From Magonia 44, October 1992
The basic structure of the typical abduction scenario has been well-known, ever since the publication of folklorist Eddie Bullard’s massive two volume study of the phenomenon in 1987. Drawing on almost 300 cases then extant in the world UFO literature, Bullard isolated and identified eight discrete, sequential stages as follows: capture, examination, conference, tour, otherworldly journey, theophany, return, and aftermath. Although individual details and the actual sequence of events might vary slightly from case to case, the overall internal consistency of such accounts, as opposed to the random vagaries of imagination and creativity one might expect if they were wholly fabricated from original individual cloth, has led Bullard to argue in favour on a number of occasions (in the pages of Magonia and elsewhere) for the physical reality of the experience.
Even so, Bullard also noted a decidedly nonphysical attribute of the average abduction to which he gave the name doorway amnesia, a sort of psychological bookend to the experience as a whole. For reasons yet unknown, abductees apparently recall with greater clarity those events that take place inside the presumed UFO than they do the actual entry into and exit therefrom. I assume that Jenny Randles refers to much the same thing with her Oz Factor – characterised as an altered state of awareness earmarked by a decrease in external sensory input.
But even as Bullard’s landmark study appeared, changes subtle and not so subtle to the classic abduction scenario were already afoot, beginning with Budd Hopkins’ The Intruders, which appeared in the same year and culminating (thus far) with the recent publication of Dr David Jacobs’ Secret Life. (Hopkins is a New York abstract artist and author [Missing Time, 1981], Jacobs a professor of history at Temple University, Philadelphia [The UFO Controversy in America, 1975].)
Briefly, Hopkins introduced the notion of the hybrid baby – half human, half alien – an abduction artifact wholly absent from Bullard’s original survey. Also added to the equation was the prospect of missing foetuses – presumably hybrid embryos stolen from their mother’s womb during the course of a series of repeat abductions beginning in childhood and continuing throughout impregnation and beyond. Physical evidence of an actual missing foetus, however, remains elusive, as does that of reputed alien implants, presumably for monitoring and tracking purposes.
While individual emotions were involved, all in all Bullard’s examination stage was a relatively impersonal affair, much like a first time visit to the doctor or a general military draft physical. X-rays or full-body scans of a sort might be taken, along with tissue and body fluid samples. Under Hopkins’ scrutiny, however, the medical exam becomes sexually-charged; skin scoops are still taken, which appear later as ‘anomalous’ scars, but in general the aliens seem more preoccupied with sex and the outcome of sex. Ova are forcibly extracted from female abductees, sperm from males. Extraterrestrial rape is not just bruited but explicitly stated. The bastard by-products are even later displayed to their unwilling mothers for reluctant inspection and nursing.
Jacobs, who actively collaborates with Hopkins and his accumulated coteries of abductees, not only wholeheartedly embraces the sexual content of the perceived abduction experience in Secret Life but reports a few additions and elaborations of his own. Bullard’s otherworldly journey is now a past abstraction or perhaps a flight of fancy, and his tour stage is now largely superseded by a visit to a specific area of the ship, namely the nursery or incubatorium, where hundreds of hybrid babies may be on view at a time, although only one or two is physically held and nursed. In general these babies are described as sickly and ‘premature’. (Interestingly, Jacobs refers to abductees throughout Secret Life as `she’.)
Our clearest portrait yet of the abducting aliens also emerges. they are routinely and unusually of short stature, between two to four-and-a-half feet tall, with a bulbous, oversized head, large, dark ‘wraparound’ eyes, slits for nose and mouth, no prominent auditory organs, and a distinct absence of visible genitalia. “When they look at the face,” writes Jacobs, “some witnesses are reminded of a light-bulb, a skeleton head, or a parking meter.” in short, although I’m sure this is not what Jacobs had in mind, they are a virtual caricature of a human foetus and have been so described in such terms.
