Part 1: Beginnings
Sometimes when I look back over my early life, I wonder how I missed them: gaps of time as long as nine hours, bumps and bruises, odd dreams and ideas. All of them idly wondered about, but never considered for any length of time. They never struck me as abnormal, since they had been going on from my earliest memories. This was simply just how life was and I learned to adapt to it.
As a young child, I knew there were “monsters” that visited my room at night. I didn’t like them and I developed a fear of the dark. When I would try to tell my parents about the “monsters,” they would ridicule me and tell everyone what an “overactive imagination” I had. Embarrassed, I learned not to talk about the events that were happening to me. Around the age of 10, the fear of the dark grew to the point where I begged for a nightlight. Even with it on, I would lie awake terrified that someone was in my room. Eventually, I very carefully began asking classmates about their own nights, expecting to hear similar stories. I found that most slept peacefully, which surprised me. I don’t think I realized until that point that some people just don’t have these odd occurrences in their lives.
It was during this time that my mother decided I was a sleepwalker, even though no one had ever observed me actually sleepwalking. She would wake in the night and find me in odd places, such as downstairs or in the cellar. Since she was an extremely light sleeper, she could not understand how I could pass in front of her room without waking her. At first, I was always in trouble for this kind of behavior because she felt I was being “sneaky”. The sleepwalker “diagnosis” was a relief in a way, because it excused some of the behavior I had been punished for in the past. However, it was not something that she relied on consistently and she would continue to punish me on and off until I was in my late teens.
At the age of 12, I woke up in the front yard with the doors to the house locked up tight. I can remember the feeling of hopelessness as I realized I had no explanation for my situation and that this would be a major transgression in my parent’s eyes. I sat for at least a half an hour against the tree in the yard crying and not having any idea of what I should do. Finally, I had to ring the doorbell and face the consequences. Needless to say, my father was shocked to see me when he answered the door and never quite accepted my story of sleepwalking. As I recall, I was grounded for weeks, amongst other things. Still, I didn’t wonder or think too much about these incidents. They happened time and again, and in very many ways, it was just a part of life. I can’t think of any period of time when events like this did not happen to me. Why question something that has been going on your entire life?
Part 2: Discovery
Because of the early ridicule I endured, I had no support system. There was no one with whom I could talk and no one I would trust to listen. I felt very alone, but learned to go on with my life. I did occasionally wonder about things and I think on some level I always knew something was going on. I would catch myself thinking about an odd mark or unexplainable bruise, and deciding, “Oh, they must have been here last night.” It took me years to wonder who “they” were. I accepted my odd fears and worked to overcome them. I didn’t question where they came from. There were times I would awaken with my nightclothes on backwards, inside out, or both. I became obsessed with checking them to make sure they were on correctly at bedtime, which they nearly always were. In the morning, I would be at a loss to explain how they had turned or flipped. Every once in a while, I would wake up with nothing on and find my night clothes in another room. This was extremely hard to explain, but I managed to simply shrug it off and not think too deeply about it. Occasionally, I would see some cartoon character or drawing of something with large eyes. They made me uncomfortable, but I would just avoid them. I didn’t like to spend the night at anyone else’s house because I felt a vague sense of guilt that I would somehow endanger them. I kept to myself for many years.
Everything changed in my 20’s when I accidentally picked up a book on alien abductions. The book was Communion by Whitley Strieber. I have been an avid science fiction reader my entire life, but always stayed well clear of UFO and abduction topics. I had never read any other books by this author, and didn’t have any idea what this particular book was about. I bought the book as part of a package for joining a book club and without thinking picked Communion. When it arrived, I put it aside and ignored it for months. The cover bothered me, so I turned it over and put it under a stack of other books. Even though I hadn’t read a word in it yet, I didn’t like the book. It disturbed me. Ultimately, I ran out of other reading material and picked it up again. As I began to read, I realized that I was recognizing more and more of the material. I read it from cover to cover in a few hours, never putting it down once I began. No other book has ever affected me as that one did, before or since. Quite literally, my world fell apart that day.
