One of the things people who have alien and UFO encounters often hear is, “You must have been dreaming.” A team of Russian researchers decided to test if this could indeed be true in at least some cases and enlisted a group of proven lucid dreamers to conduct an experiment involving alien and UFO encounters (AUEs). The results were enlightening and thought-provoking, answering some questions while eliciting many more.
“Alien and UFO encounters (AUEs) have been a well-known part of human culture for centuries, but we are still unsure of their nature. Some studies suggest that in some such encounters, these phenomena could be related to dissociative REM sleep states, like lucid dreams (LDs), sleep paralysis (SP), and out-of-body experiences (OBEs). The present research focuses on the hypothesis that if some of AUEs are indeed the products of REM sleep, then they could be deliberately emulated by LD practitioners. Therefore, this experiment could help to explain the mystery of AUEs.”
Michael Raduga, Andrey Shashkov and Zhanna Zhunusova of the Phase Research Center in Moscow are experienced lucid dreaming researchers but this was their first attempt to link them to AUEs. They assembled a group of 152 proven lucid dreamers and instructed them to induce dreams about aliens and UFOs and report their results. Showing their amazing abilities, 114 managed to have alien dreams, with 70 (61%) dreaming of alien encounters. Breaking that down, 22 encountered humanlike aliens, 44 observed them talking, 22 saw them touching and 14 witnessed them doing both. In addition, 32 had UFO encounters, with 12 being inside one and 3 reporting flying.
The researchers next compared these lucid dream accounts to actual UFO and alien encounter reports to see how similar they were to ‘real’ experiences.
“Regarding the successful cases, 20% were close to reality in terms of the absence of paradoxical dreamlike events. AUEs can be emulated willfully and can be perceived as being very close to reality.”
How close? Lucid dreamers having alien encounters experienced fear and sleep paralysis – a common trait among people who report having alien encounters at night. Could this prove that nighttime abductions are actually dreams?
“The results of the present study show that bedtime AUEs can be deliberately emulated during REM sleep and can mimic reality. As such, ordinary people might spontaneously enter PSs, unintentionally have an AUE, and confuse it with reality. This might be the case every time an AUE starts during sleep or while in a state of relaxation.”
That seems to be the researchers’ conclusion. (More details and results of the study can read in the peer-reviewed International Journal of Dream Research.) Moreover, they propose that other unusual nighttime encounters — religious, paranormal, or mystical – could just be vivid dreams. They suggest as a follow-up training those with alien encounters to enter lucid dreams and attempt to recreate their experiences, thus allowing the researchers to compare ‘real’ and dream accounts from the same person.
This may be disappointing news to those believing their nighttime alien and UFO encounters were the real thing. On the other hand, it might be comforting to know they were just dreaming and not actually probed or chipped. What about daytime encounters? Can the experiments be done with lucid daydreamers? Can they prove they actually conducted this experiment and we didn’t just dream reading about it?
“Our findings aid the general understanding of the human brain, especially regarding the sleep process and its connection to consciousness. Therefore, our results help some irrational parts of our culture to become more reasonable and understandable.”
Anything that helps irrational parts of our culture become rational is most welcome. And THAT’S no dream.