Many abductees are mentally traumatized by their experiences. Has the psychiatric community recognized this alien caused mental condition?

Yes. There is even a name for the syndrome now. The following is an article about the problem and it’s treatment:

Post Abduction Syndrome

Description of an Emerging Syndrome Proposed by Rose Hargrove, RN


This proposal of a new and emerging syndrome will attempt to define the cluster of symptoms and behaviors that develop in some individuals in response to the alien abduction phenomenon.

Post Abduction Syndrome (PAS) (Westrum, 1986) is an anxiety disorder that is closely related to Post traumatic Stress Disorder (APA, 1994). It is characterized by the reexperiencing of abduction related memories, fragments, or distortions of those memories and is accompanied by symptoms of increased anxiety and by avoidance of stimuli related to abduction memories or abduction related events. The affected person may experience levels of anxiety that interfere with functioning in personal, occupational, or social areas. Diagnostic Features.


The requisite feature of Post Abduction Syndrome is the development of distinctive symptomatology in relation to the experience of the alien abduction phenomenon which is often ongoing in contrast to Post traumatic Stress Disorder or Acute Stress Disorder (APA, 1994) where the sterner is usually a discrete and time limited occurrence that is not repeated in the individual’s lifetime. PAS in most instances is the result of the sense or memory of being taken away by force or without consent by extraterrestrial or inter-dimensional entities and the associated physically intrusive or invasive procedures by these alleged entities.


The Abductee will have a perceived fear of actual or threatened death, serious injury (APA, 1994), threat to their physical integrity. They may witness the abduction of another person, may learn about or have close association with the abduction experiences of a family member or other closely associated person. The person’s response to the events must involve intense fear, helplessness, or horror (APA, 1994). In a child or adult with underdeveloped personality structure, the response may manifest as disorganized or agitated behaviors.


Characteristic Symptoms

  • Persistent re-experiencing of the traumatic event characterized by flashbacks (APA, 1994)

  • Persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma (APA, 1994)

  • Denial of the event

  • Labeling the event something else-”black out,” being lost, etc.

  • Phobic avoidance of areas or situations where contact occurred.

  • g from sleep at the time contact occurred-sleeping in the daytime.

  • Emotional reaction to literature, pictures, or videos about alien entities e.g. turning over books with a picture of an alien or UFO which may include avoiding them. (Bryant, 1991)

  • Numbing of emotions and responsiveness characterized by inability to feel intimacy, pleasure, or to express emotions-emotional anesthesia. (APA, 1994, Bryant, 1991)

  • Diminished interest or less participation in previously enjoyed activities. (APA, 1994)

  • May have a sense of foreshortened future - no expectation of normal life events or normal life span.

  • May fear abduction with no return or lengthy abduction.

  • Anxiety symptoms that persist-hyper-vigilance, exaggerated startle response, irritability, and panic attacks (APA, 1994)

  • Note: PAS differs from PTSD in that as the abductions may have occurred since early childhood it is difficult to determine precisely when the trauma began as in PTSD where [in which]? there is a discrete and identifiable traumatic event.

  • Anxiety symptoms include but are not limited to: (APA, 1994)

  • Sleep disturbances — difficulty falling or staying asleep Hyper vigilance Exaggerated startle response Sleepwalking Vivid nightmares Panic attacks Alien phobia Restlessness Worry and rumination Difficulty concentrating.

  • Duration of the symptoms is longer than one month.

  • Specifiers - The specifiers may be used to specify the onset and duration (APA, 1994).

  • Acute: This specifier should be used when the symptoms are present for less than three months.

  • Chronic: This specifier should be used when the symptoms last three months or longer.

  • Delayed Onset: This specifier would indicate that at least six months have passed between the traumatic event and the onset of remembered symptoms.

Associated Features and Disorders
In contrast to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder where survivor guilt may be present, there may be guilt at being different, or of contributing to the factors that cause the abductions to occur either to the subject or to family members.

The following manifestations of PAS may present:

  • Reluctance to enter into relationships.

