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 My "Spin"

 

REVIEW: The Secret of Redgate
Documentary Produced by Lynda Cowen
Directed by Jim Marrs and Lynda Cowen
Narrarated by Jim Marrs

Released 2004

Rated: Not Rated

The new documentary by Lynda Cowen and Jim Marrs, The Secret of Redgate, is a remarkable project that seamlessly integrates eye-witness testimony, hypnotherapy, polygraph tests, and remote viewing into a riveting description of what many believe is an entire community's long-term interaction with extraterrestrial life.


The Secret of Redgate is much more than a documentary of a possible encounter with a UFO. This new project produced by Lynda Cowen and directed by Jim Marrs is the first major effort on film to integrate four primary approaches to gathering corroborating evidence regarding the esoteric topic of alien encounters. Ms. Cowen's approach the topic is sufficiently serious with respect to the incorporation of each of these approaches that equally special care needs to be given in this review to describing her meticulous efforts. Her broad-spectrum approach to her documentary study is further enhanced by the interesting contributions made by Lyn Buchanan, a well-know and highly-respected remote viewing authority, and Dr. R. Leo Sprinkle, a college professor and recognized authority of the UFO phenomenon more generally.

Encounters with aliens is by its nature an esoteric topic. As is typical of virtually all esoteric topics, whether or not such encounters actually occurred must be considered speculative by those who have not personally encountered these aliens until either the aliens reveal themselves to the major public media in an irrefutable way (assuming the media would be willing to report it), or until the government publicly acknowledges that it has irrefutable evidence that such encounters have occurred (assuming the government would ever want to do this). Given the fickleness of the media and the truth-shy attitude of the government when it comes to revealing information that might affect public opinion in unpredictable ways, UFO investigators are in a particularly difficult situation. How does one investigate a possible encounter with extraterrestrial life without the support of either the mainstream media or the government?

In the past, many UFO documentarians have relied on eye-witness testimony as the basis for developing a general storyline of the reported events. Who saw what, when, and how become grist for speculation regarding an interpretation of what might have actually happened. The interpretation, of course, can go anywhere since eye-witness accounts can be presented as factual or delusional, depending on the slant of the documentary creators. Rarely are eye-witness accounts reported in the mainstream media without significant spin, since most reporters and documentarians do not want to be accused of blatantly supporting an idea as unconventional as the existence of advanced extraterrestrial life. Thus, the question often boils down to whether or not the eye-witnesses will be presented as either liars or mental cases.

Lynda Cowen carefully avoids this pitfall in the use of eye-witness testimony. She does this in three interesting ways. First, she presents the testimony directly, without an accompanying spin. Nowhere in the documentary is there a narrator telling the viewer to consider the possibility that the eye-witnesses may be either delusional or falsifying their stories. Second, she interviews a significantly large number of individuals from an entire community in Montana to obtain corroborating testimony. From all of this it is clear that essentially an entire town has been witness to highly unusual set of events that have taken place over a great many years. It is also clear that these events are typically independent of one another, in the sense that everyone's story does not ultimately depend on a pyramid of information traceable to one individual. Third, a number of the eye-witnesses are given polygraph tests to see whether or not they are lying.

The next question then becomes how much is known about what actually occurred. Eye-witness testimony can only go so far. Many of these experiences occurred years ago, and memories are partial at best. There is also the possibility that some of these eye-witnesses may not be able to remember everything consciously due to either trauma or mental suggestions to forget. To resolve this, Ms. Cowen utilizes hypnotherapy to help the experiencers remember what may only be found in their deep memories. It is noteworthy that the hypnotherapy sessions were all conducted by licensed practioners, and that a medical doctor was also present during all of the sessions. Care was given not to lead the experiencers, but rather to elicit from them their true emotions and recollections regarding these mysterious events.

