11. The Nature
of Alien Intentions
Despite the numerous examples of aggressive and humiliating hybrid
behavior, the existence of "benign" independent hybrid activity and
the "peaceful" and even polite demeanor of the gray aliens have led
some abductees and researchers to conclude that the abduction
phenomenon is a positive force.
This growing group has launched a
crusade to convince the public that the entire alien agenda is
benevolent, helpful, and spiritually uplifting.
"I see the ET visitors—the so-termed
'alien humanoids'—as friendly and with positive motivations and
So writes Dr. John Hunter Gray (formerly
John Salter), professor of Indian Studies at the University of North
Dakota, committed social activist, winner of the Martin Luther King
award for civil rights work, and an abductee.1
Hunter Gray consciously remembered being abducted with his son in
1988. From the fragments he recalled of the event, he knew that
kindly extraterrestrials were visiting Earth and that he was
personally enhanced by their abduction of him. His view is typical
of those of researchers and abductees who believe that aliens are
benevolent beings who have come to Earth to help humans on both a
personal and a societal level.
Since the early 1980s the Positives have
espoused the belief that humanity is fortunate to have been chosen
for this beneficence.
In addition to John Hunter Gray, there are several other Positive
proponents who have shaped a segment of public opinion about the
meaning of abductions and the aliens' ultimate intentions. One of
the first to champion the idea that aliens are on Earth for our
benefit was University of Wyoming professor of Guidance and
Counseling Leo Sprinkle. An early pioneer in abduction research,
beginning hypnosis in the mid-1960s, Sprinkle concluded that the
simple explanation that beings come to Earth for their own purposes
Eventually Sprinkle developed the rationale that "there are two
themes to the ET [extraterrestrial] purpose:
1- ETs are here to
rejuvenate planet earth
2- ETs are here to assist humankind in
another stage of evolution
The ETs' method of showing mankind that
they are here to help us, he explained, is "through a metamorphosis
of human consciousness."2 The metamorphosis takes place, in part,
through the lessons that wise aliens teach humans about cosmic
matters. The aliens often communicate these lesson through
channeling. In the course of his research, Sprinkle came to realize
that he himself is an abductee.
In 1980, Sprinkle held the first of his annual conferences in
Laramie, Wyoming, which has become a central meeting place for
followers of the Positive point of view. At the conferences,
Sprinkle often takes questions from concerned individuals about
abductions or sightings and "channels" the meaning of the person's
event, directly asking the aliens questions and relating the
answers. This total acceptance of the spirituality of the abduction
phenomenon has made him popular with many abductees and researchers
influenced by New Age thought.
Another proponent of Positive themes is
Richard Boylan, a former
private practice psychologist in Sacramento, California, and also an
abductee. Like Hunter Gray and Sprinkle, Boylan interprets his
abduction experiences as profoundly benevolent and beneficial for
him. His aliens are environmentally minded creatures who want to
raise people's consciousness about Earth's problems and humanity's
place in the cosmos.
According to Boylan, the "mission" of
"is to communicate to humans the
concerns the ETs share—concerns about our violence toward each
other and our government's violence toward them; about the
ecological destruction and degradation we are visiting upon our
earth; about our failure to properly care for and educate each
child; about our possession of, and intended use of, nuclear
weapons as a way to resolve disputes; and about our becoming
more conscious of our heritage and our destiny (which both
involve the ETs)."3
Boylan believes that the aliens will
reveal themselves eventually, and at that time a "conditioned"
humanity will not be afraid.
When the great event comes, we will
welcome the friendly aliens with open arms as we join with them in
We look forward as some of the
implications of ET-human relationships develop when we finally
get to CEIV [Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind—that is,
abductions], the open, official, mutually welcomed, meeting of
our earth's representatives with the representatives of these
other star civilizations, and then we finally have a truly
multiracial world, racial in its true sense of races from other
planets since we are only one human race with different colors
and bone structures and so forth.... If we get rid of our
nuclear weapons and our gun-slinging attitude towards solving
problems by outdrawing the other guy, then we will be ready for
admission into the intergalactic UN, if you will.
