Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Leah Haley Case: John Carpenter

This is one in a series of posts on the Leah Haley Case.

According to LinkedIn dot com, John Carpenter, MSW, LCSW, is a self-employed therapist and lecturer educated at Washington University in St. Louis and DePauw University. The bio also states he was an "abductions research specialist at UFO research."

Carpenter has a long history with the UFO community and particularly what some call investigation of alien abduction. Serving as the MUFON director of abduction research from approximately 1991 to 2000, Carpenter conducted literally hundreds of regressive hypnosis sessions. He frequently published statements asserting the supposed reality of an alien presence and resulting program of military abductions through speaking engagements, the MUFON Journal and a network of platforms provided by like-minded individuals.


Early on in Leah Haley's quest to learn more about a childhood UFO sighting, Budd Hopkins recommended she contact Carpenter. Haley did so and Carpenter hypnotized her throughout 1991, giving rise to many fantastic and previously unknown alleged experiences of alien abduction and military abduction. More about Haley, her experiences and her current beliefs are contained in previous posts.

Somewhere along his way, John Carpenter was said to have cut a deal with Robert Bigelow involving the release of 140 case files of alleged abductees, including Leah Haley. The files were said to have been sold for $100 apiece, totaling $14,000. The public commonly perceived a single transaction took place.


Certain individuals, including Leah Haley and some of the other 139, were deeply hurt and outraged. They felt betrayed by all parties involved: Carpenter, MUFON, Bigelow and associates.


The event seemed to have taken place sometime during the mid 1990's. It became known as the Carpenter Affair when the public eventually found out around the turn of the century. The circumstances and their ramifications were of interest to some key MUFON personnel, or at least that was the case with the ensuing public relations problems. It was publicly discussed by such personnel, as well as various people of relative interest in ufology, around the Internet.


John Velez and Gary Hart exchanged emails as cited on UFO Updates List, discussing the filing of a formal complaint and reviewing the MUFON code of ethics. Robert Gates also weighed in on the List, sharing his interpretations of some relevant points and questions concerning the Carpenter Affair. Carpenter defended his actions, as did his supportive wife


James Mosely of Saucer Smear regularly reported on the situation. The September, 2000, edition quoted the MUFON director of governmental affairs, Larry Bryant, expressing his outrage over the manner he interpreted MUFON mishandled the Carpenter Affair:


"Since a cloud of alleged impropriety now hangs over the Executive Committee (of MUFON) for its having taken so long to act upon its months-long knowledge of the 'Carpenter Affair', I hereby call upon all members of the Executive Committee to resign forthwith from their Committee positions, from their membership on the MUFON Board of Directors, and from their MUFON general membership - all in the interest of helping restore the public's confidence in the purpose, operation, management, and integrity of this organization...


"In addition, you Executive Committee members owe all of us in the entire field of UFO research not only a full, written explanation as to who on the MUFON Board originally knew of the 'Carpenter Affair' (and when they knew it) but also a published apology for their having embargoed or otherwise downplayed that knowledge at the expense of the rest of the Board. If we have a lesson to be learned from this debacle, how about this one: Enforced silence never can be the ally of truth!"


Relevant questions remain. Let's consider a few things.


Concerns have been expressed around ufology that Bigelow and his corporations may sometimes act on behalf of hidden partners and undisclosed agencies. Former MUFON international director James Carrion asserted funds donated to MUFON supposedly by Bigelow were actually provided by “sponsors,” the identities of which Bigelow revealed to MUFON board member and former international director John Schuessler, but did not disclose to the remaining MUFON board members. 

In the particular circumstance of the Carpenter Affair, some feel it may be relevant that during the time in question, non-lethal weapons expert and career intelligence officer Colonel John Alexander was a staff member at the National Institute for Discovery Science, a Bigelow-founded and now dissolved nonprofit corporation. John Velez wrote via UFO Updates List that Colonel Alexander was interestingly among those who provided confirmation the Carpenter Affair took place. Of potential further interest is Christopher "Kit" Green, a long time CIA employee who also worked with NIDS, according to former NIDS personnel member Eric Davis.

John Schuessler was yet another member of NIDS personnel, a situation that further explains the perspective expressed above by Larry Bryant. In the November, 2000, edition of the 'Smear, Mosely reported:


Our readers will recall that in our Sept. 5th issue, we told you of the internal scandal in MUFON regarding the fact that John Carpenter, their Director of Abduction Research, sold one hundred and forty (140) abduction case histories to wealthy John Bigelow of NIDS (National Institute of Discovery Science). John Schuessler, the new czar of MUFON, has promised an investigation by an Ethics Committee consisting of four unnamed members of their Board of Directors, and he has stated that the results of this internal investigation will be published in the MUFON Journal.

However, we have recently received the October issue of the Journal, and there is not a word therein about the John Carpenter affair! On the contrary, the lead article is authored by Carpenter, who uses the letters "MSW" and "LCSW" after his name. We have no idea what these letters mean, but we do know that the article in question is an absurd defense of the ludicrous "abduction video" which was the topic of Carpenter's presentation at this year's MUFON symposium in St. Louis. It thus appears that Mr. Carpenter is still riding high in the MUFON hierarchy!...

