Magonia 55, March 1996
This article is a pretty angry assessment of the potential damage arising from what I regard as the myth of alien abduction. In it I quote substantially from the published works of four named researchers, including interviews with two of them. These four are David Jacobs, Budd Hopkins, John Mack and Jenny Randles, probably the most influential writers and researchers in the field at present. It is because of their importance that I have chosen to quote from their work, but there are plenty of others to, whom my comments could be addressed.
I would like, at the outset, to set Jenny Randles a little apart from the others. She has held out with great determination against the general use of regression hypnosis in investigation, and does, using the term ‘spacenapping’, present a less absolute version of abduction that do most of the American writers. However, all seem to have gone beyond the simple witness/researcher relationship, in which two aware adults agree to deal with accounts of events that may or may not be real. All have commented on, and asserted, the role of children in the increasingly weird and perverse world of alien abductions. It is those assertion, and their effects, on which I want to comment.
I guess it was the trial of Rosemary West that really focussed my attention. As well as the series of horrific murders of waifs, strays, hitch-hikers, runaways and lodgers which the trial itself was really about, there gradually emerged the background of a family of young children, trapped from birth in a house with parents obsessed with sex, torture and abuse. While the murder victims mostly came only briefly into the lives of the Wests, and mostly died soon afterwards, the children were there all of their lives till they were either murdered themselves, became old enough to run away, or eventually the police intervened and they were taken into care.
For those children life was a ceaseless round of oppression and abuse. There was no escape, no-one they could talk to about it, nobody who could tell them how most families function, what parental love should really be. It seems that they came to accept that the sick exploitation their parents practiced on them was what was normal; from the “Mummy loves you, this is for your own good” line for the vicious beatings she gave, to the “Daddy does it best” excuse for the sexual assaults he inflicted on them.
It’s hardly possible to imagine how children can feel living with the knowledge that they are going to be persistently abused, exploited and hurt. And how much worse they might feel if those they trust tell them that there can be no escape from their suffering, that their destiny is to be controlled, taken in every sense against their will. The Wests put microphones in every room, barred the doors, and followed the children round outside the home. They breached every element of trust that should exist between parent and child.
Presumably there are few of you out there who don’t find what the West’s did to their children utterly repulsive. You probably think it incomprehensible, sick, twisted. You felt anger towards the Wests, pity and sorrow for their children. Had you, personally, been given the opportunity to save any one of these children from the hell they went through, would you not have done your best for them, stopped what was happening, prevented it ever happening again?
I think you would. Despite the media circus that recounts every last detail of this and many other cases, and the publishers who fight to put on record as much gore as will secure them a quick and grisly profit, most of us, as individuals, still care. Which is why I’d like you to follow the train of thought along which I was led by the West trial, and some other recent research.
Let’s start with a few quotes. You may find some parallels with the West case, and the way they treated their children. Here we have four major commentators on the abduction issue writing and talking about the abduction and abuse of children. Abduction by alien beings, abuse that they suggest takes place on a physical level, causing physical effects and psychological trauma:
- The basic reproductive procedures that occur during an abduction experience can fundamentally influence the psychosexual development of the individual. This is especially true for young abductees who are most vulnerable and impressionable. (Jacobs, 1994)
- Susan recalls that after the age of fourteen her spacenappings became more overtly sexual in nature. The entities extracted fluids and began to examine and then ‘mess about’ with her ovaries. (Randles, 1994)
- During the first regression, in the course of talking about her abduction at seven years old, Jerry indicated that she had had earlier encounters. She could not recall how old she was, but remembers being small… A still more disturbing episode, which we explored in detail in the second hypnosis session, occurred in Georgia when Jerry was thirteen. She woke up terrified and remembered pressure in the abdomen and genital area that she could not move. ‘In my head I was screaming’, Jerry remembers. (Mack, 1995)
- Christie describes the figures as being thin, gray-skinned and hairless. The most traumatic moments came when she recalled a needle piercing her lower abdomen in the region of her left ovary, while a second slender needle entered her vagina. (Her account closely parallels that of a Minnesota woman who, under hypnosis, described these same operations taking place during a UFO abduction which occurred when she was five years old)… There are many more details to Christie’s account, but I feel we now know why she thought she might have been sexually molested as a child, why she had an aversion to visiting her doctor for an injection and why she was always afraid of the area near the water tower. Two more hypnotic sessions have disclosed a second abduction – the source of the scar on her leg – and a most disturbing teenage encounter… (Hopkins, 1987)
These accounts are not written in terms of investigations or characterised as speculation based on interviews with the individuals. Almost all are written assertively, as if alien abduction and abuse is objective, established fact. As if these are real incidents in the lives of individuals, people we know or could meet. Some accounts include material so gross it should be published only in a scientific or medical journal, where proper control and peer assessment is exercised. The short extract from Budd Hopkins (4, above) is slight compared to some of then accounts, particularly those written by David Jacobs in the ‘Psychosexual Dysfunction’ section of (2), and elsewhere. Some of these accounts, if separated from the context of a purported real event, could be mistaken for paedophile fantasies of sexual torture, and regardless of whether or not these accounts have any basis in reality, it is clear that a number of publishers and magazine editors think there is nothing wrong in publishing detailed accounts of violent sexual assaults on children.
