By Eve Frances Lorgen, M. A.
“You have had this terrible, terrible dream.” The psychologist patronized the young man.
Exasperated, the 17-year-old disagreed emphatically, “No, no, it was not a darned dream!”
The invalidating response to the young man’s alien abduction experience did not stop him from trusting his instincts.
Thirty years later and much wiser, the man, Derrel Sims, is now Chief of Physical Investigations for Houston UFO Network (HUFON). Derrel Sims and his multidisciplinary team of consultants investigate and research various aspects of the UFO abduction phenomena. As a consultant, my knowledge and experience has challenged me to examine the dream-like, insidious nature of UFO abductions.
Although the above remark concerning Sims abduction took place thirty years ago, such attitudes still prevail today. Abductee is a term given to those who have been abducted involuntarily by the alien presence. Some choose to be referred to as contactees, star children or simply, UFO experiencers.
Experiencers who have had direct contact with the alien presence are often their own best experts when it comes to understanding the UFO abduction phenomena. In my professional opinion, it takes a combination of personal experience with the alien presence and a knack for logical, critical, thinking to better understand UFO abductions. If you think you have had a UFO abduction experience and were told, “It was just a silly dream.” Think again.
To illustrate the dream-like nature of UFO abduction memories, let me describe a genuine, alien abduction incident that occurred to a woman named Marcia (a pseudonym) in my support group.
Marcia was on her way to a business appointment in the late afternoon. She waited in line on a busy street to merge onto the freeway. Marcia opened her car window to look out, and up above her she saw a huge craft hanging low, right above her car. Marcia described the craft as enormous, almost as big as a city.1 The next thing she remembered, about an hour later, is being at her business appointment very disoriented, and her head throbbed. Marcia’s business associate even commented on how pale and out of sorts she appeared. For the next several days Marcia had a bad headache, her nose bled, and she was extremely disoriented with respect to her perception of time. Marcia’s body seemed to be on fast forward, and time all around her seemed to go slowly.
Her fingernails grew faster than usual. She needed less sleep, and would wake up after three or four hours, feeling as if a whole night had passed. By the third day, Marcia developed pain and inflammation in her upper gum area, and went to the dentist. The dentist assumed she had a localized infection, such as an abscess and took x-rays. The x-ray revealed a small anomalous object in her gum. Assuming it was an abscess, the dentist prescribed antibiotics, and sent Marcia home.
For the next week Marcia had strange dreams of a tall, thin, pale alien, who raised a long, metallic instrument up to her face. Frightened with terror, Marcia screamed, and then blacked out. Marcia also dreamed of seeing other women, also clad in short, white, hospital type gowns, being transported in a large elevator room with the tall, pale, alien. Marcia intuitively understood in her dream that this was a “harvest.”
The disorientation and short term memory problems lasted about a week, but Marcia’s odd dreams continued. Intermittently, she had frightening, apocalyptic dreams about mass destruction. In one dream Marcia observed what was left of a large city. Buildings demolished, a gas like stench in the air, and dazed people walking around in dirty, tattered clothing, searching for food and water. Marcia saw several small, alien beings, in gray jumpsuits and black capes. Marcia intuited that these beings were “the new police.” She was also told by a voice in the dream to store unsalted soda crackers and water. She would have to fight, beg and steal for water and food, and to become prepared.
The story just described is an illustration of the dream-like nature of the apparent UFO abduction memory. The memories of an abduction often recur as dream flashbacks, hours, days, months or even years after the alien encounter. Some people remember nothing, other than missing time. Oftentimes the memory surfaces, only to be quickly lost again, like a forgotten dream upon awakening. Why is this?
To better understand why alien abductions are perceived as dreams, and how to increase memory recall, a psychophysiological approach is useful. Through my studies of sleep, dreams, altered states of consciousness and lucid dreaming, I noticed similarities between abduction experiences and dream states.
Normally, one enters dreaming sleep following a progressive relaxation into different levels of consciousness: Stages 1,2,3,4 and rapid eye movement or REM sleep. Dreaming occurs in REM sleep, and is also referred to as paradoxical sleep, because the brain wave patterns resemble waking consciousness, except for relaxed, paralyzed muscle tone.
The unique thing about REM sleep is the paralyzed muscle tone. Some believe it is nature’s way of protecting us from acting out our dreams, which could obviously be harmful. The only voluntary movement in REM sleep is eye movement and respiration.
