They are tiny. They are tall. They are gray. They are green. They survey our world with enormous glowing eyes. To conduct their shocking experiments, they creep in at night to carry humans off to their spaceships. Yet there is no evidence that they exist at all. So how could anyone believe he or she was abducted by aliens? Or want to believe it?
To answer these questions, psychologist Susan Clancy interviewed and evaluated "abductees"old and young, male and female, religious and agnostic. She listened closely to their storieshow they struggled to explain something strange in their remembered experience, how abduction seemed plausible, and how, having suspected abduction, they began to recollect it, aided by suggestion and hypnosis.
Clancy argues that abductees are sane and intelligent people who have unwittingly created vivid false memories from a toxic mix of nightmares, culturally available texts (abduction reports began only after stories of extraterrestrials appeared in films and on TV), and a powerful drive for meaning that science is unable to satisfy. For them, otherworldly terror can become a transforming, even inspiring experience. "Being abducted," writes Clancy, "may be a baptism in the new religion of this millennium." This book is not only a subtle exploration of the workings of memory, but a sensitive inquiry into the nature of belief.
Susan A. Clancy is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Psychology at Harvard University and a Visiting Professor at INCAE, the Central American Institute for Business Administration.
Table of Contents
1. How Do You Wind Up Studying Aliens?
2. How Do People Come To Believe They Were Abducted by Aliens?
3. Why Do I Have Memories If It Didn't Happen?
4. Why Are Abduction Stories So Consistent?
5. Who Gets Abducted?
6. If It Didn't Happen, Why Would I Want To Believe It Did?
What People are Saying About This
Susan Clancy's provocative study of the abductee population offers a thoughtful perspective on the spiritual and psychological elements of abduction stories--and is so entertaining that it reads like a novel.
Susan Clancy's book bursts out of the chute right on page one and keeps going at full gallop until the end. It's fabulous! Anyone who thinks that scientists are cold and uncompassionate, or that people who believe they have been abducted by aliens are plain loony, should read this book. With warmth, humor, empathy and eloquence, Clancy illuminates the soul of science--and shows why everyone resists its revelations if they challenge our deepest beliefs. Carol Tavris, author of The Mismeasure of Woman and Psychobabble and Biobunk: Using Psychology to Think Critically About Issues in the News
Twenty years ago I was abducted by aliens, or so I thought at the time. Actually, I had just gone without sleep for 83 hours. Now at last Abducted--brilliant, humane, and funny--gives a scientific explanation for how the mind concocts such remarkable experiences as being probed and impregnated by aliens, visiting the mother ship, or traveling to distant planets. Writing with sympathy and understanding for the abductees, Susan Clancy delves into their stories to offer a superb contribution to our understanding of human memory, mental anomalies, and how the mind works. Michael Shermer, editor of Skeptic Magazine, and author of Why People Believe Weird Things
Susan Clancy's provocative study of the abductee population offers a thoughtful perspective on the spiritual and psychological elements of abduction stories--and is so entertaining that it reads like a novel. Elaine Showalter, Professor Emeritus at Princeton University and author of Hystories
Abducted is an enormously brave, smart, original book. Susan Clancy's innovative study of why and how people come to believe that they've been abducted by aliens has become a gripping read, with keen insight into the emotional and spiritual lives of the 'abductees'--and how easy it is for anyone to remember things that never happened. Elizabeth Loftus, past president of the American Psychological Society and author of Eyewitness Testimony