Sunday, July 29, 2012

Peter Khoury and the "Hair of the Alien" - 20 years on

The past week marked a fascinating anniversary of an extraordinary experience which drew me into a groundbreaking investigation and a potential breakthrough research direction. 



Peter Khoury had a bizarre experience on July 23, 1992, in Sydney, Australia.  He had a shattering experience on July 12, 1988, which he was ultimately able to understand as an alien abduction.  It changed his life. He would go on to help others who had similar experiences by establishing the UFO Experience Support Association (UFOESA).  But nothing prepared him for the July 1992 episode.  It was so shocking that Peter would only share the experience with his wife and a few close associates.  

The July 1992 incident had yielded a remarkable piece of evidence - a hair sample apparently from a blonde "nordic" entity.  I was able to work with a biochemistry team which would provide the world's first DNA analysis of a biological sample implicated in an alien abduction experience.  The team wanted to see if the sample provided forensic DNA evidence that might support the extraordinary story.  It did far more than that.
The biochemistry team
leader Dr. Horace Drew
a leading DNA expert &
co-author of
"Understanding DNA"

Dr. Drew with researcher
Bill Chalker













The evidence secured by Peter Khoury with his July 1992 experience enabled breakthrough research which has led to a focus on research into the hypothesis of intelligent alien intervention in the evolution of human DNA - the Alien DNA paradigm.

An image based tour through this extraordinary case, its investigation, and its amazing implications is provided here to mark the 20 year anniversary of Peter Khoury's shocking, controversial and unprecedented experience.

(The following article appeared in the 2011 special issue of New Dawn Magazine)


An Alien DNA paradigm?

by Bill Chalker 

A remarkable clue supporting the enduring idea that UFOs and alien abduction claims might represent credible evidence for alien intervention into human affairs, at an extraordinary and deep level, may have been found in the UFO haunted southern Chinese province of Yunnan.  As part of a developing hypothesis I call the alien DNA paradigm, a form of intelligent alien intervention may have occurred in us as humans on planet Earth.  We are very primitively tinkering with modifying life forms through transgenics and the like, therefore the idea that someone out there might already have been doing it elsewhere, maybe even here, may not seem so far out.

Evidence for this may also be found in human DNA signatures, particularly among those indigenous cultures that have potent claims of "sky being" lore and land rich in long historical focuses of UFO activity.  An extraordinary breakthrough alien abduction case from the other side of the world – right here in the middle of Sydney – had me to pursuing some very strange clues through Asia to Yunnan, China, leading to the hypothesis of the alien DNA paradigm through a long and complex 4 phase investigation. 

Phase 1: STRANGE EVIDENCE - 1999

Phase 1 centred on an alien abduction experience by a Sydney man Peter Khoury in 1992. This was not his first experience. 

On July 12, 1988 he experienced a frightening and life changing alien abduction experience. Khoury had lay on a bed and was overwhelmed by paralysis. A number of beings became apparent around him. One of them, a tall thin golden yellow coloured being, with large black eyes, inserted a long needle like object into the side of his head. Khoury blacked out. He regained consciousness with a start and rushed into the adjoining room where he found other family members in a "switched-off" state. Rousing them, Khoury found that while they thought only some 10 minutes had passed, in reality it seemed between 1 to 2 hours had passed. An injury to his head was verified.

At that time Peter Khoury had no real context to anchor his disturbing experience. Eventually he became aware of the alien abduction controversy and tried to understand what was happening.  Strange experiences continued, the most striking, and ultimately the most revealing, occurred on July 23, 1992.

At about 7 am, having returned to his Sydney suburban home from a train station, after dropping off his wife, Khoury felt unwell and lay down on the bed to sleep. He awoke with a start sometime later, becoming aware of something alighting on the bed. He was shocked to see two strange women kneeling on the end of his bed. Both were naked. One appeared Nordic and the other Asian.

Aspects of their appearance were quite odd. The Nordic female had a very elongated face and a sharply point chin. Her eyes appeared to be blue and 2 to 3 times larger than normal. She had very fine wispy blonde hair that seemed to be oddly blown up. Her skin colour was quite light. The dark brown skinned Asian looking woman seemed to have almost completely black eyes. Her hair was black and set in a firm page-boy style.

