In recent times the subject of UFO abductions has gained immense popularity both with the public and with a small group of writers who have turned their attention to the UFO phenomenon. The number of people who claim to have been abducted by occupants of UFOs has been rising almost exponentially since the early 1970s.
The popularity of abductions has led to a proliferation of firstperson accounts, both remembered consciously and retrieved through hypnosis which are accessible to the researcher.
A careful examination of abduction narratives indicates that the patterns alleged to have been discovered by abduction investigators often have religious overtones or similarities with more traditional types of religious experience.
While the reliance on hypnosis heavy among abduction researchers most seem to be aware of the difficulties inherent in the process. Hypnosis apparently allows access to a subconscious level of an individual’s psyche allowing him or her to recall repressed memories of actual events, but also making it possible to derive “memories” of things which have never happened. The nature of accounts obtained through hypnosis is important for understanding the religious characteristics of the abduction phenomenon.
One of the signs noted by abduction researchers as indicative of an abduction event is the prevalence of the dreams containing UFOs or alien related imagery.
An examination of the available primary accounts of abductions also renforces the dream like character of the phenomenon. Time and space appear disjointed in a nonsensical dreamlike way. Day instantly becomes night and events which seem to have taken hours are found to have taken minutes.
Abductions often begin with the perception of light: extremely bright light that causes the percipient to become paralyzed, blinded or generally disoriented. Some times the light renders the abductee unconscious. This intense light is usually identified as the light of a flying saucer or extraterrestrial vehicle.
The religious symbolism inherent here is quite obvious. The appearance of a brilliant light is often said to herald an encounter with the divine Other. Paralysis, blindness and disorientation are associated with this light.
Alternately the experience begins in the nighttime at the abductee’s home. The abductee sees one or more beings approaching in her or him bedside often after passing through walls or closed windows. The abductee usually feels paralyzed at this point and often loses consciousness. The bedside visitors then take the abductee into their craft once again passing through walls and taking their victim with them. Vision of beings or face over the bed before one falls asleep is among the most common of all hallucinations occurring in the distinctive mental state that lies between waking and sleeping.
The vision of abductees have analogies to the experiences of religious dimension. In fact the people who report meeting angels, demons or religious figures often say that these meeting come to them in the night.
After the light the abductee encounters the aliens. The alien is, as the name suggests, the personification of Other. The alien often floats or flies and speaks to the abductee without moving its lips. The alien’s appearance marks it as not of this word.
Often the abductees receive messages in their minds which they take back with them when they return to normal life. Often these messages concern the purpose of the alien’s visit. These messages can be divided into four classes with a specifically religious connotation.
The first type of message is the moral injunction. The aliens tell the abductee that the human kind has been behaving very bad and that if they don’t mend their ways the planet will suffer some sort of chastisement: if the nations of the earth do not stop their constant bickering and experimentation with nuclear weapons they will destroy themselves. Some times the aliens themselves claim that they will take an active role in the moral sphere and are ready to destroy the humanity.
The second type of message are more strictly apocalyptic in character, forecasting a horrible catastrophe on a worldwide scale that will bring about the end of history.
The third type of message concerns the alien’s role and the abductee’s role in the plans of aliens. The abductees say that their experiences are part of some larger alien’s plan. The abductees say also that they are charged with convey the alien’s message to the people of earth: the aliens will reveal their existence to the humanity through them.
Other messages claim to reveal the identity and purpose of the aliens. The aliens have come from a distant planet and are busy on earth performing some type of genetic experimentation. The aliens claim to be responsible for the genetic development of man from his primal ancestor. Sometimes the aliens claim that they are the creators of humanity: they made us and have guided our evolutionary development and have even intervened in history.
In this scenario the aliens perform many of the traditional functions of God: they create humanity, guide it through history and eventually offer a form of salvation, all through a nearly omnipotent tecnology that replaces the miracles of God. The abductees themselves often tend to explain their experiences in terms of religion.
We want make clear that many writers from outside the field of religious studies have noted the similarities between modern abduction accounts and the folklore of earlier years concerning fairies and “little people”.
The belief in diminutive nonhuman beings has always been present in some form in western culture and as late as the last century. In the ancient chronicles are present accounts about the fairies who abduct human beings. Fairies like UFO occupants enjoyed abducting humans and causing their victims to experience temporal distortions, periods of “missing time” resembling those that modern UFO expert say are reliable signs of an abduction.
Fairies, it was believed, could not properly reproduce and needed the help of humans to sustain their species. Encounters with them were often erotic experiences for the humans involved and sometimes led to a continuing series of contacts resembling the repeat abductions seen in modern stories.
Fairies however inexplicable their activities had a firm place in the theology of their time.
Through the Middle Ages both scholars and lay people accepted a belief in incubi and succubi, sexually, ravenous demons that invaded bedrooms to molest innocent christians in the nighttime. These diabolical entities were only one of the folkloric cousins of modern alien abductors found in the medieval period. Medieval chronicles report sightings of flying ships captained by the strange denizens of Magonia, who often carried off humans to their land beyond the clouds.
The existence of a diminutive species of creatures who fly through the air and steal humans for sexual purposes is a belief by no means confined to western culture.
Other researches adopt interpretive schemes which border on the fantastic. Keel and Vallèe argue that UFOs and abductions are encroachments upon our word by another reality, a distinct dimension of otherness harboring classes beings of which humanity is not normally aware. Abductions and other paranormal events are the mechanism by which the intelligences of this alternate reality control humanity, manipulating our belief and opinions in a rather sinister fashion. The theory that our word is subject to control by alternate realities is used to explain every mysterious phenomenon.
Many writers will explain the phenomenon of abduction by the theory of conspiracy based on the belief that the aliens are using human beings for genetic experiments.
An inseparable corollary of the theories of conspiracy is the notion that the aliens are abroad kid- napping humans is the theory that government is fully aware of this but conceals it from the public.
Some writers argue that the United States and other world powers have cut a Faustian deal with the aliens, ignoring the extraterrestrial attacks on citizens in exchange for advanced technology.
Other conspiracy theorist believe that our planet is a pawn in a battle between to advanced alien species, one benevolent and concerned with human welfare and the other evil and heartless with a desire to enslave human kind.
At the end of our work we will show that the phenomenon of abductions is a very sinister phenomenon that can create sinister ideas about the alien’s intentions or about the intentions of the beings that simulate to be aliens but they come from another reality and another dimension.
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G. Pellegrino, Mysterious elements in UFO phenomena, webticino.com/cusi
G. Pellegrino, I credenti degli UFO, Edisud, Salerno, 2002
G. Pellegrino, Riflessioni sociologiche sul mistero degli UFO, Progetto Immagine, Torino, 2007
J. Vallèe, Messaggeri di illusioni, Sperling-Kupfer Editori, Milano, 1991
J. Keel, Creature dall’ignoto, Fanucci, Roma, 1976