( This was first published in Ufologist, Vol. 15, Vol. 2, July-August 2011)
According to some UFO researchers it is possible to stop a UFO abduction by praying in the name of Jesus. In a 1997 article “Spiritual Warfare? Some look to the Bible for answers to alien abductions”, published in Florida Today, Joe Jordan of the CE-4 Research Group said that “as many as 400 cases [of abductions being stopped by the name of Jesus] may be documentable nationwide.”(1) Some examples of abductions being stopped in this way can be found on the websites Alien Resistance(2) and Paranormal and Alien Abduction Problem Solvers International (3).
These are admittedly Christian websites, however non-Christian UFO researchers, John Mack (4) and Karla Turner (5) have reported similar cases. In August 1993 near Eumemmerring Creek in country Victoria, Kelly Cahill apparently stopped a UFO abduction by commanding that they stop in God’s name (6).
When this evidence is taken into consideration, it is hard to see how UFO abductions can be carried out by aliens coming here from other planets in spaceships. There are other problems with UFO abductions.
The number of UFO abductions
In 1991 two UFO abduction researchers, David Jacobs and Budd Hopkins, conducted a survey through the Roper Organization to estimate how many Americans had been abducted by UFOs. They asked them if they had experienced features of a UFO abduction, such as waking up paralyzed with a strange figure in the room or unexplained scars. They concluded that 2% of the American population, five million people, could have been abducted (7).
If we assume that the supposed aliens are not just abducting Americans, but are abducting 2% of the world’s population, this worked out at 120 million abductees worldwide. In a paper presented at the 1998 conference Australian Contact: The UFO Reality, Robert Marx and Rocco Delillo calculated that in order for the UFO occupants to abduct each of these 120 million abductees once a year and examine them for one hour, 3,648 UFOs would be needed. They calculated that if the abductions overlapped, they would abduct one person, and while they were still examining them, fly to the next person’s house and abduct them, “only” 2,000 UFOs would be needed. However, since David Jacobs believed that each abductee was taken five times a year, this meant that 10,000 UFOs a day would be needed. Furthermore, Jacobs and Hopkins’ estimate, that 2% were being abducted, was a conservative interpretation. The results of the survey showed that 8% of the population had the characteristics of being an abductee. This would suggest that 6.5 million were being abducted every day in 40,000 UFOs (8).
This means that on a clear night we should be able to find a vantage overlooking any large city of a few million people and see at least one UFO abducting somebody. We cannot. People are having abduction experiences but the alien spaceships are not there.
The lack of independent witnesses
In fact, there appear to be no reliable cases of a UFO abduction being observed by a third party who witnessed the abductee being taken aboard the UFO. There was the “Brooklyn Bridge abduction” in November 1989 when Linda Cortile was supposedly abducted from her Manhattan apartment at 3:15 AM, and was witnessed by the UN Secretary General Javier Perez de Cueller and his two bodyguards. However, the Secretary General was in bed at the time and no UFO researcher has ever met these two bodyguards to verify their existence (9).
There have also been UFO abductions which should have been witnessed by others. In October 1973, Charles Hickson and Calvin Parker were abducted and taken aboard a UFO while they were fishing from a pier on the Pascagoula River, Mississippi. The pier was under television surveillance from a naval base on the other side of the river and it could also be seen from a nearby bridge and highway tollbooth, but no one else saw the UFO and its occupants come and abduct them (10).
There have even reports of prison inmates who have been abducted from their cells, taken aboard a UFO and then returned. None of the guards or surveillance cameras noticed the inmates being taken from their cells or a UFO hovering outside. The inmates did not ask to be dropped off somewhere else (11).
There have also been cases where abductees thought they were aboard UFOs, but they were seen elsewhere. In July 1972, Maureen Puddy had two UFO encounters near Melbourne Victoria. On February 22, 1973, she returned to the same area in a car with Judith Magee and Paul Norman from the Victorian UFO Research Society. While she was in the car with the two UFO investigators, she believed she saw an alien and was taken aboard a UFO. The two investigators saw her in the car the whole time. She was in a trance describing what was supposedly happening. She could not remember what she had said afterwards. In the only abduction case I know, where the “abduction” was observed by UFO investigators, the abductee was not taken aboard a UFO (12).
Jenny Randles (13) and Karla Turner (14) have also recorded cases of someone, who believed they were being taken aboard a UFO, but others had seen them asleep or in a trance at that time.
