Thursday, January 21, 2016
Making a List
Making a list
As part of their support for one another, some UFO abductees, contactees and their supporters have been compiling lists of characteristics and recurring themes that occur in their lives. These lists are thought to be indicators of abductions or contact, and have been circulated in various forms.
One such list, posted widely on the Internet, is as follows:
Have YOU had alien encounters?
Many millions of people, it seems, have had encounters with alien beings. Many of those people do not realize that they are having these experiences because of suppressed memories. Their awareness is limited to an occasional paranormal incident that seems to confuse them more than anything else.
This is a list of 52 common indicators shared by most abductees. It is based on known research on the subject and on personal findings. There may be other explanations for these occurrences and this is in no way an absolute means of knowing if you are an abductee. If you or someone you know does fit many of these traits listed here, please seek the help of a qualified researcher of therapist. This list is not in any particular order.
Ask yourself if you . . .
1. Have had missing or lost time of any length, especially one hour or more.
2. Have been paralysed in bed with a being in your room.
3. Have unusual scars or marks with no possible explanation on how you received them, especially if you have an emotional reaction to them. (i.e. small scoop indentation, straight line scar, scars in roof of mouth. in nose, behind or in ears, or genitals, etc.)
4. Have seen balls of light or flashes of light in your home or other locations.
5. Have a memory of flying through the air which could not be a dream.
6. Have a "marker memory" that will not go away (i.e.: alien face, examination, needle, table, strange baby, etc.).
7. Have seen beams of light outside your home, or come into your room through a window.
8. Have had dreams of UFOs, beams of light, or alien beings.
9. Have had a UFO sighting or sightings in your life.
10. Have a cosmic awareness, an interest in ecology, environment, vegetarianism or are very socially conscious.
11. Have a strong sense of having a mission or important task to perform, without knowing where this compulsion came from.
12. Have had unexplainable events occur in your life, and felt strangely anxious afterwards.
13. For women only: Have had false pregnancy or missing fetus. (pregnant, and then not)
14. Have awoken in another place than where you went to sleep, or don't remember ever going to sleep. (i.e. upside down in bed, or in your car)
15. Have had a dream of eyes such as animal eyes (like an owl or deer), or remember seeing an animal looking in at you. Also, if you have a fear of eyes.
16. Have awoken in the middle of the night, startled.
17. Have strong reaction to cover of Communion or pictures of aliens, either an aversion to or being drawn to it.
18. Have inexplicably strong fears or phobias. (i.e. heights, snakes, spiders, large insects, certain sounds. bright lights, your personal security or being alone)
19. Have experienced self-esteem problems much of your life.
20. Have seen someone with you become paralyzed, motionless or frozen in time, especially someone you sleep with.
21. Have awoken with marks, burns or bruises which appeared during the night with no explanation on how you could have possibly received them.
22. Have had someone in your life who claims to have witnessed a ship or alien near you or has witnessed you having been missing.
23. Have had, at any time, blood or an unusual stain on sheet or pillow, with no explanation of how it got there.
24. Have an interest in the subject of UFOs or aliens, perhaps compelled to read about it a lot, or an extreme aversion towards the subject.
25. Have been suddenly compelled to drive or walk to an out of the way or unknown area.
26. Have the feeling of being watched much of the time, especially at night.
27. Have had dreams of passing through a closed window or solid wall.
28. Have seen a strange fog or haze that should not be there.
29. Have heard strange humming or pulsing sounds, and you could not identify the source.
30. Have had unusual nose bleeds at any time in your life, or have awoken with a nose bleed.
31. Have awoken with soreness in your genitals which cannot be explained.
32. Have had back or neck problems, T3 vertebrae out often, or awoken with an unusual stiffness in any part of the body.
33. Have had chronic sinusitis or nasal problems.
34. Have had electronics around you go haywire or oddly malfunction with no explanation (such as street lights going out as you walk under them, TV's and radios affected as you move close, etc.).
35. Have seen a hooded figure in or near your home, especially next to your bed.
36. Have had frequent or sporadic ringing in your ears, especially in one ear.
37. Have an unusual fear of doctors or tend to avoid medical treatment.
38. Have insomnia or sleep disorders which are puzzling to you.
39. Have had dreams of doctors or medical procedures.
40. Have frequent or sporadic headaches, especially in the sinus, behind one eye, or in one ear.
41. Have the feeling that you are going crazy for even thinking about these sorts of things.
42. Have had paranormal or psychic experiences, including intuition.
43. Have been prone to compulsive or addictive behavior.
44. Have channelled telepathic messages from extraterrestrials.
45. Have been afraid of your closet, now or as a child.
46. Have had sexual or relationship problems (such as a mysterious "feeling" that you must not become involved in a relationship because it would interfere with "something" important you must do).
