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Mental Illness, and The Abduction Phenomena



T

Tommy Allison

Guest
Here's a question.

How many people who have something mentally wrong with them, alien abductees?

Does the brainwashing that takes place in abductions screw with the thought processes of someone who has been abducted, and does it adversely affect them the rest of their lives? What percentage of people who are abducted by aliens have illnesses such as Bi-Polar disorder, Depression, or Schizophrenia?

I've read some of Budd Hopkins stuff, and have been wondering just what drives people insane, or make them act the way they do when it comes to the UFO genre?
 

TClaeys

Skilled Investigator
You know I've wondered the same thing. And while I tend to dismiss the abductees, admittedly for no real good reason, I've begun to think about their experiences. The experiences are many times real, even if not a tangible and measureable part of our reality. Nonetheless, they are real, transformative, and personally life-changing encounters. But with what??

In speaking to your question, I might think that the people involved may not even be diagnosed with anything. Maybe it is that something mentally is awry but hasn't been officially put on record. It makes me think that somehow there should be a template for examining the accounts of experiencers so they are treated in a similar way, evaluated according to some standards to begin to find the truth to these weird experiences. Instead it seems different researchers take drastically different looks at the abductees and come up with too many varying subjective conclusions.

The lack of any consistent protocol doesn't get any closer to what is going on. I think the same is true with UFO "research" in general. Is there something different about the experiencers?? I'd say yes there is, but don't have the faintest where it comes from or what it is. I'd even go so far as to say there is something biologically and physically different (in the brain)in them. And that is why this phenomenon is worth the time and effort to scientifically investigate even if it is not aliens actually involved.
 

Kevin Daly

Skilled Investigator
It'd be interesting to hear from mental health professionals, but I'm guessing that the experience itself (particularly if it's not a one-off) is intrinsically not good for mental health. It's not hard to imagine the need to feel "chosen" and rationalise the experience as part of...whatever being ways of trying to deal with something that the mind is not equipped to handle.
But there are chicken and egg issues and lots of potential scenarios:
Even if the abduction experience is objectively real, humanity being what it is it's inevitable that a large number of reports are "me too!" delusions, false memories implanted by incompetent hypnosis practitioners or perhaps mask something worse like a history of child abuse.
Then there is the possibility I mentioned earlier, that the experience itself is not good for your mental health (I'd pretty much bet on that).
There's also another possibility, that those behind the abductions deliberately seek out inidividuals with a fragile grip on rationality - either because this makes them more suited to their primary purpose for some reason, or because it makes their testimony less likely to be believed (think of this as the "just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you" scenario).

Of course, the whole abduction phenomenon itself could be nothing more than a psychological conditioning experience aimed at implanting certain memes in the general population, such as at its crudest: "We are immeasurably more advanced thant you,and all-powerful, and resistance is futile".
That of course brings us back to "Who's/what's behind the curtain?"
 
T

Tommy Allison

Guest
I guess it's going to be pretty hard to figure out who is an abductee, and who's just crazy isn't it?

I wonder just how accurate, and or useful the whole hypnotic regression is?
 

Gen

Skilled Investigator
I guess it's going to be pretty hard to figure out who is an abductee, and who's just crazy isn't it?

Figuring this out is probably impossible.

But it is possible to divide people who are able to talk about their experiences in a credible way from those who cannot. There's a world of difference between a Jim Sparks and a Jeff Ritzmann, for example. There's so much to be learned from studying the accounts of thoughtful, credible experiencers.

Unfortunately, UFO experiences seem to be traumatic for many people. It can be hard to tell the difference between a traumatized person and a crazy person, and by the end of the day, since trauma can drive ya crazy, there's a lot of overlap.

One potentially useful tidbit: supposedly, people who are delusional are absolutely certain that their delusion is true. They don't question it. So experiencers who are sure of their encounter, what it means, and why it happened to them are the ones whose accounts I tend to question the most.

Of course, there's a third potential category: people who are consciously lying about being an experiencer. This is probably rare, especially right now when the abduction phenomenon is so out of fashion, but I'm sure it happens.
 

Gen

Skilled Investigator
Of course, the whole abduction phenomenon itself could be nothing more than a psychological conditioning experience aimed at implanting certain memes in the general population, such as at its crudest: "We are immeasurably more advanced thant you,and all-powerful, and resistance is futile".
That of course brings us back to "Who's/what's behind the curtain?"

"Aliens" aside...let's flip this idea around.

One of the things that the UFO mystery has done best is to publicize the concept that certain elements of the U.S. government are shady, powerful, all-knowing, enmeshed in the daily personal lives of citizens, and basically above the law. The whole thing is a great free advertisement for the intelligence community and, to that extent, it's of huge benefit to them. When viewed from this perspective, it's definitely in their best interest to neither confirm nor deny, and to stoke the fires with a few UFO-themed psyops from time to time, just to remind us who's in charge.

Throw in the shared birthday of the modern CIA and the modern UFO phenomenon, as well as a few common players from the early days (Fred Crisman comes to mind), and you have a very suggestive scenario that the UFO mystery has more to do with human beings than it does with aliens.

