ANATOMY OF AN ABDUCTION



 Appeared in: OMNI Magazine
 Date: February, 1995
 Article: Anatomy of an Abduction
 Written by: A.J.S. Rayl

 The following is part of OMNI's Project Open Book. An effort to
 point out the ordinary, and also, to search for the extraordinary
 concerning UFO phenomenon.

 

 [BEGIN article]

                       ANATOMY OF AN ABDUCTION

 Investigated by A.J.S. Rayl
 PRIMARY WITNESS: Leah A. Haley
 VITAL STATISTICS: Accountant, mother of two, from Columbus,
 Mississippi

 SUMMARY:
 By 1990 Leah Haley had begun recalling unsettling dreams of visits
 aboard spacecraft with aliens; the images were at once so "strange"
 and so "real" she sought professional help. Her therapist,
 Springfield, Missouri, social worker John Carpenter, known for his
 work with UFO abductees, says Haley's case is special. "The details
 were amazingly specific and corroborated unpublished details from
 the best case data we have so far." What's more, he points out,
 Haley's story had a spin: Her "recollections" apparently involved
 the United States military, which she claimed harassed her so she
 wouldn't go public with her tale.

 After undergoing hypnosis, Haley has come to believe her abduction
 dreams were real. She eventually went public in 1993 with a
 self-published book, `Lost Was the Key,' after legally changing her
 name to Leah A. Haley "to protect my family and children."

 Inventory of Claims

 `Memories from the Deep.' In 1960 Haley, then nine years old, and
 her brother, then seven, saw what they thought was a spacecraft
 landing in the woods near their home in Gardendale, Alabama. "I saw
 three objects, two of which quickly darted away," she explains. "The
 third was silver, completely spherical in shape, and it sat still
 for a long time in the sky."

 Decades later, in July 1990, Haley visited with her mother and
 brother in Alabama, and during a conversation about
 extraterrestrials sparked by a newspaper article, Haley recounted a
 "strange, very real dream. I was in a spaceship, in a round room,
 lying on a platform with small chalky white creatures with big black
 eyes doing some kind of medical things to me," she recalls.

 After the dreams increased, she contacted John Carpenter in hopes of
 finding some mental illness or disorder to explain what was going
 on. Instead, during 15 sessions of hypnotic regression, she recalled
 countless specific abductions starting at age 3. She even conjured
 an undersea alien facility, complete with alien craft and a captive
 soldier, held against his will.

 `Military Intervention.' During hypnosis and in flashbacks, Haley
 also recalled her abduction by military personnel. For instance, she
 told of an alien craft that she believes crashed near a beach while
 she was aboard, after which military personnel escorted her away.
 Comments Carpenter, "That episode unraveled as vividly as any I've
 heard."

 Since September 1990, Haley claims, she has been "followed by
 military types in navy blue or white cars," and occasionally by
 black unmarked helicopters. She also claims she has been monitored
 via her telephone and in person, because, she now speculated, "I was
 on that alien craft when it crashed and the military wanted to glean
 information and make me shut up."

 In April 1991, Haley charges, military harassment made its most
 insidious appearance at the Columbus Air Force Base in the form of
 Major (then Captain) Tracy Poole, whose wife was in Haley's
 accounting class. Haley says Poole extended "an unusually persistent
 invitation" to view space shuttle Endeavour during its stopover at
 the base. Armed guards surrounding the shuttle and signs posted
 around the spacecraft warning that "Deadly force is authorized,"
 Haley notes, explain why she considered the invitation "a possible
 setup to interrogate or kill me."

 `Technology Gone Awry.' Haley also reports loosened locks and window
 screens, disturbances in the phone line, and the spontaneous
 disarming of her security system, not to mention strange sounds
 throughout her house, leading her to believe someone or something
 was inside.

 `Weird Body Marks.' Haley has found "more than one hundred strange
 marks" on different parts of her body, including injection marks,
 scoop marks, and red, circular vaccination-like marks, apparently
 made with three separate prongs. She also reports other physical
 anomalies, such as "Morse Code-type beeps" in her ears, intense back
 spasms, voices and imagery, and frequent soreness in her ovaries. On
 numerous occasions, she says, "I have felt dazed, unable to
 concentrate or focus."

