The purpose of this project is to attempt to understand how stories of alien contact shape the social and cultural reality of the alien witness. The narratives of fifteen alien "experiencers" have been collected to illustrate the religious, symbolic, mythic, and ritual dimensions of alien contact. While the many dimensions of the experience offer an important commentary concerning American government, politics, economics, and technology, alien contact arguably fulfills a need for religious transcendence within a society rooted in rational and secular experience. In viewing the narratives as religious, the alien experiencer becomes a sort of religious specialist, or shaman, but within a modern cultural context that seemingly dismisses the value of such experiences. In understanding the alien contact narrative as a sacred myth, humans are given an ultimate origin, purpose, and direction. This mythic narrative seems to describe technology as both beneficial and detrimental, reflecting a newly globalized and highly technological human milieu. The alien contact myth offers a resolution to the technology conflict, suggesting a combination of emotions and intelligence to create a human race better adapted for survival and expansion in the cosmos as both spiritual and technological beings.


Frese, Pamela R.


Sociology and Anthropology



Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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