Paradises of Grey Peris: Oriental Elements in the Abduction Experience: Davis Sivier

 From Magonia 69, December 1999

One of the paradigms now being used by sceptical ufologists to explain the abduction experience is sleep paralysis and the attendant hypnopompic states, during which the experiencer feels paralysed and may confuse elements of their dreams with the reality from which their consciousness has not yet fully retreated into deep sleep. (1) It has been remarked that much Western theorising about the nature of religion, such as the belief propounded by Euhemerus in the Classical world that it has its origins in the deeds of great figures of the past whose feats became gradually confused with time until they became gods, is made manifest in Chinese religion. The numerous deities of the Middle Kingdom contain a number of deified individuals admitted to the company of gods by imperial edict, and the pantheon itself is structured according to the Chinese imperial bureaucracy. (2) It should come as no surprise then, that the connection between sleep paralysis, the Old Hag and otherworld journeys to a fairyland should similarly become overt in oriental mystical tradition. One of the classic Chinese ghost stories concerns a scholar who falls asleep in a monastery, only to journey to a strange fairyland reached through a gap in his pillow. (3) The connection between hypnopompic dreams and supernatural journeys is obvious, and serves to illuminate other Chinese legends more similar to Western tales, such as that of Chun-Yu Fei, who became the governor of an otherworld state entered through a gap in a tree. (4) The parallels between this, medieval Chinese legend, and Western tales locating the fairy realm under hollow hills and the roots of trees, is likewise clear.

The similarities between the Close Encounter and Near Death Experience has also been remarked upon. Betty Andreasson, and Peter, who with his wife was abducted from Beit Bridge in Zimbabwe, (5) were both abducted “out of the body”, for example, as was Maureen Puddy. Judy Doraty, who was abducted in May 1973 while driving near her home in Houston, Texas, was told by the Greys aboard the craft that she had spontaneously appeared out of her body in their craft, and that they had not intended to take her. (6) This has obvious parallels with the beings of light commonly reported by those who have had NDEs, who tell them it is not their time yet and who send them back to Earth. In the case of the Oriental version of the NDE, this commonly takes the form of an encounter with an otherworldly being who looks them up in a book and tells the percipient that there has been some mistake before returning them to full life. In the myth of Hanuman, the Monkey of Wu Chang-An, the myth’s hero gained his immortality by ripping the page on which his name was written out of Yama’s, the king of death’s, book. This conception of a fallible, or at least easily duped, heavenly bureaucracy has its parallel in the numerous Western joke scenarios in which a bureaucratic mistake amongst the angels and saints in heaven leads to someone being taken before their time because of a confusion with someone who has the same, or a similar, name. The short-lived ITV 1980s comedy series, Dead Earnest, was based on just such a premise. The abduction of Judy Doraty, who saw her daughter, who had also being travelling with her, being deliberately examined by the Greys but who herself was not wanted by them, leaves itself open to just such an interpretation. Of course, perhaps the incident is better interpreted as a woman fearing and imagining the worst for her child during a period of intense psychological stress occasioned by the original incident and its possible confabulation during the subsequent hypnotic investigation by Leo Sprinkle.

Then there is the problem of the Greys’ eyes, one of their defining traits. It is through their eyes that the Greys establish control, sometimes almost devouring their victims psychically. The “mindscan” leaves them feeling that information has been extracted from them telepathically, while some abductees feel that the eyes promise something deeper, such as John Mack’s patient, Peter, who declared that: “It really wants to connect with me. It’s almost like it’s looking at an infant . . . if you were only a little older and a little wiser and we could have a relationship or something.” (7) This occurs as the individual’s own willpower is destroyed through eye contact with the alien, such as in Karen Morgan’s statement that, “Once you look into those eyes you’re gone, you’re just gone”. (8) Erotic feelings may also play their part, as in Barbara Archer’s statements about how, when looking into the eyes of her Grey abductor, “He makes me feel happy. I think that he likes me . . . I feel wonderful. I think that he is wonderful”. (9)

