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Alien Abduction

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Now, which of these parts is the human nutbladder?

When an alien from another planet, whether one of the Little Green Men or one of The Greys or whatever, kidnaps a human (often by way of Tractor Beam). The alien generally leaves no trace of the human until it's done with it. Alien abductions do get witnessed, but the witnesses are almost always portrayed as a bit mad even when the alien abduction is real in canon.

Humans returned from alien abductions usually have had bad things happen to them, even if they don't remember it. They may have had a complete physical, possibly without anesthesia. They may have a little tracker planted in them. They were most certainly probed and violated though. And even a benign alien can cause an abduction, and cause problems, if Time Travel in either direction happens. Or they have been forced to be The Chosen One.

Sometimes, if the alien is benign, the human will witness something that makes the abduction worth the trouble. If the aliens' interest is scientific research, expect them to be terrible at it: No Control Group, no reliable tranquilizers (because how else could abductees keep waking up too soon, so they can see they're in a spaceship?), and no acknowledgment that it's indiscreet to keep abducting idiots who'll rush to spill their story to the tabloids.

Malevolent aliens don't always bother to return the human. There might not be anything to return.

Before aliens from outer space became a popular concept, literature and folklore used fairy abductions, demon abductions, and gods abducting fair maidens. Many of these stories reflect sexual urges excused and resolved through the agency of an irresistible entity like a god or alien.

See also Anal Probing. Compare Aliens Steal Cattle. Contrast They Would Cut You Up, Alien Autopsy.

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    Asian Animation 
  • In Happy Heroes, this was the fate of Doctor H.'s father when he was young. The abduction is shown in the first episode of Season 9, where an unamused Doctor H. tries to build a Time Machine and use it to travel back in time and prevent the abduction to no avail.

    Comic Books 
  • The Skrulls, a shapeshifting alien race who are primarily Fantastic Four villains, are in the habit of abducting humans in order to replace them for espionage purposes (at first because Earth was strategically located in their Forever War with the rival Kree Empire, later because they've managed to make enemies of Earth's many superheroes). They normally keep their victims alive just in case they might be useful in the future.
  • The backstory of Cyclops of the X-Men has his parents being abducted by Shi'Ar Emperor D'Ken, who seemingly just picked them at random because he's nuts. His father survived captivity and eventually became the Space Pirate Corsair.
  • Invasion!: The Dominators abduct humans to experiment with the meta-gene, and the shapeshifting Durlans abduct humans to imitate and replace them.
  • Superboy (1994): Kon-El, Dr. Sterling Roquette and a couple other Cadmus personnel get abducted and enslaved by the extraterrestrial slaver Kossak while Cadmus is trying to decipher the workings of a small space craft revealed to have been stolen from Kossak by an escaping slave before it crashed on earth.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1942): Saturnian slavers have been abducting humans for some years to sell to the Empire as slave labor, though some people were abducted by cruel humans like Hypnota and sold to the slavers. When the emperor outlaws slavery and calls an end to the endless public works pointless invasion project they were being used for (they were supposed to build a road from Saturn to Earth, and the Saturnians already had FTL) the abducted humans are returned to their countries of origin.
    • Wonder Woman (1987): Wonder Woman and Natasha are abducted by the Kreels' Sangtee Empire. In a twist they were already in Sangtee Empire space when this occurred due to malfunctioning New Genisis tech that had been modified for a hasty rescue mission from a simple space station orbiting earth.

    Comic Strips 
  • Calvin has used this as an excuse several times in Calvin and Hobbes; once he said that aliens came and drained all the math from his brain, while another time aliens arrive and replace him with an amoral robot duplicate (his mom was less than impressed by the story).
  • Pedro from The Wacky Adventures of Pedro frequently gets captured by aliens.
  • Garfield:
  • One Herman strip shows a man with a tracking collar and ear-tag yelling about "ALIENS!"

    Fan Works 
  • The Bolt Chronicles: Played with in "The Spaceship." Rhino rolls in his hamster ball underneath a Flying Saucer and asks to be beamed aboard. When he realizes the aliens want to take him off to their home planet to serve as head of their Brain Trust Committee, however, he refuses the offer and suggests they take a scarecrow instead. His ruse works.
  • In The Conversion Bureau: Cold War, Xenolestia is responsible for over 2,000 Chinese citizens being kidnapped and forcibly turned into newfoals.
  • In The Simpsons fanfic Must Love Ned Flanders, one of the "deleted scenes" mentions Kang and Kodos (aliens) abducting the Simpsons.
  • In Worldwar: War of Equals, the astronauts aboard the ISS are taken prisoner after The Race board the station two days before they invade. When the actual fighting starts, the capture 20,000 Egyptian soldiers after Cairo is overrun by Race forces. Later starts to be inverted when we start capturing Race personnel.

    Films — Animation 


  • Journey into Space: In The Red Planet, the Martians have abducted many humans from Earth since at least 1879. The abductees include Bill Webster (who was taken in 1910), James Edward Whitaker (who was taken in 1924), John and Martha Bodie and a dingo hunter (who were taken in 1939) and the flying doctor (who was taken in 1956).