Curious circumstances indeed. Reasonable questions about the Carpenter Affair include:

Was the Carpenter Affair an isolated incident and single transaction as commonly supposed, or was Carpenter involved in additional, ongoing transactions and arrangements?


When did Carpenter's dealings with Bigelow begin?


Why did Bigelow want the 140 case files?


Might Carpenter's affiliation with the Bigelow camp have influenced how he conducted his 'investigations' and effected the ways he interacted with self-described experiencers?


Why did Carpenter not simply tell people, such as Haley and fellow MUFON leaders (in addition to Schuessler, who sat on the NIDS scientific advisory board, creating the related questionable circumstances), he intended to share files and/or information with Bigelow?


I emailed John Carpenter to try to learn more. I informed him I was blogging about the Leah Haley Case and asked if I could ask him some questions. After a few attempts at contact, he eventually replied, “Sure.”


I sent him some questions, to which he replied with some questions of his own, including asking, “Where is this information going?”


How ironic,” I thought... and after exchanging a few more initial remarks, we proceeded.


Below is the vast majority of Carpenter's comments to me. I am providing them in their virtual entirety and exactly as written, less a few remarks contained in a previous post. 

I initially asked Carpenter how his interactions with the Bigelow camp began. I also asked what criteria was used to identify the 140 files as being of interest and if he engaged in any other transactions or projects with Bigelow. I encouraged him to provide commentary as he might be inclined to further clarify the circumstances.


Carpenter replied:

Bob Bigelow is a low key quiet man who has an avid and serious interest in the paranormal for all the right reasons. Because he worked hard for years at real estate and investments, he eventually made enough money to fund projects that would further research, bring answers, and take a much needed, serious, scientific, and psychological look at the UFO field.

All the serious researchers knew him well as he made a point of connecting with the best ones to see what they needed or what projects he could help with. He funded projects for Budd Hopkins, Stanton Friedman, Linda Howe, David Jacobs, myself, Dr. John Mack, George Knapp, MUFON, and more. People need to quit ASSUMING he is some shady figure!!

Carpenter ended the email by indicating he would send more later. I encouraged him to do so and in his next message he wrote:

Bob Bigelow is a kind-hearted, generous individual who avidly sought answers in professional, credible directions. He helped bring researchers together to discuss issues (while staying discreetly in the background). He helped fund the historical M.I.T. Abduction Study Conference in Boston in 1992.

He helped fund the famous Roper poll on how many Americans may have been abducted. This led then to another effort to train mental health professionals in abduction knowledge and therapy skills by way of major professional conferences for mental health personnel ONLY. These were held successfully in New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Chicago with John Mack, Budd Hopkins, David Jacobs, and myself as speakers. Bob wanted all the best for quality research and proper treatment for abductees.

I first met Bob when he tagged along with Linda Moulton Howe as she visited Southwest Missouri to work with me on several interesting abduction cases. Her subsequent film production became the pilot special that evolved into the long-running show, Sightings!

Bob said he was impressed with my hypnotherapy skills and professionalism. He, later on, flew me to Las Vegas, Tucson, Vancouver Island, and Nevada to help abduction cases he had become aware of. He also helped fund the investigation in New Mexico of Gerald Anderson's claims with myself and Stanton Friedman.

Carpenter continued in another message:

Eventually Bob created the National Institute for Discovery Science (NIDS) in Las Vegas so that top scientists and other fields of professional expertise could study paranormal events, UFO cases, etc in a serious and quiet manner. He developed a science board of experts that would impress anybody on this planet. It included two Apollo astronauts who had walked on the moon, Jacques Vallee, Ian Stevenson (reincarnation studies), Hal Putoff (astrophysics), Edgar Mitchell, and many others who preferred to remain anonymous. They would secretly convene once a month and study various cases and projects.

I had the wonderful opportunity to give a presentation on abductions to this incredible panel of experts!

Having clarified the good and generous nature of Bob Bigelow and all the wonderful things he helped to make possible for all the right reasons, I want to clarify the last project that I worked on with his organization.

He wanted some of his top professional minds to study abduction data. I agreed to confidentially share data from a number of my cases by blacking out names and identifying data to protect my cases while giving top scientists a taste of what is being reported in abduction research.

Despite rumors on the Internet, I NEVER SOLD my cases!! That rumor supposedly had credibility because it was started by my ex-wife who wanted to stir up controversy and headaches for me! Doesn't anybody understand this dynamic with an ex-wife?

Anyway, for the record, all of my 140 plus cases remain complete, intact, and unchanged -- all in my possession if anybody cares to drop by my house just to be certain! Bob Bigelow only reimbursed me for my time and costs to work on selecting, preparing, and sending data. It was an honor to have great minds study this important information, quietly, discreetly, and respectfully. However, I heard that most of it never got reviewed and probably sits in some closet as priorities and more exciting projects came along. Around that time Bob had bought the famous ranch in Utah known for it's paranormal events, and the science team had a chance to study weirdness on our planet firsthand!! (See the book on these events -- "Hunt for the Skinwalker.")

