Monday, November 29, 2010

False awakenings


Another topic which appears to have relevance to UFO abductions is the subject of "false awakenings."


False awakenings are episodes in which a person believes they wake up from sleep, in their normal surroundings, e.g. their bedroom. They might then get out of bed, visit the bathroom, have breakfast or carry out other everyday activities. However, they then really wake up. The preceding recollections had in fact occurred while they were still asleep. Hence the name "false awakening."

Celia Green:

False awakenings can occur after both lucid dreams (dreams where you realise that you are dreaming) and non-lucid dreams. False awakenings seem to occur more among individuals who frequently have lucid dreams. (Click here for more on Lucid dreams.)

Celia Green (Green. 1968. Lucid Dreaming. London. Hamish Hamilton) described a type-2 false awakening. These are instances in which a person appears to wake up normally and finds themselves in bed. The surroundings may at first seem normal, but then the environment becomes unusual or uncanny, and a "funny" atmosphere sets in. Alternatively, the person may awake immediately to a "stressed" or "stormy" feeling. In either case, the individual can experience fear and panic, or hallucinatory or apparitional effects are noticed. This may be accompanied by an apparent paralysis or out-of-body experience. (Click here for more on Green.)

To an outsider, a person undergoing any one of these experiences would appear to be asleep, lying with eyes closed.

Peter McKellar:

These false awakenings can seem very real. Peter McKellar, a psychologist, wrote a book titled "Experience and behaviour" (Penguin. London. 1968) and cites the following example. (Click here for more on McKellar.)

A young couple had a routine of the wife getting breakfast for her husband, then seeing him off to work, before preparing for work herself. One morning, the woman recalled waking up, getting out of bed, washing, dressing, making breakfast and finally being in the process of kissing goodbye to her husband. Then she really woke up to find she was still in bed. Her husband was leaning over her kissing goodbye to her.

Her husband told her that he had woken up that morning, to find her still asleep in the bed so he left her there sleeping. He made himself breakfast and was kissing her goodbye when she woke up.

The woman had experienced a false awakening, where her recollections of being awake and doing a number of things, occurred while she was still asleep. These recollections were "as real as real." Yet it was all created within her own mind.

Relevance to abductions?:

Imagine someone waking up during the night. A grey figure in in their bedroom. The being communicates with them via telepathy. The alien disappears through the wall. The witness then wakes up to find themselves in bed. They feel that the alien episode was real, but it actually was a false awakening with the imagery of the figure derived from their mind's recollections of a film, a book or any other manner of data infeed from previous real life.

Falling sleep:

One of the odd things about accounts of UFO abductions which has always puzzled me, is the way that an event happens and then the abductee/experiencer says that at the end of the experience they simply either find themselves in their bed, or simply fall asleep. It is something that is mentioned time and time again in the UFO literature.

You would think that after such an extraordinary event, an alien abduction, that the last thing a person would do, is fall asleep. Yet this is what is repeatedly described.

Examples of this may be found in John Mack's book "Abduction" page 158 where abductee Catherine, at the end of the experience says "So I went back and got into bed and went to sleep."

Abductee Paul (Mack p221) "He had been coming out of a dreaming sleep when he heard a loud buzzing...went back to sleep..."

Other Mack abductees speak of finding themselves in bed at the end of their abduction.

Abductee Scott (Mack pp99-100( "After this Scott remembered being "dropped in bed" in his room feeling very frightened and also angry, but had no recollection of how he was returned."

Abductee Jerry (Mack p126) "The next thing I was back in bed, waking up."

Abductee Eve (Mack p241) "...dreams of beings in her room that are still there when she wakes up..."

Abductee dave (Mack p274) "At this point Dave said that he 'blacked out' or lost consciousness or something...The next thing I knew I was lying in bed on my side."

My comments:

My thoughts are that what if the "abduction" event occurred in the state of a "false awakening?" Then believing that you fell asleep at the end of the event, would be quite normal, given that you were never awake at the time.

I think that false awakenings have real relevance to some UFO abductions. Perhaps this is another entry point to an abduction experience as has previously been suggested for sleep paralysis; migraine auras and prodromes; hypnagogic/hypnopompic imagery; fantasy-proneness, and courtesy of Jenny Randles, vasovagal syncope.

Sleep paralysis and false awakening:

What is the difference between sleep paralysis and false awakening? Both experiences occur on the boundary between sleep and awake.

With sleep paralysis, you wake up from rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep where you are dreaming, and can't move, apart from your eyes. Hypnopompic imagery may occur at this point.

With a false awakening, you remain asleep but believe you are awake, and can recall undertaking everyday items such as getting out of bed etc which seems "as real as real." Finally, you really wake up, know you are in consensus reality but can vividly recall your experiences you have just had. When fully awake the false awakening memories remain with you and still feel "as real as real."

An early article on this topic:

I first came across the topic of false awakenings way back in 1978 and wrote an article about its possible relevance to other UFO cases - click here to read it.

Over to you readers for comments.

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