Return to the main index

			     RIMA E. LAIBOW, M.D.
			  Child and Adult Psychiatry
				     13 Summit Terrace
				Dobbs' Ferry, NY 10522
  Patients who believe themselves to be UFO abductees
  are a heterogeneous group widely dispersed along 
  demographic and cultural lines. Careful examination 
  of these patients and their abduction reports presents
  four areas of significant discrepancy between expected
  and observed data.
  Implications for the treatment of patients presenting
  UFO abduction scenarios are discussed.
  If a patient were to confide to a therapist that he
  had been abducted by aliens who took him aboard a UFO
  and performed a series of medical procedures and 
  examinations on him it is not likely that the patient
  would find either a receptive ear or a respectful 
  and non-judgemental response from the therapist.  The
  material presented would lie so far outside the 
  confines of our personal and cultural belief system 
  that it would seem intolerably anomalous to most of 
  us.  We would probably dismiss or repudiate it using a
  few comfortable and familiar assumptions which hold so
  much obvious wisdom that they do not require specific
  When events which are too anomalous to allow their 
  incorporation into our world schema are presented to 
  us, we are likely to dismiss them by using assumptions
  based in out currently operative world view.  This
  effectively precludes the open evaluation of the 
  anomaly.  Hence, the "expressible" response of most 
  clinical and lay individuals upon hearing a UFO
  abduction account would be an immediate dismissal of
  even the possibility that such an episode might occur.  
  Close upon the heels of that determination the rapid
  and complete pathologization of the person offering 
  such an account would follow.  Dream states, 
  suggestibility, poor reality testing, outright
  dissembling or frank psychosis are customarily 
  offered and accepted as evident and reasonable 
  organizing models by which the production of this 
  material may be understood. These are typical maneuvers
  by which the presentation of information which 
  challenges schematic assumptions is dismissed or 
  screened out before the assumptions can be adequately
  tested for predictive reliability and accuracy.  Such
  testing is highly desirable, however, because it offers
  us the opportunity to apply the scientific method to
  our current level of theorital sophistication and 
  thereby refine our understanding of reality further 
  still. Of course, this process is severely impeded when
  the new data is excluded from consideration strictly 
  because it is too anomalous for assessment.
  Westrum has offered a model by which events become
  "hidden" and therefore remain anomalous to the 
  perception of society in a circular process: the
  hidden event is disbelieved and its disbelief helps 
  to keep it hidden.  Citing the lengthy period during
  which battered children and their battering parents 
  remained hidden, Westrum states:
    "An event is hidden if its occurrence is 
    so implausible that those who observe it 
    hesitate to report it because they do not
    expect to be believed.  The implausibility
    may cause the observer to doubt his own 
    perceptions, leading to the event's denial
    or mis identification. Should the observer
    nonetheless make a report, he/she can expect
    to be treated with incredulity or even
    ridicule.  Since the existence of a hidden 
    event is contrary to what science, society,
    and perhaps even the observer believes, the
    event remains hidden because of strong 
    social forces which interfere with reporting.
    The actual degree of underreporting is
    sometimes difficult to believe, a skepticism
    which itself acts as a deterrent to taking
    seriously those reports which do surface."(1)
    But for the clinician who spends a moment 
    before reaching these "obvious" and 
    "intuitive" conclusions, several fascinating
    and potentially productive questions present
    themselves.  If we refrain for a short period
    from dismissing this material out-of-hand, we
    find that there are at least four areas of 
    puzzling and important discrepancy between our 
    intuitive sense of order and the data presented 
    by the patient.  These discrepancies force us
    to re-examine our assumptions in light of a 
    demonstrated failure of the theory to account
    for the observed phenomena.  This process, 
    while taxing and challenging, is nonetheless, 
    the way we systemize our understanding of human
    health and pathology.  Noting the previously 
    un-noted and using it to refine our conceptual
    framework leads to better prediction and 
    therefore to better treatment.
