Long time readers of this blog will be aware of Pauline's observations on potential psychological explanations for some UFO abductions. Readers who have looked at my recent postings on abductions will know that this is also an area of interest to me. I must emphasise that neither of us are suggesting that all abductions can be explained in this way. However, if we eliminate some cases, but there remain cases which cannot be accounted for in these ways, then we learn something about the remaining cases.
In this post I want to present some data after examining some detailed abductee/experiencer case histories as presented by John Mack in his book "Abduction:Human Encounters with Aliens." Published in 1994 by Simon and Schuster. London. ISBN 0 671 85194 2. In reviewing these 13 case histories I was looking for indicators which might relate to migraines, and/or sleep paralysis.
Pauline's post of 28 August (click here) 2010 mentioned that Richard Grossinger's book "Migraine Auras:When the Visual World Fails" speaks of migraine prodrome. "Migraines are often augured by incipient sensations, an undefined prodrome that may occur days, hours or just minutes beforehand." These prodromes may include "...strong tingling or a sensation of vibrating wires (paresthesias) in the feet, hands, face and/or tongue area." (p69.(
Taking a look at possible migraine related occurrences in Mack's case histories I note:
Experiencer Scott (Chapter five) - Abduction experiences since age 3
"Beginning when he was eight, Scott was taken repeatedly to physicians, especially neurologists, for the evaluation and treatment of frequent throbbing headaches that had begun when he was six...the headaches were diagnosed as "atypical migraine."" (p94.)
Experiencer Jerry (Chapter six) - Abductions before age 7
"Jerry...realized she was "paralysed kind of up to the waist"...Jerry described the paralysis as being like a painful vibration. Then "a tremendous vibration" extended into her hand...The powerful vibrations seemed to shake Jerry's whole body." (p122.)
Experiencer Eva (Chapter eleven) - Abductions since early childhood
"Following this session, Eva again experienced an intense headache and was extremely thirsty for a day or two." (p255.)
Experiencer Dave (Chapter twelve) -Abductions from age 3
"He also remembers having the same feelings, "a vibration of some kind, a tingling," that he had in association with later abductions." (p268.)
"The vibration, "then went from below my naval and out through my chest, and then it was real tingly..." (p273.)
Experiencer Peter (Chapter thirteen) - Various abductions
"I remember my whole body vibrated and shook maybe for a second, two seconds, three seconds." (p295.)
"Once more he felt the vibrations in his body..." (p322.)
The name given to the experience of waking from sleep to find that you are unable to move is "sleep paralysis." It is a relatively common phenomenon which happens to many people at least once in their lifetime. Some people regularly experience it. It is when you awake from the "dreaming" or "rapid eye movement" phase of sleep, where your muscle tone is low - hence you feel you are paralysed and cannot move. However, almost inevitably you can move your eyes. Hypnopompic imagery (click here for more details) can accompany sleep paralysis. These hallucinations can generate images of figures, unusual noises and can appear "as real as real."
Are there any indicators of episodes of sleep paralysis in Mack's experiencer case histories? Yes there are.
"She woke up terrified...she could not move." (p118.)
"In the years following, Jerry had a number of 'nightmares' in which she would awake paralyzed, hear 'buzzing and ringing and whirring' noises in her head and see humanoid beings in her room." (p119.)
"She recalled a dream from age nine in which she was paralyzed and terrified as 'some kind of creature' with long fingers...grabbed her." (p143.)
"No longer at home in his cellar, Paul now was lying on his back in his bed at night and experienced 'things'...he could not move at all." (p232.)
"...she recalled waking in the night and seeing 'three midgets'...she felt helpless and could not move." (p243.)
"I was frozen again...totally frozen..." (p244.)
"It is not clear to Peter whether he fell asleep or not...Now he was paralyzed..." (p302.)
Two general comments which Mack makes are of interest to me:
(1) "One of the more difficult phenomena that Catherine and many other abduction experiencers have to deal with is a virtually constant flow of sensory experience, especially light flashes...intrusions of patterned color images..." (p168.)
Could these be migraine related?
(2) "During his childhood Arthur tended, like many abductees, to get significant throat and sinus infections." (p371.) I don't think I have ever come across anyone who has made this observation before.
I know that I am taking selective quotes from case studies, but I am looking to draw attention to the fact that there may be relationships to migraines and sleep paralysis, which were not looked into at the time.
I would urge anyone investigating a new account to take a detailed medical history as part of the data gathering.
For an article on sleep paralysis which I wrote several years ago, click here then scroll down.
For one of the best websites for information on sleep paralysis click here
I welcome comments from readers.