To further extend the investigation, Ms. Cowen incorporated the efforts of trained remote viewers. These viewers have accomplished records in perceiving psychically mediated information using processes comparable with those that the U.S. government has acknowledged it used operationally for many years with great success, until the existence of the program was reported to the public and then abandoned. It is important to note that remote-viewing data can never prove that something exists. Thus, remote-viewing data must always be considered speculative until positive verification of its accuracy is obtained through normal physical means. Nonetheless, remote-viewing information can be exceptionally useful in many situations in which one is looking for information that is used to independently corroborate evidence that is obtained through other means. In the case of The Secret of Redgate, this is exactly what Ms. Cowen has done. Nowhere in this documentary does an announcer state or imply that the UFO encounters must be real because these remote viewers have witnessed them. Rather, the remote-viewing data are sensitively presented to add both corroboration and interpretation to the eye-witness accounts.

It is particularly important to emphasize how the remote-viewing data were collected in this project. Remote-viewing data are collected "blind" when the remote viewer has no prior knowledge of the target. Thus, if the target is whatever happened at a certain location and at a particular time, then the remote viewer must not know any of this. The remote viewer must only be told that there is a target. The remote viewer must not even be told that the target for a particular session is connected with a certain project. The viewer must also be given targets that are not associated with a given project at the same time that the project's sessions are being tasked so that the viewer will not know the source of any given target for any given session. For all of the remote-viewing sessions conducted for this study, none of the remote viewers knew anything about the targets until after the sessions were completed, and in most cases, the time of disclosure came only after the entire collection of sessions for the project was completed.

In many situations, a monitor is used while collecting remote-viewing data. The monitor's job is to assist the remote-viewer by suggesting nonleading perceptual-movement exercises that help to focus the viewer on important target aspects. When the monitor does not know anything about the target, the session is called "double-blind." In practice it is often difficult to use a monitor in double-blind studies since the monitor's job of guiding the viewer is made easier if he or she knows something about the target. But having the monitor know something about the target can also result in leading the viewer unless great care is taken to avoid this.

For all of the studies in this project, a "graduated double-blind remote-monitoring process" was utilized. The process was "remote" since telephone connections were used for all communications between the viewers and the monitors, thereby preventing any unconscious visual leading. "Gradual" double-blind monitoring processes mean that each session was split into three parts, and the monitors were given a script to guide the viewers within each of the three parts. The first part was the longest, and it occupied about 75% of each remote-viewing session. Remote-viewing sessions must demonstrate solid target contact within this first section in order to be acceptable for analysis within the overall project. As is typical of all such sessions, the monitors never examined the script for the next part of the session until the prior part was completed. The script for the first part contains no information about the target and instructs the monitors to offer movement exercises to nonleading focal points, such as "to the center of the target." The script for the second part of the session added minimal information about the target within the context of generic movement exercises, such as to have the viewer's perception move to the "primary target subjects." Only during the final third of the session was the monitor given a script that contained more detailed information about the target, none of which was conveyed to the viewer. This allowed the monitor to suggest generic movement exercises that might help the viewer focus on aspects of the target that might otherwise have been overlooked, such as to have the viewer observe the target area or environment. In all cases, data for all sessions using a graduated double-blind monitoring process need to be examined to insure that such data are consistent across all three parts of each session.

Again, the remote-viewing data collected for this study are never used to "prove" that the reported encounters with aliens actually occurred. Rather, the data are used to add corroboration the eye-witness accounts, as well as to supplement the hypnotherapy and polygraph results. The entire package of investigative tools are about as complete as one can achieve in such circumstances, and Ms. Cowen's documentary offers itself as a new benchmark on how to conduct such comprehensive studies.

I suspect that many people will find this documentary to be a highly rewarding visual experience. The technical skills of the editor, David Hickey, are remarkable, especially given the relatively low-budget for this production. This is perhaps the best documentary to date on the subject of alien encounters. Nowhere is there a heavy-handed presentation that demands that the viewer accept that there were aliens and UFOs in the hills of Montana. The data are presented for only what they are, interesting, and indeed intriguing. Viewers will find much to respect in this documentary, and much over which to ponder.