David Yamane writes:
“…when we study religious experience we cannot study “experiencing” – religious experience in real time and it’s physical, mental, and emotional constituents- and therefore must study retrospective accounts – linguistic representations of religious experience.” (Yamane, 2000, 173)
Similarly we cannot gain direct access to the “experience” of UFO witnesses, contactees and abductees. This presents a problem in trying to explore the phenomenology of anomalous experiences – it is simply not possible. The following investigation is, therefore, based upon retrospective narratives which may, or may not, have evolved with the telling over the weeks, months and years following the
The approach of this exploration, then, might be termed an “as if” approach; one whereby narrative accounts of anomalous experiences are treated “as if” they were real, even in the event that they never occurred (Crabtree, 1988). I trust that the experiences relayed to me are from honest individuals interested only in sharing their stories with a wider audience. No material gain can be achieved through presenting these accounts, and all names have been made anonymous.
The four experiencers live in the
1. Encounter on the Mountain
The first experience I will relate occurred on Mount Shasta, California, in 1985 and does not conform to the classic abduction stereotype, indeed it is not an abduction at all, but it does contain many fascinating features including, amongst other psi phenomena; pre-cognition and ESP.
Y’s experience started with a tarot reading given to her husband that suggested he make a journey to
I think you will agree that this sequence of events was a very peculiar prologue to their camping trip; the sheer frequency of meaningful coincidences and synchronicities is most strange, but not as strange as that which followed. Y relates:
“We set up camp in the snow and my husband went to sleep. I was in my sleeping bag with my head outside the tent, watching the stars. A huge round disk appeared that had pastel lights of many colors rotating around a band in the middle. It was very close and hovered over the mountain just above us for over an hour. I tried in every way to wake my husband to no avail.After about an hour, the cone of the mountain began to glow with lights just like the ship and slowly the ship moved toward the cone and eventually went inside. I did not see it come back out and eventually went to sleep. In the morning, I awoke to a very different kind of energy all around us. I woke my husband and as I made breakfast, told him of the experience lastnight. As I was gesturing a bird came and landed in my hand. I told him to put out his hand and another bird did the same. We were both aware of the soft and very different energy. We kept interacting with the birds for an hour or so and the energy didn’t change. We broke camp and went down to see Sister Thedra and told her what I saw and about the energy. She wrote in her journals and thanked us very much. We left and went home.”
Key features of this contact experience include:
- Synchronicities preceding the event
- Multi-coloured luminous flying disc
- Inability to rouse partner from sleep
- Illumination and opening of the cone of the mountain
- Distinct “change in energy”
- Strange animal behaviour
Certain of these aspects are fairly regularly reported by abductees. Naturally, flying discs are the epitome of the UFO phenomenon; they are the most commonly, and historically consistent, reported phenomena. Y stated that the craft she witnessed was definitely a solid, physical, object.
Paralysis is a common feature. In many accounts paralysis is induced by the alien, often utilising a “wand-like” device (numerous references in Vallee, 1988 and Mack, 1994). The paralysis aspect of the abduction phenomenon has been one of the primary reasons for comparison with the sleep paralysis experience (see Hufford, 1982 for a discussion of this experience). In this instance, however, it is not the witness that is paralysed, but rather her husband.
The illumination and opening of the mountain cone is interesting, and fairly unique. Mount Shasta itself has a long mythological history, and in relatively recent years has had an association with the lost
The positive change in energy is also a recurrent theme in some manifestations of the abduction phenomenon. The psychiatrist John Mack (1994), for example, emphasized the transformative power of the abduction phenomenon in his writings on the subject.
The strange behaviour of the birds the morning after the experience may be likened to the animal “screen memories” reported by Budd Hopkins.
2. Visitors in the Home
The next account I will discuss is that of a 40 year old male from Florida, referred to here as X, and amazingly comes complete with a fascinating array of photographic evidence (a couple of which are included herein). There are photographs of purportedly semi-materialized “grey-type” entities, and even a video of a fully formed being peering around a door, as fantastic as that sounds. It is not only greys that are in contact with X; he has also encountered reptilian-type entities in his home, as well as orbs and mists. X claims to have had over 2,000 visits from these entities (2,555 to be exact).
Fig. 1. A still from one of X's videos depicting a small grey-like entity peering around the bedroom door
X also claims that there are “star gates” in his home leading to other worlds, and that he has been through them. On the other side of the “star gates”, X has witnessed numerous “fascinating places” such as subterranean tunnel networks, marine environments, deserts and unusual rooms filled with strange equipment. He has seen excavations being carried out in ancient, or lost, cities, perhaps indicating that the entities are looking for something; treasure or answers.