Although no normal communication occurred, the Nordic woman seemed to be in charge and Khoury got the impression she was giving the Asian looking woman some sort of instruction.

What followed was quite disorientating for Khoury. The Nordic woman, who seemed to be over 6 feet tall and apparently very strong, reached forward and pulled Khoury's head to her breast. He resisted, trying to pull away.  She did this 3 times. Finally Khoury, trying to cope with the shock and disorientating nature of this experience, bit on her nipple apparently swallowing a piece from it.  Although seemingly confused, she did not react with any pain and nor was there any sign of blood. She seemed to convey to the other woman, seemingly through a form of telepathy, that this was not the way things were supposed to happen. Khoury was overcome with a coughing fit. Moments later, looking up again, he found that both women had vanished.

The coughing caused Khoury to go to the bathroom to get a drink of water. When he went to urinate he found it very painful to do so, due to, it turned out, some very fine blonde hair wrapped tightly under his foreskin. Khoury removed the hair and had the foresight to place it in a plastic sachet bag with a seal. He did that because he felt there was no way it should have been there. It was unlike his wife's hair.

Khoury concluded that something extraordinarily bizarre had just occurred and linked the blonde thin hair to the strange tall, blonde haired Nordic looking woman.

I undertook a very detailed investigation.  Born in 1964, in Lebanon, Peter Khoury migrated to Australia in 1973. He met his future wife, Vivian in 1981, marrying in 1990. They have 2 children. What might be Peter's first encounter with a UFO occurred in Lebanon in the summer of 1971 at age 7. He and seven other children had gone up onto the flat rooftop of his neighbour's house to play. Peter was the last to walked through a heavy door that leads onto the roof. He then saw all his friends "frozen" like statues in front of him, while a silent egg-shaped craft hovered above. All eight children later found themselves on the ground floor after some time had elapsed, with no memory of the intervening period.

By 1998, I began an investigation into the hair sample, when biochemical colleagues agreed to undertake what was the world's first PCR (polymerase Chain Reaction) DNA profiling of biological material implicated in an alien abduction experience. The analysis confirmed the hair came from someone who was biologically close to normal human genetics, but of an unusual racial type - a rare Chinese Mongoloid type - one of the rarest human lineages known, that lies further from the human mainstream than any other except for African pygmies and aboriginals.

There was the strange anomaly of it being blonde to clear instead of black, as would be expected from the Asian type mitochondrial DNA. The study concluded, "The most probable donor of the hair must therefore be as (Khoury) claims: a tall blonde female who does not need much colour in her hair or skin, as a form of protection against the sun, perhaps because she does not require it."   The detailed results were published in 1999 in an article entitled “Strange Evidence” in the “International UFO Reporter,” a publication of the Chicago based Center for UFO Studies, which was originally formed by Dr. J. Allen Hynek.  The investigation at that point was limited to the shaft of the hair sample, and led us to important Chinese connections.




Phase 2: "HAIR of the ALIEN" - 2005

Phase 2 was focused on replication of the shaft result and on the root of the Khoury hair sample.  This work revealed the breakthrough complexity that supported the apparent “hybrid” nature of the DNA profile of the “alien” donor – the blonde “Nordic” female – namely that we had a donor with very unusual hybrid DNA profiles – the rare Asian mongoloid (Chinese) DNA in the hair shaft and the rare Basque/Gaelic type DNA in the hair root, along with the indications of the provocative CCR5 gene deletion factor – which would allow such beings to carry out intrusive activities amongst humans without concern for diseases such as HIV & smallpox. This phase gave us real insights into the possible nature of these beings and their activities. These aspects, along with the Phase 1 work, were reported in detail in my 2005 book “Hair of the Alien” published in New York by Paraview Pocket Books, a division of Simon and Schuster.





Phase 3: The Lahu connection (Thailand/China) - 2005/2006

Phase 3 allowed a focus on the genetic connections at a very specific and detailed level, because of the unusual nature of the rare Asian mongoloid sequence, revealed in the Khoury sample.  We found they occurred in the DNA signatures of an isolated group of people – the Lahu who are limited to the region of the southern Chinese province of Yunnan, and the immediate regions bordering that locality – northern Thailand, Myanmar (Burma), and Laos. The areas of Yunnan and northern Thailand yielded considerable data and research, particularly with fascinating UFO and unusual light phenomena connections in both regions.