Moreover, their skin is a dark or dolphin-shade of grey, and hence the generic noun ‘Greys’ to describe the abductors. It is further described as smooth to the touch – almost plastic-like – and devoid of the ordinary ‘imperfections’ one might expect of the average biological entity, such as birthmarks, warts and wrinkles, but also body hair and nipples. Facial expressions are bland and impassive, or perhaps best characterised by the absence of any expression. Outwardly, Grays appear ageless and sexless, devoid in the main of anything remotely resembling human emotion, personality and individuality. They communicate telepathically and/or through their eyes, their huge, staring, penetrating eyes. As Martin Kottmeyer has pointed out previously in these pages, the eye motif encapsulates all sorts of psychic connotations for the human psyche, including ones relevant to guilt and conscience in particular, and to the process of socialisation in general: “The predator does not want itself to become prey.”
Jacobs also delineates the so-called Taller Being (TB) who “stands” some mere two to six inches higher than his/her surrounding minions or accomplices. But this elevated stature seems to be achieved as much by activity or behaviour as by actual height. For example TBs appear to be in charge of the overall abduction process; certainly they are primarily responsible for what Jacobs refers to as ‘Mindscan’. This, he advises, “entails deep, penetrating staring into the abductee’s eyes,” during which the victim feels that his or her mind is being scanned and drained of data. “We do not know what the information is, how it is extracted, or what the Beings do with it,” adds Jacobs.
Mindscan is employed to alleviate both physical and psychological pain, particularly fear and anger as to what is happening. It also features prominently in ‘bonding’ (another Jacobs addition to Bullard’s original scenario), which occurs when the abductee is flooded with a rush of pleasurable emotions. Women as a consequence “want to give themselves to [the Taller Being] fully and completely”, according to Jacobs. “Men have similar feelings especially if they peceive the alien to be ‘female’. Bonding can be a totally overwhelming experience.” Apparently Mindscan is also used to sexually stimulate men and women, up to and including orgasm and ejaculation.
Mindscan typically takes place as the abductee is lying on an examination table, the TB seemingly looming or bending above, the foreheads of victim and extraterrestrial interlocutor practically touching. (Note: for an alien TB between two and 4 1/2 feet to loom over a supine human would require the later to be lying flat on the floor, or nearly so, or for the nominal TB to be standing atop a stool or steps of some kind. To the best of my knowledge neither of these circumstances has yet been reported. Nor is this the only illogical or dreamlike element in the New Revised Abduction Model which all too often treats the laws of physics like so much silly-putty. Being beamed through solid objects – an apartment wall or bedroom window – is not at all uncommon. Space and time are often distorted as well. The interior of the UFO is frequently described as being much larger than its outer dimensions would seemingly permit; minutes and hours often go ‘missing’. Many abductees admit on record that “I myself don’t know if it is my imagination or if it’s real. I still don’t know today.”
Two other elaborations on the Standard Model are worth mentioning. One involves time (or the actual origins of abductions), the other the number of people abducted. Although most historians of the subject point to the summer of 1947 as the ‘official’ beginning of the modern UFO era, the abduction aspect of the phenomenon was slow to emerge. Some ufologists argue that the first abduction was that of Antonio Villas-Boas, which, although it occurred in Brazil in 1957, was not made public among western ufologists until Charles Bowen published it in the January/February, 1965 issue of Flying Saucer Review, of which he was then editor. Those innately suspicious of Latin and South American cases in general tend to promote the abduction of Betty and Barney Hill, in September 1961, as the first. But even the Hill case did not receive widespread publicity until five years after the fact, with the publication of John Fuller’s bestseller, The Interrupted Journey.
Even in the years immediately following Fuller’s blockbuster, abductions were but sporadic speed-bumps on the UFO highway: Charles Hickson and Calvin Parker at Pascagoula in October of 1973, Travis Walton of Snowflake, Arizona in November of 1975, etc. And interestingly, none of these widely publicised and seminal abduction cases involved a typical Grey. Yet the New Abductionists seem intent on pushing the historical envelope of abductions back in time, certainly to the forties and thirties of this century, and perhaps even to the twenties and beyond. Still, the logical question to ask is, where were the UFO abductions prior to, say, the mid or late sixties, a full two decades after the public onset of the UFO phenomenon? Surely if they were only half as prevalent throughout the first half of the century as the New Model suggests they are now, we would have expected them to leave some trace, however obscure or oblique, in the pediatric or psychological literature of the day. However guised or couched, Freud, Jung and et al’s files should have been bulging with such case histories. But to the best of our knowledge this has not been the case.