Close encounters of the bizarre kind
Some abduction experiences are dream-like, surreal and simply bizarre. In 1995 an abductee, Rita Perregrino, was hypnotized. She recalled being taken to another planet and shown a zoo with alien animals. A “group of large, buglike worms with dangerous-looking pincers” attacked and ate her. Her spirit was then put into a duplicate spare body, and she was returned to Earth in this new body (15).
It is not mentioned in any of his books, but in 1987 abductee Whitley Strieber told Kathy Davies, whose abduction experiences are described in Budd Hopkins’ Intruders, that he had seen her head alive on a shelf aboard a UFO (16). These examples sound like bad dreams rather than events which literally happened.
Beyond the extraterrestrial hypothesis
I am not arguing that these examples prove that UFO abductions are not real. Their experiences are real, but they are not physical in nature. Because of these and other problems many UFO researchers have abandoned the extraterrestrial hypothesis. They still believe UFOs exist, but they are “extradimensional”, rather than extraterrestrial.
J. Allen Hynek, who was arguably the world’s leading UFO researcher said that the UFO phenomenon “has paranormal aspects but certainly it has very real physical aspects, too” and “I am inclined to think [of UFOs] in terms of something metaterrestrial, a sort of parallel reality.” (17)
John keel has written,
“My long and very expensive excursions into the borderland where the real and the unreal merge have failed to produce any evidence of any kind to support the idea that we are entertaining shy strangers from some other galaxy. Rather, I have come to realize that we have been observing complex forces which have always been an essential part of our immediate environment. Instead of thinking in terms of extraterrestrials, I have adopted the concept of ultraterrestrials – beings and forces which coexist with us but are on another time frame; that is, they operate outside the limits of our space-time continuum yet have the ability to cross over into our reality. This other world is not a place, however, as Mars or Andromeda are places, but is a state of energy.” (18)
Brad Steiger has written,
“I do not dogmatically rule out the extraterrestrial hypothesis, but I do lean towards the theory that UFOs may be our neighbours right around the corner in another space-time continuum. What we thus far been labeling “spaceships” may be, in reality, multidimensional mechanisms or psychic constructs of our paraphysical companions.” (19)
UFOs and the paranormal
Many UFO researchers have concluded that the intelligence behind UFOs is also behind other paranormal phenomena. Whitley Strieber has written,
“Whatever the visitors are, I suspect that they have been responsible for much paranormal phenomenon, ranging from the appearance of gods, angels, fairies, ghosts and miraculous beings to the landings of UFOs in the backyards of America.” (20)
Raymond Fowler has written,
“Abduction research, personal and family UFO/psychic experiences have led me to consider the possibility that UFOs are paraphysical in nature and perhaps are one of many other components of an overall metaphenomenon that is made up of a variety of other so-called paranormal phenomena.” (21)
In a study of UFO books by the Library of Congress for the US Air Force Office of Science Research, Lynn E. Catoe, the senior bibliographer, commented,
“A large part of the available UFO literature is closely linked with mysticism and the metaphysical. It deals with subjects like mental telepathy, automatic writing and invisible entities, as well as phenomena like poltergeist manifestations and possession.” (22)
People, who have psychic abilities or experiences, are more likely to have UFO encounters. There have been cases where two or more people present should have seen the UFO, but not all of them did, which has led to the theory in some encounters only people, who are psychic, can see UFOs (23). The astronomer Hugh Ross writes;
“Observations reveal that professional astronomers deeply involved in cultic, occultic or certain New Age practices often see RUFOs [residual UFOs which cannot be explained], whereas professional astronomers who stay away from such pursuits never encounter RUFOs.
This correlation between one’s pursuits and activities and the degree of involvement with residual UFOs does not seem to be limited to professional astronomers; it appears to be a universal principle.” (24)
According to a 1987 survey, 60% of British UFO witnesses had psychic experiences before their sightings. 90% had such experiences afterwards (25).
A 1990 survey showed that 87% of those, who had had UFO encounters, including just sightings, “had repeating psychic experiences,” 72% had telepathic experiences, 70% had precognitive experiences, 63% had out of body experiences, 59% had poltergeist experiences (26). In 1996 Keith Basterfield conducted a survey of Australian abductees and found that “more than 66% of people reported that they had become more psychic since their abduction.” (27) It looks like not only are people, with psychic experiences more likely to have UFO encounters, but the UFO encounters result in an increase in or new psychic experiences.
