How Do People Come To Believe They Were Abducted By Aliens?
In the last decades, the notion about paranormal, aliens, extraterrestrial life, and federal complots has become fairly common. Since the first well promulgated case of alien abduction in the 1960s (that of Betty and Barney Hill) in North America, more than 1,200 people have reported to the police cases of abduction by some kinds of creatures from the outer space. I don’t believe in any of this, so it’s hard for me to understand how someone, with at least a basic education, can believe in something as absurd and scientifically impossible as being abducted by aliens. One of the most reliable sources about this issue is Susan A. Clancy, a psychology researcher at Harvard University, with her book “Abducted: How People Come to Believe They Were Kidnapped by Aliens”. As Clancy says, “claims of alien abduction have not been taken seriously by most members of the scientific community” (3), so it’s often hard to decide wherever science ends and personal belief begins when talking about a topic like this, but almost everyone can argue that those who believe they’ve been abducted are almost never crazy or psychotic (Perina). “Data from multiple studies indicate that abductees are no more likely that anyone else to suffer from psychiatric disorders. They may score high on measures of creativity, or proneness to fantasy, or intense visual imagery, but so do lot of people who have never claimed contact with aliens” (Clancy 5). So what does actually bring a person to believe he was abducted, considering that he/she doesn’t have any mental disorder? Alien abduction is sometimes associated with sleep paralysis, a paralysis which consists of a period of inability to perform voluntary movements during sleep onset or upon awakening, and may cause narcolepsy, cataplexy, and hypnagogic hallucinations. “Sleep paralysis with hypnopompic hallucinations (…) can be so unexpected and terrifying that people routinely believe...
Cited: Booth, Billy J. "Are Alien Abductions Real? Or All in the Mind?" About.com. Web. 11 Apr. 2012. .
Clancy, Susan A. Abducted: How People Come to Believe They Were Kidnapped by Aliens. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 2005. Print.
Lynn, Steven Jay, and Irving I. Kirsch. "Alleged Alien Abductions: False Memories, Hypnosis, and Fantasy Proneness." Psychological Inquiry 7.2 (1996): 152. Print.
Perina, Kaja. "Alien Abductions: The Real Deal?" PsychologyToday.com. 01 Mar. 2003. Web. 11 Apr. 2012. .
Vonnegut, Kurt. Slaughterhouse-five, Or, the Children 's Crusade: A Duty-dance with Death. New York, NY: Dell, 1991. Print.
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