47. Have to sleep against the wall or must sleep with your bed against a wall.
48. Have a difficult time trusting other people, especially authority figures.
49. Have had dreams of destruction or catastrophe.
50. Have the feeling that you are not supposed to talk about these things, or that you should not talk about them.
51. Have tried to resolve these types of problems with little or no success.
52.Have many of these traits but can't remember anything about an abduction or alien encounter.
These are very specific characteristics, but it can be seen easily that many are not specific to alien abductions. For example, if someone has had sexual problems (#46), it may or may not be because of contact with aliens.
Numbers #44 and #45 are so dramatically different that one can hardly be astonished by their inclusion. If anyone has in fact channeled messages from aliens, they would be certainly in the category of abductee or contactee. But simply to have been afraid of your closet when you were a child is not that unusual at all. The juxtaposition of the two questions automatically implies that one is related to the other, and this is not established in any real way. It relates normal childhood fears to something much more complex and indeterminable.
Number #48: a distrust of authority? Is this an indicator or abductions or simply dissatisfaction with bureaucracy? Again, a common characteristic, but when combined with things such as seeing a hooded figure near your bed (#35), are we really getting a reading of someone’s abduction-proneness, or just a series of unrelated concepts?
The point about having some of the traits but not remembering anything about an alien encounter is also curious. If someone doesn’t have any memory about an alien abduction, it was because he or she can’t remember being abducted. Conversely, if a person does have some memory of an experience, does that mean that memory is false? So even if you don't think you have been contacted by aliens, your acknowledging of this point could be an indication you actually have been contacted?
This list, then, is not especially rigorous and might simply be an indication of contactees’ mental states and view of their world, not necessarily any indication of alien visitation. But when put into other contexts, this list may mean something significant, after all.
Recently, when browsing some international news, I came across an article about victims of the Japanese tsunami experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and how their fears were manifesting in the form of “ghosts.”
A psychiatrist was quoted as saying: “We think phenomena like ghost sightings are perhaps a mental projection of the terror and worries associated with those places.” This made me think about how witnesses to paranormal events have sometimes been said to be suffering from trauma that manifest as anomalous experiences. And since UFO witnesses often report other paranormal experiences, it seems reasonable to connect the two kinds of Fortean phenomena.
The Daily Mail article cited a study at my own institution supporting the contention that PTSD sufferers sometimes report seeing “ghosts.” This intrigued me, so I searched for that particular study and found the referenced paper. It was: Sareen, J., Cox, B.J., Goodwin, R.D., & Asmundson, G.J.G. (2005). Co-occurrence of posttraumatic stress disorder with positive psychotic symptoms in a nationally representative sample. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 18, 313-322.
The researchers found “an increased prevalence of psychotic symptoms in individuals with PTSD” and “an indirect causal relationship between psychotic symptoms and PTSD may exist. For example, the relationship between PTSD and psychotic symptoms may be mediated by comorbid depressive symptoms, a particular type of traumatic event, or comorbid substance abuse.” In other words, there is likely some relationship between “seeing things” and having experienced a significant trauma.
But the most curious part of the paper was the list of questions asked of PTSD victims about their experiences. The researchers asked:
Have you ever had the experience of seeing something or someone that others present could not see—that is, had a vision when you were wide awake?
Have you ever had unusual feelings inside or on your body, like being touched when nothing was there or feeling something moving inside your body?
Have you ever had the experience of hearing things that other people could not hear, such as noises or a voice?
Did you ever hear voices that other people could not hear that were commenting on what you were doing or thinking?
Did you ever hear two or more voices talking to each other that other people could not hear?
Have you ever been convinced that you were under the control of some power or force, so that actions and thoughts were not your own?
Have you ever believed you could actually hear what another person was thinking, even though that person was not speaking?
Have you ever believed that someone was reading your mind?
Have you ever been convinced that strange thoughts, or thoughts that were not your own, were being put directly into your mind, or that someone or something could steal your thoughts out of your mind?
Have you ever believed that you were being sent special messages through television or the radio, or that a program had been arranged just for you alone?
Have you ever believed that others could hear your thoughts?
Have you ever believed that people were spying on you or following you around?
Have you ever believed that you were being secretly tested or experimented on, that someone was plotting against you, or that someone was trying to poison or hurt you?
Have you ever felt strange forces working on you, as if you were being hit by laser beams or x-rays?
The similarity between questions asked to quantify psychotic episodes and those asked to identify alien contact is rather marked. (And in the context of the Japanese tsunami, #49 on the alien abduction list is hardly surprising.)
Does this mean that UFO contactees are psychotic? No. Does it mean that some people self-identifying as having contact with aliens share some characteristics with people who have experienced trauma? Possibly.
One the one hand, this could support the view that actually having aliens contact you will be traumatic, and this could cause symptoms described in the PTSD study. On the other hand, if no “real” contact was made with aliens and other traumatic experiences in your life have affected you, then you could imagine such experiences as being “real.”
Which is more likely?