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.

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Archery of the Hallucinatorium.

During a period when I was utterly convinced I must be schizophrenic, I openly declared to a teenage coworker who had issues himself that I hallucinated aliens. When he asked me whether they were here right now or not, I laughed, and told him it didn’t work like that. As a matter of fact, sometimes it seemed as though my experiences were orchestrated to keep me in a constant state of uncertainty regarding their nature. Sometimes there was evidence suggesting it was true, such as my father seeing the tail end of the red, shimmering orb I saw hovering over our driveway; other times, it felt just as certain to me that I must just be bloody fucking insane. This is my mind’s major perpetual oscillation. Nothing, it seems, is capable of convincing me one way or the other, at least not in something exceeding a pathetically transient sense.

I imagine one day in the future I’m living alone again, walking a dog I will then own through a park where a large group of people are having a barbeque. My eyes drift passed the clapping trees on this beautiful summer’s day and there, above in the clear, baby-blue skies silently hovers a silver, metallic, saucer-looking object. In response, I shake myself free of the immobilization that came with the shock of seeing it and do precisely what I did on the morning of September, 2001 when I saw the orb of shimmering red light hovering over the lawn: I reach for my nearest means of confirmation, the nearest human beings in my immediate vicinity. I call out to the BBQ group and point to the sky, asking, “Am I the only one seeing this?” One guy sitting on a picnic table, holding a beer and watching the meat grill stands up to assist, looking up in the direction I’m pointing and kindly searching for whatever it is I might be talking about. “You talkin’ about that boat out there?” By that time, it would be clear to me that he could not see the saucer hovering there above us, and I would have good reason to dismiss it as a hallucination, however vivid: a product of my own mind.

When considering the fact that my experiences might just be due to mental wiring or caused by some psychological disease, I always consider how clever my unconscious mind must be. For what I have described above never happens, though there have damn well been opportunities, clearly. I could easily falsify what I feel sure is real, and so prove to myself that I am indeed insane.

I should remind myself that there have been occasions in which I have had hallucinations, all without the assistance of drugs, that it would be difficult to interpret as anything but. There are the instances of face-phasing, like girl’s face morphing transiently into the faces of previous girls I’ve been involved with: it has happened on two or three occasions, and by no means did I presume that they were literally shape-shifting before my eyes. I knew it must be some subtle hallucination.

Most disturbing was the image of my father in the rearview mirror when he drove us back from the hypnosis session, which was far more vivid that any of the occurrences with the girls. He did not transform before my eyes, either, nor was it actually his face that I saw — it was only his reflection, with his real face obscured due to my angle from the dark back seat of the van, where I sat alone. I knew it had to be a hallucination as there was no other explanation, but it was no less horrifying, no less mesmerizing, particularly due to its vivid nature, its presumed correspondence with the movement of my father’s actual head as he spoke with my mother as she drove, the fact that his skin was of a iridescent purple-blue that changed in the light and in the angle and that the color was unearthly but familiar, as well as its persistence. Several times during that long fucking ride home I looked away from the rearview and back again, and still it remained. Yet nothing else in my field of vision was disturbed. Everything else was entirely mundane and normal, which perplexed and amazed me, even at the time.

These hallucinations were technically pseudo-hallucinations, as I knew they were hallucinations. The face-morphing with the girls remained only so long as I focused on them and then all went back to normal. The face-morphing with my father would not go away no matter what I tried, and when we got out of the van upon arriving home I made sure not to look at the faces of either of them. As a psychologist would say to me when I relayed the story to him years later, it is incredibly suspicious that I had such a hallucination directly following a hypnosis session. The fact of the matter is that the experience was not at all that foreign to me. Though I go through periods of excess slacking, I often meditate or engage in self-hypnosis, which is more or less the same thing. Since I was young I had listened to guided self-hypnosis tapes to overcome anxiety or gain self-confidence. And nothing vivid came out of the first-and-only hypnosis session that evening, though there were a few hazy, however brief recollections that would come to disturb me later. That I would have such a vivid hallucination only on the way home after having been brought out of a largely unsuccessful trance seems a little hard to believe given my experience.

Though it does resonate with another experience in a sense. After having smoked some Salvia Divinorum in a friend’s homemade water bong as Thus Spoke Zarathustra, the theme song from the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey played in the background. I took my hits off the bong a little after midnight, poor at holding the smoke in my lungs without hacking like a madman, and so I stopped altogether by a half passed. Another friend of mine — my current roommate, in fact — took in about as much as me off the bong and he felt essentially the same effects. We both had a bit of a head rush and were kind of dizzy, but that was about the length of it. I ate a bit of food, talked with the group of people there, drove one of them home on my way back to my parent’s house, where I was living at the time. After getting home, I made a pot of coffee, went to the bathroom and then decided to go outside to have a smoke and gaze at the beauty of the night sky. And there, having felt entirely sober and having felt no real sense of intoxication at all that night, I got what we might call another delayed effect.

