So what does Mike really think about alien abductions? How does he approach the issue as an academic?
The short answer is that I think they're evil and I only really care to read credentialed academics who have worked in the field. And yes, there are scholars and health professionals who focus on such things. Now for the longer answer. Whoever is perpetrating such abductions--human or non-human--they are violent violations of human rights. This answer of course tells you that I don't think all the people who have claimed to be the victim of alien abduction are lying. Actually, I think many, perhaps even a majority, are telling the truth. That doesn't mean, though, that I think the perpetrators are really aliens like we have come to think of that term (as in, a physical being from a different planet who has a determinate lifespan, must eat and drink, must reproduce to further its species, etc.). I think "real" abductions (whatever isn't a hoax) are actually several things, but I can't put percentages on the options: (1) abductions by military personnel who implant an alien screen memory into the victim's mind, using technology that has been known (and further developed) since the 70s; (2) abductions where the victim's mind replaces their actual traumatizer with the alien - traumatization where the victim responds by what is known in psychology as dissociation - what used to be called multiple personality disorder); (3) ritual traumatization by cults or other groups for the purpose of deliberately producing "alters" (deliberately inducing psychological dissociation); (4) harassment and physical abuse on the part of a demonic entity; (5) harassment of physical abuse by some entity manufactured by a demonic entity. I haven't seen any evidence that undeniably points to a truly alien perpetrator (as in the above definition) or some sort of breeding program. I am well aware of the work of Professor David Jacobs (Temple University) on the subject, but what I'd need to believe we were really dealing with aliens would be some sort of hybrid offspring --tested and verified by a credible laboratory. All we really have are memories (mostly derived via hypnosis but not always) of sincere, mentally healthy people (the major studies on abductions have found no mental deficiencies in most abductees - see Mack and Jacobs in the bibliography at Question 15). I need more than memories. Yes, I believe these people are being truthful - something DID happen to them, and something physical in many cases. I don't believe it's aliens.
Frankly, the best research on this issue in my mind still comes from the 1992 MIT conference on alien abductions and the work of Jacques Vallee and John Keel (see bibliography in Question 15). I think the best explanation for the alien abduction issue is that we're dealing with an inter-dimensional (i.e., spiritual) reality here - one that can manifest in truly physical form - and not beings from another planet. Several scholars and scientists at the alien abduction conference at MIT in 1992 presented research that provides literally dozens of parallels
between the abduction experience and ritual abuse and satanic ritual abuse. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck, chances are it's a duck (or in this case, some sort of demonic manifestation). Please note I don't base this conclusion on any self-styled Christian perspective. The UFO community's own (non-Christian) researchers have convinced me that it's evil and satanic (and people like John Keel use those terms; I'm not supplying them). Yes, I know many abductees later feel "good" about their experience, but many don't (ask people like Joe Jordan - see Question 13). In my mind, this psychological coping is actually an argument for the spiritual nature of the whole event (see the Partridge book in the bibliography for Question 15).
For the sake of argument, if genuine aliens are the culprits, then (at best) they are guilty of human rights abuses and violent criminal acts. This is hardly enlightened behavior. I have had abduction researchers use the "polar bear" argument to defend the aliens here. The argument seeks to strike an analogy between what aliens are doing to people and what we do to animals, say polar bears, when we drug them, tag them, and study them. When we research animals, they are traumatized, we act against their will (it isn't voluntary), but we mean well. I understand people wanting to defend the alien like this, because if it's just about evil then that's hard to cope with--the experience is then stripped of its "meaning" to the experiencer and they are nothing but victims, pure and simple. Without getting into how that response is not theologically warranted (any victimization can have ultimate, positive meaning), let me respectfully say I'm not buying the analogy. The analogy breaks down because the polar bear can't let the scientist know that they consider what's done to them immoral and a violation of their rights. We can--and if abduction literature has told us anything, it's that the aliens are supposedly enlightened spiritual beings who can read our thoughts and DO know how we feel. We as humans develop an intuitive sense that just traumatizing a "lesser" creature is morally wrong, and we have used our technology and inner moral compass to help other species by other means. Why can't these unimaginably superior beings do the same? What Jacques Vallee said years ago still rings true: "The 'medical examination' to which abductees are said to be subjected, often accompanied by sadistic sexual manipulation, is reminiscent of the medieval tales of encounters with demons. It makes no sense in a sophisticated or technical framework: any intelligent being equipped with the scientific marvels that UFOs possess would be in a position to achieve any of these alleged scientific objectives in a shorter time and with fewer risks" (Dr. Jacques Vallee, Confrontations, p. 13).