UFO's and Folklore: Addressing the Stories of Abduction


Stories and theories of extraterrestrials visiting earth, dates back thousands of years. Moreover, some folklorists and historians believe a significant amount of ancient royal figures were actually aliens from other worlds. Although this theory is somewhat unlikely, it hasn't stopped people from believing in the alleged ancient visitors of earth. Folklorist Thomas E. Bullard's, “UFO Abduction Reports: The Supernatural Kidnap Narrative Returns in Technological Guise” from 1989 addresses the issue of alien abductions on earth, and why people believe these events actually transpired. As a folklorist myself, it's easy to dismiss theories of abduction. However, keep in mind there is no concrete way of disproving abduction claims from individuals.

Most people have heard the urban legends concerning aliens visiting earth as recent as 1947, in Roswell, New Mexico. Although this urban legend has been dismissed as a weather balloon, this does not necessarily convince some people the stories are primarily false. Instead, some people believe the United States government are hiding something from the entire world.

Source: history.com

Digging Deeper:

Bullard's article argues the idea that many UFO abduction legends share common narrative motifs with other legends of supernatural lore. Bullard acknowledges that stories of UFO abduction have remained somewhat prominent since 1947, when the first sighting is said to have occurred in New Mexico. Interestingly, this was only two yeas following the end of the Second World War.

Following the phenomenon of the Roswell Incident, despite these stories lacking plausibility; abduction narratives have remained popular within the media around the world. Despite how bizarre abduction stories might sound to others, those claiming to have been abducted are usually less than thirty-five years of age. Those of whom claim to have been abducted are both male and female (at the time of Bullard's study), and come from all socioeconomic backgrounds. Interestingly, Bullard claims that psychologists determined cinematic visuals of alien abductions to be hallucinations caused by severe anxiety.

Psychologists attempting to determine the reason for these hallucinations say there is no overt sign of mental illness among individuals claiming to have been abducted. Furthermore, some other key points of Bullard’s article is that alleged abductees only tell a larger version of their story while under hypnosis- which is seen as an uncommon technique to explore the details of a narrative. However, this is often a suitable method to gather details which involve psychology- resulting in stories that primarily involve the reality of anxieties among individuals. In terms of alien abduction in the media, 2015's Fallout 4 from Bethesda Softworks addresses this phenomenon.

“The commonest beings are humanoids three to five feet tall with large hairless heads and tapering chins. The eyes are enormous and extend around the side of the head to give a “wraparound” effect.” (154)

The abduction experience consists of eight episodes, however, people often experience similar happenings- but it is not always the same. More specifically, this alleged experience is different for everyone involved. Furthermore, Bullard suggests there are eight episodes abductions consist of. More specifically, the entire eight episodes are not always present during abduction experiences. Keeping that in mind, the order and structure of abduction experiences differs from person to person, such that any similarities are seen as purely coincidental.

According to Bullard's article, abduction experiences are viewed as a result from everyday anxieties. Not surprisingly, Bullard believes individuals are convinced they have been abducted by aliens due to overwhelming stress in their lives. For instance, I once had a dream that my friend brought a weapon to school. Of course, this didn't happen, but my memory attempted to convince me this was a real event that had transpired.

Credit: Fallout 4

Final Thoughts:

Despite differences in experiences among individuals, I thought it was interesting the most common depiction of aliens from abduction narratives is a version that is almost the immediate description of aliens based on popular media. More or less, a grey (or green) humanoid being. This depiction of aliens primarily comes from the Roswell urban legends. However, if life were to exist on other planets (I find it hard to believe we are alone), how would we even know what they look like? Keeping that in mind, there are various urban legends of shape-shifting aliens blending into human society.

Thank you,

(c) The Modernist Son, 2020-


Thomas E. Bullard, “UFO Abduction Reports: The Supernatural Kidnap Narrative Returns in Technological Guise”. 1989.




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