7. Infiltration

For many years, UFO researchers thought abductions were rare events that befell unfortunate adults who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Barney and Betty Hill case seemed to be a good example of the "There's-One-Get-Him!" theory. In recent years, however, researchers have realized that the abduction phenomenon is lifelong and pervasive.

We now know that abductions begin in infancy. Mothers have described being abducted with their babies. Some abductees have even reported aliens visiting them in their hospital beds shortly before or after giving birth. We also now know that the abduction phenomenon continues into old age. Most important, we now know that abductees experience a lifetime of abductions. Every abductee whom my colleagues and I have investigated has had many abduction events throughout his or her life.

So, how many people have been abducted? This question is virtually impossible to answer, mainly because people do not remember their abductions. But in spite of this difficulty, we know that the abduction phenomenon is enormously widespread. My colleague Budd Hopkins and I have received thousands of letters and phone calls from abductees relating their experiences. Other researchers throughout our society have dealt with or heard from tens of thousands more.


Still, the number of people contacting researchers is not an accurate representation of how many people might be abductees because, again, most abductees are unaware of their experiences.


Unaware Abductees

Although unaware abductees are a silent population who confound accurate statistics, they provide an excellent "reality check" for the abduction phenomenon. We can compare reports abductees made before they became aware of their abductions to those they made after hypnosis with a competent therapist. As a group, the unaware abductees consistently report a similar pattern of experiences before becoming aware of abductions.

When unaware, they explain their strange experiences in ways acceptable to society. For example, an unaware abductee will explain his nighttime odd and half-remembered visitations as "guardian angels" calling on him. An unaware abductee might explain a visitation as a deceased relative or friend reassuring him that "Everything is all right." An unaware abductee may think that he has seen "ghosts" and that his house is "haunted." One woman told me she and her family had moved many times to get away from ghosts, but every house she ever lived in was haunted.

Unaware abductees also frequently report seeing religious figures or the Devil. They report having had intense and profound communication with an animal. They describe having unexpected or unwanted "out-of-body experiences" that take place apart from trauma or meditation. They travel on the "astral plane," from which they can look down and see rooftops in their neighborhood.

The case of one graduate student is typical. She told me of seeing ghosts, UFOs, and bizarre occurrences throughout her life. In one spectacular event, when she was a young girl, she looked out of her bedroom window and saw a UFO landing in her backyard. Suddenly her distraught mother came running into her bedroom, yelling that the aliens were going to get them and that they had to hide. The student remembered nothing else in the incident. I asked her what she thought about these unusual events. She answered that her mother had told her this was just part of life, that life has its mysterious side, and that what she experienced was just a part of growing up.


She was able to categorize a lifetime of extraordinary events as "normal."


Informal Estimates of Magnitude

Budd Hopkins designed a questionnaire for OMNI magazine in 1987 to try to collect incidence data on abductions. Readers of OMNI returned over 4,000 questionnaires. Physicist Bruce MacCabee and UFO researchers Don Berliner and Rob Swiatek of the Fund for UFO Research analyzed 450 of them and concluded that about 4 percent of the male respondents and 11 percent of the female respondents might be abductees.1

In 1987 I also began to collect incidence data on abductees. I developed a simple survey, based on the OMNI questionnaire, for a university student population. Over the years, I refined the survey and continued to give it to students. By 1991 I had collected over twelve hundred responses, mainly from college students aged eighteen to twenty-three. These fell into three categories: possible abductee, questionable, or not an abductee. I based the categories on my knowledge of the unusual experiences that abductees had told me about before they knew they were involved with the phenomenon.


The results of my analysis suggested that 5.5 percent of the respondents were "possible" abductees, and that 15.5 percent were "questionable." These numbers were shockingly high.

And there are many other informal estimates. For example, the evidence strongly suggests that the majority, if not all, of "close encounter" UFO sightings are the beginnings or endings of abduction events. Even high-level sightings may be indicative of abductions. Statistics from Gallup Polls on UFO sightings have varied from 9 percent to 14 percent since the 1950s.


If a percentage of these sightings mask abductions, then the number of abduction events is high.


