'UFO Witness' Episode 6: Why aren't alien abductions taken seriously? Ben Hansen investigates in Discovery series
A significant number of people live in constant fear of being abducted by aliens, taken aboard a spaceship and being subjected to medical experimentation
While the existence of extraterrestrial beings has been considered to be a deeply guarded government secret, an age-old debate has raged over the same not just because of UFOs being spotted in the sky, but also due to accounts of people experiencing alien abductions. However, non-believers have often clubbed such people with the recent rise of the anti-vaccination movement and the prominence of the Flat Earth movement – diminishing the seriousness of such accounts.
Nevertheless, a significant number of people stay in constant fear of aliens visiting their bedroom at night, being abducted, taken aboard a spaceship, and being subjected to medical experimentation including the removal of eggs or sperm. There have been abductees who have also told tales about forming sexual relationships with their alien abductors and subsequently producing hybrid offsprings with their same as well as having received important information about the fate of the Earth.
Although the exact tally of such accounts varies, they have been put at over 3.7 million in the United States alone to "at least several thousand worldwide." The idea that the US government might be hiding aliens in a secret military base led to the mission, "Storm Area 51, They Can't Stop All of Us" on September 20, 2019. Although more than 2 million people responded "going" and 1.5 million "interested" on the event's page on Facebook, only about 150 people were reported to have shown up at the entrance to Area 51, with none succeeding in entering the site.
First alien abduction claim
On a September night in 1961, Betty and Barney Hill were driving down the empty winding country road in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. They had not seen a car for miles and a strange light seemed to be following them. When they finally got home to Portsmouth at dawn, they did not feel clean and their watches stopped working. Also, Barney’s shoes were strangely scuffed and Betty’s dress was ripped. There was also a loss of time and memory. They could not recall two hours from their drive.
With the aid of a psychiatrist, they were able to regain flashes of their memory. According to whatever they could remember, gray beings with large eyes had walked them into a metallic disc. After entering the disc, the beings examined the couple and erased their memories. Their account not only started an Air Force inquiry, part of the secretive initiative Project Blue Book that investigated UFO sightings across the nation. It also set the precedent for how alien abduction stories got told from then on.
The husband and wife became forever embroiled in the debate of whether they were liars, fantasists, crazy or simply sleep-deprived people who relied heavily on their scrambled memories. Despite the widespread interest in seeking proof of the alien life form, not many seem to take extraterrestrial abductions seriously. In Episode 6 of Discovery+ series 'UFO Witness,' Ben Hansen sets out to discover exactly why these claims are swept under the rug.
Scientific explanations: Proclivity for fantasy, ASP
Some studies have suggested that while people who claim to have experienced such abductions have no history of mental instability, a characteristic trait that has been noticed in the former, as opposed to the latter is a proclivity for fantasy. Fantasy-prone people tend to engage in elaborate imaginings, often confusing fantasy with reality. Other psychological explanations include dissociation, "where an individual’s mental processes detach from each other and from reality, often in response to extreme or stressful life events," according to The Conversation. Childhood trauma and hypnotic suggestibility can also play a part in this.
Sleep Paralysis (ASP) and temporal lobe sensitivity, also could explain claims of alien abduction. This includes the feeling of the mind being awake but the body being unable to move, which occurs when a person passes between stages of wakefulness and sleep. Some of the symptoms of this rare condition are, the inability to move, a feeling of fear or dread and the sense of another presence. Also common are a feeling of pressure on the chest, difficulty breathing and the feeling of being held or restricted to a lying position. One such example of this is that of Michael Shermer, who once collapsed from sleep deprivation following an 83-hour bike race. As his support team rushed to his aid, Shermer, being caught in a “waking dream,” perceived them as aliens from the 1960s television series 'The Invaders.'
Decline in claims
Since their initial surge in the mid-1970s, UFO abduction claims have declined narratives related to the same have found less exposure in mainstream media. One of the reasons behind the same might have been the fact that the ubiquity of camera phones increases the burden of evidence for such claims.