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The debunker's burden of proof

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posted on Jun, 28 2007 @ 05:12 PM
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Yes, reality is subjective, and this is part of my subjective reality. It might not be in yours, but we would be veering off into a philosophical discussion beyond the scope of this thread if we follow that line of thought.

Also, I'm not saying something like grey alien beings from Zeta Reticuli are definively behind the UFO phenomenon. I'm making the point that it would be perfectly reasonable to conclude that UFOs are interplanetary craft piloted by extraterrestrial lifeforms. Personally, I don't claim to know what is behind all this, only that people are seeing real things which defy conventional explanation. Maybe they're aliens from other planets flying spacecraft, maybe they're beings from another dimension phasing into our own, maybe they're time travelers, maybe they're ghosts, or demons, or dragons, or large, silver, flying, sentient hamburgers. Who knows? But something strange is out there, and the extraterrestrial hypothesis seems to make the most sense.

All I am asking is for debunkers to lead the rest of us along on their process of discovering the truth behind individual cases. If a debunker can debunk, they can show us how they arrived at their conclusion.




posted on Jun, 28 2007 @ 05:17 PM
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Originally posted by SuicideVirus
But the question remains, evidence of what, exactly? I certainly don't know. Odd things flying around in the sky. Strange entities visiting people in their sleep. Other weird stuff. (...) Does all that weird stuff add up to ET aliens? Says who?


Says people who look at the evidence. You said it yourself: we are talking about evidence of "odd things flying around in the sky" and of "strange entities" visiting people. Only the evidence here is slightly misrepresented: the strange things are, by numerous accounts, very clearly vehicles of some sort, and the strange entities do not always visit people in their sleep (in fact the most convincing cases of abduction occurred when the "victims" were wide awake).

Now, if you add up that evidence of ships and strange entities, you narrow down the possibilities quite a bit. It was smart of CrowServo to include the transdimensional hypothesis in his post, because I agree that there is no evidence that these beings come from some specific planetary system. They could come from another dimension, or even another universe.

To sum up, then, what the evidence does suggest is that:

1. Ships of unknown origin are flying around in the sky.

2. People are being visited by strange entities that do not correlate to any animals we presently know of.

3. Said entities are often witnessed in proximity to or inside said ships.

Using Occam's Razor, can you think of a better explanation than extraterrestrials (or "extradimensionals")?




[edit on 28-6-2007 by cambrian77]



posted on Jun, 28 2007 @ 05:17 PM
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First off there's only circumstantial evidence for black holes. Nobody has ever observed a black hole. There's only a few pictures out there as to what we think are black holes. With ufology you have both circumstantial and direct evidence. The direct evidence is eyewitness accounts from Presidents to police officers. Circumstantial evidence is cave paintings, paintings, ancient manuscripts, photo's and video. So at the end of the day there's more evidence for U.F.O.'s then their is for black holes.



posted on Jun, 28 2007 @ 05:20 PM
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Originally posted by cambrian77

Originally posted by SuicideVirus
But the question remains, evidence of what, exactly? I certainly don't know. Odd things flying around in the sky. Strange entities visiting people in their sleep. Other weird stuff. (...) Does all that weird stuff add up to ET aliens? Says who?


Says people who look at the evidence. You said it yourself: we are talking about evidence of "odd things flying around in the sky" and of "strange entities" visiting people. Only the evidence here is slightly misrepresented: the strange things are, by numerous accounts, very clearly vehicles of some sort, and the strange entities do not always visit people in their sleep (in fact the most convincing cases of abduction occurred when the "victims" were wide awake).

Now, if you add up that evidence of ships and strange entities, you narrow down the possibilities quite a bit. It was smart of CrowServo to include the transdimensional hypothesis in his post, because I agree that there is no evidence that these beings come from some specific planetary system. They could come from another dimension, or even another universe.

