Of Spinning Wheels and Skipping Records.

Though it has been plain to me and has, in fact, plagued me for a good, long while, I only recently came to learn there have been various terms for it in psychology: fate neurosis, destiny neurosis, and most recently, it seems, repetition compulsion. In essence, this is an individual’s unconscious impulse to repeat their history over and over again, in many cases while remaining exceptionally blind to the fact.

It appears to me as if there are at least three steps to repetition compulsion. The origin of the skipping record is typically perceived as a “seed story” or circumstance one faced while in childhood and as a consequence tends to deal with the relationship one had with one’s caretakers. One may have been neglected or abandoned, physically or sexually abused, or perhaps suffered under the reign of an authoritative parent. Another dawning situation, as it is with one dear friend of mine, may be a home life that breeds parentification — a process in which the child is forced to take on the role of the parent due to the actual parent’s general incompetence when it comes to parenting. There are potentially endless scenarios for such a seed story.

Whatever the circumstances, there comes a time when the child is no longer technically a child and so she wastes no time getting the bloody fuck out of dodge. Consciously determined, she then attempts to make her own life, but the subliminal aspects of her being, addicted to that familiar story, immediately get the shakes and they quickly intervene. Though she isn’t aware of it, she then finds herself unconsciously gravitating towards people and finding herself in circumstances that have an uncanny affinity with the people and circumstances she had just managed to escape. Like a shadow, the weight of her history appears fundamentally inescapable: the past, it seems, is forever present.

After successfully anchoring herself in the familiar, the phenomenon of transference takes hold, prompting her to exhibit conditioned reactions in her new context and inevitably, through projective identification, generates the desired reactions from the other person or people in question. In this way, the feedback loop creates and maintains the familiar circumstance.

Repetition compulsion can also come in one of two forms, the most direct being what we could call the Remake. If we can conceive of the original story as a sort of movie, every subsequent regurgitation would constitute a remake. I say this because the distinguishing feature of a remake is that it honors the source material, plagiarizing where it can get away with it and striving to pay homage where it must yield to the call for modernization.

The easiest personal example I can offer is Sandra, who was a longtime friend before I finally had to sever the close tie. Part of the reason was her overall lack of empathy and compassion, particularly with me, despite the fact that I exercised such empathy and compassion with her. The second reason, related and more to my point here, is that she was unable to see the Groundhog Day nature of circumstances, particularly when it came to men. She used to come into my room in the house I shared with her and her brother, lay on my bed and spill her soul to me, raw and unfiltered. This in and of itself is not unusual, as even total strangers tend to do this with me. I don’t mind. But over the course of countless failed relationships, I was hearing damn near the same exact story. No matter what part of the story she happened to be in at the timeI could tell her not only how she had gotten there but where it was going.

It should have been for her like it was expressed in that Nine Inch Nails song, “Everyday Is Exactly the Same”:

“I believe I can see the future
because I repeat the same routine.”

But she never saw it. I have often critiqued her for being unable to see beyond her own head to understand others; the truth of the matter was that she seemed utterly incapable of seeing so much as herself. Her deafness towards her own skipping record life soundtrack was heartbreaking and endlessly frustrating.

By no means is this phenomenon limited to her, of course. I certainly see it in my own life — but for me, that was and remains the difference: I see it. If nothing else, strive to gain some degree of self-awareness, for fuck’s sake.

Another way in which repetition compulsion can play out is in the form of Role Reversal. Whereas in the remake the person always plays the ego, the role they played in the seed story, here the person plays the role of their shadow, seeking out or forcing another into their previous position.

In many cases this can lead down a rather dark path: while you seek out the same general circumstances inherent in your core story, you now abandon your dawning role as the victim and put on the costume and mask of the victimizer. The song “Prison Sex” off of Tool’s album, Undertow, encapsulates the essential nature of this, perfectly summarizing the underlying aim with the line: “Do unto others what has been done to you.”

There may be various underlying motivations for repetition compulsion. Seeking out the familiar, no matter how painful, provides a greater sense of psychological security than the health and safety that may be possible, even probable, given a different pattern, simply because familiarity offers predictability, and therefore the illusion of control — and that’s certainly part of it. Also, as has been said in the case of recurring dreams and flashbacks, it may be an attempt on behalf of the unconscious to discharge emotions or desensitize one to the stimulus through relentless redundancy. Conversely, it may be an unconscious attempt to master the circumstance, to find a solution, to achieve resolution.

