Review of Symptomatology
[of ET-Alien Abductions]

By John S. Carpenter, MSW, LCSW

“These twenty aspects give a researcher a good idea of what kinds of data to expect and watch for in abduction research. Not all aspects will be part of each subject’s world, but a researcher needs to know what could arise in any investigation.”


There are many characteristics which are commonly found with persons who are experiencing unexpected contact with UFO occupants. Just to have an unusual scar, to have seen a strange light, or to dream about aliens does not necessarily mean anything. There are emotions, reactions, and other aspects to be considered as part of these reported experiences. Patterns are developing, however, from thorough investigations. Although no list of symptoms is guaranteed to be complete or necessarily accurate, consider the following aspects:

(1) Observation of an unidentified flying object or unusual light source. This would include lights which illuminate an entire area such as a field, bedroom, or car interior. Also included are moving balls of light (red, orange, yellow, or white) from the size of golf balls to beach balls, commonly seen outside and inside homes navigating with a sense of purpose. There are cases from California to Puerto Rico which suggest that some of these intruding lights transform into the unexpected visitors.

(2) Unexplained period of amnesia or “missing time” - sometimes shared with other participants. No medical explanation has ever been offered for this kind of shared amnesia which begins and ends simultaneously for as many as four people.

(3) Sudden onset of insomnia, irritability, anxiety, or fatigue without any known precipitant. A lapse of time may have occurred but perhaps was not realized or recognized as relevant until much later.

(4) Vivid dreams with unusual content - not necessarily about UFOs or aliens - that may include odd faces, places, procedures, and feelings. For example, a woman has recurring nightmares about large white ants examining her on a large toadstool in a dentist’s office. Despite the absurdity and lack of any obvious connection to her everyday life, she feels terrified.

(5) Sudden unexplained appearance of peculiar “scoop marks,” precise incisions, needle marks, punctures, or geometrically-shaped bruises. Subject usually minimizes or ignores these initially. Rapid healing may also occur.

(6) A driven or nagging feeling that “something has happened” to them that cannot easily be ignored or for- gotten even after 15-20 years.

(7) Unexplained dislocation in physical space: go to bed, wake up standing in a nearby field; driving a car - next moment car is parked in a pasture and subject is in another field; wake up in wrong bedrooms or beds, etc.

(8) Emotional reactions to objects in the environment - even to a hypersensitive or phobic level. One subject developed an intense fear of dolls. Other fears have been of hockey masks, flashing lights, owls, people wearing dark sunglasses, and triangular-shaped signs.

(9) Avoidance of places in the environment that trigger anxiety for no obvious reason. A person may drive completely out of his way daily to avoid a certain stretch of road. A child may refuse to play in his back yard or to sleep in his own bed any longer.

(10) Persistent doodling of odd images that make no sense consciously; keeping some of those peculiar doodles for as long as 20 years.

(11) Unexplained bleeding from nose, ear, punctures, or rectum. This tends to have more relevance if occurring in conjunction with an unusual dream or period of missing time.

(12) Hearing one’s own name called clearly - perhaps awakening the subject - and feeling compelled to get up, walk outside, or drive somewhere; feeling monitored and uneasy about looking upward.

(13) Nocturnal sensations: (more significant if correlated with an odd dream, sudden scar, or unusual light) awareness of floating over the bed, a feeling of being pulled out of bed, a sudden need to fall sound asleep (despite any excitement or activity happening) or a sudden awakening - “as if someone flipped a switch” and finding oneself sitting or standing wide awake - sometimes simultaneously with others.

(14) “Screen memories”: unlikely images of white animals in unlikely locations - a deer in the kitchen, a four-foot chipmunk at end of bed, a bobcat nose-to- nose with subject in bed, or a four-foot white owl stopping one’s car.

(15) Apparent psychic ability - not necessarily desired or appreciated - but many interesting incidents are evident. This seems more correlated with subjects having life-long UFO experiences.

(16) Poltergeist-like activity: rapping/banging on walls, doors closing, objects flying, other objects disappearing and reappearing later in surprising places. Some of this may be the result of developed but unrealized psychokinetic ability.

(17) Occurrence of sounds in one’s head just prior to an abduction: buzzing, whooshing, Morse Code beeps, clicks, musical tones or a vibrational tone as if from “a tuning fork in my head.”

(18) Unusual electrical effects (apparently occurring just after a suspected encounter): shorting out ovens, microwaves, dishwashers, computers, televisions, and even streetlights (when passing underneath). One subject “whited out” a piece of Kirlian Photography film with her hand.

(19) Subjects frequently have little or no interest or knowledge regarding UFOs or aliens. They typically try to rationalize and minimize their unusual experiences - sometimes to an irrational or absurd extent.

(20) Subjects have been found in both clinical interviews and through psychological testing to typically not possess any problems of a psychological nature that could serve as a source for their experiences. Subjects usually dread publicity, fear ridicule, and hesitate to tell anyone

These twenty aspects give a researcher a good idea of what kinds of data to expect and watch for in abduction research. Not all aspects will be part of each subject’s world, but a researcher needs to know what could arise in any investigation.

This article is published with the expressed written permission of John S. Carpenter exclusively for publication on

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John Carpenter

John Carpenter obtained a Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology from DePauw University, Greencastle, Indiana, and a master’s degree in Social Work, from Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri. He has had advanced training in Clinical Hypnosis in order to practice as a psychiatric therapist and hypnotherapist in Branson, Missouri. For over 32 years he has counseled people in Southwest Missouri for every kind of emotional problem imaginable.

His life-long curiosity in UFOs led to his volunteering his services for over 150 cases of possible UFO abduction. Using skillful interviewing techniques and thorough hypnotic investigation, he has collected amazing patterns of data which clearly depict a consistent and coherent scenario of extraterrestrial contact. He presented six papers at the prestigious MIT Abduction Study Conference in Boston in 1992. His published papers have brought him international recognition and speaking invitations on five continents. He has presented at conferences from Australia to England, on national and international radio, television, and film documentaries. He has created and produced 10 research DVDs since 1996.

Mr. Carpenter served as MUFON’s Director of Abduction Research from 1991 until 2000 and is a founding member of JAR: Journal For Abduction Encounter Research. John Carpenter is currently writing a book titled Invaded: Human Contact With Non-Human Beings and is available for Presentations Worldwide.

Articles by John Carpenter:


An Examination of the Aftereffects [of ET-Alien Abduction]


Review of Symptomatology [of ET-Alien Abductions]


Alien Mistakes and Humorous Evidence


Coping Responses and Credibility


“False Memories and Imagination”


Therapeutic Ideas for Coping


Educating Mental Health Care Professionals about Alien Abductions


Reptilians and Other Unmentionables






ET Camouflage or Screen Imagery

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