 `Sane Psychometric Profile.' Haley visited Florence, Alabama,
 psychiatrist Thomas G. Shafer three times in 1992. Shafer, who has
 no connection to the UFO field, concluded that there was "no
 evidence of organic psychoses such as schizophrenia, organic brain
 syndrome, or bipolar illness." In a letter to her and released to
 `Omni,' he wrote: "It is my opinion that you suffered some sort of
 extremely traumatic experience in the woods that day long ago as a
 child. Your descriptions of being naked, lying powerless, having
 your body explored suggest very strongly to me that the actual
 experience was a sexual molestation. It is my professional opinion,"
 he concluded, "that you suffer from delayed Post Traumatic Stress
 Disorder (PTSD) due to childhood experiences, complicated by a
 paranoid state caused by the hypnosis sessions, and I've recommended
 you undergo treatment by a licensed M.D. or Ph.D. certified in
 hypnotherapy to help you resolve these issues."

 In the fall of 1992, Haley also completed a Fantasy Prone Test given
 to numerous abductees by the Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS).
 According to Carpenter: "It revealed that she was less likely than
 the normal person to be fantasy prone. She fell in the frank,
 down-to-earth, conservative range."

 The Investigation

 `Memory Lane.' Like most abductees, Haley has recalled her alien
 encounters primarily through hypnotic regression. "Haley
 deliberately did not read anything and did not want to be an
 abductee or involved in any of this," says her hypnotist, John
 Carpenter, who has to date regressed 90 other abductees. "under
 hypnosis, she had the classic response to all this; it brought
 tears."

 Haley's brother, who is a law enforcement officer with the state of
 Alabama and, as such, requested anonymity, was present at the first
 two hypnosis sessions. "Carpenter did not ask leading questions;
 rather he tried to lead her away from anything having to do with
 aliens," he says. After the sessions, he says, "she was in
 disbelief, denial, shock, but there was no doubt in my mind that she
 was deeply affected by what she was remembering."

 All this, say critics, does not prove Haley's recollection to be
 real. Robert A. Baker, psychology professor emeritus at the
 University of Kentucky, who has studied psychological anomalies,
 says, "These `encounters' are really hypnagogic images, essentially
 waking hallucinations or dreams, and nothing more." Adds Baker,
 researchers like Carpenter may be putting aliens in people's heads.

 "Baker has not looked at my work or my methods," responds Carpenter.
 "My trademark is deliberately suggesting logical responses to the
 point of misleading these abductees. These abductees come from all
 walks of life and economic status, and yet they all tell the same
 story about the same little guys. It doesn't make sense that these
 are all falsely created from the individual imaginations."

 But Ronald K. Siegel, associate research professor of psychiatry and
 biobehavioral sciences at UCLA and author of `Whispers: The Voices
 of Paranoia' (Crown), does not agree. "Those details don't point to
 anything more than a common mental experience, not unlike
 parasitosis, the belief you're being infested by parasites," Siegel
 says. "Medical history documents that people who suffer from
 parasitosis reported the same parasites and drew the same drawings,
 with the same details. Given an infinite variety of stimulations,
 the brain responds in a finite number of ways."

 "Theoretically, Haley could be experiencing an altered state of
 consciousness - caused by anything from a food allergy to a physical
 problem in the brain - and having these fantastic experiences in
 which she has seemingly real feelings and images associated with
 being abducted by aliens, and which can even include physical
 manifestations," adds psychologist Keith Harary, research director
 of the Institute for Advanced Psychology in San Francisco.

 `Military Coup?' Acting as tour guide, Haley drove OMNI around the
 Columbus Air Force Base looking for a one-story building where she
 believes she was taken and interrogated. No building, however,
 seemed familiar. Haley also gave OMNI the name of a disgruntled
 civilian employee at Columbus she said might know about the UFOs.
 When OMNI tracked this man down, however, he said, "I just don't
 have the kind of security clearance to know about these things."