I was disgusted with the rumors, lack of trust, cruelty, and self-serving comments made by Internet buffs --- most who have not performed one ounce of research. They trashed me, tried a lawsuit, discredited my long hours of serious, careful research, and had no comprehension of how I had tried to help abductees and their cause. I had held a full time job during all those years and did all research in my free time -- usually for free or donations. It made me sick, so I just backed away from it all. A voluntary effort is not worth all those headaches!

But I know so much from my cases and feel I still have much to offer. So it is hard to refuse anyone who still needs my help. I will still give presentations for conferences if asked. I produced 10 research DVDs as well to document my research. With Budd Hopkins and Dr. John Mack gone, my famed abductions colleagues have dwindled.

Any other questions?

I replied:


Yes, a few. I would particularly appreciate direct answers to the following direct questions:


"I interpret you are communicating to me that you shared information with Robert Bigelow about abductees you worked with on an ongoing basis, not in a single transaction as the public commonly perceives. Is that a correct interpretation on my part?


"What was the date he tagged along with Linda Moulton Howe and you first met him?


"Would you please reasonably clarify the chain of events by providing a general time line of how the transfer of the information specifically related to the 140 cases in question evolved? For example, when you met Bigelow, when you began sharing information about the experiences of the 140, when you received compensation, etc.


"Did you have dealings with any individuals acting on behalf or in conjunction with the Bigelow camp, in addition to Robert Bigelow and concerning the 140 files, and, if so, who?


"Did you receive $14,000 or thereabouts from Robert Bigelow?


"Around the turn of the century, a post on Geocities dot com revealed the names of 139 of the alleged alien abductees in question. What would you say to those who might hold you and your choices responsible, at the least indirectly, for the occurrence?


"What would you say to the experiencers you worked with who may feel violated by your choices and betrayed by your actions, and might suggest you are rationalizing your behavior while minimizing the emotional damage done?”


Carpenter replied:

Yes, my data sharing was spread over 3 years around 1995 and the reimbursements trickled in over that period, so I don't know the actual total. My ex-wife provided a figure, but I'm not sure how she would have totaled it. Other researchers were approached with the same proposal, and some of them may have shared data, too.


I emphasize the confidentiality, care, and protection I gave this data. And I know of nobody that was harmed in any fashion.


I met Bob on Linda's trip in 1990.


I always dealt directly with Bob Bigelow.


I was appalled that a list of names was leaked to the Internet... I had privately developed code numbers for each case to protect the identity of each person. This way I could privately keep track of each case by number NOT by NAMES. I later learned that my ex-wife copied my private list and gave it out, and then some insensitive idiot had the nerve to put this private list on the Internet thus exposing identities that I had worked hard to protect. That person should be held accountable for such an insensitive and hurtful act!


However, since I worked with cases all over the country, the name Bill Johnson could be a lot of people since no locations or addresses were attached. The code numbers were to protect their identity and maintain confidentiality. The Internet and rumor-mongers were the hurtful participants!


Closing Remarks


I leave it up to the reader to determine what may be surmised from the statements of John Carpenter. You can determine for yourself what was learned and what issues remain.


Those who read The UFO Trail and know me are aware of my thoughts and feelings on such issues as regressive hypnosis used as a memory retrieval tool. My views are also reasonably well known on certain circumstances Carpenter chose to cite, as well as the work of some of the people he opted to frame in a positive light. I recognize Carpenter's right to hold and express any opinions he may choose, and I have no inclination to jump on any soap boxes in the immediate wake of those expressions. Suffice it to say there is plenty of competently composed critical review in opposition to circumstances cited by Carpenter, and I will primarily leave it at that.


I sincerely hope John Carpenter finds peace with himself. I also hope the often emotionally troubled people who summon the courage to reach out to such individuals as Carpenter in search of help will find much deserved relief and peace from their suffering. I hope those who were long since hurt by the Carpenter Affair found some comfort somewhere, too.


Decide for yourselves what you think mattered about the Carpenter Affair and Carpenter's recent statements. Decide for yourself what you would think mattered about it all if you were Leah Haley.

I indicated I wanted to discuss one last thing with Carpenter and I thanked him for providing comments.


If you were so confident your motives and intentions were honorable,” I asked, “why did you not ever just ask Leah if it would be okay to share her file with an interested party? After all, she was obviously an ambitious truth seeker, considering her activities and levels of commitment. Why didn't you just ask her?”


She was already publicly sharing, speaking, and publishing more details of her case than I ever thought of sharing,” Carpenter replied in an email, “and I wasn't sharing anything publicly --- only discreetly and privately with scientists -- that's what researchers do.”


Three minutes after the previous email, Carpenter sent another, adding, “If every researcher had to stop and call every case for permission before discussing details privately with another researcher, we never could have had confidential discussions and research meetings to advance this field of study.”


All other hurtful remarks and distorted perspectives temporarily aside, I take serious issue with the statement, “advance this field of study.”

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