Saturday, August 28, 2010

Abductees and migraine auras

Hi readers

Adelaide is experiencing its wettest August for 18 years. This is quite something for us here, given that a year ago we were in the grips of a long drought.

Today's post is a new area for me in some ways. I am always on the look out for scientific research which bears on the topic of UFO abductions. I was in my local library (you know I am a book nut don't you? Didn't the pile of books by my bed give that away?) the other day browsing the shelves, when I came across a book titled " Migraine Auras:When the visual world fails" by Richard Grossinger. Published by North Atlantic Books. Berkeley, CA. 2006. ISBN 978-1-55643-619-2.

I was not thinking about UFOs, simply flicking through the pages when I came across the following on page 121.

"Alien abductions"
Accounts from reputed UFO abductions have a distinct migrainoid ring to them: inexplicable lights, missing time, humanoid or animal-headed creatures-though these matters of course raise other ontological issues.

Attribution of migrainoid qualities addresses the neural components of such "close encounters," it is not to say that there are no alien abductions ...merely to note that these episodes share elements with fugues that originate in the brainstem. Encounters with aliens...might be actual metaphysical meetings and yet evoke migrainoid vestiges, falsifying the entities..."

Hold on, I thought, could there be anything to this ides? So, I borrowed the book to read it. The following are my notes which I'd like to share.

Firstly, the subject of the book is "Migraine Auras."

"In ordinary discourse migraines are pulsating, throbbing headaches with one sided pangs..." (p4.)

However, "A headache is neither a sole nor necessary nor even primary criterion of a migraine..." (p4.)

The term migraine " a loose confederation of altered neurological and psychomatic states within a single biophysical matrix." (p5.)

"..."Common migraines" are aura-less pulsing unilateral headaches. "Classical" migraines, by contrast, are headaches with auras." (p5.)

"Today people mostly skip the old terminology and refer to "migraine with aura" or "migraine without aura."" (p5.)


"Current estimates are that approximately 15 per cent of migraine headache sufferers experience an initiating aura. " (p5.)

"About 20 per cent of all migraineurs report auras without headaches; and at least 3 per cent of migraineurs only experience auras, never headaches." (p6.)

The initiating event produces a flow which "...grows until it becomes a spreading moil, a mirage reliable enough to have a scientific name. It is called a scotoma (the plural is scotomata)..." (p10.)


I was not aware, until reading this book that a person could experience a migraine aura without a headache.

What is a migraine aura?
It can be a visual effect, but can also affect any neural pathway.

"Visual distortions are the most common auras; yet auras comprise symptoms as diverse as tingling, muscular or motor weakness, hemiplegia (paralysis on one side of the body), faintness, decreased levels of consciousness, impediments to language formation and memory, lethargy, sleepiness, spasms (almost anywhere), unpleasant temperature variations (surges of both heat or cold or both simultaneously), and other spontaneous sensations...hearing...tactility...kinesthesia...and strange or wrong smells without a source..." (pp6-7.)

1. When reading it may appear that a flaw appears in the text, which expands covering up words.
2. Flashing, zig zag patterns in either eye.
3. Loss of peripheral vision.


"The migraineur does not know whether there are real objects behind these hallucinations, as they may develop into entire landscapes with imaginary personages and events. One sufferer regularly encountered a figure clad in black seated with his back toward him or standing at a long table." (p37.)

"...some migraineurs see expressionless faces or faces that are not faces..." (p40.)

"Advanced migrainious sensations...There may be extreme deja vu...and jamias vu...Time may also seem to be progressing in slow motion or at sonic speed...A few people experience magnification or diminution of their own body image..." (pp40-41.)


I had no idea that there were such complex aspects to a migraine aura. The appearance of landscapes and persons is a new concept to me.

Little attention

"Despite their commonness and frequency, migraine auras become an enigma. A majority of people in the West have either never heard of them or, if they have, do not know their nature, degree of seriousness, or ubiquity. Most people who have experienced their spontaneous distortions of vision have no name for these and have gotten no diagnosis. " (p53.)

More statistics

In 2006 in the USA, 28 million suffer chronic migraines. 12 per cent experience migraines in any one year. Women outnumber men 3:1. 25% of auras occur in the age range 30-40 years.

"Migraine auras can be both early-life phenomena that decrease in frequency with age and later-life phenomena that increase in frequency with age...The former pattern is, however, more common . " (p65.)

Familial - "...roughly 25-30 per cent of offspring with a migrainious parent and 70-75 per cent of those with both migraininous parents being migrainious too..." (p65.)

Frequency - 8-10 per year, once monthly, once a week- it varies.


"I noticed that the ground looked further away than usual, and then it seems that I was looking down from a height of perhaps 10 metres, watching myself crossing the field..." (p67.)

Aura onset

"Migraines are often augured by incipient sensations, an undefined prodrome that may occur days, hours or just minutes before hand..." (p69.)

Sleep and auras

"Auras may begin during sleep and elapse entirely in a dream -a pulsing light or oscillating feature in the dreamed landscape blossoms into a scotoma... The dreamer, if she awakes at this point, does so into a full-blown aura." (p82.)

"Usually one gets to escape such hallucinations by waking up, but migraines can merge with dreamscapes while retaining autonomous identity..."


This is an extremely interesting bit of data. I'd like to see if any abductees who experience migraines would like to comment on this entire topic! Particularly the area of auras without headches, where a person may not even know they are experiencing a migraine!

Would it be possible for someone who experience only the aura and not a headache, to wake up from an attack top find strange figures int their room and perceive them as aliens?

What degree of reality does an aura have? Is it as real as real?

End of an aura

"Not only do auras (and ensuing headaches) culminate spontaneously, but their abatement is often accompanied by a variety of soothing and/or invigorating, purgative, and cleansing events. Dissolution may give rise to an outburst of tears, copious urination, a bowel movement, a fit of impressible sneezing, a discharge of sweat glands throughout the body; a nosebleed or a runny nose." (pp85-86.)


A nosebleed. How many abductees could relate to this?

"Some people experience full hallucinations or dysphasia after scotomata have passed..." (p88.)

Example given are of a man hallucinating a hot summer day in California with his wife while he was actually with another person in New York.


As you will see by my scattered comments, this book which is the first comprehensive compilation of material about migraine auras, may have much to relate to, and possibly explain, some apparent alien UFO abductions.

Don't forget, migraine auras are not happening in the eye but in the brain itself.

An end note

One of the concluding sections to the book is about the use of herbal medications in treating migraine sand migraine auras.

"Wood betony improves digestion,...Considered to have a grounding influence, Wood betony was the herb of choice in medieval times for demonic possession and visions and has been rediscovered in a modern context for inconsolable paranoia following UFO abductions." (p192.)


  1. As a migraineur (and unrelated nosebleed sufferer) this was particularly interesting. Thank you.

  2. I dont think i ever had waking migraine auras turn into elaborate landscapes. They are always fairly simple flashing arcs , zig zags, or blotches of color. I remember having alien contact. I have had hypnogogic imagery that looked similar to migraine auras turn into dreams perhaps.