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essays and commentary
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According to the UFO literature, UFO occupants come in different humanoid shapes and sizes. Regarding shape, the occupants have more or less the basic humanoid shape: two legs, two arms, a head, and bilateral symmetry. Regarding size, the UFO occupants are typically described as being small, ranging from roughly 1 to 1½ meters in height.
There are reports, both ancient and recent, that UFO occupants abduct people. In premodern times, when UFO occupants wanted to abduct someone, they typically appeared to the abductee as dwarfish people. These occupants would then play a ruse on the abductee. They invited the abductee to come along with them, either to provide help of some kind or to participate in their celebrations. Some such excuse would be made, to help win the abductee’s initial cooperation in his own abduction. The people at the time believed these occupants to be members of an advanced human race that lived on mountains, in caves, or on islands; in places not inhabited by ordinary people. But this deception became obsolete when it became unbelievable in modern times. However, the deception was used in Europe until as late as the 19th century when the practice died out completely. Jacques Vallee, in Dimensions (quoting Walter Evans-Wentz, who wrote a thesis on Celtic traditions in Brittany, and a book in 1909 titled The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries):
The general belief in the interior of Brittany is that the fees once existed, but that they disappeared as their country was changed by modern conditions. In the region of the Mene and of Erce (Ille-et-Vilaine) it is said that for more than a century there have been no fees and on the sea coast where it is firmly believed that the fees used to inhabit certain grottos in the cliffs, the opinion is that they disappeared at the beginning of the last century. The oldest Bretons say that their parents or grandparents often spoke about having seen fees, but very rarely do they say that they themselves have seen fees. M. Paul Sebillot found only two who had. One was an old needlewoman of Saint-Cast, who had such fear of fees that if she was on her way to do some sewing in the country and it was night she always took a long circuitous route to avoid passing near a field known as the Couvent des Fees. The other was Marie Chehu, a woman 88 years old.
Regarding the UFO literature at the end of the 20th century, reports of alien abduction are common, but these reports are mostly based on memories recovered by the use of hypnosis, and for that reason are unreliable. In older literature, there does not seem to be much regarding what happens during an alleged abduction, because “the mind of a person coming out of Fairy-Land is usually blank as to what has been seen and done there.”
Although UFO occupants have apparently been seen collecting rocks, soil, and plants; in recent times almost no one has reported seeing them collecting farm animals. However, the UFO literature includes claims by some researchers that UFO occupants are responsible for so-called cattle mutilations, which are characterized by a recently dead animal that is missing parts of its body, such as “sex organs, tongues, ears, eyes, or anuses”. But the explanation given by others, that the culprits are small animals that preferentially eat the exposed soft parts of recently dead cattle, sounds more convincing.
 Vallee, Jacques. Dimensions. Ballantine Books, New York, 1988. pp. 70–71.
 Psychologist William Cone describes the typical expectation that a subject has regarding hypnosis (Randle, Kevin, Russ Estes, and William Cone. The Abduction Enigma. Forge, New York, 1999):
Most people who undergo hypnotic regression believe that the unconscious has recorded everything and that hypnosis can bring those memories to the surface. This becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. They know they are supposed to remember something, and so they do. [Ibid., p. 334]
But the idea that memory is a complete and accurate recording of events is simply wrong:
Hundreds of studies have shown that this idea is not true. Memory is not recorded but seems, according to the research, to be stored in a highly complex manner consisting of impressions, ideas, and feelings filtered through our own belief system. Each time someone reaches for a memory, it is not “played back” but reconstructed. ... Furthermore, according to research, as time goes by, memories are modified to fit the beliefs of the society and world around us. [Ibid., p. 333]
Another problem with hypnosis is that leading the subject is unavoidable:
The truth is that it is impossible not to lead someone under the influence of hypnosis. A question as innocent as, “What happened next?” presupposes that something else happened, but more important, primes the subject to continue the narrative. [Ibid., p. 337]
Or what about David Jacobs? According to those who have witnessed his sessions, he doesn’t say much as he interrogates the victims of abduction. But for those who have been privileged to hear the tapes of those sessions, it is clear what he is doing. When the abductee strays from what Jacobs believes to be the norm, he makes no audible comment. However, when the subject touches on a point in which he believes, he nods and says, “Uh-huh.” It doesn’t take the abductee long to pick up on the cues and begin to massage the tale for the verbal approval of Jacobs. [Ibid., pp. 347–348]
Because of the various ways, subtle and otherwise, that a subject can be led during hypnosis, Cone draws the very reasonable conclusion that leading the subject causes the similarities between the reported abduction stories: the abduction researchers are, in effect, working from the same script, and they lead the subject to give the expected account. The end result is that the abduction researchers can point, which they do, to these similar accounts, and claim that this similarity is validation that these abduction stories are accounts of real events.
Another consideration regarding abduction accounts is the question of what motivates a person to play the role of an abductee. Cone notes the interesting detail that “gay men and women are overwhelmingly represented in the abduction population” (Ibid., p. 292). Regarding women claiming lost pregnancies—the typical story is that her alien abductors artificially inseminated her, and then removed the resultant fetus sometime later in the next few months:
The psychological literature is full of reports on why women who cannot conceive believe that they have, through some miracle, become pregnant. Such a belief fulfills a real psychological need in these women. [Ibid., p. 326]
 Vallee, Jacques. Passport to Magonia. Henry Regnery Company, Chicago, 1969. p. 87. (Jacques Vallee is quoting Walter Evans-Wentz.)
 Thompson, op. cit., p. 129.