 As for Major Poole, he has confirmed that he did give his wife, a
 student in Haley's accounting class, a space shuttle Endeavour pass
 to give to Haley and did invite her to view the shuttle on its
 stopover at the base. "But it wasn't a personal invitation," he
 says. "We have standard roped-off areas, where the public can stand
 and take pictures, and that's what I invited her to do. On the night
 in question, I did go to the classroom, but it was to wave to my
 wife."

 `Official Denial.' Have UFOs ever been tracked over Columbus Air
 Force Base? According to Sergeant Debbie O'Leary, Columbus AFB
 Public Affairs: "No, there have been no UFOs tracked here, and we
 have not interrogated here any people who claim to have had an alien
 encounter."

 Tammy McBride at the POW/MIA office at the Pentagon, meanwhile,
 conducted a search for one Larry Mitchell, a name that appeared on a
 soldier's uniform in the underground alien facility Haley described
 under hypnosis. McBride found three Larrys and one Lawrence all with
 the last name of Mitchell. All four were killed in action in
 Vietnam. All bodies have been recovered.

 `Vehicular Interference.' Tony Scarborough, physics professor at
 Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi, and state director
 for the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON), confirmed that "a graphite-black
 helicopter came over a building where Haley was speaking and scared
 the students to death" in the summer of 1991. "A year later, a
 similar helicopter came over my house, then flew at about 500 feet,
 traveling parallel to me on my way to meet her at Delta State
 University," he adds, "but the connection between these helicopters
 and Leah Haley is, of course, speculative."

 As for Air Force cars following her, Poole says, "We have cars
 running up and down Highway 45 all the time."

 `Homebodies.' John Beard, who heads up Golden Triangle Security
 Alliance in Columbus, the company that installed Haley's home
 security system, confirmed that Haley has experienced an inordinate
 amount of trouble. "This particular system had an inherent
 engineering and design flaw, which the manufacturer has admitted.
 Consequently, we no longer sell it, and we have had to go out and
 change components on most of the systems we installed. There are at
 least 20 other customers who have had the same problems."

 Haley's former housekeeper, Eunice Eggleston, however, insists there
 were strange things happening inside the house. "One day I was
 upstairs cleaning, and I heard chords clearly on the piano. I was
 sure the house was all locked up, and I was the only one there. In
 addition, the answering machine would start without the phone
 ringing, and the air vent once dropped on the floor."

 But these events, says psychologist Harary, who has studied the
 psychology of coincidence, don't add up to much. "A string of
 seemingly inexplicable events that occur around the same time are
 not necessarily related," he says. "You would have to thoroughly
 investigate each and every one. Sure, there could have been someone
 physically in the house; unfortunately, no one was seen, and it's
 almost impossible to get the bottom of what was happening after the
 fact."

 `Body Scoops.' The plethora of unusual marks on Haley's body would
 seem to be significant physical evidence; however, everyone agrees
 that without a thorough examination of her environment and sleep
 patterns, they mean little in the end.

 "Strange marks appearing overnight is just not that unusual, and
 without observing Haley close up during the times these things
 occur, you cannot draw any kind of valid conclusion about what's
 going on," says Harary. "We would have to rule out all conventional
 explanations, including, for example, the possibility that she could
 be doing these things to herself in an altered, or even an ordinary,
 state of consciousness."

 `Get Out the Ink Blots.' While Shafer stands by his evaluation of
 Haley, psychologist Siegel insists Haley may test out as sane
 because "there's an internal reality that everyone shares."
 Abduction imagery is a manifestation of the limbic system, not
 outright insanity, Siegel says. "Haley is truly an abductee, but the
 aliens are not out there - they're in her own brain. The scary thing
 is, we all have the same details in our nervous system; anybody can
 become an abductee."

 Conclusion:

 Despite the fact that some UFO researchers have called the Haley
 case one of the most intriguing and apparently best-documented
 abductions ever, without more data it's impossible to know what
 Haley has experienced, and why. There is no hard evidence and no
 conclusive circumstantial evidence that proves abduction by
 extraterrestrial biological entities. Given the caveat that this
 investigation remains incomplete, there is also no conclusive
 evidence that Haley has been monitored or harassed by military
 operatives.


   



  



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