Strange light phenomena and possible UFO connections are found in the shamanic type elements of Lahu society. Dr. Anthony Walker’s  907 page Lahu study “Merit and the Millenium – Routine and Crisis in the Ritual Lives of the Lahu People”, reveals one of the more fascinating Lahu shaman-like contact experiences involving a leading Lahu figure Ca Nu who claimed the Sky beings/spirits visited him and gave him a mysterious glowing stone with inscriptions.   He also reported seeing strange “hole” shapes crossing the sun, along with anomalous “stars”. Ca Nu connects his experiences with spiritual prophecy, a dynamic revealed on numerous occasions in not only shaman lore but in many contact and abduction situations.


(Centre: Poster for the Thai film "FullMoon Mekong Party";
right: some of the Lahu "shaman" material (ex Anthony Walker);
lower left: my Thai guide Noi)

A ball of light was encountered by dissident Chinese writer Ma Jian in 1986 in Lahu territory in southern Yunnan China.  Escaping from custody, he was trying to find his way through dangerous terrain.  Suddenly “a light appeared in the darkness. It was neither a torch nor a candle, nor a glow-worm shaking in the breeze. It seemed to come from another realm. It rose from a stream and floated through the trees then stopped by some branches ten meters away and slowly dropped to my eye level… I walked forward and the ball of fire followed me through the branches, guiding my way for twenty kilometers until the sky turned white.” He described the encounter in his book “Red Dust.”  I met Ma Jian during the 2003 Sydney Writers Festival.  He confirmed to me that his account was not a literary metaphor for his sense of alienation with contemporary China. It was a real experience with a ball of light about the size of a rockmelon. This Lahu region phenomena near the Lancang (the Mekong) River echoes the intriguing Naga light phenomena that most prominently plays out near Nong Khai, Thailand, on the Mekong.  I witnessed and filmed the Naga light balls coming out of the Mekong in 2006.  My investigations resisted the easy explanation of hoaxing for tourism purposes.

Yang Zheng of the Kunming UFO Research Association indicated his “most dramatic case” occurred in November 2006 (the month after my visit to Yunnan) when thousands of villagers in Zhenyuan Yi, Hani and Lahu Autonomous County of Yunnan Province witnessed 7 white hemispherical shaped objects hovering directly above the property of a local CPC (Chinese Communist Party) cadre for nearly two hours.  The objects appeared to keep changing shape.  As it was a small village word soon spread and many villagers arrived to witness the sighting.  They started pursuing the objects but the UFOs soon disappeared.  I had been in the Lahu territory a few weeks earlier. This seemed a compelling confirmation of the potential breakthrough research focus.

The Lahu people, via the DNA clue from the Khoury hair sample, may be connected with the apparent “Nordic hybrid” being, both through their DNA and their locality, which we found to be rich in UFO and unusual light phenomena. These investigations dramatically consolidated valuable UFO data from China, particularly in the province of Yunnan.

Phase 4: the global alien DNA nexus

This phase focuses on evidence for alien genetic “intelligent intervention” in various cultures (particularly indigenous cultures) around the world, and has been  driven by:
• Locations with high strangeness/breakthrough activities with UFOs, light phenomena, alien abductions
• cultures that feature “sky being” claims, diverse UFO phenomena
• possible unusual DNA markers within these cultures or present selectively or generically in human DNA
• locations or regions which bring together each of these factors (UFO “haunted” location, alien mediated culture, DNA aspects). 

The preliminary focus on the Lahu addressed in Phase 3 suggested that the “alien DNA paradigm” hypothesis could be evaluated and tested in terms of a long term focus on groups of people like the Lahu in Thailand & China, the Kayapo and their  Bep Kororoti tradition in Brazil, the Zulu connection (per Credo Mutwa) in Africa and other peoples whose traditions and localities seem steeped in alien lore.  Should all of the highlighted factors, particularly possible unusual DNA markers, become well established, we will have compelling evidence for the possibility of “intelligent intervention” by possible aliens.

