Thus, “knowledge of the abductions finally gives them the answers they were seeking and the majority of them let go of previously held belief structures that were never fully satisfactory.” This interpretation seems unsatisfactory because it blurs the distinction between (1) abduction experiences in the physical body during which an OBE takes place, and (2) abduction experiences occurring entirely in an out-of-body state and accompanied by memories of seeing the gross body as it is left behind. The same can be said of the interpretation of all abduction experiences as being entirely psychical or mental. For example, Jenny Randles has used accounts such as Robert Harland’s to argue that UFO abductions are entirely mental experiences induced in psychically susceptible and visually creative persons by alien beings that “have harnessed the power of consciousness to cross the gulfs of space and seek out new life forms.” This interpretation also blurs the distinction between points (1) and (2). If all abduction experiences occur entirely in the mind, then why do some seem to the witnesses to occur on the bodily platform of experience, while others, such as Harland’s or Emily Cronin’s, occur in an out-of-body state? Physical Aftereffects of UFO Abductions Of course, a further objection to the all-mental theory is that scars and infectious diseases have been reported in connection with UFO abductions. Budd Hopkins is well known for his claim that abductees sometimes bear scars, which they associate directly or indirectly with UFO encounters. One example is Virginia Horton, whose illusory deer encounter is mentioned above. She also told of a deep, profusely bleeding but painless cut that she received as a six-year-old child. In her conscious recollections, the cut was memorable because at the time she was unable to explain to her elders how she had gotten it. Under hypnosis, she related an elaborate abduction scenario in which aliens of the typical “Gray” variety took her into a circular room illuminated by diffuse, pearly gray light and made the cut with some kind of machine. They explained to her that “we need a little, bitty piece of you for understanding.” The noted UFO researcher Raymond Fowler has also described under hypnosis a nightmarish, dreamlike experience in which he seemed to be manipulated by beings that he could not see. This would seem to be a good candidate for a purely mental experience but for the fact that it occurred on the night before a mysterious, unexplained scar appeared on his leg. This scar was said by a dermatologist to resemble the mark made by a punch biopsy. Fowler cited research into scars and other medical sequelae of UFO encounters that was carried out by Dr. Richard N. Neal, a specialist in obstetrics and gynecology at the Beach Medical Center in Lawndale, California. Neal maintained that scars tend to show up on the bodies of abductees in a consistent manner. Thus, “scars have been observed on the calf (including just over tibia or shin bone), thigh, hip, shoulder, knee, spinal column and on the right sides of the back and forehead.” These scars tend to be either thin, straight hairline cuts about 2-3 inches long or circular depressions about 1/8-inch to 3/4-inch in diameter and as much as 1/4-inch deep. Other kinds of bodily marks have also been noted, such as rashes on the upper chest or the legs that are often geometrical in shape. First or second degree burns have been noted, as well as infections and unusual growths.
The White-Robed Beings Betty Andreasson recalled under hypnosis that as a teenager she was taken into an alien craft, which entered a body of water and emerged in an underground complex. Up to this point, she seemed to be traveling in her physical body, since the trip involved what appeared to be great g-forces of the kind produced by ordinary acceleration. In theunderground complex, she was told by “Gray” beings that she was going to be taken home to see the One. Here is the experience that unfolded next, as relived through hypnotic regression:Betty: We’re coming up to this wall of glass and a big, big, big, big, big, door. It’s made of glass. Fred Max: Does it have hinges? Betty: No. It is so big and there is I can’t explain it. It is door after door after door after door. He is stopping there and telling me to stop. I’m just stopping there. He says: “Now you shall enter the door to see the One.” And I’m standing there and I’m coming out of myself! There’s two of me! There’s two of me there! . . . It’s like a twin After thus entering an out-of-body state, she went through the door: Betty: I went in the door and it’s very bright. I can’t take you any further. Fred Max: Why? Betty: Because . . . I can’t take you past this door. Fred Max: Why are you so happy? Betty: It’s just, ah, I just can’t tell you about it. . . .Words cannot explain it. It’s wonderful. It’s for everybody. I just can’t explain this. I understand that everything is one. Everything fits together. It’s beautiful! This sounds like a typical description of the experience of Brahman realization, a state of consciousness that has been sought by yogis and mystics the world over. In the Vedic tradition, there are several schools of philosophical thought regarding the nature of Brahman