11. The Nature of Alien Intentions

Despite the numerous examples of aggressive and humiliating hybrid behavior, the existence of "benign" independent hybrid activity and the "peaceful" and even polite demeanor of the gray aliens have led some abductees and researchers to conclude that the abduction phenomenon is a positive force.


This growing group has launched a crusade to convince the public that the entire alien agenda is benevolent, helpful, and spiritually uplifting.

"I see the ET visitors—the so-termed 'alien humanoids'—as friendly and with positive motivations and beneficial effects."

So writes Dr. John Hunter Gray (formerly John Salter), professor of Indian Studies at the University of North Dakota, committed social activist, winner of the Martin Luther King award for civil rights work, and an abductee.1

Hunter Gray consciously remembered being abducted with his son in 1988. From the fragments he recalled of the event, he knew that kindly extraterrestrials were visiting Earth and that he was personally enhanced by their abduction of him. His view is typical of those of researchers and abductees who believe that aliens are benevolent beings who have come to Earth to help humans on both a personal and a societal level.


Since the early 1980s the Positives have espoused the belief that humanity is fortunate to have been chosen for this beneficence.


Influential Proponents

In addition to John Hunter Gray, there are several other Positive proponents who have shaped a segment of public opinion about the meaning of abductions and the aliens' ultimate intentions. One of the first to champion the idea that aliens are on Earth for our benefit was University of Wyoming professor of Guidance and Counseling Leo Sprinkle. An early pioneer in abduction research, beginning hypnosis in the mid-1960s, Sprinkle concluded that the simple explanation that beings come to Earth for their own purposes was insufficient.

Eventually Sprinkle developed the rationale that "there are two themes to the ET [extraterrestrial] purpose:

1-  ETs are here to rejuvenate planet earth

2-  ETs are here to assist humankind in another stage of evolution

The ETs' method of showing mankind that they are here to help us, he explained, is "through a metamorphosis of human consciousness."2 The metamorphosis takes place, in part, through the lessons that wise aliens teach humans about cosmic matters. The aliens often communicate these lesson through channeling. In the course of his research, Sprinkle came to realize that he himself is an abductee.

In 1980, Sprinkle held the first of his annual conferences in Laramie, Wyoming, which has become a central meeting place for followers of the Positive point of view. At the conferences, Sprinkle often takes questions from concerned individuals about abductions or sightings and "channels" the meaning of the person's event, directly asking the aliens questions and relating the answers. This total acceptance of the spirituality of the abduction phenomenon has made him popular with many abductees and researchers influenced by New Age thought.

Another proponent of Positive themes is Richard Boylan, a former private practice psychologist in Sacramento, California, and also an abductee. Like Hunter Gray and Sprinkle, Boylan interprets his abduction experiences as profoundly benevolent and beneficial for him. His aliens are environmentally minded creatures who want to raise people's consciousness about Earth's problems and humanity's place in the cosmos.


According to Boylan, the "mission" of the aliens,

"is to communicate to humans the concerns the ETs share—concerns about our violence toward each other and our government's violence toward them; about the ecological destruction and degradation we are visiting upon our earth; about our failure to properly care for and educate each child; about our possession of, and intended use of, nuclear weapons as a way to resolve disputes; and about our becoming more conscious of our heritage and our destiny (which both involve the ETs)."3

Boylan believes that the aliens will reveal themselves eventually, and at that time a "conditioned" humanity will not be afraid.


When the great event comes, we will welcome the friendly aliens with open arms as we join with them in universal fellowship.

We look forward as some of the implications of ET-human relationships develop when we finally get to CEIV [Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind—that is, abductions], the open, official, mutually welcomed, meeting of our earth's representatives with the representatives of these other star civilizations, and then we finally have a truly multiracial world, racial in its true sense of races from other planets since we are only one human race with different colors and bone structures and so forth.... If we get rid of our nuclear weapons and our gun-slinging attitude towards solving problems by outdrawing the other guy, then we will be ready for admission into the intergalactic UN, if you will.


