Alien Abductions: Creating a Modern Phenomenon
Beginning in the 1960s, and reaching a crescendo in recent years, thousands of seemingly normal people have come forward with bizarre tales of alien abduction. But while the abduction phenomenon has become a deeply ingrained aspect of our popular culture, many questions remain: What are the origins of the abduction experience? Have the stories changed or developed over the years, or have they stayed consistent in a manner that would strengthen their claims to authenticity? What role, if any, do abduction researchers and authors play in the formation of these narratives? And perhaps most importantly, why has the abduction phenomenon been so widely embraced by contemporary society? In his reading of the major abduction narratives, Matheson discusses the shifting nature of the alien visitors - from angelic benefactors to sinister exploiters - and reveals the crucial role that abduction researchers and authors have played in shaping the abductees stories. He also discusses the various rhetorical devices and literary strategies that have been routinely employed in the process of imposing a narrative consistency and coherence on what are often fragmented, jumbled, and contradictory accounts. When the original abductee accounts are set apart from these narrative devices, the tales that emerge are often far different from those the public has heard. In accounting for the current popular fascination with the topic, Matheson holds that stories of alien abduction may well represent the genesis of a powerful contemporary myth.
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UFO Abductions and the Nature of Narrative
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