"They came from inner space" [1]

Waking up to the uncanny sound of someone furiously cutting paper, you get out of bed. But for some reason you can’t get any of the lights to come on. And then suddenly the room is flooded with a powerful luminescence—coming, it would seem, from something that seems to be hovering just outside the bedroom window. It is at this point that genuine craziness ensues. You levitate horizontally and start drifting towards the window. Alternatively, you might start out horizontal and then, with a rush of heat, flip into vertical mode. An alien might jump on you and either attempt to strangle you or to initiate mating. Or you might say, “Oh, stuff this, I can’t be bothered with this tonight!” and pull yourself awake.

Before I offend anyone, I want to say right at the outset that all of the above has happened to me, and that it is precisely because I have experienced these things that I empathise with people convinced they have been abducted by alien beings.

Michael Persinger of Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario is able to induce hallucinatory phenomena with all the hallmarks of religious and alien abduction experiences by stimulating the temporal lobes of the brain with a helmet generating a slight magnetic field [2]. He also believes that mass UFO-sightings could be caused by local tectonic emissions, that the experiences of people reporting such incidents might have been triggered by fields generated by the stresses and strains in the earth, in a manner similar to the ‘temporal lobe transients (TLTs)’ brought on by his specially adapted helmet.

Dr Persinger’s theories make a lot of sense, as regards what might set off such an experience. Most of my visitation encounters have begun with a peculiar buzzing in my head, a tingling I find so unpleasant that now, more often than not, I will struggle to pull myself back into a normal waking consciousness.

Which is a shame, because beyond the unpleasant side affects, there is usually something of importance to be gained from these phantasms. Perhaps it is all in the perception: are your ‘aliens’ coming to persecute you, or are they coming to broaden your horizons?

The answer is: probably a little of both. But I’m getting ahead of myself here; first I want to explain how I came to work out what might possibly be happening.


[1] An earlier version of this article appeared in 1999 in Astrolore, issue 4.
[2] "Dr Persinger's God Machine", Ian Cotton, The Independent on Sunday, 2 July 1995.