The Roper Poll

In 1991, Robert Bigelow, a philanthropist and supporter of UFO research, and another interested researcher proposed to Budd Hopkins and me that we conduct formal survey research to estimate the number of people in America who may be abductees. We agreed.

We knew the challenges. We had to construct the survey so that it would elicit a wide range of information and overcome the problems of lack of conscious memories of abductions. Then we had to find a polling organization that would be willing to take on the task. After interviewing the major polling organizations, we chose the Roper Organization because the people there were enthusiastic about the project. Finally, we had to be very cautious and conservative in analyzing the results.

In the summer of 1991, Roper conducted an omnibus survey of a randomly selected group of adults across the United States. It was an in-home survey, in which an interviewer went to a person's home, asked the questions, and recorded the answers on his questionnaire. The abduction questions were part of other questions about people's personal experiences and politics.


There were no questions about product preferences.2 One question was specifically designed to identify people who felt compelled to answer positively regardless of the facts. Hopkins invented the word "trondant" and we asked if this word had special significance or meaning for the respondent. If a large percentage of people answered the trondant question positively, we would know that the answers to the questionnaire should all be suspect.

Survey research usually covers a population of about sixteen hundred people, which is considered large enough to provide accurate results for most national polls. However, given the controversial nature of abduction research, we wanted to use a much larger population to maximize accuracy. The final number of respondents was 5,947 people, which yielded an error range of a mere 1.4 percent.


The Roper Poll thus became the largest and most accurate poll of this type ever taken. It is important to note that it was not an opinion poll, but a poll asking about people's personal experiences, which made it different from nearly all other polls of this nature.

In the initial results, the number of potential abductees was very high—embarrassingly high:

  • 18 percent had wakened paralyzed with a strange figure in the room.

  • 15 percent had seen a terrifying figure.

  • 14 percent had left their body.

  • 13 percent had missing time.

  • 11 percent had seen a ghost.

  • 10 percent had flown through the air.

  • 8 percent had seen unusual lights in the room.

  • 8 percent had puzzling scars.

  • 7 percent had seen a UFO.

  • 5 percent had dreams of UFOs.

  • 1 percent said the word "trondant" had special significance for them.

The small number of positive responses to the trondant question meant that the poll was not weighted toward those who had the urge to answer positively. The Roper Organization eliminated from the final statistics all questionnaires with a positive answer to the trondant question.

The results of the Roper Poll indicated that millions of Americans might be abductees. Hopkins and I knew that the abduction phenomenon was widespread, but these numbers were breathtaking. For that reason, we took the most conservative approach to the data. We isolated the five questions that had been found in previous research to be reliable indicators of abduction activity. And we included in the final sample only those people who answered at least four of the five questions positively.

The final analysis indicates that 2 percent of the American people—five million Americans—have experienced events consistent with those that abductees experienced before they knew they were abductees. Even if this number is as much as 75 percent higher than actual occurrence, there would still be over one million people who might be abductees.


One thing is clear: The Roper Poll confirmed the less formal and anecdotal evidence that there are a tremendous number of people who have had abduction experiences. And we can conclude, therefore, that the abduction phenomenon is widespread and touches almost all groups in society.

In addition to the overall findings, the Roper Poll reported the results by age, sex, race, geography, and social status, and provided data on these subgroups. One important subanalysis focused on age, and a second focused on the group of respondents whom the Roper Organization called Social/Political Actives. These people, whatever their political persuasion, are aware of social problems and seek to effect change. For example, they write letters of protest to their local school boards, seek political office, or otherwise have some semblance of social responsibility. They have more education and a greater median income ($38,700 compared to $28,300) than the general population.

The results of the two subanalyses are shown in the following tables. The first summarizes the responses by age group, showing that the eighteen to twenty-nine age group answered more positively to the five abduction indicators than any other age group.


This seems to go against logic because older people have had a greater opportunity over their lifetime to have more abduction experiences.