Although Spencer himself points out the importance of eyes to humans, and the numerous sayings emphasising them, such as “bedroom eyes”, “the eyes are the portals to the soul”, he neglects their intimate connection with spirituality. The painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti considered the yes to be the most spiritual part of the face, and the mouth the most sensual. In the pages of this magazine Peter Brookesmith has also called attention to the accentuated eyes of ancient Middle Eastern figures. The strongest religious parallels to the Greys’ eyes are, however, in Islamic Sufism. The ultimate goal in Sufism, as with other forms of mysticism, is union with God. Sufis, however, stress the importance of the Beatific Vision, with God’s face in particular the focus of their attention. This comes from a passage in the Qu’ran describing God fading away until only His face is left. This aspect of Islamic mysticism shows more than a passing similarity to Jacob’s encounter with the angel at Peniel in the Old Testament. The Hebrew term translated as “presence”, when the patriarch at last discovers that he has been in the presence of God, literally means “face”. There is also a powerful erotic element in Sufi literature, which attempted to communicate their intoxication with the Divine through the metaphor of wine and earthly, even homosexual, love. Al-Hallaj, one of the earliest Sufis, himself wrote poetry which employed the terminology of secular love. The relationship with God was compared to that between lover and beloved, something which recalled the “St Amour” of the Knights Templars. More than that, God’s face could be likened to that of a particular student at the madrasseh, who is possessed of a pleasing countenance with dark, limpid eyes. This mystical speculation desiring spiritual union with God, achieved through contemplation of the Beloved’s face and eyes, has obvious parallels with the above quotes about the mystical, erotic power of the Greys’ eyes.

Most controversial of all the Greys’ features is the similarity some commentators see between them and small children. Professor Jack Cohen, a reproductive biologist at Warwick University and the designer of fictional aliens for SF authors such as Andre Norton, Harry Harrison and Larry Niven, declared in a recent lecture to the British Interplanetary Society that the image of aliens either as dragons or three-year-old children was due to the cultural perceptions of such monsters impressed on Western infants at about that age. Dr Marina Warner discussing her latest book, Bogeymen, at this year’s Cheltenham literary festival, pointed out that in their insatiable appetites and complete disregard for social norms and adult behaviour, giants were really overgrown babies.

This equation between the infantile and the monstrous is often made plain in medieval Western folklore, and the religious beliefs of African and native American peoples, but is suppressed in contemporary Western culture. The peculiarly alien nature of children, who behave differently from adults, only finds its expression in modern society in contemporary horror films like Rosemary’s Baby and The Omen. In Africa children have a numinous element unknown in the West. The Chamba of the Nigeria/Cameroon border area believe that the inarticulate babbling of babies and the senile is the language of the spirits. Babies haven’t quite forgotten it, and the elderly are only just resuming it prior to their joining the spirits in death. This stresses the similarity between the very young and the very old, something often remarked on in the West but never stressed to the same extent, except by television company apparatchiks who recently lumped the fandom of the late comedian Benny Hill – again, the very old and very young – under the collective title of the underwear-soiling ages.

The appearance of the Greys, at once an old, dying race, whose appearance owes much to Victorian ideas of racial senility, (10) but physically resembling small children, is a far more powerful expression of these perceived parallels. Going further than this, there is the final image of Kubrick and Clarke’s epic SF film 2001: A Space Odyssey. This is the Star Child, the final apotheosis of the last astronaut, Dave Bowman, after he has made humanity’s latest evolutionary leap wrought by the alien builders of the Black Monoliths, who are also immeasurably ancient. This link with he world of the spirit is a matter of some fear to certain African peoples like the Baule of the Ivory Coast. They believe it is dangerous to bring two babies still speaking the language of the spirits close to each other, in case they plot against the living. This belief in the power of a primeval language also formed part of the medieval European mystical tradition, especially in certain forms of Cabbalism and Freemasonry. In the quest to discover it, children could be put in considerable peril by adults. Frederick II, the German emperor widely considered to be the Antichrist during his lifetime, conducted an experiment to learn this language. He ordered a number of small children to be separated from their parents and to be attended only by nurses who would remain perpetually silent. This cruel experiment afforded him no results, however. None of the unfortunates lived long enough to utter a single word.

