In speculative fiction, the darkness you think about in the privacy of your soul, the thing that terrifies you the most, the shadows that haunt you at four in the morning, the details you know are totally impossible, suddenly happen. You’re Will Smith in Independence Day, watching in horror as the giant shadows of alien spacecraft fall across your planet. Or you’re Dakota Fanning in Spielberg’s mini-series, Taken, a young girl lifted up into a beam of light, abducted by Grays. Or you’re Fox Mulder, who knows the truth is out there because he witnessed the alien abduction of his own sister.
Whether we believe it or not, like it or not, the world of science fiction and fantasy creeps steadily into our daily world. It has caught the attention of mainstream science. Academics are asking what makes people believe in things that have not been proven, that don’t exist. Meanwhile, possibly hundreds of thousands of individuals carry secrets that most are too terrified to reveal. But if they could articulate those secrets in a collective voice, it’s likely they would tell us that aliens are here and that by and large, they are not our friends. They aren’t E.T.
Without a doubt, aliens are embedded in our cultural landscape. You might see a poster on the side of a bus, featuring a Gray with its bulbous head, large black, wraparound eyes and barely noticeable nose and mouth. It’s probably an ad for a new television show or movie. When the History Channel cancelled UFO Hunters after three seasons, thousands signed a petition to bring it back. Instead, it was replaced by Ancient Aliens, another documentary, one that fuses archaeology with alien contact and does so in a spectacular fashion. Meanwhile, movies about alien encounters and TV shows like Spielberg’s Taken or The X-Files, The 4400, and V, have proliferated in the last twenty years. In 2013, more blockbuster UFO/alien movies are scheduled to be released – and one of the most highly anticipated movies is Enders’ Game, based on Orson Scott Card’s novel and starring Harrison Ford.
So it’s not surprising that polls indicate that more than 90 percent of Americans believe that intelligent life exists outside of our world. An MSNBC poll conducted in 2007, asked: Do you believe that UFO sightings are actually visits from extraterrestrials? 63 percent of the respondents said yes.
Meanwhile, the alien abduction phenomenon has burgeoned into a sub-culture with its own set of beliefs, a separate reality that suggests we are no longer – and maybe never were — the most advanced species existing on planet Earth. A Roper Organization survey in 2003 found that more than 33 million Americans are abductees. Exactly what these individuals are experiencing, though, is subject to intense debate.
Mainstream scientists reject the idea that the abductions are a physical reality and suggest psychological explanations: hypnogogic dream states, buried memories of childhood abuse, lucid dreaming, events imagined under hypnosis, mass hysteria stimulated by media reports, movies and television shows. Some also suggest these experiences are the result of psychiatric dysfunctions – psychosis, multiple personality disorder, and a variety of other exotic brain disorders. Yet, multiple studies indicate that abductees are no more likely than anyone else to suffer from psychiatric disorders.
Still, it seems that an insurmountable gap exists between what the abductees believe is real and what scientists believe. Abductees – or experiencers, as they often refer to themselves – are convinced they were taken by aliens and were subjected to tests and operations, often aboard a spacecraft. Mainstream scientists contend there is no evidence of intelligent beings existing elsewhere in the universe, much less existing so close to Earth that such beings are abducting people on a regular basis. They don’t accept anecdotal evidence or even video evidence, for that matter, no matter how compelling. You can’t always believe what you see.
No doubt about it, claims that aliens are abducting humans sound over-the-top. Yet, more and more people are coming forward with their stories, some are willing to use their names, and tell us that the absurd, the unreal, is quite real. As the narrator on Ancient Aliens is fond of saying: What if they are right?
After all, the history of science says that science is constantly evolving, altering our sense of what is real and possible as new evidence emerges. That’s the scientific process. For instance, it wasn’t until 200 years ago that science officially accepted the seemingly irrational folk stories, told for centuries, about stones falling from the sky. Well, yes, they do. We call them meteorites and have no doubt about their existence.
Prior to that shift in thinking, stones that fell from the sky were usually explained as volcanic rocks violently spewed out during major eruptions or terrestrial rocks that had been struck by lightning. That’s why they were called “thunderstones.” Scientists didn’t even consider the idea that rocks fell to Earth from outer space; the concept didn’t fit into consensus reality.
With all that in mind, here are some of the abductees and experiencers you will meet.
Connie Cannon is a retired nurse from St. Augustine, Florida. For years, Connie was terrified of ridicule so she kept her experiences to herself and struggled to understand the complexities of what had happened to her. First abducted at the age of four, she is now seventy and is tired of hiding her experiences and is willing to use her real name. She “came out” two years ago, with a moving and dramatic story about an abduction that happened in 1981 to her and her 12-year-old son, John, when they suddenly found themselves on a military base. We posted The Abduction on our synchronicity blog and it received more than a hundred comments, some of them from other abductees.
Her story is supported by accounts from several other abductees, who hid this part of their lives for years and are now stepping forward to reveal what happened to them. They talk about their encounters, especially with the now familiar Grays. Without exception, they considered their experiences negative. However, they also maintain they have encountered benevolent beings as well, and that the issue of who they are and the nature of their intentions is complex.
In addition to Connie Cannon, you’ll meet Charles and Helene Fontaine (pseudonyms), a married couple from Quebec who didn’t even believe in UFOs before their encounter in March 2011; Diane Fine (pseudonym), who has been a paranormal researcher, corporate bookkeeper, and bookstore manager; and Bruce Gernon, a real estate broker and private pilot whose experience while flying from West Palm Beach to Andros Island in the Bahamas was the subject of a book, The Fog, co-authored by Rob MacGregor. The thread that ties all these people together is the way their experiences have sculpted and dominated their lives.
