Hunters, Gatherers and Secret Abductors

Peter Rogerson
Magonia 45, March 1993.

We are about to go on a long journey to seek the origins and driving power of the abduction stories. This first article starts with a review of the legend as it stood in the opening years of the last decade of the millennium. As exemplified by David M Jacobs’ book Secret Life: First-hand Accounts of UFO Abductions, the abduction narrative is a heady brew of sexuality and apocalyptic; of missing babies and women’s fears.

Jacobs opens his narrative proper with a cine-cliché evocation of women’s fears: a lone woman is preparing for bed, she reads a book for a while then turns out the light, settling down to God’s own sleep, virginally secure in the locked, bolted, sealed habitation of her room. Then, by magic, the room and her body are to be violated by the supernatural forces of the wilderness. She awakens in a sleep paralysis, while a light in the room coalesces into the spectral shape of a Gray.

Invisible, impalpable, she is taken through closed windows and locked doors, taken on a night ride to an invisible ship in some unknown sky. Sometimes she is taken in body or in spirit, she knows not which, straight to her destination; on other occasions she must undertake at least part of her journey on foot, through the mean streets and the forests of the night. On reaching her destination she is taken to a place of ordeal, where she is subjected to medical examinations, degrading and often painful, or forced to play in grotesque psychodramas in which Grays, disguised imperfectly as human beings – often partners or ‘significant others’ – enact scenes from the drama of her life. Her body may be impregnated with implants by means of nasal penetration amounting to rape.

Above all she may be forced into loveless congress with strangers, while the ‘other’ forces sexual imagery into her mind. Here the ‘other’ seems to be a blind, urgent force or reproduction; the desperate longings of hormones and genes given human or semi-human shape. There is no romantic midsummer’s night euphemism in the realm of these fairy guardians of fertility. In what is probably the most disturbing image in the entire book we are presented with a fifteen-year-old girl being forced into sex with a middle-aged man who gives the impression of being drugged: “absolutely out of it, his mouth is hanging slack and his hands are loose at his side like an ape, eyes glazed over, unfocused, cloudy” (p.205). This is an image taken straight from Satanic abuse tradition.

If there is any fruit of this unholy union it is aborted from the womb and grown in the factory farm incubatorium, like an image from Huxley’s Brave New World. Foetuses are reported as being put in drawers or stored in glass retorts like monstrous exhibits in a medical museum. In the best fairy tradition the woman may be needed as a nursemaid, if not to give literal milk, then at least some little milksops of human kindness to the strangely wan and sick fairy child, which the enchantment can make appear beautiful, but true sight renders horrific.

It is not only the listless child, “sick and palely loitering”, but the grim abductors themselves which hail from the realms of the dead. Jacobs’ descriptions of Grays which neither breath, not eat, not excrete, nor, lacking genitalia, reproduce, nor experience any feeling, is that of the dead, exiled from the organic round and lusting after the living, needing their emotions and their wombs to experience a simulacrum of life.

That the place the woman has been taken to is to be regarded as an antechamber to Hell is further emphasised by comparisons with Auschwitz, and imagery of corridors “silent save for the clanking of machines, the shuffling of feet and the occasional moans of victims”.

There are however, other images, which Jacobs finds difficult to comprehend. There is the immersion in the ‘breathing pool’, a liquid in which the captives can breath easily, a sort of baptism in the living waters of the womb. There are travelogues of apocalypse, given to the naked captives, herded into pens, while the Tannoy-voice of God over the public address system of the mind, gives a commentary on scenes of the new heaven and new earth that the changeling children will inherit. There are messages which come in dreams, which no waking mind can hold. There are images of a paradise too good, too fine, too glamorous.



Jacobs suggests that abductions can occur on an almost daily basis, leaving the victims with symptoms he ascribes to post-traumatic stress. The only defence against the Grays is the videotaping of the sleeping victims.

To investigate these stories, and to offer some relief from the traumas, Jacobs sets himself up as a charismatic ‘therapist’. Like other therapy gurus he lays claim to a unique cause for human suffering. In Jacobs’ case it is as ‘abduction-finder-general’: he claims to have pioneered the ‘correct’ way to interrogate potential abductees in order to reveal the `true’ nature of the abduction encounter.

Jacobs’ technique is to secularise and standardise the stories as much as possible. If the narrative I have presented above seems suffused with magic, the original stories – which Jacobs does not permit us to learn of in detail, but of which hints creep out – are even more fay. They are of magical animals, night-flying in the company of angels and dead relatives, channelling and visions of apocalypse. Who knows what else might lie in the raw narratives, as anything which does not fit Jacobs’ preconceived, standardised model is dismissed as confabulation, or the result of hypnotic techniques by the Grays.

Although downplayed here, Jacobs continues to believe against all the evidence in real abductions by real space aliens into real spaceships. Magonia readers know otherwise They will see in the opening scenario a typical case of sleep paralysis, the Gray materialising from an amorphous light is an echo of many a ghost story, the night ride recalls the witches night ride with Diana in the army of the dead. Both in style and substance Jacobs’ narrative echoes those of the Satanic abuse hunters. Within the frame of the narrative they were originally sceptics driven to believe in ‘the worst thing there is’ by the pain and trauma of the victims; by the ‘numerous small details’ in geographically separate stories. By these means they are persuaded to believe in the impossible. They appeal to the deep fear in us all of loneliness, of not being believed, of the terrible, unsharable secret.

Both sets of explorations start with the unknown trauma, the nameless, faceless, fearful dread which peoples the sinister dark. The therapist turns the key which opens the floodgates of the unbearable memory of ultimate abuse: abuse so secret it is largely hidden from the victim herself. Both evoke dramas of desperate, loveless sexuality, women being forced to bear children of hate (one of the worst of the claimed atrocities in Bosnia has been the raping of women and then holding them hostage until the enemy’s children are born), the forced abortion, the rows of incubators, even the bizarre ceremonies, the images of the sacred perceived as a malignancy, even such small details as the ‘dreadsome drink’.

If this book is a meta-story in which the Grays can only be seen as the deceitful dead to whom the living must be sacrificed, then the introduction by John Mack hints at an alternative tradition, seen in some of the writings of Whitley Strieber, Ray Fowler, Ann Druffel, Ken Ring and even, at times, of Jenny Randles. This is the tradition of the abduction as theophany, the intervention of the divine in human affairs. For Mack they are God’s bankers and chartered accountants, come to place the Earth under receivership and to bring new stewardship over our mismanaged and polluted world, heralds of the Second Coming. Thus as AIDS meets the millennium, are eros and thanatos united in the myth of our age.