Site Archive: Commentaries
My View of Abductions
By Jenny Randles*
I first investigated an abduction case in the UK 20 years ago. For seven years I worked with clinical psychologists and attended about a dozen regression experiments on various cases. The outcome was quite varied and none involved the traditional gray figures conducting medical examinations seen the United States. What entities did appear were mostly human or Nordic. But there was a range of others, from monsters to robots. The only real consistency came in the basic form of the experience: witness sees a light, witness loses consciousness, witness awakes in strange bright room and sees entities, some sort of contact/psychic experience or message is conveyed, witness reawakens back in prior environment (e.g., bedroom or car--these accounting for 17 out of 19 cases I looked into during that time). There were smatterings of medical probes but nothing like that found in the cases investigated by Budd Hopkins. This work of mine occurred between l979 and l986.
From this data several conclusions emerged. Various witnesses explained their doubts about hypnosis. They felt it made them more confused, not less so. They were unclear of the reality status of their experience. Some felt positively harmed psychologically by the trauma of hypnosis. I also saw warning signs. In one case I found myself suddenly speaking to the witness (in regression) who was no longer describing her encounter but channeling the alien and cosmic messages as if I was now actually addressing that being. In another case a witness suffered an epileptic seizure during regression. And there were at least three cases where the doctor, monitoring EEG and EKG of the witness, terminated the experiment as these became dangerously high. I even later discovered that one doctor (medically qualified), whom one of my colleagues was working with, was evidently using a drug to help induce hypnosis that brought him considerable pressure from the medical council afterwards, since I gather some of his patients were unaware of its use.
For these reasons I rapidly came to see hypnosis as a major part of the problem, given its less than acknowledged ability to always stimulate memory rather than fantasy. As our primary duty was to the witness, it was to my mind dangerous to push them into such situations merely on the pretext that we were seeking "better evidence" about their abduction. The tighter controls and l988 British UFO Research Association (BUFORA) ban on the use of regression altogether greatly reduced the number of reported abductions; although not to zero. Some conscious memory cases did arrive and, of course, several UK groups continued unabated with the use of regression. Although I have not recommended the use of hypnosis to any witness since the BUFORA ban and have not been directly involved in any subsequent case that has used it, I have personally undergone hypnosis (via a clinical psychologist) as part of an experiment and sat in as observer on other cases where hypnosis was used (again via a different clinical psychologist).
I also discovered several cases where my investigation revealed that the perceived time loss of a few minutes--the period thought to contain the abduction--probably never actually occurred. Logically, if there was no time lapse (or at most, say, of five minutes) then there could be no abduction. But when an abduction recall did emerge during hypnosis in these cases, we had a problem. Was the recall a fantasy induced by hypnosis, but taken more seriously because of the misdiagnosis of a time lapse? Or was the abduction experience real enough, but contracted in time so that it seemed to last, say, an hour when only five minutes went by? If so there is one phenomenon that already involves what we find in abductions--such time contractions, scene jumping and impossible reality superimposed onto normal reality. That phenomenon is the dream- -particularly the lucid dream. I thought immediately this was a significant clue and have developed from it my "waking lucid dream" hypothesis.
From the evidence I have watched unfold personally--across some 30 cases and with association of some kind with several others --I have some opinions on what is happening. Firstly, witnesses to an abduction are almost always sincere. These are not hoaxes but genuine, mystifying experiences. They occur to what we might call an abduction prone personality -- with traits that have clearly stood out in my cases and via several other studies (e.g., by Keith Basterfield in Australia, Ken Philips in the UK and Dr Alex Keul's European anamnesis experiments). They are predominantly young (very few over the age of 40), female (around two thirds of UK witnesses), above average intelligence, creatively visual, with a developing interest in ecology and similar ideals, possessive of above average recall of early life experiences (e.g. prior to the age of 2), and commonly with a life long track record of experiencing strange phenomena of which the abduction/s is/are just a part. Not all witnesses have all features but 90 of mine have at least three. As such, I think it is fair to say that being an abductee is a specialist skill.
The abduction also clearly occurs during an altered state of consciousness (ASC). The average number of witnesses for three different events shows this. A town bank robbery generates about 3 witnesses per event, in other words those who are not directly involved in the incident. A non-alien UFO sighting has approximately 2.6 witnesses per case from various studies, which is not wildly different, and suggests that both are real world events. Abductions have an average witness per case ratio of about 1.25, indicating they are far more subjective. Although one case I was involved with featured five witnesses (only two of whom recalled the abduction, and then with conflicting memories), and two others featured three (again each with recall that was only partly mutually consistent and largely diverged from a common theme in independent directions), virtually all the rest were single witness events.