To sum up, then, what the evidence does suggest is that:

1. Ships of unknown origin are flying around in the sky.

2. People are being visited by strange entities that do not correlate to any animals we presently know of.

3. Said entities are often witnessed in proximity to or inside said ships.

Using Occam's Razor, can you think of a better explanation than extraterrestrials (or "extradimensionals")?




[edit on 28-6-2007 by cambrian77]


Good posts!!



posted on Jun, 28 2007 @ 05:35 PM
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Originally posted by polomontana
First off there's only circumstantial evidence for black holes. Nobody has ever observed a black hole. There's only a few pictures out there as to what we think are black holes. With ufology you have both circumstantial and direct evidence. The direct evidence is eyewitness accounts from Presidents to police officers. Circumstantial evidence is cave paintings, paintings, ancient manuscripts, photo's and video. So at the end of the day there's more evidence for U.F.O.'s then their is for black holes.


I'm pretty sure the 'evidence' given for black holes is a level or 2 above circumstantial. There are real measurable effects to selestial objects surrounding black holes, things that can be seen, measured and studied. Factual and scientific physics involved which give definitive proof. I'll provide links for your viewing pleasure if requested but we all know how to use google. But I dont claim to be a physics major or anything so who knows...

And 'direct evidence' is something more than a verbal first hand account with nothing evidenciary to offer but a story reguardless who it comes from. A piece of a spacecraft in someones hands who can proove its engineered and utilized by something other than humanity, thats 'direct'

But like I said earlier, I believe.

I am one of the few who scoures the internet night after night, year after year individually weighing circumstantial evidence, listening to first hand accounts and taking from personal expierence and understanding(like most here). Furthermore I employ the notion that a absence of evidence does not equate to evidence being absent. Having said that, I dont expect the common citicen to reason this way and fully understand the usual debunker to expect extra ordinary evidence despite my beliefs.

And just to be clear here, I dont think anyone can argue or would even try to debunk the fact that there are unidentified flying objects in the skies from time to time, but its the explaination behind them that requires something more, not the presence of..



[edit on 28-6-2007 by HomeBrew]

[edit on 28-6-2007 by HomeBrew]

[edit on 28-6-2007 by HomeBrew]



posted on Jun, 28 2007 @ 05:49 PM
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Originally posted by HomeBrew
And 'direct evidence' is something more than a verbal first hand account with nothing evidenciary to offer but a story reguardless who it comes from.


The legal definition of direct evidence is: "evidence (usually the testimony of a witness) directly related to the fact in dispute." If we're going to start using legal terms, let's get them right. Direct evidence precisely means an eyewitness account.

Having said that, you're right in that direct evidence does not constitute proof (that is, to anyone except the eyewitness presenting it).

A recovered piece of machinery of unearthly origin could never be proven to be such. There are in fact instances where such physical evidence was brought up; it never flew because no-one could prove that the evidence was extraterrestrial.


[edit on 28-6-2007 by cambrian77]



posted on Jun, 28 2007 @ 05:53 PM
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Originally posted by cambrian77

Originally posted by HomeBrew
And 'direct evidence' is something more than a verbal first hand account with nothing evidenciary to offer but a story reguardless who it comes from.


The legal definition of direct evidence is: "evidence (usually the testimony of a witness) directly related to the fact in dispute." If we're going to start using legal terms, let's get them right. Direct evidence precisely means an eyewitness account.

Having said that, you're right in that direct evidence does not constitute proof (that is, to anyone except the eyewitness presenting it).

A recovered piece of machinery of unearthly origin could never prove to be such. There are in fact instances where such physical evidence was brought up; it never flew because no-one could prove that the evidence was extraterrestrial.


Unassumingly, I was using the term in which I thought it was contextually being used, not in a legal sence...

But if a mechanisim was recovered and proven to be made of an other worldly alloy( which could be possible considering the iron/isotope ratio we know of reguarding mars, the moon, ect..) and had far greater technical capabilities than any human made tech, and was being carried by an alien, then that would be proof!