  It is not the purpose of this paper to ascribe relative
  reality the experience of abduction reported by some 
  patients. Rather, precisely because it lies outside the
  realm of clinical expertise to assess with certainty
  whether these events actually occurred or if they are 
  mere fantasy, it is mandatory for the clinician to 
  examine the impact of these experiences, whatever their 
  source, upon the patient. This must be done in a clear
  sighted and open-minded fashion so that the impact of 
  the experiences may be dealt with rather than made into 
  hidden events.
  intuitively seductive (and perhaps comfortable) for
  us to assume that psychotic-level functioning will
  necessarily be present in a person claiming to be a 
  UFO abductee.  If this level of distortion and delusion
  is present, a patient would be expected to demonstrate
  some other evidence of reality distortion. Pathology of
  this magnitude would not be predicted to be present in
  a well integrated, mature and non-psychotic individual. 
  Instead, we would expect clinical and psychometric 
  tools to reveal serious problems in numerous areas both
  inter- and interpersonally.  It would be highly 
  surprising if otherwise well-functioning persons were
  to demonstrate a single area of floridly psychotic 
  distortion.  Further, if this single idea fix were 
  totally circumscribed, non-invasive and discrete, that
  in itself would be highly anomalous. Well-developed, 
  fixed delusional states with numerous elaborated and 
  sequential components are not seen in otherwise healthy
  individuals.  Prominent evidence of deep dysfunction 
  would be expected to pervade many areas of the patient's
  life.  One would predict that  if the abduction
  experience were the product of delusional or other 
  psychotic states, it would be possible to detect such
  evidence through the clinical and psychometric tools
  available to us.
  This points to the first important discrepancy:  
  individuals claiming alien abduction frequently show
  no evidence of past or present psychosis, delusional
  thinking, reality-testing deficits, hallucinations or
  other significant psychopathology despite extensive 
  clinical evaluation. Instead, there is a conspicuous 
  absence of psychopathology of the magnitude necessary 
  to account for the production of floridly delusional
  and presumably psychotic material.(2)
  In order to test this startling and anomalous 
  information, a group of subjects who believe they 
  have been abducted by aliens (9, 5 male, 4 female) 
  were asked to participate in a psychometric evaluation.
  An experienced clinical psychologist carried out an 
  investigation using projection tests (Rorschach, TAT,
  Draw a Person and the MMPI) and the Wechler Adult
  Intelligence Scale.  The examining clinician was told
  "the subjects were being evaluated to determine 
  similarities and differences in personality structure,
  as well as psychological strengths and weaknesses". 
  All of the subjects actively refrained from sharing 
  UFO-related experiences with the examiner and she was
  unaware of this theme in their lives.
  The investigator found that commonalties were not 
  strongly present and that:
   "while the subjects are quite heterogeneous in
    their personality styles, there is a modicum 
    of homogeneity in several respects: (1) relatively 
    high intelligence with concomitant richness of
    inner life; (2) relative weakness in the sense of
    identity, especially sexual identity; 
    (3) concomitant vulnerability in the inter-
    personal realm; (4) a certain orientation towards
    alertness which is manifest alternately in a 
    certain perceptual sophistication and awareness 
    or in inter-personal hyper-vigilance and caution
    .... Perhaps the most obvious and prominent 
    impression left by the nine subjects is the range
    of personality styles the present.... There is 
    little to unite them as a group from the stand-
    point of the overt manifestations of their 
    personalities.... They [are] very distinctive
    unusual and interesting subjects. [But] "Along 
    with above average intelligence, richness in 
    mental life, and indications of narcissistic 
    identity disturbance, the nine subjects also 
    share some degree of impairment in personal 
    relationships.  For [some] subjects, problems 
    in intimacy are manifest more in great
    sensitivity to injury and loss than in lack of
    intimacy and relatedness.  [Ad] "...The last 
    salient dimension of impairment in the inter-
    personal realm relates to a certain mildly 
    paranoid and disturbing streak in many of the 
    subjects, which renders them very wary and 
    cautious about involving themselves with others.  
