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Dreamland UFOs: Sleep Paralysis and Alien Apparitions

Only hours ago, I was wrapping up a radio appearance with Nick Redfern and Raven Meindel on their program “Exploring All Realms.” During the show, my friends and interviewers-for-the-evening were asking a variety of insightful questions about every manner of unusual strangeness, which becomes rather usual as I recount it on this blog. Among the subject matter addressed, at one point we discussed some of the otherworldly and nearly dreamlike descriptions of alien abduction described over the last several decades.

I have long felt that there is more to the alien abduction phenomenon than meets the eye, and though it may not be fair to completely dismiss the tangible aspects of what abductees relate, it would be silly to discount the less-tangible elements that begin to emerge with some consistency when studying the available literature. Many abductees report strange, archetypical imagery in their experiences, such as Betty Andreason’s encounter with an enormous, smoldering phoenix that spoke of itself with Christian overtones, or the appearances of certain animals, as reported by Whitley Streiber. Another grouping of experiences that also bear similarities to UFO abductions are the wide varieties of mystical states of altered consciousness, such as out of body experiences and, namely, sleep paralysis.

Writing for Psychology Today, Matthew Edlund, M.D., recounted recently how he came to draw a similar parallel, while discussing alien abductions during an interview in the early 1990s. “I offhandedly remarked that much of what ‘abductees’ described sounded like sleep paralysis: states between REM sleep and waking where people have bizarre and frightening out-of-body experiences,” Edlund wrote. “Uncanny human events are actually very common; about half the population experiences sleep paralysis.” Half the population does not report UFO encounters, however, much less abduction sequences.

Still, considering Edlund’s rational approaches toward the subject, it is interesting to consider whether, if we were to try and look at sleep paralysis as a purely medical phenomenon, we might learn anything different about the nature of what seems to be occurring. In truth, this could also be applied more broadly to a variety of elements associated with abductions, too. Let’s take a look at just one of them.

There is quite a bit of information available that involves the removal of strange objects that appear mysteriously in people’s bodies. These are sometimes metallic, sometimes glass-like, and sometimes are merely little amalgamations of organic matter. There is little recorded literature supporting a medical condition that coincides with the presence of these foreign objects in the body, which, to some researchers, might be evidence of an extraterrestrial device implanted in these individuals. After all, one of the more compelling pieces of data associated with these kinds of reports is the lack of any kind of surgical scars or “entry wounds” though which the objects could have entered. Occam’s Razor might suggest that the simple explanation here involves an advanced technology, capable of inserting the object so carefully that virtually no evidence of its existence would be left on the host’s exterior; but in spite of the extraordinary circumstances, the possibility that science might still be useful in helping solve the mystery has not yet been removed.

There are in fact medical conditions which could present circumstances similar to the appearance of a “foreign object” somewhere within the body of an alleged abductee, such as what is called a channelopathy. In this circumstance, a disease results from the disturbed function of ion channels in the body, or in some cases the proteins that regulate them. In other words, certain substances such as minerals taken into the body while eating, drinking, etc, may not process correctly, and hence they do not arrive for distribution throughout the body through the proper ion channels. Different variations of channelopathy result in different symptomatic conditions; for instance, Cystic fibrosis can result from a Chloride channelopathy. In the lesser known instance of, say, an iron channelopathy, iron deposits in the food one consumes are not properly absorbed into the body, and eventually a metabolic pathway is relegated within the body where they may be deposited over time.

In one such instance I recently heard of, related to me by a friend in the medical profession living in Alabama, an individual undergoing x-rays was found to have a small, metal ‘slug’ in his leg, which after removal, resembled a bullet that had ricocheted off a hard surface and entered the subject. No entry wounds existed, however, prompting one of the specialists on hand to recommend that tests be performed on the metallic object. Though it appeared to be iron, the object was found to be of unknown composition, and test results appeared inconclusive on most fronts. After a good bit of speculation, the man was tested for a rare form of channelopathy in which iron or other minerals may not be breaking down consistently in the body. Not to anyone’s surprise, the patient did indeed suffer from the channelopathy, which had apparently caused the strange iron relic to form naturally within his body! As far as test results showing that the object was of “unknown,” origin, this was due to years of various grades of iron, consumed naturally in the patient’s diet, being amassed together over time to form one singular lump of iron that appeared in his leg.

As this case illustrates, to understand the deeper nature of the alien abduction phenomenon, arguably, would have to call for a reconsideration of medical and environmental factors which perhaps only certain individuals experience. The point here is not to attempt to “debunk” alien abductions, but to have an honest dialogue about how certain circumstances in the UFO literature might bear similarity to natural phenomenon. In the long run, medical conditions that remain largely-unknown to science may provide insight into not only what occurs during an alien abduction, but also the conditions (like sleep paralysis) which are so often associated with the phenomenon. But what will be the end result? Will we finally have scientific explanations for one branch of phenomenology that remains hotly-contested, or will such revelations only widen the doors of perception that appear to indicate that a global–if not universal–awareness of strange phenomenon exists already?

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  • Anonymous

    Wow! Great write up Micah.

  • Anonymous

    Very interesting Micah. The thing that always made me wonder about abduction cases. These beings are supposed to have traveled zillions of miles to get here (high technology). You hear about implant this and that, the surgical instruments, multiple sex episodes, hybrids, etc.

    This is the best technology they have? Where’s the Star Trek stuff? No tricorders/scanners? They’ve got to cut you open to look around? Supposedly they can stick implants in you without cutting you, but when they want samples, they’ve got to cut you open? What’s up with that?