  • Phobic avoidance of situations that remind the person of abduction such as: elevators, escalators, doctor’s offices, physician’s procedures (many women avoid gynecological exams or become extremely anxious when gynecological procedures are performed), dentist’s chairs and procedures. (Jacobs, 1992) Persons with PAS may engage in avoidance of medical care to the detriment of their health. Parents may experience guilt and anger at the possible involvement of their children or grandchildren.

  • Occupational difficulties-may have loss of job due to constant obsession with remembered abductions activity and level of PAS symptomatology. (conversation, Jacobs, 1999)

  • Self destructive and impulsive behaviors. Social withdrawal Personality changes Panic disorders Agoraphobia. Obsessive-compulsive Disorder or repetitive behaviors or rituals. Depression Somatization Disorder Substance Abuse/Dependence-in an effort to self-medicate to reduce anxiety or sleep which may start at an early age. Constant searching for answers to questions they may not be able to voice (conversation, Jacobs, 1999). Abductees may feel some part of their psyche is alienated from itself due to inaccessibility of memory of abduction experiences or partial or distorted memory of abduction.

Some remedies abductees may employ are:

  • Joining fundamentalist religious groups (Bryant, 1991). New Age spiritual groups. Self-help programs. Altered states therapies. Repeatedly returning to areas where abductions occurred (Bryant, 1991). The person may develop an obsessive interest in aliens and UFOs. (Bryant, 1991). The person may seek help from the psychotherapeutic community only to be labeled as mentally ill. (Jacobs, 1992).

  • Evaluation of PAS

  • Suggested laboratory tests (APA, 1994). Serum glucose, calcium, phosphate levels, thyroid studies and electrocardiogram. Urinary catecholamine levels may help exclude other disorders. Urine drug screen may be useful.

Examination Findings

Insomnia, trembling, muscle aches and soreness, muscle twitches, clammy hands, dry mouth, generalized tachycardia and subjective sense of palpitations, dizziness, hyperventilation or difficulty breathing, urinary frequency, dysphagia, abdominal pain, diarrhea, possible hypertension, in females gynecological problems, possible positive pregnancy tests with unexplainable missing fetuses, unexplainable appearance of strange lesions, scars, bruises, or burns (especially genital) (conversation, Jacobs, 1999), abdominal tenderness, abdominal adhesions, malposition of ovaries, joint or back pain without memory of physical injury, sinus problems, and possible eye irritations.

Specific Culture and Age Features

Young children may vividly recall monsters who come into their bedroom at night. Children, adolescents, and adults may develop fear of going to bed at night and fear sleeping in their own bedroom. (conversation, Jacobs, 1999). Children might express their abduction experiences in their art work or style of play. (Bryant, 1991).


Children also might express the fear that they might be taken away from their parents by the aliens. There exists also the real possibility the children could be taken from their parents by social service agencies if parents openly divulge their own abduction experiences. Often children report that they have been told by the aliens that the aliens are their real parents. (This has been frequently reported by children and adults re-experiencing childhood memories and in fact may be a ploy to gain the child’s cooperation as children of a young age are more difficult for the aliens to control.) (conversation, Jacobs, 1999).


Children might harbor the belief that they will not grow up to be adults. Children might also be exposed to witnessing the abduction of their parents generating feelings of shock, intense fear, and anger that their parents are unable to protect them. They may also harbor the belief that they in some way caused their parents or siblings to be abducted. Children may grow up with a strong sense that they do not belong there and that the Earth is not their “real” home, or that one or both of their parents are not biologically related to them. (conversation, Jacobs, 1999).


It would be difficult to assess cultural variables as this phenomenon has not been studied in mainstream psychology and in the Western World persons who report their abduction activity are usually regarded as having psychopathology (Jacobs, 1992).


[For] [In the case of omit?] indigenous peoples, abduction reports are regarded as a sign of contact with the spirit world or magical phenomena.


