My list could begin and end here. Haphazard and uncritical research is, by far, the most significant and widespread error that I’ve seen. It is crucial to understand that abductees will remember alien abductions without the aid of hypnosis. And their stories can be very often consistent with other accounts and can often be relatively accurate. But this fact has led to a tremendous amount of poor judgement and methods on the part of many investigators. Over the years it has become a matter of faith for researchers that conscious recall must be more accurate than recall accomplished with hypnosis. Therefore, by relying exclusively on consciously remembered incidents they can neatly sidestep the problems, and criticisms, engendered by hypnosis.
It is unfortunately true that consciously recalled memories are very often unreliable. Abductees routinely take bits and pieces of abductions without remembering the variety of events and procedures that happened to them in between those fragments of memory, and fashion them into a flowing narrative. What they remember about the abduction is sometimes partially right, but more often it is wrong. This can be further complicated when the event happens at night and the abductee unwittingly incorporates dream material into the narrative. Moreover, abductees are subject to a variety of neurological manipulations during the abduction that can sometimes influence their memories. They may consciously remember events that were purposely placed in their minds but did not happen in reality. It is virtually impossible for the abductee to discriminate between these memories and those events that happened in objective reality. When they do remember narrative flows consciously, they are often heavily emotionally invested in them and they become part of their permanent memory record even though they are not accurate.
Time and again, hypnosis has shown that abductees memories can be flawed in surprising ways. Their memories are not usually wrong about the fact that they were abducted, but the neurological procedures that are performed on them, the altered state of consciousness that they all undergo, and the natural predilection to put memory fragments into logical order, all contribute to the unreliability of conscious memories. Thus, consciously recalled memories must be entered into evidence only with the greatest caution.
Another truism of abduction research is that the emotion engendered in remembering abduction events is indicative of the situation’s reality. To a certain extent that is true. Although it is always possible to fake an abduction event by displaying false histrionics, some abductees have sincere, almost complete abreaction during hypnosis. They scream in fear and pain, sometimes bringing themselves out of hypnosis so that they do not have to relive the experience. I try to give them the tools to remember the experience without having to relive the physical and mental trauma, but sometimes, especially in the beginning hypnotic regressions, abductees are so frightened that they react viscerally to their memories and feel the physical pain of some procedures.
The problem is that many abductees remember the events without an outward display of emotion. They might remember the pain of certain procedures. They might remember being very frightened. They might even remember loving experiences. But, they manage to keep the events “at arms’s length,” maintaining a psychological distance from the event and thus preventing themselves from having to re-experience it. Their abductions are no less real than the other abductees who demonstrably relive the emotion, but their abreaction is muted. This is especially true after the abductee has experienced a number of hypnotic regressions. The shock of remembering is lessened and the abductee concentrates more on the procedures that are happening and tries to understand the reasons for those procedures. Therefore, the lack of emotion is not necessarily an indicator of the truthfulness of the abduction event.
When UFO researchers first confronted abductions, they thought that the evidence warranted the idea that it was an experiment–a study of some sort in which the aliens were learning about the Earth’s flora and the fauna. UFO occupant cases of the 1960s and 1970s seemed to add evidence to this model because the beings were often seen digging in the ground and even taking bark and leaves off of trees for what appeared to be further study.
The Barney and Betty Hill case appeared to reinforce the experiment idea. The aliens seemed curious about human beings. They subjected the Hills to an examination. They asked about Barney’s false teeth. They conducted what Betty Hill said was a “pregnancy test” on her — although it was almost certainly a needle in the naval procedure, which I have investigated many times, and not a pregnancy test. The Hills, and virtually everyone who believed them, assumed that they had been subjected to experimentation or study. As a result, the idea of experiment became so pervasive that even today most people find it difficult to talk about the phenomenon without using this model.
Although some evidence exists that the aliens have a research and development component on board the UFOs, the evidence for the overall experiment model has not held up. Rather than an experiment or study, the evidence seems to indicate that the abduction phenomenon is part of a systematic goal-directed program. Although all the arguments in favor of the program model are beyond the scope of this article, I can offer a few pieces of evidence. For example, the examination that abductees describe is usually not the reason for an abduction. Most of the time it is only a preliminary procedure before other more important purposes that provide the primary impetus for any particular abduction. Furthermore, the sheer number of abductions that each abductee has experienced, from a few per year to over one hundred per year strongly disproves the idea of that this is merely an experiment or a study.
In addition, the global nature of the abductions indicates that something more complex is occurring other than examinations — all humans, regardless of where they are from are, with minor differences, physiologically the same. The aliens have tremendous knowledge of our physiology and neurology — more so than our own research scientists. This is not to say that they are not learning; they might very well be. But that is not the program’s purpose as the abductees describe it. The evidence is compelling that the abduction phenomenon is a widespread, energetic program of physiological exploitation of one species by another. If there ever was an experimentation phase, it has been over for a long time.