He describes the case of one Phoenix-based ufologist who had organized his entire life around researching UFO events that occurred on September 19, a day he felt was key to understanding the aliens’ agenda. Redfern described him as having “Obsessive Compulsive Disorder,” though he did not mean it as a clinical diagnosis. He then described another young man he met at a UFO conference who had become fixated on the time 11:11 and had filled notebook after notebook with ramblings about the number, which he saw as the sign of supernatural powers that were controlling his mind:
Over the 20 or so minutes that we chatted, it became disturbingly clear to me that this man’s life was being directed by (as he saw it) invisible entities that lurked in his home and who endlessly tormented and manipulated him with that now near-infamous number. My suggestion that he got out a bit more and made some friends – which might have taken his mind off sitting alone and constantly waiting for 11:11 to come around every twelve hours – was not what he wanted to hear. It was, however, absolutely all I had to offer.
I encounter many of the same types of unhinged comments and painful obsessives. I received at least a few emails each week that seem to come from people who are mentally ill. They talk about how aliens or ghosts are haunting them at night, how they can’t sleep because of their fear of monsters, or how they have devoted every waking moment of their lives to a highly specific and quite wrong hypothesis about the real forces that control the world or manipulated history, or whatever.
It’s always sad, but one thing I have learned is that engaging with these types only feeds into their obsessions. I wish there were something I could do for them, but there isn’t really. Unfortunately, ignoring them is often the best thing. I’m sure every group has its share of obsessives and the mentally ill, but fringe history and Foretana seem to attract a larger, or at least more visible, share. Perhaps it is because the development of whacky ideas requires a certain degree of obsession (if not actively concocting falsehoods for cash).
“All I’m doing is pointing out that when UFOs become the dominating factor in a person’s life, it’s not a good thing,” Redfern said.