PAS may occur at any age and the length of the disorder may vary from three to six months to several years. The frequency of abductions and the variable of conscious memory of abductions may influence severity and resolution. The disorder can develop and often does in the absence of other psychopathology.


Reduction of anxiety and treatment of depression are primary considerations. In those individuals for whom denial is not essential for the maintenance of a functional life-style restoration of memory may lead to normalization of their life-style. Hypnotic regression must be approached with great caution utilizing appropriate screening and with an attempt to minimize confabulation (Jacobs, 1992).


Currently hypnotic regression with a competent hypnotist/therapist/researcher is the method of choice (conversation, Jacobs, 1999).

A support system is an essential factor in the resolution of PAS. Individuals with frequent and intense abduction activity may approach normalization, however when activity is intense symptoms of PAS may increase (Jacobs, 1992).

An important factor is sleep. Sleep disorders are a common occurrence in the abductee population caused by sleep phobia and very active abduction activity. Sleep deprivation when prolonged can result in decreased serotonin levels predisposing the person to clinical depression and compromise of the immune system (conversation, Jacobs, 1999).


Most abductees are unaware of their abductions and those with partial awareness regard their experiences as spiritual or occult phenomena. In the population of abductees that are aware of or suspect that abductions are occurring, some will regard their experiences as spiritual events and another portion of abductees will view their experiences as traumatic and a portion of those will develop clinical symptoms of PAS.

<End Article>


  • American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Fourth Edition, Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Association, 1994

  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorders: A Handbook For Clinicians. Edited by Tom Williams

  • Psy.D. Cincinnati: Disabled American Veterans, 1987.

  • Healing Shattered Reality: Understanding Contactee Trauma. Alice Bryant and Linda Seebach, M.S.W. Tigard, OR: Wildflower Press, 1991.

  • Secret Life: Firsthand Accounts of UFO Abductions. David M. Jacobs, Ph.D. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992.

  • The Threat. David M. Jacobs Ph.D. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1998


How can I tell for sure if I have been abducted? I don’t remember seeing any aliens but I do get nosebleeds from time to time.

There are many signs that have been reported by people that have been definitely abducted. Melinda Leslie has compiled “58 common indicators of UFO encounters, or abductions by alien beings.”

Many millions of people, it seems, have had encounters with alien beings. Many of those people do not realize that they are having these experiences because of suppressed memories. Their awareness is limited to an occasional paranormal incident that seems to confuse them more than anything else.


Some people are not ready to know for sure, others feel a deep need to know if they are involved with the beings. This is a list of 58 common indicators shared by most UFO abductees. It is based on known research on the subject and on personal findings. It has been compiled to help you determine if you are an abductee.


Of course there may be other explanations for these occurrences and this is in no way an absolute means of knowing if you are an abductee. If you or someone you know does fit many of these traits listed here, PLEASE seek the help of a qualified researcher of therapist. This list is not in any particular order.

Ask yourself if you :

  • Have had unexplainable missing or lost time of one hour or more.

  • Have been paralyzed in bed with a being in your room.

  • Have unusual scars or marks with no possible explanation on how you received them (small scoop indentation, straight-line scar, triangular marks, scars in roof of mouth, in nose, behind or in ears, etc.)

  • Have seen balls of light or flashes of light in your home or other locations.

  • Have had a shocking UFO sighting or several sighting in your life.

  • Have a strong “marker memory” that will not go away (i.e.: an alien face, an examination, a needle, a table, a strange skinny baby, etc.)

  • Have seen beams of light outside your home, or come into your room through a window. Have had many dreams of UFOs, beams of light, or alien beings.

  • Have a cosmic awareness, an interest in ecology, environment, vegetarianism, or are very socially conscious.

  • Have a strong sense of having a mission or important task to perform, sometime, without knowing where this compulsion is coming from.

  • Have a secret feeling that you are “special” or “chosen,” somehow.

  • Have had unexplainable events occur in your life, and felt strangely anxious afterwards.

  • Have had several strange psychic experiences - such as knowing that something is going to happen before it happens.

