Tonight, my special guest is Rev. Michael Carter here to share with us his alien abductions that have continued for years.
Alien abduction (also called abduction phenomenon, alien abduction syndrome, or UFO abduction) refers to the phenomenon of people reporting the experience of being kidnapped by extraterrestrial beings and subjected to physical and psychological experimentation. People claiming to have been abducted are usually called "abductees" or "experiencers". Most scientists and mental health professionals explain these experiences by factors such as suggestibility (e.g. false memory syndrome), sleep paralysis, deception, and psychopathology. Skeptic Robert Sheaffer sees similarity between some of the aliens described by abductees and those depicted in science fiction films, in particular Invaders From Mars (1953).
Typical claims involve forced medical examinations that emphasize the subject's reproductive systems. Abductees sometimes claim to have been warned against environmental abuses and the dangers of nuclear weapons, or to have engaged in interspecies breeding. The contents of the abduction narrative often seem to vary with the home culture of the alleged abductee. Unidentified flying objects (UFOs), alien abduction, and mind control plots can also be part of radical political apocalyptic and millenarian narratives.
Reports of the abduction phenomenon have been made all around the world, but are most common in English-speaking countries, especially the United States. The first alleged alien abduction claim to be widely publicized was the Betty and Barney Hill abduction in 1961. UFO abduction claims have declined since their initial surge in the mid-1970s and alien abduction narratives have found less popularity in mainstream media. Skeptic Michael Shermer proposed that the ubiquity of camera phones increases the burden of evidence for such claims, and may be a cause for their decline.
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 with 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.
While the term "alien abduction" did not achieve widespread attention until the 1960s, modern speculation about some older stories interpreted them as possible cases. UFO researcher Jerome Clark dubbed them "paleo-abductions".
Two landmark cases
An early alien abduction claim occurred in the mid-1950s with the Brazilian Antônio Villas Boas case, which did not receive much attention until several years later.
Widespread publicity was generated by the Betty and Barney Hill abduction case of 1961, culminating in a made-for-television film broadcast in 1975 (starring James Earl Jones and Estelle Parsons) dramatizing the events. The Hill incident was probably the prototypical abduction case and was perhaps the first in which the claimant described beings that later became widely known as the Greys and in which the beings were said to explicitly identify an extraterrestrial origin.
Though these two cases are sometimes viewed as the earliest abductions, skeptic Peter Rogerson notes they were only the first "canonical"[clarification needed] abduction cases, establishing a template that later abductees and researchers would refine but rarely deviate from. Additionally, Rogerson notes purported abductions were cited contemporaneously at least as early as 1954, and that "the growth of the abduction stories is a far more tangled affair than the 'entirely unpredisposed' official history would have us believe." (The phrase "entirely predisposed" appeared in folklorist Thomas E. Bullard's study of alien abduction; he argued that alien abductions as reported in the 1970s and 1980s had little precedent in folklore or fiction.)
R. Leo Sprinkle, a University of Wyoming psychologist, became interested in the abduction phenomenon in the 1960s. Sprinkle became convinced of the phenomenon's actuality, and was perhaps the first to suggest a link between abductions and cattle mutilation. Eventually, Sprinkle came to believe that he had been abducted by aliens in his youth; he was forced from his job in 1989.
Budd Hopkins had been interested in UFOs for some years. In the 1970s he became interested in abduction reports and began using hypnosis to extract more details of dimly remembered events. Hopkins soon became a figurehead of the growing abductee subculture.
The 1980s brought a major degree of mainstream attention to the subject. Works by Hopkins, novelist Whitley Strieber, historian David M. Jacobs and psychiatrist John E. Mack presented alien abduction as a plausible experience. Also of note in the 1980s was the publication of folklorist Thomas E. Bullard's comparative analysis of nearly 300 alleged abductees.
With Hopkins, Jacobs and Mack, accounts of alien abduction became a prominent aspect of ufology. There had been earlier abduction reports (the Hills being the best known), but they were believed to be few and far between and saw rather little attention from ufology (and even less attention from mainstream professionals or academics). Jacobs and Hopkins argued that alien abduction was far more common than earlier suspected; they estimate that tens of thousands (or more) North Americans had been taken by unexplained beings.
Furthermore, Jacobs and Hopkins argued that there was an elaborate process underway in which aliens were attempting to create human–alien hybrids, the most advanced stage of which in the "human hybridization program" are known as hubrids, though the motives for this effort were unknown. There had been anecdotal reports of phantom pregnancy related to UFO encounters at least as early as the 1960s, but Budd Hopkins and especially David M. Jacobs were instrumental in popularizing the idea of widespread, systematic interbreeding efforts on the part of the alien intruders.
The descriptions of alien encounters as researched and presented by Hopkins, Jacobs and Mack were similar, with slight differences in each researcher's emphasis; the process of selective citation of abductee interviews that supported these variations was sometimes criticized – though abductees who presented their own accounts directly, such as Whitley Strieber, fared no better.
The involvement of Jacobs and Mack marked something of a sea change in the abduction studies. Their efforts were controversial (both men saw some degree of damage to their professional reputations), but to other observers, Jacobs and Mack brought a degree of respectability to the subject.
According to Boston Globe writer Linda Rodriguez McRobbie, "Abduction and contact stories aren’t quite the fodder for daytime talk show and New York Times bestsellers they were a few decades ago...Today, credulous stories of alien visitation rarely crack the mainstream media, however much they thrive on niche TV channels and Internet forums". Skeptic Michael Shermer noted that "the camera-phone age is increasing the burden of evidence on experiencers".
John E. Mack
Matheson writes that "if Jacobs's credentials were impressive," then those of Harvard psychiatrist John E. Mack might seem "impeccable" in comparison. Mack was a well known, highly esteemed psychiatrist, author of over 150 scientific articles and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his biography of T. E. Lawrence. Mack became interested in the phenomenon in the late 1980s, interviewing over 800 people, and eventually writing two books on the subject.
Mack devoted a substantial amount of time to investigating such cases and eventually concluded that the only phenomenon in psychiatry that adequately explained the patients' symptoms in several of the most compelling cases was posttraumatic stress disorder. As he noted at the time, this would imply that the patient genuinely believed that the remembered frightening incident had really occurred – the position Mack came to endorse.
In June 1992, Mack and the physicist David E. Pritchard organized a five-day conference at MIT to discuss and debate the abduction phenomenon. The conference attracted a wide range of professionals, representing a variety of perspectives.
Writer C. D. B. Bryan attended the conference, initially intending to gather information for a short humorous article for The New Yorker. While attending the conference, however, Bryan's view of the subject changed, and he wrote a serious, open-minded book on the phenomenon, additionally interviewing many abductees, skeptics, and proponents.
Mack's study of numerous cases led him to the conclusion that while investigators should remain open to the possibility of experiences occurring, stories should not be considered to involve actual physical entities and should be treated like subjective witness reports of personal experience. The purported beings would remain outside of physical reality and reports may be influenced by factors like expectations, memory reliability and interviewer suggestions. He also reports similarities to other experiences like OOBE. According to Lance Rivers, he is convinced in the reality of the phenomenon but attributes it to interaction with a spiritual plane. While Mack acknowledges that this leads to problematic speculation on the nature of the beings and their motivations, he concludes that materialist science is inadequate to enquire in those areas.
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