During the activation of REM sleep – with its concurrent muscle paralysis – the critical faculty of the brain is switched off. The critical faculty is the ability to think contextually with self-referencing thought processes. In other words, conscious awareness of one’s dreaming state. The absence of this critical faculty in normal dreaming sleep is why one accepts bizarre and nonsensical events in dreams. Neurophysiologically, the loss of the critical faculty of the brain occurs because the aminergic neurons in the brainstem are at lowered activity levels in REM sleep.
In lucid dreaming, the critical faculty is switched on while the dreamer is still in the paralyzed, REM sleep state. Lucid dream researcher Stephen La Berge, Ph.D. has discovered that there is higher central nervous system activity in lucid dream sleep.
In the dream state, whether lucid or not, external sensory perception is limited, while internal sensory perception is the primary experiential reality. If it were not so, our dreams would not seem so real. The realness and vividness of our dreams are likely to be due to the degree and intensity of neural activation, in comparison to external sensory perceptual input. If our external physical senses are decreased, then our internal perceptions such as mental imagery increase, relatively speaking.
One of the reasons we can visualize images in our minds’ eye is due to the neural activation of the pineal gland, located in the brain. The pineal gland is believed to be the physiological correlate of the psychic “third eye.” It is interesting to note that the pineal gland and the eyes both contain the same types of nerves that enable visual perception. The pineal gland is responsible for internal visual imagery, and the eyes for external optical perception. In REM sleep the sensory input (e.g., tactile, auditory, optical) is actively suppressed and distorted, so that internal visual sensory perception overrides.
So what does all this have in common with the alien abduction experience? Many abductees report a muscle paralysis similar to that of the REM sleep state at the onset of an abduction episode.2 The individual may sense a strange stillness or electrical feel to the air. They sometimes see blue or white light, hear tones, feel a warm blanket sensation and complete paralysis, except for the ability to move their eyes. Often, the ‘abduction induced paralysis’ occurs directly from the waking state, while fully conscious, much like a wake-induced lucid dream.
Most abductions occur directly from the person’s bedroom at night while they are in a relaxed or sleep state. After the paralysis, the abductee may recall being floated out through a wall, window or ceiling up into a UFO craft. Sometimes the person is magnetically pulled up out of bed by a blue or white beam of light that emanates from the craft. At various points in the abduction scenario the individual may lose consciousness. Often the abductee will black out right before entering the craft, or prior to a frightening procedure done by the aliens. Sometimes the aliens deliberately cause the subject to lose consciousness if they get too inquisitive or uncooperative.
It appears that the alien ‘abductors’ are able to use a technology in which something similar to the REM, sleep paralysis state, is externally induced. This usually prevents the abductee from moving, speaking or maintaining a lucid, critical thinking process to keenly observe their experience. There are exceptions, as some abductees are able to maintain conscious awareness or drift in and out of lucidity during their encounters. These people tend to have a better recall of their abduction experiences. From what I have observed working with abductees, those who have good recall of their events are lucid dreamers naturally. (Those who lucid dream at least once a week or more.) But most abductees have fuzzy memories and dreamlike screen memories of their events.
I contend that the alien abduction experience is perceived through a distorted lens of blunted external sensory perception and through a more, dream like, internal sensory perception. For example, in dreams, external stimuli such as the phone ringing can become incorporated into the dream while the person is still asleep. The auditory stimulus of the phone ringing is processed internally – albeit distorted – and is weaved into a dream scenario, which may or may not make sense.
I think the same thing happens in UFO abductions. Consequently, a procedure performed on someone during an abduction could get incorporated into a dream scenario, or even a screen memory. This may happen because the portion of the brain responsible for external sensory perception is blunted, the critical thinking faculty is switched off and free will is apparently taken away. Whether the free will aspect is altered due to the same neurophysiology, or the result of a simple post hypnotic suggestion, I am not sure.
Another reason why abduction experiences are remembered as dreams is because most memories are, in essence, state dependent. That means when an experience (i.e., abduction) occurs in an altered state of consciousness (such as a dream), then it is more easily recalled in that same state of consciousness. Have you ever recalled a previously forgotten dream while in a dream, yet could not recall the previous dream memory in waking consciousness? This is an example of a state dependent memory.
An important observation was made from the Mass Abduction Event of December 1992, described in detail in the HUFON Report, March 1993. To summarize, Derrel Sims of HUFON employed proactive hypnotic techniques in several abductees, designed to elicit a response from the aliens. Sims’ novel method involved installing post hypnotic suggestions in several abductees to change their behavior during their next abduction. As a result of this work, the same group of aliens abducted eight people from two different states and several cities on the same night. All eight abductees were examined and interrogated on the alien craft together.