    It is significant that all but one of the 
    subjects had modest elevations on the MMPI 
    paranoia scale relative to their other scores.  
    Such modest elevations mean that we are not 
    dealing with blatant paranoid symptomology but 
    rather over-sensitivity defensiveness and fear 
    of criticism and susceptibility to feeling 
    pressured.  To summarize, while this is a
    heterogeneous group in terms of overt personality 
    style, it can be said that most of its members 
    share being rather unusual and very interesting.  
    They also share brighter than average intelligence
    and a certain richness of inner life that can 
    operate favorably in terms of creativity or 
    disadvantageously to the extent that it can be
    overwhelming.  Shared underlying emotional 
    factors include a degree of identity disturbance, 
    some deficits in the interpersonal sphere, and 
    generally mild paranoia phenomena 
    (hypersensitivity, wariness, etc.)" (3)
  Her findings demonstrate a uniform lack of the 
  significant psychopathology which would be 
  necessary to account for these experiences if
  abduction experiences do represent the psychotic 
  or delusional states predicted by current theory.
  When the examiner was informed of the true reason 
  for the selection of the subjects for this 
  evaluation (i.e., their shared belief that they 
  had been exposed to alien abductions), she wrote 
  an addendum to the original report reexamining the
  findings of the testing in the light of the new 
  data.  In it she states:
    "The first and most critical question 
    is whether our subjects' reported 
    experiences could be accounted for 
    strictly on the basis of psychopathy, 
    i.e., mental disorder.  The answer is 
    a firm no.  In broad terms, if the 
    reported abductions were confabulated 
    fantasy productions, based on what we 
    know about psychological disorders, 
    they could only have come from 
    pathological liars, paranoid 
    schizophrenics, and severely disturbed
    and extraordinarily rare hysteroid 
    characters subject to fugue states 
    and/or multiple personality shifts...
    It is important to note that not one of
    the subjects, based on test data, falls
    into any of these categories. Therefore,
    while testing can do nothing to prove 
    the veracity of the UFO abduction 
    reports, one can conclude that the test
    findings are not inconsistent with the
    possibility that reported UFO abductions
    have, in fact, occurred.  In other words,
    there is no apparent psychological 
    explanation for their reports." (4)
  point of intriguing discrepancy follows from 
  this surprising absence of evidence of a common
  thread of severe and reality-distorting 
  psychopathology to account for the patient's 
  bizarre assertions.  They claim that they have 
  been abducted, sometimes repeatedly over nearly
  the whole course of their lives, by aliens who 
  have communicated with them and carried out 
  procedures much like medical examinations.  
  Persons reporting these experiences are seen
  to be psycho-dynamically varied.  They are also
  demographically varied. Reports of this basic 
  scenario, numbering in the hundreds, have now 
  been recorded.  Even though the reporters range 
  from individuals as diverse as a mestizo Brazilian
  farmer(5),an American corporate lawyer (6), and a 
  Mid-Western minister(7), there is a perplexing and
  intriguing concordance of features in these 
  reports.  Certain details of the scenarios repeat
  themselves with disturbing regularity no matter 
  what the educational, national, social, 
  experiential or other demographic characteristics
  of the reporter.  In the production of dreams, 
  reveries, poetry, fantasies and psychotic states,
  while the general themes of concern may be 
  identified easily between individuals, the 
  specific symbolization, concretion, abstraction 
  and representation of those themes is relatively 
  indiosyncratic for each individual.  This of
  course necessitates careful empathic and attentive
  listening on the clinician's part to gather both
  the general flavor and specific meaning of the
  elements of the fantasy state.  This careful 
  listening often means that a personal symbolic
  representational system can be unraveled and its 
  contents can be rendered less mysterious to the
  patient.  In the abduction scenarios however, both
  specific details and themes repeat themselves with
  surprising regularity:  In general, the appearance
  and modus operandi of the aliens, their effect and 
  procedures, their tools and interests, their crafts 
  and physical features all tally from report to
  report with a high rate of concordance. (8,9,10)
  This intriguing fact seems impervious to the 
  socio-economic, educational, national, or cultural 
  background of the abductee.  Similarly, whether the
  individual has had previous contact with the
  literature of abduction seems to make little
  difference in this vein since the reports of
  individuals who can be shown to have had no 
  exposure to abduction literature also contains 
  these common features.  Skilled practitioners and 
  investigators report in these cases that they are 
  convinced that each of these subjects was being
  wholly truthful in his/her report.