THE YUNNAN UFO CONNECTION

Yunnan has a rich legacy of UFO reports.  One of the strangest occurred in the autumn of 1975, when two soldiers of a Chinese People’s Liberation Army unit stationed in Jian-Shui County in the Province of Yunnan encountered a huge saucer-shaped flying object.  It circled around above their heads and emitted beams of soft orange-colored light. One of the men raced to the nearby army camp. Within minutes the Camp Commandant and about a dozen armed men raced to the location of the encounter. The soldier, who had stayed behind, could not be found. Four soldiers took over sentry duty.  After a few hours they heard a moaning sound behind them.  There they found the missing man in an unconscious state. His facial hair had grown extremely long. When he had recovered consciousness the soldier found his memory was totally gone. His wristwatch indicated it had been stopped for a considerable time. The soldier’s weapons and watch were found to be slightly magnetized.

During 2009 and 2010 China experienced a large wave of UFO sightings many supported by photographs and videos, much of it in Yunnan province.  Professor Zhang Yifang of the Yunnan University physics department and president of the Kunming UFO Research Association spoke out publicly on the reality of UFOs and aliens in China., convinced that “extraterrestrials exist”, adding, “I am convinced, because I am a physicist and an astronomer.”  He reported that UFO sightings “are mostly in Yunnan, Xinjiang, and Heilongjiang. The history of UFOs in Kunming (the capital of Yunnan) is great.  Sightings are commonplace.”  Professor Zhang’s statements were reported widely in China.  I met him in Kunming in Yunnan in 2006 and made a detailed presentation to university faculty members and Yunnan UFO researchers.

MAINSTREAM SCIENCE DANCES WITH ALIENS

Mainstream science has regularly rejected the idea of possible “intelligent intervention” by aliens.  However some interesting cracks in the wall of science have appeared.  One of the pillars of biochemistry, Francis Crick, who won the Nobel Prize in 1962 for his part in unravelling the double helix structure of DNA, argued for a radical form of the panspermia idea – we were seeded naturally from space – namely that we were the results of “directed panspermia” – that life on Earth was the result of intelligent intervention by a superior alien intelligence out there millions of years ago.

Professor Paul Davies, has speculated that some sort of alien pattern might be encoded in our "junk DNA". While this sounds like science fiction, particularly if mathematical or symbolic codes are being sort, the idea is not as wild as it sounds. I briefly discussed this speculation with Paul Davies during a Macquarie University post graduate open day on campus on April 12 2005. He indicated his "junk DNA - ET evidence" speculations were meant to be serious. He felt the idea was no less serious than the idea of seeking out ET "radio signals," so why not try something that is far easier to do and is potentially well within our current technological reach - searching for coded clues within our own DNA.

Part of my “alien DNA paradigm” approach involves examining DNA for evidence of "non-Darwinian patterns", which might reflect extraterrestrial or intelligent influence - a sign of artificial evolution or intervention. My specialist group, the  Anomaly Physical Evidence Group (APEG), have been examining this intriguing area focusing in part on unusual mutations, polymorphisms, our "junk" DNA (or perhaps more appropriately "regulatory" DNA) and other aspects. Some intriguing areas are being looked at.

January 25-26 2010 – London, UK – an extraordinary discussion meeting takes place.  Its subject? “The detection of extra-terrestrial life and the consequences for science and society” – the first organised by the Royal Society in its 350th anniversary year. 

To many, including me, it is one of the most important subjects in mankind’s history. Are we alone? And more specifically are we being visited?  The former question was the focus of the Royal Society meeting, but there were some winks and nudges at the more interesting question – Are we being visited? Or have we been visited? While people like Simon Conway Morris and Paul Davies were participants in the discussion, as expected, there were no really dramatic revelations, but there were plenty of fascinating signposts of a degree of expanding horizons.  SETI or the search for Extraterrestrial Life was a focus. Previous conservatism gave way to some intriguing directions of future science. 

