Kirsten's Reviews > Abducted: How People Come to Believe They Were Kidnapped by Aliens

Abducted by Susan A. Clancy
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's review
Jan 31, 08

bookshelves: read-pre-12-07, own, crackpots, non-fiction, psych-and-neuroscience
Recommended to Kirsten by: Queen Lyzard
Read in October, 2007

Overall, this book contains a lot of really excellent information. Clancy firmly believes in taking weird beliefs seriously, but not literally; she is not a believer in alien abduction, but she is deeply curious about why abductees choose alien abduction as the explanation for weirdness in their life, when there are so many other more plausible explanations. She outlines the typical process by which abductees come to believe they have been abducted, and discusses a number of explanations, including false memories exacerbated by poor hypnosis techniques, sleep paralysis, and her findings that abductees score high on scales that measure schizotypy (which is characterized by a certain amount of fantasy-prone-ness and a tendency toward magical thinking).

One of the unexpectedly interesting things for me about this book is that it turns out she assisted Richard McNally in the research described in his book Remembering Trauma, which I read earlier this year. In Remembering Trauma, McNally (assisted by Clancy, as it turns out) used alien abductees as a less controversial alternative to those with recovered memories of sexual or ritual abuse in many of his memory studies.

The reason I didn't rate this book higher is that it ended up being much more lightweight than I had hoped, in terms of the tone and the detail of discussion. Clancy adopts a slightly humorous, conversational tone throughout, which occasionally feels forced and did not always make me feel that she was treating her subjects with respect. Granted, it is sometimes difficult to take some of the abductees stories seriously, but I sometimes felt she took a bit too much glee in relating stories of particularly weird encounters. By and large, interesting stuff, but I wanted more.

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