We can look forward to cultural
exchanges or representatives from earth and other civilizations
because they have other things to learn from us just as we have
other things to learn from them and this may involve the actual
exchange of people going to other planets to observe their
society and their representatives here walking among us.4
To Boylan, the aliens are even more
acceptable because they believe in a form of Supreme Being and
therefore confirm Judeo-Christian monotheism:
"The ETs, too, realize that there's
a Supreme Being or a supreme source of everything. They're not
kidded that they are the top of the pile either. They
acknowledge a supreme source out there—the fountainhead of all
A significant influence on the
Positives' belief system has been Massachusetts researcher Joseph
Nyman, who began hypnotic regressions of abductees in the late 1980s
and added "past lives" to the Positives' vision. When he regressed
them to early childhood to recover the first abduction memories, he
found he could take some of his subjects back to when they were
infants, then back to the womb, and then to a "past life." A few of
them "remembered" that they had lived their past lives as aliens.
Nyman hypothesized that abductees were
taken from the time they were babies because they already had
existed as aliens in past lives.
Not only does Nyman find that many abductees think they were aliens
in a past life, but he also suggests that some abductees possess an
alien's "consciousness," which imbues their present human form.
Nyman, the evidence is "overwhelming" that the aliens impose these
dual feelings—human and alien—on the abductees.
"It implies the taking up of
residence in the human form at birth (or before) of a fully
developed intelligence which for a while is aware ' of both its
human and non-human nature and of the prearranged monitoring to
be conducted throughout life."
Abductees and aliens have "melded"
together in some way and in a sense abductees and aliens are the
same. Abductees live their present lives with a "dual reference,"
human and alien.6
This allows the abductee to feel a positive
connectiveness to the aliens with a resultant loss of "fear,
anxiety, and self-doubt."7
Perhaps the most significant spokesperson for the Positive viewpoint
is John Mack of Harvard University. As Mack examined the established
structure of abductions, he concluded that the aliens' goal was more
than administering clinical procedures. Although Mack says the
abduction phenomenon is "mixed" and not entirely positive, he
believes abductions bring an opportunity for spiritual
transformation and heightened consciousness.
Mack has been influenced by psychiatrist Stanislav Grof, who
postulated that the human mind could connect with the "collective
unconscious," the universe, and all things animate and inanimate,
present and past. Similarly, Mack believes that the abduction
phenomenon has the potential, like Eastern metaphysical
philosophies, to "depict the universe and all its realities as a
vast play of consciousness with physical manifestations."
The effect of abductions can be
"personal growth," which results in "an intense concern for the
planet's survival and a powerful ecological consciousness."8
In addition, Mack thinks that Western society has cut itself off
from "awareness of any higher form of intelligence" in the universe.
In his view, the aliens have predicted the destruction of Earth by
the encroachment of "techno-destructive and fear-driven
acquisitiveness," and he suggests that the aliens may be using the
hybridization program and visualizations of our self-destruction to
bring about the healing of Earth and "the further evolution of
Within this framework, Mack began hypnotic regression of abductees
in 1990, hoping to "push past" their trauma and unveil the essential
goodness of the alien higher consciousness. And like Nyman, he found
that a number of abductees whom he hypnotized had lived past lives,
sometimes as aliens.
Mack concluded that even though most other
abduction researchers have not found the past-life-as-alien account,
Nyman's "dual reference" was a,
"fundamental dimension of the
consciousness expansion or opening that is an intrinsic aspect of
the abduction phenomenon itself."10
As a credentialed Harvard faculty member with entree into mainstream
intellectual life, Mack became an intellectually courageous and
powerful advocate for the abduction phenomenon. Where he deviates
from the mainstream is in his belief that the phenomenon transcends
conventional ideas about the nature of reality. For Mack,
understanding reality requires consciousness expansion that goes
beyond traditional science. And such consciousness expansion can
only be good for humanity.