For women only:

  • Have had false pregnancy or missing fetus (pregnant, and then not)

  • Have awoken in another place than where you went to sleep, or don’t remember ever going to sleep (i.e. waking up with your head at the foot of your bed, or in your car)

  • Have had a dream of eyes such as animal eyes (like an owl or deer), or remember seeing an animal looking in at you. Also if you have a fear of eyes.

  • Have awoken in the middle of the night startled.

  • Have strong reaction to cover of Communion or pictures of aliens.

  • Either an aversion to or being drawn to.

  • Have inexplicably strong fears or phobias (i.e. heights, snakes, spiders, large insects, certain sounds, bright lights, your personal security or being alone)

  • Have experienced self-esteem problem much of your life.

  • Have seen someone with you become paralyzed, motionless, or frozen in time, especially someone you sleep with.

  • Have a memory of having a special place with spiritual significance, when you were a youngster.

  • Have had someone in your life who claims to have witnessed a ship or alien near you or has witnessed you having been missing.

  • Have had, at any time, blood or strange stain on sheet or pillow, with no explanation of how it got there.

  • Have an interest in the subject of UFO sightings or aliens, perhaps compelled to read about it a lot.

  • Have an extreme aversion towards the subject of UFO’s or aliens - don’t want to talk about it.

  • Have been suddenly compelled to drive or walk to an out of the way or unknown area.

  • Have the feeling of being watched much of the time, especially at night.

  • Have had dreams of passing through a closed window or solid wall.

  • Have seen a strange fog or haze that should not be there.

  • Have heard strange humming or pulsing sounds, and you could not identify the source.

  • Have had unusual nosebleeds at any time in your life. Or have awoken with a nosebleed.

  • Have awoken with soreness in your genitals that can not be explained.

  • Have had back or neck problems, T-3 vertebrae out often, or awoken with an unusual stiffness in any part of the body.

  • Have had chronic sinusitis or nasal problems.

  • Have had electronics around you go haywire or oddly malfunction with no explanation (such as streetlights going out as you walk under them, TV’s and radios affected as you move close, etc.)

  • Have seen a hooded figure in or near your home, especially next to your bed.

  • Have had frequent or sporadic ringing in your ears, especially in one ear.

  • Have an unusual fear of doctors or tend to avoid medical treatment.

  • Have frequent or sporadic headaches, especially in the sinus, behind one eye, or in one ear.

  • Have the feeling that you are going crazy for even thinking about these sorts of things.

  • Have had paranormal or psychic experiences, including intuition.

  • Have been prone to compulsive or addictive behavior.

  • Have channeled telepathic messages from extraterrestrials.

  • Have simply heard an external voice in your head, speaking to you, perhaps instructing or guiding you.

  • Have been afraid of your closet, now or as a child.

  • Have had sexual or relationship problems (such as an odd “feeling” that you must not become involved in a relationship because it would interfere with “something.”)

  • Have to sleep against the wall or must sleep with your bed against a wall.

  • Have a fear that you must be very vigilant or you will be taken away by “someone.”

  • Have a difficult time trusting other people, especially authority figures.

  • Have had dreams of destruction or catastrophe.

  • Have experienced many things in this list, and recall your children or parents speaking of similar experiences.

  • Have the feeling that you are not supposed to talk about these things.

  • Have tried to resolve these types of problems with little or no success.

  • Have many of these traits but can’t remember anything about an abduction or alien encounter.

  • Have insomnia or sleep disorders that are puzzling to you.

  • Have had dreams of doctors or medical procedures.

    <End List>

Additionally, the aliens will make mistakes you might spot, like returning you to your home with your underwear or nightgown on inside out or backwards. They have also returned abductees to the wrong location, such as in the woods a mile from their home. They returned my wife with her rings on the wrong fingers.

How can the aliens levitate people or cattle onto their ships? Living creatures cannot be magnetized and lifted up into a hovering UFO as abductees claim?

Living creatures can indeed be magnetized and lifted. A world famous scientist has duplicated that capability already. A hundred years ago if you told anyone that machines could think or that men could fly to the Moon, they would think you were crazy. But those things have been done as science has progressed.


