What do alien abductions have to do with birth trauma?
Who was Alvin Lawson and why should we care?
What can Sync tell us about any of us this?
Post #51 | 8-May-2019
Alien Abduction & the Birth Trauma Hypothesis
In this post I want to give a quick overview of a topic I have been pondering a little bit over the past month or so.
Here’s what it boils down to: there are striking similarities between the typical ‘alien abduction’ narrative, and what actually does happen to most people born in the Western world today.
As we’ll soon see, I’m not the first person to make this connection. Similar ideas were put forward decades ago by a man named Alvin Lawson.
However, Lawson was operating without the understanding of Birth Trauma now familiar to readers of this website. He also did not have access to certain insights from Sync which we do.
The tl;dr is that the ‘birth trauma hypothesis’ of alien abduction may shed new light on contemporary questions about who we are and why we’re here.
A Note About the Medical Hoax
I categorically assure you that I am almost finished talking about the Medical Hoax. It is dark stuff, and I’m looking forward to taking another long break from it.
There are other types of Hoaxes to research and uncover, and they are generally much more uplifting and fun than the Medical Hoax and its constituent sub-Hoaxes.
The History Hoax, for one example, is way more enjoyable (for me personally) than the Medical Hoax, and there is a treasure trove of History Hoaxes to be unpacked: ancient China, ancient Egypt, ancient Greece, ancient Rome, the ancient Maya, on and on the list goes.
I’ve got one more major piece to release about the Ultrasound Hoax and then it will be time for me to move on from the Medical Hoax.
To those of you who can find this field of inquiry as tedious as I do, thank you for your patience.
A Note About Encounters
This piece is not intended to diminish or insult the memory of anybody who personally believes themselves to have been contacted by extraterrestrial entities. If however this is a raw subject for you, then you are advised to skip this piece, because much of what it addressed herein may be interpreted as a critique of encounter-type memories.
Compare and Contrast
Let’s consider what most people would consider to be the key elements of the typical ‘alien abduction’ story:
A) The victim
Usually alone when it happens. They have to go through the experience without any help from other humans.
B) The abduction
A removal from one place to another, often involving a bright light.
C) The perpetrators
Aliens. Several of them. Big heads with big eyes, indiscernable or modest features apart from the eyes.
D) The experiment
Poking and prodding with devices, apparently to gather information.
Now let’s consider what happens when a child is born in a Western hospital.
A) The baby
Born all alone. Separated from mother at birth intentionally.
B) The Birth
And ‘caesarian section’:
Leaving one place and entering another. Depending on birth method, forcefully so.
‘Induced labour’. Sometimes even simply yanked out of there.
C) The Perpetrators
Their faces are largely obscured — apart from the eyes. Hairnets elongate the shape of the head.
The rest of the body is veiled in monochrome (typically green/grey/blue).
D) The Experiment
Sharp metallic objects. Probes. Etc.
The comparison I making in the above collection of images is obvious: some of the key tropes of the ‘alien abduction’ narrative share commonalities with modern hospital births.
Can you imagine how alien the entire operating room, and especially the medical staff, must seem to a little human being who has just entered this realm?
The newborn baby leaves behind its home, enters into a space full of bright lights, surrounded by horrifyingly non-human-looking entities, some of whom brandish metallic objects and even use those objects to cut off the infant’s umbilical cord (!).
It would all be well and good to say that, ‘they’re just babies, they don’t remember it’, except the evidence I have seen says the complete opposite: these memories are imprinted on/into the ‘subconscious’ permanently, and their consequences can manifest in decisions made by unknowing victims decades later.
And so the question is, are there people walking around today who are oblivious to the abduction-like memories floating around in their subconscious?
Alvin Lawson’s ‘Birth Trauma Hypothesis’
A man named Alvin Lawson put forward what he called the ‘Birth Trauma Hypothesis’ in the early 1980s.
You can read a WayBack Machine archive of one his key pieces here:
I believe that the many parallels between abductees’ narratives and the above and other psychological processes argue that abductions also are mental rather than physical experiences. Since abduction reports show features of sequence and structure which seem consistent with major perinatal events, they therefore support the view that abductees unconsciously use components of the birth process as a matrix for a fantasized abduction experience.
I learned of Lawson’s work only after I had begun going down this research path myself. Lawson’s overall ‘hypothesis’ (as he puts it) seems very similar to the opinion I have arrived at independently: what some people seem to believe are memories of alien abduction are in fact akin to repressed/subconscious memories from their own in-hospital birth.