  The concordance of both content and event in these
  reports makes them unlike any other fantasy-
  generated material with which I am familiar. 
  Indeed, investigators like Hopkins and others 
  claim they have intentionally withheld 
  dissemination of certain important, frequently
  reported aspects of the abduction scenarios in 
  order to provide a "check" on the material being
  presented to them by individuals who may have had
  access to this literature since abductees may have
  been influenced at either the conscious or the
  unconscious level by it.  In these cases as well, 
  the features which have previously been published 
  as well as those withheld are both produced by the
  abductee (11).  In instances in which the patient 
  has read some of the abductee literature, this
  previously withheld material may be offered to the
  investigator with a sense of personal invalidation, 
  apology and embarrassment. He often expresses 
  concern that this information is less likely to be
  believed than the other material with which he is 
  already familiar. (12)
  Jung and others have written widely about the use 
  of archetypes and the collective awareness of 
  themes and images which are asserted to present 
  themselves in a world-wide and multi-personal way. 
  The amount of individual variation and creative 
  latitude demonstrated within the closed system of 
  archetypes and collected creativity is vast.  Those 
  who pose such universals detect their presence in
  the complex and highly idiosyncratic presentations 
  and guises which they are given by the unconscious 
  mind of the patient and the artist.  This disguise 
  is idiosyncratic, they hold, precisely because a set 
  of available images is being used to work and rework 
  the personal realities of the individual against the 
  background of the collective. But the abductee does 
  not seem to be involved in the reworking of personal
  mythologies against the canvas of the race's mythology.
  The details and contents of the scenarios seem, upon 
  extensive investigation, to bear little thematic 
  relevance to the issues inherent in the life of the 
  abductee. Intensive follow up investigation frequently
  yields no thematic, archetypical, primary process 
  symbolic meaning to the shape or activities of the 
  abductors and the scenario of the abduction itself. 
  Instead, therapeutic work in these cases centers 
  around the issues inherent in the powerlessness and
  vulnerability of the individual even is this were not 
  a prominent theme in his life before the putative 
  abduction.  In other words, the customary richness of
  association and creativity found in the examination of 
  dreams and other fantasy material is lacking with regard
  to the scenario and presentation of the aliens who 
  abduct and manipulate the patient in the abduction story.
  If the abduction material is indeed archetypal or 
  fantasy generated in nature, this is a new class of 
  archetypes.  These archetypes demand rather exact 
  representation and mythic presentation since the 
  activities and behavior of the aliens is rather 
  invariant within a narrow latitude regardless of the
  other dream and fantasy themes of the patient.
  the lay and professional communities frequently assume
  that material referring to UFO abduction scenarios is
  retrieved under hypnosis.  Since it is generally believed
  that people under hypnosis are open to the implantation
  of suggestions through the overt or covert influence of 
  the hypnotist it is concluded that this material 
  reproduces the hypnotists' expectations or interests.  
  It is further concluded that since the hypnotist "put it
  there" the abduction could not be accounted for as
  material which emerges solely from the patient's end of
  Thus, the abduction scenarios are commonly dismissed as
  merely representing the production of desired material
  by compliant subjects. The abductees strong sense of 
  personal conviction that this really happened to him 
  during the session itself and upon recall of the 
  session is similarly dismissed as an artifact of the 
  process by which the fantasies were generated.