A growing number of abductees who are not abduction researchers have
also found their experiences spiritually uplifting and transforming.
At an abduction conference held at the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology, abductee "Susan" explained that the "communication" she
"the alien 'guardians' of our planet
offers insight and wisdom to a world in need of it. It contains
a message of love and support to a planet in need of healing."
She also found personal benefit in the
"Since my experience, I rejoice in
being who I am, with no expectations of how I should be, and
complete acceptance of who I am. The changes in me are
staggering. My life works as if by magic... . Although at one
time I thought 'Why me?' now I say "Thank you for choosing
Abductee Leah Haley, who related her
experiences in her book
Lost Was the Key, believes that members of
the American military— somehow in conjunction with the
aliens—abducted her on many occasions and held her in a barracks-like
building. Yet despite these clearly negative experiences, her view
of the aliens is positive.
In her children's book, Ceto's New
Friends, Haley tells the story of the gray alien Ceto who comes to
Earth and meets little Annie and Seth. The three play together, and Ceto
invites them on board his UFO. They are happy to go, float up into
the object, play various "games," and then are floated back. On the
final page, the two happy but weary children look longingly toward
the UFO, and the story concludes with Haley writing that "the
Spaceship flew away, but Ceto will come back soon to visit his new
friends on Earth."12
Although most abductees have not gone as
far as this in "humanizing" and sentimentalizing the aliens, Haley's
viewpoint is a logical extension of the desire— perhaps the need—for
the aliens to be friendly and helpful.
Taken as a group, the Positives' message is that humans have
conducted their affairs in a way that will lead to the degradation
of the planet and the end of the human species. Humans have caused
poverty, ignorance, and overpopulation, and they risk environmental
catastrophe and atomic annihilation. The concerned aliens are
"educating" abductees to warn us of what is to come if we do not
change our behavior.
The Positives argue that aliens are more fully evolved spiritually
than humans, and that they have a heightened awareness of the
mysteries of the universe. The aliens recognize the specialness of
human life and are also aware of how humankind has erred. They
respect the sanctity of human life even more than we do. They care
about us and love us. The aliens are the teachers and we are the
students. They are the parents and we are the children. They must
teach us how to behave. Because they are a benevolent species, they
have come to help us find solutions to our problems.
Moreover, the Positives believe that alien guidance is not meant
only for society in general. The aliens can help the individual
abductee to raise himself spiritually by giving him knowledge of
higher realms of existence and the connectedness of all things. They
can also aid individual abductees physically by curing various
problems that they may have.
John Hunter Gray was a recipient of
alien largess. His body hair increased, his face and
neck narrowed, many wrinkles and blemishes disappeared from his
face, and his circulation and blood-clotting improved. He has not
been ill since the abduction, and after forty years of smoking, he
gave it up with no signs of nicotine withdrawal. He also has had
expanded psychic abilities.13
Hunter Gray is convinced that the aliens
treat all people with the same kindness and respect that he
A key aspect of the Positive strategy to mold public opinion is to
change the vocabulary used to describe aliens and abductions. They
have denied the legitimacy of the word abductee in favor of the more
positively charged experiencer. An abductee is a person kidnapped
against his will. An experiencer is specially chosen for a very
important task. An abductee has unwanted and traumatic medical
procedures administered to him. An experiencer is a willing
participant in a grand and wonderful plan. An abductee endures
reproductive and sexual procedures that are sometimes tantamount to
An experiencer helps the aliens create
new people for the betterment of aliens and humans alike. Abductees
are laboratory animals, but experiencers are united with the aliens
to build a better world. To reinforce the phenomenon's harmlessness,
the Positives use only neutral or friendly terms to describe
abduction events: visitors come here for encounters with the
experiencers; the visitors are ETs, not aliens. Using these terms
humanizes the aliens and makes them seem friendly and benign.
