I had assumed that the alien abduction myth had gone down the toilet with the late unlamented twentieth century, but here it is again. This book details the abduction experiences of Denise Stonor and her family, and of a family known as the Hendersons. They contain most of the motifs we have seen before, though I see that a new one, the UFOs themselves as living organisms, is now emerging. There is a nice little bit of birth trauma imagery in Denise Stonor’s original story, being sucked through some opening that is too narrow for anyone to go through. This is less likely to be an actual recollection of real birth, than an example of imagery of initiation, perhaps an ‘anti-birth’, a return to the womb to be reborn.
There is little in this book which could be of interest to scientific ufologists. Alleged independent witnesses only appear in the stories told by the main percipients, and as always much of the narrative comes from hypnosis. It may be of more interests to students of religion, who want to see what a religion looks like at its most basic. Here we can see how groups of beliefs emerge to account for anomalous and numinous experiences, and then the beginnings of their systematisation into a more formal theology. This is one which marries a neo-animism, with various kinds of spirit beings, alongside elements of traditional Christianity, therapism, the New Age and forms of western spiritualism. If the ‘old’ spirits were the personification of the natural wilderness, these new ones are surely the personifications of the wilderness of global capitalism and modern technology, against which individuals in the modern technological world are as helpless as those in low tech societies are before the forces of the natural world.
As for the actual experiences, assuming that they are not just made up, or do not have quite mundane explanations, they rather look as though they could be evidence for what we might call ‘global parasomnia’, which basically means that you have just about every sleep disorder known to medical science, and some that aren’t: sleep paralysis, night terrors, somnambulism, REM intrusion, narcolepsy ambulatory narcoleptic states, fugue states, false awakenings, intensely realistic dreams and so on, all mixed in together. This would also account for Marden’s finding, if confirmed, that a higher proportion of abductees than a control group have symptoms of chronic fatigue, it would be a symptom of having no restful sleep at all. It would, of course, take considerable medical research to confirm or refute such a hypothesis. – Peter Rogerson.