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Encountering the Other (Part One)

Updated: Dec 7, 2023

Squint your eyes to see clearly.

Blur reality to make it real.

Let focus go from the deceiving eyes to know what’s been concealed.

We’ve all been blinded – subjects to visual misinformation, a systematic denial of the crystalline.

Rational Gaze - Meshuggah

This is part one of, Encountering the Other, a look at human encounters with "otherworldly beings."

People have reported encounters with other-worldly beings for thousands of years. In the Book of Genesis, Adam and Eve are confronted by a talking snake. For most Christians, the serpent mentioned in Genesis is the devil. Most scholars do not agree with this interpretation. There is no consensus on the background of the serpent. The serpent could be a symbolic representation of the unconscious desire of Adam and Eve to be something more than human, to be like god. The serpent is a trickster. Its primary purpose is to undermine authority. It crosses boundaries by tempting Eve to eat the forbidden fruit.

Angels are mentioned over three hundred times in the Bible. These supernatural beings serve different purposes throughout the scriptures. They can be both finite and infinite. They often appear in dreams or visions. They can appear in physical form and communicate directly with humans. Sometimes their presence is sensed by animals, but not humans. Like modern day UAP occupants, they can appear and disappear at will. They are messengers of God, acting as intermediaries between God and man. UAP occupants sometimes have angelic qualities, claiming to come from the heavens to impart spiritual knowledge.

Faerie lore is replete with stories of supernatural beings interacting with humans. The faerie world is hidden from human sight. On occasion, they may take humans into their world. This can be accomplished by having the human enter the faerie circle. The faerie circle acts as a portal between their world and ours. Like faerie circles, flying saucers act as a portal through which humans enter into another dimension. In UAP landing cases, there is sometimes a circular depression in the grass or soil where the UAP reportedly landed. Soil and vegetation are sometimes affected in strange ways. For example, the vegetation may not grow back in that area for many years. Faeries are also known to take humans against their will, and even steal human children. Faeries sometimes engage in sexual acts with humans. This produces a hybrid child, part faerie, part human.

Stories of encounters with mythological beings all share a common theme; supernatural forces are interacting with the human mind. These forces influence the way we think and shape our concept of reality. They find life in our mythologies and beliefs. The unconscious is their home from which they project into our conscious awareness. We confront them in dreams and altered states of consciousness. On occasion, they may materialize into our three-dimensional reality. They are boggart-like, having no true form, existing as a type of spirit, capable of appearing in different guises.

Modern day accounts of alien contact are similar to mythological tales of supernatural beings interacting with humans. The underlying architecture of the encounter motif is the same, but our perception of the other changes based on our expectations and beliefs. Or, if there is a nonhuman intelligence involved, it could be responsible for shaping our perception.

Stories of alien abduction have been around at least since the 1950’s. In 1957, Antonio Vilas-Boas, a Brazilian farmer, claimed that he was taken aboard a strange craft by nonhuman entities. He had a sexual encounter with a humanoid woman. The woman pointed to her stomach, suggesting that she was now carrying Boas’ seed. The beings took blood samples from Boas. After the encounter, he experienced nausea, headaches, and burning sensations in his eyes. Unlike most abduction accounts, Boas claimed he was fully conscious during the encounter.

There is considerable debate as to whether alien abductions are real, imagined, or some type of projection from the unconscious mind. Some believe that aliens are abducting humans to create a hybrid species. Supposedly, they’ve been doing this at least since the sixties, when Betty and Barney Hill had their abduction experience. There are many issues with this theory, as other researchers have pointed out. For instance, would advanced aliens have to use crude medical procedures as often described by abductees? In the Hill’s case, Betty claims they put a needle in her belly to test for pregnancy, which caused her a great deal of pain. You would think that beings capable of interstellar flight would have more advanced tools.

Jacques Vallee analyzed the Hill’s case. He points out that Betty’s story of the needle being put into her belly is similar to the depiction of demons piercing their victims’ abdomen with needles, which is depicted in a fifteenth-century French calendar. He also points out the absurdity of advanced aliens having to use a star map, which Betty claimed was shown to her. He goes on to mention that even by human standards, a star map is unnecessary. We use software and telemetry for space travel. Another insight of Vallee’s concerns the purpose of the star map. Giving Betty the map to look at could have been a staged event. It may have served to reinforce her belief that she was in the presence of alien beings coming from some distant star.

