Diary of an abduction

Angela Thompson Smith. Diary of an Abduction: a Scientist Probes the Enigma of Alien Contact. Hampton Roads, 2001.

This book follows a pattern which seems to be increasingly ubiquitous in the first hand accounts produced by self declared female abductees: the presentation of dreams as 'real' abduction narratives. It is as though these writers' imagination is so alien to them, that they cannot acknowledge it, thus indeed it becomes an almost literally alien realm into which they are abducted every night.

In addition to dreams there are other standard features of these narratives, such as the re-remembering of obscurely puzzling experiences, and the generation of pseudo memories to legitimate her new identity and social role as 'abductee'. As new abduction motifs emerge in the literature they soon emerge in her memories. There is also her growing paranoia, centred on beliefs that a former boyfriend was a government agent sent to spy on her, and a co-worker at a parapsychology laboratory was secretly hypnotizing her. We can see here that new belief systems can lead to new paranoias, and how, as with all paranoias, the sense of persecution is always linked with strongly inflationary themes (I am so important that the government has to sent someone to spy on me)

Despite the subtitle and the fact that the author does indeed have real psychology degrees from real universities, there is little evidence that she has any scientific outlook. Her world view is much more conditioned by a sort of New Age spirituality than anything learned at university. At times she seems to have pursued jobs in psychology labs, but at other times she has clearly abandoned science for a variety of other careers. These seem to be as fluid as her relationships. Perhaps in a fluid, restless post-modern world, where neither relationships, residence or career gives a coherent sense of identity, the role of abductee gives not only expression to a half perceived sense of alienation, but also gives something of a core identity -- Peter Rogerson


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