Most modern UFO contactees are New Age channellers who go into a trance state and entities purporting to be aliens speak through them. UFO entities can also apparently communicate through other occult/psychic means such as Ouija boards, automatic writing and clairaudience (28). It looks like it is just as easy to channel an extraterrestrial as it is a spirit guide, an ascended master or the spirit of a dead person. In some cases one can get confused as to what kind of entity, an extraterrestrial or a spirit guide is speaking. Brad Steiger has suggested in Revelation, The Divine Fire that other entities may be pretending to be extraterrestrials,
“I cannot help questioning whether the Space Brothers might not be angels, spirit guiders and other messengers hiding themselves in more contemporary, and thereby more acceptable, personae.” (29)
In another book, Gods of Aquarius, Steiger wrote,
“As a result of my own investigations and the research of others, I can no longer doubt that such ‘contacts’ are taking place on a global scale. I must, however, challenge the veracity of the UFO occupants, especially in regard to their place of origin; namely, outer space. It seems to me that, since our earliest antiquity, the UFO entities have been lying to us about their identity and their true fatherland.” (30)
Not only do contactees use the same methods to communicate with supposed extraterrestrials as psychics and mediums do with other entities, the messages these different groups receive are largely identical. John Keel writes;
“Even more interesting is the fact that the messages received by psychics everywhere bear remarkable similarities in content, even in phrasing. I have researched obscure contactee-type books written two and three hundred years ago and have found the same identical messages and phraseology were prevalent then. Since much of this literature is very obscure and hard to find, and since many of our psychics and contactee are poorly read, it is doubtful if this is a question of fakers repeating the earlier material. Rather, it seems as if there is a phonograph in the sky endlessly repeating the same material generation after generation as if there were a crack in the record.” (31)
UFOs and fairy folklore
Belief in fairies and similar creatures of folklore was arguably the pre-industrial equivalent of belief in UFOs. There are several parallels between what fairies were believed to do and modern UFO abductions.
Like modern UFO entities, fairies were also believed to abduct people. They would paralyze their victims and fly them off to “fairy land” in much the same way abductees are supposedly paralyzed and taken aboard UFOs today. Jacques Vallee has written,
“In fact, it is difficult to find a culture that does not have a tradition of little people that fly through the sky and abduct humans. Often they take their victims into spherical settings that are evenly illuminated, and they subject them to various ordeals that include operations on internal organs and astral trips to unknown landscapes. Sexual or genetic interaction is a common theme in this body of folklore.” (32)
Those, who supposedly had encounters with fairies, would often experience memory loss or find that more time, even years, had passed in the real world, which is reminiscent of the amnesia or missing time experienced by UFO abductees. Like modern UFO entities, fairies were believed to enrich their genetic stock by having sex with humans or abducting human bodies and replacing them with “changelings”.
Some UFO encounters have involved tiny beings which are only a few inches tall and appear identical to the popular images of fairies (33).
Some of the rather bizarre abduction experiences of Betty Andreasson Luca sound more like being taken to fairyland rather than aboard an alien spaceship. Thomas Bullard writes,
“Abductee Betty Andreasson’s childhood experience of playing in the woods when a short being emerged out of the ground, dressed on clothing like the rough bark of a tree, describes a fairy encounter with no more modernization than the substitution of an alien being for the supernatural. She later visited another world that had more in common with an underground fairyland than another planet. On one such trip she saw a beautiful crystalline forest; on another she passed through a tunnel to a lush and fertile land of plentiful light, but no sun or visible horizon. Fairyland is often underground and entered through a tunnel, devoid of sunlight but lit by a perpetual twilight. The place is extraordinary in its beauty, though the appearance may be sustained by magical deception. Like fairies, alien abductors are proficient in mind control and prone to deceive their captives.” (34)
Fairies were believed to be the cause of poltergeists, “noisy ghosts”, which would make strange noises, throw things around the house or make them disappear (35). Now, there appears to be a connection between poltergeists activity and UFO encounters. UFO researcher John Keel has observed that during UFO “flaps”, periods when lots of UFO sighting occur, reports of poltergeists also increase (36). According to a 1990 survey carried out by Brent Raynes, 59% of people, who have had UFO encounters, have also had experiences with poltergeists (37).
