Have you ever wondered about all those people who are certain that they have been abducted by aliens? A lot of them are so sure that this has actually happened to them that they even take lie detector tests to prove it. Some even pass!
Below are the stories of two of my sisters, Kathy and Jeannie, (named Norma Jean as a baby). Each of them will tell you the exact same story. We as a family heard them both describe the same experience over and over again to anyone who would listen. The question that always used to come up was “Why would anyone tell this story if it never happened to them?”
Kathy— “I was stuck; I was folded in half at the waist. My knees were all the way up under my chin, and up against my chest. My legs stuck up over my head, straight in the air, and my arms hung down over the side . I yelled and yelled but they didn’t care. I was getting numb!”
Jeannie— “I was wedged in. I could feel the top edge of the thing, cutting into the back of my legs as I didn’t fit totally into it. I was folded in half, with my legs straight up in the air and my arms flopping out over the edge. I was screaming and yelling but nobody listened! I was losing the feeling in my legs!”
Kathy— “There was a knocking at the door— someone pounding and pounding. I guess they all panicked then, and tipped the thing onto its side. With me still wedged into it, they rolled it into another room!”
Jeannie— “Someone was pounding on the door, and I think they all were afraid of being seen so they tipped me onto my side and rolled me into the next room”
So, were they both telling the truth? And, what really happened? Our family has finally accepted the fact that both girls are telling the truth. Neither of them has ever taken a lie detector test, but we know they don’t need to. If they each took one they would both pass.
Kathy— “Sometimes I still experience a sense of dizziness when I am half asleep you know, when I remember being rolled in the thing like a Raggedy Ann in the dryer.”
Jeannie— “You know, I have this strange fear of things spinning out of control. I could never roll with the punches.”
Yes, both girls could pass a lie detector test when it comes to this event, because although it only happened to one of them, the other had heard the story told so often as a child that it has become part of her memory. This is her story, she is telling her own personal truth, with absolutely no intent to deceive, because she actually believes it— a situation quite familiar to psychologists studying memory. I imagine this happens just as readily to the many persons who believe that they were abducted by aliens. They simply absorb someone else’s oft-repeated story as their own.Too many hours of Space TV in the middle of the night, I suppose.
What of the sister who actually experienced this trauma? Was there any lasting damage?
Probably not. As far as we know, the only irreparable damage was sustained by our Grandma Mum’s enormous pickle crock, which is now a family heirloom. It bore a crack, from top to bottom, from that very day. True, we could no longer use it to make sauerkraut or old-fashioned fermented pickles, but it has helped us to preserve something much more uniquely our own— the memory of how we kids shoved one of our beloved siblings backwards into the pickle crock, and refused to help them out —the memory of the day we panicked and rolled one of them sideways into the living room, out of sight of the visitor at the door.
My husband Rolly once asked me, after hearing this story repeated yet again, if I knew which of the girls it really happened to. When I told him that after all these years, even I was unsure, he said “Ask your mother.” And, of course, I had to respond with what I know to be true about my mom. “In matters of our personal faith, Mom never interferes.”