We can look forward to cultural exchanges or representatives from earth and other civilizations because they have other things to learn from us just as we have other things to learn from them and this may involve the actual exchange of people going to other planets to observe their society and their representatives here walking among us.4

To Boylan, the aliens are even more acceptable because they believe in a form of Supreme Being and therefore confirm Judeo-Christian monotheism:

"The ETs, too, realize that there's a Supreme Being or a supreme source of everything. They're not kidded that they are the top of the pile either. They acknowledge a supreme source out there—the fountainhead of all life."5

A significant influence on the Positives' belief system has been Massachusetts researcher Joseph Nyman, who began hypnotic regressions of abductees in the late 1980s and added "past lives" to the Positives' vision. When he regressed them to early childhood to recover the first abduction memories, he found he could take some of his subjects back to when they were infants, then back to the womb, and then to a "past life." A few of them "remembered" that they had lived their past lives as aliens.


Nyman hypothesized that abductees were taken from the time they were babies because they already had existed as aliens in past lives.

Not only does Nyman find that many abductees think they were aliens in a past life, but he also suggests that some abductees possess an alien's "consciousness," which imbues their present human form.


For Nyman, the evidence is "overwhelming" that the aliens impose these dual feelings—human and alien—on the abductees.

"It implies the taking up of residence in the human form at birth (or before) of a fully developed intelligence which for a while is aware ' of both its human and non-human nature and of the prearranged monitoring to be conducted throughout life."

Abductees and aliens have "melded" together in some way and in a sense abductees and aliens are the same. Abductees live their present lives with a "dual reference," human and alien.6


This allows the abductee to feel a positive connectiveness to the aliens with a resultant loss of "fear, anxiety, and self-doubt."7

Perhaps the most significant spokesperson for the Positive viewpoint is John Mack of Harvard University. As Mack examined the established structure of abductions, he concluded that the aliens' goal was more than administering clinical procedures. Although Mack says the abduction phenomenon is "mixed" and not entirely positive, he believes abductions bring an opportunity for spiritual transformation and heightened consciousness.

Mack has been influenced by psychiatrist Stanislav Grof, who postulated that the human mind could connect with the "collective unconscious," the universe, and all things animate and inanimate, present and past. Similarly, Mack believes that the abduction phenomenon has the potential, like Eastern metaphysical philosophies, to "depict the universe and all its realities as a vast play of consciousness with physical manifestations."


The effect of abductions can be "personal growth," which results in "an intense concern for the planet's survival and a powerful ecological consciousness."8

In addition, Mack thinks that Western society has cut itself off from "awareness of any higher form of intelligence" in the universe. In his view, the aliens have predicted the destruction of Earth by the encroachment of "techno-destructive and fear-driven acquisitiveness," and he suggests that the aliens may be using the hybridization program and visualizations of our self-destruction to bring about the healing of Earth and "the further evolution of consciousness.""

Within this framework, Mack began hypnotic regression of abductees in 1990, hoping to "push past" their trauma and unveil the essential goodness of the alien higher consciousness. And like Nyman, he found that a number of abductees whom he hypnotized had lived past lives, sometimes as aliens.


Mack concluded that even though most other abduction researchers have not found the past-life-as-alien account, Nyman's "dual reference" was a,

"fundamental dimension of the consciousness expansion or opening that is an intrinsic aspect of the abduction phenomenon itself."10

As a credentialed Harvard faculty member with entree into mainstream intellectual life, Mack became an intellectually courageous and powerful advocate for the abduction phenomenon. Where he deviates from the mainstream is in his belief that the phenomenon transcends conventional ideas about the nature of reality. For Mack, understanding reality requires consciousness expansion that goes beyond traditional science. And such consciousness expansion can only be good for humanity.

A growing number of abductees who are not abduction researchers have also found their experiences spiritually uplifting and transforming. At an abduction conference held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, abductee "Susan" explained that the "communication" she receives from,

"the alien 'guardians' of our planet offers insight and wisdom to a world in need of it. It contains a message of love and support to a planet in need of healing."

She also found personal benefit in the experience:

"Since my experience, I rejoice in being who I am, with no expectations of how I should be, and complete acceptance of who I am. The changes in me are staggering. My life works as if by magic... . Although at one time I thought 'Why me?' now I say "Thank you for choosing me.'"11

Abductee Leah Haley, who related her experiences in her book Lost Was the Key, believes that members of the American military— somehow in conjunction with the aliens—abducted her on many occasions and held her in a barracks-like building. Yet despite these clearly negative experiences, her view of the aliens is positive.


