ET Among Us - Nearly A
Million Americans Say
They've Been Abducted
By Christine C. Fien
© 2001 Brighton Pittsford Post

Nearly one million Americans say they've had an alien abduction experience.
While there's many conventional explanations for the experiences, no one theory can totally account for the phenomena, says Dr. Stuart Appelle, psychology professor at SUNY Brockport.
Appelle's interest in perception and consciousness has led him to study the alien abduction experience. His work has appeared in the journal "Science" and several other publications. He is also editor of the "Journal of UFO Studies", an academic journal dedicated to UFO-related phenomena.
Appelle is interested in the abduction experience and the degree to which abductees report very similar experiences.
"Many people feel that the consistency, in and of itself, is strong evidence that people are reporting real experiences," he said. "Even the sequence is the same."
Most abductees report being taken from their bedrooms, or after they are stopped in their vehicles along an isolated strip of road, Appelle explained. They usually report some kind of close encounter, such as seeing a UFO or even aliens.
"Generally, this is followed by a period of amnesia," Appelle said. "The next thing they know, the UFO is gone and they're back in their car traveling down the highway, and an hour or two has passed and they can't account for it."
When the "memory" returns, either spontaneously or through hypnosis, abductees claim to have been aboard a spaceship or in an "unusual environment," Appelle said.
"Typically, they are subjected to various physical and psychological examinations, carried out by beings that look not human," he said.
Most abductees describe aliens similarly; gray, about 4- or 5-feet tall, with disproportionately large heads for their bodies, and very large, almond-shaped eyes.
Popular theories that attempt to explain the abduction phenomena, unsuccessfully, include hypnosis and sleep-paralysis, Appelle said, adding that neither can account for all reports of alien abductions.
Hypnosis can create false memories, Appelle said, and abductees don't go to a hypnotist out of the blue. They go because they have "missing time" - sometimes hours they can't account for - or suspect they may have been abducted.
While hypnosis may embellish the story, the core experience is still there, Appelle said.
Sleep-paralysis as an explanation to debunk abduction accounts also falls short, he said. During an occurrence of sleep-paralysis, people wake up feeling like they can't move, can't speak, and sometimes sense a disturbing presence in the room. The problem is, Appelle said, that this theory doesn't explain highway abductions. Sleep-paralysis experiences also tend to be very vague, while accounts of alien abductions are rich in detail, he said.
"Sometimes you can even get down to details of such things like emblems on uniforms," he said.
Appelle said he is "open-minded" on the subject of abductions.
"I don't, like some people, think that it is inherently impossible, so I'm willing to entertain the idea that these experiences are exactly what they seem to be," he said. "It's a phenomena that does not yet have a documented explanation."
Appelle will lecture on reports of alien abduction at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 14, at the R.I.C. University Center, 1150 University Ave. For more information, call Rochester Info-courses at 256-1960.


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