In the classic alien abduction experience, the abductee first sees a bright light like the "light at the end of the tunnel" related by people who have had near-death experiences: evidence of a spiritual encounter. The victim is then raised into a UFO where he or she lies paralyzed on an examination table. Aliens in this "clinic" poke the abductee's body with instruments and extract reproductive material. The aliens are described as having fetal-like characteristics: hairless, small bodies with underdeveloped limbs and large heads.
These spirits are forcing people to share the humiliating and painful experience of being aborted. The "alien" appearance is part of the spiritual message: We treat the embryo like it isn't human. Yet the most alien feature, the large black eyes, has a counterpart in the womb. At six weeks, the eyes of the embryo are wide open and black, without eyelids or irises.
The 1993 movie Fire in the Sky, about a logger's claim that he was abducted by aliens, is nearly literal in depicting the abductee as a fetus. Inside the "spaceship," the abductee breaks out of a placenta-like casing and then floats in a womb-like cavern while grasping what appears to be an umbilical cord.
The similarity between the abduction aliens and fetuses was also noted by Matt Graeber in the Summer 1996 issue of UFO Sightings. In the article "UFO Abductions: Nocturnal Terror," he observed, "Many female abductees are persons who have suffered the loss of a child through miscarriage or they may have terminated a pregnancy (or pregnancies) by clinical abortion . . . How odd it seems that the 'fetus-like aliens' should be 'so caught up' with gynecological procedures and genetic experimentation upon American earth women at precisely the same point in time we Americans are so obsessed with the abortion issue."
While Graeber suggested that alien abduction imagery is generated by internal psychological conflict, I argue that the experience represents contact with the spiritual world.