In her children's book, Ceto's New Friends, Haley tells the story of the gray alien Ceto who comes to Earth and meets little Annie and Seth. The three play together, and Ceto invites them on board his UFO. They are happy to go, float up into the object, play various "games," and then are floated back. On the final page, the two happy but weary children look longingly toward the UFO, and the story concludes with Haley writing that "the Spaceship flew away, but Ceto will come back soon to visit his new friends on Earth."12


Although most abductees have not gone as far as this in "humanizing" and sentimentalizing the aliens, Haley's viewpoint is a logical extension of the desire— perhaps the need—for the aliens to be friendly and helpful.

Taken as a group, the Positives' message is that humans have conducted their affairs in a way that will lead to the degradation of the planet and the end of the human species. Humans have caused poverty, ignorance, and overpopulation, and they risk environmental catastrophe and atomic annihilation. The concerned aliens are "educating" abductees to warn us of what is to come if we do not change our behavior.

The Positives argue that aliens are more fully evolved spiritually than humans, and that they have a heightened awareness of the mysteries of the universe. The aliens recognize the specialness of human life and are also aware of how humankind has erred. They respect the sanctity of human life even more than we do. They care about us and love us. The aliens are the teachers and we are the students. They are the parents and we are the children. They must teach us how to behave. Because they are a benevolent species, they have come to help us find solutions to our problems.

Moreover, the Positives believe that alien guidance is not meant only for society in general. The aliens can help the individual abductee to raise himself spiritually by giving him knowledge of higher realms of existence and the connectedness of all things. They can also aid individual abductees physically by curing various problems that they may have.


John Hunter Gray was a recipient of alien largess. His body hair increased, his face and neck narrowed, many wrinkles and blemishes disappeared from his face, and his circulation and blood-clotting improved. He has not been ill since the abduction, and after forty years of smoking, he gave it up with no signs of nicotine withdrawal. He also has had expanded psychic abilities.13


Hunter Gray is convinced that the aliens treat all people with the same kindness and respect that he received.

A key aspect of the Positive strategy to mold public opinion is to change the vocabulary used to describe aliens and abductions. They have denied the legitimacy of the word abductee in favor of the more positively charged experiencer. An abductee is a person kidnapped against his will. An experiencer is specially chosen for a very important task. An abductee has unwanted and traumatic medical procedures administered to him. An experiencer is a willing participant in a grand and wonderful plan. An abductee endures reproductive and sexual procedures that are sometimes tantamount to rape.


An experiencer helps the aliens create new people for the betterment of aliens and humans alike. Abductees are laboratory animals, but experiencers are united with the aliens to build a better world. To reinforce the phenomenon's harmlessness, the Positives use only neutral or friendly terms to describe abduction events: visitors come here for encounters with the experiencers; the visitors are ETs, not aliens. Using these terms humanizes the aliens and makes them seem friendly and benign.


The abduction phenomenon as a whole is "Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind."

Moreover, some Positives aggressively try to discredit researchers who are not in their camp. John Hunter Gray has called abduction researchers who adopt a skeptical or even a neutral stance "gloom and doomers," and he treats them scornfully.


He accuses the "gloom and doom" researchers of being either,

"downright paranoid, motivated by commercial considerations, or ideologically endeavoring to resurrect a new version of the Red Scare."14

Similarly, Positive Richard Boylan has suggested that mainstream abduction researchers are working together with a "self-serving government elite" and CIA operatives to prevent the "real truth" about alien intentions from coming out. The "gloom and doomers" have made the aliens' plans all the more difficult to carry out, because they play on people's fears.15

Both Boylan and Mack de-emphasize the effects of the standard abduction procedures. Boylan believes that gynecological and uro-logical procedures take place only with a very small number of abductees and he rarely focuses on them.16


And although Mack has found nearly the full range of alien physical, mental, and reproductive procedures, he only mentions them in passing while emphasizing what he finds to be the spiritually uplifting elements. Joe Nyman believes that investigators who find that abductees were victimized have been influenced by the popular media, which have publicized abductees who have been victimized. For Nyman, these investigators have "prejudged" the phenomenon and their abduction work is "superficial," and "incomplete."17

The benevolent "spin" that the Positives (both abductees and researchers) put on the abduction phenomenon is puzzling, given the way most people describe their abductions: being unwillingly taken; being subjected to painful physical procedures (sometimes leaving permanent scars); enduring humiliating and abusive sexual episodes, including unwanted sexual intercourse; living with the fear and anxiety of wondering when they will be abducted again.