The abduction phenomenon as a whole is
"Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind."
Moreover, some Positives aggressively try to discredit researchers
who are not in their camp. John Hunter Gray has called abduction
researchers who adopt a skeptical or even a neutral stance "gloom
and doomers," and he treats them scornfully.
He accuses the "gloom and doom"
researchers of being either,
"downright paranoid, motivated by
commercial considerations, or ideologically endeavoring to
resurrect a new version of the Red Scare."14
Similarly, Positive Richard Boylan has
suggested that mainstream abduction researchers are working together
with a "self-serving government elite" and CIA operatives to prevent
the "real truth" about alien intentions from coming out. The "gloom
and doomers" have made the aliens' plans all the more difficult to
carry out, because they play on people's fears.15
Both Boylan and Mack de-emphasize the effects of the standard
abduction procedures. Boylan believes that gynecological and uro-logical
procedures take place only with a very small number of abductees
and he rarely focuses on them.16
And although Mack has found nearly the
full range of alien physical, mental, and reproductive procedures,
he only mentions them in passing while emphasizing what he finds to
be the spiritually uplifting elements. Joe Nyman believes that
investigators who find that abductees were victimized have been
influenced by the popular media, which have publicized abductees who
have been victimized. For Nyman, these investigators have
"prejudged" the phenomenon and their abduction work is
"superficial," and "incomplete."17
The benevolent "spin" that the Positives (both abductees and
researchers) put on the abduction phenomenon is puzzling, given the
way most people describe their abductions: being unwillingly taken;
being subjected to painful physical procedures (sometimes leaving
permanent scars); enduring humiliating and abusive sexual episodes,
including unwanted sexual intercourse; living with the fear and
anxiety of wondering when they will be abducted again.
The Positives acknowledge that some abduction procedures might be
painful or traumatic, but they liken the experiences to going to a
dentist, where one endures short-term pain for long-term health.
They look past fear because the frightened or traumatized abductees
fail to understand the aliens' hidden benevolent motivations.
Once the "experiencers" grasp the big
picture, they will understand that temporary fear and pain are an
insignificant price to pay for the enormous rewards they will reap
in the future.
Echoes of the Contactees
The Positives, although more sophisticated and complex, echo the "contactee"
thought of the 1950s. The contactees were a group of people who spun
tales of having continuing contact with benevolent "space brothers"
who had come to Earth to prevent humans from blowing up the planet
with atomic bombs and upsetting other planets in the process.
Contactees were careful to suggest that
the aliens believed in a Judeo-Christian god, and some even claimed
that Jesus was also a religious figure for them. The contactees
followed alien-directed missions to spread the word to stop atomic
wars, live together in fellowship, and stamp out communism.
Contactee Howard Menger summed it up:
"They are friendly people and are by
far more advanced spiritually and physically than the people of
this planet. At the present time they are observing us. They
wish to help us to help ourselves to attain a higher
understanding of life and its meaning.... They are only here to
help you and worship the same Infinite Creator that we do."18
At first potentially reasonable, before
long the contactee stories become increasingly fanciful. The space
brothers gave them short rides in flying saucers—one went from Los
Angeles to Kansas City. Howard Menger went to the moon. Eventually,
the contactees were flying to Mars, Venus, and the outer planets.
Led by "Professor" George Adamski, Daniel Fry, Orfeo Angelucci,
Howard Menger, Truman Bethurum, Buck Nelson, and others, the
contactees proved to be a terrible embarrassment to legitimate UFO
researchers of the period, who had to spend great amounts of time
and money combating them and explain to a confused public that they
were charlatans who did not represent legitimate UFO witnesses.19
Of the many influences on contactee thought, perhaps the most
significant was the 1951 movie The Day the Earth Stood Still. The
movie portrays humans as warlike and the peaceful alien, Klaatu, as
possessing an advanced technology that can end disease for humans.
