A Study of the Relationship Between Abduction Experiences and Unusual Electromagnetic Aftereffects:
A Summary Review, Report and Discussion

By Richard Bonenfant, Ph.D.


Part I - Review

NDEs and Electromagnetic Effects

Electromagnetic effects (EMEs), in the context of strange, unexplainable phenomena that adversely plague human beings are a relatively recent discovery. It began in the late 1970s when a number of researchers began to study another newfound phenomenon known as near-death experiences (NDEs) as define by R. Moody in his renowned publication, Life After Life (1975). One of the researchers who followed up on Moody’s discovery was P.M.H. Atwater, herself a three time near-death experiencer and dedicated NDE researcher. Atwater focused much of her own research on NDE aftereffects, that is to say, a number of life altering changes that result from having an NDE experience. She noted that while most of these changes were beneficial to the experiencers, one was not. That rogue aftereffect was a heightened form of electromagnetic sensitivity whereby the NDE created havoc upon sensitive electronic devices that he or she came into contact with. Atwater, P.M.H. (1994) and in Electrical Sensitivity: A 2012 Update stated it this way:

“Since beginning my research of near-death states in 1978, I have consistently noticed that a large majority of experiencers (both as part of my study and in general conversation with them) reported becoming more sensitive to electrical and magnetic fields – disturbances, equipment, devices, wrist watches – after their episode.”

What Atwater termed a “large majority of experiencers” consisted of nearly three quarters (73%) of NDErs interviewed. Among the initial EMEs they reported were; lights flickering on and off; light bulbs exploding; computers and other electronics malfunctioning; wrist watches running fast, slow, or not at all; disruptions in phones, radios, televisions and other communication devices; subjects feeling ‘drained’ when in proximity to electronic devices; and, an extreme physical sensitivity to atmospheric changes such as thunder storms, earthquakes, lightning, and tornados. While not exhaustive, this inventory serves to illustrate the nature of the phenomenon.

Early on, most NDE researchers focused on the behavioral aspects of the NDE phenomenon (Kason, 1994; Moody, 1976; Ring, 1980). However, a number of researchers have examined the subject of E-M aftereffects (Ring, 2000, Bonenfant, 2005; Nouri, 2014; and Greyson, et al, 2015) following Atwater’s alert. Two of the most recent papers dealing with the potential relationship between NDEs and E-M aftereffects are those of Nouri (2014) and Greyson, et al (2015).

In the first, Nouri (2014) conducted a quantitative study wherein three groups were tested for EMEs. These groups were defined as: (a) NDErs - individuals who had a near-death event which led to a NDE, (b) CBrs - individuals who experienced a near-death event without having an NDE, and (c) LCSrs - individuals who never experienced a near-death event or NDE but used a self-identified event of significance as an alternate to an NDE. All groups were restricted to experiences which took place within one year of the study. The sizes of these groups were: 36 NDErs, 20 CBrs and 46 LCSrs.

Nouri’s results confirmed that NDErs experienced more EMEs than the other two groups, especially with respect to E-M devices such as lights and cell phones. Also found was a self-reported connection between the emotional state of the NDEr and the degree of affect upon E-M devices. Nouri’s findings thus confirm the existence of a correlation between NDEs and EMEs and suggests a possible link between the depth of NDEs and strength of EMEs.

In the study conducted by Greyson, et al (2015) E-M aftereffects were divided into two components: (a) EM actions, apparent actions by the individual on the surrounding E-M environment, and (b) E-M reactions, apparent reactions of the individual to the E-M environment. Their study examined E-M aftereffects among 216 NDErs, 54 of which included persons who had a near-death event without an actual NDE, and 150 controls, namely persons who had never been close to death. The results of their study showed that NDErs reported both greater E-M actions and greater E-M reactions than Non-NDEs in both comparison groups. In addition, NDErs with higher scores on the NDE Scale reported more E-M aftereffects. These results thus corroborate Nouri’s findings.

In some ways, this author’s experience in studying E-M effects among NDErs reflects the historical trend noted above. Initial findings (Bonenfant 2004) did not detect a statistically significant relationship between NDEs and their E-M aftereffects.

NDErs Versus non-NDErs

1. My wristwatch runs fast or slow 14/40 (35%) 4/16 (25%)

2. Lights often burn out in my presence 14/38 (36%) 2/14 (14%)

You will note, however, that this evaluation was based on two questions which evidently didn’t clearly define EMEs to the degree required for its intended purpose. Later interactions with a colleague, Rebecca Stevens, M.D., who had experienced both an NDE and EMEs, led me to realize how poorly I had initially evaluated the NDE/E-M relationship. Subsequently, in a paper presented at the 2008 IANDS Conference in Virginia Beach (Bonenfant, 2005), I presented Dr. Stevens’ testimony on the intensity of prolonged negative EMEs that had impacted her medical career. The following quote on that presentation was abstracted from Nouri (2014).

