The Aliens Are Amongst Us

Kate Gosselin believes that “Aliens have taken him (Jon) away”. Miyuki Hatoyama, wife of Japan’s prime minister-elect, wrote in her book, Very Strange Things I Encountered, that she was abducted by aliens and taken to Venus, a green beautiful place, in a triangular shaped UFO 20 years ago. Well besides Kate and Miyuki, others believe that they too have met aliens. Sun Ra, a jazz musician for sixty years who pioneered the playing of Moog synthesizers, claimed that he was sent to earth from outer space to save humanity and bring harmony to the world. Sun Ra said that he was born on Saturn, “I’m a spirit master. I’ve been to a zone where there is no air, no light, no sound, no life, no death, nothing. There’s five billion people on this planet, all out of tune. I’ve got to raise their consciousness, tell them about the wonderful potential to bypass death.” He once wrote,

In some far off place
Many light years in space
I’ll build a world of abstract dreams
And wait for you”

His sources of inspiration included the Kabbalah, Rosicrucianism, channeling, numerology, Freemasonry, and black nationalism. Now Sun Ra may have used his extraterrestrial birth as a metaphor to help us earthlings, who are restricted to our listening shackles by our very existence on this planet, expand our auditory perceptions as well as our planet linked prejudices with his Moog synthesizers, two upright basses, African rhythms, and exotic costuming, or maybe he was from Saturn.

Well, two people, one a past presidential candidate and congressman from the 10th district in Ohio, Dennis Kucinich, and the other, the noted actress and channeler, Shirley MacLaine, are convinced of the presence of Aliens and their contact, albeit distant, with them. Shirley is Dennis’ daughter’s god mother, and he saw a UFO while at her home in Washington state that was triangular, silent and hovering. Maclaine says Kucinich characterized the experience as “a connection to your heart” and that he “heard directions” in his mind. During a presidential debate, Kucinich admitted he had indeed seen a UFO. When asked about the incident he replied, “Jimmy Carter saw a UFO.” No matter that this sighting was subsequently was identified as the planet Venus. According to commentator Tim Russert, in the above presidential debate, 14% of Americans have viewed a UFO. Also, all three Apollo 11 astronauts in 1969 believe that there is “life beyond earth.” Well yeah! Dr. Edgar Mitchell, the 6th man to walk on the moon during Apollo 14, told a radio station in an interview, “I happen to have been privileged enough to be in on the fact that we’ve been visited on this planet and the UFO phenomenon is real“. He added that sources at the space agency who had had contact with aliens described the beings as ‘little people who look strange to us.

In her book, Abducted: How People Come to Believe They Were Kidnapped by Aliens, Susan Clancy, a Harvard psychologist who studies recovered memories interviewed about 50 people who claimed to have been abducted by aliens. She said her subjects were not crazy, but instead had “a tendency to fantasize and to hold unusual beliefs and ideas.” In a review of Clancy’s findings, William Cromie writes,

Abduction stories are strikingly similar. Victims wake up and find themselves paralyzed, unable to move or cry out for help. They see flashing lights and hear buzzing sounds. Electric sensations zing through their bodies, which may rise up in levitation. Aliens with wrap-around eyes, gray or green skin, lacking hair or noses, approach. The abductee’s heart pounds violently. There’s lots of probing in the alien ship. Instruments are inserted in their noses, navels, or other orifices. It’s painful. Sometimes sexual intercourse occurs. Then it’s over, after seconds or minutes. The intruders vanish. Victims are back in their own beds and can move again...Measurements of sweating, heart rate, and brain waves showed that those claiming to be abductees show the same symptoms of post-traumatic stress syndrome as combat veterans.

This is exactly what one would expect to find in a victim who was abducted by aliens, but Clancy prefers to think that alien abduction is related to sleep paralysis. Her conclusion is that so-called abductees have created or altered their memories in order to bring meaning to their lives.

On the other hand psychiatrist John Mack, also of Harvard University, concluded that the 200 alien abductees he interviewed showed no sign of mental illness and that their abduction could not be explained. He wrote extensively about spiritual transformation related to alien abduction phenomena. Mack was criticized for taking alien abduction reports at face value. While Mack never claimed that alien abduction was actually taking place, he did say,

“I would never say, yes, there are aliens taking people. [But] I would say there is a compelling powerful phenomenon here that I can’t account for in any other way, that’s mysterious. Yet I can’t know what it is but it seems to me that it invites a deeper, further inquiry.”