Klaatu has a proto-ecological message: If Earth continues on its
aggressive, warlike path, its atomic technology will endanger the
community of planets; therefore, the Earthlings must renounce war or
the alien will use his robot, Gort, to blow up Earth and end the
threat to the planetary confederation's peace.
Although the contactees lost popularity in the 1960s, their legacy
is still with us. Devoted followers of the teachings of George Adamski and other contactees still exist in the United States.
The modern Swiss contactee
has published volumes of philosophical ruminations supposedly
derived from aliens who come from the Pleiades constellation. Meier
has attracted a large worldwide following and supplies photos,
films, and tapes of UFOs, all of dubious origin, in support of his
Steven Greer has formed an
organization that will take a member to a secluded place and signal
aliens to come to Earth for private sightings. Greer's claims
suggest a special relationship with the extraterrestrials so that
they will do his bidding.
The Positive Leo Sprinkle uses the word "contactee" to describe his
and other people's experiences. He feels that meditation can cause a
UFO sighting, either in the present life or in one or more past
He claims direct communication with
aliens and can get them to answer his questions virtually on demand.
Using the New Age to Cope
It is extremely difficult for unaware abductees who have not
undergone competent hypnosis, or who have had none at all, to come
to terms emotionally with their abductions. As a result, they
develop coping mechanisms to deal with the continual psychological
and physical assault from their experiences. To mitigate their
victimization, they transform their lifetime of fear and anxiety
into a more psychologically bearable scenario.
These abductees seek reassurance and find organizations and people
who share their belief that the aliens are benevolent. Often they
become involved with New Age groups that focus on the existence of
alternative realities. The abductees learn there is more to life
than one can know on a conscious, objective level. When they come in
contact with the channeling of aliens or spirit-aliens, they
"discover" an explanation for their experiences. In channeling, the
entity answers all questions, no matter how grand, esoteric, or
And the channeled messages directly
address the rationale behind the abduction experiences: The
abductees have been chosen to undertake a mission to help humanity,
Earth, the aliens, and the universe. Abductees are not victims—they
are important players in a majestic alien plan for the betterment of
humanity. Enduring a little fear and pain is a small price to pay
for taking part in such an important task.
To circumvent the problems of being taken against their will, living
in fear, and being unable to say "no," the New Age abductees believe
they have given the aliens "permission" to abduct them, either in a
past life or when they were small children. They entered into a
verbal contract and, therefore, it is proper, and even legal, for
the aliens to abduct them. For New Age Positives, the aliens are
Godlike, they have come from the heavens
to help us find our way. Not only do they have superior technology,
but their moral sense, desire for peace, spirituality, and ability
to love are all far more advanced than ours. Being a part of their
cosmic vision is a privilege and an honor.
Often the New Age Positives band together into almost cult-like
groups to defend themselves from their detractors—researchers and
abductees who have come to different conclusions about the abduction
phenomenon. The Positives reinforce one another's feelings and
insulate themselves from the terror of their lives; they become
angry when "less enlightened" abduction researchers question their
For years critics of the UFO phenomenon spuriously claimed that UFO
witnesses were forming a "new religion" based on gods from space.
This was never true of UFO witnesses who came forward to report
their sightings and then went on with their lives. However,
abductees and researchers who have accepted New Age teachings share
a quasi-religious sentiment in their interpretation of alien
They ascribe benevolent powers to the
aliens and have an almost religious fervor in protecting the aliens
from wrong-thinking individuals who would treat them more as
scientific objects than as miraculous messengers. The Positives
simultaneously anthropomorphize and deify the aliens. While the
benevolent alien-gods were all-powerful, they have a moral structure
not unlike our own.
They can destroy us but choose to work
for our betterment. In return, they will eventually receive our
gratitude and will know that they preserved Earth and the precious
life on it, which is intrinsically rewarding to them.