There's more to it, of course, because it's impossible to deny the fact that people really are seeing something. Just listen to this week's show for yet more evidence. But sometimes I wonder if the government aspect isn't just a layer over the UFO phenomenon, rather than something that is truly connected.
 
T

Tommy Allison

Guest
Figuring this out is probably impossible.

But it is possible to divide people who are able to talk about their experiences in a credible way from those who cannot. There's a world of difference between a Jim Sparks and a Jeff Ritzmann, for example. There's so much to be learned from studying the accounts of thoughtful, credible experiencers.

Unfortunately, UFO experiences seem to be traumatic for many people. It can be hard to tell the difference between a traumatized person and a crazy person, and by the end of the day, since trauma can drive ya crazy, there's a lot of overlap.

One potentially useful tidbit: supposedly, people who are delusional are absolutely certain that their delusion is true. They don't question it. So experiencers who are sure of their encounter, what it means, and why it happened to them are the ones whose accounts I tend to question the most.

Of course, there's a third potential category: people who are consciously lying about being an experiencer. This is probably rare, especially right now when the abduction phenomenon is so out of fashion, but I'm sure it happens.

I wouldn't give anyone credibility based on thoughtfulness. You can have the nicest conman saddle up to you with an alien abduction story, and have you believe it word for word. Ask Billy Meier, he could tell you all kinds of stories.

I think to a certain degree you probably could discern truth from fiction through scientific means. The Japanese have made MAJOR advancements in the study of the brain, and there's tons of research on the subject of how the brains work when lying that can discern truth from fiction.

It's a question of who would be willing to take the challenge of putting their experiences against the machines and scientists who would be able to get to the truth.

I do not think you can lie if your brain on a subconscious level is going to out you.
 

dusty

Skilled Investigator
Firstly this isn't exactly on topic with the abduction theme of this thread.
Sorry Tommy. It's more to do with the mental illness thing, but I just did a tag search and wound up here so here goes.

Some of you may be familiar with the sad case of Anneliese Michel.
She died supposedly from suffocation but after her autopsy it was found that in fact she had died from slow starvation as a consequence of a so called care regime put in place as part of the rights of an exorcism.

I am only aware of this case because of an old Public image limited track I happen to like, and after looking for more info I found the following youtube link. Sorry it's a bit long and the guy a little errrr, well you decide, but worth watching if only for the last sentence.


Mark
 

aaronpsych

Skilled Investigator
Its hard to even define 'mental illness'. As it stands, many conditions are diagnosed by an cut off from what we reference as normal. In my experience mental illness is horribly over-diagnosed with no reference to an individual's environmental circumstance. A depressed reaction to a bad event is normal rather than conforming to clinical depression.

I would think that the mental illness that would be most associated with the abduction phenomena would trauma conditions such as post traumatic stress disorder. It would be interesting to see if any abductees meet criteria for this condition. Other than that I've often wondered whether the altered mental state found in conditions such as schizophrenia may offer an individual a different view of the world. One that may show a 'reality' that we 'normal' people may screen out.
 

Schuyler

Misanthrope
how do we know which came first, illness or abduction?

I actually think that is an insightful point. I do not by any means believe every abductee fits into this category, but it strikes me after having listened to several of them that a certain percentage are, shall we say, taking advantage of the phenomeonon to gain a little attention.

Budd Hopkins appeared on a local TV program a few years ago which included a listener call-in segment. One young lady called in fearing she had been abducted. Hopkins 'led the witness' by asking, 'Do you have any scoop marks on your thighs?' She said, 'Why, yes! I do!' playing to the question. He quickly asked her to 'hang on the line' so he could get her contact information and talk to her later. It was just all so 'dramatic.'

I do not consider myself particularly keen on intuitively understanding motivations, but this particular set of circumstances was so painfully obvious that I just cringed listening to it. This was just some fat girl with cellulite who wanted to get her 15 minutes of fame. I look upon it the same way I do the stories of people claiming they escaped a satanist cult that kills thousands of babies a year in ritual sacrifices. Sure, it could happen, but it's mostly B.S.

That doesn't mean some abductions aren't the real deal or that they cause you to go bonkers. It's just that the sheer volume of claimants would lead you to believe there are a lot of lonely people out there seeking some attention.
 

Jonah

Skilled Investigator
Alien abduction experiences: Some clues from neuropsychology and neuropsychiatry

Katharine J. Holden and Christopher C. French
University of London, UK


Introduction. Many thousands of people around the world firmly believe that they have been abducted by alien beings and taken on board spaceships where they have been subjected to painful medical examination. Method. Given that such accounts are almost certainly untrue, four areas of neuroscience are considered with respect to possible clues that may lead towards a fuller understanding of the alien abduction experience.

Results. First, it is argued that sleep paralysis may be implicated in many such claims. Second, research into false memories is considered. It is argued that abductees may be more prone to false memories than the general population. Third, evidence is considered relating to the mental health of abductees. It is concluded that there is currently no convincing evidence for higher rates of serious psychopathology amongst abductees compared to the general population. However, abductees do seem to show higher levels on some potentially relevant measures (e.g., tendency to dissociate). Finally, claims that alien abduction experiences may be linked to abnormal activity in the temporal lobes is considered.

