- Hardcover: 476 pages
- Publisher: Knopf; 1st edition (May 30, 1995)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0679429751
- ISBN-13: 978-0679429753
- Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 6.8 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,458,467 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Close Encounters Of The Fourth Kind: Alien Abduction, UFOs, and the Conference at M.I.T. 1st Edition
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Inspired perhaps by this summer's blockbuster film adaptation of Carl Sagan's Contact, a handful of nonfiction works have been reissued, all of which explore the possibility that we are not alone. C.D.B. Bryan's Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind--an engrossing work written for those skeptical about extraterrestrial visitors--is a compilation of testimonials and interviews about alien abductions. Bryan's sources, interviewed at a five-day academic conference held at M.I.T., include psychiatrists, researchers, science writers, "ufologists," and abductees, including John Mack, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard and author of Abduction: Human Encounters with Aliens. In addition, Close Encounters includes transcripts from hypnotherapy sessions with self-described "abductees." Bryan, journalist and author of Friendly Fire (1976), blends a reporter's objectivity with great compassion for the traumatized victims of these mysterious and horrific violations. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Bryan (Friendly Fire) brings top-notch reporting skills to this open-minded account of a five-day conference on UFO abductions held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1992. Many of the purported abductees, who spoke at the symposium and in subsequent interviews with Bryan, tell of being floated aboard spacecraft by gray, four-foot-tall creatures with big heads who subjected them to clinical examinations. Bryan believes in the abductees' sincerity but remains undecided whether such experiences are encounters with nuts-and-bolts craft and real aliens, disturbances of the collective unconscious or something else. Among the ufology heavyweights attending the conference were bestselling abduction researchers Budd Hopkins and David Jacobs, who believe aliens are conducting an ongoing breeding experiment with humans; Harvard psychiatrist John Mack (Abduction), who emphasizes that close encounters often involve personal transformation and growth; folklorist Thomas Bullard; and Sacramento psychologist Richard Boylan, who divulges his own recent encounter with three "interdimensional" beings in the New Mexico desert. Bryan's thought-provoking report takes us to the frontiers of current UFO research and controversy. 50,000 first printing; BOMC and QPB selections.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
I'm not a UFO-guru, but this book asks the one burning question: "If we are NOT being visited, then what exactly IS going on? Why are people in remote locations of the world, with no desire to achieve fame, reporting the same bizarre experiences?". This book tries to address that.
Educational, yet entertaining. And it does so in an intelligent, well-presented manner which doesn't come across as pushy or hokey.
Highly recommended! Good luck trying to sleep after reading this one.
Despite the fact that most recent polls indicate that the majority of Americans & indeed the world believe "we're not alone", there are many who refuse to accept or are fearful of discussing the alien abduction phenomenon. Similarly, even when UFO enthusiasts come to agreement about various elements within their own community, there are breaks in the ranks in terms of everything from the effective use of hypnotic regression to the incredibly disturbing notion of alien/human hybrids being harvested.
It can all be dizzyingly confusing and even discouraging for the newly interested and so Bryan's book remains one of the more well organized and objective treatments on the subject. The author never tries to sway the reader in any direction. He stays steadfast to his job of reporting what he saw and trying to make some sense of it without being judgmental or partial to a particular mindset.
In-depth, informative, solidly entertaining and yes at times even patently unbelievable, but it's never boring nor a waste of your time. This would be a great starting point for the novice researcher and a great reference book for the seasoned UFO devotee. I subtracted one star for lack of photos, since a few photos of conference participants would have been a welcome addition and personal touch to this otherwise excellent book.
10% of the conference attendees were journalists, on the whole a skeptical bunch out for a good story and intrigued by the high-calibre academic credentials of the conference organisers and speakers in this most prestigious of venues (MIT was and is seen as the foremost academic scientific university in the USA if not the world), on this most unusual subject-matter.
Right off the bat in the first chapter, Bryan writes:
"One might expect that a `scientific conference' on such a subject ...ought to be dismissed out of hand...but for the credentials of those chairing it, the site of the conference...and disturbing credibility of the hundreds of individuals who, uncontaminated by exposure to any previous UFO lore or to each other, have so hesitantly, reluctantly, timidly come forward with their utterly incredible accounts of having been abducted and examined by spindly-limbed, 3½ -4½-foot-tall telepathic gray creatures with outsized foreheads dominated by huge, compelling, tear-shaped black eyes...it is in the similarities of these abductees' stories and the consistency of their details that the true mystery lies...as John Mack would ask at the Conference, `if what these abductees say is happening to them isn't happening, then what is?' "
Presenters at the conference included John Mack, David Pritchard, Budd Hopkins, Professor David Jacobs of Temple University, the folklorist and writer Dr. Tom Bullard of Indiana University, Stuart Appelle of NY State University, Jenny Randles, abduction researchers John Carpenter and Yvonne Smith, Professor Mark Rodeghier of the University of Illinois, John Miller and many others. Bryan listens to the presentations, interviews and socialises with researchers and abductees, reads the data and gets to know the subject. From his understandably initial skeptical position, he becomes gradually convinced that this odd phenomenon is something real and important, and starts to pay serious attention.
The book is quite long at 450 pages. A seven-page chapter introducing the conference and the subject matter is followed by a chapter devoted to each of the five days of the conference proceedings, occupying in total the first 200 pages of the book. The second half of the book comprises 13 separate chapters of post-conference interviews and focuses in particular on the long and complex story of two abductees with IDs disguised as "Carol" and "Alice." These two are also known as Beth Collings and Anna Jamerson, who later co-wrote and published a book "Connections" about their multiple and interconnected experiences with this phenomenon and which, for the serious student, is worth reading as an informative (if somewhat paradigm-stretching) contribution to the subject.
This close-up focus on specific individuals and their experiences is of course a standard journalistic device to "personalise" the narrative. Though interesting to a point (some of the details are downright weird, but supported by pretty compelling evidence), Bryan does spend a lot of pages on this case and it must be said the first half of the book makes for better reading.
In the concluding chapter, the author examines "Various Theories" about what the abduction phenomenon might be. He concludes not as a "believer", but convinced there is a real phenomenon here; he admits the academics at the conference are not pursuing delusions and acknowledges their courageous stance about the issue which, at some level, is real and needs to be understood.
Bryan was a thoughtful and intelligent journalist. It is to his credit that such a successful and well-known writer from the mainstream should investigate this subject impartially and thoroughly and devote a great deal of his time to understanding it. CE4 is one of the better (of more than 60 so far published) books on the abduction phenomenon because of the author's analytical and non-partisan approach and his high "mainstream" credentials. It's well written and well organised.
A criticism might be the lack of photos or illustrations: the book is 450 pages of solid text. The original hardcover had a substantial print-run of 50,000 copies excluding overseas printings in a number of languages and you can still find a few brand new copies here and there. It's definitely worth reading.
The full 1992 MIT Conference proceedings were also published in a large, 600-page double-columned volume titled "Alien Discussions" which is hard to find, sought-after and expensive, but well worth investing in if you can find a good copy - and afford it.
I was skeptical about the reports of alien abductions until I started reading this. Now it takes me a while to pluck up the courage to turn off the lights when I stop reading each night!
A definite must-read for all you skeptics!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It's wow...better than fiction
I remember seeing this book on a shelf when it came out and laughing because the conference happened just before I went to M.I.T.Read more