It doesn’t stop at accounts. A context is described, conveying a clear message that there is both an overall plan to be fulfilled, and that individuals are chosen to be repeatedly abducted and abused. And that there is no way for those victims to avoid their fate:
- The evidence indicates that, with the exception of opportunistic abductions, all abductees have their first experience in childhood. The youngest case I have found was that of an abductee who found her eight month old child being taken, although most abductees remember their first episode occurring when they were between the ages of four and seven. The aliens then in some way `tag’ the person and mentally and physically `mine’ him or her for a good part of their lives. I have no record of a series of abductions that begin when the abductee is an adult. (Jacobs, 1994)
- Resistance to the alien’s procedures occurs infrequently because most abductees are so closely controlled, both physically and mentally… (Jacobs, 1994)
- …the human alien relationship itself evolves into a powerful bond. despite their resentment and tenorisation, the abductees may feel deep love toward the alien beings… The leader may be seen as a familiar, loving and wide figure, known by the experiencer since childhood and ultimately, forgiven for the change from playfulness to a more serious or grim purpose that occurs in the abductions when puberty is reached and the hybrid-creating process begins. (Mack, 1995)
- This is a programme that has a beginning, a middle and an end. Our best guess is that we are in the end-point of the programme, and that the end-point will be relatively soon, perhaps as little as the next twenty years. I am pessimistic. The more I learn about this phenomenon, the more I have to reign myself back from falling into despair. I have to think, “Well. I don’t know, I really can’t tell. Maybe it’s not going to be the way I envisage it to be.” But the evidence inexorably leads to a pessimistic view of the future. I fear for the future. And I fear for my children-”Q. What can we do about it? A. Absolutely nothing. The aliens have an incredibly advanced technology. They can do what they want to do. (Jacobs, 1995)
Nor, apparently, does the individual abductee have only himself or herself to worry about. Quite apart from the hybrid children we are assured so many of them will bear, or father, their own children or grandchildren are apparently at risk:
- In the beginning it was a random selection, a global encompassment but a small random selection. People who were Jewish or gentile, black and white, Hispanic or Asian, indeed all ethnic groups, who had nothing particularly in common physiologically or mentally, were chosen at random around the world. This immediately becomes an inter-generational phenomenon: the children of these abductions would also be abductees. It is no longer random in terms of selection. (Jacobs, 1995)
- Abductions run in families, sometimes over three or more generations. (Mack, 1995)
There is one key issue that we need to deal with. Simply, should any of this material ever reach a mass audience, likely to include children among a range of other vulnerable groups? In dealing with that issue we need, if only briefly, to ask if there is any physical, objective reality pertaining to any of these accounts? Full of horror and detail and pain as they are, and possibly able to cause the experients to display some symptoms of post-traumatic stress, do they have any reality outside of the minds of the individuals who supply them? Is there any physical evidence whatever to specifically support the contention that alien abductions occur? Have the earlier claims that such physical evidence was, or would be, available ever been fulfilled.
Before answering that question, I’d like to stress that I’m not accusing anyone of fabricating any abduction account deliberately or knowingly, for any reason. This is partly because the law of libel can be used to support ludicrous assertions, but mostly because I cannot get to grips with the minds and perceptions of those researchers – as named in this article, among many others – who assert that there is any physically real element in any of these events. In that I cannot comprehend how they reach their conclusions, I would be stupid to guess at their motivation for doing so. Sadly, the frightening likelihood seems to be that they are entirely sincere in what they do, say and believe, and that will consider me utterly mistaken.