Connie’s intense need to understand her abductions has taken her into studies of ancient cultures and languages, mathematics, and into the area of death and dying as a hospice nurse. For a time when she was in her twenties, she worked as a pilot and an assistant to a famous NASA-affiliated astrophysicist. She recalls her experiences spontaneously and has never recovered abduction memories through hypnosis. She now has Parkinson’s and suspects it’s related to alien implants in her sinuses and behind her ear. She says x-rays have documented the implants.
The lives of Charles and Helene Fontaine, conservative French Canadian Catholics, have been irrevocably changed by their experience. Charles now struggles with constant depression. His worldview has been shattered and he and his wife are terrified of being labeled as nuts. For more than a year after their encounter, Charles remained wary and so afraid of another encounter that he and his wife and daughter all carried vials of holy water for protection.
Diane Fine is another lifelong abductee. She is now 51 and her first abduction occurred when she was two. Her search for answers took her in a spiritual direction, specifically into the Nyingama branch of Tibetan Buddhism, where she studied under Lama Chodak Gyatso Nupa, who from 1979 to 1990 worked closely with the Dalai Lama. From him, she learned certain meditation and breathing techniques that help ameliorate her terror during and after abductions. Her experiences, like Connie Cannon’s, enhanced her intuitive and psychic ability. Diane has worked as a paranormal researcher with people like Dr. Stephen Greer, Colin Andrews, Dr. James Harder of University of California at Berkeley. Diane, like Connie, has some serious health issues that may be related to her abductions.
Bruce Gernon’s experience in the Bermuda Triangle happened in 1970, when he was 24 years old and scouting for real estate in the Bahamas with his dad, a real estate developer. In the forty-two years since, this experience has dominated his life. His search for answers has prompted him to investigate several theories about the weird lenticular cloud that surrounded his Bonanza A36 that day in 1970, caused all the plane’s instruments to go berserk, and somehow created a time and space distortion that enabled him to arrive at his destination far too early.
There’s no question that something has happened to these individuals. Scientists can offer us possible explanations unrelated to aliens, but there are no definitive answers. Many abductees are traumatized by missing memories, unexplained physical markings and bruises on their bodies, and the sense that something terrifying has happened to them. Many suffer from nightmares, phobias, and depression and most of them are so afraid of being ridiculed, that they don’t even confide in their families and friends.
The Creeping Reality
If the abductees could speak as a collective voice, they might point out that an alien intelligence known as the Grays collect sperm and ova and DNA from abductees and are using this material to create a hybrid race. These Grays wipe away the memories of abductees and implant screen memories. They also implant devices in their abductees – in the ears, brains, sinuses and elsewhere, and track them like branded sheep. There are shape shifters among them.
Perhaps they are us from the future. Perhaps they are, as famous abductee Betty Hill discovered, from Zeta Reticulli. Maybe they are from the land of the dead, mythical, archetypal, inter-dimensional travelers. And maybe we’re all living in The Matrix and just don’t know it yet. When we laugh at alien abductees and their stories, and many of us do, they become even more hesitant to tell us their experiences. So when we meet a few who are willing to talk, to go on the record, we should listen to their stories, even if they sound like science fiction.
Something About Us
On a shelf in our library is one of the classic books in UFO literature, published in 1968: John G. Fuller’s The Interrupted Journey: Two Lost Hours ‘Aboard a Flying Saucer.’ Beneath the title is a short description: The strangest story of our time – the abduction of an American couple aboard a UFO – as revealed by them under hypnosis. The couple was Betty and Barney Hill and their story is often cited as the first abduction in modern times. Inside the book is an inscription:
To Rob and Trish
Keep your eyes on the skies.
Betty Hill signed the book for us when we covered a UFO conference in Hollywood, Florida for OMNI Magazine in 1986, twenty-five years after her and Barney’s experience. Betty and author Budd Hopkins, both of whom we got to know, were the featured speakers. We had read Fuller’s book, but weren’t entirely convinced of her story – that she and Barney had been taken aboard a UFO on September 19, 1961, and were subjected to terrifying physical examinations by aliens. Yet, it seemed that something had happened to them. But what?
For our part, we have never experienced an alien abduction. We approach the subject not as experiencers or as scholarly academic researchers, but from a journalistic perspective. We’ve been interested in the subject for decades, and in fact wrote about UFOs and paranormal phenomena for the Anti-Matter section of OMNI for several years in the late 1980s.
By the time the edgy science magazine shut its doors, we had moved on to writing books and novels. Through the years, some of the people who passed in and out of our lives claimed to be abductees. A few had uncovered their traumatic memories through hypnosis, others had remembered their experiences through dreams or spontaneous recall and chose not to explore them. Regardless of which path these abductees took, their lives in the aftermath of their encounters had been profoundly and permanently changed.
In 2009, we started a blog on synchronicity, mostly as a research experiment. Two books grew out of the blog that were published in 2010 and 2011: The 7 Secrets of Synchronicity and Synchronicity and the Other Side. Because synchronicity is often a component in UFO encounters, the blog has featured a number of UFO and abduction stories. Those stories attracted the attention of other abductees, who have come forward with their experiences.
But long before our blog and even before our work with OMNI, we explored the roots of the modern abduction phenomenon when we journeyed to the island of Chiloe in southern Chile. Here, we researched the legend that men in black on a brightly lit ship were abducting islanders. That’s where our interest deepened.
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