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A Million Little Pieces Of My Mind

Crazy Abductees

By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 6/20/2024
Posted: 5/9/2006
Page Views: 6204
Topics: #UFOs #AlienAbductions
A common debunker trick is to accuse an abductee of mental illness or dishonesty. Here's the flaw in those accusations.

"Normal" people, that is, people who haven't been abducted by aliens or ever seen a UFO, are notoriously limited in what they accept as normal. A "normal" person can't be (or at least, act) gay, a member of another race or culture or religion or political party. Anyone who presses the edges of the box that passes for normalcy for these people must be explained away. They can be sinners, animals, wops or spics or kikes, liberals or wingnuts or whatever—any label serves the single purpose of pushing its bearer far enough outside that box of normalcy so they (and what they represent) can be safely and handily ignored, rejected, dismissed.

When people claim to have been abducted by aliens, it's easy to label them hoaxsters, pranksters, drunks or crazies. Once that is done, their stories can be ignored.

But let us look seriously at alternative explanations. After all, that's the open-minded thing to do.

Since the first UFO "contactees" of the '50s (such as George Adamski), a breed of pseudo-scientist has appeared to provide ammunition in their war against our experiences. These folks are called "debunkers. Now "bunk", as you know, is a term meaning "false information." So a debunker purports to ferret out the "truth" regarding false statements. However, a simple examination of their literature—especially when compared to the story they are debunking—shows they have a way of repeating part of the story, exaggerating some points, eliminating others, and so on, then "proving" their distorted version of the experience never happened—which is true! But the original version, which did occur, somehow gets lost in the process.

If you've experienced an abduction (or series of them), you might be wondering how people will justify telling you that you didn't. Here are a few of the more common approaches.

You're Lying

Pinocchio lying

No true friend would suggest this, of course, but some might think it. So why not bring it up yourself? Ask what motivation you could have? Certainly not a book deal; believe me, as an author I know only too well how little money most authors make. Besides, unless you have an unusual spin on your abduction—for example, you were taken with your cat and returned with the cat's tail grafted onto your butt—you're only one of millions.

The fact is, no abduction experiencer has ever been proven a liar. Moreover, the people who know an abductee, but don't believe in abductions, always support the abductee's honesty.

Fire In The Sky movie poster

For example, I used to live in Snowflake, Arizona, home of Travis Walton whose 1975 abduction was the subject of the movie Fire In The Sky. Snowflake is a small town and most of the people I talked to, knew Travis. Some believed he'd been abducted and some didn't, but everyone said they'd stake their lives on his honesty. A typical response from the non-believers was, "I don't know what happened to him. But I guarantee he believes he was abducted by aliens."

Of all the abductees I've read about or known, only two have written books about their experiences. Travis is one; Whitley Strieber is the other. Both had movies made of their experiences. Yet today, neither man is wealthy. When I lived in Snowflake, Travis was night foreman at the local paper mill; Whitley is an author and radio talk show host.

What would be the purpose of a hoax? Travis has never desired the limelight, as his job and the fact that he never moved away from a small Arizona town demonstrates. He wrote the book, as most abductees do, only after the story had become public. He wanted to clear up lies the media had printed as truth. Adding insult to injury, the movie based on his book presented a large, science-fiction sequence that never happened. Travis was furious. There is simply nothing about his life, before or after his abduction, to support the idea that he was trying to grab attention or profit from his experience.

The Key cover

Whitley was already a successful author when he wrote of his experiences. While Communion was certainly a best-seller and made him a lot of money—the only abductee author to make a money from a book on his experiences—he didn't really make more money from it than from his other top-selling books. And it made it more difficult, not less, to publish subsequent novels. I myself am a non-fiction author who understands how difficult it is to cross the fiction/non-fiction boundary. In fact, Whitley had to self-publish his latest book, The Key, because no publisher would touch it. Again, if his story was a hoax intended to get him wealth and fame, it failed.

The fact is, you can make more money by claiming there are weapons of mass destruction in a third world country that has none, than you ever will by claiming to have been abducted by aliens. And, as Marvin the android in Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy says, "Life is awful enough without making up any more of it."

