Portraits of alien abductees

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Photographer Steven Hirsch attended the International UFO Conference to take portraits of abductees. He also transcribed their stories and asked for illustrations of their experiences. Above: left, Cynthia; middle, a "Blue Arcturian" she met; right, Bruce, who was taken to a moon of Saturn.

"Little Sticky Legs: Alien Abductee Portraits by Steven Hirsch"

"Cat People, Strippers and Telekinesis: Tales From Alien Abductees" (Wired)


  1. Reminds me of the adage not to judge gay people by the costumes at a pride parade. Most experiencers look exactly like you or I. 

    1.  But then again, if you want to slap on a big, ugly necklace and stare upward like you’re expecting Pluto to fall on your head, that’ll certainly help you blend in!

        1. I was referring to abductees in general. ‘Abduction’ is rare outside the English speaking world but the US leads the way. International travel shouldn’t be a problem.

          1. Or, there isn’t much of an effort to translate foreign accounts into English, so we don’t read about them. 

          2. No it isn’t rare (outside english speaking world) and the US does not the lead the way…false false! Just because it isn’t publicized, doesn’t make it rare.

  2. “You’re on one of the moons of Saturn.” I said, “Why did you bring me here?” And he said, “Because these two moons are going opposite directions. They get to a certain point and they revolve around each other and go back the opposite direction. I just wanted you to see that.”
    Ring any bells?

  3. Who wrote these things?  I mean are they some sort of transcription from actual events told by these people, a direct quote, what?  Cause I swear some of these things read like someone wrote it who was either high, had a low cognitive ability, or completely terrified.  Lots of short sentences, run ons everywhere, fragments, thoughts that have no beginning or end….

    1. my best guess is that at the conference these people were given those small golf pencils and a piece of paper to write their experience on.
      Maybe some of these folks have never had a job or other life experiences where they practiced their writing skills?

      Oh.. and the mediating(?) time travelling einstein guy was high and might have gone to this thing just for something to do- probably works as a bus boy for the convention center.

      I loved the photography though! Great light.

  4. Scoff at the tales of these poor people if you will but it is well known (to the readers of the Daily Midnight Star anyway) that these “Alien” abduction schemes were just trial runs by the C.I.A. for their torture interrogation and hallucinogenic-drug-brainwashing schemes.  Plausible deniability: if you dress up in a rubber alien suit there’s no way anyone’s going to believe your victims’ stories!

    1. > if you dress up in a rubber alien suit there’s no way anyone’s going to believe your victims’ stories!

      Yes, I certainly find wearing the rubber suit helps.

      1. That’s just a painting of sleep paralysis – which is sometimes accompanied by the feeling you can’t breathe. There’s little similarity to alien encounters in that there is no interaction with anyone, nor any relief from the paralysis, nor any being moved to a new location. Even the little grotesque being there is just a symbol of the feeling of not being able to breathe – it isn’t as if people actually reported a monster. Just the feeling as if one was one sitting on them. 

        1. FTA:

          ‘A sensed presence, vague gibberish spoken in one’s ear, shadowy creatures moving about the room, a strange immobility, a crushing pressure and painful sensations in various parts of the body — these are compatible not just with an assault by a primitive demon but also with probing by alien experimenters,” Dr. Cheyne said. ”And the sensations of floating and flying account for the reports of levitation and transport to alien vessels.”

          1. Nah, the dissimilarity is why this “explanation” hasn’t been bought, in all the years that it has been suggested (and it has been around since at least the 1980s). “Shadowy creatures” (another way of saying “unseen creatures” I presume) isn’t the same as beings that you can touch and talk to. A sensation of feeling floaty doesn’t come close to being moved to another location, etc.

            What you quoted is a perfect illustration of trying to stretch something that is known and understood around something that is not understood (and not caring if it is irresponsible or not). That kind of distortion doesn’t advance knowledge at all. That’s why I prefer skeptics like Chris French, who have the integrity to say where current theories come up short – so that further research could perhaps account for the differences, maybe discover something new. Notice I am not ruling out that it may be something similar – but you cannot just write off something similar as something identical and call it a day. Not when so much distortion is required to pull it off. If we did that, apples would be oranges.

          2. @deckhard68 Different individual semiotic processes could very easily account for differences in coding. Are you suggesting that these people should all process signs as a means of knowing something more and not simply something else, for example? Obviously they seem to find themselves elsewhere in space and time and need to express this in terms of alien abduction. Consciousness is a question of disambiguating coding processes to find the truth of what they are saying. To experience space and time in the various ways described by physics and to code for it linguistically does not seem beyond the realms of possibility in evolutionary terms. This is essentially what many Eastern and pre-Christian philosophical systems say, too, if rather more elegantly. Philosophical systems might add that the evolutionary motivation is to improve your maths and not whitter on about aliens, but mathematical wrongness or rightness can also be experienced in terms of ‘pain’ or ‘pleasure’.

    1. Even the ones who were doing activities, like snow mobiling, or driving, or whatever, doesn’t eliminate the possibility that altered states of consciousness are involved. Some leap from there to the idea that they are the same as hypnogogic hallucinations, but since that leap doesn’t take into account the dissimilarities, I’d rather go with the idea that altered states of consciousness are involved, and leave it open as to in what way. Some believe that altered states facilitate perception of other realities. Like this guy — Remo Roth, Ph.D. (no idea who he is):  “…In the moment of the abduction the victims are forced into an altered consciousness….The victims are abducted into a world that is neither exclusively physical nor psychic.” And John Mack, Harvard psychiatrist, suggested the same thing:

      “A lot of times the experiences seem to begin in hypnagogic states,but that doesnt mean they are dream states, that would be a mistake [to assume that].” – Dr John Mack at Oberlin College, 2001

  5. These  are usually instances of sleep paralysis and or hypnopompic/hypnogogic hallucination. I’ve had a couple of experiences myself that were similar. The figures in the hallucinations resembled characters in books I was reading at the time.
    This post made  me think of this Steve Vai song that I haven’t heard since Doctor Demeto played it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5J2sMq18qs (It's best with headphones)

    1.  I thought about that when I read the story where the guy stares at the alien from his bed, then asks the alien out loud “Can you show me the ship?” and the alien disappears.

      I once had a hypnopompic hallucination very similar to that — not an alien, but a ghostly-looking old man sitting at the foot of my bed. I have a very clear memory of staring at him and thinking “I don’t believe in ghosts, but I’ve been staring at this image for a long time and it hasn’t gone away or turned into a trick of the light. So maybe I was wrong and there are such things as ghosts. Best practice with ghosts is to ask them what they want.” (Seriously, that was my train of thought.)

      So I opened my mouth and said “What –” and immediately the image disappeared. Speaking had clearly knocked my brain out of the hallucination.

      Brains can do such weird things.

  6. I am pretty sure I am an alien. I traveled here in my spaceship Uterus, had to learn earth language and customs from scratch and am still learning how to be a human.
    Just like an alien I am.

  7. As has been observed before: Note the similarities between these alien abductors and traditional (as opposed to Tolkien) fey folk. 

    It’s an interesting topic for a sociologist/psychologist, maybe. For myself, it’s distasteful; smacks of going to the madhouse to watch the amusing antics of the inmates. Even if they like the attention, encouraging them to persist in it is not good for them or for society.

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