Anthony Constantino's hypnosis sessions helped four men relive their
alleged UFO abductions
When you chat with Anthony Constantino, there's always one inevitable
question: "Do you believe them?" "Them" is a group of four friends who
went camping on the Allagash Waterway in northern Maine in the summer
of 1976. Maybe you saw them recently on the Joan Rivers Show, where
they detailed an ordeal in which they claimed they had a close
encounter with a UFO. They are receiving national attention with the
release this summer of "The Allagash Abductions" written by Raymond
Fowler of Wenham who is a director of investigations for the Mutual
Those who are familiar with this case know that the full story, with
all its mysterious and harrowing details, wasn't revealed until
Anthony Constantino of Beverly placed the four men under hypnosis, and
revealed events that had been pushed into their unconscious.
It was the most intense experience I've had as a hypnotist," says
The conscious part of the story begins on Thursday, August 26, 1976,
when the four men - Chuck Rak, Charlie Foltz, and identical twins Jim
and Jack Weiner, set up camp on Eagle Lake in Maine, and decided to go
fishing in the evening. They built a huge bonfire to act as a beacon
for their return to camp.
Soon after they were out in their canoe, they saw "a large bright
sphere of colored light hovering motionless and soundless about 200 to
300 feet above the southeastern rim of the cove," according to Rak.
Foltz blinked a flashlight at the object. Maybe that was a bad idea.
The UFO began to approach the canoe, while a cone-shaped beam of light
from the object struck the water and began following the canoe. More
inspired than any Olympic athletes, the four campers began paddling
But the beam engulfed them, and the next thing they remembered, they
were in the canoe, near the shore of the lake, watching the UFO ascend
and disappear. The bonfire was now nothing more than embers. Built
with heavy logs, the fire should have lasted hours. It was the first
indication that more time had elapsed than they could remember, but
they had no conscious memory of what had happened.
It was years later before the four men explored that missing period
of time. When Jim Weiner suffered tempero-limbic epilepsy, his
doctors asked him to report any unusual experiences that might be
symptomatic. Weiner described his UFO experience, and various
phenomena that had happened to him and his camping buddies since then.
His doctors suggested he contact a UFO researcher.
Enter Anthony Constantino. A professional hypnotist from Beverly, who
also works as an English teacher at Masconomet High School,
Constantino had hypnotized Ray Fowler in 1988, helping him to remember
the details of Fowler's own alleged abduction in Danvers.
Fowler was leading the investigation of the Allagash abductions for
the Mutual UFO Network, and he wanted Constantino to hypnotize each of
the four men separately.
All four men were willing to participate.
"It's natural," says Constantino. "They wanted to know if something
had happened to them -- especially if it were something traumatic.
They wanted to know for sure."
In 1989, in the dark den of Constantino's Beverly home, each of the
four men separately recounted a tale of being beamed aboard the UFO
that night on Eagle Lake. Under hypnosis, they described the diffusely
lit, sterile interior of the spacecraft, the spindly fingered big-eyed
bald-headed aliens that Whitley Strieber popularized with his
non-fiction book "Communion", and strange medical experiments
conducted on each man.
Constantino says Fowler was cool and professional as he observed the
12 hours of hypnosis sessions, but Constantino admits that at times he
had difficulty repressing his own astonishment.
"I'm the one who kept making faces at Ray, like,'I can't believe
this. I can't believe what was done to these guys."
Which brings us back to The Question. Constantino conducted
three-hour hypnosis sessions with each of the four men. He heard their
voices fill with fear as they explained how medical instruments were
inserted into their bodies, and how communication from the aliens was
Constantino says he went into the session "with no pre-concieved
notions," nothing more than a healthy curiosity about an unexplained
But was he convinced?
"Do you believe them?" Constantino is asked.
He pauses and rubs his chin, as if weighing the gravity of the question.
He looks up and nods solemnly.
"I do," he says. "After working with those guys, I was scared. I still
am. I think it's true. I think they were being tagged -- the way we
tag and study sharks and bears and then release them. The men were
highly indignant that they were taken (aboard) and these things were
done to them without their permission.
THE DANVERS ABDUCTION
It wasn't the first time Constantino had seen a man tortured by a
memory he couldn't quite grasp. When Fowler went in search of a
hypnotist to help him with the Allegash abductions, he asked
Constantino, who was interviewing for the role of hypnotist, to put
him under. Fowler wanted to see if he could remember any other details
of his own abduction in Danvers.
Constantino says he will always remember how emotionally distraught
Fowler became under hypnosis, as new details of his abduction emerged.
"He was sobbing and crying," Constantino remembers. "I kept asking
him if he wanted to stop, but he said, 'No, lets go on.' But finally
he was shaking and I just couldn't continue, so I pulled him out and
we continued later."
The new information was a vital part of Fowler's 1990 Bantam book,
"The Watchers," which included his abduction from the Danvers home of
his youth. And Constantino's hypnosis sessions with the Allegash men
were a key part of the 10-volume, 700 page report that Fowler filed.
One of the intriguing aspects of Constantino's character is that, although he
believes the four Allegash men, he's willing to play the role of the skeptic.
He admits that hypnosis is no truth serum. People can lie under
hypnosis just as they can lie when they are fully conscious. In fact,
people can even feign being hypnotized. Although there are checks a
hypnotist can use to detect a fraud, they are never fool-proof.
Constantino also points out that people under hypnosis are prone to
"Confabulation is not deliberate lying," he says. "It's an attempt by
the subject to fill in gaps in the story. Maybe he wants answers for
himself, or maybe he's trying to please the hypnotist. Whatever the
reason, it makes him create details that he can't actually remember."
The chances for confabulation are reduced by a hypnotist who knows
how not to lead a subject in questioning. For example, the hypnotist
doesn't ask," Did he have a moustache?" Instead, he says, "Look at his
face, tell me what you see."
Constantino admits that cynics have plenty of fodder against cases
like the Allegash abductions. The four abducted men say they were
warned not to tell anyone about the abduction, but Constantino points
out, " If (the aliens) were so advanced, why would they care if the
men spoke about their experiences?"
And imagine how advanced a civilization would have to be to perfect a
form of space travel that we could only imagine. They would be
operating with a mastery of physics far beyond human comprehension.
So, if an alien species were that advanced, doesn't it seem likely
that they would be able to pluck human guinea pigs, perform their
experiments, and then wash the memories of their subjects so
thoroughly that there wouldn't even be an unconscious trace of the
And if the aliens aren't afraid of being known ( after all, what
could we possibly do to battle them?), why do these spaceships always
appear in remote sections of Maine, rather than hovering over
And what are the chances that an alien from such a far-away galaxy
would have such a B-movie, humanoid appearance?
Constantino admits that all these questions are valid. "I don't know
what to tell you," he says.
But that doesn't stop him from believing. Not only is he convinced
that these four respectable men believe what they are saying, he also
believes they were actually abducted.
"These are not four kooks," he says. " These are four decent, sincere
"It bothers me when people who haven't seen this (phenomenon) call
the people who have 'liars'. When you see these people sitting through
hypnosis, suffering, when you see Ray Fowler crying at the memory,
it's not so easy to say they're lying."