The idea that children can be consciously evil, plotting against their parents, is extremely shocking to the contemporary Western mind. When the Avenging Embryo thesis, which held that the Greys’ embryonic form was the product of Western guilt over abortion, first reared its head some time ago, it was bitterly attacked for its alleged misogyny. Michael Grosso similarly considered the forms of the Greys to be based on Western feelings of self-guilt. Images of starving children from the Third World, dying through disease, famine, civil war brought about by the strains of the global economic and political situation and the ecological crisis, evoke strong feelings of guilt amongst some Westerners. Grosso sees the Greys as metaphors for the guilt the West has because of the impact of its technology on the planet, though the causes of this guilt are surely not confined to this. Western Europe and North America are the present dominant cultures, and their wealth comes to a greater or lesser extent upon the exploitation of weaker cultures conquered during their colonial periods of expansion. Many Westerners therefore feel themselves naturally responsible for the poverty and suffering on the rest of the planet, a situation analysed by the writer Albert Memmi at the beginning of Western decolonialisation: “Deep within himself the colonialist pleads guilty.” (11) In his analysis of imperial and sexual guilt as encoded in Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Richard Marsh’s The Beetle, he states that “this mechanism – the projection of Western guilt, fear and desire, on to the Oriental (African) – as Other – carries with it a considerably in-built penalty. It invests him with the power of the repressed . . . The forms of inversion of imperial power which this guilt produces include defeat by alien technological superiority (Wells’s Martians, for example), and not only the revenge, in appropriately dehumanised forms, of imperial subjects, but also the return of, or regression to, the metaphysical realm of transcendental religion, displaced, and debased, by the advance of scientific positivism.” (12)

Early descriptions of ufonautical visitors stressed their foreign features. The phantom airships were crewed by foreign-looking men who were frequently swarthy, and it is possible that the Greys were gradually elaborated from descriptions of such extraterrestrial visitors as short and oriental with slanted eyes. The mystic East has been a strong image of oriental culture since the days of Empire. Garnett quotes Benita Parry’s analysis of the fiction of Joseph Conrad, Conrad and Imperialism: Ideological Boundaries and Visionary Frontiers, as part of his thesis that as part of the guilt and fear associated with the idea of Africans and Orientals, “is the conception of colonial peoples as possessed of privileged insights into the transcendental realm and endowed with magic powers”. (13) The Greys, as elaborated from stereotypical images of Orientals. possessing infantile features, surely fit the above description exactly. Their forms articulate Western guilt. Like Wells’s Martians they conquer through technology. Like Dracula and Marsh’s Priest of Isis, they also conquer through arcane mystical power. The link between ufology and westernised forms of oriental mysticism, such as theosophy, is quite strong, and likely to remain so in the current fashion for New Age forms of religious experience. In seeking to change Western consciousness through espousal of an orientalised religious philosophy, the Greys may very well be said to embody the East’s mystical revenge, even if this revenge is brought about solely by collective Western feelings of post-imperial guilt.