Lawson also goes into some detail about the similarities between what some people experience while on hallucinogenic drugs, and the common alien abduction narrative. This was something I hadn’t even looked into yet, but it makes intuitive sense to me. If people on LSD/DMT/etc report experiencing ‘birth’-like states, and have visions of ‘other-worldly beings’, then Lawson is suggesting that these memories share the same common root as alien abduction memories: birth trauma.
I have a few minor points of disagreement with some of Lawson’s claims e.g. Lawson explains the weird shape of alien heads in standard abduction narratives as being a result of the shape of the human embryo/fetus in utero, whereas to me it seems like the stereotypical, elongated, eye-only alien heads correlate directly with what a newborn infant would perceive about a human in doctors’ scrubs. Overall, however, the basic idea that Lawson is getting at is one which makes more than intuitive sense to me.
Who Was Alvin Lawson?
Alvin Lawson (1929-2010) was a professor in literature at Cal State Long Beach who also spent considerable time investigating UFO phenomenon.
According to his obituary in The Telegraph:
He sought to demythologise the experiences of “abductees” by proposing a more rational explanation: that their stories of being seized by aliens were actually a way of reliving “forgotten” memories of being born – his so-called “birth trauma hypothesis”.
…he lectured on the subject at California State University, Long Beach, and set up a UFO telephone hotline for people to share tales of their encounters with extraterrestrials.
“Do I think there are unidentified flying objects, things that people can’t explain what they are or why they’re there? Yes,” he told a reporter in 1996. “Do I think little green men are inside abducting people? No.”
In the 1960s, he took a scientific approach to the topic of alien encounters.
Working with a local doctor, William McCall, Lawson began using hypnosis on people who said they had been abducted. Over time, as Lawson became more sceptical of their accounts, he and McCall decided to hypnotise people with no experience of meeting extraterrestrials. When they, too, were asked to imagine being abducted, and their accounts compared to reported abductions, Lawson was struck by the similarities.
“We had expected the people imagining the abductions would be giving us real predictable, stultified, cardboard encounters. But they made up incredible stuff,” he told a reporter. “It was just as rich, variable and interesting as the supposedly real abductions.”
In other words, Lawson and his partner William McCall began by hypnotising and recording the testimony of people who claimed to have had alien encounters. They then moved on to hypnotising and recording the testimony of people who made no such claims, and yet the second group produced under hypnosis stories about alien abduction which were as lurid and detailed as the first group.
Put another way, it was no surprise that individuals who claimed to have been abducted, would recall stories about their abduction when placed under hypnosis. What was a surprise was that people who did not claim to have ever been abducted would, when placed under hypnosis, recall very similar stories as those from the self-reported abduction group.
This led Lawson to infer that what was being recalled by both groups shared a common root, some kind of memory or psychological imprint common to all people (whether they consciously recall being ‘visited by aliens’ or not). And this is how he eventually arrived at his birth trauma hypothesis.
According to Lawson’s obituary in the Magonia Review:
His research was first announced to the UFO world at a Center for UFO Studies conference in 1976.
Understandably this created a great deal of controversy in the UFO world, and Lawson and McCall’s research was challenged on a number of levels…
…However the controversy increased with Lawson’s development of the idea. If both sets of imagery were similar, he then asked what could be their common origin? He arrived at the answer that the abduction imagery arose from the most universal human experience, that of being born. His theories were heavily dependent of the work of Stanislav Grof, a psychiatrist who used birth trauma theory in his therapy.
Below is a short clip of Grof, apparently recorded a decade or so ago, in which he speaks about the ‘collective unconscious’.
‘The Opening of the Collective Unconscious’
‘Collective unconscious’ is a term typically credited to Carl Jung. It turns out that Grof shares much of his own framework with Jung.
Which is to say that Alvin Lawson, the man who pioneered the ‘birth trauma hypothesis’ for explaining alien abduction memories in the 1970s, worked with a man (Stanislav Grof) who was (and still is) directly influenced by the work of Carl Jung. The significance of this, if it is not already clear, may become so later.
Getting back to Lawson’s own work, he was not ‘anti-UFO’: on the contrary, he engaged directly with the then-growing UFOlogy scene, and even presented his ideas to UFO conferences. Despite his efforts, Lawson did not endear himself to the broader UFO subculture.
According to his obituary in the LATimes:
Lawson said of his critics in 1996: “True believers are mad at me. My ideas represent a threat to their belief systems. To them I’m like an atheist that shows up to a party given by Jerry Falwell.”