The belief system of the New Age Positives is exceptionally strong
because they know the alien-gods exist. After all, they have
actually contacted the individual "experiencer," which adds "proof"
to their religious belief and drives the "experiencer" to missionary
zeal. Each abduction confirms the reality of the phenomenon and
strengthens the New Age beliefs. For New Age Positives, the
alien-gods are not just a matter of faith—they are a matter of stark
Of course, some New Age abductees have 'sought assistance from a
competent hypnotist, one who is well-versed in the abduction
phenomenon. As a result, they remember events that do not seem so
Often, the contradiction between belief
system and reality is overwhelming, and the abductee breaks off
hypnosis, retreating into his protective New Age cocoon.
Rejecting the Importance of Competent
A primary reason for the Positive attitude is that most of these
abductees have not undergone competent hypnosis to help them
understand what has happened to them. They have only conscious
recollections, which are often tainted with screen memories, false
memories, fragmented memories, the remnants of imaging and
envisioning procedures, and wishful thinking.
In abduction research, memories derived hypnotically under the
guidance of a competent hypnotist are more reliable than conscious
memories. This is clearly demonstrated by analyzing the abduction
"frame"—the first few seconds and the last few seconds of the
abduction—which usually takes place in the person's normal
Unaware abductees (those who have not
undergone expert hypnosis) often extrapolate from memory fragments
of these periods. For example, an unaware abductee might remember
that an alien came close to him or her in bed to "greet" him, when
under hypnosis this is revealed to be a staring procedure to subdue
the ab-ductee. An unaware abductee will say that he watched aliens
in his room, told them that he did not want to be abducted that
night, and watched the obliging aliens depart.
But under hypnosis, the unaware abductee
reveals that the scenario he consciously remembered consists of only
the first few seconds of the abduction, when the aliens first
appear, and the last few seconds of the abduction, when they leave
two hours later. It does not include the actual abduction. The
aliens in both cases had originally and falsely appeared to be more
reasonable and "human," exhibiting concern for the abductee and
honoring his wishes.
Experience with unaware abductees clearly leads to the conclusion
that the most serious barrier to competent abduction research is
incompetent hypnosis. This problem is compounded by lack of
agreed-upon standards for conducting hypnosis on abductees, and by
the continuing debate over the meaning of UFO abductions.
Without standardized methodology, a
hypnotist can use any induction or questioning technique—no matter
how experimental, untried, or dubious—to explore abduction accounts.
Questionable technique coupled with the hypnotist's lack of
knowledge of the abduction phenomenon results in false memories,
inserted memories, confabulation, dissociative states, and error.
A second barrier to competent abduction research is the mindset of
the hypnotist. Many hypnotists and therapists who work with
abductees adhere to New Age philosophies and actively search for
confirmational material. During hypnosis, the hypnotist emphasizes
material that reinforces his own world view. If both the subject and
the hypnotist are involved with New Age beliefs, the material that
results from the hypnotic sessions must be viewed skeptically,
because their mindset can seriously compromise their ability to
discern the facts.
Competent abduction hypnosis is difficult. Each question must be
intrinsic to the abductee's narrative and should grow organically
from it, without introducing extraneous material. The investigator
should critically evaluate each answer in light of the established
knowledge of the abduction phenomenon, the abductee's suggestibility
and ability to filter out erroneous memories, the internal integrity
of the account, and that ineffable but supremely important
When unskilled hypnotists regress an abductee, they fail to situate
him in the event's minute-by-minute chronology. Without links to a
temporal sequence, the abductee can interpret the events without the
facts necessary to guide his thoughts, which leads to confabulation
and other memory problems. The inadequate hypnotist and the abductee
engage in a mutual confirmational fantasy: the abductee reports the
fantasy; the hypnotist assumes that the abductee's narrative is
objective reality. And then by asking questions about the details of
the pseudo-event, the hypnotist validates its reality.
Research over the years has shown that the aliens are rational.
