Do Alien Abduction Theories Delay Open Contact?

abducted view looking upUFO truth seekers should consider this question because open contact with UFO intelligence will in my opinion be determined by both human and non-human factors. Let us assume for argument’s sake that the so-called “visitors” have been watching earth culture for a long time and are very aware of our warlike ways. As ufologist Stanton Friedman has said, “tribal warfare” appears to be the dominant activity on our planet. Given this high level of hatred that we harbor towards one another and the common psychological mechanism of projecting our hostility on to others, it is highly probable that we will project our innate hostility onto the non-human intelligence responsible for the UFO phenomenon.

As more people become aware of the importance of the flying saucer phenomenon, there has arisen a group of UFO investigators who claim that people are being forcefully taken on board “ET spacecraft” and are allegedly subjected to painful and humiliating examinations before they are returned. This is called “alien abductions” that has unfortunately become synonymous with the term “Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind.”

Even though there is no physical proof that these events are occurring, such as “aliens” being apprehended like other “perps” by the police, nor existent photographic evidence clearly showing ET spacecraft hovering over victims as they are “beamed” up to UFOs, this amazing assertion has nonetheless captured the popular imagination. Abductions are a constant theme of sci-fi dramas that typically portray horrific images of alleged alien abuse.

Within the subculture known as “mainstream ufology,” so-called scientific organizations like the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) have openly invited to conferences alien abduction theorists like Dr David Jacobs, a historian, and artist Budd Hopkins (who died in 2011.) For decades now researchers of their ilk have shared wild tales of alleged ET crimes. Unfortunately at such meetings MUFON uncritically accepts the methods of alien abduction researchers that typically involve hypnotic regressions.

I know this to be true because for several years I was a MUFON consultant in medicine and a MUFON California State Section Director for Humboldt County. I investigated UFO sighting cases; I spoke at MUFON meetings and organized free public gatherings at our local public library to discuss UFOs under the MUFON banner. Despite dialoging on this controversial topic with fellow MUFON leaders, I was unable to successfully convince them of blatant errors of the alien abductionist paradigm and the harm that was done and is still being done by researchers like Budd Hopkins and Dr David Jacobs.

Contrary to what abduction theorists would have us believe hypnosis is no magical memory elixir that brings out the hidden truth of suppressed contact experiences. Instead hypnosis is more likely to produce confabulation and the creation of false memories. The power of suggestion induced by a hypnotherapist authority figure contributes to the creation of abduction narratives by individuals who often present with merely vague distorted memories of possible contact or who simply are dreaming about aliens.

Twenty years ago the prominent UFO investigator Dr Jacques Vallee warned us of the ethical pitfalls that occur when abduction researchers apply hypnosis in a totally inappropriate and unprofessional way. In my opinion these practices has caused UFO experiencers to be mislead about the nature of their encounters. In addition the public has been deceived into believing we are under some kind of terrible alien threat.

Dr Vallee was not the only prominent individual in UFO studies to raise concerns about abuses in this field. Prominent author and UFO experiencer Whitley Strieber writing in UFO Magazine (Vol 4 No2, 1989) under the title, “A Technique Out-Of-Control” describes abduction researchers as people,

“who are really nothing more than part-time, unlicensed and unregulated mental health counselors. They are carrying out their activities in an inappropriate misguided and dangerous effort to use hypnosis to build a so-called “credible” case for UFO abduction…”

Mr. Strieber continues by stating,

 “The so-called “abduction narrative,” which has gained primarily from hypnotically-induced recall, probably does not reflect actual experience, but rather the application of the subject’s worse fears to their most enigmatic experiences.”

Many valid criticisms of alien abduction theories are spelled out in the important book,” “Abduction Enigma” by Estes, Randle and Cone, published in 1999. As I recall during my tenure as a MUFON investigator I did not meet one fellow member who had read this important book that refutes in detail the “reality” of abductions. I urge every one with a serious interest in UFOs to consider the following points that are presented in outline form.

