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View Full Version : Repressed Abduction Memories are Real Memories, Misinterpreted



PatRKelley
2010-Nov-07, 09:12 PM
I'm going to open this thread slightly differently, as I haven't done nearly the amount of research and questioning as I did in my other thread, complete with references.

This has more to do with the standard explanation of alien abduction memories being waking dreams or as they're called hypnogogic hallucinations. I think (and this is mostly through a personal and nonprofessional analysis and hypothesis) that the roots of the similarity of abduction stories, and their evolution through time, can be traced to the means by which our memories function, and by an event or period of time common to all humans.

I'd best warn folks that those convinced that abductions are actually aliens are likely to be insulted by the following. It is not meant as an insult; it assumes their memories are real, and actually detailed, but miscategorized.

First, let's take a breakdown of the normal features of the start of a (modern) abduction:


Procurement itself unfolds into a complex subepisode as a beam of light strikes and a drawing force pulls the witness; beings approach and a brief conversation ensues; they pacify, escort, and float the witness on board the craft; and the witness experiences a momentary loss of memory, or doorway amnesia, while entering.
Examinations also follow a regular progression as the beings undress, cleanse, and position the witness on an examination table. The procedures move from the general to the specific as the beings first subject the witness to manual exploration, then use an eyelike scanning device, and next instruments to probe the body. Specimens of skin, blood, or other body fluids are taken, the reproductive areas examined, and finally the beings turn attention to the neurological system and implant a tiny device into the brain of the conscious witness. [1]


So, we have sudden light, lifting, sudden appearance in the ship, being put on a table, undressed cleansed, manual exploration, and instruments to probe the body, along with the reproductive area being examined, plus implants.

This sounded familiar to me in another context, but the next element was the reports from Fairy abductions from the 1800's or so: the standard format is a set or single globular light appearing, being lifted (again), again with the sexual/breeding aspect interpreted by manipulation of the genital region.

If you go further back than this, we've got stories of incubi or abduction by the devil, where abduction, flight and coupling (with the devil's member described as "cold as ice") occurring entirely in darkness.

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I'm going to pause a moment to talk about abnormal psychology, specifically flavors of schizophrenia. In some manifestations, the person involved manages to take the related memories of others and incorporate themselves as the protagonist, misremembering by putting the frame of reference not as a related memory, but as a self-indexed memory. From this we get claims of paranoid "they're watching me" or stealing of memories, or theft of identity. Similarly, if the person has personal memories that are no longer properly indexed, we get the psychotic break and the version where the person feels they are watching a movie about themselves.

It appears that memories are indexed in a fashion that makes them either personal or relational (I experienced this, or I learned this). There also appears to be time-indexing, to keep it all straight (a continuity-based memory of ongoing time mislabeled as an old memory becomes deja-vu, an old memory mislabeled as current becomes a flashback or hallucination).

So, part of my fascination was with infant era amnesia: the apparent lack of recall of personal memories from this time period.

One postulate is that these memories must be indexed with a version of indexing including the "self" of a person. And until one is old enough and aware enough, this is not developed enough to aid in indexing these memories as continuous self-involved personal memories as part of one's history.

So, possibly kept around because they are stressful (somewhere deep in the mind) are infantile memories that we can't bring up because they are not indexed properly.

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WARNING: If you are a claimant of abduction, you might find the following offensive. It is not meant to be. It is a serious posit as to what people are experiencing, explaining the similarity beyond hypnogogic hallucination, but providing an explanation that is not necessarily comforting or dignified.

Basically, the similarity of this account rung with infant-era memories of nighttime diaper changes and feeding.

Think about modern era: modern era has sudden flashes of light (era of electricity), cold tables and cleaning and undressing, focus on the genital area, probes of the genital area, and some fixation on teeth. The sequence also allows for "friendly" or "loving" aliens who nonetheless perform these procedures.

Going back to the era of candlelight, it would follow the sequence would have floating globes of light approaching, and not involve the cold tables, bright lights, or anal probes.

Further still, before the advent of cheap wax, there is no light at all, and any cleaning done with cold water.

All the sharing of flight and helplessness and focusing on the genital region appears to match up.

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Having said that, an infantile memory of nighttime cleaning or feeding would not have a properly indexed self-memory of the infant self at that age. So, as its accessed and recognized as a not-related memory, the self-index is substituted with what the person has on hand: the adult self.