[edit on 28-6-2007 by HomeBrew]



posted on Jun, 28 2007 @ 06:20 PM
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Originally posted by HomeBrew
But if a mechanisim was recovered and proven to be made of an other worldly alloy( which could be possible considering the iron/isotope ratio we know of reguarding mars, the moon, ect..) and had far greater technical capabilities than any human made tech, and was being carried by an alien, then that would be proof!


Not necessarily, unfortunately, because skeptics could still claim that the machine was some top secret aircraft.

Here's an example of physical evidence (fragments from a ship that alledgedly exploded off the coat of Brazil) that was ignored despite the fact that it displayed non-terrestrial chemistry: link

At this point, the real question is not, "How do we convert skeptics into believers?" but, "Why does the UFO issue still face such pathological skepticism?" And this is where we leave reason and science and enter the realm of conspiracy, blind faith and dogma.

(NB: Of course, not all skeptics are pathological about it. Some are perfectly reasonable and sound of mind IMO. I'm talking about the Philip Klass's and SETI's of the world.)



posted on Jun, 28 2007 @ 06:24 PM
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To lighten the mood a bit, and although this is somewhat off-topic, it's related to my point. I was just watching an episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show from 1965 titled "Uhny Uftz." In the episode, Rob Petrie (Van Dyke) sights a flying saucer and tries to convince everyone around him that it is real. I won't spoil the ending, but it's funny in that people throw around different explanations for what it could have been, so it reminded me of this.

You can download the episode for $1.99 from Amazon, in case anyone wants a laugh, skeptics and believers alike.



posted on Jun, 28 2007 @ 07:30 PM
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Let's see. Debunkers burden of proof....where shall I start ?

Let's start with me.

Look at my avatar. It says, "Debunker, I'm told..".

Am I ? Simple answer. No.

Skeptic ? Yes.

Now, what are the differences of a debunker and skeptic ?

Some say it's a gray (pun intended) area, others say that
they are one and the same.

Let's begin with debunker.
The debunker has an answer for everything. Swamp gas, ball lightning,
lighthouse ad nauseum.
Never satisfied. Nothing he/she sees or hears can be a UFO. (note, I'm not saying alien)

Skeptic.
Here we might near the gray line, but I choose not to stand on it.
I like evidence. Photo or video, if possible.
BUT, if someone describes a sighting with clarity, time date and
location, I'm interested. It's still a UFO.

Now, we get to aliens.
This is where I call hoax. In my opinion, no debunking is needed.
Those that are supposedly "in contact" with aliens provide zero
evidence. They say, it's "channeled" or "intra-dimensional" contact.
When someone is invited to sit during a "session", the "aliens" are
"shied away" by the "negative energy" of the interviewer.

Alien videos and pictures are generally explained as puppets or
costumes and easily replicated. Although, those in supposed
"contact" have no pictures or video. The best we get (here on ATS)
is the occaisional EVP, which I'm extremely skeptical of.

Now, to the OP.

Do debunkers have a burden of proof ? I think they do, if they
portray how an incident was fabricated.

However, claimants of UFO and E.T. sightings and knowledge bear
an even greater burden.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

Simply put, make the claim, provide the proof.
I'm not going to ask questions, unless someone makes a claim.

Sorry if I rambled.

Regards,
Lex



posted on Jun, 29 2007 @ 04:09 AM
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Originally posted by Fowl Play
My Spidey senses are tingling again..
Heres a shot in the dark for you.
The OP is GhostRaven or part of his flock.
I believe there is a group, im not totally sure yet of the origins of this group yet . Possibile Counterintelligence group but with more emphasis on research, cause and reaction.. Some of them are responsible for disinformation and misinformation and also very prominent in multiple hoaxes, possibly to research but also with feelers.
JM$0.02


LOL.

Actually the OP was one of the most level-.ed and quite reasonable posts on this forum in a while.

A very good point was made, and made well: that the burden of proof falls also on the debunker.

And off you go with wild, totally unsupported speculation.

Unfortunately, you apparently miss the irony here.

