Jun 14, 2011 I Micah Hanks

What a Headache: UFOs, Migraines, and Strange Phenomena

Do you suffer from migraines? Can you also see what appear to be "auras" emanating from objects in your home, in particular electrical appliances? Perhaps of greatest interest here is the question pertaining to unusual phenomenon: have you ever witnessed a ghost, strange being, or other manifestation you can't explain? What about visitations by "aliens"? Have your experiences included things along the lines of contact with what you perceive to be extraterrestrial beings, and has this ever led to anything like purported alien abduction?

Many people do describe these sorts of things, and if you're one of them, there's no need to feel like you've been exiled to the lunatic fringes of society, where you'll be impugned and belittled for questioning the stranger aspects of your own existence. If indeed we are being visited by denizens of other worlds, it's unfair to criticize people for trying to explain what, to them at least, appears to be clear proof of such things. However, there are also many people who, while having experienced certain elements of the greater phenomenon listed above, may not have also suffered kidnapping by extraterrestrials... or anything else, for that matter. In other words, certain elements to the alien abduction mystery might be explainable, and in truth, the alternative theories may point to something equally strange at the heart of the issue.

A recent article at the Magonia Extra blog dealt with the possibility that there could be links between people's perception of strange phenomenon in conjunction with the presence of migraine headaches. Blogger John Harney notes in the piece how several years ago he had proposed his own theories about migraine sufferers in relation to reports of UFO related encounters, drawing some distinct parallels between the two. Of course, many in the UFO community dismissed his views, and afterward it seemed that he lost some footing with his theory, "perhaps because possible explanations for UFO experiences are not very popular, as so many ufologists do not want explanations, they want the space aliens."

Jump ahead to the research of Pauline Wilson, appearing at the Australian UFOs scientific research blog. Here, Harney found that another UFO researcher had dealt with the notion, stating the following of related books dealing with the phenomenon known as "migraine auras":

Despite their commonness and frequency, migraine auras become an enigma. A majority of people in the West have either never heard of them or, if they have, do not know their nature, degree of seriousness, or ubiquity. Most people who have experienced their spontaneous distortions of vision have no name for these and have gotten no diagnosis.

I find this passage interesting, since in addition to having experienced the physiological condition known as sleep paralysis (something which, in my own experiences, seemed to be entirely physical in nature), I've also suffered from a least a few migraine headaches over the last couple of decades, which are indeed often accompanied by minor visual distortions. I would liken these to being similar to when you glance at the sun, and for a few minutes afterward you'll experience the sort of "blank spot" in your direct line of sight that follows, while your peripheral vision remains relatively unaffected.

Perhaps even more interesting, however, is the fact that a number of the sorts of things described by UFO abductees also become present with the onset of a few severe--and yet little known and often underdiagnosed--diseases like Hashimoto's Encephalopathy, for which one of the symptoms is acute migraines and the perceived ability to see auras around objects. A short while ago, I was contacted by a man from South America who had emigrated to the U.S. several years ago along with his wife, with whom he was having marital problems that had something to do with spiritualism and alleged "contact with extraterrestrials." The gentleman and I spoke a few times on the phone, and indeed, what he had related to me over the course of these conversations was curious, and had contributed greatly to the failure of their relationship. However, some of the things he described were also very familiar; I recalled having heard about a number of similar circumstances pertaining to sufferers of a variety of obscure diseases ranging from the aforementioned Hashimoto's to things like Lupus, and even rare channelopathies where certain substances like iron or calcium aren't broken down in the body properly after digestion. When I asked the gentleman if his wife suffered from migraine headaches or claimed to be able to see auras, we were each mutually surprised at his admission that, yes indeed, I had accurately predicted a number of physical ailments his wife suffered from.

Of course, I'm not attempting to make the argument that all reports of alien abduction or interactions with UFOs, the spirit world, etc are all the byproducts of various chemical imbalances caused by rare diseases and other afflictions (although, to me, even if this were the case it would be fascinating nonetheless). However, we must accept that, among the consistencies reported by various abductees and the like, these sorts of things such as migraine headaches do continuously arise time and time again; and if such cases were examined deeper, who knows what kinds of medical conditions might be diagnosed just as well. At the very least, perhaps some claims of the extraordinary and fantastic could be explained in this matter... if we seek to learn more about these conditions in relation to the strange phenomenon they sometimes produce, we only stand to gain as a result of helping people deal with conditions which, in their extremities, very well could become destructive forces in their lives.

Thus, as investigators of the unexplained, I think we'd do well to at least consider the cases where physiological issues could be at play; it very well could help improve someone's lifestyle greatly... or in the more severe cases, doing so might even help save lives.

Micah Hanks

Micah Hanks is a writer, podcaster, and researcher whose interests cover a variety of subjects. His areas of focus include history, science, philosophy, current events, cultural studies, technology, unexplained phenomena, and ways the future of humankind may be influenced by science and innovation in the coming decades. In addition to writing, Micah hosts the Middle Theory and Gralien Report podcasts.

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