The parallels between Marsh’s tale of terror and the modern abduction myth go beyond a common fear of the Other, however constructed. The Priest of Isis in the story takes the form of a monstrous insect, while the Greys are similarly described as insectoid. This fear is no doubt based on the strong repugnance most people feel towards “creepy-crawlies”. Marsh succeeded in linking it to a fear of Orientals through the ancient Egyptians’ reverence for the scarab beetle. Coupled with this is also the deep and abiding fear of loss of humanity – such transformations from human to the monstrous, with a concomitant loss of individuality, were the stock-in-trade of some of the more shocking episodes of Dr Who. C.S. Lewis once remarked that the ants encapsulated the two strongest middle-class fears – fears of the feminine and the collective. The strongly collective nature of many Oriental societies, such as the Japanese, is uniquely disturbing to the Western mind, raised on notions of individualism, a fact of which the creators of Star Trek were only too aware when they created the Borg, the ultimate gestalt creature. At the beginning of this century the Bolshevik victory in Russia led many right-wing ideologists to equate Communism specifically with the threat of barbarian Asiatics. Gurdjieff, the great Russian mystic and fashionable charlatan, himself taught that ants were antediluvian Communists, who had suffered the ultimate in divine punishment by being finally reduced to their invertebrate status. Several abductees have similarly reported the lack of individuality in their captors, one specious explanation given for this being that their life force is not as differentiated as ours. In view of the oft-reported comment on Orientals’ features that “they all look the same to me”, the similarities between the Greys and the Asiatics is too strong to be considered purely coincidental.

The gender of the Priest of Isis is similarly in doubt. In one passage he is described as male, in another as female, much like the highly sexed, but neuter Greys. Part of his tactics of conquest involve the seduction and debasement of Western women, like the tale’s heroine, Marjorie Lindon. These seductions have strong homoerotic overtones. When Robert Holt discovers the Priest in an abandoned house, he is first embraced in darkness by a monstrous insect which “gains his loins”, (14) before going on to his head and upper body. When in human form, the Priest, now represented as a man, orders him to strip naked before grinning at him with “a satyr’s smile”. (15)

Lindon’s seduction, too, has homosexual, lesbian overtones, as the monstrous insect enters her bed. Again, the parallels with the modern Close Encounters scenario which also has strong homoerotic overtones – buggery with weird alien probes and the like – are strong. The primary targets of the Priest’s tactic of seduction are women, undoubtedly due both to Victorian fears of female sexuality and the belief, predating the Victorians, that women’s sexuality makes them especially vulnerable to the monstrous overtures of the Other. These fears are of a group with Lanz Von Liebenfels’ confused ideas of a primeval humanity deprived of its superhuman powers through repeated coupling with subhuman apelings, the only remedy for which was the subjection of good Aryan women to pure German husbands. In origin it probably stems from the raids by primitive peoples to carry off each others’ women as wives or concubines, elaborated from these mundane, human concerns into the supernatural and monstrous. Most abductees are women, another example of women’s sexuality making them vulnerable to supernatural possession, a phenomenon which almost certainly comes from the same psychological roots as the vulnerability of Marsh’s female characters to the vile overtures of the Beetle. Mixed in with this is racial desire and envy on the part of the Beetle-Priest himself. When gazing on the naked form of Holt, the Priest declares: “What a white skin you have – how white! What would I not give for a skin as white as that – oh yes!” (16)

The Greys are similarly motivated by a desire to gain some element of our racial or genetic heritage for themselves. They need to interbreed with us, to spawn these hybrid offspring, because they themselves are dying. This racial envy projected on to the Other serves both to bolster the collective ego humanity, or at least the Western portion of it, has something innate which this rapacious Other, for all its power, does not have and at the same time exacerbates the racial fears upon which these perceived motives are based. The Other alien or Beetle-Priest – is planning to possess and usurp Western humanity’s most intimate defining trait, its very genetic heritage itself.

Marina Warner, in answer to the author’s question concerning the infantile nature of the Greys, felt that part of the fear producing the abduction phenomenon lay in Christian notions of self gained from Greek philosophy. The Greeks, according to her, believed that the self was one and indivisible, that each person was uniquely whole. Thus, the worst thing that could happen to a good Christian was possession by an invading entity, with the concomitant fracturing and alteration of their deepest selves. In cultures which did not have this view of the individual soul, possession was not something feared, but sought. The “scooping” of abductees, the removal and replacement of organs and the insertion of implants, although having their immediate roots in fears of modern biotechnology, stem ultimately from Christian fears of possession, or fragmentation of their indivisible self. The fear was that the person was somehow being clandestinely altered, and changed into something not really him- or herself, and that the precise nature of this change was frighteningly unknown.