Possibly prompted by the publication of his book, Abduction: Human Encounters with Aliens, Harvard Medical School, where Mack was tenured as a full professor, initiated an investigation of his work and clinical practice with the goal of stripping him of his position. However, with the help of friends like Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, the investigation concluded that Mack’s inquiries were protected by academic freedom and there were no grounds to dismiss him. Mack was tragically killed by a drunk driver during an after-dinner walk in England in 2004. More information on Mack’s work can be found at the John Mack Institute.

So, what to make of all of this? If you read the top twelve things you need to know in Newsweek (August 24 & 31, 2009) you would discover that “Alien’s Exist” is numero uno! Newsweek editor Fred Guterl writes that,

“some astronomers…estimate that perhaps half of the 200 billion or so suns in the Milky Way support terrestrial, Earth-like worlds.”

Bill Borucki heads up the NASA Kepler mission that will search for these habitable earth-like planets. He claims that many such planets will be discovered by 2013. In the meantime it is possible to watch “Alien Earth” and see potentially habitable planets, like Gilese 581c, which were unknown until a few years ago. If we were to stretch our minds and step out of our anthropocentric worldview, could we imagine Earth-like worlds with sophisticated and advanced life forms curious and inclusive enough to reach out and “touch” one of our brethren?

– Neil


Clancy, SA. (2007). Abducted: How People Come to Believe They Were Kidnapped by Aliens. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Kate Gosselin Wikipedia Entry

Mack, J. (2005). Abduction, Alienation and Reason, BBC Radio 4, broadcast June 8, 2005

Mack, J. (2007). Abduction: Human Encounters with Aliens. New York: Scribner.

Sun Ra Wikipedia Entry

Susan Clancy Wikipedia Entry


By Bizarre Behavior & Culture Bound Syndromes

Dr. Kevin Volkan is a psychologist, writer, and educator with over twenty years of clinical, corporate, and academic experience. He is Professor of Psychology at California State University Channel Islands (CSUCI) and is on the graduate medical Faculty in the Community Memorial Health System. Dr. Volkan was one of the founding faculty at CSUCI which is the 23rd campus in California State University system where he teaches a course on atypical psychopathologies titled Bizarre Behaviors and Culture-Bound Syndromes. This course explores the outer range of extreme human behavior including paraphilias and was the inspiration for this blog. Consonant with his interest in deviant psychopathologies he also teaches clinical psychology and a course on the psychology of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. Dr. Volkan has been a Silberman Seminar Fellow at The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC in 2010 and 2014. Before coming to CSUCI, Dr. Volkan was a faculty member at Harvard Medical School where he researched ways to measure medical student and physician performance, and the psychological origins of medical error. While at Harvard, Dr. Volkan also taught for the prestigious Harvard-Macy Institute, a joint program run by the Harvard Business, Education, and Medical schools. In this program he taught medical students and physicians from Harvard as well as from all over the world. Dr. Volkan’s background in psychology is varied and he maintains an active interest in several psychological approaches to understanding human nature – including socio-biological, psychoanalytic, psychometric, and cognitive-behavioral. He has had a long-standing interest in the psychology of compulsive drug use (which has similarities to the psychology of paraphilias), and has published a book on the subject. Dr. Volkan worked as a clinical psychologist for many years. This experience included serving as staff psychologist and Vice Chair of psychology at Agnews State Hospital in San Jose. During his tenure at Agnews, Dr. Volkan worked with patients who demonstrated many severe behavioral problems, including profoundly autistic, psychotic, self-injurious, and developmentally disabled individuals. Dr. Volkan was awarded the Sustained Superior Accomplishment Award from the State of California for his clinical work. In addition to his hospital work, Dr. Volkan also maintained a private practice in psychology in the San Francisco Bay Area. He served as a psychologist for the California Victim Witness program, seeing patients who were victims of crime and/or abuse. Dr. Volkan’s clients included a diverse population of people representing a wide variety of socioeconomic strata and psychological distress. Dr. Volkan received a BA in Biology from the University of California, an MA in Psychology from Sonoma State University, an EdD in Educational Psychology from Northern Illinois University, a PhD in Clinical Psychology from The Center for Psychological Studies, and a MPH in Public Health from Harvard University. In his spare time he practices martial arts and plays guitar in a rock band.

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