Topography of Alien Abductees Brains

 

TOPOGRAPHIC BRAIN MAPPING of UFO EXPERIENCERS, By NORMAN S. DON, Neuroscientist, GILDA MOURA of the Kairos Foundation & the University of Illinois at Chicago

Although those of you who know me, will immediately comprehend why I am so profoundly moved by any material associated with the brain, it is always a great pleasure to find material that has significant relevance to the Experiencer/Alien Abduction Phenomena. I find the conclusions of this paper very significant because of its clear indication that something very profound is happening to people who are experiencing these paranormal events. This paper is an indication that there are people, like myself and others, who experience physiological effects within their brains after what they perceive as contact with Extraterrestrial Beings and Ufos. This paper is a physical, external confirmation for those of us who have been having these experiences throughout our lives, indicating that something concrete and physical is occurring to our brains. 

For myself, I have already experienced what I believe is an understanding, of the integration that needs to occur between the body, mind & soul, in order for human beings to actually evolve. This evolutionary process must occur in the physical body on every level, in order to have any significance or value within this, the physical reality or this dimension.

Further, this paper displays a clear correlation between brain activity and those paranormal events, which may be useful in indicating that we are being physiologically altered and physically impacted by our contact with Extraterrestrial Life and/or Ufo Encounters.

I hope you all, will find this paper as significant as I have. I am grateful to be able to share this paper.  Joy S. Gilbert

 

Journal of Scientific  Exploration, Vol. I I, No. 4, pp. 435-453, 1997 OS92-33 10/97 © 1997 Society for Scientific Exploration “Topographic Brain Mapping of UFO Experiencers”. NORMAN S. DON, Neuroscientist, Kairos Foundation and University of Illinois at Chicago, 1107 Wilmette Ave.. #174. Wilmette, IL 60091 norman.s.don@ uic.edu
Gilda Moura,
Kairoa Foundation, Caixa Postal 14520,
CEP 2241’2-000, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
gilda.moura @unikey.com.br

Abstract — A cohort of Brazilian subjects, claiming experiences with UFOs involving   contact or abduction, were selected for topographic brain mapping. One of the most important selection criteria was the ability to enter into a   self-reported, non-ordinary state of consciousness or trance that developed   spontaneously after their abduction or contact experiences. Analysis of their EEGs revealed that all subjects entered voluntarily into an   hyper aroused trance. In this state, they maintained a condition of muscular   relaxation and immobility while their EEGs exhibited high frequency (beta)   activity at all 19 electrode sites, but with maximum activity at the   prefrontal and adjacent loci.

Inspection of the EEGs from the prefrontal/frontal sites revealed   intermittent trains of rhythmic, approximately 40 Hz activity, attaining very   high amplitudes, at times exceeding 40 microvolts.

This activity was distinct in morphology and frequency from faster, usually   concurrent activity, probably attributable to scalp muscle discharge (EMG).   Analysis of 40 Hz, midline scalp activity, statistically controlling for the   effects of EMG, revealed significantly more 40 Hz activity in trance than in   baseline (p < .006). Also, the dominant alpha frequency increased during   trance (p < .01). Both EEG findings suggest the occurrence of a state of hyper   arousal.

There was no evidence of epileptiform discharges in our data or clinical   indications of possible epilepsy. Also, there was no brain activity   suggestive of psychopathology, particularly schizophrenia, nor were there   clinical indications of psychopathology.

The EEG results were related to the physiological effects of highly focused   attention and recent findings in neuroscience. Also noted were similarities   to advanced meditative states and differences from psychopathology.

I. Introduction
As part of a larger program of research into brain function and altered   states of consciousness (ASC), the authors have recorded   electroencephalograms (EEGs) and produced topographic brain maps for over 100   people in Brazil who engage in various types of trances, most of whom were  not involved in the 435

436 N. Don & G. Maura
UFO phenomenon. This particular study reports data from the subgroup that   claims episodes of abduction by or contact with nonhuman (alien) beings from   unidentified flying objects (UFOs). “Contact,” or “close   encounters of the third kind,” involves the supposed meeting and   interaction with alien beings, and is usually reported to be a beneficial   experience.

“Abduction,” or “close encounters of the fourth kind,”   involves kidnapping, either in a conscious or unconscious state, and the   performance of medical-like procedures on the abductee. The sequelae of these   reported abductions usually involve significant psychological trauma.

In the preliminary phase of our investigations, which involved 10 UFO experiencers   who were not in the final sample of 13, the data suggested that these   subjects could voluntarily self-induce a state of hyper aroused trance, with   high frequency, high amplitude brain waves, probably not attributable to   scalp muscle artifact. For reports on the early phase of this work, please   see Moura  (1994a, p. 186-190; 1994b, p. 485-492) and Don (1994, p. 493-496).

We chose to investigate the UFO experiencers because they evidenced advanced   stages of hyperaroused trance not found in Brazilian mystics and rare even   among experienced yogi meditators from India.