We have not accepted what the aliens can do using their advanced technology because it seems impossible to us. It is becoming possible. In April 2001 it was announced in the news that astronomers had seen signs of negative gravity (repulsion) in a galaxy 10 billion light years away. Who would have thought that negative gravity was possible? Einstein did. Now it has been discovered in fact. There are so many things that we don’t know. We are progressing slowly.


The following article was written by Nobel Prize winning scientist Andrey Geim. He has magnetized living creatures like frogs, and even magnetized drops of water, then lifted them magnetically.

The following is reprinted with the permission of The American Institute of Physics and Andrey Geim. Copyright 1998, American Institute of Physics.
Everyone’s Magnetism
By Andrey Geim

From Physics Today
September 1998

Though it seems counterintuitive, today’s research magnets can easily levitate seemingly nonmagnetic objects, thereby opening an Earthbound door to microgravity conditions. If you were to tell to a child playing with a horseshoe magnet and pieces of iron that his uncle has a much bigger magnet that can lift everything and everybody, the child would probably believe you and might even ask for a ride on the magnet. If a physicist were present at such a conversation, he or she -armed with knowledge and experience - would probably smile condescendingly.


The physicist would know well that only a very few materials, such as iron or nickel, are strongly magnetic, while the rest of the world’s materials are not; or to be precise, the rest of the world is a billion (109) times less magnetic. This number seems obviously too large to allow common substances (water, for example) to be lifted even by the most powerful magnets; a billion fold increase in magnetic fields can be found only on neutron stars. In this case, however, knowledge and experience would mislead the physicist: In fact, all materials can be lifted by using magnetic fields that are rather standard these days. In principle, even a child can be levitated by a magnet, as we shall see below.

FIGURE 1: LEVITATING NUTS - EXPERIMENTAL SETUP. The object, in this case a hazelnut (inset), is placed in the 3.2 cm bore of a 20 T Bitter magnet. When the field in the center is about 16 T, the magnet gradients at the levitation point (near the top of the inner coil) are just right to cancel the pull of gravity at the molecular level in this manifestly “nonmagnetic” object.


There, the applied field is about 10 T and the nut becomes a weak magnet, having an induced field of about one gauss. This implies a surprisingly large current (about one amp) circulating in the nut’s shell, but the current represents the summation of induced microscopic currents in atoms and is not dissipative. Thus, living creatures are not electrocuted when levitating.


Our twice-cheated intuition
The photographs that accompany this article show a hazelnut (see inset in figure 1, which shows the experimental setup), a frog (figure 2), and a globule of water (figure 3) all hovering, levitating- in a magnetic field of 10 T. This field strength is only several times more than that of existing permanent magnets (about 1.5 T) and only 100 times or so stronger than that of a typical refrigerator magnet. One need just open a textbook on magnetism to realize that such fields can lift “nonmagnetic” materials.

Indeed, the magnetic force acting on a material of volume V with susceptibility c in a magnetic field B is F = (MŃ)B where the magnetic moment M =(c /m0)VB. This force should compensate the gravitational force mg = r Vg (r is the material density and g is the gravitational acceleration) and, hence, the vertical field gradient Ń B2 required for lifting has to be greater than 2m0g (r/c) (here we use “lifting” to distinguish it from “levitation,” which means stable floating).


Owing to the readjustment of electron orbits in magnetic field, all objects, even “nonmagnetic” ones, exhibit diamagnetism, which determines the lowest possible limit of their magnetic response. Standard handbooks show that, for the great majority of materials, the ratio c /r is close to 10-5 per gram per cubic centimeter. Lifting such materials thus requires a vertical field gradient on the order of 30 T2/cm. Assuming l » 10 cm as the typical size of a high-field solenoid and approximating Ń B2 » B2/l, one finds that fields of about 10 T are sufficient to lift practically any substance around us.