Paul Davies lectured on “The eerie silence: are we alone in the universe?” arguing for a new approach to SETI, one that made room for even an inward approach, looking for evidence of alien life here on Earth.  Davies wasn’t referring to aliens as we research them in the UFO question; instead he is arguing we look for evidence of a “shadow biosphere”, a completely separate tree of life.  If we could establish this he argues, even if it was probably going to be microbial in nature, turning up in isolated and adverse ecological niches on Earth, then it would powerfully endorse the idea that life is everywhere in the Universe. 

Conway Morris, one of the world’s leading evolutionary paleobiologists, argued intelligent extraterrestrial life, if it existed at all, would most likely look like us, that is human in appearance, and that it would possibly share our propensity for exploitation of other life, for violence and greed.  He still thinks it is awfully quite out there, that ETs should have been evident by now, and wasn’t bringing UFO aliens into the discussion. 

Mainstream science examining if ETs are here on Earth!  Aliens likely to look human!  Both points are against the traditional positions of science.  But things are clearly changing.  I could argue I told you so.

In my 2005 book “HAIR of the ALIEN" I focused on a DNA forensic approach to alien abduction evidence. While prominence is given to the Peter Khoury "alien hair" case from Sydney Australia, other cases and experiences from around the world are also examined. My primary focus was to promote a forensic scientific approach to examining the alien abduction controversy, concentrating on the DNA approach where compelling biological evidence was available.

I also wrote::
“... Simon Conway Morris ... in (his book) Life's Solution: Inevitable Humans in a Lonely Universe (using) our best evidence for life, our own on planet Earth, (argues) against the prevailing scientific evolutionary paradigm, he states that because of the ubiquity of evolutionary convergence, not only does life have an extraordinary propensity for navigating multiple pathways to precise biological solutions, but that it repeatedly reprises the same evolutionary solution, mediated powerfully by "the weirdest molecule in the Universe" - DNA. In short, Morris contends that on suitable planets out there the genetic tape of life will play out into more "inevitable humans." But, contends Morris, the rarity of Earth-like planets means that we are most likely living in a lonely universe. Others argue, however, that life is everywhere, driven by a "life principle" that favors the spread of life through the universe.”

The Fermi Paradox looms large here.  If aliens exist where are they!   The simplest answer is they are already here, have been here, still are, and the ultimate answer awaits mainstream science’s serious open minded embrace with the UFO question rather than the litany of lost opportunities the sorry history of UFOs and science has revealed up till now.  A potent and well funded serious science of ufology which focuses on UFOs, alien encounters and alien abduction accounts would be a powerful change to the unscientific approach that has been the way of mainstream science’s nervous dance with the subject up till now.

The DNA found in the strange hair sample implicated in the alien abduction experience of Peter Khoury had a striking array of DNA anomalies.  Until the “Hair of the Alien” evidence came along the claims that alien abductions might involve hybrid beings was just unsubstantiated speculation.  Now evidence had been revealed that may support such a bizarre scenario.  Its not conclusive evidence, but it is enough of a potent breakthrough to argue that the research direction it inspired is a very worthwhile hypothesis to pursue.  I have created a blog site that focuses on this fascinating area.  I have put an introductory essay up on the site – “The Alien DNA Paradigm – an introduction” at http://aliendnaparadigm.blogspot.com   You can assist this long term effort with information and material that may support the work.  It may just help define our place in the universe.

During 2010 Peter Khoury was subject to a lie detector test, despite my efforts to advise him that polygraph testing was scientifically unreliable. Since such testing has popular kudos I have also included the context of that testing, which Peter passed:
polygraph examiner Gavin Wilson, on camera, reported to Mary Rodwell, Chris Rodwell, and Peter Khoury (I was at the same table out of camera shot), “Peter passed the test.”  Peter laconically responded, “Great, I’m happy.”  Gavin added, “So far as I’m concerned, what he witnessed, there has to be some merit in that.” 

from my UFO History Keys column in the Australian magazine "Ufologist"

Belief, Polygraphs and alien abductions
 – the SBS “My Mum Talks to Aliens” documentary examined.

by Bill Chalker

On November 30 2010 the documentary “My Mum talks to Aliens” was aired on the SBS TV network.  It has been repeated a number of times since then.  While the lurid title may have seemed off putting, the content was interesting and made a contribution to the debate about UFOs and alien abductions. 

