Susan Demeter St. Clair and Robert Brandstetter – Reframing the Debate II

Another in our occasional discussions of the book UFOs: Reframing the Debate was conducted at a park and in a pub in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I was visiting for a few days and both Susan and Robert were amazing hosts and made sure I had no reason to be alone or bored.

We delved into the merits of the criticisms of the book and how our colleague Micah Hanks has called for renewed attention to altered states of consciousness and how this is important to the study of anomalistic experiences. We also talked about the difference between an unexpected, sudden experience and one that might be considered an “altered state.”

Continuing the witness-centered theme, we debated the merits of the internal vs. the external narrative of a weird encounter and how language and telling the story changes the initial experience. I was challenged to defend my co-creation hypothesis and how that might change with multiple witnesses. We also looked at the idea that strange encounters may either be encoded in the DNA across generations, or give individuals a propensity for this. We ended with a back-and-forth on liminal states and Susan shared some of her own.

This was a very fruitful discussion at the sort of high level that always excites me.

Apologies for the occasional quality issues in the first 43 minutes. I tried to filter out all the wind noise, because I felt this interview was too important to lose.


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