  1.  Investigators like Hopkins and Jacobs lead their witnesses to elicit narratives that conform to preconceived notions of what onboard experiences are supposed to be. (A related complaint has been voiced within the abduction research community. Author Dr Karla Turner during her all to brief career complained that investigators pick and choose for publication only those narratives that match their particular pet theories and leave out data that contradict cherished views.
  2. By combining research with group support activities, abduction investigators provide a continuous source of contamination of their database. This takes the form of exposing new members to others’ narratives during group sharing. Then the older material shared by other experiencers is subsequently incorporated into the new members’ hypnotic regression narratives.
  3. Taking on the identity of being a victim of “alien abduction” can be a source of secondary gain in some troubled individuals. Those who have a weak sense of self and are looking for a support group can find within the alien abduction community a sympathetic audience for what may be little more than want-to-be fantasies of alien abuse.
  4. Researcher’s like Hopkins and Jacobs dismiss any narrative that describe positive encounters as “screen memories” or examples of “the Stockholm Syndrome” in which real kidnap victims who are scared to death start to identify with their victimizers as a psychological defense mechanism. This of course denies out of hand the validity of experiences described by contactees who uniformly describe positive encounters with UFO intelligence.
  5. Ascribing to the alleged aliens the power to create positive “screen memories” to cover up their alleged nefarious activities raises a disturbing question never discussed in detail by abduction researchers. If the so-called aliens can create “memory blocks” and “screen memories” in victims of their abductions, why can’t the ETs create the entire abduction scenario as an implanted memory? Such a mechanism if operational might explain why no abduction has ever been documented by photograph or on videotape. There is no physical evidence of this kind because many, perhaps most encounters being described are primarily psychic in nature.
  6. Similarly multiple reliable third party witnesses have not been described as observing so-called aliens carrying out an abduction.


Dr. John Mack I believe alluded to this point when at the very beginning of his investigations he acknowledged that we truly don’t know how much of the abduction experience is purely physical, and how much is psychic with some physical characteristics.

In my judgment there definitely exists a physical component to this mysterious and enormously complex phenomenon. Credible investigations have documented the presence of small scars that numerous experiencers claim were the result of interactions with non-human beings.

As a former ER physician I witnessed injuries that resulted from human criminal assaults. The evidence submitted by victims of alleged alien abuse in my experience pales compared to those committed by human perpetrators, nevertheless the continued reports of such anomalous scars indicates there is a physical aspect to these experiences that should be studied further. 

The same applies to so called “alien implants” that have been removed from the bodies of experiencers. Some of these appear to be mere foreign bodies. Others exhibit however highly anomalous physical and pathological aspects that again require further investigation.

This uncertainty as to how much of these encounters are physical vs. psychic is the dilemma at the core of my objection to the very term “ alien abduction.” If some advanced non-human intelligence with tremendous psi abilities is staging theater of the mind productions for experiencers, then perhaps very few “abductions” have actually ever taken place. A real abduction is a violent physical act. If experiencers are interacting only at the level of consciousness and never leave their beds or their homes or their cars, are those events abductions? In my judgment they are not!

If this critique is accurate then the entire alien abductionist paradigm is an outrageous rush to judgment, one that labels a wide range of mysterious and anomalous experiences as being the results of proven criminal activities. I suggest that a better way to describe such encounters might be by referring to them as “unsolicited psychic interactions.” Granted this is not as catchy as “alien abduction” but may better describe what is going on.

Given this analysis, what does the popularity of alien abduction theories mean in terms of achieving open contact with UFO intelligence?

It seems that they (whoever “they” ultimately turn out to be) know us far better than we know them. If perceptions of our limited interactions with the “visitors” are being distorted by a fear based, conflict oriented and false paradigm, this situation has probably been noted by UFO intelligence. If their motivations are benign as many hope within the UFO truth movement, then our having a fair and balanced analysis of their activities might convey a signal that humanity is ready for more contact. Conversely if we are convulsed with fear and loathing and are hoping to, in the words of the hero in the movie Independence Day, “kick some alien ass,” then the message would be that we are far from ready for open contact.