The primary and most engaging aspect of the documentary was the relationship between alien abduction counselor Mary Rodwell and her son Chris, a veterinarian.  A kind of road trip through the alien landscape was played out, with Chris looking for credible scientific evidence that his mother’s obsession with matters alien are not an indication she has lost her marbles.  Mary sets about showing him a range of things that might persuade him that the UFO and alien abduction field is a serious area of enquiry and that she has a credible approach within it. 

While some apparently intriguing areas were touched on by the documentary, each had their own “devil in the detail” aspects – issues and problems which were not addressed, in part due to the limitations of the format of the programme.  It seemed to be up to Mary to present the case for each item and for Chris to see if it resonated well with his scientific sensibilities. 

The credibility of each segment really depended on how engaged and well informed Mary and Chris were with them.  This varied a lot through the programme.  For example, some interesting elements described in the abduction narrative of Greg Le Noel, one of Mary Rodwell’s clients, was overshadowed by issues associated with polygraph testing. In a Gosford UFO meeting Chris feels completely done with the strange world of UFO belief, which in the piece aired in the documentary seemed dominated by “alien language.” 

The Australian Academy of Sciences debate between Mary Rodwell and Dr. Charlie Lineweaver, with an audience weighted heavily with his students, was never going to take seriously Mary’s Exopolitics mediated litany of uncritical claims about the strange nature of UFO reality.  Confusing Paul Hellyer, former Canadian Defence minister for Colonel Corso was a stumble for Mary, and not having an appropriate response for Lineweaver’s slander of Dr. Brian Josephenson was disappointing.  Lineweaver was apparently hung up on a physics Nobel laureate lurching into non-scientific mainstream areas such as telepathy, an aspect that could have been soundly argued against, given Lineweaver’s close mind about such matters.  Lineweaver got some free hits, but his arrogance worked against him, in the context of the documentary.  It also understandably raised the ire of Mary’s son, Chris, who saw it as a personalised attack on his mother.

The photo evidence Mary presented to Chris impressed him, but that was because he was inexperienced with the video anomalies that occur with night time filming of distant light sources.  He even went as far to suggest Mary should have led with this Silbury Hill footage in the science debate.  Luckily that didn’t occur, as I suspect Dr. Lineweaver may have jumped on what Chris saw as “crystal clarity”, with the exotic looking diamond shapes being nothing more than the defocused images – a lens effect - of distant point light sources. An examination of the full footage on the SBS web site confirms this and supports the idea these light sources were probably prosaic sources, such as possible flares.  While such analysis can be debated the idea that they represented compelling alien UFO imagery was not sustained by the facts.

Mary’s “ace card”, abductee Peter Khoury, was filmed in a very limited way focusing on an all too brief recounting of only part of the DNA evidence related to his 1992 experience and then filming an unguarded moment which Peter would have wished wasn’t used.  It was pretty clear than both, Mary and Chris, were not well aware of the totality of the DNA evidence in Peter Khoury’s case, and if they were, they didn’t understand it or its implications.  Despite Mary’s preoccupations with matters DNA related in her claims of “new humans” she seems to prefer poorly documented “evidence” rather than well presented and detailed evidence such as in the Khoury “Hair of the Alien” case.  Neither, Peter or I, are aware of any occasion, other than the documentary, where she has highlighted the case in any significant way in her lectures or publications.  Indeed I was advised it was the producers that led Mary into choosing Peter Khoury’s case as her belated “ace card”, as stronger and more compelling material was needed, than the material she had already presented. 

Some other “ace cards” had fallen along the way and were not used.  The interview with a Woomera witness, who seemed to change her mind at the last minute, saying her observation and filming during a rocket test probably wasn’t an alien UFO, was not used.  The detour to Wycliffe Well was possibly not used because of the way it was filmed, with the segment seemingly more about UFO theatre rather than solid facts.  The visit to the National Archives did not focus on compelling material and so was cut out of the documentary.  A more detailed examination of the files would have revealed more compelling data. 