  Several compelling factors mitigate against the facile 
  dismissal of data in this way.  Firstly, about 20% of 
  these highly concordant abduction scenarios are available
  spontaneously at the level of conscious awareness prior
  to hypnosis.  (13,14)  These accounts may be enhanced or
  subjected to further elaboration through the use of 
  hypnosis or other recall enhancement techniques, but in
  a significant number of people producing abduction
  scenarios the recall is initially produced without 
  recourse to such techniques.  If their stories were 
  substantially different from the concordant abduction
  scenarios produced under regressive hypnosis, a 
  different phenomenon would be taking place.
  However, given the perplexing clinical presentation of 
  similar stories from dissimilar people who are 
  uninformed about one another's experience, this presents
  another highly interesting area of discrepancy.
  Hopkins has classified patterns of abduction recall 
  into five categories:
	Type 1.  patients consciously recall parts of 
        the full abduction scenario without hypnotic or
        other techniques designed to aid recall. The
        emergence of this material may be delayed.
	Type 2.  patients recall the UFO sighting, 
        surrounding circumstances and/or aliens, but do
        not recall the abduction itself. Only a perceived 
        gap in time indicates any anomalous occurrence.
	Type 3.  patients recall a UFO and/or hominids 
        but nothing else. There is no sense of time lapse
        or dislocation.
	Type 4.  patients recall only a time lapse or 
        dislocation.  No UFO abduction scenario is 
        recalled without the use of specific retrieval
	Type 5.  patients recall noting relating to UFO 
        or abduction scenarios.  Instead they experience
        discrepant emotions ranging from uneasy suspicions
        that "something happened to me" to intense, 
        ego-dystonic fears of specific locations, 
        conditions or actions.  They may also exhibit 
        unexplained physical wounds and/or recurring dreams
        of abduction scenario content which are not fixed
        in their experience as to place and time. (15)
	Examination of the transcripts of hypnotic sessions
        which yield abduction material reveals that 
	although subjects are sufficiently suggestible to
        enter the trance state as directed by the 
        therapist, they resist having material "injected"
        into their account.  They customarily refuse to be
        "lead" or distracted by the therapist's attempts
        to change either the focus or content of their
        report.  The subject characteristically insists
        upon correcting errors or distortions suggested or
        implied by the hypnotist during the session.  Hence
        it is difficult to account for the similarities 
        and concordances of these scenarios through the 
        mechanism of suggestibility when these subjects so
        steadfastly refuse to be lead by hypnotists.
	In fact, it is even more striking that while these
        patients feel the material which they are producing 
        both in and out of hypnosis as experientially "real",
        nonetheless they frequently seek to discount or
	explain away this bizarre and frightening material.
	This remains true even though sharing it regularly
	results in a significant remission of anxiety-
	related symptoms and discomfort.  These abduction
	scenarios are so ego-alien that they have frequently
	not shared the material with anyone at all or with
	only a highly select group of trusted intimates. In
	the vast preponderance of cases patients are reluctant
	to allow themselves to be publicly identified as
	having had these experiences since they perceive 
	that the abduction scenario is so highly anomalous
	that they expect to experience ridicule and 
	repudiation if they become associated with it 
	publicly.  It therefore functions like a guilty
	secret in the way that rape has (and, unfortunately
	still does in some cases).
	After the material is produced and explored, these
	subjects often experience a marked degree of relief.
	This is true with reference both to previously 
	identified symptomatic behaviors and other anxiety
	manifestations not noted on initial assessment. 
	These other symptoms may remit after enhanced recall
	of the scenario and its details takes place.  It is
	interesting to note that while the scenarios may 
	contain a good deal of highly traumatic material 
	specifically related to reproductive functioning,
	these episodes are nearly uniformly free of 
	subjective erotic charge when either the manifest
	or latent contents are examined.
	described in the content of battle fatigue (16).