The Positives acknowledge that some abduction procedures might be painful or traumatic, but they liken the experiences to going to a dentist, where one endures short-term pain for long-term health. They look past fear because the frightened or traumatized abductees fail to understand the aliens' hidden benevolent motivations.


Once the "experiencers" grasp the big picture, they will understand that temporary fear and pain are an insignificant price to pay for the enormous rewards they will reap in the future.


Echoes of the Contactees

The Positives, although more sophisticated and complex, echo the "contactee" thought of the 1950s. The contactees were a group of people who spun tales of having continuing contact with benevolent "space brothers" who had come to Earth to prevent humans from blowing up the planet with atomic bombs and upsetting other planets in the process.


Contactees were careful to suggest that the aliens believed in a Judeo-Christian god, and some even claimed that Jesus was also a religious figure for them. The contactees followed alien-directed missions to spread the word to stop atomic wars, live together in fellowship, and stamp out communism.


Contactee Howard Menger summed it up:

"They are friendly people and are by far more advanced spiritually and physically than the people of this planet. At the present time they are observing us. They wish to help us to help ourselves to attain a higher understanding of life and its meaning.... They are only here to help you and worship the same Infinite Creator that we do."18

At first potentially reasonable, before long the contactee stories become increasingly fanciful. The space brothers gave them short rides in flying saucers—one went from Los Angeles to Kansas City. Howard Menger went to the moon. Eventually, the contactees were flying to Mars, Venus, and the outer planets.


Led by "Professor" George Adamski, Daniel Fry, Orfeo Angelucci, Howard Menger, Truman Bethurum, Buck Nelson, and others, the contactees proved to be a terrible embarrassment to legitimate UFO researchers of the period, who had to spend great amounts of time and money combating them and explain to a confused public that they were charlatans who did not represent legitimate UFO witnesses.19

Of the many influences on contactee thought, perhaps the most significant was the 1951 movie The Day the Earth Stood Still. The movie portrays humans as warlike and the peaceful alien, Klaatu, as possessing an advanced technology that can end disease for humans. Klaatu has a proto-ecological message: If Earth continues on its aggressive, warlike path, its atomic technology will endanger the community of planets; therefore, the Earthlings must renounce war or the alien will use his robot, Gort, to blow up Earth and end the threat to the planetary confederation's peace.

Although the contactees lost popularity in the 1960s, their legacy is still with us. Devoted followers of the teachings of George Adamski and other contactees still exist in the United States.


The modern Swiss contactee Billy Meier has published volumes of philosophical ruminations supposedly derived from aliens who come from the Pleiades constellation. Meier has attracted a large worldwide following and supplies photos, films, and tapes of UFOs, all of dubious origin, in support of his contentions.


Dr. Steven Greer has formed an organization that will take a member to a secluded place and signal aliens to come to Earth for private sightings. Greer's claims suggest a special relationship with the extraterrestrials so that they will do his bidding.

The Positive Leo Sprinkle uses the word "contactee" to describe his and other people's experiences. He feels that meditation can cause a UFO sighting, either in the present life or in one or more past lives.


He claims direct communication with aliens and can get them to answer his questions virtually on demand.


Using the New Age to Cope

It is extremely difficult for unaware abductees who have not undergone competent hypnosis, or who have had none at all, to come to terms emotionally with their abductions. As a result, they develop coping mechanisms to deal with the continual psychological and physical assault from their experiences. To mitigate their victimization, they transform their lifetime of fear and anxiety into a more psychologically bearable scenario.

These abductees seek reassurance and find organizations and people who share their belief that the aliens are benevolent. Often they become involved with New Age groups that focus on the existence of alternative realities. The abductees learn there is more to life than one can know on a conscious, objective level. When they come in contact with the channeling of aliens or spirit-aliens, they "discover" an explanation for their experiences. In channeling, the entity answers all questions, no matter how grand, esoteric, or trivial.


And the channeled messages directly address the rationale behind the abduction experiences: The abductees have been chosen to undertake a mission to help humanity, Earth, the aliens, and the universe. Abductees are not victims—they are important players in a majestic alien plan for the betterment of humanity. Enduring a little fear and pain is a small price to pay for taking part in such an important task.