Virtually everything that happens during abductions is, given
adequate information, comprehensible and logical. A systematic,
rigorous, and skeptical approach to this phenomenon has successfully
uncovered its secrets; there is no reason to abandon competent
analysis in favor of religious or philosophical belief systems.
Furthermore, mainstream abduction researchers have been unable to
uncover anything paranormal, spiritual, religious, or metaphysical
about the phenomenon.
There is no evidence to support New Age
hypnotherapists' contention that once the abductee "pushes past the
trauma" of his abduction, he will encounter "spirit guides" or
"guardian angels" who will steer him safely through abduction
events, protect him in ordinary life, and guide him toward
enlightenment. Usually "pushing past the trauma" comes at the
expense of rooting the abductee in the reality of what is happening.
Thus, the naive hypnotherapist has
unwittingly pushed the abductees into unrecognized dissociative
Spiritual Assumptions and Validational
John Mack is a good example of a hypnotist who has relied more on
New Age thinking than on an objective approach to hypnosis. Mack's
personal study of consciousness transformation and spiritual
enlightenment informs and shapes his assumptions and questions
during hypnotic regressions. From the beginning of his interest in
abductions, he thought the accepted interpretations of the abduction
phenomenon—that the beings had their own agenda of physiological
exploitation of humans—were inadequate.
He also suspected that mainstream
abduction researchers were finding the accepted abduction structure
because they "pull out of the experiencers what they want to see."20
Ignoring the well-documented research about repression, recovered
memory, confabulation, false memories, and mistakes that abductees
commonly make about visualization procedures, Mack began to delve
into the phenomenon from an unconventional perspective. For his
hypnotic sessions, he used a combination of traditional hypnosis and
modified Grof "breath" work (holotropic breathing), in which the
subject regulates the intake and exhaust of oxygen and carbon
dioxide. In full-fledged holotropic breathing, people can feel they
are experiencing their birth, some can hallucinate quite strongly,
and many have powerful emotional reactions.
The effect of even modified breath work
on hypnosis and on memory formation and retrieval is unknown, but
information derived with it must be treated with caution.21
In spite of his New Age viewpoint and methodology, Mack found much
of the same material that other researchers have uncovered:
"These individuals reported being
taken against their wills by alien beings, sometimes through the
walls of their houses, and subjected to elaborate intrusive
procedures which appeared to have a reproductive purpose."22
But Mack also began to hear more
"spiritual" and transformational accounts from abductees who either
related conversations with aliens or just "knew." Rather than
proceeding with extreme skepticism, he assumed the abductee's
veracity and incorporated the information into an idiosyncratic
Mack is sensitive to charges of "leading" the subject within the
hypnotic session. He sincerely says he does,
"not lead clients in any particular
direction so that if information that is relevant to the
spiritual or consciousness expanding aspects of the abduction
phenomenon emerges during our sessions, it will do so freely and
spontaneously and not as a result of specific inquiries of
Yet he also sincerely believes that the
construction of an abduction scenario depends on the "intermingling
or flowing together of the consciousness of the two (or more) people
in the room." They "co-creatively" build an experience that they
share for the benefit of both.24
While Mack does not "lead the witness" in the classic meaning of the
phrase, he embraces the "positive" therapeutic technique that leads
to mutual confirmational fantasies and easily steers the abductee
into dissociative channeled pathways. This technique may be
temporarily useful, but it represents the antithesis of the goal of
scientific research—to uncover the facts.
Apparently unconcerned with the problems of dissociation and
channeling, John Mack accepts "recollections" at face value. For
example, one of Mack's subjects, Ed, "remembered" a female being who
told the young man that he possessed special gifts and powers and
recommended an environmental course of action for him.
"Listen to the earth, Ed," [the
being said]. "You can hear the earth. You can hear the anguish
of the spirits. You can hear the wailing cries of the
imbalances. It will save you. It will save you.... Things are
going to happen," she said, but he must "listen to the spirits,"
even if he is taunted and not feel overwhelmed.