Our intuition is twice cheated: First, we tend to neglect the square increase of the lifting power with magnetic field; second, the magnetic field actually required to lift a piece of iron is just a few gauss, much less than the field in the bulk of a horseshoe magnet. Diamagnetism was discovered by Michael Faraday in 1846, but no one at the time thought that it could lead to any appreciable effects.


William Thomson (Lord Kelvin), referring to levitation as the problem of “Mohamet’s coffin,” had this to say:

“It will probably be impossible ever to observe this phenomenon, on account of the difficulty of getting a magnet strong enough, and a diamagnetic substance sufficiently light, as the [magnetic] forces are excessively feeble.” 1

Fields strong enough to lift diamagnetic materials became available during the mid-20th century. In 1939, Werner Braunbeck levitated small beads of graphite in a vertical electromagnet.2

Graphite has the largest ratio c /r known for diamagnetics (8x10-5 cm3/g); today, this experiment can be repeated using just a strong permanent magnet, such as one made of neodymium, iron and boron.
Leaving aside superconductors (which are ideal diamagnetics), first levitated by Arkadiev in 1947, it took another fifty years to rediscover the possible levitation of conventional, room temperature materials.


In 1991, Eric Beaugnon and Robert Tournier magnetically lifted water and a number of organic substances.3 They were soon followed by others, who levitated liquid hydrogen and helium 4 and frog eggs 5. At the same time, Jan Kees Maan and I rediscovered diamagnetic levitation at the University of Nijmegen, in collaboration with Humberto Carmona and Peter Main of Nottingham University in England. In our experiments,6 we levitated practically everything at hand, from pieces of cheese and pizza to living creatures including frogs and a mouse.


Remarkably, the magnetic fields employed in these experiments had already been available already for several decades and, at perhaps half a dozen laboratories in the world, it would have taken only an hour of work to implement room-temperature levitation. Nevertheless, even physicists who used strong magnetic fields every day in their research did not recognize the possibility.


For example, when my colleagues and I first presented photographs of levitating frogs (figure 2) many of our colleagues took them for a hoax, an April fools joke.

FIGURE 2: A FREE-FLOATING FROG, in the bore of a 20 T magnet, as in figure 1. Other than the disorientation that comes with weightlessness, the frog -or indeed any living organism - seems to suffer no adverse effects from exposure to such field strengths, as discussed in the text.


However counterintuitive the magnetic lifting of seemingly nonmagnetic objects may be, there are more surprises in store for the physicist looking into diamagnetic levitation. Try, for example, to levitate a piece of iron: You will find you can lift it easily with a horseshoe magnet, but you will not be able to float it, whatever tricky configuration of magnets you design.

To understand this state of affairs, it is useful to recall Earnshaw’s theorem, which says (as recently reformulated by Michael Berry) that no stationary object made of charges, magnets and masses can be held in space by any fixed combination of electric, magnetic and gravitational forces.6, 7


The proof is simple: The stable equilibrium of a test magnet (or charge) in an external field would require its total energy (magnetic, electrostatic and gravitational) to have a minimum; but that is impossible because the energy must satisfy Laplace’s equation, whose solutions have no isolated minima (or maxima), only saddles. Earnshaw’s theorem appears to be so thoroughly forgotten that on many occasions I have been offered schemes that would supposedly allow stable levitation of permanent magnets or paramagnetic substances.


The original theorem can be extended to the case of magnetized materials: Paramagnetic substances cannot levitate (unless placed in more strongly paramagnetic media, making them effectively diamagnetic). Only diamagnetic materials can flaunt the rule.1, 6 Surprisingly, Kelvin recognized this back in 1847. Just eight years after Samuel Earnshaw put forth his theorem - and showed qualitatively that diamagnetic substances could be stably held in a magnetic field.


The theorem fails because diamagnetism, a quantum phenomenon, cannot be approximated by any configuration of classical magnets, as considered in Earnshaw’s theorem. Alternatively, one can say that diamagnetism involves electron motion around nuclei and, therefore, it is not a fixed configuration required by the theorem.