The purpose of this study was to determine whether the frequency and   amplitude characteristics (as evidenced in EEG recordings) of the subjects’   brain function while in trance differed significantly from baseline,   pre-trance measurements. Also, if such differences existed, we wanted to   compare our results with EEG studies done on people who meditate. The   veridicality of the subjects’ experiences was not addressed.’

For an introduction to the literature on the abduction/contact phenomenon,   see Moura (1996/1992), Mack (1994a), Sprinkle (1994), and Pritchard et al. (1994).

II. Background
The electrical activity of the brain, recorded from the scalp with  surface   electrodes, consists of waves with frequencies which range from approximately  0.1 cycles per second (Hertz or Hz) up to approximately 70 Hz for the normal   adult (but possibly extending higher for selected subjects under unusual   conditions). In most clinical EEG tests, only activity up to approximately 30   Hz is examined. The amplitude of these waves is in the range of 2 or 3 micro-   volts up to 100 microvolts.

Within these broad frequency bands, there are different frequency sub groups   associated with differing states of arousal and brain function, each with

Recently, experiments involving PET scans have shown that different parts   of the brain are activated by true and false memories of recently spoken   words (Schacterc/a/., 1996). Additionally, PET scans of survivors of trauma   reveal a differential brain response under conditions of symptom provocation   compared to control conditions (Rauch et ul., 1996). Therefore, beyond the   issue of whether or not there is an altered state of brain function during   the trances, it may in the future also be possible to examine whether or not   brain function characteristics tend to support or disconfirm the veridicality   of at least some components of abduction memories. 

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characteristic amplitude ranges in the normal adult. At the lowest end of the   arousal continuum are “delta” waves, which range from approximately   0.1- 3.5 Hz and are found during stage III and IV, normally dreamless sleep.   “Theta” waves, approximately 4-7.5 Hz, are found most abundantly   during transitions from the waking to sleep state (and vice-versa).   “Alpha” waves (approximately 8-13 Hz) occur during relaxed, awake   states, mostly with closed eyes, and are usually the highest-amplitude   feature of the EEG record under these conditions.

There is considerable individual variance in alpha wave amplitude; it is   reported that 66 of subjects have 20-60 microvolts of activity, whereas 6 of   subjects exceed 60 microvolts (Simonova et al.,  1967).

“Beta” rhythms are faster than 13 Hz, and usually predominate the   EEG of the awake, alert, adult subject with open eyes, with amplitudes   typically below 20 microvolts. The beta range can be subdivided into beta I   (14-30 Hz) and beta II for rhythms above approximately 30 Hz; the latter are   sometimes termed “gamma” rhythms.

A. Brain Function and High Frequency Brain Waves
In recent studies of brain function, mounting evidence supports the   importance of high frequency brain oscillations above 30 Hz, especially in   the 36-44 Hz frequency band.2

Animal studies with implanted electrodes, magneto encephalographic and scalp  recorded EEG studies with humans, and computer simulations, suggest that 40   Hz activity plays a central role in cognition and sensory processing (Sheer,   1984; Llinas & Pare, 1991; Llinas & Ribary, 1992, 1993; Steriade et   al., 1991, 1993).

Further, the thalamic intralaminar nuclei, part of the thalamo-cortical  circuits involved in the generation of 40 Hz activity, along with the  midbrain reticular formation, have been shown in PET studies to be activated   by attentional processes (Kinomura et al., 1996). Highly focused attention is  considered necessary in the generation of certain advanced meditative states,  which we would therefore expect to be accompanied by broad band 40 Hz waves   in the EEG.

Therefore, while it is well-known that beta waves are associated with states   of alert wakefulness, recent work suggests that the higher-frequency beta   rhythms are associated with heightened levels of brain function, or more   broadly, consciousness.
B. Altered States of Consciousness In the psychophysiological literature on   meditation and ASCs, there are only four reports of beta wave (14 Hz or   higher) increases during an ASC. Das
•’Gray and Singer (1989) found power increases throughout the entire 30-46   Hz region of the frequency spectrum. In our analyses, the 30-50 Hz band was   used, which we termed beta II. However, in the literature, these effects are   usually reported as maximal in the 36-44 Hz band, which has come to be termed   “40 Hz.”

438 N. Don & G. Moura  and Gastaut (1957) reported an EEG study conducted in India. Seven members of   a spiritual community, practicing Kriya yoga, were measured in 20 recording   sessions. However, Das and Gastaut reported only data from the   “guru,” the spiritual leader of the community, apparently because   of his extraordinary ASC.

He entered twice into a state of yogic ecstasy (“1’extase yogique”)  or “samadhi,” during which he was physiologically hyper aroused, as   indicated by the EEG and EKG, while the EMG recorded from the quadriceps   remained flat (c/. Kugler, 1982). Among other findings, the subject’s brain   waves were reported to be 20-30 Hz and 40 Hz, generally distributed over both  hemispheres, with amplitudes in the range of 30-50 microvolts.