To circumvent the problems of being taken against their will, living in fear, and being unable to say "no," the New Age abductees believe they have given the aliens "permission" to abduct them, either in a past life or when they were small children. They entered into a verbal contract and, therefore, it is proper, and even legal, for the aliens to abduct them. For New Age Positives, the aliens are humanity's friends.


Godlike, they have come from the heavens to help us find our way. Not only do they have superior technology, but their moral sense, desire for peace, spirituality, and ability to love are all far more advanced than ours. Being a part of their cosmic vision is a privilege and an honor.

Often the New Age Positives band together into almost cult-like groups to defend themselves from their detractors—researchers and abductees who have come to different conclusions about the abduction phenomenon. The Positives reinforce one another's feelings and insulate themselves from the terror of their lives; they become angry when "less enlightened" abduction researchers question their interpretation.

For years critics of the UFO phenomenon spuriously claimed that UFO witnesses were forming a "new religion" based on gods from space. This was never true of UFO witnesses who came forward to report their sightings and then went on with their lives. However, abductees and researchers who have accepted New Age teachings share a quasi-religious sentiment in their interpretation of alien intentions.


They ascribe benevolent powers to the aliens and have an almost religious fervor in protecting the aliens from wrong-thinking individuals who would treat them more as scientific objects than as miraculous messengers. The Positives simultaneously anthropomorphize and deify the aliens. While the benevolent alien-gods were all-powerful, they have a moral structure not unlike our own.


They can destroy us but choose to work for our betterment. In return, they will eventually receive our gratitude and will know that they preserved Earth and the precious life on it, which is intrinsically rewarding to them.

The belief system of the New Age Positives is exceptionally strong because they know the alien-gods exist. After all, they have actually contacted the individual "experiencer," which adds "proof" to their religious belief and drives the "experiencer" to missionary zeal. Each abduction confirms the reality of the phenomenon and strengthens the New Age beliefs. For New Age Positives, the alien-gods are not just a matter of faith—they are a matter of stark fact.

Of course, some New Age abductees have 'sought assistance from a competent hypnotist, one who is well-versed in the abduction phenomenon. As a result, they remember events that do not seem so positive.


Often, the contradiction between belief system and reality is overwhelming, and the abductee breaks off hypnosis, retreating into his protective New Age cocoon.


Rejecting the Importance of Competent Hypnosis

A primary reason for the Positive attitude is that most of these abductees have not undergone competent hypnosis to help them understand what has happened to them. They have only conscious recollections, which are often tainted with screen memories, false memories, fragmented memories, the remnants of imaging and envisioning procedures, and wishful thinking.

In abduction research, memories derived hypnotically under the guidance of a competent hypnotist are more reliable than conscious memories. This is clearly demonstrated by analyzing the abduction "frame"—the first few seconds and the last few seconds of the abduction—which usually takes place in the person's normal environment.


Unaware abductees (those who have not undergone expert hypnosis) often extrapolate from memory fragments of these periods. For example, an unaware abductee might remember that an alien came close to him or her in bed to "greet" him, when under hypnosis this is revealed to be a staring procedure to subdue the ab-ductee. An unaware abductee will say that he watched aliens in his room, told them that he did not want to be abducted that night, and watched the obliging aliens depart.


But under hypnosis, the unaware abductee reveals that the scenario he consciously remembered consists of only the first few seconds of the abduction, when the aliens first appear, and the last few seconds of the abduction, when they leave two hours later. It does not include the actual abduction. The aliens in both cases had originally and falsely appeared to be more reasonable and "human," exhibiting concern for the abductee and honoring his wishes.

Experience with unaware abductees clearly leads to the conclusion that the most serious barrier to competent abduction research is incompetent hypnosis. This problem is compounded by lack of agreed-upon standards for conducting hypnosis on abductees, and by the continuing debate over the meaning of UFO abductions.


Without standardized methodology, a hypnotist can use any induction or questioning technique—no matter how experimental, untried, or dubious—to explore abduction accounts. Questionable technique coupled with the hypnotist's lack of knowledge of the abduction phenomenon results in false memories, inserted memories, confabulation, dissociative states, and error.

A second barrier to competent abduction research is the mindset of the hypnotist. Many hypnotists and therapists who work with abductees adhere to New Age philosophies and actively search for confirmational material. During hypnosis, the hypnotist emphasizes material that reinforces his own world view. If both the subject and the hypnotist are involved with New Age beliefs, the material that results from the hypnotic sessions must be viewed skeptically, because their mindset can seriously compromise their ability to discern the facts.

