the purely materialistic approaches of Western science, will yield its secrets to an epistemology or methodology that operates at a lower level of consciousness."

 

I was delighted to find that Fowler operates at a lower level of consciousness. Fowler is of the opinion that abduction reports, like other kinds of UFO reports, can be investigated, that if there is anything to them that fact can be demonstrated through meticulous fact-gathering and analysis. The Allagash Abductions, a little gem of a book, reminds us, in case we have forgotten, why we took abduction seriously to begin with.

 

In plain, workmanlike prose, with a generous amount of direct quotation of the witnesses' own words uttered both in normal consciousness and under hypnosis, Fowler recounts the tale of four New England men who, in August 1976, while canoeing on the Allagash Waterway, a remote wilderness area of northern Maine, experienced close encounter of the first kind. A period of unaccounted-for time accompanies the event, and this nagging fact brought one of the men to Fowler in 1988. Subsequently Fowler, working with veteran CE3 specialist Dave Webb and hypnotist Tony Constantino, delved into all aspects, taking care to verify every verifiable assertion he witnesses made.

 

The result is an engrossing account of textbook style abduction (the textbooks being those written by Bullard, Hopkins, and Jacobs). The aliens are classic, minimally communicative little gray humanoids, intent on sample-collecting and abductee silence, and not much more. Mary Weiner, the wife of one of the abductees, is also a witness to some of the occurrences.

 

Of particular interest is an apparent abduction-related artifact removed from the leg of Jack Weiner, Mary's husband. Unfortunately, in spite of his best efforts, Fowler was unable to secure the sample, described as resembling "chewed-up bubble gum." After physicians and pathologists (whom Fowler interviewed) failed to identify it, it was sent, oddly, to the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology and has not been seen since. Fowler tells us this is not the only evidence of ostensible official interest in the case. In the aftermath of the Fowler-Webb investigation, strange men show up at witnesses' homes making false claims about their business and employment; weird stuff happens on a telephone line with an unlisted number, and the ubiquitous unmarked black helicopters appear.

 

There are no unturned stones here. Fowler probes the witnesses' backgrounds and provides all the relevant information about their character, personalities and medical profiles. He interviews friends, associates and family members. He arranges polygraph tests and checks astronomical records. He takes nothing for granted, fairly considers (and rationally rejects) alternative explanations, and keeps his speculation conservative and to the point. "Undeniable evidence of alien intervention" may be overstating the case, but open-minded readers will have to do some hard thinking if they prefer another interpretation.

 

[The INFO Journal, Number 71, Autumn 1994, copyright 1994 by the International Fortean Organization, PO Box 367, Arlington, VA 22210-0367. Quarterly subscription $12/yr.]

 

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