A study suggests that ‘lucid dreaming,’ a state in which people are partially aware and can control their dreams during sleep, could explain so-called alien abduction stories.
Claims of such abductions date back to the 19th century. The circumstances of the ‘kidnappings’ often sound dreamlike and trigger feelings of terror and paralysis.
Certain dream states are also known to produce such feelings, leading Russian researchers to wonder if dream experiments could provide clues about alleged extraterrestrial experiences.
The scientists prompted lucid dreamers to dream about encounters with aliens or unidentified flying objects (UFO’s), and found that a number of sleepers reported dreams that resembled actual descriptions of alleged alien abductions.
During lucid dreams, sleepers are aware they are dreaming and can then use that awareness to manipulate what happens in the dream. According to a 2016 study in the journalConsciousness and Cognition that analyzed five decades' worth of sleep research, about 55% of people experience lucid dreaming once or more in their lifetime, and 23% have lucid dreams at least once a month.
Recently, researchers with the Phase Research Center (PRC), a private facility in Moscow that researches lucid dreaming, conducted experiments with 152 adults who self-identified as lucid dreamers, instructing them to ‘find or summon aliens or UFOs’ during a lucid dream, the scientists reported 2 July in the International Journal of Dream Research.
The researchers found that 114 of the participants reported dreaming about having some type of successful interaction with an extraterrestrial. Out of those, about 61% described meeting ‘aliens’ that resembled extraterrestrials from science-fiction novels and films, while 19% met aliens that ‘looked like ordinary people,’ according to the study.
Little blue men
One female participant spoke of seeing 'little men' with blue skin, oversize heads 'and huge, bulging eyes,' the study authors reported. When the aliens invited her onto their spaceship, 'I was blinded by a very bright light, like from a searchlight,' she said. 'My vision was gone, and I felt dizzy and light.'
Another participant said that he dreamed he was lying in his bed when he felt as though he were being 'dragged somewhere,' ending up in a room with a white silhouette that reached into his chest and started 'doing something inside with tools,' the researchers wrote.