Ask Dr. SETI ®
by Muriel Hykes
A lesson about schizophrenia and why organizations and government agencies don't respond to your "urgent" letters detailing paranormal sightings:
Some of you may have heard of the "crazy rainbow lady." She made a YouTube video talking about how she saw a rainbow in a water sprinkler. She included video of it. She concluded that "they" must be putting some (gay) toxins in the water to make it do that. No sane person would evaluate that statement as "true" or even "possible." To the schizophrenic mind, all things are possible. People who run observatories get worried queries every month from people who just now noticed that the moon is visible during the daytime! (GASP!) Combine poor observational skills, low educational level, and the inability to think critically, and even "mentally normal" people can come to bad conclusions.
Schizophrenia is a terrible disease. It robs you of frontal lobe activity. The frontal lobe is where the 'differentiator' (so to speak,) is located. This differentiator takes in a piece of information and weighs its characteristics. It then "decides" whether it makes sense or not. In schizophrenics and schizoid personalities, all incoming information makes equal sense.
Let's say a man and his wife 'see' a freaking huge UFO right outside the gates of a facility where recorders and sensors are constantly being used. (This actually happened, and the "observer" keeps messaging us.) Hundreds of cars and trucks pass by in the eight minutes the couple claims to have watched it. Now, upon learning that nobody else saw it, the person with a functioning frontal lobe would say, "Damn, I gotta' lay off that absinthe, (LSD, 'shrooms, Benadryl, etc.). A person with a malfunctioning frontal lobe would conclude a number of different possibilities, none of which makes any sense to a sane person. (The aliens didn't want anyone else to see it. The government erased the tapes. People saw it but had their minds wiped.) Often, you can see the hallmark of paranoid schizophrenic interpretation in the elevation of that person in their minds. (I'm special. The aliens were speaking directly to me.)
The saddest part is that the victims of malfunctioning frontal lobes really believe they saw or heard what they claim. They butt heads with anyone who tries to tell them they were hallucinating. They cannot believe their explanation doesn't make sense to other people.
Every day, everyone from actresses to Prime Ministers hears from schizophrenics claiming to see or hear things. My own aunt, a paranoid schizophrenic, attributed her smoker's cough to "demons choking her." She frequently wrote to and tried to visit J. Edgar Hoover. Many famous murderers have been schizophrenic. If you look at their justifications, they're always what neurotypical people call "crazy."
And so it is with SETI science. We who try to develop observational techniques for studying measurable, repeatable phenomena are constantly confronted by people who embrace their personal versions of reality. Which is not to say that all who observe unusual phenomena are mentally ill. Rather, it is those who are insist that there is only one correct interpretation of the unknown whose claims are unlikely to merit a response. Their minds are made up, and nothing we say, do, measure, or test will dissuade them.
So, if you're reading this and have an incredible story to tell, I hope this helps you understand why your frenzied attempts to interest someone "high up" in your story may have been ignored. Sorry. We just don't have the time to chase after your fiction, because, after all, that is what it is. I KNOW it seems really real to you. Unfortunately, we can't help that.
(The intended audience for this will probably assume I'm part of a massive government coverup, instead of just an old sick woman in the middle of nowhere.)
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in editorials are those of the individual authors, and do not necessarily reflect the position of The SETI League, Inc., its Trustees, officers, Advisory Board, members, donors, or commercial sponsors.
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this page last updated 6 October 2018
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