This case study remains a landmark in the psychophysiological literature on   meditation since it is the only one examining a very advanced subject in the   state of yogic ecstasy or “samadhi,” the culmination of meditation,   which is considered to be the direct, conscious experience of the godhead   (Eliade, 1958, p. 91-95). Since its publication some 40 years ago, even   though it is just a single-case study, it apparently has not been challenged   seriously. At that time, Henri Gastaut was widely considered to be the   world’s foremost epileptologist. It should be noted that Das and Gastaut used   the terms yogic ecstasy and “samadhi” synonymously, whereas other   sources, such as Fischer (1971) and Eliade (1964, p. 417), differentiate   between ecstasy and “samadhi.” Fischer, however, states that there   is ultimately a joining of these two states at a certain, advanced point in   the meditative process.

In a conference presentation in 1960 (cited in West, 1980), Fenwick reported   three meditators practicing a mantra meditation (similar to the method of   Transcendental Meditation). In the later stages of meditation, theta bursts   were observed accompanied by beta activity.

The next study reporting high frequency brain activity (20 and 40 Hz) was by   Banquet (1973). This cortical activity was found in four advanced   Transcendental Meditation (TM) practitioners during the state of   “transcendence,” as defined in TM.

The 20 Hz beta amplitude was very high (30-60 microvolts) while the 40 Hz   activity was just a few microvolts. The high frequencies predominated in the   anterior channels but were found sometimes in all eight channels recorded.

However, since Banquet’s studies, recent experiments have failed to replicate   the presence of high frequency beta among TM meditators (F. T. Travis,   personal communication, April 12, 1996).

The fourth and last study reporting fast beta waves during meditation was by   Benson et al. (1990), who measured three Tibetan Buddhist monks in Sikkim   while they practiced “g Tum-mo” yoga. They found that resting   metabolism was raised voluntarily (a maximum of 61) or lowered (a maximum of   64).

In one of the three subjects, EEG power in the 12-35 Hz band (a maximum   frequency recorded) increased over 50.

Additionally, Surwillo and Hobson (1978) found acceleration of the dominant   alpha frequency with Christians during prayer and with a Moslem subject   during Sufi meditation. Das and Gastaut also found this effect. –

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This alpha effect is another indicator of hyper arousal. In contrast to this,   forms of meditation promoting cortical quieting or hypo arousal, such as the   earlier stages of TM, produce a slowing of the dominant alpha frequency and a   state of consciousness different from practices promoting hyper arousal   (Kugler, 1982;  Fischer, 1971).

Therefore, while data from a very large number of meditators in hypo aroused   states such as TM have been reported in the past 25 years (for a review see   Jevning et al. (1992)), there are EEG reports of only a few subjects in an hyper   aroused ASC.

However, hyper aroused altered states are well known to anthropologists from   their study of some native peoples (Bateson & Meade, 1952; Deren, 1953;   Rouch, 1960; Jorgensen, 1972). Experiences of very bright light are often   associated with these trances and are a well-known characteristic of advanced   meditative and mystical states (Eliade, 1964, p. 60-62).

A common experience among our subjects when in trance was of a very strong   light near the forehead. It therefore appears likely that this experience is   another indicator of hyper aroused, non-ordinary states of consciousness.

Ring (1992) has reported the incidence of very bright, white light during the   near-death experience. He has proposed that the “kundalini”   syndrome, which is elucidated in tantric yoga (Eliade, 1958, p. 134), is the   process common to both UFO and near-death experiences. Moura (1996/1992) has   argued that while the “kundalini” process is involved in UFO   experiences, it does not adequately account for all the reported phenomena.   Das and Gastaut also related the hyper aroused ecstasy and “samadhi”   of their yogic adept, or “guru,” to the “kundalini”   process of yoga.

Hence, although there have been many reports of behaviors or mental states   suggestive of hyper aroused trance, there is a notable lack of advanced   subjects capable of entering these states under laboratory conditions or   controlled conditions in field settings.

III. Methods
A. Subject Selection
There were 5 males and 8 females who at the time of testing ranged in age   from 19 to 72, with a mean age of 47.23 years. Their reported abduction or   contact experiences occurred a minimum of two years before.
Criteria for selection in the study included:
1. Self-reports of UFO experiencers, including memories of contact or   abduction by extraterrestrial or nonhuman beings. All or part of the memories   of the reported events were conscious, without the use of hypnosis.
2. The ability to enter voluntarily into a non-ordinary state of   consciousness which reportedly commenced with the reported UFO experience.

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All the subjects who agreed to participate in this experiment had received   some form of psychological or spiritual counseling. As a result, there was   amelioration of the psychological trauma, which enabled them to participate   in the study. However, the subjects possessed varying tolerances for the hyper   aroused condition, some claiming that the intensity of the experience was   sustainable for only a few minutes.

B. EEG Recording Procedure The investigators traveled extensively in Brazil   with a portable, 23-channel EEG and computer in order to gather the data.   Recording sessions took place in a wide variety of field settings. Each   session began with the recording of resting baselines with eyes open and   closed. Following this, subjects were requested to enter their special state of   consciousness.

off at 128 Hz with a 48 dB roll   off/octave) plus five additional channels and related software for data editing and   analysis.

