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(March 23, 2009)
As I said some time ago (December 13, 2008), I completely rewrote this page, to cope with new knowledge and understanding of this intriguing phenomenon. The improving of the Internet also allowed me for a real checking of some information sources I previously used (1999), and discover that some were not reliable. This allowed me to correct today (2009) some erroneous conclusions of the former page. So this page today is really WHAT SCIENCE CAN SAY TODAY ABOUT «ALIEN ABDUCTION».
In the same way, I also removed from sale my book «Quiet Abduction» which contained these erroneous conclusions. What I have to say today is much shorter and does not deserve a book, but it is still interesting. My book «General Epistemology» will be also corrected, while I put the version 2 on line.
However «Alien abduction» is still today a difficult topic, stuck between fanatic believers and rationalistic taboos. But we shall see that both are false.
The «alien abduction» «facts» are usually described into three categories of testimonies:
1) RR4 or CEIV (close encounters of the fourth kind) They are close UFO encounters where the witness enters «into» the UFO. There are about 200 known cases. Most usually, the witnesses reports seeing an object approaching (usually called a «flying saucer» and identified as a «spaceship»). From this object, characters appear (usually identified as «extraterrestrials», or by the racist name «alien»). They take the witness into the object, where he is submitted to various absurd «medical tests» strongly hinted at sex or reproduction. In a second phase more psychological or spiritual experiences take place, ranging from torture to ecstasy. Then the witness is rejected on the ground, often heavily shocked. Checked anomalies of time and other physically impossible effects are the common rule, while other witnesses often see the hijacking.
2) Experiences in the bedroom. Millions of people claim to have these. The scenario and content are similar, but the experience takes place into the bedroom of the witness, without the appearance of a «spaceship». The characters are most often called the «Greys», from their shady appearance, and identified as «extraterrestrials». But they can also look like devils, CIA agents, etc. In some cases, the witness is «examined» on the place, in others he is beamed through the ceiling into a «spaceship». No other witnesses, no physical of checkable evidences are provided by these experiences.
3) Intermediate cases. After abduction activists, they may be thousands, and feature elements of the both two previous categories, more some specific ones: implants, missing foetus, scars and «scoop marks», unexplainable healings.
So many common elements in both 3 categories strongly hint at a gradation into an unique phenomenon. This however was my previous theory. And, in facts, the 3 categories are often confused into only one phenomenon, into the pro or anti propaganda as well. Believers interpret all these testimonies as physical actions of nasty extraterrestrials («aliens») who «probe» us, using parapsychology-like methods (But that they explain as high technology, such as micro-wave remote control on the brain, from here their practice of the «tin foil hat» to avoid them). On the other hand, «rationalists» just reject all the testimonies at a whole, without inquiry, as illusions or fabrications, even those which existence was scientifically demonstrated.
Before any attempt to pose interpretations or hypothesis, we must first check the reliability of the data:
1) RR4 or CIEV Most of the about 200 known cases were thoroughly checked using rational inquiry methods, witnesses confrontation, etc. Lesser UFO cases were found materially true, or at least unexplained, each time an official scientific agency studied them (Condom report, french CNES, etc). So we must envision that such things may happen physically, as incredible as they look like.
2) Experiences in the bedroom. There are no physical evidences of them, only psychological effects (ranging from severe shock to beautiful spiritual unfolding). But these reports exactly match a known phenomenon, most often called sleep paralysis. The existence of this phenomenon is recognized by scientists and neurologists studying sleep. It is not understood, but it is commonly interpreted as a different kind of dream. In this experience, we usually see our bedroom around us, but we also feel paralyzed, zapped, crushed, sexually undertaken by shadowy characters, flying through the ceiling, etc. Just as the «abductees» report.
Science studies showed that these experiences are very common (about 25% of people had them at least once, and some have them often). Of course there is no known reason to think that the characters seen in sleep paralysis are real. They are very probably just dream visions. So it is not astonishing to find here all kind of imaginary but remarkable characters like extraterrestrials, devils or CIA agents (and I myself had all the collection of them). Often the characters are fuzzy and brownish, from here their name the «Greys».
Parapsychologists usually don't consider sleep paralysis as a parapsychological phenomenon by itself. But they noted that it is much more conductive of this than the common dreams.
3) Intermediate cases. Alas, most of these intermediate cases rely on notoriously unsafe inquiry methods, such as hypnosis (often with heavy hypnotic suggestion), witnesses that nobody can contact, or selection of elements in testimonies, by fanatic «enquirers» who are willing to «demonstrate» their belief.
For instance the most well known case, the Linda Cortile case, seems a strong evidence of the link between the three categories: Linda reported to have been hijacked in her bedroom, while in the same time several witnesses (including not less than Javier Perez de Cuellar, the former UN director!) saw a luminous flying saucer hovering at the level of Linda's window, high on a building in Manhattan! Other elements added with time, such as a «scandalous» love affair into the UFO, secrets agents, etc.
But this story is just too nice: most of the elements of Linda's testimony were obtained by hypnosis, and the UFO witnesses are known only by anonymous letters received by Bud Hopkins, who can even not tell their family names! And of course Xavier Perez de Cuellar strongly denied ever having witnessed an UFO. So the whole affair clearly appears as a fabrication, and the only safe thing remaining is that Linda just had a very common sleep paralysis.
Similar reasoning could be made about most other intermediary cases, and some important ones evoked in books even not appear on a search with Google (or only as quotes of these books). This lack of seriousness is enough to remove any credit to the people who noisily wave these intermediate cases.
