Thursday, July 28, 2011


More about migraine and UFO encounters

My recent posting about migraines and UFO experiences (12 June) has aroused some interest. There is a discussion on this topic on the Mysterious Universe website. Below is a very interesting article submitted by James Mitchell, who remarks: "I am truly suprised that more hasn't been made of the connection between migraines and UFO sightings as there are certain similarities that I imagine most migraine sufferers would spot. As the "trigger" for both migraine attacks and UFO sightings is often a bright light, this should in itself alert investigators to a possible connection."

Experiences of migraines and UFO phenomena

Being both a migraine sufferer and a (somewhat sceptical) follower of UFO phenomena, I'm surprised that the similarities between the two haven't been highlighted in the UFO literature before. I've had several migraine-related experiences that, had circumstances been different, may well have been thought to have been alien rather than neurological in origin. When I first started having migraines 30 years ago I experienced none of the "classic" visual manifestations of the condition, and it wasn't until I managed to see a GP while actually undergoing an attack that the condition was initially diagnosed.

Over the years, however, the symptoms have changed in that I now experienced visual problems including the loss of depth perception and various coloured / shimmering auras.

One such attack was, however, more of a hallucination than a distortion of vision in that its manifestations appeared to be external to me. In this, I saw a group of five or six glowing silver spheres floating in a silvery mist. The spheres appeared to be solid metallic objects that conformed to the perspective of the room I was in as I saw them. In short, they appeared real. The fact that I was aware of having a migraine, and that the person with me could not see them, verified the fact that they were a neurological phenomenon. Had I been alone outside on a dark night, then my interpretation of what I saw could well have been different, and I could well have put "feeling strange" down to what Jenny Randles has called the "Oz factor", the dissociative feeling experienced by those who claim to have seen UFOs at close range.

Although I haven't had a similar "external" hallucination since, recent developments in the migraine-related symptoms I experience have become quite disturbing. Last year, I had a migraine in the day which I thought had passed. Later that night, however, I had a truly frightening experience that showed I was still suffering from it. This manifested itself as an overwhelming sensation of being "taken over" by another, external consciousness. I was literally "losing consciousness", but, instead of passing out, other impressions and sensations were passing in, overwhelming my own, trying to force me not into unconsciousness but into another consciousness that wasn't my own.

I was also aware of the presence of an avuncular "boffin"-like figure discussing something with me, although I didn't know what it was we were discussing. In addition to this, there were immense amounts of information being passed either to or from my mind at a fantastic speed and, even though I knew it was information, it was flashing by so fast I couldn't tell what it was. While this was taking place, I was literally fighting for consciousness, that is fighting to retain my consciousness in the face of that which was trying to oust it.

What was most striking, however, was the thought / voice / realisation that I would not remember all of this, a thought that was being repeated over and over again in my mind as the attack took place. There was so much going on, especially with the "information transfer", that I just knew I wouldn't or couldn't remember it all.

(This last feature is, I believe, of some particular relevance to the UFO phenomenon as, in her book The Pennine UFO Mystery [Granada paperback edition, p. 120], author Jenny Randles cites a similar phenomenon where a subject is very aware that he will forget the UFO encounter he has unless he writes it down.)

Another similarity to UFO encounters was the fact that I thought I'd only felt the presence of the "boffin" figure when, after some days or weeks, I realised that I'd actually seen him. This late recollection is, I believe, not unknown in UFO encounters. The attack lasted only a few minutes but, without being able to determine this by external references, I would not have liked to have said how long it lasted.

(I should also mention that I had a similar hallucinogenic experience a year or two before the one detailed above that, at the time, I hadn't connected with migraine. This was a far less powerful experience which, in the absence of any accompanying migraine-like phenomena, I'd just put down to being a "funny turn".)

A friend who suffers from migraines to a far worse degree than I do made some interesting comments when I told them about my attack the following day. They informed me that they almost always have some accompanying hallucinogenic experience when suffering a migraine attack, in addition to which they are aware of having "memories" that they know aren't their own, i.e. that are not real.

The implications of this admission, both in the field of UFOs and the study of the so-called "false memory" syndrome relating to child abuse are obvious.

Another telling comment came from a friend who said they'd once "had a couple of migraines", which suggests that the condition may exist in an acute as well as a chronic form. From this, it is easy to imagine someone having a one-off migraine attack that under the right (or wrong) circumstances could be interpreted as an extraterrestrial / paranormal experience. This is, in my experience, underlined by the similarity in the way in which some details of the attacks - whether by migraine or alleged alien - gradually reveal themselves over a long period of time.

What I cannot stress enough is how real (and how frightening) such attacks can be. Having first-hand experience of this, it is by no means a stretch of the imagination to believe that such events could be attributed to a supernatural / extraterrestrial agency if one was not aware of their true cause.

Fortunately, I have had no more similar experiences with migraines, but it is now a constant worry that I may.

James Mitchell, 2011

This "information transfer" phenomenon bears remarkable similarities to a personal experience the SF writer Philp K. Dick became all but obsessed over in his last few years.
Thanks for this. My reading about abduction shows that proponents don't want to deal with psychological explanations in any serious way.
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