Explaining Alien Abductions
Article as appears in issue 6 of the X-factor magazine ... with
additions and opinions by Richard Gall.
Perhaps the most sinister side of alien contact is the possibility that
they are here to carry out experiments on humans. However, could alien
abduction simply be a symptom of the mind? Or have we got it all wrong?
The incredible and terrifying events that unfolded on the evening of 5
November 1975 were to shatter the lives of Travis Walton and his six
colleagues. As they drove home to Snowflake, Arizona, after working in
the forest, the crew noticed a strange, bright light coming down through
the trees. As the truck screeched to a halt, Walton and his colleagues
were confronted with an awsome sight.
"...We got around the trees, we all saw the source of the light, boom,
less than 100 ft away, a metallic disc hovering in the air, glowing...",
His more cautious friends remained in the truck while the impetuous
Walton leaped out and ran towards the craft. He did not want to miss
the chance of seeing it up close. As he stood almost underneath it, his
bravery left him. He turned to run back to the truck. He never made
Mike Rogers, the crew boss, saw a 'blue bolt of energy' strike Walton's
back. Panicking, Rogers instantly floored the accelerator and drove
away. A few hundred metres down the road, realizing that he had left
his friend for dead, Rogers drove back, only to see the spaceship rise
rapidly into the sky and disappear. Walton was nowhere to be seen.
Facing a murder charge.
After five days and a massive police search, there was still no sign of
Walton. But, just as the police were about to charge the crew with
murder, Walton reappeared.
He was discovered naked in a phone booth on the outskirts of town,
seriously dehydrated, delirious and half dead. Finally, after months of
recovery, he was able to remember fragments of what happened. He
recalled being taken inside a space craft. "...I was laying on my table
... I saw several strange creatures standing over me. I became
completely histerical and flipped out. I knocked them away, but I felt
so weak I collapsed. They forced me back on the table, placed a mask
over my face and I blacked out..."
Telling the truth.
What is significant about the Travis Walton case is that it is one of
the few abductions observed by independant witnesses. It is also
unusual because Walton was missing for five days. In most contemporary
cases, the abduction experience lasts for only a few hours.
Over the years, sceptics have tried to debunk Walton's claims. The
rarity of abduction reports in the 1970s meant Walton and his friends
were subjected to years of ridicule and accusations of trickery. Yet
all the men subsequently passed lie detector tests and the case has
withstood years of rigorous investigation. The abduction phenomenon,
which is characterized by specific and highly distincive episodes
reported consistantly by thousands of people from around the world, is
generally a modern occurance, confined to the post-war period.
The First Encounter
A lot of researchers now acknowledge that the 'reported' abduction
phenomenon began on 20 September 1961. Betty and Barney Hill were
driving through New Hampshire around midnight when they spotted a
'pancake-shaped' object with two rows of windows' which appeared to be
following them. Eventually, Barney pulled off the road and crept to
within 25 metres of 'an enormous ring-shaped craft with projected fins
and whirring red lights' in the air.
Terrified, the Hills sped off, but moments afterwards, the car began
vibrating. Then they heard an unusual beeping sound, and a haze seemed
to fall over them. Later, when the Hills arrived home, they discovered
that both their watches were two hours slow. They could not remember
what had happened to them in the 'missing' two hours.
Afterwards, both were plagued by disturbing dreams. Eventually, they
agreed to undergo a technique known as hypnotic regression therapy to
discover what had happened to them. Hypnotic regression allows
subconscious or buried memories to emerge. Under hypnosis, the Hills
describe being taken on board the UFO 'by bald-headed alien beings,
about five foot tall, with greyish skin, pear shaped heads and slanting
Betty in particular provided a vivid picture of what seemed to have
taken place during the period of 'missing time'. She remembered being
subjected to medical examination. She said samples of tissue were taken
and a long needle was inserted into her naval as part of what she called
a 'pregnancy test'. She was also shown a star map of Zeta Riticuli.
Betty believed the aliens were showing her where they came from.
Abductee or Contactee?
The characteristic nature of abduction cases, which started with the
Hills in the 1960s, contrasts sharply with the notorious and colourful
events described by various people, known as 'contactees', whose dubious
encounters with aliens filled American tabloids in the 1950s.
The first and pretty famous 'contactee' was George Adamski, who claimed
to have been visited by various human-like aliens who gave him rides in
UFOs to Venus, Mars and Saturn. Adamski and other contactees were soon
discredited, but their fabrications put the credibility of UFO research
back years. It took until the 1980s before first the UFO community and
then the public were taking claims of alien abduction seriously.
Talking of aliens.
In June 1992, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) chaired
the Abduction Study Conference. This was the first scientific debate on
alien abduction and was an attempt to allow the leading investigators to
present their evidence and provide a forum for serious scientific
Attending the MIT conference were three of the world's leading experts
whose research provides much of the evidence supporting the alleged
reality of alien abduction. Budd Hopkins is responsible for much of the
pioneering investigations into abduction. Dr David Jacobs, associate
professor at History Temple University, has been investigating UFOs for
25 years. And chairing the abduction conference was perhaps the most
influential academic to join the abduction camp, Dr John E. Mack,
professor of Psychiatry at Havard Medical School, and a Pulitzer Prize
One of the outcomes of the conference was the realization that a huge
range of different people had described the same type of procedure, the
same details about what they are subjected to and the same type of
aliens involved. To abduction researchers, this was strong evidence
that alien abduction is a reality. If alien abduction was some form of
delusion, the accounts would be fantasy driven and thus differ wildly.
Yet they all fall into similar and repeated patterns.
Under Alien Control.
When inside the craft, abductees are under the total control of the
aliens. They are usually asked to strip, placed on a table and
subjected to often painful and frightning types of invasive surgery.