UFO abductions and shamanic initiations
Many tribal cultures around the world have shamans (medicine men) who are believed to have psychic or supernatural abilities and act as intermediaries between the tribe and the gods or spirits. Their initiation rituals usually involve the candidate going into a trance and his soul traveling to another realm. There, he is cut up or killed by the spirits, he is then reborn and returns home as a shaman with psychic powers. Some modern shamans have described encounters with beings which resemble the Grays carrying out UFO abductions (38). There are other parallels between these initiation rituals and UFO abductions which many UFO researchers have observed. Bill Chalker writes about the Australian Aborigines;
“In different tribes in the past, Aboriginal shamans, ‘clever men’ or ‘men of high degree’, described ‘celestial ascents’ to meet with the ‘sky gods’ such as Baiame, Biral, Goin and Bundjil. Also, many of the accounts bear striking parallels to modern UFO contact and abduction stories. The ‘chosen one’ is set upon by ‘spirits’, ritualistically ‘killed’, and then experiences a wondrous journey to a strange realm, to meet the ‘sky god’. He is restored to life, a new life as the tribal shaman.
Ritual death and resurrection, abduction by powerful beings, ritual removal or rearrangement of body parts, symbolic disembowelment, implanting of artifacts in the body, aerial ascents and journeys to strange realms, alien tutelage and enlightenment, personal empowerment and transformation: these and many other phenomena are recurring elements of the extraordinary shamanic tradition.” (39)
In some UFO abductions, the UFO entities first appear to the abductees in the forms of animals, such as owls, eagles and deer, reminiscent of the animal spirits which appear to shamans (40). Like shamans, many abductees come to have a greater awareness of Nature and environmental issues. Some abductees even see themselves as modern day shamans (41) . This does not mean that shamans were really having UFO abductions. Rather, both experiences have the same source.
UFOs, NDEs and OBEs
There is also an overlap between UFO abductions and out-of-body-experiences (OBEs) and near-death-experiences (NDEs). Ann Druffel writes;
“OBEs occur more frequently during abduction scenarios than is commonly recognized, giving us additional evidence that “abductions” occur in an altered state. Every major researcher has a subset of cases in their files in which witnesses specify that their consciousness emerged from their physical body during an abduction and that they saw their physical body lying in bed as the aliens floated them out a window or through a door.” (42)
People, who have UFO encounters, are more likely to also have OBEs, as suggested by a 1990 survey conducted by Brent Raynes which showed that 63% of those who have had UFO encounters, also had OBEs (43).
UFO abductions overlap with OBEs and NDEs in the experiences of Betty Andreasson Luca recorded in several books by Raymond Fowler. Under hypnosis, Betty recalled having OBEs during several abductions. She reported going through the “Great Door” to a place which was full of light, reminiscent of the bright light of NDEs. She encountered robed entities, beings of light, and she, herself, was turned into a being of light, which are features of NDEs. She also described similar emotions to those, who have NDEs, such as feelings of unconditional love, a sense of oneness with everything, timelessness, and wishing to remain in the light and not return (44).
In his 1990 book The Watchers Fowler wrote that “evidence has been steadily accumulating in recent years of UFO research that the UFO abduction and the out-of-body experiences are intimately related.” (45) By the time of his 1995 book The Watchers II the overlap with OBEs and NDEs had led Fowler to conclude that they had the same source and UFOs were connected to the afterlife;
“My examination of the evidence being collected by UFO and NDE researchers indicates that UFOs and NDEs are different manifestations of the same phenomenon.” (46)
People, who have NDEs, often report seeing dead relatives. Sometimes, UFO abductees also see people who have recently died (47). John Mack interviewed an abductee who saw a friend’s son during an abduction two days after he had been killed in a car accident (48). Whitley Strieber received a letter from an abductee who described how in 1969 her friend, who was also an abductee, saw her daughter, who had just died, aboard a UFO with “two tall beings.” (49) Strieber has also written that people have seen Grays during NDEs, “More than one person had seen the visitors in the context of a near-death experience.” (50) In The Truth about Alien Abductions, Peter Hough and Moyshe Kalman reproduce a hypnosis session transcript in which a woman recalled leaving her body during an NDE and seeing a being which resembled a Gray (51). I wonder what believers in the extraterrestrial hypothesis think dead people are doing, apparently alive, aboard alien spaceships, or what “extraterrestrials” are doing “on the other side.”