This sounds an awful lot like the Hindu take on reincarnation, which is to say we keep repeating the same damned cycle, our story, until we ultimately extinguish our desires. Buddhism offers a different take on the matter: one can take charge and work towards escaping the cycle now, within this lifetime, within this most recent adaptation of our recurring story. It involves transcending the ego and, as a consequence, the circumstances it compulsively perpetuates through mindfulness — through witnessing rather than engaging with the mind.

There may be additional measures one could take to escape the chains of their existential echoes, however: creative outlets. Just as our seed story can manifest in our objective circumstances it can also manifest in our music, play, writing, art, as well as in dreams and hallucinations, making us more mindful through the reflection such creativity offers. Carl Jung’s Active Imagination technique could potentially accelerate the process, too.

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Thought-Talk Monologue Voice-Over.

Some might say
that you never existed
in the first place,

but your reality was cemented
in me through the nature
of our conversations.

Just as they use
verbal communication
atop nonverbals,

you use subjective still-frames
and mental motion pictures
complemented

by a thought-talk
monologue
voice-over.

Imagination
is your telepathic
nonverbal.

You’re the best voice
that’s ever been
in my head.

Aliens, UFOs and Abnormal Psychology.

Dismissing myself as crazy has been my convenient go-to, a default triggered when my strange experiences and their apparent implications become too overwhelming. When this surreal aspect of my life comes to face the giggle factor, meets the laughter curtain and exceeds my boggle threshold, the barrier beyond which I am no longer able to suspend disbelief, I endure a sort of nausea of the mind so intense that I, for a time, submit to it. Declaring myself crazy by no means makes me feel better — to the contrary, I always feel worse — but condemning myself in this fashion requires less energy than continuing my efforts to actually understand my experiences. The issue is that once I get beyond the emotional devastation of labeling myself crazy and subject this self-diagnosis to analysis I ultimately come to realize it really doesn’t constitute a diagnosis at all. “Crazy” is just a buzzword, dismissive in spirit and entirely devoid of true explanation.

So early on, back in high school, I found myself trying to identify a more specific self-diagnosis by reading through books on psychology, even an Abnormal Psychology college textbook I got from a friend. I didn’t know whether to be relieved or terrified when I found that no single condition I read about seemed to cover the crazy shit that I had been experiencing. No umbrella terms appeared to be available. When I began seeing a psychologist shortly thereafter, and one that I had quickly developed a respect for, I explained how I had tried diagnosing myself and failed, as no disorder seemed to encompass it all. In my memory, he retorted, stating that I was wrong, and when I pressed him he fumbled and mentioned schizophrenia. The fact that he immediately seemed to backpedal when he saw my reaction only made my terror increase. The moment hung with me and I fell back on it when the weirdness weighed me down. At one point I remember finding a page on the net that described traits of the schizophrenic and the schizoid personality that seemed to fit me perfectly.  I scotch taped it to my bedroom door.

In 2002, when I came back to him after an intense cluster of experiences and casually acknowledged in our session that I was fully aware that I was schizophrenic, he immediately asked me, with a skeptical look on his face, who it was that had given me that diagnosis. When I stated that it had been him, he was emphatic that this could not have been the case. After explaining to me that the term schizophrenia was essentially a dumping ground for what may turn out to be various disorders, he took on this proposed diagnosis directly.

“If you’re a schizophrenic,” he told me, “you’re certainly a highly-functioning one.”

I found the notion that I, a twenty-something living at home yet again and working fast food, could be described as “highly functioning” by any measure to be ludicrous, but he was, after all, the goddamned professional. Though he predicted that I had particular abnormalities in certain regions of my brain and called my experiences “perceptual anomalies,” he never gave me a diagnosis.