It is my belief that every account of such an event is, however that account comes to be given, an absolute fiction. And that includes all the stories of violent abuse of children by aliens
However, my own position is unequivocal. I do not believe that any human being, at any time, has ever been taken away, abducted or whatever by any nonhuman entity. I am quite sure that there are no medical examinations, no interbreeding, no presentation of babies. Consequently, it is my belief that every account of such an event is, however that account comes to be given, an absolute fiction. And that includes all the stories of violent abuse of children by aliens.
I’ve come to this conclusion for the very simple reason that there is no evidence to support any other. We were told there were implants: there is no tangible evidence of implants. We were told there were cup and scoop marks, caused by aliens. There are few marks of any kind, and nothing to suggest they were made by aliens. We were told there would be medical evidence of missing pregnancies: there is none. We are told that abductees see spouses and siblings fast asleep while their abductions take place: that tells me the experiences have no physical reality.
What the abduction proponents now rely on in `corroboration’. Supposedly, there are key elements of the abduction experience about which the general public cannot know, because the researcher/writers have kept them secret, as a test, like the police sometimes do to deter those who falsely claim to be murderers or whatever. This contention is hard to argue with, because of course if it’s a secret I don’t know what it is! However, there are no so many therapists, support groups, buddies and the rest involved in the active encouragement and sharing of all the complexities of abduction experiences – and so much published and broadcast material – that I very much doubt if there is any remaining element that could fulfil the conditions necessary to make corroboration a valid argument for the reality of abductions. The range of content of abduction experience has grown exponentially in the past few years, particularly in the direction of prequels – recounting experiences `remembered’ from earlier and earlier in life – and in the matter of interbreeding, hybrid child presentation, nurture and so on. These elements have been given vast publicity in all areas of the media. I don’t believe that there are any secrets. So long as someone is listening, I guess that the story just keeps on growing.
Where I would criticise the abduction researchers, named and unnamed, is in their apparent failure to look for parallels to the accounts they are so determinedly collecting. Apparently they’ve found that there is a beginning and end to the abduction business: beginning 1897, or 1940, or something, and ending – well, sometime in these researchers’ lifetimes. There’s a surprise. Having set these limits, they express amazement at the stories people come up with, and the fact that they report they’ve had remarkable, apparently supernatural experiences. While the interpretations put on the Roper Poll date were absurd, don’t ignore the raw data, people really do believe that all these things happen to them.
But then they always have. However closely you may study the history of ufology, if you don’t look beyond it to the other ways people deal with the experiences, feelings, fears and hopes that they don’t understand, and the ways they have dealt with them in the past, you’ll never have a hope of understanding the people you’re attempting to deal with. My own field is, perhaps, claims of extraordinary experience within religions. How do the abduction researchers regard the thousands of apparently intelligent people claiming physical interaction with physical angels? Or of the countless thousands more sensible, educated, middle-class people currently involved in the ‘Toronto Blessing’ movement? They believe that, if they attend meetings at certain locations, and open their minds in prayer and devotion, that the Holy Spirit will come to them personally, and cause dramatic changes in their immediate behaviour and overall lifestyle. It’s sometimes called a ‘refreshing’, but it looks for all the world like the `transformation’ of John Mack or the New Age Movement.
You can see the same desires and emotions at work in the Welsh Revival of 1904, and many others before it. You can find instances of paralysis of the body while the spirit meets and converses with the divine in European Christian mysticism of the early Middle Ages. If you want a remarkable example of the development of ‘prequels’ and repeated encounter experiences, look at the way that the surviving Fatima witness reinvented what was said and done in 1917, adding visions before and after the reported events. You want to see how a smallish, shapeless form turns into an intricately dressed, adult religious icon? Look at the role of St Bernadette’s aunt in the development of the vision of Lourdes. People have experiences, then they look for ways to deal with them. But those experiences can be shaped – and presented in remarkable ways.
As an aside, a word about the role of the sceptics. In the context of the potential psychological damage – and maybe worse – that the abduction myth threatens to children and others, the efforts of the sceptics and natural scientists are, at this stage, a waste of time, a nuisance, an irrelevance and an obstacle to dealing with the real issues. This is not about electricity and temporal lobes, it is even less about mirages of planets. This is about the well-being of thousands of vulnerable individual human beings. And what they believe in, about experiences they believe they have had, and the ways in which they are led to interpret those beliefs and experiences.