To be continued in Part Two
(1) Rita Elkins, “Spiritual Warfare? Some look to the Bible for answers to alien abduction”, Florida Today, August 17, 1997, http://www.alienresitance.org/fltodayarticlehidden.htm
(4) John Mack, Passport to the Cosmos, Thorson, London, 2000, p 213
(5) Karla Turner, Taken, Rose Printing, Tallahassee, 1988, p 37
(6) Kelly Cahill, Encounter, Harper Collins, Sydney, 1996, p 135
(7) David Jacobs, The Threat, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1988, p 123-124
(8) Robert Marx and Rocco Delilo, “UFOs: The Conveyer Belt, The Real Size of the Problem”, http://www.auforn.com/Robert_Marx_1.htm
(9) Jenny Randles, Encyclopedia of the Unexplained, BCA, London, 1995, p 70
(10) John Keel, Visitors from Space, Panther, London, 1976, p 170-171
(11) Lyssa Royal and Keith Priest, Visitors from Within, Granite Publishing, North Carolina, 1999, p 101-118
(12) Keith Basterfield, UFOs: A Report on Australian Encounters, Reed Books, Victoria, 1997, p 11-17
(13) Jenny Randles, Abduction, Guild Publishing, London, 1988, p 139-140, and Alien Contact, Coronet Books, Great Britain, 1981, p 64-66
(14) Taken, op cit., p 8-9
(15) Joe Lewels, The God Hypothesis, Wild Flower Press, North Carolina, 1997, p 192-194
(16) Keith Thompson, Angels and Aliens, Fawcett Columbine, New York, 1991, p 206-207
(17) Ronald Story (editor), The Mammoth Encyclopaedia of Extraterrestrial Encounters, Robinson, London, 2002, p 305
(18) Visitors from Space, op cit., p 46
(19) Brad Steiger, The Fellowship, Ivy Books, New York, 1988, p 49
(20) Whitley Strieber, Transformation, Arrow Books, London, 1989, p 236
(21) The Mammoth Encyclopaedia of Extraterrestrial Encounters, op cit., p 250
(22) John Keel, Operation Trojan Horse, Souvenir Press, London, 1970, p 45
(23) John Spencer, The UFO Encyclopedia, Headline, London, 1991, p 323
(24) Hugh Ross, et al, Lights in the Sky and Little Green Men, Navpress, Colorado, 2002, p 119-120
(25) Mark Moravec, “Paranormal Elements”, Australasian Ufologist, Vol. 7, No. 2, 2003, p 35
(26) Gregory Little, Grand Illusion, White Buffalo Books, Tennessee, 1994, p 65-66
(27) Keith Basterfield, “The Side Effects of a UFO Abduction Experience”, Australian International UFO Symposium Proceedings 1996, Queensland UFO Network, Brisbane, 1996, p 31
(28) Clifford Wilson and John Weldon, Close Encounters: A Better Explanation, Master Books, San Diego, 1978, p 179-180
(29) Brad Steiger, Revelation, The Divine Fire, Prentice-Hall, New Jersey, 1973, p 162
(30) Brad Steiger, Gods of Aquarius, Granada, London, 1980, p 133
(31) Visitors from Space, op cit., p 148
(32) Jacques Vallee, Confrontations, Ballantine Book, New York, 1990, p 144
(33) Operation Trojan Horse, op cit., p 181Debbie Jordan and Kathie Mitchell, Abducted!, Carroll and Graf Publishers, New York, 1994, p 112
(34) The Mammoth Encyclopaedia of Extraterrestrial Encounters, op cit., p 224
(35) Dianne Purkiss, Troublesome Things, Penguin Books, London, 2001, p 8, 154
(36) Operation Trojan Horse, op cit., p 237-241
(37) Grand Illusions, op cit., p 65-66
(38) Passport to the Cosmos, op cit., p 202
(39) Bill Chalker, The Oz Files, Duffy and Snellgrove, New South Wales, 1996, p 19
(40) John Mack, Abduction, p 32, Passport to the Cosmos, op cit., p 135
(41) John Mack, Abduction, op cit., p 363, Passport to the Cosmos, op cit., p 138
(42) Anne Druffel, How to Defend Yourself Against Alien Abduction, Piatkus Publishers, London, 1988, p 144
(43) Grand Illusions op cit., p 65-66
(44) Raymond Fowler,The Watchers II, Wild Flower Press, Oregon, 1995,p 280-290
(45) Raymond Fowler, The Watchers, Bantam, New York, 1990, p 141
(46)The Watchers II, op cit., p 362
(47) Whitley Strieber, Breakthrough, Pocket Books, London, 1995, p 91,98, Gary Bates, Alien Intrusion, Master Books, Nashville, 19993, p 236
(48)John Mack, Abduction, op cit., p 280-281
(49) Whitley and Anne Strieber, The Communion Letters, Simon and Schuster, London, 1997, p 266
(50) Transformation, op cit., p 226
(51) Peter Hough and Moyshe Kalman, The Truth about Alien Abductions, Cassell, London, 1997,p 80-81