For a time, specifically after reading Dr. Marlene Steinberg’s book, The Stranger in the Mirror: Dissociation — The Hidden Epidemic, I also explored the notion that I might suffer from a dissociative disorder, perhaps even Dissociative Identity Disorder. Without doubt I experience what has been labeled dissociative symptoms. In addition, my memories and experiences may in part be due to some alternate personality or “alter” and there appears to be evidence of its beginnings in my childhood. My initial rush of memories and the flashbacks that followed might represent a previously compartmentalized sector of my mind, one belonging to this alter, colliding with my conscious personality and merging. My experience with the ideomotor response in my use of the Ouija board, in my spontaneous artwork and writing, as well as during the hypnosis session, all may have represented the alter gaining slow and localized control over my body. The entity I encountered during my “astral projections” might be one manifestation of an alternate personality or alter as well — perhaps after sharing previously isolated memories the separate aspects of mind we have governed over blended further, giving rise to shared lucid dreams I took to be “astral projections.” Maybe the incidents between June and August of 1995, climaxing in the incident at the java juicer, represented transient periods where the alter took control of my body entirely.  

The issue is that this degree of dissociation is typically associated with intense physical and psychological trauma. On the surface, at least, this presents itself to me as an utterly insane proposition. As I imagine is the case with anyone, I have my share of complaints and grievances with respect to how I grew up. My mother favored my sisters over me and I had endless power-struggles with her over the course of my childhood. It hurt and enraged me, and I continue in my attempts to deal with those issues. Even so, I recognize that I was one lucky little asshole. My parents never physically abused us kids. I was certainly never sexually abused. Our harshest punishments as children, which I faced often enough, involved either staring at a corner for a length of time measured by my mother’s oven timer or being under “room arrest,” confined to my bedroom until further notice. Without doubt this nonviolent discipline is what made the abuse I witnessed at Jimmy’s house all the more traumatizing — and indeed, that was all certainly traumatizing from the position of a witness as well, but that it might provide the fuel for alien encounters seemed far more ludicrous to me than the thought that, well, I might have legitimately had alien encounters.

It isn’t just trauma and mental disorders that can allegedly produce these alien encounters, however. People have linked alien abduction experiences with various drugs such as Salvia Divinorum, Ketamine, and psilocybin, but most often DMT. All are classified as psychedelics, I believe, aside from ketamine, which is a dissociative, but unless you’re willing to concede that each of these chemicals constitute different rabbit holes leading to the same parallel universe, all are psychedelic in the true sense of the term, which is to say that they are “mind-revealing.” In other words, these drugs draw back the egoic curtain and let you take a peek beyond the veil of mundane consciousness, bringing you can deal more directly with the more subliminal aspects of the mind — just as psychosis can.

Some believe sleep paralysis alone can produce the abduction experience, which I find ridiculous for several reasons. Even among the popularized abduction cases one can see that bedrooms are not the only place encounters occur and that often enough the people involved are not asleep at the time of the event. They might be fishing or driving, for instance, and be among others who are taken along with them. In addition, I have had sleep paralysis myself and the earliest such experience is the succubus experience mentioned early in the book. Even at the time of the experience I did not interpret it as an alien breaking into my dark room, crawling atop my bed, straddling my immobilized body and proceeding to dry-hump rape me. Instead, I assumed it was a disembodied entity doing something analogous or — more likely, I supposed — this was all a hallucinatory experience brought on by one-part sleep deprivation and one-part prescription medication.

So I have explored the Psychological Hypothesis (PH), which alleges that while it may require activation through trauma, drugs, mental disorders or the peculiar circumstance in which your mind wakes up before your body does, the abduction experience is purely a product of human psychology. There is no external intelligence at work here, only my own. It’s all in my head. A related school of thought I explored posits what I’ll call the Psi Hypothesis (PsiH), and it attempts to compensate for the failure of the PH to account for physical evidence by bringing parapsychology into the fold — specifically, the psi capabilities of the human mind.

My train of thought ultimately ran along this track: if one finds the PH absurd and instead accepts abductions as nuts-and-bolts physical experiences, these physical experiences require you to accept the existence of paranormal phenomena. It is simply a given. After all, a cursory glance at abduction reports should make it clear that telepathy and moving through walls, for instance, is by no means rare in abduction events. To the contrary, paranormal phenomena is pretty fucking standard — and not just during these events, either, but in the wake of them. There is the matter of the “paranormal afterglow” that manifests in my life during these experiences, and while some investigators fail to mention them, personal reports from abductees reveal that I am by no means alone. Others also experience spontaneous telepathic experiences, poltergeist activity, vivid dreams that seem like awakening in a parallel reality, odd coincidences and other strange events.