And the numbers Hopkins and Jacobs are talking about nowadays are truly stupendous. Although space prohibits going into greater detail here and now, these numbers reach their apex in a recently published 64-page report Unusual Personal Experiences, “An Analysis of the Data From Three National Surveys”, co-authored by Hopkins, Jacobs and Dr Ron Westrum, a sociologist at Eastern Michigan University. The surveys, conducted by the Roper Organization, one of the USA’s most prestigious private polling organisations, involved face-to-face interviews with almost 6000 American adults between July and September of 1991. They asked eleven questions, ranging from Have you ever seen a ghost? to Have you ever felt that you were flying through the air although you didn’t know how or why? Five of the questions were targeted at uncovering potential abductees; anyone who answered positive to four or more of these five indices was so considered. Once the figures were all tallied and the percentages extrapolated across the American adult population, the final number of potential individual abductees arrived at was in the neighbourhood of some 3.7 million. Since the Hopkins-Jacob scenario also envisages numerous abductions per person over the course of a lifetime, the actual totals could easily be three, four or even five times that number.
Ironically, given that Hopkins and Jacobs are ardent nuts’n'bolts abductionists, it is these very selfsame figures that have convinced most of us that the New Standard Model of abductions simply can’t apply to a physical phenomenon – either logically, scientifically or logistically. The numbers alone are just too staggering, conjuring up images of flying saucers stacked like milehigh pancakes over the world’s major airports, awaiting hovering and abduction rights from some global air traffic controller. If ever numbers didn’t add up, surely they are them and the time is now.
So we must ultimately ask ourselves several questions, not only about the actual origins and real number of individuals involved, but about the modulation and evolution of the abduction experience itself. Why, for example, does the appearance of the latter lag so significantly behind the sighting of the first UFOs? Why, in the brief interval after Bullard’s landmark survey, do sex and hybrid babies so suddenly rear their ‘ugly’ heads? Where, in other words, do the hybrid babies in particular come from?
Are these script changes merely artifacts of investigation – inordinately conducted via regressive hypnosis – reflections of the personal biases and predilections of individual investigators, or something more indigenous and fundamental to the experience altogether? I suspect that our current conundrum in mainly a case of the latter. And in a spirit of magnanimity that not all Magonia readers may countenance, I’m willing concede several points, including the projected Roper Report numbers along with the possibility – until demonstrated otherwise – that both Hopkins and Jacobs are merely reporting what their contacts tell them, as opposed to unconsciously shaping such testimony to fit their own preconceptions.
But I also suggest that abductions are almost universally of psychological origin, based both on the Roper Report numbers, flawed as they may be, and the testimony reported by Hopkins, Jacobs and other UFO abduction investigators. At the same time, I find most of the psychological explanations advanced so far to be lacking in what might be called physical or emotional punch; that is, none of them strike me as being particulalry compelling, certainly not to the point of
compulsion. As humans we are plagued everyday by existential fears and anxieties of every sort and varying degree. About the ozone layer, test-tube babies, genetically engineered fruits and vegetables, satanic cults, child abuse and God only knows what other verities born of the uncertainties of modern technology and society. Still, few of these are so dynamic as to seize us by the throat at night and shake us into imagining a structured sequence of events in which we are both impregnated and then subsequently robbed of a foetus, in which we see ourselves surrounded by two to four-foot tall abducting grey alien beings, and from which we paradoxically emerge both with symptoms of post-traumatic stress and mysteriously widened horizons. Whatever is capable of these and other reported after-effects of the UFO abduction experience I submit is as fundamental to human nature and being as our very breath and blood.