I’ve admitted to failing to understand how researchers come to conclude that abductions have a physical reality. I also fail to understand why we continue to condone their activities. With, again, the notable exception of Jenny Randles, all sorts of methods are used to induce levels of consciousness in which the providers of the accounts are less than fully conscious, and more than usually suggestible:
- For the other abductees, however, the effects of abductions can be terribly traumatic and destructive. Once these victims bring the memories to consciousness through hypnosis or unaided recall, and once they understand what has happened to them, they find little positive in the events. The experience does not improve their lives, give them mystical powers, or put them in touch with Universal truth. They wish their abductions had never happened and are fearful that they will occur again. Their problems are compounded because few people will believe them when they confide their stories to them. They can produce no hard evidence to prove their contentions. (Jacobs, 1994)
- Sometimes there is a moment of shock and sadness when the abductee discovers in the initial interview or during a hypnosis session, that what they had more comfortably held to be a dream was actually some sort of bizarre, threatening and vivid experience which they may then recall has occur-red repeatedly and for which they have no explanation.(Mack, 1995)
- Abductees desperately want the abduction experience to stop (Jacobs, 1994)
In spite of comments of this kind, none of the researchers seem to have wondered whether, if a person doesn’t have a full recollection of a traumatic memory, there may well be a good reason for that. Not assisting recall, not hypnotising or regressing, might well be the best thing to do for the experient, the course of action that is therapeutically correct. The human memory can be merciful, and for good reasons. However, neither this consideration, nor the fact that he holds a responsible position at a university, has prevented John Mack from taking the abduction experience as he sees it out to the little one:
- One savvy eight-year-old abductee looked at me incredulously when I asked him if he told his friends about his `encounters’, which he was able to distinguish sharply from dreams, even when they had to do with UFOs (Mack, 1995)
- On November 8, I met with Colin, now two years and nine months old, and his parents in my home while his brother and sister played in the yard. He impressed me as a sweet, lively boy, but he revealed few of his fears… I went through the EMT cards with him, and he reacted strongly only to the alien card, which he called a “scary man”, and became more anxious after this. (Mack, 1995)
Are there any other parents out there who can imagine how we’d respond to an approach of this kind to one of our children? I’d be interested to know if any other researchers have been out making children “more anxious”. Maybe we can do something about them.
A clear and not too distant echo of the relationship between the West children and their parents can be found in Alien Encounters. This is a statement by the author, presumably summarising his research, and making a statement of his understanding of the subject:
- The problems are made incalculably worse by the bonding and sexual-arousal procedures performed on all abductees. When the alien performs bonding on a young child who is lying naked on a table, the rush of pleasurable emotions in her is irresistible. She is completely defenceless. This is even more injurious when the Taller Being (‘male’ or ‘female’) elicits intense sexual arousal feelings, and even orgasm. Then, while bonding and/or sexual feelings are at a peak, the Being begins the gynaecological or urological procedures and physically intrudes into her genitals or mechanically extracts his sperm. (Jacobs, 1994)
For John Mack, who somehow manages to see hope and choice in the ruthless exploitation he reports as occurring:
- …despite the cold and businesslike way the abductions themselves are conducted,,, The aliens may be perceived as true family, having protected the experiencers from human depredations, disease and loss. (Mack, 1995)
Yes. Mummy does love you. Daddy does do it best.
I can’t quite imagine why these people want to publish these sordid accounts of abuse. What may, years ago, have started out as reasonably objective, balanced research has turned into something rather peculiar. There is no scientific method in these investigations. There is no peer review – Mack’s view of the purpose and effect of the abduction process is almost diametrically opposed to that attributed to Hopkins and Jacobs, but no-one seems to care, or hardly to have noticed.
I can’t quite imagine why these people want to publish these sordid accounts of abuse. What may, years ago, have started out as reasonably objective, balanced research has turned into something rather peculiar
There is no undertaking to seek independent corroboration of events that should, by their claimed time and place of occurrence, be amenable to such corroboration. Most of those who strongly promote the availability of this material are not trained or qualified in any conventional sense. Qualifications aren’t everything, but dealing with children certainly demands particular skills, and coping with sexual abuse, rape, oppression and the resulting trauma and other effects require a range of knowledge and understanding seldom found in the best and most discreet of professionals. The suggestion is made by most abduction researchers that they are either conducting or facilitating therapy. How are these sordid accounts therapeutic? There is no more evidence for that contention than for the abductions themselves.
If what the researchers are saying was true, then many adults and children would be destined without choice or escape, to a life filled with the horror of abduction and abuse. Not only that, but many parents who believed they had been abducted would also have cause to believe that their children grandchildren, and maybe other descendants, too, would be destined to a similar fate. Already, the literature contains accounts of parents who believe their babies and toddlers are being taken.