As this paranormal afterglow runs the full spectrum of psi, stretches on indiscriminately into the gamut of the strange, it seems natural to wonder if the aliens themselves, rather than extraterrestrials, might just be another manifestation. In other words, it could very well still be that the phenomenon is purely psychological at the roots, that it is governed by compartmentalized aspects of my mind that influence me subliminally, that this is truly my conspiracy against myself. Maybe it also branched out into physicality utilizing psi abilities, however: powers which for whatever convenient reason I cannot wield consciously.
This would by necessity be a form of poltergeist. In this view, the phenomenon of poltergeists is explained as a living individual who is experiencing recurrent spontaneous psychokinesis; the psychokinetic activity is the result of subconscious and involuntary acting-out of the focus individual.

For a clearer picture of how this might work we might first turn to a series of parapsychological experiments that have been conducted since 1972. These experiments sought to demonstrate that the display of psi phenomena often attributed to deceased individuals could manifest without them, and so such phenomena were not necessarily evidence for life after death. In the beginning, which in this case was 1972, there was Philip Aylesford, the child of eight members of the Toronto Society for Psychical Research. He was a fictional character they developed with an elaborate backstory regarding his birth, life, and eventual death. They collectively meditated on him before attempting to communicate with him in the style of a Spiritualist seance. Participants reported not only communications but manifestations — they not only saw and heard things, in other words, but poltergeist phenomena also manifested. Other groups conducted similar experiments, reporting that they had successfully created and then conjured Lilith, a World War II French Canadian spy, Sebastian, an alchemist from medieval times and finally Axel, who was from the future.

As expected, results of these experiments were disputed — as were the tales regarding the more extreme manifestation of what has typically been called the tulpa in Western culture and which is also variously known as an egregore or a thought-form. It is often conceived as an imaginary entity that achieves, through ritual intent of its creator, a physical manifestation — according to some, an intentional and advanced rendition of your typical poltergeist.

Though the notion is reasonably dispersed across the collective consciousness at this point, methinks, the only alleged personal account I have come across is the one told by Alexandra David-Neel. In her journey through Tibet, she became interested in tulpas. Having elected to make one herself, she decided on a friendly, pudgy monk, and was eventually able to visualize him as a hallucination in her visual field. Over time the hallucination gained clarity, and eventually she found it indistinguishable from a living, breathing, physical being.

The frightening aspect of her little experiment soon became apparent, however, when the monk began appearing when she hadn’t conjured it, and then began behaving in ways it had not been programmed by her to behave. The monk also seemed to be losing weight and had taken on a distinctly malicious appearance. Nothing was as shocking, however, as when an individual she knew, who knew nothing of her practices, began questioning her about the stranger that had been meandering about in her tent. She reports that it took half a year, but she was eventually able to abolish the creature through other Tibetan techniques.

Though in both of these cases the entities were intentionally generated, in both cases they reportedly also exceed their programming and seemed to take on a life of their own, independent of the conscious aspect of the mind: essentially, a spiritual form of artificial intelligence. It also fits the profile of a dissociative identity state, an alternate personality. They are essentially intentionally-generated alters that can manifest physically.

An interesting aspect of the Philip experiment was that none of the eight involved were gifted psychically. Nonetheless, they were apparently capable of creating and programming a spiritual entity that could communicate in a way that was consistent with that personality and, most important and amazing of all, producing psychokinetic effects. David-Neel seemed to be at least moderately gifted psychically and have some degree of discipline as well; despite being a lone individual, she was able to produce a creature that could be seen by her and others. The entity was also able to become independent of its creators, functioning autonomously. Naturally, this might lead one to wonder what kind of effects a large group of psychically-gifted individuals might be capable of producing.

All the people I know that have had experiences similar to mine seem to have no knowledge of the UFO or abduction phenomenon beyond the superficial reports that the media regurgitates every now and then. Despite this, correlations between our narratives are plentiful right down to unanticipated details. From the way one friend described the shadows of the beings from outside her tent during a formative experience while camping as a child to the way another friend described the manner in which one of the creatures in his encounter ran, there are correlations even in the details littering our experience that I cannot in good conscience deny. This extends to many of those of whom I have read and read about in blogs, articles and books and seen through interviews and documentaries. Could the answer really be that our collective unconscious is conspiring against us, utilizing telepathy to share a narrative and RSPK to bring that narrative to life?

