The terms alien abduction or abduction phenomenon describe “subjectively real memories of being taken secretly against one’s will by apparently nonhuman entities and subjected to complex physical and psychological procedures”. People claiming to have been abducted are usually called “abductees” or “experiencers”. Due to a paucity of objective physical evidence, most scientists and mental health professionals dismiss the phenomenon as “deception, suggestibility (fantasy-proneness, hypnotizability, false memory syndrome), personality, sleep paralysis, psychopathology, psychodynamics [and] environmental factors”. However, the late Prof. John Edward Mack, a respected Harvard University psychiatrist, devoted a substantial amount of time to investigating such cases and eventually concluded that the only phenomenon in psychiatry that adequately explained the patients’ symptoms in several of the most compelling cases was Posttraumatic stress disorder.[dubious – discuss]
As he noted at the time, this would imply that the patient genuinely believed that the remembered frightening incident had really occurred. Skeptic Robert Sheaffer sees similarity between the aliens depicted in early science fiction films, in particular, Invaders From Mars, and some of those reported to have actually abducted people. Typical claims involve being subjected to a forced medical examination that emphasizes their reproductive system. Abductees sometimes claim to have been warned against environmental abuse and the dangers of nuclear weapons. While many of these claimed encounters are described as terrifying, some have been viewed as pleasurable or transformative. The first alien abduction claim to be widely publicized was the Betty and Barney Hill abduction in 1961. Reports of the abduction phenomenon have been made around the world, but are most common in English speaking countries, especially the United States. The contents of the abduction narrative often seem to vary with the home culture of the alleged abductee.