The sampling rate was 512/second for 10 subjects and 256/second for an   additional 3 subjects. Electrodes were applied using an electrode cap and   conducting gel made by Electro-Cap International, Inc. This consisted of an   elastic skull cap with tin electrodes pre-positioned over the 19   International 10-20 scalp electrode sites with a forehead ground. Reference   electrodes were applied to the left and right earlobes and linked.

For most sessions, two addition-al electrodes were affixed to the center of   the forehead, approximately one centimeter apart, for bipolar recording of   frontalis EMG, or over the left masseter muscle. Over all testing sessions,   the impedances at the scalp, ground and reference electrodes were usually   kept below 3 k ohms.

D. Baselines
For all subjects, eyes-open and eyes-closed EEG baselines of 1 1/2 to 2   minutes duration were collected outside of trance while subjects were seated,   relaxed, and in an upright position. For the last four subjects, eyes-closed   control trials were also collected under instructions to tense the forehead   musculature.
This provided a control condition used in assessing and correcting for   potential scalp muscle artifacts in the frontal EEG.

E. Trance
The recording period during trance ranged from a minimum of 1 1/2 to 2   minutes in duration in some subjects to as long as 10-15 minutes in others.

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EEG analyses were restricted to the trance periods when subjects were   relatively still with eyes closed.
IV. Results
A. Baselines
The baseline recordings of the cohort were typical of normal, resting EEGs,   with no sign of abnormal brain function such as epileptiform patterns or   slowing in the EEG; however, clinical challenges were not performed to assess   for potential abnormalities.

The records showed the usual inter-subject variability of amplitude and   varying amounts of alpha rhythms.

B. Trance
During the trance portion of the recording sessions, all subjects were able   to enter trance voluntarily within a few minutes or sooner. At the   commencement of trance, the EEGs changed to a generalized pattern of low   voltage, fast activity which was sustained throughout the session. Further   into the trance period, there was a gradual increase of frequency and   amplitude of the brain waves at all 19 electrode sites. For most subjects, it   was at the prefrontal (EEG recording sites Fpl and Fp2), and for some   subjects at adjacent frontal sites, that the trance EEG was most affected.   However, for three subjects, the effects were distributed widely over the   scalp.
Two features were salient:
1) Intermittent trains of rhythmic (sinusoid-like) brain waves, approximately   40 Hz activity, attaining as much as 40-50 microvolts amplitude.
This was interpreted to be brain activity.
2) Faster, pervasive, approximately 80 Hz activity with some spiked   morphology, up to 100 microvolts amplitude, probably attributable to frontalis   muscle discharge.
Data from the control trials which simulated scalp muscle activation did not   resemble data from the recordings made during trance conditions.
It therefore appears that both the 40 Hz brain activity and the very high   amplitude 80 Hz discharge, probably due to scalp muscle activation, may both   be indicators of a single, high-energy process affecting maximally the   fronto-orbital regions, at the front of the brain.
C. Post-Trance
As the trance lightened, the fast activity gradually diminished; the subjects   returned within a few minutes to the non-trance condition. The post-trance

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recording resembled the baseline, and for some subjects showed evidence of a  condition somewhat more hypo aroused than the original baseline.
D. Figures 1 and 2 Data from a representative subject are presented. Fast   activity, due primarily to scalp muscle discharge, occurred most noticeably   at the left temporal electrode site, T3, during pre-trance baseline and   trance. Activation at the pre-frontal, supra-orbital sites, Fpl and Fp2,   occurred only in trance, and shows a mixture of 40 Hz, sinusoid-like brain   rhythms, and faster, higher amplitude scalp muscle activity.

Please see   Figure 1.
In Figure 2, the EEG from pre-frontal sites, Fpl and Fp2, are displayed for a

Fig. 1. Raw EEG tracings plotted at 30 mm/sec from a representative abductee   during a pretrance baseline (left column). Channel names are shown at far   left. Scale bars for 100 (J.V amplitude and 1 second duration are provided at   the top of the figure. A 0.1 second segment of channel Fp 1, over the left   pre-frontal scalp, during trance is zoomed (inset) to reveal a nearly sinusoidal   rhythm of approximately 50 (lV amplitude at 40 Hz. Scalp recorded muscle   artifact is usually irregular and arrhythmic.

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Fig. 2. Pre-frontal EEG of a second abductee showing the waxing and waning of   brain activation during stages of trance. The number of seconds from   commencement of the trance record are shown in parentheses.
second subject while in trance. Over the approximately four-minute duration   of the trance, the progressive speed-up and slowing of the EEG is   discernible.
V. Analysis of EEG Data Raw EEG data were stored on the hard disk of a   computer during sessions and later transferred to a 250-megabyte tape drive.   Data editing and reduction were performed off-line. The data were recorded in   sequential, one-half second samples or “epochs.” All epochs of EEG   data were inspected visually for eye movement and other artifacts. Epochs   found containing such artifacts were excluded from further analyses.

Power spectra were computed on arti-fact-free EEG epochs by a digital signal   processing chip and associated hardware in the Lexicor NeuroSearch-24. For   each of 19 channels, log power density in the theta (4-8 Hz), alpha (8-14   Hz), beta I (14-30 Hz), and beta II (30-50 Hz), and the 70-128 Hz frequency   bands was computed.3 Because at higher frequencies (above 14 Hz and   especially above 30 Hz) the EEG may also contain signals from scalp muscle   discharge, it is necessary to control for EMG activity when computing the   statistical effects of trance compared to baseline.