Despite finding the concepts of both the PH and PsiH fascinating, I have, in the end, always choked in my attempts to swallow. Those who have posited that poltergeist activity is the unconscious product of an individual note the similarities in individuals around which the alleged recurrent spontaneous psychokinesis (RSPK) manifests. In cases of alien abduction, on the other hand, it is clear that these experiences are shared by people from all walks of life, people all across the spectrum — racial, religious, cultural, class, education — as well as people of wildly different constitutions who react to these shared experiences in very individual ways. This sounds less like a psychological disorder — with or without psi effects — and more like an actual, nuts-and-bolts experience.

Ex Caput Mortuum.

Sixteen,
slipping headfirst into the black.

Alone at last, embracing introversion,
stumbling through the jungle, to the tender lips
of the abyss within, listening
to ancient whispers, denied memories,
buried aspects of my personality:

truths of a type
that nightmares are made of.

Ink in pen, pastel, pencil, various media
in hand, fingers to keyboard,
hungry for bloodletting,
expel the poison,
work the dirt out from the sore
that I become in this prison
of ignorance,
hunt and peck
until they blister and spill my essence…

I try to bleed it dry, swallow it whole,
deep certainty that this is the only way to let go
of that which I have been entirely blinded to,

not least of which the fact
that I hold and have held
for so long, though this hole is deeper
than I could ever have guessed, could have known,
a surreal vortex that threatens
any sense of self or sanity
with ruthless, violent, unmerciful
disintegration.

Crows peck meat from bones,
ghosts torment the mind drifting free
from body, now at war with the chaos,
eyes as black as my head is dead,
flies encircles my eyes, halo of crows spinning
like satellites around my charred
and wasted mind…

Cannot believe the weight I hold.
(Arrogance.)
Cannot believe the age of soul.
(Age is not synonymous with wisdom.)
Fight against the accusation
that I am a part of this, participant
in this mess,

my freedom, my responsibility.
Belonging nowhere, gather the lost, fight
for a better home. Feel like I need
to do something, use all that I have got,
though I’m lost,
fuck,
what am I supposed to do
with all of this?

No one could
(not even sure that I completely)
believe it.

No faith in self.
No hope is scientifically
discerning anything else.

How can I know what side
is right to fight
on if I know enough to know
that I don’t know myself?

(Nimi, where are you?
My guide, my confidant…)

Need to gain
a sense of direction
to find the off-ramp,
escape my personal hell,
embrace my work,
be myself.

Notes from the Pocket.

Was it the hypnosis videos I listened to again last night to relax? Was it her who opened the door again?

It began last night and they, the memories, have continued creeping in since I awoke. Like a pocket of memory with an ever-widening hole and these fragments keep slipping through. Recollections hiding in this strange mood, now emerging before me yet again. The same things I always remember about the place, be it a parascom or otherwise, though now I feel closer to them.

A phosphorescent oasis in the midst of a dark wasteland. Ferns and trees glowing neon. A sense of beauty and lethality within this patch of jungle. Across the desert, predatory creatures, like swiftly-moving psycho-pompoms with long spider legs. Sand and hard ground and rock formations. An underground place, fairly well hidden, that I call home. Death machines, war machines, like triangular tanks without visible guns and with wheels that stretch far above my head. Every brief and vivid memory, so convincingly lifelike. Within the memory my vision seems widescreen, crystalline clear and farsighted. Bigger and better eyes, perhaps, or an atmosphere high in oxygen. As that creature pounces, dust flies up and settles slowly, as if the wasteland is low in gravity. This can’t be earth. I can’t be human. This can’t be real, the rational part of me insists. Why do I remember this as if I were there? Why so rich an illusion, so strange a lie? Just let me see the face I’m looking out of. I keep striving for my reflection in these forbidden recollections.

If this is real, what does it mean? If it’s not real — what the fuck does it all mean?

Some greater understanding here would be nice…

Haylee & Flashes Before the Mind’s Eye.

