With the steadily increasing media interest in recent years of the phenomenon of alien abduction, it comes as no surprise that a national holiday would be declared to explore, celebrate, and sell memorabilia related to the taking of humans by non-terrestrial beings. While seen as a simply kitschy holiday, Alien Abduction day is indicative of the media’s portrayal of the phenomenon in a lighthearted and distant manner.
Heralding in the holiday, one unnamed media outlet proclaimed that it was time to “clamp on your foil hat and cower under your bed,” distancing itself from a very serious issue in our modern culture. Regardless of its extraterrestrial origin or a purely psychological explanation, there are thousands of people on this planet (some indicate more) that live with a crippling and terrifying belief that their lives are influenced by entities from another world.
It was while looking at the pictures of gaudily dressed aliens smiling as faceless human captives were beamed aboard their glowing small saucer shaped craft complete with antenna and Christmas light adornments that I remembered the feeling of wetness on my shoulder from genuine tears as one abductee, practically a stranger, explained in a shaky voice a terrifying ordeal she had kept to herself for so long.
“They took my baby,” she said. Her name is unimportant, and her story is merely a faceless archetype to most UFOlogists today. But this didn’t steady her voice or stop the freely flowing tears as she continued, “I wasn’t ready to be a mom, but I wasn’t ready for that either.” Doctors had diagnosed her later with pseudocyesis (having a false pregnancy), but the terrifying and painful memories that flooded her mind at late hours of the night juxtaposed with terrifying alacrity her otherwise relatively normal and happy life. She was pursuing a master’s degree in microbiology while trying to hold down an internship at a local pharmaceutical firm. She never believed in aliens before the memories started flooding back shortly after a pregnancy test confirmed she would soon be a mother. Her boyfriend, suspecting infidelity, left her in the following months after belittling her for not “being more careful.” It was a heartbreaking story. The ill equipped and privately run local UFO reporting center was not ready for the serious cases. All she wanted to do was have someone listen, and believe her. And it was what came to mind as I wondered how the media figured a tin-foil hat could be “clamped” to a person’s skull.
An outsider never knows where the memories come from, but one of the few things most skeptics and believers agree on is that the experiences are real to those who remember them. Abduction memories, are as real to those experiencing them as any other event in their lives.
Along with the activities suggested for national UFO abduction day are a list of movies abductees should watch in order to further their experience with extraterrestrials. The reality is, there are a great deal of those who have had these experiences that are unaware of the holiday, and will likely spend their afternoon trying to live. And trying to forget. And many of them, with this divide keeping them from the rest of humanity, cannot help but themselves feel a little bit alien.