“The UFO phenomenon is the abduction phenomenon. Sightings of the outside shells of objects were early indications of the objects’ validity. The meaning of what was happening inside the UFOs eluded researchers until the importance of abductions became apparent. Abductions have cracked open the UFO mystery like a cosmic egg. Inside we see alien life, the creation of bizarre life, and the exploitation of human life” – David Jacobs
Ozone holes overhead and related environmental concerns don’t strike me as a likely condidate for such a tumultuous experience; neither do many of the other postmodern ‘abstract’ anxieties currently clamoring for our attention. Abortion does. Or more specifically the aftermath of abortion, with its concommitant mingling of guilt, shame and everything else metaphysical by which me measure what it means to be human. The act of abortion, while it may have its origins in an expression of abstract rights and liberties, soon confronts us to our core. It is tied up with our very blood and being. We don’t abort in the abstract; we abort our very own DNA. Metaphorically and literally, it is our future selves we flush down the clinic’s drainpipes, after first vacuuming the physical evidence from the womb via plastic tubes.
This is not meant to be an anti-abortion tract, but the parallels and analogies between abductions and abortions – on both a physical and emotional level – are simply too numeruous and tempting to overlook. For the mass resort to abortion as a form of birth-control in the Western societies is roughly contemporaneous with both the post-WWII flying saucer phenomenon in general and abductions in particular. We are speaking here of abortion in its broadest psychological and physical sense, including miscarriage and even religious attitudes toward the practise. Moreover, the key is not much abortion as such – the act in and of itself – but the highly conflicting feelings – guilt, shame, etc. – th inevitably arise out of both the actual experience and buried memories. Legalized abortions in the West, beginning with the Act of Parliament that decriminalised abortion in Britain in 1968 and Roe v. Wade in the United States in 1972, opened the floodgates to entire generations of naive Westerners who could now avail themselves of the procedure. (And by naive here I do not mean naive in terms of sexism, choice, family planning or personal lifestyles, but the inability to know the psychological consequences of a now socially-accepted act prior to the eruption of those consequences in consciousness, and the potential lack of preparedness among many abortees in being able to ‘handle’ or resolve those feelings. Telling a child that a gas flame burns doesn’t prepare him or her for the pain nor does enable them better to cope with same.)
Secondly, the numbers are there as well. Applying a conservative extrapolation to the 3.7 million adult Americans identified by the Roper Report, say only three to four repeat abductions per person results in a figure between 10 and 15 millions. Vallée, projecting the figures worldwide came up with 200 million theoretical abductions. Since 1972 some 30 million American women alone have availed themselves of abortion, an average of 1.5 million per year. These numbers need not correspond on a one-to-one basis, the point is that abortees form a significantly sizeable population pool. Assuming only two people are involved in each abortion, which is conservative indeed, the American abortion pool would stand at some 60 million. Only a relatively small proportion of those, anywhere from ten to twenty percent, would need to be conflicted by the experience as to match the New Revised Abduction Scenario numbers.
Thirdly, there is the fact that the physical abortion experience roughly mimics the new abduction on a phenomenological level, both psychologically and somatically. In other words a traumatic medical procedure is undergone which centres on the removal of an unborn foetus. Rage, shame and guilt is felt, along with pure helplessness, paralysis and so on. Communication with the alien abductors is almost universally telepathis. i.e. unspoken. In essence abducting Greys are psychic projections, an imagial caricature of a foetus. Not only are they neutally coloured, they are half-formed and sexless, lacking hair and obvious genitalia, possessing only a vestigial mouth, nose and ears. In fact the Greys consist mainly of, or are perceived as, a pair of large, dark, unwavering eyes, with all that analogy entails in terms of God and cosmic guilt. Indeed, they are the very embodiment of guilt, literally and figuratively. In reality, they are avenging angels.
Thus the abduction experience is a played-out drama which reverses the roles of victim (the unborn foetus) and victimizer (the original abortee). The hybrid baby is the soul, or animus, of the aborted foetus restored to life. In other words, the foetus hasn’t really been aborted at all, but lives on in a ‘heaven’ (aboard a ‘Mother Ship’ yet) from which it can never return in physical form. The only way it can he revisited is by returning to the alien incubatorium, that is by repeat abductions. Abduction, repeated as often as may be necessary, is an attempt to expiate guilt, an intentional act, in Husserl’s terms.