There is something to this. Many cultures with strong shamanic traditions believe the individual has a multitude of souls unknown in Christian culture. The Inuit, for example, have three- an animating principle in the body, a unique soul conferred with a person’s name, and an immortal soul which journeys to the afterlife after death. The Chinese similarly have two souls, one of which resides in the grave after death, and one which journeys on to its eternal reward in the numerous hells and paradises envisioned in Buddhism. Shamanism played an important part in early Chinese religion, and even in the modern, technological world researchers have noted the importance of traditional seances in Chinese domestic religious observances. (17)

This view, stressing a straight dichotomy between a Christianity fearful of possession which believes that a person is indivisible, and pagan cultures stressing heterogeneous spiritual elements in the human constitution and actively seeking communion with possessing entities, ignores the charismatic elements in Christianity. The early church was especially open to the gifts of the spirit since the descent of the Holy Ghost on the apostles at Pentecost, St Paul being particularly inspired in this respect. The Didache, a short document claiming to be the teaching of the twelve apostles, gave explicit instructions intended to guide the congregation when attempting to discern which of the inspired individuals who came amongst them was a true prophet. The charismatic revival beginning in the black Pentecostal churches in the 1920s renewed this mystical tradition, though revivalist sects such as the Catholic Apostolic Church stressed the inspiration of the Holy Spirit as far back as the 1890s, and the importance of these spiritual gifts to the Quakers and Shakers in the 17th century is well known. Among charismatic cults like Vaudaun, the possessing entities can be evil, as well as good, so Christianity has by no means a monopoly on considering certain forms of mystical experience evil. The difference between Christian attitudes to charismatic phenomena and those of the various pagan cults which seek possession in some form probably stems from Christianity’s monotheism which forbade any contact with the spiritual world beyond the officially sanctioned dimension of the church and which possessed a powerful bureaucracy able to enforce that prescription.

This fed into Enlightenment attitudes to charismaticism which saw them as both examples of ignorant superstition and dangerously socially disruptive. Enthusiasm originally meant something like “spiritually inspired”, and quickly acquired a negative connotation in the 18th century when the term “enthusiast” meant something like “religious fanatic”. Religious zeal was a dangerous thing that had plunged Europe into a series of bloody wars between Catholic and Protestant, and Enlightenment intellectuals feared its return. The abduction phenomenon is a return of this mystical, shamanic tradition given a darker form due to its repression in the Western psyche, and its perceived links with primitive oriental and African cults. On the other hand, its appearance at the time when many Christian churches have taken on the charismatic renewal suggests that it is part of this common post-secular trend towards mysticism, rather than a separate phenomenon. Of course, to many people Christianity very much has a stifling, stuffy image despite the efforts of the Evangelicals. The darkness of the abduction phenomenon could represent suppressed drives towards charismaticism in those who subscribe to the arguably majority view in Western culture which finds such things in some way evil, or it could also stem from Christian charismaticism taking an oriental and technological guise as Christianity loosens its hold on Western thought. Peter Brookesmith has vehemently argued the latter in the pages of this magazine, while ignoring the universality of some of the features he condemns and the strong oriental intellectual influences on ufology. It’s a convoluted issue of which the only clear feature is that it represents a powerful mystical experience of a type discouraged by contemporary society.

Back to the suspicion of children, however. Some cultures believe that suffering children are really malevolent spirits gaining spiteful pleasure from the torment of their human parents. In West Africa there is the belief in “ghost children”, evil spirits that are born in pain and suffering, bringing grief and sorrow to their parents through their sickly condition before deliberately dying to inflict the maximum amount of pain. These malicious beings then reincarnate themselves to begin the cycle over again. The grief they inflict on their human parents sustains them, and the tears the shed are valuable items in the land of the dead. The only way to prevent depredation by such spirits is to give them names that refer to their unattractive features and evil, or smear them with repulsive matter that will make them unattractive to the spirits. When such children die, their bodies are liable to mutilation. This belief is of a type with the medieval European conviction that deformed, sickly or retarded children were changelings substituted by the fairies for the beautiful human child. The solution was to make life so uncomfortable for the changeling that it left and the fairy parents brought the original child back. This all too readily took on brutal forms. Changelings could be whipped, put on the fire or burnt in the oven, in order to bring the fairy mother to rescue it.