See Appendix I for a discussion of the methodology used.
The following statistical comparisons of baseline with trance were computed   on data in which possible contamination by scalp muscle was controlled for.
Two statistically significant differences were found: The first for the   midline electrodes (taken as a group) Fz, Cz, Pz, which are least susceptible   to scalp ‘Power density was computed by dividing the total power in each   frequency band by the number of 2- Hz wide spectral lines comprising the   band.

444 N. Don & G. Moura
muscle contamination. In trance, there was more log power (0.13) in the 30-50   Hz frequency band than in baseline (0.04), F(l/6) = 17.57./7 = .006.   Secondly, in trance, the dominant alpha frequency (group maximum = 11.90 Hz)   was faster than in baseline (group maximum = 10.85 Hz), p = .018, two-tailed,   matched-sample, Mest. For a complete description of all statistical test   results, see Appendix II.
VI. Clinical Neurological Assessment of EEGs
There was no evidence of organic brain syndromes among our subjects. In cases   where there is organicity, one finds slowing of the EEG rhythms (Niedermeyer   & Lopes da Silva, 1993).

It is well known that temporal lobe instabilities lead to disturbances of   conscious experience (Fenwick, 1983; Fenwick et al., 1985). Persinger (1989a,   1989b) has hypothesized that some people with such labile brain function,   especially when exposed to increases in geomagnetic radiation, will have   unusual conscious experiences such as of nonhuman beings and UFOs.

A more likely explanation for these experiences in adults with no history of   physical trauma to the brain is complex partial epileptic seizures. These   most often occur in the temporal lobes, the limbic system, or are temper   limbic.
The temporal lobes are associated with emotion and states of consciousness;   ictally (during epileptic episodes), 4-7 Hz waveforms are found over the   temporal lobes, and extending onto frontal regions. No such waves were found   among our trance data. Fronto-orbital seizures also occur but are much less   common.

During epileptic crises, there is typically a narrowing of the field of   consciousness with delusions, hallucinations, and distortions in visual   reality.
Ictal experiences of ecstasy have been reported but are rare.

None of the thirteen people in this study has been diagnosed as epileptic and   none was medicated. Because of their experiences, several had full diagnostic   neurological evaluations prior to involvement in this study, which found no   evidence of epilepsy. In an extended review of our physiological data and subjects’   histories, our Brazilian epileptologist consultant concluded that they did   not present any critical phenomena suggestive of epilepsy (H. Bello, personal   communications, March – October, 1996). Additionally, unlike epileptic   patients, our subjects voluntarily entered and left the state of altered   brain function.

In order to obtain a second opinion regarding the possible presence of   epileptiform EEG patterns during trance, we submitted samples of our data for   examination by a senior-level, American neurologist specializing in the EEG   and diagnosis of epilepsy. We were informed that there was no epileptiform   activity present in those EEGs (J. R. Hughes, personal communication, June   24,  1996).

Both neurologists concluded that the rhythmic, approximately 40 Hz activity   appeared to be cortical in origin. Additionally, our Brazilian consultant.  

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Dr. Bello, rendered an opinion that some of the above 40 Hz activity might be   cortical in origin.
VII. Psychopathology of UFO Experiencers A common reaction to reports of UFO   experiences is that the claimants are somehow psychologically disturbed.  While the UFO reports, taken at face value, seem to fall outside the range of   possibilities of the Western world view, and sound delusional, hallucinatory,   and even psychotic, careful psychological examination of UFO experiencers has   failed to support the psychopathology hypothesis (Spanos etal., 1993; Mack,   1994a, 1994b). This was also true of the thirteen subjects studied here, all   of whom were interviewed by a licensed clinical psychologist, who is one of the   present investigators (GM).

Moreover, the EEG results observed for the present sample of UFO experiencers   displayed a different pattern than is typically seen in depression or   hysterical attack (Niedermeyer & Lopes da Silva, 1993, p. 345, 569-570).  Most potentially relevant are the EEG findings from studies of   schizophrenia.4  Since the initial reports of Davis (1940), there have been numerous  observations of increased fast beta activity in schizophrenic patients  relative to controls which may sometimes have overlapped with the beta band   studied here (For review, see Itil, 1977).

However, the pattern of the EEG findings for our UFO experiencers is   differentiated from the findings reported for schizophrenics. For the UFO   experiencers, only the amount of fast beta activity was affected, whereas in   schizophrenics, the amount of activity in lower frequency bands, including   delta, theta, alpha, and low beta, may also be affected (Itil et al., 1972; Morstyn, etal., 1983; Gattaz etal., 1992).

Further, the topographic distribution of the fast beta activity appeared to  differentiate our UFO experiencers from schizophrenics, in that the beta  activity was observed predominately over the frontal scalp in our subjects   but was observed mostly at sites posterior to the frontal scalp in   schizophrenics (e.g., Morstyn etal., 1983; Gattaz et al., 1992).5 Finally,   our subjects could voluntarily commence and terminate the high frequency   activity which was only present in the trance condition. Voluntary control of   this activity is not found in schizophrenics.

