Close Encounters of the Ancient Kind

With alien abductions such an integral part of our modern popular culture, it seems difficult to imagine that the phenomenon could be anything but a contemporary one.  But as we delve into the history of the phenomenon it soon becomes apparent that alien abduction has been a present force in stories told throughout time.

One of the most analogous reference to a close encounter of the third kind is contained in the biblical book of Ezekial “Now as I looked at the living creatures, I saw a wheel upon the earth beside the living creatures one for each of the four of them. As for the appearance of the wheels and their construction – the four had the same likeness being as it were a wheel within a wheel.”  Of course this has been interpreted several ways, but it’s a dead ringer for a saucer shaped craft.

“The four wheels had rims and they had spokes, and their rims were full of eyes round about. And when the living creatures went, the wheels went beside them and when the living creatures went, the wheels went with them, for the living creature was in the wheel.”  This part of the account is often removed when comparing Ezekial’s wheel to an extraterrestrial craft, but it seems a poignant and shocking addition.

The creatures were not described as angels, but rather strange creatures living inside a wheel which shot into the sky.  But why say wheel and not flying saucer?  Keep in mind the term Flying Saucer wouldn’t come about until Kenneth Arnold’s famous 1947 sighting.  But while this is one of the most frequently covered cases, it is certainly not the only one in the folklore of the past.

In the 13th century a creature was chronicled in the Otia Imperiala descending from a skybound craft hovering above Bristol England.  Despite the fact that the event was potential evidence of something far more interesting going on in the universe, witnesses were apprehensive to investigate the affair too ambitiously.  It was a sentiment that would follow the phenomena to this day.

But were there any cases of alien abduction?  In my search I found it difficult to pin anything quite so specific down.  There were plenty of stories of people suddenly being enveloped by a light coming from the night sky and then disappearing into it, but nothing specifically analogous to the UFO phenomenon as the other sightings.  Biblical UFOlogists sometimes point to the Nephilim, suggesting they are ancient aliens who were involved in a breeding program that seems quite similar to modern day UFO accounts.  Yet these creatures seem fairly different to the more modern alien Greys.  Is it possible Earth is just one of a million planets that aliens stop by on to perform genetic tests on while passing through?  Are we the result of thousands of generations of genetic tampering by various visitors?

The abduction narrative itself, which would become core to the alien abduction phenomenon eventually is surprisingly lacking in ancient accounts with these visitors.  This could point in several different directions, but seems in itself  fairly interesting point to make – that although many aspects of the alien mythos seem to have counterparts throughout history, this specific aspect to it seems largely contemporary.