Missing-Time Episodes

A missing-time episode is the perception on the part of a person that he or she cannot account for a span of time that might be as brief as a few minutes or as long as a day or more. Frequently, those who experience such episodes conclude that they have either seen a UFO (in the case of a short missing-time episode) or that they have been the victim of alien abduction (in the case of a long one). Experients sometimes come to this conclusion on their own, but most of the time they are helped by a therapist who uses hypnosis to uncover what are said to be repressed abduction memories. In fact, many missing-time experients have no clue that they might have been in contact with aliens until recalling the event while under hypnosis.

Believers in the connection between missing-time episodes and alien abductions generally say that the aliens perform a “memory block” on abductees to prevent them from remembering their experience; in most cases, believers contend, hypnosis eliminates this block. Sceptics, however, say that the reason for this connection is that the supposed abductee already has read or seen some material relating to UFOs or that the recollections were unintentionally planted by the therapist performing the hypnosis.

The cause of missing-time episodes, sceptics say, is fatigue or some problem with memory. In the best-known case of alien abduction, that of Betty and Barney Hill, for example, sceptics have suggested that the Hills, who were on a long drive the night they had their experience, might have dozed off and slept for two hours. (Indeed, Barney Hill admitted to having felt drowsy right before the missing-time episode.) In other cases, experients might have simply lost track of time, as commonly happens when someone becomes engrossed in certain tasks or activities.


  • Alien Abduction Experiences
  • Betty and Barney Hill


The Greenhaven Encyclopedia of Paranormal Phenomena – written by Patricia D. Netzley © 2006 Gale, a part of Cengage Learning