Fig. 2. A still from one of X’s videos portraying a semi-materialised “grey type” entity
X’s experience can, in the analysis of its primary features and the nature of the contact, be likened to Whitley Strieber’s account in the book Communion (1997 ). In this instance numerous contacts were made within Strieber’s home; the aliens, in other words, would come to him while he slept. Again, such an experience bares striking similarities with the sleep paralysis phenomenon. Key elements of the sleep paralysis phenomenon include:
- A sense of presence entering the room (often apparently with malevolent intent)
- Bodily paralysis
The presence of photographic evidence in this case, however, differs from cases of sleep paralysis: sleep paralysis does not generally leave physical evidence, and I am unaware of any victims of sleep paralysis who claim to have taken photographs of the intruding entities they have sensed.
3. Visitors and Implants
The following account is from a 52 year old female, Z, from
“I have never had much interest in UFOs, but I did have an experience. One night, I was asleep in bed lying on my back. I was awakened by something standing beside me. It was a small grey being with the typical alien shaped head with large black eyes. Standing behind it was a tall white being in a long cloak. The small grey being put its hand on my arm as if to comfort me. The tall white being turned and walked through the bedroom wall towards the outside yard. I distinctly remember the folds of its cloak swirling and the weight of the fabric. The little grey one mentally told me to turn my head away, which I did. It touched me with something behind my right ear. A sort of electrical feeling, not unpleasant, went through my body and I went back to sleep or lost awareness. The next day, I was pretty creeped out by the whole thing.” (Emphasis mine).
Again, this experience carries all of the hallmarks of the “classic” abduction account: The presence of grey-type entities, and the seemingly superior “tall white being”; telepathic communication between the entities and the experiencer; the surgical implantation of a device behind the ear. Z’s experience did not end here, however:
“I also have experiences of hearing what I call “radio voices”. It is a sort of radio-like transmission that occurs inside my head behind my right ear. It is not the English language, but I understand on some level what is being said.”
Z is apparently being communicated with via the object implanted behind her right ear by the small grey being in her bedroom.
4. Life –long Abduction
W, a 60 year old female from
“My abductions started in the early 50's. I was born in 49. … I found myself and my older sister hand in hand with these beings standing in front of a huge black shiney [sic] sphere that looked more like glass. I was very curious about it and was touching it rubbing my hand over it feeling its texture. It felt so smooth and polished and cool to the touch. I could see my refection in it clearly. I did this while these beings were comunicating telepathicly [sic] with each other and then they walked us home. I don't recall being afraid of them at that time as it felt like they were friends and didn't want to hurt us. I remember clearly that my sister and I were in our flannel night gowns my mother had made for us with no shoes on. So I assume this happened some time in the night. I began to miss them when they would leave us.”
W and her sister were placed in a “program of sorts” in which they were taught to communicate telepathically with one another and to manipulate objects with their minds:
“I often found myself placed in a big room that I can only describe as being sterile and lighted brightly by an unknown source. There were always other children my age there. We were given things to play with that didn't look like any known toys I'd ever seen. One I can remember looked like a sphere that was metallic. I can remember I wasn't sure what to do with it and the being in the room told me that I could make it work with my mind… The being had one of the children come over and teach me. All I had to do was to mentally think it to rise off the floor and make it go where I wanted it to go and it would do what I wanted it to. It took a long while and alot of mental energy but eventually I learned to play with those toys quite well to the point that I was asked to teach other children to do the same.”
As W matured, however, the abduction experience became progressively less enjoyable as her children were also being taken:
“It seemed like a few years I struggled with our abductors. I began to fully realize no matter who they were or what they resembled they were in no way good even when they tried to convince me they were. Everything about the abductions were wrong. The God I knew didn’t hide behind the darkness nor was he into taking anyone against their will. So when I was with them I started demanding that they for once start answering some questions for me. That was great with them unless I asked them anything that had to do with God, or Jesus... They first tried to convince me that they were in someway as was I a god all rolled into one.... When I wouldn’t except that as a true answer they stopped answering me. They got pretty exashperated [sic] with me. Hymns would come to mind and I would start singing those. My visits would end pretty fast that way.”
W turned increasingly towards religion as a means to combat the alien intrusion on her family’s life. On one occasion a visiting minister asked to pray over her child, despite being unaware of his abduction experiences. The prayer called for the child to be watched over and protected by angels. Soon the boy was no longer complaining of unpleasant experiences with aliens, but was instead telling of the beautiful angels he was seeing at night.
Overall W’s experiences have been perceived negatively. Her interpretation of religion did not accord with the perspective of the entities she was in contact with.
More to come...
Crabtree, A. 1988. Multiple Man: Explorations in Possession and Multiple Personality Disorder.
Mack, J. 1994. Abduction: Human Encounters with Aliens.
Strieber, W. 1997 . Communion: Encounters with the Unknown.
Vallee, J. 1988. Dimensions: A Casebook of Alien Contact.
Yamane, D. 2000. Narrative and Religious Experience. Sociology of Religion. Vol. 62, No. 2, pp. 171-189.