	Although it may present in a wide variety of 
	clinical guises (17) PTSD is currently understood
	as a disorder which occurs in the context of
	intolerable externally induced trauma which floods]
	the victim with anxiety and/or depression when his
	overwhelmed and paralyzed ego defenses prove
	inadequate to the task of organizing unbearably 
	stressful events.  In the service of the patient's
	urgent attempt to still the tides of disorganizing
	anxiety, fear or guilt<18> which accompany the 
	emergence of cognitive, sensory or emotional recall
	of these traumatic events, the trauma itself may be
	either partly or completely unavailable to 
	conscious recall. <19>...Both physical and 
	psychological responses to the trauma are profound 
	and pervasive. PTSD follows overwhelming real-life
	trauma and is not known to present as a sequel to
	internally generated fantasy states.<20> This 
        fourth area of discrepancy between predicted and 
        observed data is perhaps the most striking and 
        challenging. Patients who produce alien abduction
        material in the absence of psycopathology severe 
        enough to account for it often show the clinical 
        picture of PTSD. This is remarkable when one 
        considers that it is possible that no traumatic 
        event occured except that rooted only in fantasy. 
	These trauma are, in large measure, split off,
	denied and repressed as they are in other 
	occurrences of PTSD.
	As discussed above, these scenarios frequently 
	appear in individuals who are otherwise free of 
	any indication of significant emotional and
	psychological instability or pre-existing severe 
	psycopathology. On careful clinical assessment, 
	these memories do not appear to fill the 
	intrapsychic niches usually occupied by psychotic
	or psycho-neurotic formulations. The abduction 
	scenarios do not encapsulate or ward off 
	unacceptable impulses, they do not define  split off affects, they are not 
	used either to stabilize or to divert current or 
	archaic patterns of behavior nor do they provide 
	secondary gain or manipulative control for the 
	Instead, this material, experienced by the patient
	as unwelcome and totally ego-dystonic, seems quite
	consistently to be woven into the fabric of the 
	patient's internal life only in terms of his 
	reactive response to the stress inherent in these
	experiences and the contents of the repressed
	material related to the stressful memories.  But 
	the extent of this secondary response can be 
	extensive.  It should be noted that PTSD has not 
	previously been thought to occur following trauma
	which has been generated solely by internally 
	states.  If abduction scenarios are in fact 
	fantasies, then our understanding of PTSD need to
	be suitably broadened to account for this heretofore
	unexpected correlation.
	In addition, there are significant clinical 
	implications to the finding of abduction scenario
	material in a patient who shows PTSD but is 
	otherwise free of significant psychopathology. 
	Since abduction scenario material presents several
	crucial areas of anomaly and discrepancy between
	what is known and that which is observed.  It is 
	very important for the therapist to refrain from 
	the comfortable (for the therapist, at least)
	description of psychotic functioning to the 
	patient who produces this material until such 
	disturbance is, in fact, demonstrated and 
	corroborated by the presence of other signs beside
	the UFO-related material.  It is imperative for the
	therapist to adopt a non-judgemental stance.  He
	can attend to the distress of the patient without
	attempting to confirm or deny possibilities which 
	are outside the specific area of his expertise.  
	The clinician should adopt as his therapeutic 
	priority the alleviation of the PTSD symptomology
	through the use of appropriate and acceptable 
	methods specific to the treatment of PTSD.  In 
	addition, the therapist must remember that while 
	he may have strong convictions pro or con the 
	abduction actually having occurred, it is not with
	in either his capability or expertise to make such
	a judgement with total certainty.  Furthermore, as
	the clinical psychologist who evaluated the nine 
	abductees pointed out in her addendum, the 
	sophistication of the psychotherapies has not 
	advanced to the point at which this determination
	can be made on the basis of currently available in
	formation (21), although the treatment of post 
	traumatic symptomology is currently understood.  