Within the contact movement there is the growing understanding that careful preparation is required to achieve a more profound relationship with the intelligence behind the UFO phenomenon. Teams of contact workers are proactively engaging UFOs in many countries as part of the work of Rama and the Global CE-5 Initiative. To strengthen this process I urge all people who are interested in the UFO subject, to educate themselves about the pitfalls of the so-called “alien abductions.” I imagine that by spreading this information all mankind will benefit by making open contact more likely in the future.

This position paper is the first of many blogs on the subject of what I call “alien abductionism.” In the months to come I hope to engage in a productive dialogue on this important controversial topic.

Joseph Burkes MD


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  • Linda Irwin

    I always shudder at the term “abduction”. When my consciousness goes with them, it is always cooperative and peaceful. I and the star crew I work with are a team. Horrorwood plays so much into the scare factor that many people are simply not open to having an honest exchange of sentience with beings from elsewhere which is so sad.

  • jburkesmd

    Thank you so much Linda for your thoughtful and loving response to my post that has been up for less than 18 hours on the ten or so pages that I have posted it on. It appears that of the twenty or so comments a significant number have clearly not read the article in its entirety. Ha Welcome to Facebook. My hope is that contact workers will study the points made so that if the contact movement ever breaks out of the UFO ghetto, with the information that I have shared we will be able to heal the psychological and political damage done by the alien abduction theorists. So I try to take the long view.

  • jburkesmd

    After studying this subject for an ongoing basis now for 22 years, after leading a contact team for CSETI from 1992-1997, after several fieldwork investigations with Rama, and a host of high strangeness experiences, having missing time and hearing anomalous sounds in my home, my best guess is that this is an ancient phenomenon.

    In every culture across the centuries, experiencers haven sightings and other kinds of encounters with a non-human intelligence that is able to co-create with humanity contact experiences that match the cultural expectations prevalent at any one particular time. The writings of Dr Jacques Valle and John Keel continue to inspire me along these lines. Are we being visited by ETs? I truly don’t know for certain. But the only way we will advance human knowledge in this field is to use every modality at our disposal to engage them, whoever they turn out to be. And if it turns out that they are ET and their messages of concern about world peace and the environment are sincere, then the militaries’ attempts to shoot them down should be opposed. As the result of what I imagine is my life long preoccupation with issues of peace and social justice, I remain active in this very strange controversial arena.

  • bright g

    Hey Joseph – thanks for a wonderful article on this most critical issue. Unfortunately the use of certain words and specific language creates a whole range of projections that shape our view of reality. It seems that the Alienology field is shadowed by the division between those who remain open to what it is and perhaps see a kinder angle and those who see only hostility an poor humans. It is unfortunate to imagine that this will influence this subject for decades to come, unless people are willing to acknowledge the impact of shadow projects on the abduction meme and see their own psychological processes honestly in view of projections, archetypes, unresolved and unacknowledged past traumas etc.

    We have so much to gain by having a willingness to open to and embrace our cosmic family and our place among them. Instead, so many people choose to see the cosmos through a lens of fear.

    Fortunately there are ET’s who live on planet, who do orchestrate events above what I call lower arms of the The Architecture and they will continue to ensure that we have the necessary guidance and support to grow up as a species.

    Joseph, I feel that there is a movement yet to be born, which will arise out of those who see our alien friends honestly and who seek to understand the phenomena as deeply as possible. Our descendants have a wonderful path of exploration ahead of them. People like yourself are helping lay the foundations. Keep up your wonderful work !


  • Northwolf

    A position paper by the British Psychological Society has stated similarily that Hypnosis is not useful for memory recovery/reconstruction. I think Elizabeth Loftus’s work did profoundly support the evidence that memory is not only very delicate, but has furthermore been observed to be prone to errors. Sadly so called abduction researchers with “weekend courses” in Psychotherapy are making a buck out of some people’s misery, but then according to Dr. Greer there are some (even well educated ones) who apparently are on the payroll of certain vested interest groups looking to demonize ETs and induce fear in the population. Truly an age old dilemma…
    Nice article by the way Dr. Burkes.

  • Brad Knell

    I agree with your assessment as to the fact that there is no physical evidence regarding alien abductions; only anecdotal evidence at best, that something, is indeed taking place. At best, to be fair, all these folks can really say is that they believe they have witnessed something.

