Whether they have remembered an abduction experience on their own or through hypnosis, people who claim to have been abducted by aliens typically exhibit one or more of a collection of psychological symptoms known as Post Abduction Syndrome (PAS). Sufferers might experience anxiety, depression, or both, and become extremely upset over small problems. They might also exhibit irrational fears, including a fear of being alone and of deserted roads or fields (the type of locations where alien abductions are often said to take place). In addition, most people with PAS have trouble sleeping. They are afraid to go to bed, and many leave lights or radios on for comfort. If they do manage to sleep, they wake frequently and often have vivid nightmares about strange alien beings. Sometimes these dreams are relived during waking hours, experienced while going about regular daily activities.
Nearly all PAS sufferers also report having experienced an episode of “missing time,” whereby the individual is unable to account for a period of a few minutes, an hour or two, a day, or even longer. In fact, it is often this missing-time episode that brings the PAS sufferer to seek psychological help in the first place. Such episodes can be extremely disturbing because victims afterward find themselves in locations far from where they recall being when the episode began. For example, the first two people to gain notoriety as alien abductees, Betty and Barney Hill, lost awareness after spotting a UFO as they drove along a deserted road, then regained awareness 35 miles (56.3km) farther down the road two hours later. Other abductees have both lost and regained awareness while at home but then discovered unexplained grass, leaves, or twigs on their clothes or feet, suggesting that they might have been outside during the missing-time episode.
Sceptics believe that these episodes are cases of sleepwalking or a similar mental process. They say that the alien contact or abduction stories, which are brought forth under hypnosis, are actually caused by the hypnosis itself. Indeed, psychologists say that hypnosis has been known to produce false memories. Sceptics have also suggested that the symptoms of PAS are the result of serious psychological trauma. Indeed, as children, many abductees experienced abuse severe enough to have a long-lasting effect on their mental health. In addition, psychologists have found that abductees share certain psychological characteristics that predispose them to have an abduction fantasy. Specifically, abductees are unusually open to the idea that the world is not always as it seems, that there might be alternate explanations for reality, and those bizarre occurrences are more likely to happen than the laws of probability would predict.
- Alternate Explanations for Alien Abduction Experiences
- Betty and Barney Hill
- missing-time episodes
The Greenhaven Encyclopedia of Paranormal Phenomena – written by Patricia D. Netzley © 2006 Gale, a part of Cengage Learning