Alien Abduction and Psychic Spies: On the Edges of Cold War Science

Greg Eghigian, Penn State University<br />Anthony Enns, Dalhousie University

Consortium for History of Science, Technology and Medicine<br />Chemical Heritage Foundation

Thursday, February 26, 2015 - 6:30pm

Chemical Heritage Foundation, 315 Chestnut Street Philadelphia, PA 19106

After the Flying Saucers Came: A Historian's Look at UFOs and Aliens
Over the past sixty years, claims of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) from space, encounters with aliens, and ancient astronauts have variously inspired amateur research, extraterrestrial contact support groups, government investigations, and scientific and clinical studies. Greg Eghigian will discuss how and when this began, to what extent reports of alien contact have changed over time, how scientists, governments, and the public have responded, and why some in the UFO community believe that the flying saucer age is coming to an end.
Greg Eghigian is Associate Professor of Modern History and former director of the Science, Technology, and Society program at Penn State University. He is a Fulbright and National Science Foundation award recipient and has published numerous articles and books on mental health, security, and selfhood in the twentieth-century human sciences.

 

Psychic Spies: Cold War Science and the Military-Occult Complex
Concerned with reports of advances in Soviet psychical research, the CIA funded studies in “psychic espionage” from 1972 until 1995. Anthony Enns will discuss why the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. supported psychic espionage programs despite the lack of acceptance of psychical research by the scientific establishment, why this institutional support continued throughout the Cold War period despite the fact that it never produced any actionable intelligence, and why these programs were cancelled after the fall of the Berlin wall and were denounced by the same agencies that had supported them for more than two decades.
Anthony Enns is Associate Professor of Contemporary Culture at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia. He has published numerous articles and book chapters on the intersection of science and literature, including on science fiction, film, television, and the work of William S. Burroughs, Edgar Allen Poe, and William Faulkner.