So why are men abducted? For the same reason. And in terms of empathic emotions and reactions, we need look no further than the psychosomatic symptoms of sympathetic pregnancy. It’s even conceivable that male abortionists could undergo the abduction experience, although obviously lacking an abortion history of their own. Participation in the act of abortion could be as fundamentally capable as engendering the same ‘extraterrestrial’ images and crises of conscience as those experienced and encountered by the actual abortee.
Is the abduction as ‘relived’ abortion theory testable? To a degree. For example, it would predict a hypotheically direct correlation between conflict and abduction reports in a given society, or at least those reports involving repeat abductions and hybrid babies. The emphasis here is on internal conflict and the need to resolve guilt. Both Spain and Italy, for instance, are predominantly Catholic countries, yet they both have the lowest member-per-family ratio of any Western country. They have either got the rhythm method down to a science, or else they aren’t as psychologically conflicted over the act of abortion as their American counterparts, despite the Catholic church’s anti-abortion position.
Similarly, individuals who report both repeat abductions and hybrid babies should score significantly higher on a scale of conflicted feelings about abortion than those who are less conflicted or perhaps even wholly sanguine about the abortion process. The irony here is that the standard psychological battery of exams administered to abductees could conceivable be missing the mark altogether. Unless abductees are actively queried about their attitudes toward abortion, we’ll never know if there is a potential correlation or not.
Finally a few words about the aftermath of the abduction experience as recently reported by psychologist Kenneth Ring [The Omega Project: Near Death Experiences, UFO Encounters, and Mind at Large, Morrow, NY, 1992]. Using a ‘Life Inventory Changes’ survey, Ring identified several post-abduction alterations in the induced psychological make-up of both abductees and near-death experiencers. These included, amongst others, an increased appreciation of life, greater self-acceptance, deeper concern for others, and increased level of spirituality, and a heightened level of concern with social/planetary issues.
This is an odd psychological inventory to emerge from the abduction experience if it is as terrifying and traumatic as portrayed by the new revisionists. On the other hand, it sounds compatible with repeat (and possibly successful) attempts to expiate the personally heartfelt and deeply-seated shame and guilt following the agonising act of abortion.
This article provoked a strong response in issue 46 (June 1993) from Jake Kirkwood:
It is surprising, and somewhat depressing, to find that (apparently at least) you have not had a strong response to Dennis Stacy’s “Alien Abortion” article in Magonia 44. I suggest that this is due to the male dominated nature of ufology, and that it points up the fact that male domination can lead ufologists into accepting certain perspectives and positions which would be subject to much closer scrutiny if the field were more gender balanced.
I am sure that none of your readers will be able to deny that ufology is, and always has been, male dominated. I do not blame individual ufologists for this, or suggest that collectively ufologists are any more sexist than society at large. I would note in passing that this state of affairs mirrors that found in the `scientific establishment’ with which ufologists have such a complex relationship.
How does this relate to Stacy’s article? I believe that assumptions about abortion contained within the article would be strongly challenged if ufology had a strong female presence. Indeed, I am not convinced that the article would have appeared in its present form if it had been thought by the author and publisher that a large number of women would read it. Please note that I am not arguing that the article should be censored, but that a more informed approach might have been taken, before and after publication.
Let’s face it, if Stacy is correct that some form of ‘abortion trauma’ is responsible for the abduction narratives, then presumably those presenting such narratives would be predominantly women. If this is the case, it’s the first I’ve heard of it, and I don’t think that the ufological community is so blinded by male chauvinism that it has missed such an important datum. If it is not the case that the vast majority of abduction narratives are from women, doesn’t this leave a fairly massive hole in the ‘avenging embryo’ theory? Stacy invokes ‘sympathetic pregnancy’, which I would have thought was rarer than the abduction experience in any culture which does not have this concept as part of its birth rituals; and ‘participation in the act of abortion’ in an undefined way.