VIII. Discussion
Brain activity of approximately 40 Hz, with 40 or more microvolts amplitude, was observed during the trances of all 13 of the UFO experiencers in this  study. This unusual physiological condition has been reported only once increases   in fast beta activity may also be produced by ingestion of hallucinogenic   drugs, such as LSD, mescaline or psilocybin; however, none of our subjects   were using these substances at the time of testing. Furthermore, baseline was  recorded a few minutes before trance and no high frequency activity was found  there.’Attempts to localize precisely the beta activity in many earlier  studies of schizophrenia were limited by the small number of scalp sites  recorded.

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before, by Das and Gastaut (1957) in their case study of an East Indian adept   in a very advanced state of meditation. In common with or overlapping Das and  Gastaut’s results we found:

1) a statistically significant increase in power for 30-50 Hz, high amplitude   brain waves, probably not due entirely to scalp muscle discharge;
2) a statistically significant increase of frequency in the dominant alpha   frequency;
3) our subjects reported feelings of paralysis (reduced motor outflow) during   their ASCs, suggesting inhibition of skeletal muscle tone;
4) although no formal challenges were presented, the subjects appeared to be   unresponsive to normally distracting environmental disturbances;
5) states of unusual conscious experience. Also, for most subjects, there was   an easily observed increase in eye saccade frequency and amplitude, also   indicative of hyper arousal (Fischer, 1971).
Since the recall of the reported experiences occurs in a non-ordinary state   of consciousness, it seems likely that they are “state dependent.”   According to Rossi and Cheek (1988, p. 7): “It has been found that   hormonal information substances released by the stress of any novel life   situation can act as neuromodulators.

These information substances can modulate the action of neural systems of the  brain so as to encode memory and learning in a special manner.” Therefore,  it is likely that 40 Hz (and possibly higher frequency) brain activity was   associated with the encoding of the reported experiences, as well as its   recall. In order to re-experience contact/abduction, the state of brain   function associated with the high-frequency rhythms must be reinstated.

Our results differ from Banquet’s 1973 report on advanced TM meditators in   their deepest stage of practice, in which high power 20 Hz activity was   observed, while 40 Hz activity was present but much weaker. In our data, 20   Hz effects were absent while broad band 40 Hz effects were robust.

All our subjects were able to enter an extreme hyper aroused ASC, showing EEG   similarities to the state reported by Das and Gastaut in their one advanced   subject as yogic ecstasy or “samadhi.” As we noted previously,   although Das and Gastaut did not differentiate between these two states, they   are usually not considered to be synonymous. We submit that our subjects were   in an ecstatic state.

Fischer (1971) assigns extreme hyper aroused trance to the ecstatic state. Also,  the experience of “blissful excitement” (George, 1995, p. 82), a   common characteristic of the ecstatic state, was reported by our subjects.   They also related feeling that they were linked to a higher consciousness,   and sometimes being connected with a non-human being or even with God.

Mack (1994a) and Moura (1996/1992) have reported on the ecstatic dimension of  this class of subject. However, in contrast to the present study, although   there are many accounts of the mystical experiences of yogis, there is no   mention of abduction or UFO contact, suggesting that while there are

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commonalities between yogic states and the trance state of our subjects,   there also are significant areas of difference.

The ability of the experiencers to enter trance developed after their   reported contact with non-human beings and was not the fruit of years of   intense practice of yoga or meditation. Whereas most of Das and Gastaut’s   seven Indian yogis had been practicing five to ten years, in 20   data-recording sessions with this group, only the spiritual head of the   community attained the hyper aroused state, doing so on two occasions.

Almost all studies in the meditation literature involve hypo aroused states,   such as are found in TM and Zen. These are characterized by the physiological   slowing of a host of parameters (for a review see Jevning et al., 1992)   although Banquet (1973) reported the presence of fast beta predominantly at   anterior scalp sites in more advanced TM meditators during the state they   term “transcendence.” However, as noted earlier, that beta has not   been replicable in recent attempts. In contrast to the advanced TM   meditators, our subjects did not exhibit increased beta I power, but did have   a large increase of 40 Hz (and broad band 30-50 Hz beta II) power.

Also noted earlier, PET scans during focused attention by humans have   revealed an activation of the midbrain reticular formation and the thalamic   intralaminar nuclei (Kinomwaetal., 1996). Corollary to this finding, Llinas   and Pare (1991) and Llinas and Ribary (1992, 1993) earlier proposed that the   thalamic intralaminar nuclei, comprising the diffuse thalamic system,   generates 40 Hz activity which integrates corticothalamic activity and so   bears importantly on consciousness.

Also, earlier work by Sheer (1984, p. 64-84) found that scalp-recorded 40 Hz   was associated with “focused arousal” and learning tasks. Q-sorts,   investigating subjective aspects of different brain states, revealed   differences between high and low frequency beta.

