Man Claims Aliens Send Him Messages

Sprinkle, Romanek's psychologist, who said he believes in the existence of aliens, was asked to leave his position at the University of Wyoming after 25 years there.

"There were some people who saw my work as unscientific, and unprofessional," Sprinkle told ABC News.

Multiple studies have shown that those who believe they've been abducted by aliens are no more likely to suffer from psychiatric disorders than the rest of the population.

But experts say that stories about aliens and spaceships that powerfully resonate today on film or in the media can become easily ingrained in our subconscious and then vividly re-enacted in our dreams, resulting in a common disorder called sleep paralysis.

Sleep paralysis, the feeling of being awake but unable to move during sleep, is quite common, according to experts. Sufferers say they feel as if they're totally paralyzed -- a symptom that parallels what many abductees describe during their experiences with alleged extraterrestrial life.

"What tends to be similar is they come in the night, they take you some place, you're in a spaceship," Clancy said. "The aliens tend to look the same, which is that sort of greenish, triangular head, big eyes and they perform medical or sexual experiments on you."

Personality Profile of Alleged Alien Abductee

According to McNally, sleep paralysis is one part of a common personality profile for alleged alien abductees, along with a strong imagination.

"The person has to entertain the possibility that aliens are coming to earth and kidnapping individuals. They score high on absorption; they have powerful, fantasy and imagery capabilities. A third thing is they're acquainted with the cultural narrative of alien abduction," McNally said.

"And then you have the issues of isolated sleep paralysis, where the person wakes up in the middle of the night, they, have hallucinations," he said. "Then most of them go to a therapist who studies the alien abduction phenomena."

Clancy said she has experienced sleep paralysis and knows how real it can feel. So it pains her, she said, to tell people who believe they have been abducted by aliens that it is all in their imagination.

"It does because I can imagine every alien abductee out there saying, 'This terrible person. You know, how can you say it didn't happen?'" she said. "But I want to say that, you know, the human memory system is very fallible."

In the end, alien abduction may be as much an exploration of the inner-workings of the human mind as it is the outer reaches of the universe. Psychologists say we will always be intrigued with the possibility of the unknown.

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