“Following a Childhood NDE, Dr. Stephens, who had an NDE as a child, described her experience with her wrist watches: ‘They either go backwards, they stop, or the watch man knows me and that he just has to put a new battery in every couple of months.’ In regard to cell phones, Dr. Stephens reported, ‘I have had lots of problems with cell phones not working. I have to have them constantly changed out after I had touched the cell phone which is just the borrowed cell phone for right now, because I had to send mine into the shop to get it repaired, it just beeps all day long if I touch it until I turn it off.’

She also described her experience with computers: “They [technology specialists at work] would tell me I had too much static; so, I actually used static mats. I actually have something on my keyboard before I even touch my computer. So, [having] gone through 6 hard drives in 5 years, [my employers] have spent some money on me to make sure I’m not full of EM energy; but in the same sense it affects everything that I do.” [pp. 85-86]

Alien Abductions and Electromagnetic Effects

Several years later, while investigating an entirely different domain of inquiry, the alien abduction phenomenon, the author discovered that abductees were reporting EMEs very similar to, if not identical with, those previously reported by NDErs. This observation was not unique, but one shared by a number of other abduction researchers. In this regard, the findings of one pair of abduction researchers is worthy of note.

Recently, K. Marden and D. Stoner published a comprehensive study, The Marden-Stoner Study on Commonalities Among UFO Abduction Experiencers (2012).

In this study, two groups of subjects, Abduction Experiencers (AE) and Non-Abduction Experiencers (NAE) were compared on a variety of potential commonalities.

The AE Group was asked to respond to this question: Following an abduction, did you ever experience malfunctions of electrical equipment such as lights, digital watches, computers, etc?
Result: 34 responded “Yes,” and 16 responded “No.”

Then the NAE Group was asked to respond to this question: Have you ever experienced malfunctions of electrical equipment such as lights, digital watches, computers, etc. for no obvious reason?
Result: 8 responded “Yes,” and 17 responded “No.”

In their summary, Marden and Stoner found that 68% of the AE Group reported experiencing malfunctions of electrical equipment, whereas only 32% of the NAE Group had the same experience. In their words,

“The AE Group reported malfunctioning computers, watches, appliances, radios, televisions, cameras and compasses. Some reported that light bulbs blew out or blinked off and on and the hands on their watches spun. One participant stated that the time clock at his place of employment malfunctioned only for him.”

Note the close similarity in the number of NDErs reporting EMS by Atwater 73%, with that of the number of abductees reporting EMEs by Marden and Stoner (68%). The Marden-Stoner study results also demonstrate a strong similarity in the types of EMEs reported by both NDErs and abductees.

Continue Reading Part II: Report

This article is published with the expressed written permission of Richard Bonenfant for publication on

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Richard Bonenfant

Richard Bonenfant, Ph.D., is a retired research scientist and lecturer. His research career at Albany Medical Center Hospital and the New York State Department of Health was centered on the study of birth defects in newborn children. He most recently retired from the Veterans’ Hospital in Gainesville, Florida, and is credited with publishing several professional articles on near-death experiences.

He has advanced degrees in Anthropology and Psychology, and is dedicated to the investigation of phenomena that lie on the fringes of scientific understanding. Subjective phenomena include such things as near-death experiences, synesthesia, xenoglossia, savant syndrome and hyperthymestic syndrome or individuals with exceptional autobiographical memories. Objective phenomena include verifiable paranormal experiences, crop circles and strange mutilations of unknown origin. There are other unusual phenomena deserving of investigation which he occasionally delves into under appropriate circumstances. These ancillary phenomena include instances of foreign accent syndrome, cases of apparent reincarnation, and human abduction experiences.


Other Articles by Dr. Bonenfant Include:

Profile – David Cayton, the APFU and Corkscrew Seal Mutilations

New Insights Into The Animal Mutilation Mystery

A Study of the Relationship Between Abduction Experiences and Unusual Electromagnetic Aftereffects: A Summary Review, Report and Discussion

Preliminary Report on EM Effects Project

Stories of Near Death Experiences

Alien Investigator: Case Files of Britains Leading UFO Detective

The 1976 Whitehall, NY Bigfoot Sightings in Conjunction with UFO Activity

Judy Doraty Case: An Abductee’s Account of a Calf Mutilation on-board an ET Craft

The Prion Hypothesis: Expanded version of Significant Observations Related to Animal Mutilations

The Electro-Magnetic (E-M) Effects Project and Questionnaire

A Preliminary Report on the Study of the Relationship Between Abduction Experiences and Unusual Electromagnetic Aftereffects or E-M Effects

Richard Bonenfant’s Books:

“Faction” - Fiction Based in Fact


Elizabeth Nolan


The Kendall Stone


The Boy Who Came
From Nowhere






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