So let's try out the new rules--where's your proof?



posted on Jun, 29 2007 @ 12:32 PM
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Originally posted by polomontana
Good point,

U.F.O.'s is not an extraordinary claim because you have both direct and circumstantial evidence to back the claim. You have more evidence for U.F.O.'s then their is for black holes. Are black holes an extraordinary claim?

If I were to say that I saw pink tigers flying in my backyard, that would be an extraordinary claim because there's no evidence to support it.



Black holes were an extraordianary claim when they were first derived in the 1920s. However, the theoretical case for their existence was quite strong - no no force of nature could prevent the collapse of a deceased star above a certain mass.

Ther is is now plenty of very high quality evidence that black holes exist. It's not only very good quality, but is repeatable, and there are phenomena that can't be explained without them. AS telescopes get beter and better, the evidence gets better, which is what you would expect from an objectively real phenomenon.



posted on Jun, 29 2007 @ 01:51 PM
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The only evidence for black holes is indirect or circumstantial evidence. With ufology you have both direct evidence and circumstantial evidence.

The point I was making was a reductio ad absurdum. I was appealing to an absurd argument about black holes to prove my point about skeptics of ufology. Of course I think black holes exist based on the evidence but there's more evidence that supports ufology and the skeptic takes an absurd view of this evidence as opposed to evidence for a black hole.

Here's the skeptics logic:

eyewitness: I saw a U.F.O.

skeptic: You saw something but it wasn't a U.F.O.

eyewitness: I'm a pilot and I know what I saw.

skeptic: You probably saw a flare, weather balloon or a kite.

This is the twisted logic you hear from the skeptic. It's accepted by alot of people because many people fear the unknown. With U.F.O.'s there's a huge X factor involved and it's easier to accept this kind of 3rd party heresay or belittle the subject with the term little green men because if these things exist then you have to ask questions about life and religion and most people rather watch Paris Hilton.

There's mountains of evidence to support ufology but there zero evidence to support the skeptic. You can't point to false pictures to discredit the field of ufology just like you can't discredit the field of biology because of false theories.



posted on Jun, 29 2007 @ 01:55 PM
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Originally posted by Lexion
Now, we get to aliens.
This is where I call hoax. In my opinion, no debunking is needed.


No debunking is needed? No offence, but that's a perfect demonstration of the deeply ingrained, unfounded bias afflicting research into UFOs. Not all people who have reported seeing aliens are New Age gurus claiming to channel them. Many regular people have made this kind of report. Logically, they deserve every bit as much attention as those who claim to have seen flying saucers.

Claims of contact by channeling or other esoteric means are more akin to religion than to science. They cannot be proven one way or the other.

Here's a question: Why is it that so many people who have no problem accepting the idea of flying saucers have such a hard time believing that anyone could possibly see the entities piloting them?

Perhaps it's because the evidence for flying saucers and the like is so tremendous that one would have to resort to logical fallacies to refute it. On the other hand, evidence for aliens is (understandably) scantier.

And yet, shouldn't the evidence backing up the presence of extraterrestrial craft give us reason to lend alien sightings a measure of credibility?



posted on Jun, 29 2007 @ 03:18 PM
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My personal opinion is that both sides of the argument have already made all arguments possible under the circumstances. They are good arguments, but they have already been made, time and time again. I'm not trying to insult anyone here. I think you are all thinking, and well. But this has all been done over and over again, don't you think? Don't most of us here feel like we are constantly repeating ourselves to the other side of the debate?

If we sit back and wait for another 100 years of blurry pictures and contact stories we will be in exactly the same position then as now.

Instead, we need to shift the data we receive by pursuing new experiments.

Skeptics and believers alike should be interested in getting closer to transient phenomena with better data. For example, in the Channel Islands case, better data recorded from the airplane would have helped everyone. This is not like "Ghost Hunting". Here there are cases of many passenger aircraft all witnessing the same thing. All we care about is getting better data on whatever they are seeing.

