Have alien abduction experiences become a thing of the past—a mere footnote of 20th-century mythology? It depends on who you ask.
Skeptics point to the seeming decrease in reports and the near ubiquitous use of camera phones. Meanwhile, as reported in the Boston Globe, some UFO researchers argue these accounts still make the rounds, but do so within the echo chamber of devoted online communities. You’re stuck in your own socio-political social media bubble, the argument goes, and abductees are discussing the trauma of alien abduction in their own.
Let’s talk about that trauma. It’s important to note that disbelief in aliens doesn’t mean disbelief in an individual’s experience of reality. Skeptics point to sleep paralysis, hallucination, and other natural explanations for alien abduction experiences—but these explanations still entail the potential for authentic confusion and terror.
This brings us to the topic of anal probing.
If alien abductions are indeed a 20th-century phenomenon, then they serve as a ready-made catch-all narrative for a wide variety of paranormal experiences grounded in hallucination, sleep paralysis and other abnormal perceptions. In other words, the same basic quirks of human experience have occurred throughout history and we’ve pulled in varying narratives to make sense of them: fairies, ghosts, demons, and most recently aliens.
Connie Samaras argues in “Is It Tomorrow or Just the End of Time? UFO Culture and Cultural Anxiety” that alien abduction narratives tend to appropriate the feminist language of sexual abuse. These narratives, in which predominantly straight white men experience anal probing, serve as "complex and overlapping amalgamations of desire for both reactionary and progressive social order.” Arguably, there's a great deal of racism, homophobia, and heterosexual angst in many abduction tales and these tales speak to the zeitgeist of a secular-yet-sci-fi-shaped 20th century America.
It certainly wouldn’t be the first time a human being reported supernatural sex. Mythologies and folk traditions around the world are rife with accounts of paranormal congress between humans and gods or demigods. But you don’t see a tremendous amount of anal sex. In fact, as historian Walter Stephens points out in his book “Demon Lovers,” witchcraft treatises of the early modern period reveled in all the details of heterosexual human/demon sexual activity but tended to steer clear of homosexuality. Stephens argues that this was in part due to the necessity of vaginal copulation among witches as “proof” of the supernatural evil, and therefore its holy opposite. But he also adds that chief witchcraft theorist Henrich Kramer held typically homophobic attitudes and was “not about to imagine men being buggered by incubi (although other theorists did).”
Each generation’s paranormal narratives reveal something of their beliefs, anxieties, hopes, and fears. It was the case with 15th-century European demonologists and 20th-century alien abductees engaged in the same psychosexual exercise.
But even if this was not the case, if alien abductions were a reality and past accounts of supernatural sexual encounters were mere misinterpretations of the same phenomenon, we’re forced to wonder why anal probing only became such a key component of alien/human interactions during the second half of the 20th century—a period of unprecedented advancement in gay rights, specifically in the United States.
Did ancient aliens fail to recognize the research potential of the human anus? Did 20th-century visitations entail a new alien civilization that, to paraphrase The Simpsons, had yet to reach the limits of what rectal probing could teach them? The answers are all unsatisfying.
If we apply Occam's razor to alien abduction experiences, we see not an extraterrestrial threat to freedom, identity, and prostate but rather an internal conflict brought to life via abnormal sensory perception and cultural priming.