Alien abduction claims examined

2 min read

Signs of trauma found

Richard McNally, a Harvard professor of psychology, and his colleagues recruited six women and four men who claimed they had been spirited away by extraterrestrials, some of them more than once. Under hypnosis, seven of the 10 reported having had their sperm or eggs extracted for breeding purposes, or experiencing direct sexual contact with the space aliens. Each of these people was interviewed by either McNally or Susan Clancy, also a professor of psychology. Each also wrote a script that told the story of his or her abduction. The research team then made audiotapes, spoken in a neutral voice, from the scripts. The abductees listened to these tapes in the laboratory of Scott Orr at the Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center in Manchester, N.H. As the tapes played, the researchers recorded their emotional responses using such measures as heart rate and sweat on the palms of their hands. The same procedure was done with eight people haunted by traumatic experiences unrelated to abduction by aliens. When the two sets of measurements were compared, the results were striking. Abductees showed surprisingly strong physiological reactions to the tapes of their alien encounters. Their reactions were as great or greater than those of individuals who cannot shake memories of combat, sexual abuse, and other punishing events. “The results underscore the power of emotional belief,” he noted. “People who sincerely believe they have been abducted by aliens show patterns of emotional and physiological response to these ‘memories’ that are strikingly similar to those of people who have been genuinely traumatized by combat or similar events.”