Earlier today the Costa Rican Times published a grammatically-challenged piece under the byline of Paul Dale Roberts, a self-described “esoteric detective” for Hegelianism Paranormal Intelligence, a California-based Fortean investigation group that claims to base their operations on the philosophy of Hegel. If I am parsing the poor formatting correctly, Roberts took a statement from a woman named Vanessa Harris, a nurse in Ontario who claims to have been abducted by aliens and who was interested in joining the group. He had previously published her statement on the Ghost Place online forum, and on the Knight Talk Radio website.
I hesitated about using her name since it was not clear that she had given permission for Roberts to publicize the information, but since it was published online and internationally, readers would of course find her name easily.
Harris’s statement is very similar to typical UFO abduction claims as they are currently given in fringe literature. She claims that aliens repeatedly abducted her as a child, that they harvested her eggs, that they communicate with her psychically, and that they are monitoring and managing human beings as an experiment and/or zoo. She buys into the multiple-species claims, with Greys, Reptilians, and others battling for control of human souls like so many demons and angels—and, of course, like God, they are responsible for “everything” in creation, from bacteria to binary code. This much is rather uninteresting, and it’s not hard to want to attribute to mental or medical conditions Harris’s belief that she experiences alien sound waves shooting out of her eyeballs and occasionally wakes up feeling exhausted and drained.
What interested me, though, was the way Harris inadvertently admits the way that fringe literature and science fiction movies have shaped the way she interprets frightening or ambiguous events, and how the paranoia born of conspiracy-oriented ufological thinking has caused her to attribute to her own mother nefarious participation in the aliens’ master-plan. Is this worldview that much more satisfying than dealing with a non-supernatural reality?
At more than three decades’ remove from the fact, Harris, now 44, claims that she would often wake up standing in the yard by her house, the front door locked and no footprints leading to where she stood. Obviously, I can’t confirm or deny such claims; there are many possibilities, from leaving through another door to self-locking locks, to bad memory. It is interesting that she admits that her mother “always just told me I was sleep walking (sic).” She rejects this, however, for reasons discussed later.
Growing up I remember my mother had all sorts of weird books. Chariot of the Gods was one of them. Watching Ancient Aliens [years] later I recognized the book and several pics of this or that they would show. I had seen it all before.
Already, we have fairly good evidence that Harris had been primed at a young age to believe in the mythology of aliens because her mother seems to have been interested in the subject and had fringe literature in the house. It seems fairly obvious that Harris had read some of it as a child since she remembered the contents of it later, when Ancient Aliens prompted her to do so.
In describing the aliens she encountered again in her 20s—the ones who allegedly stole her eggs—Harris reaches for science fiction, indicating a familiarity with the genre and its conventions: “One of them-a grey was showing me a star map on their ship. It was like Star Trek with the computer image as a hologram.” This would have been in the early 1990s, around the time that Star Trek: The Next Generation aired (1987-1994). Harris stated, in fact, that her abductions were only half-remembered and compares them explicitly to memories of watching television! “Also bits and pieces of memories but you think it's just stuff you saw on TV maybe. It's not it's them.”
Harris suspects that her mother was aware of the aliens and their role in the world, perhaps extending even to her alleged abductions: “Looking back at my childhood I suspect my mother KNEW and that was the source of her interest in 'alternative' readings.” I can’t possibly say what family dynamics hide behind this claim, but it is certainly extraordinary to accuse one’s own parent of being complicit in an alien agenda.
Harris’s statement seems to reveal that her exposure to ancient astronaut books, ufology, and science fiction preceded her belief that she was an active participant in these narratives. While this obviously is not conclusive evidence against the physical reality of her claims (which she no doubt sincerely believes), it does indicate that an individual’s cultural exposure helps to give shape to their beliefs and ideas and can serve as a framework for interpreting the world.
4/9/2014 05:25:02 am
Danielle Egnew, author of "True Tales of The Truly Weird: Real Paranormal Accounts From A Real Psychic" (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2012) explained on podcast how as a child she looked for flying saucers with her grandfather
4/9/2014 08:09:49 am
After reading a little about the philosophy of Hegel, I'm not sure that Fortean is compatible with Hegel.
4/9/2014 07:31:39 pm
I have to admit, I'm fascinated by this. My younger brother began insisting that he had been abducted by aliens when he was in the sixth grade. At first, my parents thought it was a joke, or a prank, but after a while realized he was utterly serious. They eventually talked to a therapist, who decided that since a) he wasn't having any other delusions or hallucinations and b) his belief that he was abducted wasn't interfering in his life or causing him emotional problems (really, the only thing that bothered him was that no one believed him!), it wasn't anything to worry about. We were told not to feed his belief, but also not to tell him he must be wrong or call him a liar. After a while, he never mentioned it again, and I figured it was just something he grew out of.
4/10/2014 02:39:14 am
Curious. Was he only "abducted" once? What were the symptoms (missing time? waking dream? unexplained scars/bruises?)
4/10/2014 12:17:13 pm
It's only hard to understand if you haven't had to come face to face with your own mind's fallible memory system. It's clear to me, at least--and I'm not a trained psychologist, but it is something of a hobby of mine and my brother *is* in grad school for his psych degree--that your brother has a well-developed memory of being abducted. The source of that memory was probably originally a dream or one of those TV shows you mentioned while in a half-awake state. Particularly during the adolescent years, it is more than possible for someone to fall into something like a hypnotic suggestible trance and form completely realistic and yet totally false memories. I've experienced this myself, though not a memory of alien abduction. In my case, in fact, when I was about seventeen, I had an absolute conviction that I had a miscarriage. Only the fact that it was 100% physically *impossible* for me to have been pregnant is why I know it is a false memory, but it still remains a completely convincing, vivid memory. If there had been the slightest chance of a possible pregnancy when I was 17, I probably today would still think I had miscarried back then.
h r Phillips
4/11/2014 03:18:47 pm
Based on this I can argue that untrained skeptics have been primed to call those who disagree with them racists and a lot of other names.
terry the censor
4/18/2014 08:00:57 pm
@h r Phillips
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