Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Alien Abduction as Astral Projection?

Ever since the phenomenon of alien abduction was reported by Betty and Barney Hill in 1961, scientists have been trying to come up with an explanation for it that does not involve the presence of little green men from space. A group of scientists from UCLA now claim to have come up with a procedure by which many people can experience the presence of aliens as they sleep. The lead researcher on the team describes these experiences as the result of a "poorly studied state of consciousness," but based on the description given I think it's safe to say that we magicians know it as astral projection.

Volunteers underwent a series of mental exercises on waking, and of the 20 who took part, seven claimed to have seen aliens - from little green men to seven-foot-tall robots - as part of an out-of-body experience.

One volunteer, Craig, explained how he felt a floating sensation after falling asleep. 'I told myself to go see aliens. The next scene I was near a mountain in a clearing with trees around it. There was a space ship. There were two aliens with helmets on. They also had a type of robot with them,' he explained.'It was about seven ft tall and was silver in colour. The aliens did not appear to be friendly.'

However, lead researcher Michael Raduga said that the study proves that extra terrestrial experiences are merely a product of the human brain. 'Alien contact is not indicative of the existence of otherworldly civilizations, but rather of a poorly studied state of consciousness that people fall into inadvertently,' he said.

In the time before aliens such experiences were likely interpreted as visits to the fairy realm or something similar when reached inadvertently. These days, though, the experience often seems to be parsed using schemas from contemporary science fiction, which means space aliens. I'm not the first person by any means to suggest that astral projection and alien abductions might be part of the same phenomenon, but it would be particularly interesting to see the full set of exercises used by the subjects in this study. I'm guessing that to any practicing magician they will seem quite familiar.

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