Thousands of people say they were abducted by aliens, and you might be worried you’ll be next. If you suddenly find yourself floating out your bedroom window toward a mother ship hovering somewhere over the South Valley, take the following steps. You should memorize this list; if you keep it by your bedside table, you will likely be paralyzed and unable to reach for it—or your glasses—as you are tractor-beamed toward the ET visitors.
1) Stay calm. Remember that no one has ever been harmed or killed by aliens.
2) Ask yourself if it’s possible that you’re dreaming. The vast majority of alien abduction experiences happen in bed at night while the person is sleeping, or going into or out of sleep. During this time, the human brain is especially prone to hallucinations, mixing reality with fantasy. A common example is when a dreaming person incorporates an alarm sound into an ongoing dream.
3) If you think you might be dreaming, think back to any UFO- or alien-themed entertainment you may have read or seen recently, maybe an “X-Files” rerun or new TV show or film. These things can often influence our subconscious and therefore our dreams. Continue dreaming and enjoy the story.
4) Even if you are sure you’re not dreaming, you probably are. In many cases, the experiences seem so real and vivid that people are convinced they are wide awake, while, in fact, they are in deep sleep. Hallucinations are by definition convincing and believable to the person experiencing them.
5) Have you seen a therapist lately? Many abduction experiences are not remembered or reported until many years later, “recovered” through misguided psychotherapists. The same techniques were used by some therapists, who in the '80s and '90s convinced thousands of people (mostly women) that they had been sexually abused in their youth but had forgotten (or “repressed”) the trauma. Often, though they fully believed their “memories” were true, they were actually fabricated fantasies that were conclusively proven to have not occurred. Contrary to popular belief, there is little or no evidence that traumatic memories can be repressed. In fact, studies of people who experience real-life trauma have shown that they have difficulty forgetting it, not difficulty remembering it. But that’s a subject for another column.
While you are on the spaceship, ask for a souvenir or some alien leftovers.
6) Of course, it’s possible that what you are experiencing is neither a dream nor a recovered memory but an actual alien abduction. If that’s what’s going on, then you have no choice but to go with the flow. Let them do their anal probes and experiments on you. You may be asked to do minor tasks or mate with one of their species, who will likely look less like Angelina Jolie than Marilyn Manson (watch for STDs).
While you are on the spaceship, ask for a souvenir (not a T-shirt, no one will believe that, but maybe a bit of the alien’s clothes), or some alien leftovers or the knob from a teleporter device. No one has ever brought anything back, so you’d be the first. The aliens know you will probably report the abduction, and if they want people to believe you, they will cooperate and hand over some knickknack from the spaceship. Since they are reported to be humanoid, they probably have a junk drawer somewhere with twist ties, expired coupons from a dry cleaner on Venus, dead batteries or old freebie mints they got at a Miss Universe pageant. You will soon find yourself back in bed, none the worse for wear.
Being abducted by aliens may seem traumatic (and a few people report PTSD from it), but most actually view the experience as positive and life-changing. Like any tragic event, there is a huge silver lining to the dark cloud of spacecraft exhaust: You’re on the fast track to fame. You can write books and be a guest speaker at Roswell and other UFO conferences around the world. You can tell people that while you were abducted, the space brothers gave you cosmic wisdom that you will share with them for only $150 per head in your seminars.
If you are really worried, there are insurance companies that will sell you a policy against abduction (see ufo2001.com). There is one foolproof way to be sure you don’t get abducted: Be a skeptic. There has never been a report of aliens abducting skeptics; they only visit people who believe in them.
Benjamin Radford will present three talks, The Real Mysteries Lecture Series, at the Corrales Community Library. The first presentation on Wednesday, Aug. 20, at 7 p.m. is "Lake Monsters I Have Known," based on his first-hand research and book Lake Monster Mysteries . Admission is by donation, and all proceeds benefit the library. For more information, call 897-0733.
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