Conclusion. Although the neurosciences provide many clues to the nature of this bizarre experience, further research is required before a full understanding will be attained.

Full .pdf (as reprinted in the journal COGNITIVE NEUROPSYCHIATRY, 2002, 7 (3), 163–178) courtesy of the Wayback Machine:

http://web.archive.org/web/20060116...ornell.edu/courses/psych113/Holden&French.pdf

Hope this helps...
 

AnnetteMarie

Skilled Investigator
well, not really. it just makes things more inflammatory. It may turn out to be an absolutely accurate study, but I don't like where they start out by saying 'almost certainly untrue'.
also, what if sleep paralysis is a result of the abduction? I may be grabbing at straws to have an opposing argument, as I am sure sleep paralysis has been observed in sleep clinics...
but I do like to argue both sides of the matter, sometimes ;)
 

Jonah

Skilled Investigator
French comes from the McNally/Clancy school of thought and I found the study telling in that although they tried hard, they simply couldn't make the connection between sleep disorders or any other neuro-psychopathology and the alien abduction scenario, of course with the caveat that more study (funding) is required. Neither could McNally (Macks pre0disposed opposite at Harvard). One would think that if a connection did exist, it would be fairly easy to suss out given enough quality subjects.

Bottom line...a connection will never be found because there isn't one.

As for sleep paralysis, while it is obviously a factor in "old hag" type nocturnal experiences, they do call it "paralysis" for a reason. You can't move. As such, one is hard pressed to use as a blanket explanation for all scenarios, especially to explain, mulitple witness waking experiences (Walton, Allagash, Salter, Hill, etc)
 

UBERDOINK

Skilled Investigator
you should look at our posts on "Aliens in the Mind"

it's talking about hallusinations and false memory syndrome to explain alien contacts etc. based on various studies.

Aliens in the Mind - The Paracast Community Forums

for example:

... Professor Chris French, head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit at Goldsmiths College in London has suggested that this type of contact with alien life may be all in the mind.

Prof French carried out the study by comparing 19 alleged "abductees" and 19 random volunteers.

He found that in psychological tests, so-called "experiencers" scored more highly in a number of areas, including belief in the paranormal, a tendency to hallucinate, and "dissociative" tendencies which can lead to altered states of consciousness.
 

aNorthernSoul

Professional Breather
Personally, I am on the fence at merely the identification of certain people as cases of "insanity" or "mental illness" and wonder who exactly should be identified as truly insane. That being said, I think like anything, there is no simply answer to this. Some people are insane and wind up thinking they are being abducted, some people are driven there by an inability to deal with abnormal circumstances such as abduction, and some people are just at a different level of understanding and perhaps within a different paradigm than the majority. I think the latter doesn't always mean the individual is mentally ill though.
 

threed

Skilled Investigator
I wouldn't tag any of them -- well, at least, most of them -- with a label of "mentally ill" or "insane." I think what's really fascinating about all this is that the phenomenon operates within the parameters of essentially "normal" brain function. What we're seeing here are the shortcomings of (the "design" of) our brains at work.

Any of us can become deluded, blindsided or completely convinced we saw something that never in fact existed. If the circumstances are right, the magician's hand can pull a fast one on any of us. And we'll go to our graves righteously indignant that we saw what we saw.

This is how religions form.
 

rowdy27

Skilled Investigator
I think ALL of Us are mental..lol. Some more than others.
Maybe its just vivid "dream-states" .
I think we are all on this Earth plane to amuse our Creators.
Sort of like a bunch of kids looking at a toy ant farm, & we're the Ants!!

flinstones01.jpg
 

GDT

Skilled Investigator
I am new here and just posted my experiences in the wrong section, but want to pipe in on this discussion.

How do you explain, daytime, extreme up close UFO experiences, with different witnesses who all remember the encounter without any regression. Mass temporary transmission of insanity or childhood trauma?

Don't lump everyone into the wantabee, delusional, UFO trekee stereotypes. A lot of us, whom have had this crap happen our whole lives, have never read any books, watched any movies, or surf internet stuff--- at all ---because it scares us too much.

After 30 years of avoidance I am finally listening to the Paracast as my virgin introduction to a field I had no idea was so big. I hung around the Intruders Foundation for a few years, but only when I got the courage to attend and even when I attended those meetings or Christmas art auctions at Budd Hopkins, I was too scared to tell anyone much of anything because of fear of ridicule. Budd wrote about my one abduction- in the desert (four of us- broad daylight- massive UFO- missing hours), but I didn't even share most of my experiences with him because I was just going through the acceptence stage and felt if I told him more he would think I was nuts.

In retrospect, that's funny because at the beggining I assumed he and the whole bunch of them were nuts and it was a cult of some sort... WOW, we are all such terrible sceptics.

Its hard to read these sites. Just take my word on it.... WE ARE NOT INSANE, our only childhood abuse came from entities - not our parents... and insanity is not temporarily transmitted to friends and relaltives only while they share these encounters.
 

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