It is not clear whether this ‘participation’ is meant to be as a person performing, or assisting in performing an operation, or whether it refers to the experience of the man who has impregnated the woman having an abortion. Earlier in the article, Stacy writes: “Assuming that only two people are involved in each abortion, which is conservative indeed…”, once again the nature of the ‘involvement’ is unclear, though presumably it either means medical or social involvement. I assume that, as it is not asserted that members of the medical profession are peculiarly susceptible to the abduction experience, so Stacy is arguing that the effect of an abortion is likely to be as traumatic for people involved with a woman’s decision to terminate her pregnancy as it is for her. If this is his argument, and I can see no other way of interpreting his remarks, the article is, to my mind, based on a flawed premise that would not have gone unnoticed if the majority of ufologists were women.
It simply is not tenable to suggest that the psychological effect of abortion will be as great for those merely ‘involved’
or ‘participating’ in it, as for the woman who chooses to terminate her pregnancy. This is not to deny that others involved, particularly of course the inseminator, if he is aware of the decision making, will have strong emotions regarding the woman’s actions, but I do not believe that if we were discussing any other life event we would credit the trauma, if any, as being as great for those who do not directly experience it. It is because of the potential emotional charge of the reproductive and surgical events involved that it is at least credible to suggest that having an abortion might create trauma significant enough to trigger an abduction experience. To suggest that this is also the case for those who experience it second-hand is a bit thin, to say the least.
It is the fact that Stacy, and presumably yourselves as editors don’t appear to be aware that the existence of large numbers of male ‘abductees’ creates a hole in the theory big enough to fly a mother-ship through, and that this does not appear to have been picked up by your correspondents that worries me. If you argue that abduction is linked to a specifically female experience, but fail to show that the vast majority of abductees are women, why should anyone take you seriously?
In any case how much credit should we give to the idea that the legalisation of abortion in the US and UK gave rise to millions of traumatised individuals? First of all, let us not forget that the fact that abortion was illegal did not mean that women did not have abortions, merely that they were more likely to use unsafe methods and dubious practitioners to try and end an unwanted pregnancy. Even a cursory study of the horrific experiences of women who underwent back-street abortions should convince anybody that legalisation reduced rather than increased the risk of psychological trauma. Secondly, abortion has since 1945 (and previously in the former USSR) been legal across Eastern Europe, yet we see no evidence of abduction narratives occuring in large numbers in that area. It is true that political considerations were completely different than those in the West, but dousn’t this suggest that there is some other cultural factor than the availability of abortions which is responsible for abduction narratives.
Furthermore, there would appear to be litle evidence that abortion, certainly when it is the result of free, informed choice (which has, I would argue, tended to be the case since legalisation), is particularly traumatic. Sir John Peel, an opponent of liberalising abortion law, and a gynaecologist, is quoted as saying that “on the whole, post-abortion depression is not as common a sequel as one would imagine”. A study of the effects of legalising abortion on women in New York found that “women feel more happy than sad, more relieved than depressed, after a voluntary legal abortion-” (Both quotes from Our Bodies Ourselves, 1979 UK edition) The argument that abortion is a traumatic experience is generally put forward by those fundamentalists who seek to restrict or outlaw it.
It is precisely because there are what I can only term rabid anti-abortionists out there, that I feel uneasy about the publication of the article. As I write, members of a US-based anti-abortion group are in the UK claiming that the International Planned Parenthood Federation is “the head of the serpent”, with a programme indistinguishable from the Nazis. In the US there have been bomb attack on abortion clinics. It does not seem to me responsible for Magonia to publish material which, on what I hope to have demonstrated are flimsy ground, implies that abortions are responsible for ‘abductions’. Given the capacity of fundamentalists to distort such an argument I would have hoped that a more critical editorial line might have been taken. In addition it seems irresponsible to ignore the consequences that such an article might have on those women who are considering, or who have had, an abortion.
As I said at the start, I believe that Stacy’s article would have been seen in a different light if ufology were not male dominated. Given the nature of psychosocial ufology, it is perhaps a good idea to consider whether there are any other areas where the lack of a direct feminine input into the subject may be leading to flawed conclusions. For example, would a (hypothetical) feminist ufology view the sexual content of abduction narratives in a different light?