There is another interesting part of the Hill’s story that caught my attention. When Betty was experiencing pain, one of the beings moved his hand over her eyes, which stopped the pain. How would an alien being, who does not even understand what dentures are, have the ability to stop pain in the body? Would that not require a thorough knowledge of the human brain and body? As for the dentures, one of the beings was examining Barney’s teeth and accidentally removed his dentures. The being became excited, seemingly ignorant of what the dentures were.

The late John Mack, once head of the department of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, became entrenched in the study of alien abductions after meeting Budd Hopkins. Initially, Mack was skeptical, but after doing his own investigation into abduction claims, he became convinced that people were experiencing something extraordinary. Mack was firm on his stance regarding the nature of his belief about abductions. He was adamant that he was not a believer. His role was to examine the phenomenon as an objective observer. Unlike the work of Budd Hopkins and David Jacobs, who both believed viewed abductions as negative, Mack found that the abduction experience was transformative. One of Mack’s patients described the most terrifying aspect of her encounter was “the ripping away from reality.” She felt as though she was being pulled out of her body.

Page 221 – Strieber

Mack also discovered another facet of the abduction experience is the transformation of consciousness. To Mack, this involves shattering the boundaries between our domain and the dimension of reality where these beings exit. This is brought on by intense emotions and altered states. One of Mack’s patients believed that her abduction experience shattered the boundaries of her psyche, which provided her with a deeper connection to the universe. According to Mack, the beings involved in abductions are emissaries or messengers from the “Source.” They are like translators, connecting humans to the “the One.” Some of Mack’s patients also believe there is a relationship between sexuality and spiritual union. One patient in particular describes her union with the other as becoming “one energy.”

Mack’s work seems to center around the idea that abduction experiences lead to a deeper level of consciousness. When this is accomplished, the abductee may experience the interconnectedness of creation. Some of the experiencers he worked with believe that these beings appear in a form that relates to the experiencer’s level of consciousness. The experiences of some abductees are similar to shamanic or mystical states of mind. One of the shamans interviewed by Mack described beings that look very similar to the typical “gray” alien reported by many of Mack’s patients. The same type of being was also reported by another shaman. Not all of the entities encountered are friendly. According to another shaman interviewed by Mack, they are “parasites from other dimensions” that attempt to manipulate and control humans. This same shaman believes that there are numerous types of beings watching over humanity, some of them are regulating our progress for some unknown reason.

Another Harvard professor, Richard McNally, discussed alien abductions with John Mack. He, along with other colleagues, investigated cases of alien abduction and published a paper with their findings. They did experiments on different groups of people. One group included adults with reported “memories” of alien abduction. The second group reported a history of abduction accounts, but had no memories of the experience. They inferred abduction from physical marks on their body, panic attacks, and a passion for science fiction stories. The third group consisted of participants who had no claims of alien abduction. They discovered that the first two groups had rates of false recall and false recognition about twice as high as the third group who had no experiences. It was also discovered that those who claimed to be abducted scored high on a measure of magical ideation. Participants described episodes of sleep paralysis accompanied by hallucinations.

Is the use of hypnotic regression a reliable method for obtaining memories of past events? According to the Council of Scientific Affairs, the idea of memories being recorded like a video inside a person’s brain is unfounded. Review of the relevant scientific literature indicates that hypnosis is not as effective as you might think. They concluded that nonhypnotic recollections are not substantially different from recollections obtained with hypnosis. Hypnotic recollections are more inaccurate than nonhypnotic recollections. Hypnosis produces recollections that contain accurate and inaccurate details. Hypnosis may refresh a person’s memory, but it can also alter it.

Stuart Appelle, who was once a professor of psychology at SUNY Brockport, studied the abduction phenomenon. His research is documented in The Abduction Experience: A Critical Evaluation of Theory and Evidence. Appelle’s research considers many different explanations for the abduction phenomenon. There are many variables to consider in determining the nature of abduction experiences, which Appelle takes into careful consideration. He lists several items that he felt needed to be considered for future research. For instance, he mentions that abduction experiencers are not generally more hypnotizable than others, but this has not been studied in the general population. Abduction experiences and childhood-abuse experiences should receive more attention. He also mentions that some investigators cite physic abilities as a cause or effect of the abduction experience, but none of the experiencers were subjected to direct experimental tests.

I am not sure what to make of the claims of alien abduction. Having listened to several people talk about their abduction experience, I think some of them had an experience that was very real to them. This is obviously an area that trained mental health professionals should be involved in, not amateur hypnotists. Regression hypnosis is a delicate process. It can easily be misused, even by experienced professionals.

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