My own last minute reluctant agreement to be filmed talking very briefly about the DNA work, despite laboring with flu recovery, did not give a coherent or detailed account of that work, which had already been briefly covered by Peter talking about part of the research.  As I had been something of a pest re the polygraph testing I wasn’t surprised to see my brief DNA piece cut out of the documentary.  Beside it required a much more detailed presentation to present this evidence in a serious and acceptable way.  Later, Chris seemed hung up on the idea that it seemed to him unscientific to have part of the remaining hair sample on a broken slide, giving me no opportunity to highlight that the sample was secure and that it would have been scientifically irresponsible to risk another sample transfer just for the sake of a TV documentary.  In any event there is another segment of the hair sample held in a secure manner.

Once again it was a mellowed form of polygraph testing entrapment that overshadowed the very limited and skewed presentation of this case, and the polygraph testing was limited to his 1988 experience rather than the 1992 experience, in which evidence led to DNA testing.  The programme had not engaged with this 1988 experience, so it was probably confusing for the viewer. The polygraph was used, almost without question, as a way of discriminating between fact and fiction.  There was a brief narration comment that Mary had some issues about the use of lie detection, while in the background I had been waging a campaign against its use in general and more specifically in Peter Khoury’s case.  It was a campaign I waged with the producers and Peter, and my arguments were based on science, not vague popular perceptions of the utility of polygraph testing.  There was a huge debate that could be had here, but it was left unstated in the documentary, despite the history of the controversial use of polygraphs in both the wider community and its rather sorry history of use in the UFO controversy.

I will limit my further comments here to where the documentary addressed alien abductions.  It did this by examining two different abductees, Greg Le Noel, the client of Mary’s ACERN practice, and Peter Khoury, who had not been a client of Mary, nor had she been involved in any of the research about his abduction experiences.  In both cases Chris organised polygraph testing via Gavin Wilson, forensic polygraph examiner for Australian Polygraph Services.  Greg failed his test, while Peter Khoury passed his.  Mary Rodwell attempted to rationalise Greg’s failure as being due to his abduction “memories” being recovered via subconscious or trance recall, in other words, his abduction narrative came from the hypnotic regressions Mary carried out with Greg.  Peter Khoury’s abduction “memories” are clearly anchored in conscious recollection.

So the documentary’s “smoking gun” was Peter Khoury’s successful lie detector test, which had focused on his conscious recollection of witnessing 5 aliens in 1988. Peter Khoury has always wanted to have a lie detector test, to help validate his claims of alien abductions.  Of course Peter was pleased to have passed the polygraph test, but the documentary failed to reveal the background drama on this particular aspect of the programme.  Nor did it engage with the deeper issue of the use of hypnosis in validating alien abduction stories.  There is a rich and potent debate to be had there.  But it was not going to happen in this context, perhaps in part because so much of Mary’s evidence has been gained through the extensive use of hypnosis. 

I was a direct participant in this part of the story.  When Peter Khoury told me he had agreed to do a polygraph test I did my best to try to get him not to do it.  Why?  The answer was simple.  While popular perceptions and polygraph providers argue that lie detector tests are strong evidence of proving or disproving deception, there is no scientific evidence to back this claim up.  Indeed there is plenty of evidence which shows that such tests are unreliable and can give both false positive and negative results.  For example read about the sorry case of Wen Ho Lee, described in the book “A Convenient Spy – Wen Ho Lee and the politics of Nuclear Espionage” by Dan Stober and Ian Hoffman.  Contradictory FBI interpretations of the same polygraph results overwhelmed this affair.  It was not an isolated case.   Further, I had previously on a number of occasions reviewed the scientific evidence for polygraph testing, to see if they should be utilised as a research tool in the investigation of alien abduction claims.  I had concluded on each of these occasions that there was not sufficient evidence to support polygraph testing as an appropriate tool in researching alien abduction reports.  In fact there was compelling evidence arguing that such testing should be avoided as it potentially put abductees in the hands of an unreliable tool for determining truth about such matters.  See also New Scientist, 25 June 2011, “The truth about lies – Easy to tell, hard to detect” for a recent assessment of the issue.  Polygraphs remain in their scientific limbo, as unproven devices for the assessment of truth.  

