There are two categories involving UFOs which deserve some comment. The popular press mixes both categories while ignoring their respective differences. These are the UFO report and the abduction narrative.
The UFO report is usually generated by puzzled witnesses from all professions and all life-perspectives. Sometimes the reports are accompanied by multiple-witness testimony, ground/radar confirmation, luminescence, radiological, burn, soil, and other traces that, depending on the particular case, can be susceptable to analysis. Thus, most UFO reports consist of sightings, and, occasionally, measurable “remains.” Whether of “daylight discs” or of “nocturnal lights,” (to use J. A. Hynek’s terms), the UFO report is mainly distinguished by its embedding in a milieu of sighting/physical observation and occasional measurement. Not so (usually) the abduction narrative.
The typical abduction narrative is not reported either as a sighting of anomalous objects or of non-human beings. Rather, it is extracted (sometimes many years after the purported event) by hypnosis (sometimes amateur). Often the hypnosis is inserted into the case by investigators; sometimes “abductees” approach investigators or health professionals. Many so-called abduction cases evolve out of dreams, nightmares, sleep paralysis, dream-like experiences, fantasies, hypnogogic states and other purely subjective situations. Rarely are UFOs directly linked to the “alien” abduction, and abductees rarely seem able to point to a UFO as an essential part of their experience. In short, they give out an abduction narrative, but rarely a UFO report. Even if the UFO was an integral element of some early reports, in later cases the UFO as event-instigator is no longer present or, perhaps, even necessary. The UFO abduction narrative has thus over time become a (mere) abduction narrative. (The present writer is unaware of any documented correlation between UFO abductions and UFO reports, Waves, or “flaps.” One notable exception accrues to the classic Hill Abuction, where it has been revealed by researchers such as Jacques Vallee and Anne Druffel that a UFO was tracked by a nearby air base at the time and location of the Hill’s experience).
So it would seem that of the two alternatives, it is the UFO report that has the most likely potential for generating ufological data. The abduction narrative, on the other hand, swims in psychological murk, and seems little-equipped to provide meaningful evidence. One exception to this is, of course, the claims of stigmata on, and implants in, claimants’ bodies. If authenticated, such things could be a potential source of scientific data. Conceivably they could be much better indicators than the UFO report.
However, authentication is exactly the crux of the problem. We would expect a scientific revolution and a world-altering crisis if such claims were verified. Of course, they have not been verified, or even – as far as this writer knows – subjected to peer review. Or if they have, the conclusions have been sufficiently inconclusive to decide the matter.
So investigators are well-cautioned to attend to sighting reports and to relegate non-evidential abduction narratives to ufology’s back burner.