This much deflates the intermediate category. However there is still a remaining, such as some strong cases of sleep paralysis with checked parapsychological effects (I myself had a checked ESP at the occasion of a sleep paralysis), and also some cases of RR4 with elements of the intermediate category. But nothing to really bridge the gap between the RR4 and the sleep paralysis. So nothing proves it is the same phenomenon.
So what can we now infer safely about all this?
We can say that the «alien abduction phenomenon» involving millions of persons just does not exist physically as such. These millions of persons just had sleep paralysis, a common dream-like phenomenon which does not imply any kind of physical action or communication with any entity on Earth or beyond.
So, that so many persons believe to have been physically hijacked by extraterrestrials is clearly the result of a deliberate misinformation by some authors: presenting a benign dream-like phenomenon like a terrifying physical experience with real hostile «aliens». Not astonishing, thus, if the other ingredients of this sauce are rumours effects, false science, horror movie stuff and conspiracy theories.
We must here stop and feel some responsibility toward so many persons induced into terror and thinking that society at large is intrinsically bad.
We must not underestimate the power of manipulation. I myself knew somebody clever and fine, who is now an international business leader. But at this time he was induced into sincerely believing that he went into an extraterrestrial spaceship, while having no memories of this! He was told this story by a so-called «contactee», marvellously gifted at inventing very nice stories. But this bloke soon showed to be a very ordinary petty crook. This, fortunately, opened the eyes of his victims.
However, each time science methods were used to check UFO, NDE, ESP, etc. the conclusion was that these phenomena were real, and materially observable, to the difference of dreams or sociological effects. So it appears really strange that a majority of scientists still considers these facts as heretic and refuse to study them. This totally arbitrarian prejudice just hampers a real research on these facts and their significance.
We must remember that science is today the most respected source of information and understanding. So, when the visible facts and the science community don't speak together, it always results into a great trouble. And in the instance of «alien abduction», it sets a very favourable ground for conspiracy theories: when scientists debunk without studying, they play exactly the role the manipulators want them to play into their show.
So, to the contrary of a prejudice-ridden approach, examining facts and reasoning on them sheds light and understanding where the mere denegation just feed the paranoia. This is the efficient mean to stop senseless rumours and fear, and save useless suffering to thousands of terrorized readers of conspiracy books. But we have more: as we shall see under, this approach also reveals some real mysteries and several useful conclusions.
Sleep paralysis, once free of any inappropriate emotional grasp, remains an interesting phenomenon. Why? Because persons who often have them can meditate in order to control and modify them, in a much more efficient way than with ordinary dreams. Especially it is much easier for practicizing dream yoga. It is easy to check that meditating on the emptiness of fear, and doing nice visualizations about them, can lead to pleasant experiences. It is what I did, with success, until sleep paralysis stopped to happen to me. Of course we must welcome the sexual content of them: prudishness is as efficient as fear to make the experience unpleasant! So there is NO reason that people having sleep paralysis may fear them. First, because they are only dream experiences, and second because we can make them pleasant. For this reason the crooks who continue to frighten people with ugly and false stories are criminals.
This mean to make sleep paralysis pleasant (or at least suppress the fear of them) will be especially of interest for people victims of narcolepsis, a (non-psychiatric) disease which produces various symptoms which may have been interpreted as harassments by «spirits» or «aliens».
Sleep paralysis are not something new. They are well known from tradition, where they are called «nightmare» (night phantom) or in french «cauchemar» (crushing phantom, by reference to the frequent feeling of being sexually laid under) or in german «alpentraum» (dream of Elf). These words refer precisely to sleep paralysis, and not to any bad dream. It is astounding and ridiculous to see how today people are severed from any tradition, to the point of using every day a word of which they forgot and confuse the true meaning. If people had kept their link to the past traditions, or at least heeded their grand family advices instead of the TV, they would identify the nightmare at once, and just left it pass without making it important, instead of «discovering a new phenomenon» and becoming receptive to lies and fearsome theories.
Sleep paralysis very probably are what the Middle Age fanatic priests called visits of incubus and succubus «demons». So it is remarkable that they were already used to sadistically terrorize people or make them feel guilty of imaginary faults!
Another important fact about sleep paralysis is that they sometimes display strong parapsychological phenomenon like ESP or OBE. So people who often have sleep paralysis provide us with a practical mean to observe these phenomena which cannot be produced at will. And they provided us with the best available evidences (in french). Also there is a significant statistical relation with the ability to have sleep paralysis and the ability to have NDE, hinting at some link.
About UFO and CEIV (RR4), we still not know today what they are. But we now have a troubling resemblance between the physical RR4 scenarios and the sleep paralysis dream scenarios. How could two so different phenomena present the same stories to the witnesses?
This sends us to a little known hypothesis we owe to Bertrand Méheust (1978). This hypothesis doesn't refuse the materiality of the UFOs, but it rejects the common explanation of extraterrestrial spaceships, because it is ridden with so many incoherence and absurdities. Instead, Bertrand Méheust remarks that RR4 scenarios strongly resemble early 1920 sci-fi scenarios. These sci-fi scenarios in turn resemble older folklore stories of people hijacked by fairies, with just a swap in cultural context. This strongly suggests that faeries tales would be older manifestations of the same phenomenon, which were interpreted with the concepts of these times, faeries instead of extraterrestrials. But what Bertrand Méheust seems not to foresee was that we now find the same scenarios into the sleep paralysis! There must be something into our psyche which produces the same scenarios into many different situations: artistic inspiration, dream situations, unexplained physical situations like in RR4. This is a real mystery, that nobody can fathom today.