Whether it is a lenticular cloud or a inter-dimensional silver hamburger is irrelevant to the need for better data collection.

How we make data collection on unidentified aerial objects pervasive in society is the challenge. It is a significant challenge, yet solutions are not untenable.

For example, if civilian pilots could easily afford and purchase military-quality tracking cameras, we could change the nature of the evidence and THEN we could change the discussion. Clearly this will never happen for military and societal reasons, but none-the-less, it demonstrates that the technology to make progress exists, at a cost.

Obviously, a more feasible solution will require more creativity, but that doesn't mean it couldn't be done. Whatever is done, I posit that data collection will have to be:

a) pervasive in society.
b) of no cost to the average person
c) readily available and associated with sharing
d) acceptable in social settings
e) of sufficient general pleasure in everyday life for people to push back against government pressure (such as might come from secret aircraft programs)

Pervasive skyward pointing web cameras would be a step forward. Even if they only produced blurry pictures, a mass of them correlating with one another would, at the very least, prevent wholesale dismissive hypotheses from debunkers, as well as common false memories from observers, and instead require objective questioning. With some mathematical work, low-resolution distributed views of the same object might even define object geometry.


[edit on 29-6-2007 by Ectoterrestrial]

[edit on 29-6-2007 by Ectoterrestrial]



posted on Jun, 29 2007 @ 03:55 PM
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Ectoterrestrial,

You're absolutely right about the redundancy of the debate. Some of us are still new to this forum and haven't yet run through these theoretical questions. A kind of ATS baptism by fire, I guess...

Your proposal is exactly what we need. But the question is, Why hasn't it been implemented anywhere? The reason we're more or less at the same stage we were at 50 years ago, IMHO, is that the collective bias is too powerful. Hopefully it is not as strong now as it was then, and we will slowly begin to accumulate the data we need to find out what this phenomenon is. The newfound seriousness we see in the news and in the scientific community in relation to the ET hypothesis brings hope.

Until then, ufologists will keep toiling in the dark, people will continue to see UFOs, and skeptics will continue to bring everyone back to earth. Though it is possible in theory to ignore a phenomenon indefinitely, I hope that will not be the case here.

"Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proof" ... true enough. But here's another adage, the truth of which is confirmed by our collective, blatant refusal to give this issue a serious look in the past: "Extraordinary reality elicits extraordinary resistance."


[edit on 29-6-2007 by cambrian77]



posted on Jun, 29 2007 @ 04:40 PM
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Originally posted by cambrian77
To sum up, then, what the evidence does suggest is that:
1. Ships of unknown origin are flying around in the sky.


I'm still not convinced that these odd things are "ships" in any conventional sense. But if you can show me one up close, I'll be happy to change my opinion. Odd things, yes. Ships? Well, that's making a pretty big assumption.



2. People are being visited by strange entities that do not correlate to any animals we presently know of.


Particularly considering all animals we know of have some kind of bodies and leave physical traces. Not so with these things. In fact, there's very little evidence to suggest that they exist anywhere other than in the abductee's minds. And that is quite a bit different than the "aliens from space" notion you're proposing.



3. Said entities are often witnessed in proximity to or inside said ships.


Again, only by the abductees. I'd love to believe them, but I'd prefer to have proof, instead.



Using Occam's Razor, can you think of a better explanation than extraterrestrials (or "extradimensionals")?


Even if we use the faulty assumptions you presented, we still can't use ETs to "explain" these things, because ETs themselves have not been proven to exist. I could just as easily say that the sightings and abductions are the work of clever little leprechauns, putting on a show that plays to human expectations of aliens. Aliens, leprechauns, same difference. Both are equally plausible, because neither have been shown to exist. And where I come from, Earth, we can't use one batch of unknowns or hypotheticals to prove another. We need solid ground to start with, and we don't have any here.

Here's an explanation. "I don't know."

