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Author Topic: Oral history as trustworthy information  (Read 29514 times)

Ingo Prangenberg

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Oral history as trustworthy information
« on: September 19, 2014, 09:54:14 AM »

I've always been interested in the former residents (Emilie) account of airplane wreckage off of the Northwestern edge of the island. Here is a quick link to a lost Franklin Expedition ship that was just found. The reason I'm sharing this is twofold:

First, the technology used is very interesting, the images captured are fantastic.

Secondly, the ship was found exactly where Inuit oral history says an Inuit hunter saw it in 1840. Maybe some neigh-sayers should trust the local inhabitant's oral history more.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/lost-franklin-expedition-ship-found-in-the-arctic-1.2760311
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Oral history as trustworthy information
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2014, 10:39:45 AM »

Maybe some neigh-sayers should trust the local inhabitant's oral history more.

The trouble with oral histories is you never know whether they are accurate or not.  Multiple oral histories from different people who didn't know each other but all tell the same story make it more likely that the story is true, but you still can't be sure. 
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Kent Beuchert

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Re: Oral history as trustworthy information
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2014, 01:38:45 PM »

Just remember the old classroom stunt where a circle is formed and a message vocally passed
from the first to the last person in the circle and see the result.
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Krystal McGinty-Carter

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Re: Oral history as trustworthy information
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2014, 02:27:38 PM »

Im a skeptic when it comes to "eyewitness" accounts. As we have seen with any major event (Plane crash, murder, meteor, earthquake etc)  everyone has a differing account of what it looked like, how it sounded, what happened and so on. Oral history is often molded by personal opinion, experience, culture, and elaboration as it is passed from one person to the next.  Even firsthand accounts can be muddled by time, external influences, and personal bias. Maybe someone DID see something, but without a photo, a fiber, a tree scrawled with "AE + FN 1937" etc, we cant be sure.  We are seeing a great example lately as I live near the Ferguson area of St. Louis.  New "eyewitness testimony" is surfacing every single day, so many that it makes me wonder how anyone will be able differentiate between fact and fiction. I imagine that it must be alot like the immediate days after 7-2-37.  Testimony coming from all sides with no way to prove whether its the truth or just hearsay

 Im not quick to dismiss someones recollections, but Im also not quick to believe everything I hear.  Being from Missouri, I kind of have to go back to our cheesy motto: "Thats a lovely story. But I wont believe it 'till you show me." 
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Ingo Prangenberg

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Re: Oral history as trustworthy information
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2014, 06:31:08 AM »

Generally I agree, but the information that gets modified over time are usually the subtle details to a story, not the overall foundation to the story itself.


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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Oral history as trustworthy information
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2014, 08:09:57 AM »

Generally I agree, but the information that gets modified over time are usually the subtle details to a story, not the overall foundation to the story itself.

It ain't necessarily so.  There has been a lot of good science done on this subject.  It is entirely possible, and not uncommon, for the mind to invent a memory out of whole cloth.  No foundation in truth whatsoever.

The thing to look for is when several people who have no connection to each other tell essentially the same story. 
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tom howard

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Re: Oral history as trustworthy information
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2014, 11:45:18 AM »

Generally I agree, but the information that gets modified over time are usually the subtle details to a story, not the overall foundation to the story itself.

It ain't necessarily so.  There has been a lot of good science done on this subject.  It is entirely possible, and not uncommon, for the mind to invent a memory out of whole cloth.  No foundation in truth whatsoever.

The thing to look for is when several people who have no connection to each other tell essentially the same story.

This is spot on. For anyone interested in the battle of the little big horn and Custer, there are a couple of forums where hundreds of indians give testimony about the battle. The culture of the Native Americans has impressed on descendants the notion that indian oral history is highly accurate, even sacred.
Alas, the accuracy in general of oral histories is really quite poor. There are numerous indians giving accounts that were not even there, yet claim they fought. How could they forget killing someone, right? Yet they did it over and over. These "false memories" were often recorded by white historians within a couple of years after the battle.
The soldier's accounts are a bit more accurate, as reports had to be made to HQ, but controversy still exists about many of the white soldier narratives.
Indeed, the testimony that deserves the most attention are stories told soon after the event, and repeated independently by at a minimum of 2-3 other participants, preferably of no family relation and connection.
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JNev

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Re: Oral history as trustworthy information
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2014, 03:35:56 PM »

Reflecting on this very interesting discussion I am struck that the 'teller' (and perhaps where more ancient material is concerned, most especially the 're-teller') may have an innate human desire to 'please', or to meet a perceived 'goal' of understanding.  I have little experience with this in the pursuit of history, but even a very honest individual can pick up on the most nuanced, unintended ques and answer with 'constructive' fiber.