"She gave me a flash... she opened
up that channel and turned up the volume. Some of [the spirits]
are crying; some of them are mirthful. She just ran me through
the whole thing in a couple of seconds, 'All this you can see,
hear, and feel. Other people may think you are crazy.'"
The earth itself, the being told him, is
enraged at our stupidity, and "the earth's skin is going to swat
some bugs off" that do not know how to "work in symbiotic harmony"
Instead of treating this "dialogue" with extreme skepticism, Mack
asks the validational question that confirms the fantasy and calls
for more information:
"I asked Ed how this swatting off
was going to happen."25
By posing this question, he unknowingly
joins with the subject in a mutual confirmational fantasy that
assumes the authenticity of the information and adds import to it.
There are many examples of validational questioning in Mack's
published research, which make the information upon which he bases
his theories exceptionally suspect. But despite his methodology,
Mack's Positive stance is appealing to many people, and his
methodology is typical of the researchers who have found abductions
to be positive. The Positive outlook, however, does not only emanate
from methodological inadequacies.
There are procedures that aliens perform
within the abduction phenomenon that also generate Positive
feelings—but in unexpected ways.
Alien Affirmation of the Positive
Some abductees think that aliens are benevolent as a direct result
of abduction procedures. The aliens can be civil, caring, and even
kindly. They can ensure that the abductees will not feel pain during
They can sometimes cure ailments. They
can be appreciative. They do reaffirm that the abductee is a
"special" person. For women, the Mindscan procedure, with its
elicitation of romantic and sexual feelings, can encourage them to
feel love and affection for the aliens. When these women think of
aliens, they do so with a vague yearning, a sense of emotional
emptiness, as if recalling a haunting memory of a long-lost lover.
Abductees have spent their lives entangled in the abduction
phenomenon, and the aliens sometimes use this fact for their own
purposes. They often tell abductees that they are part of the alien
"family," and they frequently tell children that the aliens are
their "parents." Abductees often feel a sense of loss when their
hybrid offspring are taken away, reinforcing the idea that they have
an emotional interest elsewhere, not on Earth. For these abductees,
the aliens must be benevolent. The two species are working together
to create a better world.
The Positive interpretation is a natural
outcome of these close links and active collaboration.
Are the Positives Correct?
It is premature to assume that the Positives are completely wrong
about alien intentions. It is possible that the aliens will, in the
end, help humankind and the world. Their intervention in the rush of
human events might be a positive step toward solving the problems of
disease, the environment, and war. However, at this time the
evidence of benevolent intentions is, at best, ambiguous.
One thing is certain: Most abductees say
the phenomenon has had a devastating effect on their personal lives.
Many have phobias, scars, bruises, and physical problems, especially
gynecological and urological dysfunction. Many live in fear that it
will happen again and feel guilty that they cannot protect their
The debate over alien intentions again brings up the question of
what is believable in abduction research. Hypnosis, consciously
recalled memories, false memories—is there a way of separating the
"signal from the noise"? Uncovering the reality of abduction events
is difficult but feasible. Methodological rigor has developed a core
of solid information, confirmed by hundreds of abductees, and it has
enabled investigators to understand the abduction phenomenon.
Alien intentions, an area that could not
be addressed from an evidentiary standpoint in the past, depends on
the aliens' ultimate goals. Their intentions are linked to the end
of their program and can be narrowed down to three possibilities:
Their actions are mutually beneficial to both the aliens and humans;
they are beneficial to the aliens and intentionally harmful to
humans; or they are beneficial to the aliens who simply do not care
what human consequences their actions might have.
Is there any way to discern what the outcome will be?
Our present state of knowledge has
finally allowed us to understand what most probably will happen in
the future when the aliens' goals and intentions will be made
evident. We do not yet have all the pieces to the puzzle but the
outlines are well-defined and the picture is clearly recognizable.
It is not a picture that I enjoy looking
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