I don't know what these things are, because nobody has provided clear, irrefutable proof of what they are. And just because my imagination is limited to certain things doesn't mean that there is not an explanation that is outside of that limited imagination. The difference is conclusive positive evidence.

Sure, something is apparently flying around. Something is happening to the abductees. But I don't know what it all means. I just don't have enough information to define it. Maybe you got enough evidence to hang somebody. Not me.



posted on Jun, 29 2007 @ 08:07 PM
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Originally posted by polomontana
[QUOTE]eyewitness: I'm a pilot and I know what I saw.

skeptic: You probably saw a flare, weather balloon or a kite.[/ quote]

That's a debunker, NOT a skeptic.


This is the twisted logic you hear from the skeptic.


Then, you say skeptic. Which do you believe ?


There's mountains of evidence to support ufology


I agree. But zero evidence in support of Extra-terrestials.


but there zero evidence to support the skeptic.


What evidence shall I provide ? That I question ? That's a fact.


You can't point to false pictures to discredit the field of ufology


I agree 100%.

BUT, you CAN point to false pictures and discredit those that believe
them.
Thus, by proxy discrediting the field.


just like you can't discredit the field of biology because of false theories.


Which false theories, if I may ask ?

Regards,
Lex



posted on Jun, 30 2007 @ 03:13 PM
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Originally posted by SuicideVirus
Even if we use the faulty assumptions you presented, we still can't use ETs to "explain" these things, because ETs themselves have not been proven to exist.


You're calling my assumptions faulty because you don't agree with them. There is in fact no fuzzy logic in what I am saying. My assumptions are based on the evidence. I can assure you of that.

Having said that, ETs are a HYPOTHESIS, not a proven explanation. I'm pretty sure that was clear in what I wrote; if it wasn't I apologize.

My point is that ETs (by which I do not necessarily mean "aliens from another planet") are the most coherent, rational explanation for the phenomenon. They might come from another planet; they might come from another dimension, or another time. Saying that they may as well be fairies, goblins or Santa's elves is indulging in a semantic exercise to dodge the issue. Some kind of intelligence is at work; the evidence for that is strong. If it's the term "alien" that bothers you, we could find something better.

Also, abductees aren't the only ones who have reported seeing Greys and other extraterrestrial entities.

Aliens have not been proven to exist. I do not have any more evidence than anyone else. However, looking at the available evidence, my conclusion is that the ET hypothesis is the best thing we have. In fact I know of no other hypothesis except mass or pandemic hallucination, a phenomenon which in itself has never been satisfactorily explained by psychology.

No-one here is claiming to have proof of anything.



[edit on 30-6-2007 by cambrian77]

[edit on 30-6-2007 by cambrian77]



posted on Jun, 30 2007 @ 03:35 PM
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Originally posted by cambrian77


Here's a question: Why is it that so many people who have no problem accepting the idea of flying saucers have such a hard time believing that anyone could possibly see the entities piloting them?


Umm, because they are "flying" ? (That was sarcasm)

And, on the odd event that one has supposedly landed, the
evidence is circumspect, at best; non-existant at worst.


Perhaps it's because the evidence for flying saucers and the like is so tremendous that one would have to resort to logical fallacies to refute it. On the other hand, evidence for aliens is (understandably) scantier.


Ok, I'm going to be called out for semantics, but bear with me.

I NEVER say "flying saucer". I say UFO.
Why ?
They are two entirely different things.

Do I believe in UFO's ? YES. They are a proven phenom.
Do I believe in "flying saucers" ? I believe that some UFO's
might LOOK like a "flying saucer".


And yet, shouldn't the evidence backing up the presence of extraterrestrial craft give us reason to lend alien sightings a measure of credibility?


I've yet to see any evidence that UFO's are extra-terrestrial.

I want to believe, God knows I wouldn't put so much of my
time into this, but as yet, I've seen nothing that proves that
anything witnessed is extra-terrestrial.

As far as people that claim abduction, show me one (that is public),
that hasn't come to this epiphany without hypnotic regression.

Regards,
Lex



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