Moreover, there were no observed abductions in the UK. In a few instances, UFOs (mostly lights in the sky) were seen in the same general area as the abduction. But nobody in any UK case saw the witness being abducted into a spaceship, saw the UFO that did the abducting, witnessed the same aliens that night, or in fact anything to prove an abduction occurred, as opposed to proving (as some cases do) that a UFO sighting preceded the witness belief that they were abducted. The distinction between these things is paramount. In addition, there are cases (two in the UK, others in various countries) where a witness apparently undergoing an abduction is witnesses by a third party during that time. They have then been clearly seen to have physically gone nowhere, but to be in a strange ASC (described in various cases as "a trance," or "a catatonic sleep" or even mistaken for drunkenness on one occasion). What I think this indicates is that the experience occurs at an inner level of reality and is principally a phenomenon of consciousness rather than literal reality. The presence of the Oz Factor state triggering abductions is another key to the entering of this ASC, I believe.
The evidence therefore supports the existence of a UFO of some sort appearing in the area of the abduction, but only that it is then followed by a subjective experience evolving from the sighting. This occurs to a witness in an altered state during which they believe (sincerely) they have undergone an abduction, but in truth they have effectively stayed where they were all the time. Certain people (the abduction prone personality) is capable of having this experience far more readily than most of us and if two people are separate but close together in space at the onset of a UFO close encounter, the evidence suggests that an abduction prone personality would go on to have a deep level abduction, whereas someone who is not may just see the UFO, e.g., as a strange light.
Multiple witnesses cases are the key here, which is why we need to focus upon them. Unfortunately, in nearly every case they are intimately connected individuals rather than true separate witnesses, and even when there are multiple witnesses, it is frequent that only one or two of them recall anything beyond the UFO sighting. This supports my argument that the UFO stimulus triggers different levels of experience (from nothing to an abduction), according to the witness involved. So, yes, I believe abductions are indeed real experiences. But I think they are a mixture of objective and subjective elements. I believe a real UFO can trigger them, but that much of the subsequent encounter occurs as an altered state to a certain type of witness and is only subjectively real.
The question is: what is the source of the trigger phenomenon and the experience that follows within the ASC? I think there are three broad possibilities:
(1) The UFO could be some kind of natural, scientific anomaly complete with radiating energy fields. In this possibility, as neuroscientist Michael Persinger suggests, the temporal lobe of certain people are stimulated, triggering an abduction fantasy that develops out of the belief that they have just seen a UFO (as, of course, they actually have indeed done). But while Persinger has offered an interesting theory matched by some experimental results, nothing bridges the gulf between people feeling odd and having a light ASC when subjected to EM radiation and witnesses having full blown abductions, as we know they do.
(2) Or it may be that the natural phenomenon is something I call a "time storm," literally causing a temporary break down in localized time and space as a result of some as yet unknown scientific anomaly. The outcome of the time storm is to disrupt the quantum reality basis of consciousness, unleashing certain visionary (but not necessarily imaginary) experiences from the other side of the rift. As such a quasi real experience occurs during the resulting altered state, the time storm is viewed as a UFO and its consequence as an abduction.
(3) The other possibility is that a real contact is occurring between some other intelligence (perhaps extraterrestrial or inter-dimensional) but not in the traditionally assumed sense. No space ships are landing and no aliens are getting out to kidnap humans (thus our dearth of physical evidence). Instead contact occurs using some kind of energy probe that manifests as the UFO and to some is merely seen as that, although its side effects can create physical evidence (such as car stops or burnt skin). With the abduction prone personality the beam switches them into an ASC and induces a waking lucid dream that conveys a contact message. Upon waking the witness recalls the light, recalls losing consciousness and subsequently waking again and perhaps vague images of the dream like contact. These may recur during subsequent flashbacks, dreams or even be stimulated by hypnosis. The result will be a mixture of genuine recall of the vision and distorted imagery introduced by our own conscious mind. But in essence the person will recall that an alien intelligence probed them, exchanged data with them, and then left. This may appear in the memory as if it were a medical probe, or an examination inside a craft, but most of this imagery will be imaginative and added to the experience by our own subconscious through its store of images about what aliens are supposed to be like. The fundamental truth about abductions would be that a scanning form of contact took place -- via a beam and at a distance -- but never as a result of a literal alien kidnap.
All of this is speculation, an effort to try to make the contradictory evidence of these cases fit together. But something is going on and its understanding will, I believe, prove of great value to human knowledge. I just don't see evidence that it is the literal example of what I call "spacenapping," that is landing spaceships, exploring ETs and nasty anal probe bearing greys. But then again our understanding of alien reality is bound to be restricted and maybe I am wrong. Even so, as noted, aliens may still be involved in the abduction phenomenon at a more subtle level by inducing waking lucid dreams in susceptible witnesses. I hope this makes sense.
*Jenny Randles is the quintessential UFO expert. She has seen UFOs 15 times, 13 of which have been positively identified to her satisfaction, the other two being nothing more than odd lights, which nonetheless remain unexplained. She has been active in many UFO organizations in the UK and is the British consultant to the International UFO Reporter, published by the Center for UFO Studies in the US. She has published a host of thoughtful books on UFOs and associated topics over the years, the most recent of which are Men in Black; UFO Crash Landing: Friend of Foe; UFO: Danger in the Air; and The Complete Guide to Aliens and Abductions.
Copyright 1999 by The Anomalist