If the evidence for polygraph accuracy had been strong and scientifically validated, I would not have hesitated in encouraging Peter Khoury to do polygraph testing.  Instead my own research meant I would not be protecting Peter Khoury’s best interests if I remained silent about his decision to eagerly embrace such testing.  In fact I became a thorn in the side of the documentary producers, who were intent on using the polygraph testing as a dramatic element in the show.  I was asked by Peter Khoury to be present when the documentary team, Gavin Wilson, the Polygraph examiner, and Mary & Chris Rodwell visited Peter’s home for the test on September 1st, 2010.  As I was getting over a bout of the flu this was a draining experience, but a necessary one.  I had a debate with Gavin about the validity of polygraph testing.  He accepted that I had compelling evidence, but obviously stood by his profession.  I was also alarmed when I overheard the producer trying to encourage the polygraph examiner to ask Peter Khoury questions about whether he had had sex with aliens.  As Peter himself was not even certain about this, such a question was not appropriate to ask in a polygraph setting.  Gavin Wilson was a professional in his approach.  After questioning Peter at length he had decided not to address this, but rather focus on the 1988 experience.  Still, I was surprised, that despite all my arguments against the validity of polygraph testing, and potential risks to his career, Peter Khoury ultimately did the test.  I think that says a lot about his sense of truth and his integrity.  He was willing to put everything on the line.  A line though I felt was not a good line to cross, given it was defined by an unreliable tool.

Despite all this, polygraph examiner Gavin Wilson, on camera, reported to Mary Rodwell, Chris Rodwell, and Peter Khoury (I was at the same table out of camera shot), “Peter passed the test.”  Peter laconically responded, “Great, I’m happy.”  Gavin added, “So far as I’m concerned, what he witnessed, there has to be some merit in that.”

Despite Chris Rodwell being impressed that Peter had originally promptly agreed to his request to do the polygraph testing, and that he also passed it, Chris was less than forthright in his acknowledgement of this.  Instead we got from him, “I’m open-minded with Peter’s story.” Further he said referring to the material he found “most credible”, “A guy who says he was abducted by aliens and he passed a lie detector test.  You can’t deny that.  It swayed me, but I’m not a believer.”  Moving goal posts, it seemed to me. 

Polygraph examiner Gavin Wilson assessing Peter Khoury
Had Chris actually deeply engaged with the UFO data, rather than the light touch provided by this road trip down the UFO highway, he may have more deeply understood the intensity of his mother’s troubling UFO obsession.  Despite this, Chris had at least walked some distance into his mother’s alien world, and had developed some respect for her efforts, even if they didn’t always sit well with his scientific sensibilities.  The process had the benefit of deepening the bonds between a mother and a son.  

Mary often says she honors all realities.  Personally I don’t agree with such an approach, since some “realities” turn out to be false.  Everyone is entitled to hold their own UFO beliefs, but I for one, prefer to anchor my beliefs in verifiable UFO realities. In areas, were certainty is not possible, I am open to such matters, without incorporating them as matters of belief, but rather as matters for consideration and deep thought, and serious investigation where possible. UFO belief, often intense belief, is shared by many people, in many different ways.  We can all learn from examining other people’s beliefs and experienced realities. I have an enduring UFO obsession of sorts, but it is anchored in scientific perspectives, with an open mind to other approaches.  There are many paths to engage with the UFO reality, not just with UFO belief - the devil in the detail.



13 Comments:

Blogger Dave said...

I've read select portions of your book. So many books, so little time.

I have two items for you. First, has there been independent confirmation of the DNA data by other peer-reviewed geneticists?

Second, I have to mention the obvious point that can be brought up regarding your reticence to allow Mr. Khoury to undergo polygraph examination, and it is this: while you may indeed have the best interests of Mr. Khoury at heart, it can also be pointed out that you are not a neutral party in this matter; you have a book out and a reputation to uphold. Perhaps your reticence to have Mr. Khoury polygraphed has less to do with his best interests and more to do with yours.

Finally, if you do plan to have independent DNA analyses conducted I would strongly urge the strictest possible preservation of provenance of the hair sample including hand-delivering the sample and constant supervision by at least two vigilant observers from beginning to end of the independent analysis.

There has been over the years a preponderance of 'mishaps' concerning evidence in UFO cases, items have disappeared, have been 'misplaced', lost in the mails, never returned, etc.

Dave

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