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from the Unseen - Page 2
devoutly secular upbringing in an intellectually skeptical New York,
German-Jewish family had hardly prepared me for my future career
course, although curiosity and exploration were encouraged. My parents
were academicians. My father, a professor of English literature
at New York's City College, read the Bible to my sister and
me not as the word of God, but as a document of great literary importance
for our culture and personal education.
I became a physician in order to be a psychiatrist, and my orthodox
Freudian psychoanalytic training in Boston contained no critique
of the culture of mechanism and scientific materialism that prevails
in the American medical community. In this worldview, in the words
of intellectual historian Richard Tarnas, "the soul of the
world was voided from the entire universe and was appropriated essentially
by the human being." Furthermore, realities that cannot be
proven by established methods of science were considered of lesser
my Oberlin education, however, was something that encouraged openness
and a willingness to consider distinctly unorthodox possibilities.
The history and culture of the College is filled with challenges
to the social, political, and intellectual status quo. It is more
than mere coincidence that the true pioneer in exploring the alien
abduction phenomenon is Budd Hopkins '53, who first introduced
me to the abductee population.
traditional worldview of my upbringing began to erode when I undertook
three years of training in the Grof holotropic breathwork method,
a therapeutic form that brings about a non-ordinary state of consciousness
through deep breathing and powerful, evocative music. In this altered
state, an expanded reality may open up for the breather. Universes
of possibility open up, and the breather can identify with virtually
any time, being, or place in the cosmos. He or she has access to
the experience of intrauterine and birth-related events, and consciousness
seems to separate from the physical body. The pantheons of mythic
beings become possible objects of such identification.
work softened me up for what was to follow. Without it I would have
rejected the idea that many people of sound mind (more than one
million in the U.S. alone, according to various polls, have conscious
recollection of alien visitations) were encountering entities, although
their characteristics may seem bizarre and the technologies involved
poorly understood. Nevertheless, it was a huge stretch for me to
take seriously the possibility that what the "abductees,"
or "experiencers" as I prefer to call them, were reporting
was in some way real, not simply a product of their minds or imaginations.
the time Abduction was published, I had been working closely
for several years with more than 50 of these individuals in my psychiatry
practice. I was convinced that there was no psychiatric explanation
for what my patients were encountering. This I based on several
factors: their fundamental soundness of mind, including appropriate
skepticism; the close similarity of experiences among individuals
who had not had contact with each other; the association with UFOs
in the vicinity; physical elements; the absence of anything to gain
by reporting these experiences (on the contrary, the experiencers
must be very careful to whom they tell their stories lest they face
doubt, ridicule, and isolation); and, finally, reports of experiences
by children as young as 2 years old.
word got around that I would not immediately treat experiencers
as though they were mentally ill, people of all ages, ethnic backgrounds,
and socioeconomic statuses who thought they might have had alien
encounters sought me out. Before writing anything publicly on this
subject, I had spent hundreds of hours listening with wonderment
to tales that were sometimes so similar to one another as to be
virtually interchangeable. Sometimes the experiencers were astounded
(I call this response "ontological shock") to discover
that other people had had similar experiences, as they had hoped
I could "cure" them of the problem or make it disappear
with a pill or a trenchant psychiatric interpretation.
now the basic outline of the abduction phenomenon is familiar to
most people who read magazines or watch television, but this was
not the case when I began this work in 1990. Even now the authentic
details are rarely depicted accurately in the mass media. Essentially
a person may be "visited" at night or during the day
by humanoid beings of varying description, but most commonly they
are portrayed as three-and-a-half to four feet tall with large heads
and eyes and rather slight bodies. Reptilian, insect-like, light/luminous,
or even actual humans have been described in conjunction with abduction
experiences. Sometimes the individual describes being moved through
space into a craft where various procedures occur. Often these involve
a human/alien reproductive process, which leads in the creation
of one or more hybrid beings with whom the experiencer is likely
to feel a powerful emotional connection.
addition to these physical elements, the experiencers receive information
telepathically from the beings, either through their large black
eyes or from images shown on television-like monitors. Most significantly
this is concerned with the destruction of Earth's living systems,
and, vistas of destruction, often of apocalyptic proportions, are
forced upon the experiencers. One abductee has called this ecological
education "alien boot camp."
the experiencers, who may have had little awareness of the perilous
state of the earth's environment, become passionately committed
to the preservation of our planet. These experiences can be highly
traumatic because they are so shattering of the person's reality.
But if the experiencers are enabled to work through their terror,
powerful spiritual awakenings and growth may occur.
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