On April 3, 2015, in the midst of listening to Haylee’s “Blank and Empty” video, I suddenly receive a flash of what feels like a memory. I am moving across a vast, desert landscape when I come to a broad and narrow entrance. Inside is a ramp that slopes downward, underneath the desert floor, into my subterranean home. I felt safe there; secure. You could not see the entrance from the sky and no one would suspect it was there.

A day or two afterward, while watching Haylee again, I suddenly see a crisp and vivid still image in my mind’s eye. It is the corner of some beautifully blue in-ground pool. It is a bright and warm summer day and I have no fear, no worry, not a care in the world. I feel in the here and now and it is cleansing, refreshing.

Then, on April 6, I get high, watch two Haylee videos and then masturbate. I just observe my mind for awhile, watch as it flips through images as I drift off towards sleep. Suddenly, it manifests before me in my mind, where it appears real close to my face (my innerface, I guess). It is a pitch black silhouette of a man against a bright white background. Faceless and facing me. It is vivid as hell but lasts only a second. When I see it, I bolt awake in my bed, sitting up in shock. The area from my head to my chest was numb and tingly.

Carissa’s Message.

Meditation memory:
1/30/15 (morning).

It was my sophomore year of high school when I met Carissa. Curly hair parted in the middle, delicate face, wonderful eyes. She kind of looked like a Campbell Soup girl.

She had a different kind of energy to her that sort of caught me. It made total sense to me, then, when she told me of having gone to see a psychic about her sister, a psychic who told Carissa that she, too, was psychic.

“You have eyes that look right through me,” she said to me sometime thereafter. I asked her to elaborate, and she explained that she meant to express her feeling that I could see into people. It wasn’t a compliment or an insult, it seemed to me; just her stating an observation. Still, I always seemed to unnerve her.

Her and I were both going to see the school psychologist, Lisa, on the recommendation of our art teacher, who was the school psychologist by nature, though not by profession. Both of us were dealing with what seemed to be lost memories that had returned in flashbacks, though hers were far more down to earth.

Her sister had died and Carissa had been devastated; shortly thereafter, memories of being with her that she had never before recalled began intruding into her mind. I never knew what they involved in particular, but they caused considerable stress for her and my heart went out to her.

An instant crush developed and I became rather captivated by her, though back then I had yet to learn resistance, yet to learn that crushes diminish over time and I need not trust my attachment feelings. I didn’t wait it out; I did a half-assed attempt at trying to go out with her. This was essentially asking her to hang out with my circle of friends and I one weekend.

She would later explain to me how she just didn’t understand my group, because we weren’t alike. All of us were different; she could not wrap her head around how our clique worked. I was confused as to why our diversity perplexed her so. We didn’t need to be like one another, we simply needed to like one another — to accept each other for what and who we were.

Typically we hung out at the coffee shop in a nearby town, getting jacked up in cappuccino, lattes, teas and shots of espresso, though sometimes we went to nearby restaurants as well.

Carissa met us at Pizza Hut with one of her friends; another girl in a letterman jacket. Typical, basic, bland kind of pretty, I suppose, but she didn’t seem to harbor that complexity, irradiate that glow that Carissa did. The scene that my mind keeps flashing to me during meditation deals with her there, by her friend, at the far end of the Pizza Hut parking lot, talking to me. We both liked the song, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” which was a new song back then. Though I don’t know if she said it to me then, for some reason I associate with that scene, during meditation, with what I finally got her to express to me. That we wouldn’t work out in her eyes. We were too different.

“I don’t want to change for you,” she said, “and I don’t want you to change for me.”

Maybe there is no reason this memory has popped in my head during meditation a few times now, or perhaps it was a suggestion from the depths of my mind: relinquish involvement with thoughts, emotions, sensations, fantasies and memories. Don’t change in response to them and don’t try to change them to suit yourself. Accept and respect your difference.

Your mind is not who you are. Just watch the mind. Just be who you are.

Notes on the Growing Attention.

When I can achieve focus, it feels as if I have been stuck underwater, suffocating, panicking, and now I have finally remembered to come up for air. Its a relief, however short-lived.

Later, in bed, I notice where my imagination goes, the themes behind the scenarios playing out in my head. And then at work, as I was cutting the box tops in the stock room, the same strange self-observation comes back on again so easily.

