Reaching for the Truth About Aliens Abductions and False Memory

Image from Amazon.com

By the time 2005 rolled around, it had been about a decade since John Mack’s much acclaimed book Abduction had been released. It was gobbled up by alien believers, but attracted criticism from Mack’s peers. To them, it was ludicrous that a Harvard psychologist should believe that little green men from outer space were breaking into peoples houses at night and sticking them with anal probes. Where was the proof? Remember, anecdotal evidence isn’t proof – especially in psychology.

Mack became a staunch believer in the abduction phenomenon based on the testimonies of his patients. Another psychologist Susan Clancy, author of Abducted, has taken an opposite stance. She believes that abductions don’t actually happen. You might say she was operating with the benefit of clarity that comes from a decade of hindsight on the subject. Maybe it just took awhile for psychologists to gather their arguments together. Unlike alien abduction belief, psychological theory, being a discipline that takes a material, rational view of the workings of the mind, needs to provide evidence for it’s theories – obtaining funding and then doing studies takes time.

But how can Clancy believe that alien abductions are bogus? Would the thousands of abductees lie about their experiences? Why are all the stories the same? These are just a few of questions that might arise. The most convincing answer – assuming for a moment that we live in a world of material realism (all that is real is material) – comes from the false memory research that started appearing half a generation before Clancy entered the scene with her research and commentary.

According to notable memory researcher Elizabeth Loftus, memory is not an objective and reliable tool for reconstructing anything from the past. People like to believe that they remember all the details of any number of things, but the truth is that memory is a collaborative effort on the part of the brain. As a collaborative effort, memories are stored in a fashion that provides the most utility to the individual, which usually involves a subjective aspect, a narrative that is meaningful to the particular person’s own life story. This mode of storage doesn’t really translate into an objective and photographic recollection of any event. Some of the details get a little fuzzy.

That’s not all. It turns out that memories are rewritten all the time. They can even change each time they are recalled. And the more they are recalled, the more neural connections that are formed in relation to that memory. New experiences can also change old memories. What then happens is that, over time, adulterated memories can become more “certain”, “real”, or integrated into one’s life narrative, yet more wrong.

Not every psychologist believes in this fluid nature of memory storage, and they caused plenty of heartache as a result. It was very popular in the 1980s and 1990s to utilize altered states of mind to recover or aid the recall of vague or “repressed” memories of childhood abuse. Some of these altered states are meditation, journal writing, painting, talk therapy, and (drumroll please) hypnosis.

Ah yes, hypnosis. The movies and television would convince the lay person that under hypnosis, a person can recall, with photographic detail, pi to 100 decimal places, the shape of a freckle on their Kindergarden teacher’s left eyelid, the faces of criminals, and past lives.

Oops, wait. Past lives?

Yep, past lives. It doesn’t stop there. Under hypnosis, people recall all sorts of things like ritual satanic sexual abuse, decades of incest-induced trauma, and even alien abductions. However astounding all these things may sound, none of them have any evidence to support the authenticity of such recovered memories.

Back in the 80s and 90s, those therapists that gave their patients the memory laxative of hypnosis later found out that their patients crapped all over their own personal lives. The therapist would first suggest that, based on the litany of symptoms of the patient, that childhood sexual abuse was the most likely cause, and that the memories had been repressed. They would encourage the person to go home and “try to remember”, to think really hard, write in a journal, record any flash of memory that returned to them. Support groups were utilized in which supposed abuse victims would receive encouragement by the members that they had indeed been abused. After all this pushing and straining, something always gave way. A false memory was born!

The memories came sometimes as a flash, or a mental image triggered by something unremarkable. That memory was the foothold, the starting point for an elaborate narrative often of abuse, incest, and even satanic cult murders. Under hypnosis the patient and the therapist would go “deeper” to recover more details of the abuse. With each revisit to the phantoms of the past, the details would congeal into a vivid, emotional, and false storyline. The false abuse victims would relive the trauma with powerful emotional sincerity; the trauma memory was more real than normal life, but it often never really happened.

By the time the mass hysteria died down a bit (it still hasn’t gone away completely), families were ruined, innocent men rotted in jail, and the man-hating feminists against the “patriarchy” were just giddy that there was “proof” of widespread endemic abuse of women. (I’m rolling my eyes now)

Sigmund Freud

Like Tesla motors will soon demonstrate with their failure to popularize the electric car and make a profitable business out of it (it was tried one hundred years ago), history repeats itself. False memories of abuse go all the way back (if not farther) to the dusk of the 19th century. Sigmund Freud was one of the first to recognize that hypnosis didn’t always produce valid recall of memories. He had initially hypothesized that traumatic memories were “repressed” by the psyche – or pushed out of thought – as a protection that enabled the person to function through life. He thought the consequence of this repression manifested through psychosomatic symptoms (for women labeled “hysteria”) or PTSD, as we would call it today. But after finding through hypnosis that the root of “hysteria” was almost always childhood sexual abuse by family members, he started to question things. By extrapolation, the problem of abuse would have been endemic and spread across all classes of people, a possibility that was just too outrageous for Freud to accept. He ultimately dismissed the recovered memories of sexual abuse as “fantasies”. While the man-hating feminists of the modern era scoff at Freud’s ultimate analysis, they still cling to a bastardized version of his “repression” theory because without it there is no argument that sexual abuse is rampant. And that doesn’t serve their political agenda.