Part 3: Reaction
My first reaction, I’m ashamed to say, was blind panic. That night, and every night for weeks after, I had every light in the apartment on at all times. I didn’t sleep, didn’t eat, and rarely had a rational thought. I had no one I could confide in and I felt extremely alone and terrified. For two weeks, I took vacation and sick time from work as I tried to pull myself back together. I remember sitting up in bed for several nights, all night long, clutching a kitchen knife for protection. It finally occurred to me that if I were to fall asleep, I could seriously injure myself. I think that’s when I started to calm down a bit and begin the long journey of handling this part of my life.
Those two weeks after reading Communion are easily some of the worst times I have endured. To this day, I’m not sure how I got back on my feet and went on with the business of living, but I did. I went back to work, back to a social life, and back to family. I never mentioned it to anyone, although it dominated my thoughts and feelings. I bought other books on the subject, but I was unable to read them. I would get one or two pages in and feel myself beginning to fall apart again. I stacked them up to collect dust and moved on. I had a computer at the time, so I began searching there for information. For some reason, it was easier to digest from that source and I began learning. Each confirmation I found was difficult to accept; I so wanted to be wrong about this.
I came up with wild theories to explain what happened to me. At different times, I decided it was all in my imagination, that it was some kind of ghostly phenomenon, and that I had Spirit Guides. I searched through new age belief systems and more traditional religions. I spoke with people on the internet and tried to make myself believe it wasn’t happening at all. At one point, I decided I had a psychiatric disorder, but then had trouble explaining how it wasn’t affecting other areas of my life. If I was hallucinating, it stood to reason that I would be hallucinating at work and with others around as well. It finally occurred to me that the physical symptoms I was having could not be explained away. What kind of hallucination leaves bruises and puts your clothes on inside out? It may sound odd, but I was very upset when I finally came to this realization. If it had been merely something in my own mind, there was still hope of putting an end to it. Medication, therapy; there was hope of a cure. Not so with abductions. It goes on without your consent for your entire life and there is no control over it. However, the abduction phenomenon remains the only theory that ever encompassed all the symptoms I have experienced throughout my life. The day I accepted this, I felt very alone and afraid.
Part 4: Coming to Terms
After accepting that I was an abductee, I began a very personal journey to find the truth. I have never been someone to sit back and pretend something isn’t going on. I do much better when I confront things head on, even if that is difficult in the short term. This attitude eventually led me to explore my experiences with the use of hypnosis. It was not a decision I made lightly or quickly. I struggled with it for over two years before beginning. I was quite concerned with false memory syndrome as I was focused on finding the truth, not someone else’s agenda.
As I look back over many hypnosis sessions now, I know it was the right decision for me. It has been both difficult and enlightening, but overall I have gotten a tremendous amount out of it. I feel quite strongly that these are real memories, not false ones. The events I have explored fit into the larger picture of my life like the missing pieces of a puzzle. Behavior that once seemed odd is suddenly explainable. I now understand what my “sleepwalking” really was and I know how I got locked out of the house. I know why things with large eyes scare me, and I think that given what I was going through, my fear of the dark was quite reasonable at the time.
It has been a long journey to get to where I am today, and at the age of 42, the journey is still ongoing. I have chosen to continue with the hypnosis, even though it is difficult at times. I still believe knowing the truth and putting the pieces – all of the pieces — of my life together in a coherent form is better than ignoring a major portion of it. I like knowing why I feel a certain way or why I acted in some fashion. I don’t like being a part of this phenomenon, and that is something I will most likely always struggle with. I would love to find a reasonable alternate explanation for all of this, but in my heart I doubt that will happen. I would also like to find a way to stop my abductions, but again, that is unlikely and I have faced that fact. Until something changes, knowing the truth is the best I can do for both myself and for my family.