Competent abduction hypnosis is difficult. Each question must be intrinsic to the abductee's narrative and should grow organically from it, without introducing extraneous material. The investigator should critically evaluate each answer in light of the established knowledge of the abduction phenomenon, the abductee's suggestibility and ability to filter out erroneous memories, the internal integrity of the account, and that ineffable but supremely important element—common sense.

When unskilled hypnotists regress an abductee, they fail to situate him in the event's minute-by-minute chronology. Without links to a temporal sequence, the abductee can interpret the events without the facts necessary to guide his thoughts, which leads to confabulation and other memory problems. The inadequate hypnotist and the abductee engage in a mutual confirmational fantasy: the abductee reports the fantasy; the hypnotist assumes that the abductee's narrative is objective reality. And then by asking questions about the details of the pseudo-event, the hypnotist validates its reality.

Research over the years has shown that the aliens are rational. Virtually everything that happens during abductions is, given adequate information, comprehensible and logical. A systematic, rigorous, and skeptical approach to this phenomenon has successfully uncovered its secrets; there is no reason to abandon competent analysis in favor of religious or philosophical belief systems.

Furthermore, mainstream abduction researchers have been unable to uncover anything paranormal, spiritual, religious, or metaphysical about the phenomenon.


There is no evidence to support New Age hypnotherapists' contention that once the abductee "pushes past the trauma" of his abduction, he will encounter "spirit guides" or "guardian angels" who will steer him safely through abduction events, protect him in ordinary life, and guide him toward enlightenment. Usually "pushing past the trauma" comes at the expense of rooting the abductee in the reality of what is happening.


Thus, the naive hypnotherapist has unwittingly pushed the abductees into unrecognized dissociative states.


Spiritual Assumptions and Validational Questioning

John Mack is a good example of a hypnotist who has relied more on New Age thinking than on an objective approach to hypnosis. Mack's personal study of consciousness transformation and spiritual enlightenment informs and shapes his assumptions and questions during hypnotic regressions. From the beginning of his interest in abductions, he thought the accepted interpretations of the abduction phenomenon—that the beings had their own agenda of physiological exploitation of humans—were inadequate.


He also suspected that mainstream abduction researchers were finding the accepted abduction structure because they "pull out of the experiencers what they want to see."20

Ignoring the well-documented research about repression, recovered memory, confabulation, false memories, and mistakes that abductees commonly make about visualization procedures, Mack began to delve into the phenomenon from an unconventional perspective. For his hypnotic sessions, he used a combination of traditional hypnosis and modified Grof "breath" work (holotropic breathing), in which the subject regulates the intake and exhaust of oxygen and carbon dioxide. In full-fledged holotropic breathing, people can feel they are experiencing their birth, some can hallucinate quite strongly, and many have powerful emotional reactions.


The effect of even modified breath work on hypnosis and on memory formation and retrieval is unknown, but information derived with it must be treated with caution.21

In spite of his New Age viewpoint and methodology, Mack found much of the same material that other researchers have uncovered:

"These individuals reported being taken against their wills by alien beings, sometimes through the walls of their houses, and subjected to elaborate intrusive procedures which appeared to have a reproductive purpose."22

But Mack also began to hear more "spiritual" and transformational accounts from abductees who either related conversations with aliens or just "knew." Rather than proceeding with extreme skepticism, he assumed the abductee's veracity and incorporated the information into an idiosyncratic abduction scenario.

Mack is sensitive to charges of "leading" the subject within the hypnotic session. He sincerely says he does,

"not lead clients in any particular direction so that if information that is relevant to the spiritual or consciousness expanding aspects of the abduction phenomenon emerges during our sessions, it will do so freely and spontaneously and not as a result of specific inquiries of mine."23

Yet he also sincerely believes that the construction of an abduction scenario depends on the "intermingling or flowing together of the consciousness of the two (or more) people in the room." They "co-creatively" build an experience that they share for the benefit of both.24

While Mack does not "lead the witness" in the classic meaning of the phrase, he embraces the "positive" therapeutic technique that leads to mutual confirmational fantasies and easily steers the abductee into dissociative channeled pathways. This technique may be temporarily useful, but it represents the antithesis of the goal of scientific research—to uncover the facts.