	Hence, it is important for the therapist to retain
	the same non-judgemental and helpful stance 
	necessary to the successful treatment of any other
	traumatic insult. When a therapist labels material
	as either unacceptable or insane, the burden of the
	patient is increased.  If the therapist is reacting
	out of prejudices which reflect his own closely-held
	beliefs rather than his complete certainty, he 
	unfairly increases the distress of the patient.
	SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS:   Although it has long
	been the "common wisdom" of both the professional
	and lay communities that anyone claiming to be the
	victim of abduction by UFO occupants must be 
	seriously disturbed, thoroughly deluded or a liar,
	careful examination of both the reports and their
	reports calls this assumption into question. 
	Clinical and psychometric investigation of 
	abductees reveals four areas of discrepancy between
	the expected data and the observable phenomena and
	suggests further investigation.  These discrepant 
	areas are:
	absence of severe psychopathology coupled with the
	high level of functioning found in many abductees 
	is a perplexing and surprising finding. Psychometric
	evaluation of nine abductees revealed a notable 
	heterogeneity of psychological and psychometric 
	characteristics.  The major area of homogeneity was 
	in the absence of significant psychopathology.  
	Rather than consulting a subset of the severely 
	disturbed and psychotic population, there is 
	clinical evidence that at least some abductees are
	high functioning, healthy individuals.  This 
	interesting discrepancy requires further 
	2. CONCORDANCE OF REPORTS   Highly dissimilar 
	people produce strikingly similar accounts of 
	abductions by UFO occupants.  The basic scenarios
	are highly concordant in detail and events.  This
	is surprising in light of the widely divergent 
	cultural, socio-economic, educational, occupational,
	intellectual and emotional status of abductees.
	Further, the scenarios themselves do not seem to 
	show the same layering of affect and symbolic 
	richness present in other fantasy endowed material.
	Instead, symbolic and conceptual complexity centers
	around the meaning of the experience for the 
	individual, not around the shape, form, activity, 
	intent, etc., of the aliens and their environment. 
	This is in stark contrast to the expected 
	complexity and diversity of thematic and symbolic
	elaboration found in our fantasy material.
	Abduction scenario concordance is frequently 
	attributed to the introduction of material into 
	the suggestible mind of a hypnotized patient. 
	Examination of abduction reports indicates that 
	a significant percentage of these reports emerge
	into conscious awareness prior to the use of 
	hypnosis or other techniques employed to stimulate
	recall.  Furthermore abductees resist being lead
	or diverted during hypnosis and regularly insist
	on correcting the hypnotist so that their report
	remains accurate according to their own perceptions.

	Stress Disorder (PTSD) has not been previously 
	reported in patients experiencing overwhelming 
	stress predicted only in internally generated 
	states such as psychotic delusional systems or 
	phobias.  But patients reporting abduction 
	frequently show classic signs and symptoms of PTSD.
	Like other kinds of PTSD it is subject to clinical
	intervention which frequently leads to substantial
	clinical improvement.  But in order for this 
	improvement to occur, the patient must be treated
	for the PTSD he exhibits rather than the psychotic
	state he is presumed to display by virtue of his 
	abduction report.  If the abduction scenarios
	represent only a fantasy state, then it is worth 
	investigating why (and how) this particular highly
	concordant and deeply disturbing fantasy is 
	involved in the pathogenesis of a condition 
	otherwise seen only following externally induced 
	trauma. Further, if this is found to be the case, 
	the nature of PTSD itself should be re-examined in
	light of this finding. Alternatively, it may be 
	that the trauma is, in fact, an external one which
	has taken place and the post traumatic state 
	represents an expected response on the part of a 
	traumatized patient.
	It is not within the area of expertise of the
	clinician to make an accurate determination about
	the objective validity of UFO abduction events.