    Tabletop Games 
  • Changeling: The Lost, being about The Fair Folk and their victims, emphasizes the ties between Alien Abduction and the old faerie myths — some Keepers are described as androgynous, slender beings that put their victims through strange examinations involving horrifying equipment, and the Wizened in the illustrations appear to be a mixture of traditional goblins and The Greys. Of course, the book goes on to say in a sidebar that not all alien abductions in the World of Darkness may be the fault of The Fair Folk....
  • In the world of Pathfinder, hapless people sometimes disappear from their homes, only to reappear sometime later with mysterious surgical scars and no recollection of what happened beyond vague nightmares of short gray-skinned creatures with bulging eyes... except instead of aliens from outer space, they've been abducted by derros, fey-like humanoids from Beneath the Earth. A Shout-Out to the literature of Richard Sharpe Shaver and his "deros", which may have inspired the idea of The Grays in the first place.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Genestealer victims aren't so much abducted as they are ambushed, implanted with Tyranid DNA that turns them into an unwitting slave of the Hive Mind (and have children with more Tyranid characteristics, whose children in turn look more Tyranid, and so on until you reach the unable-to-infiltrate-human-society purestrain genestealers), and then released none the wiser into society to bring about its downfall.


    Web Original 
  • Inverted in Abductee by Glennz.
    • Inverted even more consequent by cartoonist Neil Bennett.
  • According to Tlf Travel Alerts this is the inevitable result of using the Dockland's Light Railway. Expect delays.
  • In The Jenkinsverse, The Corti do this to all pre-FTL species so as to learn everything they need to sell advanced pharmaceuticals, cybernetic implants and other wonders to them. Most of the human protagonists in the J Verse were abductees at some point.
  • The concept has proven to be good fodder for ASMR videos, especially for the series Alien Abduction Role Play by Macalda Reye.
  • 7-Second Riddles: Multiple riddles involve children being abducted by aliens. When their parents go to save them, they must then figure out which kid is theirs, as by that point their kid has been imperfectly cloned. To the alien's credit, they always willingly agree to hand the kid back as long as their experiments are done.
  • Starsnatcher: The whole premise of the story is that the protagonist gets abducted by aliens and sent into a different world. Unusual for this trope is that he never gets to see their spaceship from the inside (because these aliens actually have reliable tranquilizers). Instead, he is sent straight to an alien moon where his adventure to get home begins. It is also a subversion, as aliens were never his abductors, humans were.
  • AstroLOLogy: Done to Aquarius in "Abducted!" His curiosity leads to him wandering around the ship and causing general mayhem, very narrowly almost hurling the ship into the sun before one of the aliens stops him and they send him back to where they found him.

    Real Life 
  • Probably the most famous alleged alien abduction case was that of Betty and Barney Hill, a married couple who claimed to have been abducted by aliens in rural New Hampshire in 1961. Their claims were investigated by the government and media, and it became the Trope Codifier for alien abduction stories. Betty passed a lie detector test, and both she and her husband stuck by their claims till death.
  • One of the most unusual alien abduction stories was that of American logger Travis Walton. Walton was allegedly abducted by a UFO in Arizona in 1975. His abduction was reported by several coworkers who claimed to have witnessed the event, resulting in a state-wide manhunt (and a possible homicide investigation). Walton did not reappear until five days later, claiming he had been abducted by aliens. The movie Fire in the Sky is very loosely based on the alleged abduction.
  • Scientist/cultural analyst Jacques Vallee once investigated an abduction very similar to Travis' which had happened near his home town in France. He discovered it had been staged by the French equivalent of the CIA as a social experiment. He thinks this has happened more than once, and is not connected only to government agencies. He also believes there are real UFO sightings and "aliens", but they are not from outer space but are "multidimensional across space and time". Vallee inspired the character of Claude Lacombe in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
  • Wild animals captured by humans, examined and tagged, then released again. From their perspective this trope might be close to Truth in Television. One The Far Side strip uses this very setup, as does the film Happy Feet.
  • Republican electoral candidate Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera ran for Congress and causally let slip she's been abducted by aliens as if this was no big thing. Even in Florida she still lost the election, as if people thought this made her character and judgement look a little bit flaky.
  • A widely accepted theory for why people have such vivid memories of alien abductions is because of a phenomenon that's basically "dreaming while awake". When you dream, not only do you have very strange and surreal images, but your body actually shuts down most muscles so you can't move and accidentally hurt yourself. Sometimes you can "wake up" — i.e. your eyes open and you're aware of the room you're in. So imagine; you wake up. You can't move your body. You're dreaming of strange lights. It fits all the tropes of alien abduction, further influencing your dream, and you become convinced it actually happened. This is why it's called "sleep paralysis". It can also lead to dreams of ghosts and other paranormal/supernatural beings. A common account was once of a "crushing hag" sitting on the person's chest, crushing them-hence the term "hag-ridden" for one plagued by nightmares. Demons that sucked people's breath away, or abused them sexually (familiar to UFO abduction) were prevalent in Medieval Europe. With multiple people, misidentification of natural phenomenon, hallucinations, and outright fraud are often proven behind many alien abduction stories. Use of hypnosis (as both the Hill and Walton cases featured, above) has also been found to implant memories easily by the hypnotist (accidentally usually), making these suspect at best without some independent evidence (which is generally lacking).


Video Example(s):


Simpsons 1996 Election

Treehouse of Horror VII includes an election in which aliens kidnap and impersonate candidates President Bill Clinton and Senator Bob Dole. And though unfamiliar with democratic campaigning, they quickly get the hang of it.

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