Observing my spontaneous daydreams, I identify the underlying themes, some of which are:

– Worry regarding how others perceive me.
– Seeking to impress others.
– Manufacturing justifications for my actions or imagined actions.
– Engaging in a monologue or a dialogue, often imagined as if I were being interviewed.

I experience not only thoughts, emotions and sensations, however. Memories drift into my inner eye’s line of sight as well, though I’m not as clear regarding their meaning or purpose.

1/25/15:

In the midst of meditation, as my mind drifted I kept seeing that park around the block from my parent’s house. The entrance, the trees, the potholes on the dirt road…

1/26/15:

As I’m working alone in the stock room, I remember waiting in the passenger seat of a car at a gas station off a highway. Whoever is driving went inside for something. I feel gloomy, hopeless, depressed and anxious. Above the gas station and the busy, complex roads around me, the sky looks so open and exposed, the world seems so threatening. I feel older. It feels like the 70s. I’ve had this memory many times before.

1/27/15:

It’s probably shortly after we moved into the new house in 1988. My parents and sisters aren’t home and I had heard things in the house, so I’m standing on the front lawn, summer sun warming me and the dogs beside me as I keep trying to build up the courage to go back inside.

Then, later, while cleaning fryers, I hear the song — was it on the radio or did it just erupt in my head? — “Mama Said,” by The Shirelles. At the same time, I receive another flash of memory that I have recalled before but does not seem to be from my life. It’s an upper-level apartment in some city at night. An old black man lives there. You walk through the door into a dimly-lit hallway and to your right is a closet where, at the bottom, there is a pair of brown leather shoes.

Again, I constantly wonder: are these flashes of memory random, irrelevant, or do they mean something? As for the past life ones: are they authentic or is there some other explanation? At least in the last case I identified the trigger. I’ve decided to pay more and closer attention now and see if the triggers could provide some understanding…

Of Aliens & Alters.

It would not make sense to claim that alien abduction accounts are due to “screen memories” of childhood abuse, and for two reasons: first, the purpose of such a screen memory would be to dull or reduce the trauma of the actual memories being “screened,” and given the terror inherent in so many of these alien experiences it does not seem to be serving its purpose. Second, not all memories stem from childhood; many have been real-time experiences. Those with Dissociative Identity Disorder often have alters who are modeled after an abuser or perhaps the “screen” that the abuser was given. The alters may then repeat the abuse, perhaps similar to the way in which the mind is thought to deliver recurring dreams in order to exhaust an intensely emotional circumstance. Is this the answer? Are the aliens I have been seeing all my life hallucinogenic exteriorizations of alternate identities? The astral projections or lucid dreams I began having in May, 1995 — experiences that began with me being attacked by a formless, vicious entity — truly a shared dream state which I had with just such an alter? Is this a possibility I could perhaps verify or falsify myself in some way?

Inner Aliens, Ex Nihilo.

Recently I have been reading the words of Marlene Steinberg, MD, in her 1999 book The Stranger in the Mirror: Dissociation — The Hidden Epidemic.

It is an interesting book in general, but I read with intensity a particular chapter, Chapter 15: “Aliens from Inner Space: UFO Abductions, Past Lives, Near-Death Experiences.”

Here she conveys her hypothesis that alleged alien abductees are in actuality sufferers of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). The content of the abduction experiences are in actuality metaphorical screen memories of childhood trauma. These screen memories can play out in dissociative trance states in which hallucinatory externalizations of inner alters “alien” to the “abductee” host personality act out the aforementioned screen memories.

The strangeness experienced both bodily and perceptually throughout the alien abduction experience can, she maintains, be adequately explained by the distortions, illusions and hallucinations commonly experienced in severe DR/DP.

In her eyes, alien abduction experiences represent a double-dose of dissociation. Not only was the memory of the original childhood trauma dissociated from consciousness , giving rise to amnesia, but the memories themselves were subject to dissociation, giving rise to distortions, erasures and metaphorical manifestations of the root memory. Evidently the aim of the substitution is to reduce the emotional impact of the actual traumatic memory.

Though I have read the suggestion elsewhere before, the notion that transforming the actual perpetrator into an alien will somehow soften the blow of a traumatic experience still strikes me as ridiculous. To have a trusted figure abuse you as a child would certainly be a traumatic experience and a screen memory would be understandable. An alien abduction would not appear to be a choice cover-story if the intent is truly to lubricate the truth, however.