The memory, while correct, is now interpreted in the light of an adult self, to which others performing a needed diaper change is foreign, horrifying, and terror inducing as well as inexplicable.

Further still, taking one's temperature, or putting on oragel to sooth teething are equally inexplicable other than as diabolical experimentation to an adult.

This assumes that these memories are real, but they are vague, incorrectly indexed, misinterpreted, and potentially shameful and degrading for adults to recall in this manner. This should not reflect poorly on those who have them: they are real, they are really trauma related (in the infant context) and they can, as a result, be terror-inducing when recalled.


[1] UFO Abduction Reports (http://j-nasa.net/UFO_EBE/UFOAbductionReportsBullard.pdf)
The Supernatural Kidnap Narrative Returns in Technological Guise
Journal of American Folklore, 1989, THOMAS E. BULLARD

slang
2010-Nov-08, 12:02 AM
As someone knowing nothing about how memory works, if it works for infants, and how the development of the brain in infants works, this doesn't seem implausible to me. I'm not even sure if this is an ATM idea or not. If only we had someone here who is very familiar with research in this area...

One thing that irks me somewhat is that I seem to remember that the occurrence of abduction stories is more prevalent in the US than worldwide. If my memory is correct (heh), since infants all over the western world should have similar memories, why would the abduction scenario be more prevalent in one country? I'm not familiar with any other explanation for the suggested infant memories in other countries.

Finally, I'm not sure why this suggested explanation should be offensive to anyone, other than that any doubt about alien abduction memories might be considered offensive to those claiming those memories.

forrest noble
2010-Nov-08, 03:55 AM
PatRKelley,

I feel certain that abduction stories, real or imagined, are "real" to some that sincerely believe they have experienced them. All space heads would love it if "real" space aliens have ever visited this Earth. It's certainly not impossible. I think the odds are big against it however based upon the evidence that I am aware of, which is virtually none. That "Repressed Abduction Memories are Real Memories, Misinterpreted" also has the possibility of being true but the statement seems to generally assume that alien abductions are real to start with; that's a giant assumption and then to add to it "misinterpreted" would accordingly be even more unlikely. You certainly can discuss it intelligently but I can think of no evidence that you could come up with, or opposing evidence that anyone else could come up with so this idea/ proposal, it seems to me, could never have "legs" to get anywhere as a serious proposal. Am I wrong?

Wild avatar!! Do you have any personal experience or know anyone that claims they have been alien abducted? I've seen convincing interviews whereby it seems that some people really believe they were abducted by space aliens -- but are openly or otherwise laughed at and considered to be kooks by most that are science educated.

PatRKelley
2010-Nov-08, 05:13 AM
As someone knowing nothing about how memory works, if it works for infants, and how the development of the brain in infants works, this doesn't seem implausible to me. I'm not even sure if this is an ATM idea or not. If only we had someone here who is very familiar with research in this area...

One thing that irks me somewhat is that I seem to remember that the occurrence of abduction stories is more prevalent in the US than worldwide. If my memory is correct (heh), since infants all over the western world should have similar memories, why would the abduction scenario be more prevalent in one country? I'm not familiar with any other explanation for the suggested infant memories in other countries.

Finally, I'm not sure why this suggested explanation should be offensive to anyone, other than that any doubt about alien abduction memories might be considered offensive to those claiming those memories.
One key test would be to look at regional accounts of abduction or similar repressed memories, and see how they jibe with standardized parental care circa the claimants birth date.

PatRKelley
2010-Nov-08, 05:17 AM
PatRKelley,

I feel certain that abduction stories, real or imagined, are "real" to some that sincerely believe they have experienced them. All space heads would love it if "real" space aliens have ever visited this Earth. It's certainly not impossible. I think the odds are big against it however based upon the evidence that I am aware of, which is virtually none. That "Repressed Abduction Memories are Real Memories, Misinterpreted" also has the possibility of being true but the statement seems to generally assume that alien abductions are real to start with; that's a giant assumption and then to add to it "misinterpreted" would accordingly be even more unlikely. You certainly can discuss it intelligently but I can think of no evidence that you could come up with, or opposing evidence that anyone else could come up with so this idea/ proposal, it seems to me, could never have "legs" to get anywhere as a serious proposal. Am I wrong?