    The only physical evidence I have ever come across to suggest something other-world ET’s may be involved in these so-called ‘abductions’ is a case where a Dr.Roger Leir, a U.S. surgeon, removed an object from a patient that did not correspond with anything found in the Period Table of Elements: a rare mystery but one that seems legitimate indeed.

    From what I understand, mainstream science and medicine has not even accepted that hypnosis is a valid science. It is flawed because the results can be very much influenced by the therapist conducting the sessions.

    Touching on what Northwolf stated in an earlier reply: Dr.Stephen Greer seems to believe that alien abductions are simply hoaxed by government and military people in an effort to instil fear in people and garner support for what some believe will be the future, hoaxed alien invasion, which Dr.Werner Von Braun warned his assistant about repeatedly throughout his career. Presumably this will create public support for a space weapon system which some are very interested in. But this of course, is pure conjecture as well.

  • monica craig

    Dr. Joseph Burkes, thank you again for sharing your experienced, expertise in the arena of ET phenomena. I, especially, like your candid, critique of ” some ” UFO enthusiasts/experts. As I reflect upon my life, I find that I do have faith in the public at large. In my limited estimation, many who have had sightings and, or, other psychic experiences have not turned to UFO groups. Instead, they have confided in friends and family who are supportive and may have had similiar experiences. Many of us are not ” joiners, ” and we become, quickly, exasperated by some of the politics and dogmas within groups. Unfortunately, we have learned to be silent and skeptical, even resentful about any promulgated beliefs which ridicule our perceptions. This is not to say that our perceptions are correct or valuable as scientific proof. Indeed, we may be misinterpreting many of our experiences, because of our limited scientific knowledge. But, these experiences are important to us because they have become part of whom we are and part of whom we are becoming. In addition, all ” thinking ” individuals want to understand what is happening to themselves, family or friends. Nevertheless, I do believe that you are, sincerely, explaining to many of us the reasons that we should ” educate ourselves about the pitfalls of the so-called alien abductions, ” at least as it pertains, to old paradigms and UFO, mythology. But, I do question whether many of these pitfalls are part of our collective, knowledge because, as you know, we are conditioned to believe that UFO groups are, merely, part of a subculture. And, I don’t think that most people take the ” abduction movies ” as more than ” scary entertainment. ” I sense a wee bit of emotion in your position paper, no doubt, in ” defense of these loving and, highly, evolved beings visiting from throughout the Universes. I, too, have felt deep joy, soul-felt, from their reflective, love. And I realize how much you must become frustrated by us, who are laymen, with some of our more ignorant, beliefs and lack of scientific, understanding. Perhaps, mistakenly, some of us, look for answers in ufology, groups, when we experience a seemingly, surreal adventure in the arena of unexplained phenomena, since Conventional Science pretty much skips around the possibility of Alien contact. Anyway, I am going on this journey of learning, partly, because you and Dr. Greer have made scientific sense in more ways than you will know, and you are changing our perceptions and giving us healthy paradigms, which will, eventually, correct mistaken notions Therefore, I look forward to learning more from your scientific viewpoints, for it is science coordinated by philosophical ideals and human experience that will give us our answers. And, I do believe, that those answers will have a different ” flavor and color ” for each of us. 🙂

  • jburkesmd

    Thank you all for your cogent responses to my position paper.To Brad Knell I would like to point out that one of the challenges in doing “alien” artifact or implant analysis is that all atoms, the basic building blocks of the matter are spread widely throughout the universe and it is unreasonable to assert that new elements are being found in implants. Distant stars, our own sun, our bodies and even those of ETs are made of the same star stuff, the fused atoms of hydrogen that are created either in the continuous burning as fuel in stars or the violent explosion of supernovas. What can be found in extraterrestrial objects like pieces of Mars or asteroids, if I remember correctly, are different ratios of certain isotopes of specific atoms. This is not to say that implants don’t occur, simply that atomic analysis proving they are ET in origin is exceedingly difficult. Someday if I ever have an opportunity to publish my memoirs, I hope to share my implant story that is as strange and inconclusive as many personal narratives are in this field.