These “screen” experiences and memories are themselves traumatic on multiple levels. They isolate the abductee socially, for there is considerable difficulty when it comes to sharing the anomalous experience with others. Even if one accomplishes it, others may seem to doubt the abductee’s sanity or even subject them to ridicule.

Given the apparent reality of aliens, their telepathic powers and technological magic, the anxiety of uncertainty arises regarding the nature of reality on the one hand and the potential possibility of their utter fucking insanity on the other. There may also be identity confusion produced by the assertions of the aliens, who often claim to be ancestors or parents to the abductee, or who claim more directly that the abductee is “one of them.”

Despite this, I somehow manage to feel certain that had Steinberg read John Mack’s book, Abduction, she would have found only more support for her notion, particularly in the abduction cases which involved both past life memories and a “duality of consciousness.” This duality arises in some abductees who seem to be host to an alter that identifies itself as alien. It has distinct knowledge as well as memories of a life as an alien. It can sometimes even “take over” the body during an abduction and work alongside the aliens as one of them, or even switch on partially or completely during mundane life, as suggested by Budd Hopkins in his books Witnessed and Sight Unseen.

If she were to have read the other literature, especially the later literature, perhaps she would interpret the notion of transgenic children that represent a cross of both alien and human as a symbol of synthesis or integration. Signs that the barriers distinguishing the host and alter are breaking down.

Dissociation does not explain why the alien abduction schema explained so many other aspects of my experiences, memories and dreams, however, and how they relate to those of so many other people.

Many, such as Jacques Vallee, suggest that the answer resides in the fact that the UFO and alien abduction phenomenon are merely modern upgrades of age-old mythologies. Steinberg seems to agree when she writes:

“Carl Sagan … pointed out that the fantasy life of people has always been influenced by the prevailing cultural images in all times and places. When everyone believed that gods regularly came down to earth, gods were what people envisioned as fearsome otherworldly beings. In the Middle Ages, when demons were in vogue, it was incubi and succubi. Later, when fairies were widely believed in, it was fairies that were said to paralyze and rape human victims. Now, in the space age, when we are sending spaceships to Mars and have begun to think aliens might exist, aliens descending from space ships are the imaginary predators that people see in their dreams and flashbacks.”

Within the second flashback I had there was what only could have been dissociative distortion, for the tall, slim and “muscular” Gray alien by my bedside was devoid of a face. It was shadowy, contoured, but blank. If the true perpetrator was not the creature I saw plus a face I dissociated away, then the creature itself was a cover. If the intention is to substitute a known identity with an alien one, why replace the true perpetrator with an alien just to wipe the face of the screen memory clean?

Rather than merely an amnesiac gap of “missing time,” Budd Hopkins suggested, the aliens often create false or misleading memories. These screen memories that substitute for the real memories buried beneath amnesia. For the most part Steinberg could dismiss these alleged alien-imposed screen memories as she did with respect to an apparent memory of a deer tied to an abduction event: it was merely the hallucinatory exteriorization of an animal alter alongside alien alters.

What makes considerably less sense to me is how this fits into the first flashback I ever had. I encountered a frowning, wrinkly reptile-like alien who then looked into my eyes and after explaining some things telepathically went on to throw me into a “screen memory” cover story for our encounter, or so it seemed. He was now a grinning doctor in a white lab coat, holding a clipboard. He was working with scientists and he was here to give me a check-up. Most importantly, I feel, was the fact that he and his team were still clearly aliens.

He was not an alien, she would claim, but a screen memory for an actual human dick-head that traumatized me in my youth. I get that. Yet why would I double-wrap the true dick with fiction — so that he can safely fuck with my mind for the rest of my life, delivering all the implicit agony while protecting his identity in the selected distortion of explicit memory? Why would I have “nested” screen memories, both depicting an alien encounter?

My mother was oppressive as well as subtlety manipulative, but she never hit me, nor has my father. I watched my friends get physically abused by their father, but I was never physically abused. I have never been sexually abused.

I know I’m sensitive. I know I have dissociative tendencies, I have had what must have been hallucinations and its becoming increasingly less of a leap for me to fancy the notion that I may have an alter sharing my headspace, but all of this without a triggering mundane event in sight? All of this ex nihilo? Without rhyme or reason?