The corroboration Ric speaks of is probably the best tool one has - what reasonably isolated people say in separate venues (of time or place of telling, individualy and not among each other) may be the closest one can get to reasonable concensus.
- Jeff Neville

Former Member 3074R
 
« Last Edit: October 30, 2014, 06:45:32 PM by Jeffrey Neville »
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Jeff Victor Hayden

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Re: Oral history as trustworthy information
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2014, 05:02:15 AM »

Just remember the old classroom stunt where a circle is formed and a message vocally passed
from the first to the last person in the circle and see the result.

"Send reinforcements we're going to advance!" = "Send three and fourpence we're going to a dance" ???
This must be the place
 
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C.W. Herndon

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Re: Oral history as trustworthy information
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2014, 05:49:39 AM »

Just remember the old classroom stunt where a circle is formed and a message vocally passed
from the first to the last person in the circle and see the result.

"Send reinforcements we're going to advance!" = "Send three and fourpence we're going to a dance" ???

That's a good one Jeff! :D
Woody (former 3316R)
"the watcher"
 
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JNev

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Re: Oral history as trustworthy information
« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2014, 07:03:12 AM »

Gotta love it, ain't the truth!  ;D
- Jeff Neville

Former Member 3074R
 
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Robertansley

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Re: Oral history as trustworthy information
« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2014, 02:34:37 PM »

There is a very simple truth that the alternative theories can't handle, and it's Betty's notebook.  Oral history backed up with contemporaneous writing.  Give 100 people the general information that the public knew at the time AE was reported overdue.  Then ask them to pretend to be AE calling for help in order to intentionally fool people. and write down what happened.  Most all would come up with AE giving her call sign with "navigator is hurt, stranded on deserted island/atoll, taking on water" but I sincerely do not believe that any of the 100 would come up with an "open mike" scenario that gives us a poignant look into the tragedy.  And I don't think Betty could have come up with that angle on the transmissions on her own.  It's possible they might say she was crying or sounded frantic but I'm talking about the entire set of transmissions as written down by Betty because of an open mike.  It is unique, and it is indeed authentic.

I was a forgery detective for the Austin Police Dept, then later I traveled the world for 17 years investigating fraud in 45 countries for a Fortune 50 company.  I believe Betty.  She had witnesses too but it's the style of what she wrote down that authenticates her.

If you consider all of TIGHAR's body of evidence and not cherry pick one part or take things out of context then I can't see any other possibility of what happened to AE/FN.  They died on Gardner island and TIGHAR is looking in the right place.
Robert Ansley
 
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JNev

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Re: Oral history as trustworthy information
« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2014, 05:46:28 PM »

Fascinating, Robert - your background gives an awful lot of weight to your insight.  Thanks for that.

Welcome to the forum, glad to have you here.
- Jeff Neville

Former Member 3074R
 
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Gloria Walker Burger

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Re: Oral history as trustworthy information
« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2014, 06:45:02 PM »


I was a forgery detective for the Austin Police Dept, then later I traveled the world for 17 years investigating fraud in 45 countries for a Fortune 50 company.  I believe Betty.  She had witnesses too but it's the style of what she wrote down that authenticates her.

Very interesting to have the point of view of someone with your background. I always felt the same about Betty's Notebook, that it sounded so immediate and authentic.
Gloria
TIGHAR #3760
 
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Oral history as trustworthy information
« Reply #14 on: November 04, 2014, 07:37:20 PM »

Robert, your posting is exquisite.  I'd like to have your permission to reproduce it, quote it, have it displayed on the Goodyear blimp, etc.
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