    To Monica I admit that I am “emotional” on this subject and guilty as charged. I strive to be objective and fair, but not inhuman. My attraction to what I like to call “the contact movement” flows from being a former peace and social justice advocate.

    When it comes to questions of peace and war and the sufferings that armed conflict, racism or corporate greed engender, I am admittedly quite passionate. And you are correct to suggest that my personal contact experiences have left me hardly an disinterested, totally objective observer, if such a thing exists.

    If the portions of the UFO literature describing repeated military encounters in which flying saucers are being targeted and shot down are accurate, then our contact movement should attempt to do whatever we can in a legal and open way to stop what appears to be an undeclared war. Peace on Earth and in the Cosmos I imagine are very lofty goals.

  • Michael Worsham

    Stating that Dr. Lier’s work requires further investigation is denial about the reality he has discovered after years of work. He and his team have found foreign objects with no explanation of how they got in the person’s body, as I understand it. Whether the foreign object has the additional quality of having an isotopic distribution not found in earthly materials is irrelevant to the point that some being(s) is implanting objects in humans without their permission.

  • Annie

    An interesting view.
    As the wife of a man who has been experiencing contact for over 50 years I have seen the evidence first hand of this contact and have met and befriended most of the known Contactees and Hypnotherapist names in this field including Budd and many of the people he worked with.

    Budd was so careful to NOT lead the client and would deliberately try to mislead them to prove that they could not be persuaded from the truth of their stories. He never charged a person and worked tirelessly to help. He had his own views on the contact which he was entitled to as do we all.
    Although Budd initially helped Steve with one session, to unlock the door to all the many life experiences he had had, which made no sense to him.. Steve never took this route again and chose to consciously wait to remember everything that happens to him over time after the contact event has taken place.

    Some salient points.. The Experiencers do not like to be called Abductees but rather Experiencers, once they gain some understanding of why this contact is happening. They choose this term once they have some understanding of why this is happening to them and once they no longer fear the connection. As Steve was told by the ET’s .. his final lack of fear, and his realisation that he was actually in control was what they had been waiting for all this time. Once that happened he never saw the Greys again.. only the very human looking ET’s.

    Stevenjones57 Youtube
    An Invitation to the Dance – Steven Jones.

    As far as witnesses…
    I have had to let my husband back into a completely locked house.. get him back in from a locked garage.. take care of him whilst he is semi conscious for days after experiences which he then has full conscious recall from.
    He has had to have his clothes bought to him from a house 3 miles away which he went to sleep in, but did not wake up in. He has been removed from the middle of a group of friends and put into his bed, when a fracas which could have endangered him was about to take place.. all witnessed..
    Neighbours have told us about craft seen over our house etc. … etc…

    He shuns as do many of the very well known contactess we have met over the years.. any kind of hypnotherapy .. as he knows that eventually the memory will filter through. He does not trust that process.
    As a hypnotherapist myself I see first hand so many fanciful stories of contact as well as also very real and disturbing stories unfold.
    I too personally feel that hypnotherapy is not the answer to understanding what this contact means. But when done by a professional, caring person .. it can be the first helpful key to unlock the door for the person to then explore for themselves.

    As will be shown on the programme, which will air tonight called ‘Uncovering Aliens’.. when Steve was asked to contact his ‘friends’ to show up.. on a mountainside in Sedona – he mentally communicated for them to show up.. and they did. Surely this is the perfect proof that they are in contact.. they are either there all the time in our skies but either cloaked or with some technology which enables them to appear instantaneously and they are willing to help with this programme to make the awareness of their presence known.

    These kinds of wonderful events, … James Gillilands ranch.. Sedona, which so many people have experienced and have normal memories of.. will be what show the truth of the contact… Not the scars.. the fluorescent marks on the bodies.. the nose bleeds….the witnesses.. (Head of the United Nations in Linda Cortiles case) .. the implants.. the psychic phenomena which surrounds these event.. it will be straight forward recorded contacts..
    This is where we have hoped we are heading.

    If two craft can immediately show up when requested and be filmed then we cannot be far off proving the connection between ET’s and those people – who for whatever reason.. the Et’s have chosen to work with..