Relationship Between Five Indicator Experiences and Age (Total Sample)

AGE Overall 18-29 30-44 45-59 60+

Waking up paralyzed with sense of strange figure 18% 22% 21% 17% 10%

Missing time 13% 14% 13% 13% 10%

Feeling of actually flying 10% 11% 13% 10% 8%

Balls of light in room 8% 11% 9% 7% 5%

Puzzling scars 8% 14% 7% 6% 5%

The second subanalysis concerns the Social/Political Actives. This group would not be expected to have experienced bizarre events; they are people who place themselves in the public eye.


However, they not only scored higher on all questions, but they scored significantly higher.

Relationship Between Five Indicator Experiences and Social Political Activism (Total Sample)

Overall Soc./Pbl. Actives

Waking up paralyzed with sense of strange figure 18% 28%

Missing time 13% 17%

Feeling of actually flying 10% 18%

Balls of light in room 8% 11%

Puzzling scars 8% 9%



Frequency Estimates

The Roper Poll provides incidence data on the abduction phenomenon, but it does not provide frequency data. We know that abductions occur throughout most of an abductee's life. However, estimating frequency is very difficult. The first and most important problem is that abductees do not remember the vast majority of their abduction events. To collect frequency data, I asked several abductees to chart their abductions.


These abductees had a sufficient number of hypnotic sessions with me to be sensitive to the "markers" that strongly indicate abduction activity. Six abductees carefully recorded the events that happened to them. We have confirmed some of these events through hypnotic regression, and we will investigate other events as time goes on.


Frequency of Abductions

The charting effort uncovers some provocative data. Christine Kennedy, for example, correlated her menstrual cycle with her charted abduction events; when there was no abduction event, her period had a twenty-eight-day cycle; but when there was an abduction event, her cycle shortened to as little as twenty-four days.


Allison Reed correlated her abduction experiences with her blood sugar level (having diabetes, she took her blood sugar reading every morning); her blood sugar level was often elevated after an abduction, rising to three or four times its normal level. Gloria Kane found that her experience increased in frequency at ovulation and decreased in frequency at menstruation (although ovulation and menstruation were not the sole determinates of her abductions).

The woman who represents the extreme of the abduction phenomenon is Kay Summers, who lives in the Midwest and works in retail sales. Constant telephone contact has allowed me to record the many events that have befallen her. She had as many as 100 abductions during a one-year period, or an average one every three days. The effect on Kay has been devastating and she lives in despair.


She receives minimal support from her friends and family, who either refuse to believe her or, if they do believe her, refuse to believe the amazing frequency.

Often tired and depressed because of sleep loss and abduction trauma, Kay has learned to dissociate psychologically from the experience while it is happening, much as a child might during repeated physical or sexual abuse. Still, she is on an emotional roller-coaster. When the abductions ease off, she begins to regain her sunny disposition, but then they begin again and her despondency mounts. As of 1997, her abductions continue. Budd Hopkins and I have investigated many of her experiences, including over fifty of the recent events.

Although the frequency with which Kay is abducted is extreme, it is not as unusual as we originally thought. In the last few years, many abductees have reported dramatic accelerations in the frequency of their abductions. The general trend has been toward a greater number of events for each abductee.

Suppose that these data are wrong—that frequency is much lower. The smallest number of abductions per year reported to me is nine. If the rate is only five per year, and if the phenomenon begins in childhood and continues through old age, the numbers still add up quickly. If the person is forty years old, then he may already have had as many as two hundred abductions, with many more to come.


This is borne out by many abductees who have charted their unusual experiences over a period of several years. Charles Petrie, who works as a printer, kept a journal of his experiences over the course of his life and has consciously remembered over two hundred events up to age thirty-eight. His life has been a quest to discover what has been happening to him.

The conclusion from the Roper Poll and from our own research is that, without a doubt, an enormous number of people are experiencing an enormous number of abductions. The aliens have invested and continue to invest a tremendous amount of time and energy in the abduction program. Many people think that abductions are a "study" or "experiment," or that the aliens are "learning" about us. The numbers suggest otherwise. The learning and experimenting, if ever the case, are mainly over.


Hence, the evidence clearly indicates that the aliens are conducting a widespread, systematic program of physiological exploitation of human beings.

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