Turning my head to look up towards the sky above the front yard I see, from an angle, a triangular object slowly moving towards the area above the house. Granted, I see no solid object, only a triangular formation of white, circular lights that appeared to be arranged in rows. Nonetheless, something implied to me a triangular object up there with these lights on its underside. It remained in my field of vision for about ten seconds, moving slowly in the sky without making so much as a subtle hum. Then, as if noticing me noticing it, the object gradually slowed down, dimmed its lights, then brightened them to a degree brighter than before, and then “switched off” completely. It was as if there was a little knob inside you could twist to brighten or dim the lights, and someone had, in their haste, accidentally turned the knob the wrong way for a moment before correcting the mistake and twisting the knob in the correct direction now, and quickly, until it clicked into the off position. This only permitted me to see a dark, triangular object move across the sky in the direction it had been going, albeit only for a few moments before I lost sight of it. Moments after I lost sight of it, there were subtle noises in the woods behind the house. It sounded like the crackling of twigs and rustling of leaves, as if the craft had gone over the house and was now burying itself at the tops of the trees in our backyard.

Though not hypnosis, as in the case with the rearview hallucination of my father’s reflection, it seems incredibly suspicious that this experience followed my inhalation of the fumes from a psychoactive plant. Again, what I agree is the easy solution on the surface doesn’t make sense the more you consider the details rather than just simplifying it.

There is, to begin, the matter of dosage. Irritated as I was when the Salvia had not seemed to have taken effect that evening, I did not find it at all that surprising. After all, I had smoked Salvia perhaps four to five times prior and it had never given me vivid hallucinations, and never any open-eye visuals. On each occasion I’d smoked a higher dosage of a more potent form of the substance, too. For instance, during my first experience I believe I had smoked Salvia 5x, which means that the active ingredient in Salvia Divinorum was sprinkled on the Salvia leaves, making it five times as potent. On the next two occasions I’d smoked ten-times extract. Even with the Salvia 10x, I had gotten nothing more than a soothing effect with transparent “eye candy” visuals when I closed my eyes. The leaves I had smoked on the night I saw the delta light show were just the leaves, however, void of any extract.

In addition, there is the matter of the drugs duration. My research and eventual experimentation with Salvia came out of a desire to falsify my growing belief in the reality of my experiences, essentially. Many had claimed that many drugs, such as Ketamine, DMT and Salvia Divinorum (which has been called “the most potent naturally-occurring psychedelic known to man”) produce experiences similar to both out-of-body experiences and alien encounters, both of which I experienced rather consistently. My focus on Salvia was due to its legal status at the time and the fact that while potent with a swift onset, it was of incredibly short duration: a trip usually lasted around the order of ten to fifteen minutes. Within half an hour, one felt entirely sober. There would be no hours of waiting if a trip commenced and went inconceivably bad, and that was something I considered attractive. Yet I had hallucinated a well-lit delta-shaped UFO roughly three hours and forty-five minutes after a few seemingly unsuccessful bong hits of naked, dry leaves.

If my experiences as a whole truly are all the product of the vast, multifaceted psychosis infecting my brain-stuff, then clearly things such as hypnosis and psychedelic substances would serve to either initiate a psychotic break or exacerbate the live episode currently airing in my short-circuiting neural network. This is not a factoid my spotlight of awareness dares to deviate all that far from in the post-1995 climate of my consciousness; one must take potential insanity into account to ensure one’s reality check has not bounced. My question is why they would happen on some rare occasions rather than all, and after the effects — of hypnosis, of the drug — were projected and felt to have ceased. Along with that is the notion that the delayed effects were of an extremely far more remarkable quality than anything within the context of the projected period of effect.

If both the hallucination of my fathers face in the rearview and the hallucination of that triangular craft above my parent’s lawn were produced by hypnosis and Salvia Divinorum respectively, they are similar in that they could be seen as delayed reactions. It reminds me, for better or worse, of the notion of “sigil magick,” a sort of branch of Chaos Magick, which relies upon intentional effort followed by diversion of attention, which evidently provides the room for results to be manufactured and received. It almost makes sense, as consciousness seems to interfere with conscious processes, and so must leave the room, so to speak, and go somewhere else for the unconscious to do its job.

This is why someone can fill their heads with data, struggle to understand it in order to answer a question or solve a problem or come to a decision and no matter how relentless their conscious exertion they only manage to get themselves wound ever more in the mental webs they have spun. Finally they submit to “leaving the room” and “taking a bath” or just getting some damned sleep. And as soon as they have accomplished that, as soon as they have successfully diverted conscious attention, the answer arrives to them out of the blue.

All you had to do was let it digest. Let the room become an unconscious womb where the answer can gestate and finally come to term. This is the same kind of effect described by those who claimed to have successfully executed telepathy and psychokinesis: a major investment of effort towards a goal, a sudden diversion is the only thing that produces success. A watched pot never boils; a fork never bends in your hand while you’re trying to bend it. Set the goal, invest the energy, then ADD away: the unconscious mind will pick up from here.

Sure you helped. Like you loosened the lid on the jar after struggling for eons and the next person turns it and it comes off immediately.

I was trying desperately to remember under hypnosis. I was anticipating doing the Salvia, hoping to see something. Results only come after my eventual release. The session is over. The drug is out of my system. On to other things. And then: delivery. I call it the Bow Effect, because you’re aiming the arrow, pulling back on your bow with all your might without getting anywhere towards your goal. Indeed, the arrowhead actually seems to be receding from the target as you up the ante, increase the tension. Only when your fingers give up or become diverted by a sudden intense itch or pain and you release the bow does the arrow soar towards the goal.