Martin Luther, on finding a particularly malevolent changeling in one of the German states, told the Elector of Saxony that if he were the country’s prince he would kill it and throw the body in the Moldau. When this suggestion was refused, he ordered the local people to pray in church for the creature’s death, which happened in its second year. Rather less brutal is the treatment given to deformed children by the Nuer of Sudan. They used to dispose of such deformed dead babies by putting them down by the river by the hippopotami who were perceived as being their real fathers. All these beliefs have the function of explaining the occurrence of deformed children and assuaging the grief felt by their parents when they eventually pass away. After all, if the children were really malicious spirits, and not the couple’s own children, then there was no point in grieving over their deaths. On the contrary, if the creatures were evil, their final demise should be a cause of celebration.

Interestingly, the fairies had human agents active in the stealing of children for them. According to Strype’s Annals of the 16th century, midwives had to swear an oath not to allow anybody to substitute another child in place of the mother’s own, nor to use any sorcery or incantation during childbirth. This has obvious parallels in both the way the Greys spawn children on abductees, only to steal them away again, and the activities of various clandestine government departments in promoting this programme of extraterrestrial miscegenation.

In modern Japan where abortion is common due to the prohibition of contraception, there is a real fear that the spirit of the aborted child will exact vengeance on the mother. Thus, special ceremonies are performed and statues of Jizo, the Japanese god of compassion, put up. Jizo is believed to comfort the souls of dead children in their endless toils on the Sai-no-kwara, the Buddhist Styx. Coupled to this are the kokeshi dolls, papoose-like images made by the Japanese to represent the victims of infanticide, those smothered or crushed to death. Often the killer is their mother. In the West there is an intense debate on the morality of abortion. To many Christians and others in the pro-life camp, abortion is infanticide of a type comparable to the wholesale sacrifice of children to the Phoenician god Moloch. To the pro-abortion side, such concerns are false. The children aborted are not true children at all, and it is a distortion to represent them as such. Furthermore, any ban on abortion is an invasion of women’s rights to control their own bodies, and attempts to impose it are part and parcel of a general assault on women’s rights by Fascist groups seeking to reinforce the subjugation of women.

It’s been claimed that, despite the claims of the pro-life side, few women who have had an abortion actually feel guilty. This may well be so, but the writer of this article has personally encountered women who have been forced into abortions by their husbands, and seen this as nothing less than the murder of their child. Grief, sorrow and guilt over miscarriage and abortion certainly exist. Although many hospitals now arrange to carry out special services for miscarried babies, the victims of abortion or the controversial experiments in human reproduction are far less cared for. An example of the ambiguity accorded to the victims of abortion was the scandal which erupted in America in 1985 over the disposal of 16,433 aborted foetuses found in a steel bin. The US Supreme Court was required to make a ruling whether or not these children should be given over to a religious organisation for burial. The final decision was a compromise. The foetuses were given a secular burial as inert matter, but with a eulogy from Ronald Reagan. Such a debate between religious values and modern, secular notions, both stressing the dignity of human life, has caused intense feeling on both sides and even motivates some to murder.