Just because an object can levitate does not mean that it will when placed in a strong enough magnetic field. The right conditions are surprisingly subtle; for instance, even an increase of only a few percent in magnetic field will normally destabilize levitation and cause the object to fall. A diamagnetic object can levitate only close to an inflection point of the vertical component of the magnetic field, 6 where d2BZ/dz2 = 0. Note that this is a purely geometrical condition, which does not depend on the field strength.


The spatial extent of the region of stable levitation is typically a small fraction of the magnet’s size - just 2 centimeters for our half-meter Bitter magnet, for example. Accordingly, the field strength must be carefully adjusted to compensate for gravity at that particular point. If the field is slightly weaker than required, the object falls; if stronger, the field is horizontally unstable and only the magnet walls stop the object from moving sideways and then falling.


A gentle touch or airflow can easily destroy the levitation. Those who have tried to levitate high-temperature superconductors would probably raise their eyebrows, adjustments of both spatial position and field strength are required since they encounter no problems. However, superconducting levitation takes advantage of magnetic flux lines being pinned inside a superconductor; this is what makes floating superconductors such a familiar sight. Eliminate pinning, and once again careful adjustments of both spatial position and field strength are required.

Unique features, exciting uses
The idea of diamagnetic levitation is so attractive that, when first learning about it, experimental physicists naturally start thinking - if only for a brief moment - about employing the effect in their particular research. Indeed, superconducting magnets with a room-temperature bore are relatively cheap these days, - a reasonable, basic setup costs about $ 100,000. -making access to the levitation affordable even for individual research groups.


With respect to possible applications, some features of diamagnetic levitation are really unique. First of all, such levitation provides a frictionless suspension whose parameters (such as rigidity) can be controlled at will by adjusting the field profile. This feature makes it possible to design, for example ultra-sensitive gravimeters and other geophysical equipment where sensitivity to minor variations in the gravitational field is required.


Along with the basic simplicity and flexibility of such instruments, the absence of flux jumps and the possibility of incorporating optical detection schemes make them an attractive alternative to devices based on superconducting levitation.8

The most distinctive advantage of room-temperature diamagnetic levitation, however, is that - unlike any other known or feasible technique including superconducting levitation 9 - the suspension is distributed uniformly over the bulk. In fact, for a homogeneous material in a field with profile B2 µ z, gravity is canceled on the level of individual atoms and molecules, which makes it possible to closely simulate microgravity conditions right here on Earth.


One should bare in mind that this is still not an ideal weightlessness: Deviations are present due to

(1) an unavoidable field gradient in the horizontal direction (because Ń B=0)

(2) a distortion of the field by the presence of a magnetized object (on the order of m , or 10-5)

(3) a possible anisotropy of the diamagnetic susceptibility

Nevertheless, for a multitude of applications, the simplicity and accessibility of such ground-based “space” research outweighs the possible complications associated with these relatively small corrections. After all, the simulated microgravity is as close as we can - probably ever - approach science fiction’s antigravity machine.


Watching a levitating water drop in a magnet (as in figure 3), one inevitably starts thinking about studying weightless fluid dynamics, not on board a space shuttle 10 but simply in a laboratory. Containerless crystal growth, also a frequent subject of space research, is another obvious application to consider.

Or take, for example, diamagnetically suspended gyroscopes. In our own recent experiment, we could observe Earth’s rotation using a small plastic ball levitated in a-magnet and spun by a laser beam. Not a great achievement in itself, but already our first attempt has shown error drifts of just 0.1% of Earth’s rotation, a record low for any type of gyroscope.

Figure 3: WEIGHTLESS FLUID DYNAMICS is one area in which research might exploit magnetic levitation, as exemplified by this hovering globule of water.


Magnetic microgravity seems to work well even for complex biological systems. Several groups of biophysicists, - such as those led by James Valles of Brown University, Karl Hasenstein of the University of Southwestern Louisiana and Markus Braun of the University of Bonn (Germany) , have already begun studies of plant and animal responses to such magnetically simulated microgravity.


