A recent article in the November 11 issue of Scientific American claims that alien abductions might be nothing more than “accidental awareness” caused by psychological damage inflicted upon a patient who awakens too soon while undergoing surgery. This hypothesis is presented by Anne Skomorowsky, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University and Psychosomatic Medicine Specialist at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital.
I received Dr. Skomorowsky’s article from a colleague who questioned if it was a joke of some kind. I did as well, until I discovered that it has been printed in a prestigious journal. The article was loosely based upon the largest collection of data on “accidental awareness” ever assembled. It had been released by the Royal College of Anaesthetists. No mention was made of alien abduction. However, Dr. Skomorowsky’s article was linked to one written in 2008 by David V. Forrest, M.D., a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia. Dr. Forrest noted that frequently reported narratives of alien abduction, altered state of consciousness, uniformly colored figures with large eyes, nakedness, a high tech room, etc. resemble medical-surgical procedures. He cautioned that if surgeons and anesthesiologists are creating false memories of alien abduction, the medical community should take note of it. Dr. Skomorowsky carried this conjecture to fruition in her article for Scientific American.