Apparently unconcerned with the problems of dissociation and channeling, John Mack accepts "recollections" at face value. For example, one of Mack's subjects, Ed, "remembered" a female being who told the young man that he possessed special gifts and powers and recommended an environmental course of action for him.

"Listen to the earth, Ed," [the being said]. "You can hear the earth. You can hear the anguish of the spirits. You can hear the wailing cries of the imbalances. It will save you. It will save you.... Things are going to happen," she said, but he must "listen to the spirits," even if he is taunted and not feel overwhelmed.


"She gave me a flash... she opened up that channel and turned up the volume. Some of [the spirits] are crying; some of them are mirthful. She just ran me through the whole thing in a couple of seconds, 'All this you can see, hear, and feel. Other people may think you are crazy.'"

The earth itself, the being told him, is enraged at our stupidity, and "the earth's skin is going to swat some bugs off" that do not know how to "work in symbiotic harmony" with it.

Instead of treating this "dialogue" with extreme skepticism, Mack asks the validational question that confirms the fantasy and calls for more information:

"I asked Ed how this swatting off was going to happen."25

By posing this question, he unknowingly joins with the subject in a mutual confirmational fantasy that assumes the authenticity of the information and adds import to it.

There are many examples of validational questioning in Mack's published research, which make the information upon which he bases his theories exceptionally suspect. But despite his methodology, Mack's Positive stance is appealing to many people, and his methodology is typical of the researchers who have found abductions to be positive. The Positive outlook, however, does not only emanate from methodological inadequacies.


There are procedures that aliens perform within the abduction phenomenon that also generate Positive feelings—but in unexpected ways.


Alien Affirmation of the Positive Viewpoint

Some abductees think that aliens are benevolent as a direct result of abduction procedures. The aliens can be civil, caring, and even kindly. They can ensure that the abductees will not feel pain during invasive procedures.


They can sometimes cure ailments. They can be appreciative. They do reaffirm that the abductee is a "special" person. For women, the Mindscan procedure, with its elicitation of romantic and sexual feelings, can encourage them to feel love and affection for the aliens. When these women think of aliens, they do so with a vague yearning, a sense of emotional emptiness, as if recalling a haunting memory of a long-lost lover.

Abductees have spent their lives entangled in the abduction phenomenon, and the aliens sometimes use this fact for their own purposes. They often tell abductees that they are part of the alien "family," and they frequently tell children that the aliens are their "parents." Abductees often feel a sense of loss when their hybrid offspring are taken away, reinforcing the idea that they have an emotional interest elsewhere, not on Earth. For these abductees, the aliens must be benevolent. The two species are working together to create a better world.


The Positive interpretation is a natural outcome of these close links and active collaboration.


Are the Positives Correct?

It is premature to assume that the Positives are completely wrong about alien intentions. It is possible that the aliens will, in the end, help humankind and the world. Their intervention in the rush of human events might be a positive step toward solving the problems of disease, the environment, and war. However, at this time the evidence of benevolent intentions is, at best, ambiguous.


One thing is certain: Most abductees say the phenomenon has had a devastating effect on their personal lives. Many have phobias, scars, bruises, and physical problems, especially gynecological and urological dysfunction. Many live in fear that it will happen again and feel guilty that they cannot protect their children.

The debate over alien intentions again brings up the question of what is believable in abduction research. Hypnosis, consciously recalled memories, false memories—is there a way of separating the "signal from the noise"? Uncovering the reality of abduction events is difficult but feasible. Methodological rigor has developed a core of solid information, confirmed by hundreds of abductees, and it has enabled investigators to understand the abduction phenomenon.


Alien intentions, an area that could not be addressed from an evidentiary standpoint in the past, depends on the aliens' ultimate goals. Their intentions are linked to the end of their program and can be narrowed down to three possibilities: Their actions are mutually beneficial to both the aliens and humans; they are beneficial to the aliens and intentionally harmful to humans; or they are beneficial to the aliens who simply do not care what human consequences their actions might have.

Is there any way to discern what the outcome will be?


Our present state of knowledge has finally allowed us to understand what most probably will happen in the future when the aliens' goals and intentions will be made evident. We do not yet have all the pieces to the puzzle but the outlines are well-defined and the picture is clearly recognizable.


It is not a picture that I enjoy looking at.


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