    Let’s hope the programme is not edited in a way which is detrimental and the others which have already been recorded get the airing they so deserve. So many good and honest people have put their hearts and souls into working on this programme and if the Experiencers get their chance to be heard and seen then there will be no doubt in peoples minds about the authenticity of this contact.

  • jburkesmd

    Thank you Annie for sharing Steve’s journey with you as a loving supportive companion. This issue seems to be one of the most complicated issues to confront our culture and I am so pleased to learn more from fellow experiencers who are striving as I endeavor to go beyond fear to connection.

    My thanks go our to all the commenters who have posted on this blog. At some point an information project may be required where a collective of pro contact experiencers could share their insights under one banner. UFO Contact is the umbrella name that ETLT will soon I imagine be part of.

    Joseph Burkes MD

  • Susan Johnson

    I totally agree that there is a hidden-albeit an obvious-agenda of the Elite and egotistical ufologists on an attention seeking mission set out to destroy any efforts of ‘their’ attempts at contact, at the expense of the ‘experiencers’ mental health. They refuse to take into account any narrative from the experiencers that would show them up for the quackes that they are. The experiencers are a vast, untapped resource of insight and knowledge of these beings including their; spirituality, customs of ‘marriage’,social structures and infrastructures, their ships and physics, protocals for contacting various individuals ,especially medical procedures-done a lot of times for maintaining a state of balance of their bio systems.The vast amount of info that these active experiencers have can explain a lot of the aliens behavior and lend a bridge between humans and aliens. Unfortunately they suffer in silence from being ridiculed,rejected for jobs even though they’re over qualified and watch in horror at the paranoia campaign waged against their comrades.

  • Susan Johnson

    This arrogant ignorance has to be stopped.

  • CSETI Ricky

    To answer the question, yes indeed, abduction theories do delay open contact. I was also a member of MUFON Hawaii in the late 1980s to mid 1990s.

    I am a senior Disclosure Project Member and CSETI member. I have been with Dr. Greer since 1991. Also Dr. Burkes and I are friends and colleagues. We have done CE-5 field work together at different times over the years since the first CSETI Ambassadors to the Universe CE-5 training, in Arizona, in 1993 and joined in other independent CE-5 field work in California and Colorado since then.

    Back to the question. After the first training, I was both a MUFON and CSETI member and acted as liaison between the two until 1996.

    MUFON Hawaii held monthly meetings at the University of Hawaii campus. Some members of the UH factually were MUFON members and we were able to use meeting room space in one of the science school buildings.

    All the meetings were passive discussions of ET contact cases and viewing UFO videos.

    During one of the meetings I told the MUFON members about my CSETI CE-5 field work contact events. They were interested in what I had to say. However, when I invited them to do CE-5 field work with me. They were all taken aback and physically moved back away from me and became withdrawn.

    They said, “Oh no we don’t want to do that!” With shocked looks on their faces at my suggestion.

    I said, “Why not?” They said, “We don’t want to get abducted and experimented on”, etc. So much for doing the science in their study.

    As many of you know I am very active in doing CE-5 field work and am a member of Dr. Greer’s core team still engaged in doing training with him. The last one was in England July, 2013.

    I have been doing more than one CSETI training every year. Lately have been attending all of them. Also, was a cast member in the documentary movie “Sirius” doing CE-5 field work.

    In the last 20 + years CSETI has trained thousands of people in all walks of life from around the wold. Many of you are here with us.

    During those two decades no one has been abducted. None of the women report becoming pregnant with ET’s baby, etc.

    However, the media continues with the abduction drama and the special agenda people use hypnosis to try to prove their point.

    As for the media, there is no drama without conflict. Therefore, they make up conflict in their screen plays advertised, as based on a true story. Just to make sure it sell as entertainment to the scare drama junkies in the general public, i.e. the SCiFI movie screen play “Fire in the Sky”.

    All of this mixture of fact and fiction has resulted in the “UFO Subculture Mythology” with a cult like following of the Good ET’s vs the Bad ET’s duality.

    A special interests, psychological warfare, conditioning mixing in religious belief systems, for more confusion, in the never ending psychodrama.

    Without a doubt a plan delaying knowledge of truth and Universal reality.

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