realization. I will discuss this topic in some detail in Chapter 11. For now, I am interested in what happened after this experience was over. After leaving the door of the One, Betty reported encountering mysterious white-robed beings: “Okay, I’m outside the door and there’s a tall person there. He’s got white hair and he’s got a white nightgown on and he’s motioning me to come there with him. His nightgown is, is glowing and his hair is white and he’s got bluish eyes.” This person looked like a normal human, in contrast to the small “Gray” beings she had encountered thus far. In his discussion of this case, Raymond Fowler pointed out that possibly similar beings were reported by Italian Navy personnel during a UFO sighting on the slopes of Mount Etna on July 4, 1978. Here a red, pulsating, domed disc landed, and the witnesses encountered “two tall golden-haired, white-robed beings accompanied by three or four shorter beings wearing helmets and spacesuits.” In this case the tall white-robed beings were seen by military personnel who were presumably in their physical bodies, in a more or less normal state of consciousness. In OBEs not connected with UFOs, there are frequent references to beings in white robes. An example would be the cardiac patient’s OBE mentioned at the beginning of this chapter. It is significant that although this witness thought the white-robed being he saw was Christ, he remarked, “He looked different from any pictures I had seen before.” Evidently, he felt some doubts about this identification. It is also interesting that the man’s encounter with this being was accompanied, as with Betty Andreasson, by a mystical experience involving intimations of universal knowledge. So here we have three cases in which white-robed beings are described.
In one, a person had apparently been physically abducted by ufonauts, then had an OBE involving a mystical experience, and finally met a being of this type. In another, these beings were seen along with a UFO by military personnel who were walking about in an apparently normal state. In yet another, a being of this type was encountered in an OBE that occurred during a medical emergency and was not connected with UFOs. Jenny Randles discussed a possibly related case, in which a medically instigated OBE led to a meeting with a tall white-haired being from a UFO. This experience was reported to her by Robert Harland, a professional magician and, alas, a self-confessed phony medium. Harland told Randles that he went to a dentist in 1964 for major oral surgery. An anesthetic gas was administered, and he had an OBE. From an out-of-body perspective, he saw that the dentist banged his knee, and the dentist later verified this. Thus far, this was a typical OBE of the kind associated with physical trauma. But then Harland saw a tall being with long white hair drift through the ceiling and explain telepathically that they must go together. They floated through the roof into a UFO. He was shown around. The UFO’s operation was explained, and he was given a message to convey about a terrible holocaust in which the Earth’s crust would split apart. He was then told he would have to fight his way back to his body. Indeed, small, ugly creatures tried to prevent his return, but he made it and awoke to see the dentist thumping him and looking very worried. He had nearly died in the chair. One can always hypothesize that the beings seen in these four cases were simply dreams or hallucinations, although this raises the question of why people would independently have such similar dreams. If we leave the dream hypothesis in the background and consider that the beings might actually exist, then the question is: Are these beings operating in gross physical bodies or bodies made of some kind of subtle energy? The observations of the Italian naval personnel would suggest the former, while the stories of the cardiac patient and Mr. Harland would suggest the latter. Physical Form or Subtle Form? One interpretation of this bewildering data is to interpret all UFO abductions as strictly physical and reject OBEs as a mistaken idea. This approach has been taken by David Jacobs, an associate professor of history at Temple University in Philadelphia and an active investigator of UFO abductions. Jacobs wrote the following about abductees’ perceptions: Part of these anomalous memories and dreams might be the unaware abductees’ knowledge that they have had Out of Body Experiences. It is common for abductees to feel that they in some way left their body, usually during the night in bed. . . . A few unaware abductees claim that they have not only had Out of Body Experiences but that they have experienced Astral Travel as well. They know that they have in some mysterious way experienced a strange displacement in location. . . . The only way that they can reconcile what has happened to them is through the only available explanation astral travel, no matter how ill-defined that might be. Jacobs’s idea was that abductions by UFO entities really happen but that out-of-body experiences are a “new age” misconception adopted by “unaware” abductees. He maintained that abductees will generally abandon their false ideas about OBEs when they become aware of what really happened to them.