Wild avatar!! Do you have any personal experience or know anyone that claims they have been alien abducted? I've seen convincing interviews whereby it seems that some people really believe they were abducted by space aliens -- but are openly or otherwise laughed at and considered to be kooks by most that are science educated.
See the response given to Slang above. If enough about memory storage and indexing is parsed out as we move along, this might be an important clue about how memories (memories of continuity, personal memories, not factual ones) are created and recalled. This might not be just an effort to explain alien abduction; rather, abduction memories might provide a big clue about how the mind works. While it might not ever be certain that this account is absolutely the only possible one, it would help to attempt to collect data along this route.

It addresses the conundrums of infantile amnesia, memory indexing (personal/continuity versus factual) and persistence.

============

I am in fact concerned about victims/claimants. Currently they are preyed upon by a group with an agenda of proving alien contact, and misunderstood by the psychiatric and psychological community at large. They, instead, need to be listened to and, perhaps, if this postulate (above) has merit, counseled to understand that they are not crazy, that the memories are real, but that they are misinterpreting them.

Currently they are told either they really have been victims of intergalactic rape, or have made the entire thing up of whole cloth, or have had a waking hallucination and made more of it than they think.

I've had friends who've had hypnogogic hallucinations. They did not follow an abduction pattern. One was an artist whose creations decided to walk about and start talking about him. No abduction, just prattle that would make Pygmalion jealous.

caveman1917
2010-Nov-08, 05:20 AM
I remember a certain hypothesis being posited to explain the commonality in the stereotypical image of the "grey alien" (big head, big eyes, small torso, ...).
It was said to be due to the visual perception of very young infants not being optimal yet, such as colour vision, distortions in 3d, etc. It would be the image the (very young) child perceives of his mother (or other human figure) as she would be bent over the child. This gives remarkable consistency with your explanation for the origin of the memories, ie the changing of diapers etc, as this would be the visual component as it is imprinted in the infant's mind.

ETA: here (http://www.skeptic.com/the_magazine/featured_articles/v11n4_alien_faces.html) is the original article

WayneFrancis
2010-Nov-08, 05:24 AM
I haven't had any abduction memories but I can fully account waking dreams multiple times in the past some more vivid then others. For me my most vivid dreams are just before I wake up and I often had dreams that I know are dreams in the dreams but these always seem to be dreams early on in the night and most often take mental conditioning for me. So I can understand how people that are not fully awake may have a "waking" dream that seems like an abduction.

It is an interesting idea on the early childhood memories is being recalled improperly. I'd say that a combination of the may be a very interesting hypothesis. I often have dreams about things that happened 20+ years ago and they seem perfectly valid during the dream. Improperly recalling memories while in a completely waking state as current experience poses more problems to me and would not explain why most of these abductions tend to happen around sleep time.

WayneFrancis
2010-Nov-08, 05:44 AM
I'm also not sure if this would necessarily be ATM

PatRKelley
2010-Nov-08, 06:03 AM
I'm also not sure if this would necessarily be ATM
The suppositions here are against the neurological and psychological mainstream enough that I'd hesitate to put it in any mainstream thread. It really is (the memory mechanism and infantile amnesia explanation sections especially) against the mainstream.

HenrikOlsen
2010-Nov-08, 07:37 PM
I remember a certain hypothesis being posited to explain the commonality in the stereotypical image of the "grey alien" (big head, big eyes, small torso, ...).
The problem with this hypothesis is that the expected result would be that aliens are reported as "greys" all over the world and in a consistent number of reports, rather than being reported spooradically until Close Encounters of the Third Kind spread the image of how aliens look, after which it became the main reported description.

caveman1917
2010-Nov-08, 08:47 PM
The problem with this hypothesis is that the expected result would be that aliens are reported as "greys" all over the world and in a consistent number of reports, rather than being reported spooradically until Close Encounters of the Third Kind spread the image of how aliens look, after which it became the main reported description.

Strong objection. There is the thing though that it would only be the expected result specifically in the 'standard' cases as the OP described (ie strong light, medical experimentation with genital focus). It wouldn't be the expected result in cases that are not due to this 'memory mismatch of infant care'. Do you perhaps have a data reference of alien reports at hand where this can be easily cross-checked?