Serious researchers of the UFO phenomenon are at odds over the subject of human abductions by extraterrestrials. It's not difficult to understand why. Despite the general public expressing an overwhelming belief that the high strangeness referred to as the UFO phenomenon has a basis in fact, the mainstream media often treats the subject with mockery, and various government entities have downplayed the entire phenomena for more than half a century.
A step farther toward the fringe is taken when the idea of dispassionate aliens kidnapping humans for study and odd experiments enters the conversation.
The first well-documented modern alien abduction case occurred on September 19, 1961 when a couple—Betty and Barney Hill—saw a UFO late one evening while driving through a lonely rural area on their way back home from a trip in Canada.
Later, under hypnosis, they discovered the missing time they couldn't account for was spent aboard an alien craft. Abducted by entities that claimed their origin as another star system, one of the ETs allegedly showed Betty a three-dimensional holographic map of that region of space.
An astronomer plotted the map redrawn by Betty and determined the creatures came from Zeta Reticuli, a binary star system 39 light-years from Earth.
The interdimensional hypothesis
Although the controversial topic of alleged alien abductions is assumed by many to be a relatively modern phenomenon, it may be something much older than most suspect.
Prominent scientist and researcher Jacques Vallée worked with the respected Northwestern University professor and astronomer, Dr. J. Allen Hynek. After Hynek's death, Vallée forwarded the hypothesis the two had developed to explain some of the UFO phenomena that occurred throughout history. Abductions and alien contact played a role.
In his landmark book, "Passport to Magonia: On UFOs, Folklore, and Parallel Worlds," Vallée advanced the two-fold hypotheses of the extraterrestrial hypothesis and Hynek's idea of an interdimensional instead of interstellar origin. Vallée argues the scientific legitimacy of the two hypotheses and defends the ideas eloquently.
His works have caused a rift in the UFO research community that continues to this day. Some advocate the ideas while others denounce the work the 70-something computer scientist and one of the creators of ARPANET—the early form of the Internet—has done.
Prominent researchers agreed the phenomenon was real
Two of the top alien abduction researchers have sadly passed from the scene. Both worked diligently on trying to crack the riddle of abduction cases and the abductees.
Dr. John Mack a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and a Pulitzer Prize winner, believed that abductees were not suffering from hallucinations or mental disorders, but actually had the experiences they related—often related while under hypnosis.
It was Mack's work that moved the abduction phenomenon more into the mainstream of UFO research.
Another prominent researcher of the bizarre phenomenon was Budd Hopkins who researched cases for decades and became convinced that the alien agenda was not benevolent. After personally investigating and interviewing abductees—again the subjects were sometimes under hypnosis—Hopkins created a database mosaic that had strong threads of similarity between cases that often on the surface seemed disassociated with one another.
Most startling alien abduction cases
Of the many thousands of alien abduction cases on file, some stand out more than others. The famous abduction of Betty and Barney Hill is near the top of the list.
Other cases that are well-researched and sensational on their own merits include the amazing 1975 abduction of logger Travis Walton in the Arizona, Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. His disappearance launched a murder investigation. His reappearance and description of what took place generated best-selling books and a Hollywood motion picture starring James Garner as the town sheriff investigating Walton's death. Multiple witnesses and physical evidence accompany Walton's story of what took place.
Betty Andreasson swears she was abducted from her home in South Ashburnham, Massachusetts during 1967, and that same year police officer Herbert Schirmer claims he was abducted while on duty in Ashland, Nebraska.
Debate continues to rage
One of the great frustrations of the entire UFO phenomenon is after the beginning of the modern era when Kenneth Arnold reported seeing "flying scimitar-shaped" craft flying past Mt. Rainier on June 24, 1947, little additional information has been gleaned in the ensuing decades. While much peripheral data has been accumulated during the decades that followed, no hard evidence has emerged that sheds any light on the purpose of the alien presence, the ETs origin or origins, nor the nature of their missions.
Since no real breakthrough have resolved any part of the mystery for more than 65 years, it may be safe to assume the controversy over UFOs and concurrent alien abductions could still be raging at the dawn of 2100.