The descriptors for the experience of 5-10 microvolt 40 Hz were:   “attentive, concentrating, effortful, focused, investigating, searching,   scrutinizing, studying, thinking, and vigilant.” For low frequency beta   (21-31 Hz), the descriptors were: “active, alert, anxious, energetic,   excited, exhilarated, lively, restless, stimulated, and tense” (Bird et   al., 1978).

It therefore appears that as the focus of attention sharpens, the integrative   activity of the diffuse thalamic system increases through the action of 40 Hz   brain rhythms. Apparently, when attentional focusing becomes   “laser-like,” an extreme state of corticothalamic integration   occurs and with it an amplification of normally unconscious brain activity.

At the extremes, either ecstasy or “samadhi,” Fischer (1971)   proposed that the constraints on normal, waking consciousness are bridged and   a higher-order self or personality prevails which seems to transcend time and   space.

While Das and Gastaut’s “guru” had high-amplitude, very high   frequency brain activity widely-spread over the scalp, the extreme activation   pattern of our subjects was centered on the prefrontal and adjacent loci of   the brain, but

448 N. Don & G. Moura
in three subjects was more widely distributed. This suggests that for most of   our subjects, the hyper aroused state was more circumscribed than for the   “guru.” In “samadhi,” one is said to experience mystical unity   with the Divine (Eliade, 1958, p. 91-95). While many of our subjects did   report some degree of unitive experience, they all experienced a range of   unusual phenomena that were not constrained by space and time in ordinary   ways and appear to be unique to UFO experiencers.

The rarity of the extreme hyper aroused state of ecstasy is further supported   by Bagchi and Wenger’s study (1957) in which they recorded EEGs from 14   Indian yogis in a variety of settings, including caves. They found only   changes in the alpha rhythms and no evidence of high amplitude fast waves. It   is of importance to note that these advanced subjects did not report the   experience of yogic ecstasy.

In contrast to this evidence, suggesting the rarity of ecstasy, all our   subjects attained this physiologic state. They therefore constitute the   largest cohort of subjects reported to this date exhibiting this apparently   rare state of brain function. However, these results are correlational, and   it awaits further investigation in order to establish a conclusive link   between extreme, hyper aroused states of brain function and transcendental   experiences.

VIII. Summary
Over a six-year period, we measured EEGs and produced topographic brain maps   of over 100 people in Brazil who engage in various trances. Although it is  true that there are many people engaged in mediumistic or other trance   practices in that country, only the subjects who claimed contact or abduction   experiences with UFOs — both in the preliminary and final phases of our   investigations — presented evidence of advanced stages of hyper aroused   trance.

But in addition to involvement in “super-conscious” states, recent   investigations in neuroscience have revealed the significance of high   frequency brain rhythms in cognition, learning, attention, sensory   processing, and as indicated by our results, state-dependent memory. However   our subjects actually came by the ability to enter into their unusual ASC, it   is important to point out that all our subjects could do so voluntarily,   apparently without practicing for many years or initiation by yogic adepts.
Acknowledgements

We first wish to thank our research subjects who generously cooperated in   this investigation. We also thank Helio Bello, M.D., for the neurological   consultations and the large amount of advice, encouragement and support he   has given so graciously to the authors of this study. We wish to acknowledge   Bruce E. McDonough, Ph.D., for his assistance with the analysis of the data.
Additionally, the financial support of the Kairos Foundation is gratefully   acknowledged.

Topographic Brain Mapping 449

Appendix I — EMG Correction
Controlling/or Levels of EMG
The beta region of the frequency spectrum, especially above 30 Hz, is known   to be particularly susceptible to scalp muscle contamination. Hence,   comparisons of beta power between baseline and trance, known to differ in EMG   levels, would be potentially biased. Ideally, all epochs containing potential   EMG contamination would be excluded from analyses.

However, because high amplitude activity over 30 Hz was apparent for most   subjects throughout their trance periods, a simple data-exclusion criterion   could not be employed. Therefore, in order to avoid potentially biasing the   EEG comparisons between the baseline and trance conditions, an effort was   made to balance the levels of EMG activity in these two conditions.

EMG balancing between conditions was considered necessary only for analyses  of beta activity. Analyses of theta and alpha activity were conducted on   unbalanced data. To control for EMG levels between conditions, EMG activity   (defined operationally as total power in the 70-128 Hz region of the   frequency spectrum) was calculated for each one-half second recording epoch.  In accord with Davidson (1988; personal communications, 1994-1995), we   assumed that any scalp recorded activity over 70 Hz was solely from muscle   activity.

However, there is no reported data on what the upper frequency limit for   scalp recorded EEGs actually is, due only to brain activity. Especially with   unusual subjects in an hyper aroused trance, the 70 Hz criterion may be   arbitrary, and require revision in future research.

Because of limitations of our software, power in the EMG band could be   computed only for the 10 subjects whose data were recorded at 512 samples/second.   Separately, for each subject and electrode site, log EMG power for trance and   baseline was compared by /-test.