	But it is certainly within his purview to assist
	the patient in regaining a sense of appropriate 
	mastery, anxiety reduction and the alleviation of
	the clinical symptomalogy as efficiently and 
	effectively as possible.  This is best 
	accomplished through an assessment the patient's
	*actual*  state of psycho-dynamic organization, 
	not his *presumed* state.  In other words, in order
	to make the diagnosis of a psychotic or delusional
	state, findings other than the presence of a belief
	in UFO abduction must be present.  In the absence
	of other indications of severe psychopathology, it
	is inappropriate to treat the patient as if he were
	afflicted with such psychopathology.  It lies
	outside the realm of clinical expertise to 
	determine with absolute certainty whether or not a
	UFO abduction has indeed taken place. Patients 
	should not be viewed as demonstrating prima facie
	evidence of pervasive psychotic dysfunction because
	of the abduction material alone nor should they be
	hospitalized or treated with anti-psychotic 
	medication based solely on the presence of UFO 
	abduction scenarios. Instead, they should be 
	assessed on the basis of their overall psychologic
	state.  Unless otherwise indicated, treatment 
	should be focused on the PTSD symptomatology and 
	its repair.
	The areas of discrepancy which arise from the 
	examination of UFO abductees between the expected
	clinical finding and the observed ones highlight 
	interesting questions which require further 
	investigation into the nature and impact of 
	fantasy on psycho-dynamic states and symptom

(1)Westrum, R., Social Intelligence About Hidden Events,
Knowledge:Creation, Diffusion, Utilization, Vol 3 No 3,
March 1982, p.382

(2)Hopkins, B. Missing Time: A Documented Study of UFO
Abductions. New York, Richard Marek 1981.

(3)Slater, E., Ph.D. "Conclusions on Nine Psychologicals"
in Final Report on the Psychological Testing of UFO 
Abductees" Mt Ranier, MD, 1985

(4)Slater, E., Ph.D. Addendum to "Conclusions on Nine
Psychological" in Final Report on the Psychological 
Testing of UFO "Abductees", op.cit.

(5)Creighton, G. "The Amazing Case of Antonio Villas Boas"
in Rogo, D>S>, ed., Alien Abductions. New York, New 
American Library, pp. 51-83, 1980.

(6)Hopkins,B. Missing Time: A Documented Study of UFO 
Abductions. op.cit.

(7)Druffel,A. "Harrison Bailey and the 'Flying Saucer
Disease'" in Rogo, S.D., ed., op.cit.  pp. 122-137

(8)Strieber, W. Communion. New York, Avon, 1987

(9)Fowler, R. The Andreasson Affair. New York, 
Bantam Books, 1979

(10)Fuller, J. The Interrupted Journey. New York, 
Dell, 1966
(11)Hopkins, B. Intruders: The Incredible Visitation 
at Copley Woods. New York, Random House, 1987
(12)Hopkins, B. Personal communications with the author 
about the more than 200 abductees whom Mr. Hopkins has 
investigated both with and without the use of hypnosis.
(13)Westrum, R. personal communication with the author.
(14)Hopkins, B. personal communication with the author.
(15)Hopkins, B. "The Investigation of UFO Reports" in 
The Spectrum of UFO Research. Proceedings of the Second 
CUFOS Conference (September 25-27, 1981), Hynek, M. ed.,
pp 171-2, Chicago, J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO 
Studies, 1988.
(16)Kardiner, A., The Traumatic Neuroses of War. New York,
P. Hoeber, 1941
(17)van Der Kolk, B.A., Psychological Trauma. Washington, 
DC, American Psychiatric Press, 1987
(18)Horowitz,M.J., Stress Response Syndromes. New York, 
Jason Aronson,1976
(19)van Der Kolk, op.cit.
(20)American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and 
Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 3rd ed. 
Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Association, 1980
(21)Slater, op.cit.



Return to the main index