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July 29, 2006

Book Review: by Dbdonlon



The Psychic Sasquatch and their UFO Connection, by Jack “Kewaunee” Lapseritis. Wild Flower Press, 1998.

This book is pretty hard to come by now. I was able to get a new copy through Alibris.com, and that’s pretty much the route you have to go through if you want to get it. But I’m not sure I recommend getting this book if what you wanted was a thorough and rigorous testing of the psychic sasquatch theory. Because that’s one thing you won’t get.

Lapseritis makes a noticeable number of references to his scientific background, yet after reading his book, I am left wondering if this background makes any difference at all. And this is no mere quibble – he says that he has seventy-six cases in his files of psychic sasquatch encounters, but he also says he can’t tell you anything about the people involved because they requested anonymity. This is alright in itself, but it does put a burden on Mr. Lapseritis to show us that we can trust him with the facts, since there is not going to be any way for us to independently verify them. And I don’t believe he does enough to earn that trust throughout his book.

There are several problems that undermine our trust in Lapseritis as we read. I’ll lay them out and then illustrate them with some examples. First, since Lapseritis is asking us to trust his judgement, he needs to illustrate that he has good judgement. He doesn’t do this; in fact, he does the opposite, illustrating that he does not have a fundamental grasp of persuasive argument. Also, if he’s going to make reference to the large number of cases he says he has collected, then he should try to let us know how many of these cases he’s used in his book. He identifies very few cases – no more than a half dozen – in the text, and then he makes some generalizations at the end of the book. I can not tell that those generalizations have come from any other cases. Everything seems to rely on the half dozen or so he’s presented in his book. It’s a very different thing to ask us to believe his interpretation if it is based on a half dozen, rather than seventy-six, cases. Then there is the problem of asking us to believe what he and the other “percipients” (as he calls them) have received from the psychic sasquatches, when the psychic ‘squatches do nothing to prove that they are what they say they are. Once you’ve granted that polymorphing trickster spirit-beings exist, you no longer have any basis for a claim that you saw and conversed with a bigfoot. In fact, you don’t know what it was that happened to you. This thought doesn’t seem to have occurred to Mr. Lapseritis. I won’t say that nothing happened to Lapseritis (who claims hundreds of encounters with pyschic sasquatches over twenty years) or his other percipients, but I won’t go so far as to say they conversed with bigfoot. I have to shrug and say that I don’t know what happened.

But let us stipulate that Lapseritis does actually talk to psychic sasquatches. Even if we do that, we have problems that a careful thinker ought to have seen. For no matter what the truth of the matter, one striking fact is that the message conveyed by the psychic sasquatches in Lapseritis’ book turns out to be identical to the message conveyed to abductees – we are ruining our planet and we had better stop it. You might stop right here and roll your eyes, but remember, we stipulated so we've got to go along with the flow.

Ok, but now my question would be – why are you psychic 'squatches telling me that? In Lapseritis’ case, it’s a poignant question since he’s not a well known author and the number of people he could reach with his message is pretty well insignificant. At least with John Mack or Bud Hopkins, you’d have a chance at reaching many readers, but why a nearly anonymous holistic healer and bigfoot researcher? The question doesn't seem to have occurred to the author. It's just one more little bit that does not make sense, and for me this suggests that (granting these things described have actually happened) whatever the “psychic sasquatches” and their UFO buddies are doing, it’s not what they say they are doing. And a corollary to that would be, whoever they are, it’s not who they say they are. But Lapseritis never appears to think about it critically, he just takes them at their word. Alright, we're almost done stipulating now.

For one last thing that appears to me to be a contradiction is that, according to their report of themselves, psychic sasquatches are so advanced that their interaction with humans is limited to when they want to have it. When they don’t want to be seen by us, they simply slip into another dimension. And since they can read our thoughts, they sense us coming long before we can get close to them. They don’t want us to know about them, so we don’t. Well here’s the contradiction – how have we gotten any evidence of their existence, then? If the sasquatches have an answer for this question we don't know what it would be, because no one has ever asked them.

What you would have liked to have seen Lapseritis do is actually ask these questions of the psychic sasquatches themselves, but the questions don’t appear to have occurred to him. He takes their word for everything uncritically, and that’s why, even granting that these things have happened as he says they have, we can’t take his word for what they are.

Take a deep breath, we are finished with our stipulation exercises.

But we've only begun exposing the flaws in this book. We get plenty of evidence that Lapseritis is not a careful thinker. As an example, he cites “Scientist Dan A. Davidson of Arizona” and his three theories of how sasquatch could do some of the things Lapseritis has reported them to have done. After he has cited the theories, Lapseritis says,

QUOTE:

"Sasquatch are very adept at mind control but rarely use it. More often, they dematerialize using methods #2 and #3.. So, I strongly concur with Mr. Davidson and feel strongly that all three areas of projected hypnosis and quantum physics are being utilized as an innate psychic survival mechanism by these clever nature-beings."


The trouble here is that Davidson has offered theories, or “ways of explaining” what has been described, he has not offered facts. But Lapseritis treats them as if they are proven facts once he has introduced them, as if the fact that they can explain the events means that that’s the way things happened. This is a logical fallacy of the most elementary sort, and no real scientist would make this mistake. This is a mark against our ability to have faith in Lapseritis’ judgement, which is at issue since Lapseritis has asked us to take his word for the accounts he has offered.

He makes similar mistakes elsewhere in his book, illustrating that it’s not an isolated slip-up. For instance, he refers to a fossil in Utah that looks very much like a shoe print, and perhaps a second. I’ve seen the pictures of the clearest one and I think it does look something like a shoe-print, but it isn’t perfect, and I can imagine ways in which it might have been made without the agencies of a cobbler and a foot. But Lapseritis says the fossil “umistakably shows the fossil remains of two human footprints from a prehistoric man wearing shoes!” This is another example of, “It could be, so it is!”

If that’s the way that Lapseritis thinks, how can we trust him to have been careful enough with the evidence he won’t directly show us?

I’ll give one more example of bad logical thinking, and then I’ll leave Lapseritis alone. In a listing of attributes the psychic sasquatch might possess, he includes levitation and teleportation. For levitation, he can offer only scant evidence – one witness saw a sasquatch jump over a creek and it “seemed to glide” to the other side. Why that would be evidence for levitation as opposed to, say, flight, I don’t know. And for teleportation, Lapseritis says,

QUOTE:

"Teleportation, transporting the entire physical body from one dimension to a different geographical location, is rarely reported, but might happen frequently with some or all sasquatches."


At least he didn’t say it did happen this time.

There is more that I could bring up to illustrate that Lapseritis is not really a scientist, at least under any standard definition of that word, nor any kind of critical thinker, but these examples should suffice. Having made the point doesn’t mean that what Lapseritis reports in his book never happened, but it does put Lapseritis in the terrible bind of having shown himself to be an unreliable reporter – not because of outright lies, but because we can’t trust him to know the difference between what might be and what is. And since he made the issue of trust crucial by withholding the evidence we might have used to verify what he says, he renders his work valueless to researchers.



*Reprinted with permission from Dbdonlon*

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