One wag has dubbed the problem “Terra and the Pirates.”The pirates, ostensibly, are marauders from another solar system; their victims includea growing number of troubled human beings who insist that they’ve been shanghaied bythese otherworldly visitors. An outlandish scenario—yet through the works of such au-thors as Budd Hopkins
and Whitley Strieber,
the “alien abduction” syndrome has seizedthe public imagination. Indeed, tales of UFO contact threaten to lapse into fashionability,even though, as I have elsewhere noted,
they may still inflict a formidable social priceupon the claimant.Some time ago, I began to research these claims, concentrating my studies on the so-cial and political environment surrounding the events. As I studied, the project grew andits scope widened. Indeed, I began to feel as though I’d gone digging through familiar ter-rain only to unearth Gomorrah.These excavations may have disgorged a solution.
Among ufologists, the term “abduction” has come to refer to an infinitely-confounding experience, or matrix of experiences, shared by a dizzying number of indi-viduals, who claim that travellers from the stars have scooped them out of their beds, orsnatched them from their cars, and subjected them to interrogations, quasi-medical ex-aminations, and “instruction” periods. Usually, these sessions are said to occur withinalien spacecraft; frequently, the stories include terrifying details reminiscent of the tor-tures inflicted in Germany’s death camps. The abductees often (though not always) loseall memory of these events; they find themselves back in their cars or beds, unable to ac-count for hours of “missing time.” Hypnosis, or some other trigger, can bring back thesehaunted hours in an explosion of recollection—and as the smoke clears, an abductee willoften spot a trail of similar experiences, stretching all the way back to childhood.Perhaps the oddest fact of these odd tales: Many abductees, for all their vividly-recollected agonies, claim to love their alien tormentors. That’s the word I’ve heard re-peatedly:
.Within the community of “scientific ufologists”—those lonely, all-too little-heard ad-vocates of a reasonable and open-minded debate on matters saucerological—these claimshave elicited cautious interest and a commendable restraint from conclusion-hopping.Outside the higher realms of scientific ufology, the situation is, alas, quite different. In the
(New York: Richard Marek Publishers, 1981) and
(New York:Random House, 1987).
(New York: Beech Tree Books,1987).
Cannon, “Psychiatric Abuse of UFO Witness,”
magazine, Vol. 3, No. 5 (December, 1988).