Tag Archives: alien abduction

204 – Thieves In The Night: Faeries, Aliens, and Child Abductions with Joshua Cutchin

When most people think of fairies, they think of Tinker Bell from Peter Pan. The idea of little supernatural creatures living in the forest has been co-opted by Lucky Charms and Santa Claus. They’re kind or helpful or merely mischievous. They’re cute. Remember the brownies from Willow? They were funny, and goofy. Fairies, elves, sprites, etc… they’re not terrifying anymore. In fact, there’s “fairy godmothers” who grant us the greatest wishes of our hearts’ desires. They’re fun and if they are real, they even play with children! Remember The Cottingley Fairies? Even Sir Arthur Conan Doyle believed in them, and he invented Sherlock Holmes so he must be smart!

cuttingly fairies joshua cutchin
The Cottingley Fairies

In fact, a hundred years after the pictures of “The Cottingley Fairies”, there are still people that believe in them, decades after one of the girls admitted it was all a hoax! In The Usual Suspects, there is a famous line:

“The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”

That’s a rephrasing of a famous quote by the French poet, Charles Baudelaire, but the idea here is the same. Fairies must have an incredible publicist, because  been in the public imagination, fairies are as real as the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It’s only a modern idea that fairies are harmless and fun little magical beasties that live in the forest and are just like “tiny little people with wings” that care about the environment.

Der Wechselbalg by Henry Fuseli, 1781 joshua Cutchin
Der Wechselbalg “The Changeling” by Henry Fuseli, 1781

But that’s pretty far from the original myths and legends of faerielore. In fact, one of the most enduring myths about the fae is the terrifying story of the “changeling” where faeries steal a human baby and leave a faerie child, an old fairy, or a deceased child in the baby’s place. You would know it was a changeling because the baby was constantly crying, or would not stop suckling at mother’s breast, or would eat voraciously and never be satisfied… in any case, the parents would just “know” that it was not the same child as went to bed the night before.

And there could be multiple reasons why faeries would steal a human baby, it could be that human mother’s milk makes faerie babies stronger, or to replace a troublesome faerie child, or sometimes even because faeries enjoyed human flesh. You might be able to get the changeling out and your baby back by something as innocuous as attempting to cook the family dinner inside a single eggshell (something that would shock the changeling into laughter and running away) or as insidious as holding the child over an open stove or an iron spade.

changeling pj lynch joshua cutchin
The Changeling by PJ Lynch, 2011

And when it comes to the human experience, that’s about as horrific as it gets. Our biological imperative is to reproduce and keeping that child alive is one of our most basic instincts. But before modern medicine, the infant mortality rate was exponentially higher. Droughts, starvation, and famine were much more common. If a child was sickly or a burden on the scarce resources of a peasant home, the drain on the family could be significant, it could be deadly.

In a superstitious world, the changeling real because how else do you explain it? What else can a birth defect or mental illness be but a supernatural curse when there is no scientific explanation yet? The changeling is a very human way of interacting with a very real trauma. It’s a dark road to go down, but when we talk about 4,500 cases of infanticide in Ireland between 1850 and 1900, it’s not just some strange ancient faceless past, it’s a real history with relatives that many of us can trace directly back to.

joshua cutchin
Joshua Cutchin – A man and his tuba

Fortean author Joshua Cutchin wrote the ground-breaking A Trojan Feast: The Food and Drink Offerings of Aliens, Faeries, and Sasquatch in 2015 to examine millennia of strange, cross-cultural paranormal food taboos. Following it up with The Brimstone Deceit: An In-Depth Examination of Supernatural Scents, Otherworldly Odors, and Monstrous Miasmas Joshua explored olfactory experiences reported during paranormal encounters. Josh is not only a painstaking researcher and gifted writer, but a fellow Badger (Wisconsin alumni, like Wendy and I) and a talented musician.

In this episode,  Joshua Cutchin joins us to talk about perhaps his most frightening work to-date, his new book, Thieves in the Night: A Brief History of Supernatural Child Abductions, which examines the disturbing history of paranormal kidnapping.

  • How fairy stories relate to demonic possession
  • Aliens abduction tales and fairies  – what’s the connection?
  • Changelings and autism in medieval times
  • The peculiar similarities across cultures of supernatural child abduction stories

Inspired by the idea of waking up to find someone that you care about isn’t someone you seem to recognize anymore, we revved up a  Sunspot rocker for you,  This is “The Changeling”!