Biological systems are astonishingly homogeneous with respect to diamagnetic levitation: Seemingly diverse components such as water, tissues, bones and blood differ in their values of c /r by only several percent,11 which implies that gravity is compensated to better than 0.1g throughout a complex living organism. Further, even if paramagnetic molecules and ions are present, as in blood, they contribute only to the average susceptibility; their strong response to the field is smeared out by temperature (mBB << kT), Brownian motion and a much stronger coupling to the surrounding diamagnetic molecules.11


Probably, the alignment of very long biomolecules along the field direction is the magnetic effect most likely to obscure true microgravity in complex systems.12 Fortunately, one can always check for this and other nonmicrogravity effects by placing a system in an identical, but horizontal, field gradient or in a homogeneous field of the same intensity.


An interesting example of how the diamagnetic force can be exploited is an attempt to show that in space a magnetic field can replace gravity as a guide for plant growth: A germinating seed needs to know in which direction to grow so that it can successfully emerge from the soil before its limited resources are exhausted. Hasenstein’s ground-based experiments13 indicate that even a small permanent magnet can provide enough guidance for a growing plant on board of a spaceship.

As for possible, and as yet unknown, adverse effects of strong a 4 constant magnetic fields on living systems (a subject of interest on its own), such effects are unlikely to be strong. In researching medical applications, volunteers have spent up to 40 hours inside Tesla whole-body magnet without any obvious ill effects11 and further similar experiments currently under way at Ohio State University also indicate no danger at least up to 8 T, according to John Schenck from the General Electric Corporate Research and Development Center, in Schenectady, New York.


So, when the researchers from Brown University found an abnormal development of frog embryos in artificial microgravity, they probably rightly attributed it to the influence of weightlessness rather than to the magnetic field.

Finally, let us return to the child who wanted to levitate. However provocative, it is instructive to discuss this possibility: After all, the leader of a religious sect in England offered 1 million pounds for a machine to levitate him in front of his congregation.14


The magnetic field required to keep a uniform value of ŃB2 increases with volume. The existing Bitter and superconducting magnets are capable of levitating objects a few centimeters in diameter. According to magnet designers from the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee, Florida, existing technology can accommodate objects up to about 15 cm.


However, levitating a human would require a special racetrack magnet of almost 40 Tesla and about one GW of continuous power consumption. So, while the use of diamagnetic levitation is bound to become increasingly popular among scientists, the child and the priest will perhaps have to use less impressive but more conventional methods of levitation like a helicopter.


1.   W. Thomson (Lord Kelvin), Reprints of Papers on Electrostatics and Magnetism, London, MacMillan (1872)
2.   W. Braunbeck, Z. Phys. 112, 735 (1939).
3.   E. Beaugnon , R.Tournier, Nature 349, 470 (1991); J. Phys. III (France) 1, 1423 (1991).
4.   M.A.Weilert, D.L.Whitaker, H.J.Maris, G.M.Seidel, Phys.Rev. Lett.
77, 4840 (1996).
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I think I am being abducted on a recurring basis but my memories are suppressed and when I sense someone in my bedroom, I am paralyzed with fear and can’t move. Is there some way I can find out if this is something other than bad dreams?

If you think you are having night visitors of the alien persuasion, there are some things you can do to confirm it. There are police equipment supply companies that sell spray cans of a clear fast drying compound that glows under a black light. The spray is usually used to catch employees red handed who are suspected of stealing from a company if they touch something they are not supposed to.


If you sprayed that material on your bedroom floor, it would show tracks both in and out of your bedroom under a black light. A cheaper way to do it would be to use talcum powder. If it was disturbed or tracked around by strange feet, you will have your answer as to visitors. The talcum powder is visible though.


Grays could evade it by floating if they saw it and figured out what you were up to. If you have any of the classic abduction symptoms (nose or ear bleeding, strange body bruises or marks) there is a strong probability you are being abducted. Going through a hypnotic regression session with a qualified hypnotherapist will usually reveal hidden abduction memories.

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