Now we fast-forward to the modern day. Familial rapists have been replaced with technologically advanced sex criminals from outer space. It makes sense. We’ve been living with the mystery and mythology of flying saucers and little green men for fifty years or so. Those stories don’t just end up in the wastebasket of thought. They get integrated into the archetypal world of the mind, even if you don’t believe. Then they crop up again in the dreamy world of dissociation states like hypnosis or (the hitherto unmentioned) sleep paralysis. If you don’t believe me, just ask Carl Jung.

Photo by Nathan Anderson on Unsplash (cropped)

Ultimately, Susan Clancy found out through her research that alien abductees weren’t necessarily crazy people, but they shared one thing in common: they were more likely to create false memories. They were more vulnerable to suggestion and were more likely to get lost in daydreams or fantasy. Their personalities also more closely resembled schizophrenics than did the average individual. In a nutshell, they were “fantasy-prone” people. They had problems discerning real experiences from fake ones. It’s not a conscious thing. We all have trouble remembering what was real and what was a dream or a story to some degree, but abductees are worse.

So this is a disappointment. Despite the ravings of enthusiastic believers in E.T. visitations to earth, things are looking pretty boring and “psychological”. It would be a lot more interesting if there were more mystery, so I ended up turning to quantum physics.

Photo by pawel szvmanski on Unsplash

“Maybe psychological phenomena aren’t completely physiology-based!” I thought. Why else would all these false memories and alien abductions be so demonic?

My studies into the quantum “realm” are in-process. I never took quantum physics in engineering school, so this is somewhat new to me. One thing I have found, so far, is the tendency for quantum mysteries to tie into the ancient mystery religions – aka, the occult. These Ph.D. physicists start wandering from the double-slit experiment to non-locality and finally to the concept of a universal consciousness. That’s where the Eastern practices like Hunduism come into play. It all goes very New Age from there. The material universe is supposedly made of consciousness… everything is connected… all is love.

Thoth

Then… I found out about the Corpus Hermeticum, which are the writings of Thoth. He was an Egyptian sage who gained so much wisdom that it transformed him into a god. His wisdom was passed through history and came to the West via the Greeks, who associated Thoth with their Hermes, hence the Hermeticum title.

It’s widely recognized that Thoth’s teachings are pagan, and it’s no wonder. They line up perfectly with the New Age occultism that is re-gaining popularity.

My source is The Hermetica, by Timothy Freke & Peter Gandy. Although just excerpts that have been written in modern English, it’ll illustrate my point. Here are a couple highlights:

On astral projection: He who is reborn / communes with the All-Father / who is Light and Life… / He forgets all physical sensations / and is still / while the beauty of Goodness / bathes his mind in Light / and draws his soul out of his body – / making him One with eternal Being. / For a man cannot become a god whilst he believes he is a body. 

On an illusionary reality: Yet, the things that the eye can see / are mere phantoms and illusions.

My initial goal was to tear down the assumption that physical reality was the sole mechanism behind paranormal psychology (which includes alien abductions and UFO sightings). By doing so, I would be able to then argue that the mind is spiritual, and therefore that paranormal psychology is our material interpretation of spiritual phenomena. That would leave my theory of demonic aliens still yet to be disproved. In going down this path, I’ve only found that mankind has gone from Egypt to the moon, and back again to Egypt. The pagan occult doctrines are like a magnet that attract individuals from every generation, only now, the frontiers of science and our refreshed uncertainty of the nature of reality, have opened the door for the pagan mysteries once again.

Good grief!

So are alien abductions real? Well, they are certainly real to the people that experience them. The scenario that works for me is a hybrid one. Not all false memories are demonic, so they are a real product of the individual mind. But I’m convinced that not all false memories are born from the individual mind. Many false memories are very dark in nature, and when you consider the abduction-like sleep paralysis phenomenon, then you start to get a picture of what is going on. Add also the layer of psychic projection, a situation in which people see something, but that something is different from what other witnesses saw. You could say they take the nucleus of the experience – the thing at its most objective level – and overlay whatever cultural or personal myth that makes the most sense to them. This is done unconsciously.

So what is left? Sounds awfully psychological still, but if the mind is spiritual, then there are possibly demonic forces playing with human psychology. I think the term for these psychic projections with demonic entities at the root of it is the Egragore. But we’ll cover that another time.

Photo by Neil Rosenstech on Unsplash (cropped)

Leave a Reply

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: