The following is based on a series of interviews conducted between 1999 and 2000 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
In a world where the majority of us treat the topic of ‘alien’ abduction with at best indifference and at worst scorn and derision there are those whom must live with experiences that seemingly defy rational thought and explanation. They must learn to cope not only with their experiences, but also with prevailing popular attitudes in regards to phenomena they know exists. *Contrary to what some may believe these people are not suffering mental illness, displaying fantasy prone behaviour, nor willfully hoaxing their experiences as a means to gain notoriety nor financial gain.
The following account is a poignant look at one person’s experiences with this type of phenomena and will serve as a reminder that there is a human face behind the often unthinking way in which this topic is portrayed in popular media and by the minds of those who have not taken the time to adequately research this subject. Please note that in order to protect the privacy of Quinn and his/her family real names have not been used. The words he/she are used in the context of keeping the narrative flowing and are not intended to imply the actual sex of any of the individuals mentioned within the body of this article.
Quinn is happily married, a parent of two adult children and proud grandparent. Family and family values are an important part of Quinn’s life, which was made quite evident by my interviews with her and her family. An intelligent and thoughtful person, Quinn is university educated despite a learning disability, and worked for many years in a respected white-collar profession, before health issues forced an early retirement. However, what struck me most about Quinn is the quiet and determined courage she displays in coping with experiences that most of us cannot even imagine. When asked about her feelings in regards to this phenomenon her reply was, “It’s been a curse, although it has probably shaped my personality to where it stands. It is difficult to imagine what it would be like without ‘their’ influence or involvement in my life. What doesn’t kill you can only make you stronger.”
Quinn was born in Ontario Canada. Her first conscious memory of a ‘psychic’ experience was at the age of three and her first remembered UFO sighting occurred at approximately the age of seven or eight. Quinn’s childhood was plagued by numerous trips to hospital for spontaneous and particularly intense nosebleeds, which were never adequately explained despite medical treatment and intervention. Quinn retains these frightening episodes quite clearly, although she admits to being troubled by the fact that large pieces of her childhood memories are now missing.
The nosebleeds are only the beginning of a long and often heartbreaking medical history that Quinn has had to endure. The causation of these issues are readily explainable in many instances and not unusual when looked upon separately, however it is of interest to note that they are shared by many who claim to be involved with the abduction experience. And while Quinn is very hesitant to lay blame on a preternatural source for her physical condition she does acknowledge that certain physical anomalies do exist within her own medical profile that she is hard pressed to explain by any means other than the abduction phenomenon. These include:
Scars (one in the shape of a perfect triangle), scratches, puncture wounds and bruising that she has no memory of attaining. Quinn has sought medical attention for these and in the case of the bruising, blood disorders were ruled out since 1979.
A mole located under Quinn’s jaw was noted as missing at age 35. A visit to the family physician resulted in the diagnosis that it had been removed surgically leaving a neat and precise scar that is still visible. Quinn states that she has no memory of it’s removal, and this has puzzled both herself and close family members.
A more detailed medical accounting of the above is retained within our records.
The above including recent puncture scoop-like wounds that heal at a rapid rate coincide with sightings of UFOs, some experienced along with family members and friends. This is one reason that Quinn connects them to the alien abduction experience. They also follow bouts of ‘missing time’ that are not readily noticed, in Quinn’s words “it usually takes something to jar my memory into recalling that the time was actually missing.” And finally some of these markings are discovered after unrestful sleeps in which she experiences “weird dreams or memories that are dream-like and not entirely recallable.” It should go without saying that the discovery of these marks (in some cases severe bruising) have and do cause Quinn distress and why she has consistently sought medical advice.
As stated above Quinn’s first UFO encounter occurred as a young child and she has had several since. The most dramatic sighting being an encounter in which she and her spouse were “followed” by a UFO in 1971 while driving on Bloomington Side Road in York County. They describe the UFO as a “ball of light encased within a cloud” and that at one point it was no more than 25ft above the family car. When asked if they ever reported this event to local police etc, the reply was “we were afraid of ridicule, I thought I would not be taken seriously.” This in fact is not an unusual or uncommon response. Unfortunately Quinn can no longer remember the exact date, so searching for third-party corroboration of this event is impossible.
Quinn is quite candid in admitting that she has no conscious memory of seeing ‘occupants’ in regards to her UFO sightings or full recall of an abduction having taken place. She does admit that images of both UFOs and aliens (specifically greys) make her feel apprehensive.
One UFO event was followed by the sighting of an anomalous in appearance (4ft) owl in the middle of the road while driving through the Rocky Mountains in 1995. All in the car, including Quinn’s spouse and son, noted it and she speculates it’s actual identity here by saying, Personally I don't think it was an owl, but that is what my mind remembers. That’s what my son and (spouse) remember too.”
Quinn’s UFO sightings have been followed by dreams of “being chased and flying and trying to hide from my captors and a specific reoccurring dream of a female scary face with big black eyes right up in my face leaning over me.” Dreams and fragmented memories coupled with the very real anomalous physical markings are in fact the only evidence Quinn has to tie in the conscious UFO sightings to the abduction-like phenomena she has experienced, yet taken as a whole the data is certainly compelling.
Quinn is a member of the Intruders Foundation a group headed by famed Alien Abduction researcher Budd Hopkins. She is also a former patient of Dr. D. Gottlieb, a Toronto-area psychiatrist whom at one time worked extensively with those experiencing this type of phenomena.
Despite her search for answers to these experiences Quinn has never sought and in fact has refused hypnotic regression as a means to gaining clarity on these events. As regression therapy can in fact pose risks depending upon the individual and data, which the validity of is highly debatable, Quinn feels it is simply not an option she feels comfortable with.
Quinn has learned to live with her extraordinary experiences, while at the same time balancing a normal and ordinary life that is really no different than the majority of ours. She does not feel “special or chosen” just “different” and perhaps just a casualty of circumstance? Her sincerity and frankness are refreshing, her emotional and physical pain obvious, yet her courageous attitude towards a subject so riddled with misconception by the main stream is what stands out the most in personal interviews.
In closing I will leave the reader with Quinn’s response to my question of what she feels would benefit abductees in regards to future alien abduction research, “Anything that will make people comfortable to come forward and share, although I think that will be a long time in coming. Some sort of system where exposure does not mean ridicule, although still lend itself to credibility.”
Our personal thanks to both “Quinn” and her family for sharing their experiences with us and allowing our use of some of these experiences for the purpose of sharing them online. Over the years the above article has brought some comfort to many individuals if only to learn that they are not alone in sharing these experiences.
*1992 M.I.T Conference on Alien Abduction