Once returned, most people's memories of the event have been somehow
been wiped clean and cannot be accessed without hypnosis. Perhaps the
odd memory 'may' slip back in the form of nightmares.
Dr Mack cites evidence from several of his cases. He says "there are
several types of physical evidence from abduction: people return with
fully healed scars on their bodies that were not present the day before.
Also, strange implants ... are located on CAT scans; some have even
been removed and examined."
So far, chemical analysis of the implants show that they are made up of
elements found on earth. A colleague of Dr Mack's, a nuclear biologist,
ran tests on one implant taken from the nose of an alleged abductee.
The implant was not a naturally occurring 'biological subject' but may
have been a manufactured fibre.
Sceptics maintain that no reliable evidence for abduction exists
outside the victim's imagination. The area that receives the heaviest
critisism has been the process by which hidden memories are extracted
using hypnotic regression techniques.
Kevin McClure, a member of The Society for Psychical Research, claims
that many abduction researchers using hypnosis are not qualified
psychologists. And McClure accuses those who are qualified of
implanting memories - encouraging victims to recount details that
support the abduction scenario by asking leading questions. McClure
also states that False Memory Syndrome (FMS) may be responsible for
explaining the abductees reports. But on a scale like this? FMS is a
disorder where a memory has been created by the subconscious to replace
some childhood trauma, such as sexual abuse. Sceptics of alien
abduction argue that many abductees are subconsciously using an alien
abduction experience as a screen to hide a traumatic experience from the
past. Reasonable idea, but again, on such a large scale? So many
claims (thousands and thousands) all had a bad childhood or traumatic
event? You decide.
Psychologist Susan Blackmore claims that abduction experiences can be
artificially induced by stimulation of the temporal lobes (an area of
the brain that plays a role in the storage of memory). This theory was
demonstrated by a Canadian based research team who designed a device
that generated a magnetic field which, when applied to the back of the
brain, simulated an alien abduction experience in someone who has never
claimed to have had one.
Albert Budden, author of 'Allergies and Aliens', has a similar
explanation. He is convincing that alien abduction is caused by
electromagnetic pollution. Budden believes that the electromagnetic
radiation in the atmosphere is strong enough to affect the temporal
lobes of abductees' brains, causing an alien abduction like experience.
"It is clear", he states, "that all abductees are electrically
hypersensitive, and that their allergic reactions to an exposure to
electromagnetic fields in the enviroment."
But none of these theories cut any ice with researchers like Hopkins,
Jacobs or Mack. To them, the evidence for alien abduction overwhelms
any psychological reasons put forward by the sceptics.
Researchers are positive that Travis Walton was not suffering from any
mental illness when he was abducted. Also, it is unlikely that all six
of Walton's collegues would have hallucinations of their friend's alien
abduction at the same time. And the lie detector tests show that they
believed they saw Walton's abduction.
Over active imaginations and temporal lobes CANNOT explain physical
scars on abductees' bodies, or the implants taken from their bodies. Now
Ufologists are introducing the theory that the butchered carcasses of
livestock are further evidence that aliens are conducting planet-wide
experiment. This link has yet to be proven.
SUPPLEMENTAL: Extra Notes
Dr John E. Mack :
John Mack is one of the 'intellectual heavyweights'
in the pro-alien abduction camp. He is founder of the psychiatry
teaching department at Cambridge Hospital, Havard, and is director of
the Programme for Extraordinary Experience Research at the Centre for
Psychology and Social Research. His superiors were outraged when he
published his book 'Abduction: Human Encounters with Aliens' in 1994.
The Dean of Havard said that Mack had failed to conform to Havard's
standards of investigation. Mack's lawyers said that Mack does not
necessarily believe in 'space aliens'. But Mack thinks that his
petients are not 'mentally ill' either.
"...Abductions profoundly affect the lives of those who experience
them. The effects are traumatic and disturbing, but they can also be
transforming..." [ Dr Mack : Psychiatrist ]
"...I have not come across the phenomenon of abductions by aliens
except as a delusional belief of someone suffering from
schizphrenia..." [ Dr Sue Davidson : Psychotherapist ]
Sceptics have explained away the typical portraits of aliens as simply
modern images of demons and evil spirits that have always been present
in folklore. However, the implants claimed to have been extracted from
abductees' bodies suggest that abduction is very real.
TRAVIS WALTON :
Walton was abducted in 1975.
Since then he has had to
endure accusations of being a fraud. So, in 1996, he wrote his book
'Fire in the Sky' to explain what really happened to him. When asked
how clear his abduction seems today he said :
"...Well, pretty clear. Something like that just doesn't disappear with
the years. You can still remember the emotions. You can still remember
the fear. When you try to cope with something like that, you try to
take a positive element from it. But I would rather it not have
happened to me..."
Why do you think there been such a dramatic increase in reports of
"...In my book, I was quite emphatic that you should have information
before condemnation. I don't know every case. In order to cope with my
abduction, I shied away. I haven't delved into other cases. But there
are cases that definately are not genuine. I find this frustrating as
it detracts from the legitimate cases..."
Why do you think aliens are abducting humans?
"...I don't presume to know..."
The concept of alien abduction has caught the imagination of the media
and public. So much so that, in 1995, American Robert Durant decided to
study statistics of alien abductions.
His report revealed that 5 million Americans claimed to have been
abducted over the last 50 years.
This works out at 2,740 abductions a day,
Needing a team of 1,370 aliens (on average it takes six aliens to
abduct a human).
Collette Dowell claims that aliens have been impregnating her with
human/alien foetuses for years. She became so desperate she had a
hysterectomy to try and stop the alien impregnations.
The alien abductions continue, whether they are psychological, or where
the evidence is suggesting ... a physical reality....
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