Maybe if all these parents took the John Mack approach, where the violent abuse of young children can somehow be understood as a positive experience, beneficial to mankind’s future, it would be easier for them to cope. But if I were an abductee considering starting a family and believed my child would be put through the forms of torture and assault included, particularly, in the American accounts, then the responsible choice would surely be to remain childless.
And what of the children who read these accounts? For an ordinary stable child, there may be a simple alternative between belief and disbelief, but for those who believe these accounts are true, there is a potential in them for ruining young lives. Jenny Randles gives definitions of ‘star children’ which include talents and qualities with which a solitary, imaginative, precocious but intelligent child might easily identify. But they are also told that star children are abducted, studied gynaecologically, and have ova taken from them. Other researchers stress the utter helplessness of the abducted child, and graphically describe what has happened to others of their kind. There seem to be no secrets here, held back to ensure ‘corroboration’. A child readers of say Alien Encounters will have an intricate knowledge of the process she, or less probably he, could expect to face. At least the West children could see their abusers.
For the children of abductees – and judging by the way the numbers have grown, and the typical age and gender of those who volunteer themselves to the researchers, there must be a considerable number – the published and received material must be terrifying. For them the choice to disbelieve is far less accessible. It means saying your mother is wrong, as well as the ‘experts’ who write the books, in whom your mother evinces great trust. But the prospects of believing must make them sick, facing the utter inevitability of the role of victim, not only in their lives, but in the lives of their children, too. They will know what to expect, they will know it is going to happen, but they’ll spend their young lives anxiously waiting to find out when.
We don’t spend our time in ufology to find out that nothing exciting happens at all.
Abductions are exciting, never mind if they really happen or not
So why haven’t these books – and many like them, and magazines, videos, TV programmes and more – raised our anger, made us do something about them? Simple answer, I guess. We don’t really believe in abductions. We don’t really think that any of this happens. And we can’t be bothered to confront those who purvey this material, because they are the key figures in our subject, the ones who sell the books, fill the conferences, give our subject the high profile we would really like it to have. We don’t spend our time in ufology to find out that nothing exciting happens at alL Abductions are exciting, never mind if they really happen or not.
Let’s try changing this, a little if necessary, a lot for preference. Even it were all true, I am firmly of the opinion that accounts of abuse and torture in a sexual context – not only of children, but of adults too – should not be published as accounts have been so far. Now worthwhile purpose is served by presenting this material to the public, particularly when it has become one of the few contexts in which graphic accounts of child abuse can be included in a`popular’ book. I dread to think what non-ufologist purchasers some of these books might attract. And, of course, if any of it were true, if anyone ever had been abducted, I wouldn’t be the one raising theses issues, and assorted enthusiasts from a variety of unrelated backgrounds wouldn’t be the ones running the investigations.
In that it is my belief that none of it is more than fiction, however it may be produced, I would like to issue a simple, straightforward challenge. To DJ, JM. JR, BH and any other write who looks to sell alien abduction as a physical reality: I believe that the material you are publishing is potentially dangerous. To adults, certainly, but more so to children. we all have a responsibility to be honest with children, and to ensure that they can deal with real life. This material works against that aim.
I believe that apart from the accounts of individuals you are unable to present any physical, tangible evidence which would, on the balance of probabilities, lead reasonable people to conclude that any child, anywhere in the world, has ever:
• been abducted by alien, non-human beings to any place, or
• been experimented upon sexually, or in any other physical manner by any such alien being. If you are unable to produce any such evidence for public examination, then I ask that you to
• refrain in future from publishing material suggesting that such events occur, and
• state publicly that you have no physical, objective evidence to support the material you have published to date.
It is time to start dealing with the truth, whatever the consequences may be. Compared to the welfare of even one child, the standing and respectability of an obscure branch of anomaly research called ufology is of no importance.
(Jacobs, 1994). David M. Jacobs. Alien Encounters, Virgin, 1994. Previously published as Secret Life.
(Randles, 1994). Jenny Randles. Star Children, Hale, 1994
(Mack, 1995). John E. Mack. Abduction – Human Encounters with Aliens. Pocket Books, 1995.
(Hopkins, 1987). Budd Hopkins. ‘Contact fantasies and abduction realities’, in International UFO Reporter, Jan/Feb 1987
(Jacobs, 1995). David Jacobs, interview in UFO Magazine, Nov/Dec 1995