Masked Childhood Abuse

Child abuse

A serious suggestion is that the abduction "memories" are masks for childhood abuse. At least this is a proposal that takes the abductee's experience seriously. And it's true, many people who were abused as children do not remember the event itself; they manufacture a "screen memory" to hide it; and an alien abduction would certainly provide an adequate explanation for the scars and bruises that are too often part and parcel of such abuse. The only problem with this explanation for abductees is that so many were also abused as children, in some way—but remember the abuse as well as the abductions. So there would seem to be nothing left to mask.

Hysterical Contagion

Hysterical contagion: Salem witch trials

This phenomenon occurs when a bunch of people get together and tell themselves something awful is happening, then look for (and find) proof that it is. The John Birch Society's attacks on water fluoridation in the ‘60s and McCarthyites finding Communists under every rug are examples of this. It doesn't fit the abduction phenomenon, because abductions often include multiple witnesses and physical evidence (such as scars). Now, it is possible that if millions of other people are being abducted and you hear about it, you could be a non-abductee suffering from contagion. But if millions of others are being abducted, why not you? Hysterical contagion is only a useful explanation to the debunker if it explains all abductions; and it does not.

You Were Only Dreaming

Bobby Ewing's death: A dream

Some debunkers will tell you that you were just sleeping, or having hallucinations. However, many abductions occur while the abductee is awake. Some occur in cars! The driver is "motivated" to turn off onto a deserted side road and pull over. And, again, dreams and hallucinations do not leave scars.

Related to this explanation is "sleep paralysis," which my doctor wrote into my chart. For him it was a satisfactory diagnosis, in that it did not require him to probe any deeper. However, when I looked it up, I learned that, in spite of the thousands and thousands of sleep studies done in universities around the world (most first-year psychology students do one), there has never been a single case of sleep paralysis reported under laboratory conditions.

According to the theory of sleep paralysis, we all have a "switch" built into our brains that disconnects the brain from the motor functions of the body when we're asleep. That explains why you can dream you are running without getting out of bed or moving your legs. According to the theory, sometimes the switch doesn't work right, so when you awaken, you still can't move for awhile.

But no surgeon has ever found that switch. No brain surgery has ever removed it; no accident has ever injured anyone in such a way that when they dreamed, their bodies moved in accordance with the dream. And, as I said, this state has never been reported during a sleep study. Sleep paralysis, in short, has less evidence to support it than does alien abductions, considering the physical evidence they often leave behind.

Fantasy-Prone Personalities

Walter Mitty: A fantasy-prone personality

I love this one. An otherwise undistinguished psychologist came up with the notion of a personality that was "prone" to confuse reality and fantasy. He even developed a test to identify such people. However, when administered to people who claimed to be abductees, they scored low on the test! I love the irony; the notion itself was fantasy in that it has no basis in fact, yet the psychologist wrote about it as if it were real! I wonder how he scored on his own test?

Something we all must be especially careful of, is confusing a description with a legitimate explanation. I already pointed out the flaws in the official "Sleep Paralysis" explanation. That hypothesis is based on nothing and explains nothing—it is useless as a scientific theory. The "Fantasy-Prone Personality" is another like it.

Psychiatric Problems

Multiple personality disorder

Various psychiatric problems that have been put forth as "explanations" for the abduction experience include psychosis, multiple personality disorder, temporal lobe dysfunction, and so on. In the early days of abduction awareness, most abductees were forced to undergo tests for these illnesses. No abductee was ever found to suffer from one.

If you want to have the tests, go ahead. They don't hurt and anything that'll get you a day off work can't be all bad. But don't look here for answers. If anything, experiencing an alien abduction seems to be a guarantor of sanity!

The bottom line is, too many people have experienced abductions and their had stories verified to dismiss them all as crazy or mistaken. And if those other experiencers are sane, then why shouldn't you be? It's not like you had experienced a truly unlikely event, like receiving an apology from the IRS for overcharging you on your taxes. Alien abductions may not receive much press, but they are not unheard of—not by a long shot.

In fact, when you take a step back, you may begin to wonder how an almost choreographed attempt to debunk the whole abduction and UFO experience could come about purely by chance.

How did my doctor come to believe that "sleep paralysis" was a diagnosis, when there's no proof it even exists? How did Travis Walton's truthful account of his abduction become a multi-million-dollar lie on the big screen?

It's almost as if there were a conspiracy.