Hot line
it’s a wake up call
for a lifeline
then you go awol
you know it’s time
before you fall
to put on the brakes or you’ll hit the wall

so low
on the bottom shelf
in a black hole
is where you’ll find yourself
where you gonna go
when there’s no one else
to put up with the shit that you’re trying to sell

And I don’t know if you looked lately
but you ain’t the same person that you used to be.
Whoa
you’re the changeling
Whoa
that just ain’t my thing
Whoa
you’re a changeling
And I don’t know if you looked lately
but you ain’t the same person that you used to be.

Go hard
until you hurt
play the wrong card
and you’re in the dirt
in the graveyard
calling red alert
you’re a cardiac arrest in a miniskirt

So long
that’s what you prefer
it’s a swan song
to who we thought you were
you’re so headstrong
so put on your spurs
and get the out of town until you find a cure.

And I don’t know if you looked lately
but you ain’t the same person that you used to be.
Whoa
you’re the changeling
Whoa
that just ain’t my thing
Whoa
you’re a changeling
And I don’t know if you looked lately
but you ain’t the same person that you used to be.

55 – False Memories: Alien Abductions, Past Life Regression, and Satanic Ritual Abuse

So let’s say you go to a party and get black out drunk. It happens to the best of us, right? RIGHT!? Well, anyway, you don’t remember what happened but one of your friends tells you some stories about how you took your shirt off and put a tie on 80s-style, you put the lampshade on your head and jumped on the couch to dance. You start to remember bits and pieces of it and think that you can picture yourself wearing your favorite necktie and the lampshade and twerking to “Turn Down For What”, you start seeing it in your head. In fact, even though you start telling people stories about it.

“Oh man, I got so wasted, I started making it clap on top of the couch on Saturday night, I’m so crazy, man, I’m so crazy…” Except when you tell someone else who was at that party the story, they say, “That’s weird, I saw you just passed out in the coat room all night AND you barfed on my girlfriend’s suede boots, not cool, yo, not cool.” Um, but you KNOW it happened to you, right? I mean, you remember it, and it’s not like you can remember something that never happened…

But you can remember things that have never happened. Especially during hypnosis, where you’re at your most suggestible and that’s what we’re talking about in this episode (well, it’s the main topic, we talk a couple random haunted stories about Madison locations and congratulate Wendy for running her first 5K race!)

We being the conversation by talking about Betty and Barney Hill, their “missing time” experience in the 1960s is the Big Daddy of all UFO abduction cases, and it only came out under hypnosis. You can actually listen to the entirety of Barney Hill’s hypnosis session.

Regressing people under hypnosis and uncovering alien abductions became de rigueur in UFOlogy since and have included books like Intruders which came from investigator Budd Hopkins and Harvard professor John Mack (in fact, watch the whole TV movie from 1992 right here online), the (allegedly) non-fiction Communion by Whitley Strieber (the book that put the grey aliens in the grocery checkout lane in every town in the United States), and also the fictional The Fourth Kind, a found footage movie in the vein of The Blair Witch Project, which featured “recordings” of alien abduction hypnosis (with a title based on  Dr. J. Allen Hynek’s scale of alien contact, the third kind (like the Steven Spielberg movie) is seeing an alien being, the fourth kind is abduction and being experimented upon.)

cover of communion by whitley strieber
So why did all different kinds of people start seeing grey aliens in the late 80s?

But it’s not just aliens people are seeing, they’re also remembering past lives under hypnosis. And this isn’t just kids remembering things that they shouldn’t remember, it’s adults who are reaching way back to before they are born. The X-Files has a very memorable episode called The Field Where I Died, where Mulder remembers being in the American Civil War with Scully. It’s one of my personal favorite episodes.

And this isn’t just something from fiction though, even Oprah has had on doctors who regress people to past lives through hypnosis to uncover the basis of irrational fears in their present-day life. Celebrities like Shirley MacClaine have famously talked about their beliefs in the lives they’ve lived before and learning about these lives through hypnosis.

Man, hypnosis seems like the key to unlocking our memories, doesn’t it? It’s like a miracle because it can access details that we can’t recall consciously or memories we’ve repressed. It can even break the chains of the material world to teach us where our souls have been.

Well, I’m not saying that it’s not possible. I’m not saying that some people haven’t been abducted by aliens or have lived past lives, but I do know that the human mind is very suggestible, particularly under hypnosis (as per Wendy’s example in the show, hypnotists seem to love to make people act like a chicken. Sounds pretty benign… or is it?)

And sometimes people can have things suggested to them that destroy other people’s lives. The book Michelle Remembers about a woman, who regressed through hypnosis to her childhood, remembered a horrifying Satanic cult that abused her in 1950s Canada (a hotbed of Satanism as ever there was one) and practically set off the whole “Satanic Panic” of the 1980s, where people were actually afraid that there was a cult of Satan worshippers that had infiltrated American life to the point where they could sexually abuse our children (Rosemary’s Baby as well as Arnold’s End of Days both insinuate the same thing). We’ll have a whole episode on the Satanic Panic and heavy metal and Dungeons & Dragons and the whole thing sometime soon, but the fact is, people’s lives were several affected by the suggestibility of hypnosis.

michelle remembers
These book artists love to terrify people, don’t they?

