Emulating alien and UFO encounters in REM sleep
Alien and UFO encounters (AUEs) have been a well-known part of human culture for centuries, but we are still unsure of their nature. Some studies suggest that in some such encounters, these phenomena could be related to dissociative REM sleep states, like lucid dreams (LDs), sleep paralysis (SP), and out-of-body experiences (OBEs). The present research focuses on the hypothesis that if some of AUEs are indeed the products of REM sleep, then they could be deliberately emulated by LD practitioners. Therefore, this experiment could help to explain the mystery of AUEs. To check our hypothesis, we implemented an online resource through which we instructed a group of 152 volunteers to try to emulate AUEs via LDs. The volunteers made these attempts at home, and their reports were verified and analyzed by the researchers. Of the volunteers, 114 (75%) were able to experience AUEs after one or more attempts. The results indicate that 61% of participants encountered alien-like creatures, 28% encountered UFOs, and 24% experienced fear or SP. Regarding the successful cases, 20% were close to reality in terms of the absence of paradoxical dreamlike events. AUEs can be emulated willfully and can be perceived as being very close to reality. In theory, random people might spontaneously encounter AUEs during REM sleep and confuse the events with reality. This study helps to explain at least some AUEs that arise at bedtime. This study can be used to examine—and even emulate—other paranormal, religious, or mystical encounters, thus helping us to understand our culture and the human brain better.