 Fundamentalist Christians in America have killed doctors who perform abortions, while the Red Army Faction in Germany, on the other hand, used to kill those doctors who refused to perform them as Fascists. The intense feeling generated by the debate, and the guilt some individuals undoubtedly feel, even if only a minority, may well seek expression in the spiritual sphere. Maternal guilt over the abortion of a child has already been expressed in the literature of science fiction in Ian McDonald’s short story “Innocents”. This particular tale, set in a future in which the dead are resurrected through nanotechnology, culminates in the suicide of a woman after she comes to believe the lover she has taken is her own aborted son, brought back to life by virtue of the above technology. Although the vengeance exacted is at the hands of the mother herself, and the suspected son remains passive, not even aware of his true identity, the story contains all the significant motifs associated with the abduction myth as interpreted by the Avenging Embryo hypothesis: guilt for the fact, gynaecological examination and operation by clinical, distant and inhuman beings, and sex with a creature who is really a child, despite his adult guise, with the suspicion that the situation has been deliberately contrived by the inhuman protagonists against the human for some dark purpose of their own. In this respect the interpretation of the obstetric experiments of the Greys as “avenging embryos” is quite valid.

As for sex with incubi, succubi and the spirits of the dead, these are by no means confined to Western Christendom. Among the Baule a troubled adolescence, impotence or sterility may indicate that a person has a spouse in the spirit world who is discontented. This will be confirmed if the sufferer has erotic dreams about someone they have never met. The solution is to have statues of this spirit lover made and a type of marriage ceremony performed. The earthly spouse is then obliged to hold feasts and offerings in honour of this spouse, and to reserve Thursday nights for sexual relations with the spirit spouse. More than the succubus elements prominent in the abduction myth, this has strong parallels with Elizabeth Klarer’s liaison with a spaceship captain, who returned with their child to his home among the stars. Perhaps it is no accident that, even though she was white, she came from South Africa.

It’s clear then, that the abduction myth contains strong oriental and African elements. The links to certain forms of Eastern and African religious experience probably arise from common roots deep in human psychology, the Western flower of which, as evidenced in medieval folklore, was suppressed after the rise of the Enlightenment, only to take a distorted, technological form with the dawn of the Space Age. The prominent orientalism in the construction of the Other’s identity likewise arises in archetypal racial fears being ascribed to the Other, fears which, although having their roots in the imperial terrors of the late 19th century, were easily elaborated and ascribed to the extraterrestrials once human enemies as objects of fear had been superseded. Intimately mixed with these fears is guilt, both imperial and sexual. These terrors, the deep Freudian fears of race and sex, are the most profound and powerful in the human psyche. Spawned from such dark origins, it is no wonder the close encounter experience is both compulsive and terrifying. It is also no surprise that the Greys, despite their putative alien origins, always retain some human aspect, for through them humanity stares at a distorted image of itself.



1. See discussions of this in, for example, Brookesmith, P. and Devereux, P., “The Great Brain Robbery”, Fortean Times, No. 107, pp. 22-24, and McNally, J., “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Temporal Lobe Epilepsy, Fortean Times, No. 108, pp. 24-27.
2. Guirand, F. (ed.), Encyclopedia of World Mythology, Hamlyn, 1968, p. 380
3. Lu Hsun, A Brief History of Chinese Fiction, Foreign Language Press, Peking, 1976
4. Op. cit., pp. 98-99
5. Spencer, J. and A., True Life Encounters: Alien Contact, p.165
6. Baker, A. True Life Encounters: UFO Sightings, p. 117
7. Spencer, p. 144
8. Spencer, p. 143
9. Spencer, pp. 144-145
10. Kottmeyer, Martin, “Varicose Brains: Entering a Grey Area”, Magonia, No. 62, 8-11
11. Meemi, A, The Coloniser and the Colonised, first published 1957, reprinted 1974, Souvenir Press, London, p. 57, quoted in Garnett, Rhys, “Dracula and the Beetle: Imperial and Sexual Guilt and Fear in Late Victorian Fantasy, in Garnett, R. and Ellis, R.J., Science Fiction: Roots and Branches, MacMillan, 1990, pp. 30-54
12. Garnett, p. 35
13. Parry, B., Conrad and Imperialism: Ideological Boundaries and Visionary Frontiers, MacMillan, London, 1983, p. 3
14. Garnett, p. 452
15. Garnett, p 456
16. Garnett, p. 456
17. Ching, J., Chinese Religions, MacMillan, 1993, pp. 207-208





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