In one of her articles on the implantation of false memories, Dr. Elizabeth Loftus, who is the foremost researcher on the subject, details how in 1986 a Wisconsin woman was regressed by her psychiatrist to help her cope with some Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and in the repression, they learned that past satanic sexual abuse was the cause of her present mental illness. A Missouri woman in 1992 was convinced through hypnotherapy that her pastor father raped her repeatedly and forced an abortion on her twice. In both of these cases, the women later sued their therapists for millions of dollars.  Loftus’ article (which you should read because it’s brilliant research into an unpopular but important topic) even details how they were able to suggest childhood memories of getting lost in a mall into grown adults’ recollections even down to various details that never happened.

Memory, as it turns out, is a very plastic thing. A few years ago,  scientists were even able to physically implant a fear memory into a mouse through encoding its “engrams” (the collection of neurons where we think that individual memories exist). Memories have a physical form in our brains but we don’t remember things like a photograph, we remember things like a thought. Which means that we filter the idea of what we had that happened through our present beliefs. The truth is, our memories are easily manipulated, which means that while it’s important to react to fantastic stories of alien abductions and past lives (and especially any type of abuse) with sensitivity, understanding, and empathy, we must also be aware of the suggestibility of memory. People are telling what they believe to be the truth, even if it’s not necessarily true.

This episode’s song is about how people often choose to remember the things that make them happy while forgetting the things they’ve done that have hurt people.

“Selective Amnesia” by Sunspot

You know when they say you’re so bad it feels go good,
You just don’t know why you’re mad,
but you know you should.

And you were right when you said I was wrong,
And you were right, you were the lucky one all along.

I hope you’ll guilt is stultifying,
I got a feeling it’s not,
Because I remember everything you forgot.

Forgiveness is supposed to be,
a weight lifted away.
It’s hard when you can’t forget,
pain felt every day.

And you were right when you said I was wrong,
And you were right, you were the lucky one all along.

And I will pull up the anchor,
And I’ll untie the knot.
Because I remember everything you forgot.

11 – Rock Stars and UFOs: What Do Sammy Hagar and Ezekiel Have In Common?

Today we turn the topic to rock stars who have encountered UFOs and extraterrestrials.

The tales go all the way back to the Bible, with the story of Ezekiel spotting a wheel in the sky.

In a more modern story, one of Van Halen’s lead singers, Sammy Hagar, claims he was abducted by aliens who either uploaded or downloaded something to/from his mind. The Sammy Hagar UFO story is a delight for any lover of the ridiculous in rock music.

Sammy Hagar UFO Links:

A transcript of Sammy Hagar’s interview on the Howard Stern show

Watch Sammy himself tell his story on Howard Stern [YOUTUBE LINK]

L.A. Late story – “Fran Drescher UFO Alien Abduction Prompts Sammy Hagar Similarities

UFOEvidence.org – “UFOs in the Bible: Ezekiel’s Wheel, 593 BC

Woody Guthrie – “Ezekiel Saw The Wheel” [YOUTUBE LINK]

Featured Song: Chariots of the Gods by Sunspot

Sad little one,
doesn’t wanna feel alone,
She hates the trash that spawned her,
She hates her broken home.

She likes it when I say aliens,
made Homo sapiens.
She loves it when I talk Martians and,
the Chariots of the Gods.

The blood of the unearthly,
Better than the blood of the ugly,
Bred for more than just servility,
Bred for more than this burned out hole.

Long ago and far away,
They built Easter island didn’t they?
Long ago and far away
Something mixed the DNA.

She likes it when I say aliens,
made Homo sapiens.
She loves it when I talk Martians and,
the Chariots of the Gods.

Fire rains down from the skies,
An ET with human eyes,
Not just an orphaned kid,
She’s like the pyramids,
Adopted by angels riding chariots of the gods.

Sad little one,
doesn’t wanna feel alone,
She hates the trash that spawned her,
She hates her broken home.
Long ago and far away
Something mixed the DNA.

She likes it when I say aliens,
made Homo sapiens.
She loves it when I talk Martians and,
the Chariots of the Gods.

Fire rains down from the skies,
An ET with human eyes,
Not just an orphaned kid,
She’s like the pyramids,
Adopted by angels riding chariots of the gods.

In love with it and what it means,
She loves the power in her genes.
In love with it, in love with dreams,
She loves the way it sets her free.