Trance epochs showing the highest EMG levels and/or baseline epochs showing   the lowest EMG levels were then dropped and remaining epochs compared again;   this process continuing iteratively until the log EMG levels were non-significantly   different (Mest p > .10).6 For 7 subjects, EMG levels between trance and   baseline conditions could be brought into balance in this way at the midline   sites Fz, Cz, and Pz. In general, midline sites, especially Cz and Pz, are   least affected by scalp muscle discharge.

Other scalp sites could also be balanced for some, but not all, of these   subjects. Therefore, in order to maintain a sample size of at least 7   subjects, group analyses of beta activity considered only the 3 midline   sites. That the EMG levels in the baseline and trance conditions did not   differ for these 7 subjects after balancing was confirmed by 2-factor   (condition x scalp site)

”When data are correlated and cannot meet the assumption underlying the   /-test that observations be independent, as is the case in the analysis of   multiple EEG epochs from a single subject, the statistical significance of   the result is likely to be inflated. Thus, the single subject /-test results   may be regarded as conservative in the sense that they tend to overstate the   extent to which the trance and baseline EMG levels differ for each subject.

450 N. Don & G. Moura
Analysis of Variance (ANOVA), F(l/6) = 0.03, p = .874. Total log EMG power in   the 70-128 Hz band was 1.24 for baseline and 1.23 for trance after balancing   (averaged across 7 subjects and 3 scalp sites.) For the remaining 3 subjects,   the distributions of EMG power in baseline and trance conditions were largely   non-overlapping at all 19 sites, thus these data could not be balanced.
Appendix II — Statistical Analysis of Trance vs. Non-trance Effects of Trance on Beta Activity

Log transforms were performed on power density data in the EEG bands for epochs   remaining after EMG balancing. The log power density of single epochs was   then averaged within subjects, separately for each channel and frequency   band. Visual inspection of the data histograms suggested that the log   power-density distributions were approximately normal.

Questions of EEG power density differences between baseline and trance were   examined in 2-factor ANOVAs with repeated measures across electrode site (Fz,  Cz, Pz) and condition (baseline, trance). A separate 2-factor ANOVA was   performed for each frequency band examined.

Marginal mean log power density in the 30-50 Hz beta II band was observed to   be larger in trance (0.13) than during baseline (0.04), F( 1 /6) = 17.57, p =   .006. A tendency for beta II to increase from posterior to anterior scalp was   also observed, F(2/l2) = 3.26, p = . 114, e = .5655, with marginal mean log   power density of 0.22, 0.08, and -0.04, at Fz, Cz, and Pz, respectively.7 The   condition by scalp-site interaction was non-significant, F(2/12) = 0.33, p =.   724, e=. 5528.

Marginal mean log power density in the 14-30 Hz beta I band was not different   between trance (0.70) and baseline (0.69) conditions, F(/6) = 0.09, p = .780.   Neither the main effect of scalp site, F(l/6) = 0.37, p = .699, e = .9598,   nor the condition by scalp-site interaction, F(2/l 2) = 0.98, p = .404, e =   .6361, were significant for beta I.

Effects of Trance on Alpha and Theta Activity Log power density in the alpha   and theta bands was evaluated for all 13 subjects over the occipital scalp   sites (01 and 02) in separate 2-factor ANOVAs. It was possible to include all   subjects since EMG infiltration into these lower regions of the frequency   spectrum is likely to be minimal and, therefore, controlling for EMG levels   was regarded as unnecessary.
For analyses of alpha and theta activity, the power density of single epochs   was averaged, within each subject and scalp site, before log transformation.

Gain effects and interactions involving the scalp-site factor were   evaluated using the Greenhouse-Geisser adjustment where appropriate. Greenhouse-Geisser tail probabilities   and epsilon factors (e) are listed in the text.

Topographic Brain Mapping 451
An ANOVA on log alpha power density, for all 13 subjects and 2 occipital   scalp sites, indicated non-significant differences between baseline and   trance, F(l/12) = 0.26, p = .621. The main effect of scalp site and the   condition by scalp site interaction were non-significant as well. A separate   ANOVA on log theta power over 13 subjects and 2 occipital scalp sites also failed   to show differences between baseline and trance, F(l/12) = 0.56, p = .470.   The main scalp site effect and the condition by scalp site interaction were   also non-significant on log theta power density.
Effect of Trance on Dominant Alpha Frequency

We also examined our data for baseline to trance changes in the dominant   alpha frequency, which were found in the hyper aroused states reported by Das  and Gastaut (1957) and Surwillo and Hobson (1978). Six of the seven subjects   analyzed above for beta I and II had well-developed alpha trains in baseline   and trance. Their data from the left occipital site (01) were low-pass   filtered at 14 Hz and the mean alpha frequency in baseline and in trance for   each subject was determined with signal-processing software.

For all six subjects analyzed, the dominant alpha frequency increased in   frequency from baseline to trance. The mean baseline alpha frequency was   10.06 Hz (range, 9.36 Hz – 10.85 Hz) and the mean trance frequency was 10.67   Hz (range, 9.70 Hz – 11.90 Hz); (Matched-sample Mest, t = 3.47, df= 5, p =   .018, two-tailed).
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