This article was published in the daily newspaper The Boston Herald, Boston, Massachusetts, USA, on August 28, 2005.
Nonbeliever Probes 'Alien Encounters'
By Jessica Heslam
His last alien encounter occurred two years ago.
Will Bueche said he was sleeping in his apartment when a small pair of bone-white creatures nudged him awake.
"They appeared and held my hands in such a physical and griping way," said Bueche, 36, who lives in the Cambridge area. "The message was that they were real."
Bueche is among millions of Americans who believe they've had an alien encounter. He was also interviewed by Harvard psycologist Susan Clancy for her new book, "Abducted: How People Come to Believe They Were Kidnapped by Aliens." The book is set to hit stores in October.
Clancy says there's no evidence that people are being abducted and experimented on by aliens. In fact, Clancy says she isn't even interested in aliens and has become a "reluctant scholar of alienology."
What interested Clancy was that there was a group of people that had created "false memories." She wanted to understand more about how and why they created them.
There's two types of believers, said Clancy, who has spoken to 100 in the last five years: those who suspect they were abducted and those who have vivid memories of it. "Usually, people are looking to explain some sort of strange or unusual or unpleasant experience that has happened to them," Clancy said during a telephone interview from Nicaragua, where she is doing research.
People want to know why they feel depressed, why they woke up in the night feeling terrified, why they have sexual problems, why they have strange marks on their bodies, why they have difficulty in relationships and so on, she said.
Being abducted by aliens is a growing explanation people latch onto to explain unpleasant things.
"For better or for worse, being abducted by aliens is a culturally available explanation for why we feel the way we do," Clancy said.
During her research, Clancy, 36, found that people get abduction memories by undergoing some form of hypnosis or guided imagery therapy.The abductees were high-functioning, educated people with jobs and families, she said. The only common thread was that they were more creative, imaginative and fantasy-prone than others.
"There is no data that indicates they are any more likely than the rest of us to suffer from any psychological disorders," Clancy said.
Clancy doesn't tell her subjects she doesn't believe in alien abductions unless they ask her opinion when the study is done. Clancy's response is met with anger, a sarcastic smile or simply ignored.
Bueche says the data Clancy has collected is valuable, but he doesn't agree with her conclusions.
"I believe people have had alien encounters and experiences," said Bueche, who calls himself an experiencer. "I think the concept that other races are out there is true.'
[Picture - Will Bueche, one of the subjects interviewed by Susan Clancy, claims aliens visited him.]