One of the eight abductees is naturally gifted with a critical thinking mind, and made several astute observations during the mass abduction. He was able to maintain a high degree of lucidity during his encounter. He recalled seeing many types of aliens and the other seven abductees on the craft. He noticed that the other abductees on the craft looked like they were in a zombie-like trance state–as if they were acting out dreams. Each abductee was given a unique screen memory by the alien abductors. The themes of the screen memories installed were those being acting out in their zombie-like dream state. Derrel Sims discovered this later after hypnotic regression of each individual involved in the mass abduction event.
The abductees who maintained critical thinking thought processes, had better recall of their abduction. In fact, if it hadn’t been for these more lucid abductees, and physical markers (bloody noses, body marks, post abduction syndrome, etc.) that an abduction took place, they may not have remembered it at all. According to Sims, each person present in the mass abduction was given a screen memory by the aliens to forget their encounter. After the screen memories were peeled away through skillful, hypnotic regressive techniques, total recall of the original memory surfaced. The abduction was not a dream. The mass abduction event demonstrated what I suspect is happening to many people without any conscious awareness – getting abducted.
In my own experience working with abductees, those who consistently recall their experiences in greater detail are natural lucid dreamers. Also, those who have extraordinary psychic and mental abilities may be able to recall their alien encounters in full consciousness without missing time or memory blocks. Such an experiencer is Katy Frankovich of the Lime Grove Encounters, a Florida resident who had two alien encounters with a four-and-one-half foot tall, muscular, six fingered, grey alien. The Lime Grove Encounters were published in Unknown Magazine (Issues 2 & 3).
Maintaining a critical thinking process in the waking and dream state is very useful for a more accurate perception of the abduction experience, when it does occur. In this way, we become our own best experts of our experiences, and the world around us. Stephen LaBerge, Ph.D., of Stanford University has conducted numerous experiments on lucid dreams. He has developed mental techniques to enhance both dream recall and induction of lucid dreams.
For those who wish to have greater recall of their dreams – and perhaps alien encounters as well – the best way to start is to keep a dream journal and record your nightly dreams. According to La Berge, the best time to record dreams is immediately after awakening from the dream state, even if it means waking up in the middle of the night. Some techniques that enhance lucid dreaming are:
- Give yourself a mental, post hypnotic suggestion before retiring, “I will become awake within my dreams”.
- Decide on a dream sign that has a tendency to recur in your own dreams, and use this sign as a cue to become lucid, via a mental suggestion before sleeping.
- Set alarm clock to awaken you in the middle of the night. Get up and do some physical activity for about an hour. (Write or read about your dreams, walk around, etc.) Then return to bed with the intention of lucid dreaming.
- If possible, take late morning or afternoon naps with intention of getting lucid. Become aware of the relaxation levels preceding REM sleep. For example, the buzzing sensation and paralysis, and flow with it, keeping very still. If this produces anxiety or fear, augment with prayer.
- Remind yourself several times throughout the day, “Am I dreaming?” – with acute awareness of everything around you, utilizing visual, auditory and tactile senses.
With diligent practice, lucid dreaming is achievable. It is great tool for self-discovery, recreation, and can enhance memories from altered states of consciousness, such as alien encounters. I have personally found this to be true, and very rewarding. But lucid dreamers beware – the aliens may not like it. Perhaps the skeptics who claim alien abductions are just silly dreams are really the ones living in a dream. A non-lucid one!
1. Marcia was uncertain whether any motorist near her car saw the craft. But there was one passing driver several miles away who observed a glowing UFO in the sky in the same general vicinity of Marcia’s encounter. This person even reported his sighting on a local radio show a couple of nights later.
2. The aliens also seem to be able to externally induce “psi” technologies, which stimulate remote viewing and virtual reality abduction scenarios. These are uniquely different from physical abductions and beyond the scope of this paper.
Godwin, Malcolm, “The Lucid Dreamer – A Waking Guide for the Traveler between Worlds.” Simon & Schuster, NY, (1994) Ch. 5
Horary, Keith and Weintraub, Pamela, “Lucid Dreaming in 30 Days. The Creative Dream Program”, (1989) St Martin Press
La Berge, Stephen, “Exploring The World of Lucid Dreaming”, Ballantine Books, (1990)
La Berge, Stephen, Lucid Dreaming: Psychophysiological Studies of Consciousness during REM Sleep”
Sims, Derrel – personal communication
The HUFON Report, March 1993, “The Mass Abduction Event of December, 1992”