Does this come as any surprise? UFOlogy, and the alien abduction subculture in particular, give their believers a sense of meaning, community, and even purpose. I have only met one or two people ‘in real life’ who believe they have been ‘contacted’ and it is not a field with which I am all that familiar, but I have already seen enough to know that ‘alien abductee’ is just as strong an identification for those involved as Flat Earther is for people of that particular subculture (if not more so).
It is no surprise to me, then, that Lawson’s work fell on deaf ears. He was trying to tell people who explicitly did not want to hear it. Because his primary research interest was literature, not UFOlogy or psychology, even if Lawson’s hypothesis were entirely valid, it is also no surprise to me that it was eventually forgotten, especially after Lawson passed away.
Some Related Strands
Carl Jung (1875-1961) was an influential psychologist and terms like ‘collective unconscious’, ‘archetype’, and ‘synchronicity’ — all coined and/or pioneered by Jung — remain in common parlance to this day. It is worth noting that Jung wrote about UFOlogy in his own works, including the 1958 ‘Flying Saucers’.
What Jung and others have spent their time trying to understand is why humans see and experience what they do, especially with regards to phenomena which seem to transcend the individual, and particularly when it also transcends a single point in ‘time’ and place.
UFOs are naturally ripe for investigation: if people from different parts of the world, in different decades, report the same basic elements as part of their contact/abduction stories, then what could be the reason for this? Is it something in the ‘collective unconscious’, some kind of ‘archetype’ in the building blocks of the human spirit?
Or it possible that many (if not all) of these contact/abduction stories trace back to a common experience of being born in western hospitals? How much of the Jungian/psychoanalytic attempt to solve or explain the commonalities among peoples’ memories can easily be deciphered by reference to our first moments in this realm?
In 2001: A Space Odyssey, the audience is never shown anything even close to stereotypical ‘alien’ life.
The nearest we see to something resembling an ‘alien’ is the ‘Starchild’ at the end of the film.
There are obviously many different ways to interpret everything about 2001, including the presence of the Starchild. This post is neither the time nor place to go into any great detail except to point out that we only see the Starchild after David Bowman’s life cycle is complete, which itself appears to occur after the mission to Jupiter is effected.
24 / 42 / 242.
The Sync number(s) which seems to resonate with the underworld, the afterlife, perhaps even birth/death itself.
The word ‘matrix’ appears to share its etymology with the word ‘womb’.
In The Matrix (1999) we again do not see anything resembling stereotypical ‘aliens’. There are large, flying space ship / submarine type entities, although it is not clear if these are living beings or merely vessels for other living beings.
In any event, the closest we see to the common ‘alien’ trope is once again a human – Neo, in fact, in the scene where he awakens from his womb.
‘Collective unconscious’ revisited
How is it possible that so many apparent 9/11 references made their way into pop culture prior to 11-Sep-2001?
If somebody said they thought this were the work of an ‘alien intelligence’, who could blame them? I don’t personally have any explanations which are more likely to satisfy the individual seeking easy answers to these things.
There appears to be some similarities between the common/stereotypical ‘alien abduction’ narrative and the modern, hospital birth process.
Decades ago a literature professor named Alvin Lawson, who dabbled in UFOlogy, put forward what he called the ‘birth trauma hypothesis’.
Basically, Lawson was suggesting that the reason why so many abduction stories are similar, is because they trace back to the birth process.
Although Lawson’s ideas were never widely accepted, they make intuitive sense to me personally, all these years later.
Lawson worked with a man named Stanislas Grof, whose framework for understanding the ‘collective unconscious’ builds upon the work of Carl Jung.
Carl Jung also wrote about UFOlogy and sought to understand the commonalities between those who claimed to see these objects.
Jung, Grof, and others, are/were all seeking to better understand the ‘collective unconscious’, the ‘archetypes’ which seem to exist within the human psyche across time and space.
The field of Sync is concerned with the same questions: for example, how could there be so many apparent ‘9/11’ references in pop culture predating 9/11?
Are we dealing with some great intelligence and, if so, is it ‘alien’?
Or are we dealing with manifestations which spring from our own psyches and, if so, just how far does the alien intervention of modern medicine affect us as individuals and as a collective?
If you got something out of this piece, don’t thank me, thank them.
Post #51. Written across 6/7/8 May. Published 8-May-2019. 2,500 words. Exclusive to Full-access Members.