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Alien Abductee Stress

From: William Scott Scherk <wss@uniserve.com>
Date: Thu, 11 Dec 2003 08:11:06 -0800
Fwd Date: Thu, 11 Dec 2003 13:51:10 -0500
Subject: Alien Abductee Stress

Intriguing article from ScienCentral.com


Source: ScienCentral.com



Alien Abductee Stress

Thousands of people claim that they have been abducted by
aliens. Are they lying? Research suggests that, in many cases,
those making the claim truly believe it happened.

"In case after case after case, I've been impressed with the
consistency of the story, the sincerity with which people tell
their stories, the power of the feelings connected with this,
the self-doubt," John Mack, a psychiatrist at Harvard University
who has worked with people who claim to have been abducted, told
PBS' NOVA. " I worked with people over hundreds and hundreds of
hours, and have done as careful a job as I could to listen, to
sift out, to consider alternative explanations. And none have
come forward. No one has found an alternative explanation in a
single abduction case."

Research in the journal Psychological Science sheds light on the
consistency of those powerful feelings by showing that those who
claim to have been abducted share traits with people who suffer
from post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Previous research
has shown that when Vietnam veterans with PTSD heard 30-second
audio "re-enactments" of their trauma, they exhibited
psychophysiological activity. "For example, their heart rate
will go up, their skin conductance activity, the sweating on the
palm of the hand, will increase," says Richard McNally, a
psychology professor at Harvard University. "Individuals who do
not have PTSD but who have experienced traumatic events
typically will not show that reactivity."

When McNally gave a similar test to people with memories of
alien abductions, he found that their reactions were the same.
"In fact, the actual magnitude of the reactions was at least as
great as those reported in previous studies on people with post-
traumatic stress disorder," says McNally. "It seems to
underscore the power of emotional belief, that if you genuinely
believe these things have happened, these terrifying events have
happened, then you tend to show the emotional profile, the
physiological profile consistent with that belief."

Budd Hopkins, executive director of a foundation for people who
believe they've been abducted by aliens called the Intruders
Foundation, thinks this validates their stories. "I thought this
was quite a wonderful thing, because it's exactly the results we
thought the scientific community would present if they actually
looked into the cases."

But McNally believes these are false memories formed during
"sleep paralysis," a common condition where someone is half
awake but can't move, and sometimes experiences dream-like
hallucinations. "Merely because someone experiences intense
emotions surrounding a particular memory does not itself confirm
that the memory actually indicates something happened," says

Hopkins, who gets about five new reported abduction cases a
week, would counter the sleep paralysis contention with the fact
that not all abductions are reported to happen at night, and
that there are also physical marks left after abductions, which
are called "scoop marks."

While McNally thinks such insights into the power of false
memories has important implications on court cases involving
"recovered memories," others believe we might not get to the
truth using conventional science. "We're dealing with a
phenomenon which violates our sense of reality, and which
operates in this gray area between the physical world and the
subjective or mythic or other-realm world," Mack told NOVA.
"We're being asked to prove this by the methods of the physical
sciences alone. But those methods, in my view.will not yield its


William Scott Scherk