While the term “alien abduction” did not achieve widespread attention until the 1960s, modern speculation about some older stories interpreted them as possible cases. Mainstream scientists reject claims that the phenomenon literally occurs as reported. However, there is little doubt that many apparently stable persons who report alien abductions believe their experiences were real. John E. Mack, John Wilson, Rima Laibow and David Gotlib assessed that while psychopathology was associated to some cases, most reports were from sane, common people.
Some abduction reports are quite detailed. An entire subculture has developed around the subject, with support groups and a detailed mythos explaining the reasons for abductions: The various aliens (Greys, Reptilians, “Nordics” and so on) are said to have specific roles, origins, and motivations. Abduction claimants do not always attempt to explain the phenomenon, but some take independent research interest in it themselves and explain the lack of greater awareness of alien abduction as the result of either extraterrestrial or governmental interest in cover-up. Although different cases vary in detail (sometimes significantly), some UFO researchers, such as folklorist Thomas E. Bullardargue that there is a broad, fairly consistent sequence and description of events that make up the typical “close encounter of the fourth kind” (a popular but unofficial designation building on J. Allen Hynek’s classifications). Though the features outlined below are often reported, there is some disagreement as to exactly how often they actually occur.
Bullard argues most abduction accounts feature the following events. They generally follow the sequence noted below, though not all abductions feature all the events:
- Capture. The abductee is somehow rendered incapable of resisting, and taken from terrestrial surroundings to an apparent alien spacecraft.
- Examination and Procedures. Invasive physiological and psychological procedures, and on occasion simulated behavioral situations, training & testing, or sexual liaisons.
- Conference. The abductors communicate with the abductee or direct them to interact with specific individuals for some purpose, typically telepathically but sometimes using the abductee’s native language.
- Tour. The abductees are given a tour of their captors’ vessel, though this is disputed by some researchers who consider this definition a confabulation of intent when just apparently being taken around to multiple places inside the ship.
- Loss of Time. Abductees often rapidly forget the majority of their experience, either as a result of fear, medical intervention, or both.
- Return. The abductees are returned to earth, occasionally in a different location from where they were allegedly taken or with new injuries or disheveled clothing.
- Theophany. Coinciding with their immediate return, abductees may have a profound sense of love, a “high” similar to those induced by certain drugs, or a “mystical experience”, accompanied by a feeling of oneness with God, the universe, or their abductors. Whether this is the result of a metaphysical change, Stockholm syndrome, or prior medical tampering is often not scrutinized by the abductees at the time.
- Aftermath. The abductee must cope with the psychological, physical, and social effects of the experience.
When describing the “abduction scenario”, David M. Jacobs says: “The entire abduction event is precisely orchestrated. All the procedures are predetermined. There is no standing around and deciding what to do next. The beings are task-oriented and there is no indication whatsoever that we have been able to find of any aspect of their lives outside of performing the abduction procedures.”
Story by Jolene Manna.