Sunday, July 16, 2006

Alien Abduction

I know what you're thinking--this poor guy is obsessed with a robot and now he's going to start ranting about UFOs. Not exactly. I caught a few minutes of This American Life on NPR yesterday. The show had to do with sons getting to know their fathers. I heard a guy discussing his father's work as a scientist interested in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). It seems his father started a web site, looking for someone who claimed to be implanted with a probe by aliens, a fairly frequent story among UFO believers. He got lots of responses, but only one that was convincing enough to result in a face-to-face meeting and testing. The son went with his father and other scientists who met up with the alleged probee. The guy said he had an implant in his neck, which sent signals to the ETs. He drew diagrams and formulae on a blackboard, etc. He even had a little circuit board he claimed could pick up the RF signal from the probe. He stuck the device in his mouth and it made noises he said were caused by the probe in his neck. When the guy took off his hat, it was lined with aluminum foil to prevent transmission from his neck to the aliens. He also had applied aluminum foil over his chest. When the scientists tried to pick up a radio frequency signal, there was of course nothing. The guy claimed their instruments weren't sensitive enough. They gave him bus fare and sent him on his way.

This got me thinking that there must be a good piece of fiction in there somewhere. In addition I got notification of a medical fiction writing contest with a rapidly approaching deadline. I started poking around on the web, and found out that a lot of alien abduction stories have elements common to accounts of people with a condition called sleep paralysis, where skeletal muscles, except those controlling the eyes and respiration are paralyzed during the transition between sleep and waking. Turns out that people are normally paralyzed during REM sleep so they don't flail around and act out their dreams. In sleep paralysis, the individual is awake, but still paralyzed. There may be various hallucinations, including the feeling of someone else in the room, often sitting or lying on top of the paralyzed individual. This is probably the origin of stories of old hags, demons, incubi, succubi, and various other supernatural creatures attacking sleepers around the world and throughout history, and ETs entering bedrooms today.

For more about alien abduction, see A Different Pepspective.

Well, in any case, I've started a short story concerning alien abduction and how it is explained by sleep paralysis (or is it?). I hope it will be something I can pass off as medical fiction for the contest.

1 comment:

E. M. Atwater said...

Alright, Dave - Fess up time: See my latest blog, buddy...

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