    In re. the repeated sex episodes, what, the first batch of semen’s not enough? There’s zillions of the buggers in one session, that should be enough for tons of hybrid babies. In the “your race is dying off so you need hybrids to save it” scenario, you’re going to do it the most efficient way, ie. invitro fertilization or even test tube type stuff with “mechanical wombs”. Not travel millions of light years to abduct one guy for sex (no matter how good he is)…

  • Anonymous

    Never heard of the channelopathy possibility. Very good of you to write about it.

    A couple comments:

    > There is little recorded literature supporting a medical condition that coincides with the presence of these foreign objects in the body

    This seems to evade the plain fact we step on or bump into things that get jammed into our skin. Lack of an incision mark is not mysterious either. I’ve had numerous small cuts on my hands and feet over the years — a couple days ago I stepped on a tiny shard of glass — that bled but didn’t leave a scar.

    > “about half the population experiences sleep paralysis.” Half the population does not report UFO encounters, however, much less abduction sequences.

    The doctor was suggestiing sleep paralysis is common, not that it would necessarily result in an alien encounter. I think you know that and are being disingenuous.

  • awake when contacted

    As a real contactee, I can tell you right now no real alien puts metal or anything physical into a body. Only govt. mind control rats get that stuff, or else there is some other mundane explanation as stated above.

  • In the 1976 book “The Realms of Healing,” both the skeptical dismissals and possible explanations regarding ‘psychic surgery’ is delved into objectively and in-depth by the authors. One theory surrounding the most genuine and authentic healers, where legerdemain cannot be easily proven or attributed, is that the ‘plasma body’ surrounding an organism is modifiable, thus enabling the extraction of disadvantageous foreign material or energy, allowing for the person’s self-healing.

    Although our lexicon is lacking, having been contaminated and over-saturated by a vocabulary of ‘new age charlatanism,’ It is nevertheless my opinion that the subtle energy body is not functioning properly as a psychic defense in western Man. He is deficient in vital nutrition, contaminated with foreign chemicals, and lacking the knowledge of his own psyche. Should he receive violations in his personal physical or psychic space in his waking life, he merely shrugs it off as bad luck, feeling, or illness.

    Should he receive violations in his personal or psychic space in his resting state, it is left up to the individual’s metaphysical schema to determine if the cause was his own subconscious manifesting the entity experience or a form of abuse by the unethical use of technology; either way, man is 100% responsible for his own fate, destiny, and survival; and should seek the necessary defenses to ensure his health and vitality at all costs.

  • Tangent Man

    Nice post. I have a theory along these lines. Alien abductions are related to sleep paralysis and the kind of lucid dreaming that is entered when people are halfway between sleep and consciousness. I think it is caused by DMT excreted from the pineal gland which also plays a part in dreaming and is released at the time of birth and death. The fact that people who smoke DMT and alien abductees consistently see & interact with very similar archetypal beings, hints that these experiences are not purely hallucinations but drawn from a real place. Cosmological theories and quantum theory point at other dimensions existing right beside us. I always remember reading Don Juan (Carlos Castaneds) books talking about using psychotropes to experience ‘inorganic beings’ that have no physical form but exist in another dimension. I think the DMT experience shifts our perception to this other dimension where beings without physical bodies exist and communicate and interact with us.

  • Pauline Wilson


    Very interesting area of research. I have been looking at areas such as sleep paralysis; hypnagogic imagery; fantasy-prone personalities and migraine auras and prodromes on my blog at

    Your readers may be interested in taking a look. Thank you.

  • Jacob

    very strange the first time i listened to mysterious universe was the first time i experienced sleep paralysis. it wasn’t even on the subject of sleep paralysis but i can see why someone would confuse the sensation with alien abduction. for me it seemed as if i was traveling very quickly down a tunnel in space (kind of like a wormhole would be imagined) and i was traveling so fast that i experienced g-forces that pushed me down and would allow me to move. anyway love the show keep it up

  • This isn’t that strange, actually. Sometimes you will put enough thought into something like this and it will occur do to that. This is one of the steps that can be used to train yourself for lucid dreaming.

  • How can you suggest this? What makes you think this is a fact?

  • BreatheSmileBe

    I completely agree with this assessment. As someone who frequently experiences sleep paralysis and has also “experimented” with Ayahuasca (of which DMT is the active alkaloid)…I’d have to say that this makes a lot of sense. The experiences may not be “real” in the “physical” sense, but I believe they are “real” with respect to the “non-physical realm”.

  • Boy Lesmono

    I have managed to open my eyes a little when in sleep paralysis. there was nothing tough, but i haven’t see the whole room. Before experiencing it , i had some sort of wind hitting my head and then my brain. i hear a kid laughter in my head. a couple years ago i tried to concentrate on my mind when on sleep paralysis, almost do “astral project”.. Yes…almost… stretching your body before sleep prevents sleep paralysis..

  • Leo

    Guys I am here because last night and I am not kidding, I was paralised something that happen before but last night it was more intense, I am going to explain first what happen before I got paralized, on my left ear it started like an strong sound like airplain and quikly became more loud like strong wind with a very acute sound, I dont know well how to explain but it was very disturbing, inmediatly I started to panic, then I saw entering on my room two things like people and they standed in front of my face, they were with same hight and they were very short, I could see there heads and body I couldnt identified them well because of darkness in my room, I was trying to call my roomate screaming desperate but it was imposible, then they star doing somethin in my ear, all that probably last like 20 second, it was scary and, when I woke up my face was very pale and my left ear was humming with acute sound and it las for hours even until I woke up in the morning at nine o’clock. I dont know if that dream or a nightmare but it was very real for me. :/