positively verifies the pregnancy. Typically, between the discovery of the pregnancy and the end of the first trimester, the woman suddenly finds herself not pregnant. She has no miscarriage, no extraheavy bleeding or discharge. The fetus is simply gone, with no evidence of the rare phenomenon of non-twin “absorption,” in which physicians theorize that a nonviable fetus can be absorbed into the woman’s body. During the first trimester the woman may decide to terminate the pregnancy. At the appointment, the physician begins the procedure and is stunned to find that there is no fetus in the uterus. In Janet Demerest’s case, the physician was so surprised to find the fetus gone that he became angry at the attending nurse for in some way causing the mix-up. The nurse had to gesture to him to be quiet lest Janet hear his anger and confusion. The “Missing Fetus Syndrome” has happened to abductees enough times that it is now considered one of the more common effects of the abduction experience.
PSYCHOLOGICAL TRAUMA: POST-ABDUCTION SYNDROME Many abductees, whether they are aware or unaware of their abductions, suffer from what Dr. Ronald Westrum first identified in 1986 as Post-Abduction Syndrome (PAS). 1 PAS involves a multiplicity of psychological symptoms that are caused by abduction experiences and has its greatest effect on unaware abductees. While similar to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, it differs in that the external forces compel the abductee to repress the memories of traumatic events, even though the abductee may want to remember them. Furthermore, the abduction episodes are repressed even though many do not have the classic violent traumatic content of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Finally, PAS is generated not only by past experiences, but by ongoing events as well. The severity of PAS varies greatly from person to person, ranging from mild to debilitating. Many unaware abductees act or think in ways that are inexplicable to them; they wonder about the origins of their unusual thoughts and behavior, but they are unable to discover them. Some PAS victims operate normally in society; others are so anxiety-ridden that they have great difficulties functioning in everyday life. It is very important to note that many symptoms similar to those of PAS also occur in people who have not had abductions. Having one or a number of the symptoms does not necessarily mean that the person has been abducted.
Sleep Disturbances The most common of all PAS problems are sleep disturbances. For the average adult, sleep can be something to look forward to for relief from the anxieties and tensions of the day. Abductees often view sleep very differently. It can be a time of terror and distress. They desperately need sleep, but an irrational fear makes them afraid to close their eyes. They may be scared that “someone” will come into their room, or that “something” will happen to them while they sleep. To reduce the fear, these abductees often sleep with lights, the radio, or the television on. Some sleep with all three on. Their spouses have to check the house to make sure that no intruders are around. The doors to the bedroom and to the closet have to be closed. Even after this ritual, abductees still have terrible bouts of insomnia. When they close their eyes, their minds become flooded with terrifying images of hideous Beings staring at them with large horrible eyes. These images are so frightening that many abductees will stay awake as long as possible rather than chance seeing them. When they do fall asleep, frightened abductees often have difficulty staying asleep and wake up many times during the night. Their dreams can be vivid and disturbing. They have visions of lying on a table, of being surrounded by small, large-eyed creatures, of “operations” being performed on them, of seeing strange-looking babies; and there may be a horrifying sexual component to these dreams. Both ongoing and past abductions can be half-remembered as very frightening, lifelike dreams. When the victims wake up in the morning after having an abduction experience that is now relegated to a “dream,” they are shaky and nervous—a feeling that might last for a few days. They feel exhausted, even though they presumably got their normal amount of sleep. Then, inexplicably, they may be seized with the desire to rearrange the furniture in their bedroom in the unconscious belief that their fears will disappear if their room is different from before. Abductees may develop strong fears of their bedroom and sleep in another room from then on, all the while telling themselves that they are foolish or stupid to act this way. They sometimes find that they can go to another person’s house and sleep soundly, but when they return to their own room the sleep disturbances begin again. Often boys and girls and even young men and women living at home prefer to sleep on the floor next to their parents’ bed, even though they may be embarrassed to do so, but being in the room with their parents gives them a feeling of safety that they cannot get in their own bedrooms.
Fears, Anxieties, Depression Fears, anxieties, and sometimes serious depression are frequent symptoms of PAS. Sometimes the fears are minor annoyances that do not have any great effect on the abductee’s life; at other times they may be serious, life-changing problems that the abductee wrestles with. The fears that grip adults and children alike seemingly have no basis in reality. The abductees cannot