Sunday, October 09, 2011

UFOs: The Wrong Psychological Aftermath

A sighting of an unusual object or light in the sky provokes, or should, an emotional/psychological reaction that is not too far outside the normal parameters of
reactive behavior to a strange event.

But a reaction should be distinctly different from normal reactive states.

And the aftermath of an alleged UFO abduction has to be characterized by behavior that doesn’t belie the inherent elements of a terrifying or totally bizarre episode.

However, UFO sightings or UFO abductions do not evoke reactions, generally, that bespeak a completely unique or affective set of circumstances; that is, sighters and abductees, after their observation or alleged abduction, do not demonstrate behavior that falls within what psychology defines for the aftermath of events like an abduction (UFO related or not) or the observation of something anomalistic.

Seeing something in the sky (or on the ground) that is totally foreign to one’s normal experiences and frames of reference can evoke euphoria (depending upon the mind-set of the observer) or questioning of one’s senses, or provoke an astute querying. Sometimes fear is prominent (again, depending upon the sighter’s mind-set).

An alleged UFO abduction is another matter altogether. Such an episode, which is akin to a criminal kidnapping, should result in psychological and/or social behavior, after the fact, that mimics what is commonly referred to, currently, as post-traumatic stress disorder or post-traumatic stress syndrome.

But I know of no abduction account that provides a litany of behavior that duplicates or even approximates the post-traumatic stress etiologies.

One can find the kind of after-behavior that is missing in UFO encounters in the 9/11 event(s).

A UFO sighting is nearly, in this day and age, a prosaic event for most people; humans on this planet have seen or read about stranger things than an odd light in the night sky or a weird aircraft.

Nonetheless, the observation of either should provoke a response that is something more than ho-hum. Generally, it doesn’t, which tells me that people have become inured to UFO sightings.

Abduction accounts, not so much.

Those professing that they were taken by alien entities -- extraterrestrial or otherworldly beings – end up, afterwards, talking about their experience as if it were just an unusual occurrence during their daily routines.

Under hypnosis, recollection of their alleged sojourn often invites behavior, while “asleep,” that appears to suggest a terrible or horrifying experience.

Hypnosis, long denied as a viable mechanism for finding information from the unconscious (even among psychoanalytics), presents a number of problems which strike at the heart of the material(s) recalled by the person hypnotized; i.e., confluence and juxtaposition of things read, seen, heard, over the life-time of the hypnotic, such as Sci-FI films or stories or radio and television shows in which persons are kidnapped, by humans or alien beings.

In one of my high-school’s assemblies, during the 1950s, an hypnotist mentioned to some students he had onstage, as part of his act, while they were “under,” that they were seeing a flying saucer. Panic ensued, the students getting up from their chairs, and running, helter-skelter around and off the stage. It was a moment of seer pandemonium, which took a while to be quelled. That was a reaction to flying saucers at the outset of the modern era of sightings, and is what one should have expected then, and somewhat now.

That aside, persons who’ve seen a UFO and those who have supposedly been taken against their will by entities of a anomalistic kind, generally resume their day-to-day existence, while some go so far as to try an exploit their experience, without any hint of the vicissitudes that would normally occur after such a traumatic event as that of a kidnapping, especially one involving the particulars included in the retellings, under hypnosis or not, that are proffered.

A UFO sightings should provide a “wow factor” for the sighter. It doesn’t any more.

An abduction experience should cause the abductee to suffer a smattering of traumatic symptoms, lasting long after their alleged experience. That doesn’t happen.

This lack of psychological repercussions is what did in the so-called contactees; none showed indications of trauma – rather they displayed psychopathic delusions that were not related to their alleged contact by beings from other worlds.

Abductees today, resume their lives, as if nothing untoward or totally bizarre afflicted them.

Yes, something happened to some who recount abduction experiences, but if what they say they experienced is true, their after-behavior belies that experience. The human mind can’t repress, forever, an event as traumatizing as that of an alien abduction, as it is remembered by the abductee.

In the psychological or even the psychoanalytic literature, where sexual elements are stressed, one can find the raft of symptoms that a UFO sighter or a UFO abductee should display after their encounter.

That few show such symptoms puts a question mark over their accounts.

(And this lack of a psychological aftermath is what mars such UFO events as Roswell, where for thirty years, the alleged crash of a flying disk lay dormant, until resurrected by ufologists with a penchant for infusing apparent witnesses to the Roswell episode with details and remembrances that were not based in actual circumstances. But that for another time….)